Tanzanian Adventures: On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 2

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama (oh yes, it’s a lion)
Ingonyama
Siyo nqoba (we’re going to conquer)
Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabaal (it’s a lion and a tiger)

Once at the bottom of the crater the animals were all within sight. Pumbas (Warthogs) were very curious of us, and looked like they wanted us to feed them. There were three elephant sightings in various parts of the park, and the guide told us it is at time rare to see elephants in the park. Lions are hanging in the sun like fat house cats, and the whole place is alive with animals going about their day without a thought about the safari jeeps passing by.

IMG_2042
Two elephants hanging under a tree
IMG_2045
Pumba-Warthogs

These guys were quite the animal. Nothing like the wildebeest that run out in front of the jeep like they wanted to get hit ( I think they would do more damage to the jeep then a deer would). They stayed pretty much away from the roads and hangout among the gazelles.

IMG_2049
wilderbeast

18664684_1584446671568058_8585169179004927937_n18581463_1584446681568057_801614831019247494_n

This lion is a male who is roughly around a year or two and is yet to get his full mane. My cat at home has a better well developed mane then this one does. The lions in a group saw him coming and greeted him with so much love and attention. This is the only pride we saw in the whole crater, so theses must be the lions everyone talks about.

18622630_1500042310037702_8367026996685212679_n

IMG_2089
Lions greeting each other
IMG_2088
Pride of lions

At one point someone did slip on the bank and put a foot into the hippo pool. Hippos are not cute creatures when they are upset! Lucky no one got hurt and they stayed in the water, but we all know it could have ended up ugly. We were allowed to walk around the small area while having lunch. As long as we ate in the jeep, the Black Kites would not steal or rip our fingers off to get our food.

18527469_1432322233491349_960872133944846202_o - Copy18558833_1432333693490203_3909790600594917564_o - Copy

IMG_2071
hippos
IMG_2070
selfie at the hippo pond
IMG_2076
more hippos
IMG_2074
hippos
IMG_2077
seriously don’t feed them

The elephant population in the crater is older elephants that come here for the soft grass and to die. They are safe here in conservation area away from the big game reserve close by. Most of the animals in the crater live in harmony of each other. Even with the lions, it seemed there were an overpopulation of wildebeests and zebras, but the flamingos were not in abundance this time.  As we ascended out of the crater we passed into Lerai forest where the monkeys were. It seemed like most of the animals here are nocturnal and were asleep when we passed through. The forest had those trees that have the look of an African tree with the vines hanging down. To bad a picture was out of the question because of a group of baboons were hanging out close by. You just have to take my word for it.

18581465_1584446628234729_2285940680040685854_n

IMG_2098
ostridges
IMG_2052
Flooding in parts of the crater

IMG_2053

IMG_2104
Blue ball monkey
IMG_2067
another elephant

IMG_2060

IMG_2058
another elephant
IMG_2042
Two elephants hanging under a tree

Last stop before heading back into town was the Heroe’s point where we were earlier that morning. Here you can see the crater spread out, and the setting sun over where the jeep had been. A perfect way to end the day of safari, and perfect reminder of how precious this place is for future generations. An expereince that I will never forget and the people who made it special.

IMG_2107
view of the crater from the ridge
IMG_2109
creater below
IMG_2059
monkeys hinding in the grass

IMG_2078

IMG_2083
road traveled
IMG_2055
wildflowers
IMG_2111
view
IMG_2112
church
IMG_2113
view
IMG_2117
view

IMG_2108IMG_2112

Image result for ngorongoro crater
Map of the area
IMG_2114
selfie again

Previous Post: On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 1
Next Post: Bells Toll & Bargain Shopping

More Information:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Cheeky Monkey Safari Tours

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Advertisements

Tanzanian Adventures: On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 1

Updated: 12/2017

It was six in the morning when we all headed to the Ngorongoro Crater for our safari to begin. Along the way, the jeep passed all sorts of the scenery of northern Tanzania including the very large military base in the middle of the bush. As we got closer to Ngorongoro the driver pointed out the African part of the rift valley. This valley starts from Jordan and runs all the way to the West African coast. The Maasai are believed to have descended from the people who migrated through the rift valley and the first humanoid skeletal remains was discovered in the area of the crater a few years ago.

