The last 2 storms were not so bad here....no more new snow accumulation, and right now it is raining, with thunder and lightening earlier! It's still a real mess out there, though, the roads are so narrow here in North Haven from the previous plowings that 2 cars cannot pass! It's a relatively balmy 34 degrees out though, woohoo!
Being home all week, we have made significant progress in the cleaning/purging process. My rooms upstairs are pretty much down to boxes packed for storage, yard sale boxes, and what we need for the next 7 weeks. I have a pile to go into the Cougar, and I think it's going to be warm and nice enough tomorrow to shovel a path to it and open it up. That will be nice :-). It's suppose to get cold again by Tuesday night, so I need to take advantage of these relatively mild temps. Al's fishing buddy Greg has been an invaluable help to us this week; he's lent a hand the past several days doing some construction projects in the house, and helping Al get the garage cleaned out. He's even a pro at packing the dumpster to get the most stuff in there possible! Thank Greg, even though I know you don't want to hear me say it! I also need to give a huge thanks to my bro Bill for fixing Al's sister's heating problems...not a good thing to have here in February!
Last time I left you concerning the safari, we were about to land in the Selous Game Reserve. This was our first stop on our 4 park itinerary. We were working on about 4 hours sleep at this point, but the adrenaline was so high, it didn't matter. As we circled around the runway, and I use that term loosely :-), we saw 2 jeeps at the end waiting for us. Otherwise, there was nothing else but the wide open reserve. Luckily, there were no animals crossing the runway, so we were able to land the first time :-). We disembarked, the bags we tossed into the back of the jeeps, and we all clambered in.
This was the jeep we were going to call home for the next 2 days! Thank goodness it had a canopy, as it was HOT when the sun was out...heck, it was hot when it was cloudy :-). Very humid also here, this being the southernmost park in Tanzania we were going to. Our Tanzanian guide, Arnold, in the white shirt, was in the other jeep for our ride to the camp. He told us it was about a 20 minute ride to the Selous Safai Camp
, but be sure to keep our cameras out, as one never knew what we might see along the way. Sure enough, about 50 feet down the road, our first on the ground sighting...impala!
This was a young male. Impala, unknown to us at this particular moment, are as common as squirrels are around here. They are the most common type of antelope found in Africa, with females and young forming herds of up to 200 individuals. There may be a few males dominant in the herd, but all other males when of age are forced away, forming bachelor herds. Of course, the males are always being challenged for leadership of their herds.
After feasting our eyes on the impala, (little knowing that within 2 days we'd be saying "oh, it's only impala, keep going!), we drove on around another turn, and then giraffe!!
It's always cool seeing them in the zoos and wildlife parks, but it was awesome to know he was living here on his own terms! Absolutely cool! As we passed by the giraffe, we came to a sign pointing us to our camp:
Karibu is swahili for "welcome"! The excitement was palpable knowing we'd see our camp very soon. However, as we came around a sharp turn, our driver slammed on his brakes, hard! A cloud of dust swirled up, and he turned and announced "traffic jam". This was what was in the road:
Seems elephant have the right of way around here! Well, who's going to argue with them? They milled around the road, tearing leaves off the brush alongside the road and slowly moving along, but never quite getting out of the way. I would say we were delayed about 15 minutes waiting for the jam to clear!
Onced they moved far enough of the road for us to safely pass by, we continued into camp. The drive circled around in front of a small office, and almost every staff member was standing outside, lined up to greet us. It was so nice! Heading into the verandah area, there were couches and chairs set up, with tall glasses of lemonade ready for us, and wet washcloths to clean our habds and faces with after the dusty ride. Our hostess went over some of the rules of the camp with us: individual tents for each couple, each tent was assigned a houseman who would see that whatever we needed was brought to us, whistles in each tent to call for help in the event of an emergency (no telephones, and no, animals outside of your tent are NOT considered an emergency!), and NO ONE was to walk around the camp unattended. There were Maasai warriors in camp to come take us to the dining tent for meals, and escort us back to our tents afterwards. Wow! And yes, they were traditionally dressed in their plaid blankets and sandals, with a spear as protection. It was not uncommon to encounter animals in camp, but they acted as escorts to be a buffer between us and the animals, and also most importantly, to keep someone from bolting suddenly...that was the most provacation to an animal. Generally, they were able to lead us away from anything that might be in the area. It was quite interesting all in all!
The entrance to our tent
The back porch of the tent. The fencing curving around the side on the left encloses the outside shower. Yes, we had hot and cold running water! There is a generator on property that charges the solar panels, so we had lights and a ceiling fan during the evening.
The view from our back porch, of Lake Nzerakera.
Inside our tent, looking across the bedroom through the washroom, to the outdoor shower area. And what exactly were you thinking when I was talking about staying in a tent?? :-)
So, we were taken by our houseman to our tent, and given about 20 minutes to settle in, wash up, and then he would take us down to the lake, as we were going on a boat safari first ting, before lunch! Yes, it is only about 10:30AM at this point. All this excitement and we still have a whole day ahead of us! And the boat safari will be my next installment.
Thank you so much for reading this; it really brings back the memories and excitement as I go through the journal and pictures. It does help alleviate some of my anxiety about the sale of the business, and packing up to head out on the road. I hope everyone enjoys my memories!