African Safari – Arusha, Tanzania – Out for a stroll

African Safari – Arusha, Tanzania – Out for a stroll

Five of us decided to go for a stroll into city center (about 1 km according to our itinerary info). Seemed easy enough so off we went. First off, our directions weren’t quite right and we walked to the traffic circle and headed off in the wrong direction. Eventually we asked for directions and turned around and came back to the traffic circle. Local police at the traffic circle pointed us in a different direction and off we went with spirits buoyed. As we walked along the roadway (no real sidewalks), we began to attract a gathering of the local guides/entrepreneurs/hawkers – first one, then two and then more and more. By the time that we were closer to our intended destination, we were becoming outnumbered by locals asking us where we were from and offering to sell us a variety of goods from bracelets to rolled up paintings. We kept politely saying “no thank you” but eventually tired of this nonsense, turned around and headed back to our hotel. Then, we stopped at a small convenience store which offered a wide selection of beverages at local prices (not tourist prices). With purchases in hand our group went happily back to relax at the hotel. Nothing like reasonable pricing for beverages to buoy the spirits of weary travelers.

 

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African Safari – Arusha, Tanzania – Background Information

African Safari – Arusha, Tanzania – Background Information

Background summarized from our GAP Adventures itinerary.

Arusha is a picturesque town that sits at the foot of rugged Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northern Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby, Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for a safari trip. On a clear day, it may be possible to see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance.
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African Safari – Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania

African Safari – Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania

After some of the gravel roads that we had encountered in the Masai Mara region of Kenya, the highway to Arusha was a real blessing. Although there was some highway construction still underway, necessitating detours onto rather rough parallel temporary roads, the highway was generally well paved and without much traffic so we made good time.
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African Safari – Masai Mara back to Nairobi

African Safari – Masai Mara back to Nairobi

It was a market day along our route and vendors were out in force as we retraced our path back to Nairobi, Kenya.


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African Safari – The Wait.

Mwanza Flat-headed Agama (Agama mwanzae)

African Safari – The Wait.

A bit of confusion, as one van took two of our group to the nearby airport, our second van headed off with three members of our group and Graeme and I ended up waiting for an hour and a half for the first van to return. The plane was later than expected. Hakuna Matata. Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing how long it would be until the first van returned and found ourselves watching our luggage by the loading area for an hour and a half. Thankfully, a few birds and reptiles came by to give us something to photograph and the assistant manager of the lodge came by to talk about the day earlier soccer match (SOPA team lost 4-1 without my help :-)).

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African Safari – Masai Mara – Evening safari

African Safari – Masai Mara – Evening safari

This was our last evening safari on the Masai Mara and we were still hoping to locate that elusive Leopard or one of the rare Black Rhinos. We didn’t see either of those, but did manage to see a few more elephants and another lion or two and added another bird species to our ever-growing list.
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African Safari – Driving the Masai Mara with GAP Adventure Vans

Vroom Vroom across Africa!

African Safari – Driving the Masai Mara with GAP Adventure Vans

Its bumpy and rough, full of water holes and along dry landscape; but at the end of the day those roads bring you so close to animals it’s amazing!

African Safari – The big sale

African Safari – The big sale

During our period of R&R, I wandered down the pathway from the lodge to the small, three hut model Maasai village nearby. I was interested in buying a small mask. Seven Maasai women were interested in selling me cloth, masks, bracelets, beads and all manner of handiwork. After much discussion and bartering, I left with their picture and a mask and they kept some of my money :-).
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African Safari – A restful afternoon at the lodge

African Safari – A restful afternoon at the lodge

After our early morning outing on the Masai Mara, we returned to the lodge for breakfast and a bit of R&R.
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African Safari – Masai Mara – Breakfast with the Vultures

African Safari – Masai Mara – Breakfast with the Vultures

Not sure of i.d. of these vultures.


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