IMG_1968
Rift Valley Range in the distance
IMG_1972
Rift Valley range
IMG_1978
communities on the rim of the crater
IMG_1994
community at the rim of the crater

We passed through Karatu, there were baboons hanging out along the side of the road causing trouble to all who walk by. As we drove further up to the main gate, there was glimpse of the lake Eyasi ( a huge lake when you see atop a hill) and the valley below. A few small shanty towns are along the way where a few people live within the gates of the park.

IMG_1974
Monkeys in town causing trouble

At the park entrance we were all informed to keep all cameras, phones or anything you did not want stolen off you by the baboons in the vehicle. Our group was luck because the baboons were not around, and probably were the same ones we had passed earlier in town. After our bathroom break, we all began our safari journey.

18447567_1509162125795682_4247335550576554505_n18581823_1500042336704366_6749265222190237663_n

The beginning of the safari there was an overcast fog hanging around the top if the crater. This is the reason why in the pictures below half of the crater is shrouded in fog. As you can see this side of the crater is lush and green compare to what lies on the other side of the crater (Serengeti National Park and Maswa Game Reserve) which is what you expect to be tundra like in the Lion King.

IMG_2005
mist over the crater

After many selfies taken by the whole group, all of us jumped back into the jeeps to warm up after the chilly wind blowing.

18517999_1432316913491881_3167662645816881498_o18518363_1432316096825296_9092299370558162767_o

IMG_2017
selfie again
IMG_2013
looking down in the crater
IMG_2009
selfie
IMG_2008
selfie
IMG_2005
mist over the crater

The jeep had to climb up the side of the crater in thick vegetation. Here there was not much to see of animals since this part of the park was within the rain shadow, and overcast. It is amazing at all the lush green there is and trees with jungle vines hanging down. It makes you think of the Jungle Book and Mowgli is about to come swinging through the trees or maybe Tarzan.

18558667_10209396001037580_2100619825552627684_o

 

Seeing the Maasai village as we take a view of the slope in the crater. This picture does not capture the real true beauty of this scene. You dear reader need to see it for yourself!

 

IMG_2023IMG_2022

Following the red dirt road towards the floor of the crater. This section of the crater has a view of the Maasai village below. As you can see the sun is out! This part of the road had a few wildlife such as cows that were fat from grazing all the lush grass.

18527296_1432323986824507_206056173109597348_o18527434_1432324023491170_5407326521946501900_oThe Maasai tribe here in the crater want money if you want to take a picture of them, and the children we saw as we made our way down to the crater floor ask for “lunch” which is begging for money. This Maasai tribe are the only people permanently living within the park’s boundaries and have grazing rights for their livestock and hunting. Not such as friendly as the ones I previously encountered back in Arusha, but when you think about it, a lot of tourist hand them money all the time and this is why they are so bold into asking for a handout.

 

After a while we descent down into the crater we all had another pit stop to use the toilet (another squat toilet) and to stretch our legs. From here we can get a sense of how vast the crater is, and there we could see the large lake in the crater (Lake Makati) along with seeing a pair of elephants in the distance. From here it was windy with puffs of heat. Having sunscreen on is a must even under the shade of the safari view canopy. I could feel the sun’s full force on my skin after a minute exposed. After spending twenty minutes taking in the view and everyone hopped back into the vehicles to start the finding animals. Next post is where the real safari begins.

