Africa Trip Part 5 – Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Because we only stayed in Lake Manyara one night and had the same guide, Ray, from our arrival there until we left Tanzania at the Kilimanjaro airport two days later, I've decided to lump our days in both places together. Plus, their landscape and weather are similar dry, dusty, with mostly red clay soil. After a long plane ride to Lake Manyara, Ray picked us up in an enclosed truck with an open roof where we could stand up and take our photos by leaning out through the top. However, since I'm so short, I had to continually climb up and down from my seat so I could get my camera and head out there. Once we arrived at the national park and had our picnic lunch we proceeded to look for game as we've done for the last eight days. And while I was beginning to feel ready to stop this, I began to click away with great enthusiasm, climbing up and down off my seat, and soon as I  saw more elephants, giraffes, and a lion relaxing in a tree.   We stayed at the Lemala camp at … [Read more...]

Africa Trip Part 4 – Serengeti, Tanzania

After a plane ride, a long drive in a car with a young and sophisticated woman at the wheel, careful and thorough customs checks when leaving Kenya and later arriving in Tanzania, and another plane ride, we arrived in the Serengeti. It turns out the Serengeti is located just a couple hours drive from where we were in the Masai Mara, but because of some kind of feud between the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments the nearby border was closed causing us to unnecessarily spend hours and the big bucks to get to our first Tanzanian destination.   However, all was forgiven when our guide Nathan met us at the airport. Throughout our three-day stay there, he took us on what I thought were the most interesting game drives of our entire time in Africa imagine seeing a mother and baby rhino before we even arrived at our next tent camp, the Olakira.   On that first drive we also saw two kinds of vultures, storks, hippos, elephants, and Masai giraffes. But the rhinos were the find … [Read more...]

Africa Trip Part 3 – Masai Mara, Kenya

After our two nights in Samburu, we flew to the Masai Mara region in the southeast corner of Kenya. Here at 6000 feet altitude, the weather was cool. And each night while there we experienced enormous rains, such that our guide Simon insisted on rolling up the sides of our jeep and giving us ponchos to wear. However, the animal and bird sightings there were spectacular. Even in the air before we landed we saw wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes below  - though in Masai Mara the giraffes, instead of being reticulated with patches of color outlined in white, are spotted. The zebras, the common Burchel, are smaller with wider spaced stripes than the Grevy's (my favorite because of the swirly look). Every zebra has unique stripe formations. Simon picked us up at the airport and was our guide during our stay. He also took us on a game drive as soon as we landed over a landscape called the Savanna large plains with sporadic trees, mostly Acacia. And almost immediately he showed us … [Read more...]

Africa Trip Part 2 – Samburu, Kenya

We left our Nairobi hotel bright and early on Sunday morning, September 2, and flew via Air Kenya to our first safari stop, Samburu, Kenya. The flight was approximately one and one-quarter hours, and every seat in the twin-engine plane was full. We landed in Samburu on a dirt runway and as soon as we deplaned we met our guide, Bon-i. Take a look. No words could describe his wonderful African costume and beaded accessories. Almost immediately he piled Bob and me and our traveling companions, Joel and Susan, and our duffle bags, various backpacks, jackets, hats, scarves, and camera equipment into his open-sided four-wheel drive vehicle, and we set out on our first game drive.   Bon-i, who is very knowledgeable about the game and birds and landscape of the Samburu reserve, told us right away his goal for us was to see the Samburu special five: Grevy's zebra (a larger animal with narrower stripes than the plain zebra), Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, and the beisa … [Read more...]

Africa Trip Part 1 – Nairobi

Since so many people have asked about our trip to Africa, over the next few weeks I'll share some highlights at: Nairobi, Samburu, Masai Mara, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro crater, then back to Nairobi. Part 1 - Nairobi We arrived at the Nairobi airport at 2 am. The place was practically deserted and that was good, since the main terminal's welcoming hall, destroyed by a fire two weeks earlier, was nothing more than a large tent. We got our luggage quickly and met our tour group driver, Martin, outside. Since it was so early in the morning Martin said we should have no traffic, and we'd be at our hotel  the Norfolk in about ten minutes.By the way, I keep wondering if the airport fire was a warning from the terrorists who attacked the mall in Nairobi several weeks later. But we'll never know about that for sure, will we?  And then almost right after we left the airport we passed a horrific accident. The car involved looked like it went through a mangler, and we learned … [Read more...]

Favorite trip photos

I think I'm finally over the jet lag from our trip. Last night I slept without waking at four in the morning, and I feel very well rested today. I've heard that it takes a day for each hour we travel away from our time zone, and at one point we were twelve hours on the other side of our clock in Dubai. So it's close. Today it is exactly eleven days since we returned home.   Although the main intent of our trip was to go on an African safari, besides visiting Kenya and Tanzania we also spent several days in London before Africa and a night in Dubai and four nights in Paris after our African adventure. It was a trip of a lifetime. I'll never forget it. I've already posted a few of my favorite safari photos and I promise to post more in the next weeks. However, today's photos show some our favorite sights in London, Dubai, and Paris.  My third time on the London Eye.  Try it. It's a great ride.    Stonehenge - an amazing site    The "silver guy" in … [Read more...]