Once we had got used to the local life – in addition to that we also got to learn a few Swahili (the main language) words- we headed back to the city of Dar Es Salaam. We had booked a hotel on the outskirts of the city – near the bus station- for one night (I wouldn’t recommend walking around unless you have to as it was a rough neighbourhood) so it gave us time to book the bus tickets. I left mum and TUT to sort that one.
In the morning we got on a coach after an hour of being hassled on the main road whilst waiting and settled down for the 7 hour journey.
Their were a lot of desperate people about and a woman collapsed near us but no one helped her, she seemed to recover. Fortunately for most people there was air con but as I can’t stand air con transport it was horrible but it was an easy condition to sleep in. After a couple of hours the concrete houses died away and along came the mud and wood houses. An hour before our destination we started seeing zebras, giraffes, elephants and gazelles all grazing in the shrubs of the Savannah. This got us all excited as we hadn’t even stepped into the national park yet.
Our hotel had a pool (which was great for Jedi) and our accommodation was good, as well as the food.
The next day we woke up early for breakfast and went to meet our guide. Mum was surprised when the guide turned out to be the one she had wanted (from all the good reviews) so it was all up to a good start. The forecast said it would be good weather so we ended up with a Jeep – land rover- with green canvas for the sides (which we rolled up). If the forecast showed rain we would have had a Jeep with closed windows and a proper roof to keep the rain out.
Half an hour later we were at the gate to the Mikumi national park which is an extension to the Selous national park. Mikumi park is 3230 km2 and the fifth largest one in Tanzania.
So off we were on a one in a life time experience for the day. The national park felt huge as he drove us through the sandy roads that meandered their way through the Savannah. It was cloudy but it soon cleared throughout the day. Samwei was the best guide you could ask for, he could spot any animal no matter how small from a large distance away as well as knowing their usual spots and every fact about them.
Everywhere we went there always seemed to be herds of elephants, buffalo’s, giraffes, gazelles and zebras and the best thing was that we hardly ever ran into another car and they were clearly in their natural habitat.
As well as those we saw jackals,
monkeys (very few), a giant millipede,
warthogs (pumbas), wildebeests,
and the best being 4 lionesses sleeping under a tree of which he spotted from a kilometre away.
We were very lucky to see the lions -even all the others- as very few tend to have that amazing opportunity.
The Savannah itself held beautiful picturesque landscapes and tall, sophisticated Baobab trees.
Later on -about an hour left- and it began to rain. It rained for the rest of the day, only getting stronger.
Since we were in a canvas Jeep the best our guide could do was put our sides down but it still came through and soaked us, especially our driver. The rain obscured our view and any possible search for other animals but in a way I was glad it rained as it gave us the unique experience of having witnessed all weather in the Savannah plains.