IMG_2020IMG_2021

IMG_2027
Zebras grazing

IMG_2033IMG_2035IMG_2036IMG_2037

Next Post:  On A Safari (Ngorongoro Crater) Part 2.
Previous Post: Unexpected Hike

More information:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Cheeky Monkey Safari

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Save

Tanzanian Adventure: Love From The Maasai Children & Feeding Program

 

Update: 12/2017

18518148_1432306993492873_7270152327831910954_o - Copy

Awoken by the sound of street life outside the window of the hotel room I am sharing with another student. It would be another night of jet lag with me up at four in the morning checking my emails. Jet lag is a real deal. Breakfast was a normal fare of fruit, coffee, fried potatoes, rice, and some meat thing I yet to figure out. It seems the hotel thinks Americans must have meat at every meal every day when the opposite is true. The day ahead for me was going to be a jam-packed day into the bush with the Maasai and going to a school where the Maasai children attend to see Convoy of Hope’s child feeding program in action.

After breakfast, I loaded up into a safari jeep and endured a bumpy ride through the bush of Tanzania on red iron rich clay roads. My roommate and I found ourselves in the same jeep with four other students from our sister school Evangel University in Springfield Missouri who were all on the football team. Four football players and two little women all crammed into a safari jeep were a sight to see!

18558645_1432306790159560_7704708677937428732_o18527420_1432307710159468_5135958250776099992_o18558746_1432307533492819_1578196402136827992_o

18527211_1432308026826103_7948304372553567082_o - Copy

Clich’e to say this, but I do believe I left my heart in Tanzania Africa, namely the Maasai children of Tinga (small village near the base of Mt. Longido). I cannot believe how energetic these children are when they have visitors. Hard to keep up with them at times. As soon as they were let out of their classes, they latched on to all of us and at times never let go unless forced. Some even fought over my arms and were very interested in my skin color, counting my fingers, my clothing, my hair, my backpack, and my phone which took pictures of them. Most never had seen another human look like the way some of my team members looked. The team tried to teach them a new game called four corners which turned out to chaotic.  I was one of the four corners which at one point had large waves if kids come running at me, nearly knocking me over in the process! A few of the children figured out the poking game and proceeded to poke me rather hard in the gut. It turned into all out war at one point with other team members getting poked as well. The iPhone became one tool in getting me to do crazy things for the camera. Even one of the professor’s sunglasses became popular for the children to try on.

18559028_1432307960159443_122208440173530049_o - CopyIMG_192118622312_1500042483371018_3178231105946062407_n18582140_1500042503371016_829906092376317885_nIMG_191718556429_1584446741568051_1760157926215888919_nIMG_1911IMG_1910IMG_1908IMG_1906IMG_1901IMG_1896IMG_1886IMG_1879IMG_1876IMG_1875IMG_1872

The main purpose of the trip to the school was to help with Convoy of Hope’s children’s feeding program setup at this school. All the students here have greatly benefited from the feeding program as well as their families. Before Convoy came, most of the student only received one meal a day. Most were in poor health due to lack of nutrients missing from their diet, having intestinal worms, and having unclean water to drink.

18595182_1432308500159389_4061110131678734159_o18527161_1432308853492687_983916434917562707_o

Since Convoy of Hope’s program, the children have access to clean water to drink for them and their families. They now get nutritious meals at school and at home. Each of the team members had a turn at handing out the mango juice we brought for them (they have never had anything like juice before, it is very rare!), passed out the plates for the food, and ladled out fortified porridge with key nutrients along with de-worming medication for them to have. From pictures I have seen, they all look much more healthy than they did before. Also, they have greens growing in a school garden plot for other nutrients into their diet.

18528035_1509161879129040_1158682748690507237_n18518341_1432319840158255_2003219987958154037_o - Copy18518086_1432310790159160_6142528968688690431_o - CopyIMG_1927

IMG_1926
greenhouse
IMG_1925
greenhouse

The Tanzanian government has made it mandatory for all school children to have access to school and no school can turn a child away at the primary level (elementary level). This means there are more children then there is room for in the classroom, and so when we drove up to the school, some of the children were at desks outside under trees with their lessons. Just imagine children in the US having to sit outside in the elements to get an education because there is no room for them in the classroom. It would not happen, but it is a reality for most students in Tanzania. Also, Tanzania has a real shortage of certified teachers to teach students. This school in particular only has three teachers teaching up to sixty students across multiple class ages and a headmaster who has to teach as well to give every child an education. Right now there is a foundation built for a third building, but the funds to finish it are non-existence. I hope in the near future this building will be completed and all children can learn in a proper classroom.

