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Submitted by Maggie Rodney, Global Ambassador in Tanzania
Our group went to Tarangire National Park yesterday, and it was by far the most amazing place I’ve ever been. Again, I keep having to remember that I haven’t even been to Ngorogoro or the Serengeti yet, which are going to be the first wonders of the world I’ve seen. But, regardless, Tarangire was absolutely fantastic.
First of all, it looks like a scene straight out of The Lion King. I saw at least three structures that looked like Pride Rock and I wanted to go check them out to see if I could find Simba (which, I have learned, is “lion” in Swahili).
Second of all, I saw some things that I never thought I would get to see in my lifetime. Within ten minutes of being in the park, I had seen a cheetah go on the hunt and take down a dik dik. Just watching it run reminded me of the many hundreds of times I had watched that on Animal Planet, and I still cannot believe I got to see it from less than a hundred yards away. Then, we spotted baby zebras and elephants. We had already seen some pretty young ones at Lake Manyara, but these were brand new. The baby zebra was still fluffy and red, and was probably the cutest creature I’ve ever seen.
Then came the real highlights – lions! We saw two adult lions from pretty far away, but I was able to get a pretty good picture. Later, we got a call on the radio that a lion cub had been spotted. When we got to where it had been seen, we were told that it was hiding in the bushes, and to just hang tight for a little while. Here is where I learned the most important lesson of these game drives – PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. Unfortunately, convincing a group of teenagers to sit still for 20 minutes is difficult, but ten minutes after we drove away there were multiple calls on the radio saying it had come out. So, I missed my chance at seeing it. Which now ranks as one of the biggest regrets of my life. Lesson learned. But the day ended with a monkey leaping through the window of the car I was sitting in and our driver having to chase it out – absolutely hilarious.
Of course, as the world tends to work, something had to be just not quite perfect. Tarangire has tse tse flies, which is basically the African equivalent of a horsefly. Somehow, my car ended up in an area with lots of flies, and little wildlife – luckily, I avoided bites, and the ones where we are don’t carry disease anyway. But the day definitely could have done without those. We WERE the only ones who saw any lions, though, so we like to think it balanced out.