Our Trip To Arusha National Park
This trip became quite an adventure. When we reached the gate of the park we were not able to get in because they wanted us to pay with American dollars. We needed 35 dollars each to go in. Unfortunately we were not aware of that and we had only Tanzanian Shillings with us. One of the most unbelievable things that I had ever seen as a tourist. A country that rejects its own currency...wow.
I decided to try my credit cards, but none worked. I was thinking my only option was to go back to Arusha. A huge disappointment. By that time, we were highly frustrated. We suggested him to go change money at a hotel.( Maybe Jackson suggested that). It worked, we got US dollars. As I was changing it, Jackson grabbed the money from my hand without permission. I gave it back to the exchange lady. There were 10 000 shillings missing. I was sure I had counted it right. I was sure Jackson had taken it, while he was counting he turned his back to me. I never trusted him after. There was a chance that I may have been wrong. A few days later, I found 10 000 shillings. I could not tell if those were the ones missing.
Frustrated by that lost of money although it was not that much, I was angry with Jackson. I was happy that we did not have to cancel the trip. We went to the park and another problem arose. Th road was blocked, road workers with heavy machinery had created diagonally a wall of about a foot or two of dirt. We waited, but it did not seem that they were in any hurry to clear it for us. Jackson tried to go over, but his little car was not powerful enough to go over the pile. To back up was not an option because there was a boulder twice the size of a basketball. This small detail did not deter Jackson. He tried to back up, I assumed that he had seen the obstacle, so I did not say anything. The boulder was really easy to spot. I did not think he was crazy enough to try to drive over it, but he did.
We found ourselves in mid air. The boulder stuck underneath his car. One of the wheels was six inches from touching the muddy road. The wheel just spinned in the air.
I was wondering why Jackson was treating his car with such negligence until I remembered that he had told us in his weak English that the car was not his, but belonged to one of his friends. That explained a lot of things.
My wife and I got out the the car, but we were unable to dislodge the boulder. The wheels just kept spinning like a Russian roulette. We had better luck when a road worker helped us and we were finally on our way. This was our first safari. I wondered if we were always going to be in that kind of trouble. I wondered if I had not made a mistake. I probably should have hired a Land Rover.
Still we were relieved, we finally made it into the park. Slowly, Jackson brought us to a place where there were herds of water buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, baboons and I saw a few dik diks. I even got to see the only baby albino baboon of the whole park, I was told. Jackson was pretending to be the expert and he tried to keep us informed as much as he could. He did a good job as far as showing us as much of the park as possible. One time he even let me out of the car, (a no no in Africa, you can have a hefty fine) I looked around for hidden buffaloes or lions but did not see any. I wanted a close-up picture of the thousand of flamingos on the lake. There was a road that we could have taken to another part of the park but I did not think Jackson could have made it through. This time he just turned around. In a lot of places there was only room for a car. One time he was driving the wrong side of the road that did not seem to preoccupy him. I was praying that another car would not come towards us. He was driving slow, but I did not want to move for a Land Rover and go accidentally into the ditch. One thing in our favor was that the park was not very busy.
We also got to stopped in a picnic area. We were allowed to get out of the car. Again, the highlight of this stop was the thousand of flamingos.
After about an hour of driving around. We went to the small store we got some water for us and Jackson and for 20 000 shillings hired an armed ranger. We were going on a walking safari. It was a very pleasant stroll. She told us a lot about herself, plants and animals. One time I wanted to get closed to buffaloes but she did not let me. They could charge. She had a powerful riffle, but I was hoping that the buffaloes would not all charge at once. We walked to a waterfall. We did not feel like going too far. We also met our friend Mike and his brother Mark. They were coming out of mount Meru. What a coincidence. We gave the girl a big tip. She was extremely happy (20 000, I think). We did not see any elephants or lions in this park. This was a truly memorable safari.
Giraffes In Arusha National Park
Giraffes on top of a hill
Water buffaloes crossing the street
Water Buffaloes should not be approached
Gathering of animals in the park
Not afraid of each other animals laying around
Water Buffaloes are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa
One of the Momella Lakes in Arusha National Park
Mother baboon carrying her baby albino in her back
Flocks of Flamingos are present in the park
I would have loved to have a close-up
A Dik Dik, a shy animal, her partner can not be very far
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Water buffaloes can be seen everywhere
I tried to get a close up but the warden told me not to
Warthog on the trail
Our armed guard, Tara and Jackson in front of a fig tree roots
A 30 minutes walk led us to the Tululuisia falls
Flowers in the park
Zebras can be seen far away
Baboon mum carrying her albino baby
Arusha one of the few parks in Tanzania where you can go for a walking safari
View of the base of Mount Meru
Alkaline creek in the National Park