IMG_1931
School building
IMG_1932
School building

The day was hot and dusty around the area. I even got a bad sunburn with sunblock on because of how close to the equator Tanzania is, and the fact anti-malarial drugs can cause the skin to be sensitive to sunlight. It was worth it to expereince this wonderful day with the children! Even if it means down the road I will get skin cancer (I hope not).

Previous Post:  On The Streets of Arusha W/ Convoy of Hope
Next Post:  The Maasai Women & Community

More Information:
Convoy of Hope Tanzania
Cheeky Monkey Safari Tours

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Save

Save

Save

Tanzanian Adventures: On The Streets of Arusha W/ Convoy of Hope

Updated 12/2017

My first morning in Tanzania started with waking up to a dog fight outside the hotel window at five in the morning. I would soon find out this would be a common morning occurrence for the duration of my stay. The morning started off with me looking out the window at the street and seeing people walking along the street on their morning routine. School children in their uniforms walking to school, adults on their way to work, and stores opening up for the daily business giving this traveler a glimpse into the daily life of Arusha.

IMG_1822
View from the hotel room window (Old Moshi Rd)

This pink building hides the reality of poverty intermingling near fancy hotels in this part of town. A reminder of why I am here with Northwest University and meeting with Convoy of Hope on the same day. Breakfast was at the hotel’s restaurant most days which consists of fried potatoes, Tanzanian pilau rice, Kenyan sausages, banana pancakes, East African donuts called magwinya, fresh fruit and coffee made from beans in the Kilimanjaro region coffee plantations. After finishing, I grabbed a 1.5L bottle water and headed to the conference room to meet the team from Convoy of Hope.

18486108_1509161662462395_5604272800103162948_n
Eating our first breakfast in Tanzania (I’m in the purple). Credit: Ingrid Navarro

The day’s agenda was to hit the ground running with Convoy of Hope and start working with them on some of their projects they are doing in the local communities around the area.

18485528_918717444934731_3834341474260420609_n
Headquarters of Convoy of Hope Tanzania. Credit: Natalie Douglass

The main focus for Convoy of Hope in Tanzania is sustainability for communities around the area. The work done by this team was mostly done in agricultural/ small garden training, women’s empowerment, child feeding programs for nutrition, clean water, and crises relief. I did not realize how small the organization Convoy of Hope is compared to other humanitarian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse. Convoy of Hope concentrate its focus on a few areas and this makes them effective in their work. Even without medical component to their work, I can see great things they do for the health of those in the Arusha area and all of Africa. We all asked questions to get a better idea of the problems faced in the work being done, and learning what would be an effective way of asking questions to help better understand the needs of the community to better help them with issues being faced. After two hours of discussion we were all invited to have some tea (a custom holdover from the colonial days when a British colony). The tea is nothing like any I have ever tasted before! Marsala tea is a new type of tea to me, and it packs a powerful punch too without the caffeine! It has a spicy ginger taste that hits the back of the throat from the cardamom and cinnamon mixed with the black tea leaves. I ended up finding some at a local supermarket to take back with me and later found some at a local Indian grocery store back home.

We all mingled around the demonstration gardens looking at all the cool ways of using planters to grow crops in. Found a banana tree with bananas growing on it, and meeting some of the women who are a part of the women’s empowerment program in a gathering.

