Tarangire National Park: Monday, February 4th

After waking up from a vivid dream about Liam and his family converting their house into a Starbucks cafe. I woke up in a healthy daze and stumbled downstairs with aching knees for a quick breakfast. Then Hans, the safari Jeep driver, and Brain, the owner of Dahila Tours, took us by Jeep to a supermarket to withdraw cash and pay for the day’s events.

Hans led us on a two-hour drive across the Arusha plains and told us about the German plantation owners, the Masai shepherd’s and his positive views on Chinese roads and crappy Chinese phones – “You know they are so cheap you can just buy another one when they break”. It was fascinating to hear about how the Masai shepherds live, and Han’s tall tales about how they live to 150 years old and drink 15 liters of cow’s milk a day. Outside the window, I could see them herding their goats and cattle all around us as we drove through the pastoral plains.

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Han’s and us

Once we arrived at the National Park and paid our entry fees and drank coffee, we set out on a sunny five-hour drive through the dirt trails of the Tarangire.

The landscape looked almost like an overgrown golf course. With wide open grasses and a few trees sparkled here and there providing rare shade. Being the dry season the grasses were turning brown and the air was hot and dry. The shade of each tree had animals relaxing under it.

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We opened up the top of the Jeep, to see a full view of the animals that lazily grazed through the vast unfenced national park. Sharing the National Park we saw lions, elephants, impalas, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, and cheetahs, vultures, and more.

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I was impressed that all the animals, herbivores and carnivores are all living together in the same flat plain of tall grass, with no natural boundaries protecting them from each other’s worse instincts. I was excited to see a real lion and I was fascinated by the zebras. I was especially impressed that they all lived well within eyeshot of each other and they didn’t seem too anxious about each other.

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We witnessed an elephant shoe a lion away from a sweet shady spot by stomping over to him confidently, vultures eating a dead baby elephant and we really enjoyed the comedic scampering of the warthogs.

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Now we are headed back to town and then to the airport to fly by propeller plane to Dar es Salaam to Jonas’ house and explore the city. After a brief confused phone call between Brian and Mikyung over additional tour fees. We were driven by minivan to the Kilimanjaro International Airport. When we arrived at the airport our flight was delayed an hour.

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