IMG_1823
Bananas growing
IMG_1824
Demonstration garden
IMG_1825
Demonstration Garden
IMG_1826
Women gathering for microloan meeting

Lunch was at a local restaurant off the main road called Milestone Club in Arusha. The restaurant is one of few places we are able to eat at without getting sick and the manager is good friends with Convoy of Hope. The atmosphere was open to the elements, with a thatch roof overhead, and an interesting playlist of music ( on this day it was Celine Dion’s greatest hits playing). Here I tried Tanzania’s national dish ugali which is a cornmeal porridge served with grilled meat which was whole chicken (biriyani and mchicha) for me. Others had the beef, fish, beans as the main dish with their ugali. The fish one even had eyes still in the socket and a few daring people actually ate them whole which made for a disgusting sight to witness! BBQ goat was passed down the table for all of us to try. The BBQ goat had a cross between the taste of lamb and the texture of steak when you eat it. The goat tasted better than I expected, and I am surely going to try it again in the future.

IMG_1827

Pork is not seen much around Arusha, and the local butcher at any of the markets did not have pork product for sale. I wonder why? Is it an unclean animal in Tanzanian culture? Since water has been from the bottle source, I decided to try a new drink, Stoney’s. Stoney’s is a ginger beer drink produced by Coke Cola and is non-alcoholic. The ginger-ness is much more powerful than the ginger beers we have in the Seattle area. Sadly the drink is not sold in the US market.

After lunch, we all were split into groups to interact with the locals at the marketplace in Mianzini area of Arusha. The first encounter was a woman who just started her little shop in the middle of her neighborhood to sell staples of food items and necessities. She was very happy about how Convoy of Hope helped her start her shop and now she can afford to send her children to school by the income she generates through this little shop. I bought from her some chocolate cookies she had, and I pray her store will prosper into a sustainable business. The second encounter was a woman who has a shop along the main streets of the area who sold a variety of items. Her hard work, dedication to raising her son, never-ending faith in God’s provision, and hoping one day send her son to college is an inspiration for all of us to strive to better ourselves through hard work. At one point there was a fight in the street where a young man on his motorbike had a bloody face and other men were trying to force him off his bike. We did not stick around to know what happened, but there was a drunk man who did follow our group yelling at us in Swahili. Crazy moment!

IMG_1830
Market of Mainzini
18622104_1584446824901376_763807153900917631_n
Streets of Mainzini area of Arusha
IMG_1831
Mainzini Market street
18557023_1361284307287906_5042653625162586861_n
Arusha, Tanzania
IMG_1829
Mainzini area of Arusha

As I walked through the streets of Mainzini it became apparent how different poverty looks from the pictures seen. Instead of shakes stacked on top of each other, the houses are spread out with small plots of land with crops growing. People are generally happy and kind to each other as they go about their daily business. The house might be made of whatever materials could be found, and the heat sources are wood gathered along the roads. Small shops everywhere sell everything possible, and someone always willing to help you find something. Chickens, cows, donkeys, goats and children run all over the place and everything needed to live is within walking distance of the front door. All mixed with pure determination, something most Americans do not see. All the people we visited did not want a free handout, and they are very thankful for the support they received from Convoy of Hope in helping the get out of poverty.

18485717_1509161705795724_3094209665741929102_n
Streets of Arusha
18556008_1584446828234709_3915479435168337078_n
Mainzini suburbs of Arusha

After a stop at the hotel for a quick refresh, we all headed downtown Arusha to eat street food at Khan’s BBQ. We all ate BBQ chicken, Nan bread and some beef kabob on a street corner in the middle of a bustling evening in the city.

Image result for khan's bbq arusha

The chicken was not as spicy as I thought it would be, and the Nan bread was sooo yummy! I have not had any Nan bread as good in my life!

 

IMG 5346

Sitting in the evening light in good conversation with the sound of Muslim call to prayer echoing through the streets. Something is not heard in the US very often and it has an eerie sound to it. Street dogs begging close by for scraps of food, and having rocks thrown at them to keep them away. Eating street food in Africa without getting sick was a relief. It seemed normal sitting in the street lights in the middle of Arusha and having a sense of magic in the air that only happens once in a lifetime.

Previous Post: Beginning of An Adventure
Next Post: Love From The Maasai Children & Feeding Program

More Information:
Convoy of Hope
Milestone Club Arusha
Khan’s BBQ Arusha
National Dish of Tanzania-ugali

 

img_2129

Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.