Posted by: marthacoolcat | October 30, 2008

Safari = Playing Where’s Waldo, with wildebeasts

I have been living high on the (wart)hog so far in Africa. There sre some people, the drifters, who camp in tents – super low -fi safari-ing. That is not my safari. the only time we stayed in “tents’, they have concrete floor, electricity, running water, hot showers, and someone made my bed for me. The food is pretty amazing. the lodges have chefs from other countries come in and cook these amazing meals. Breakfast adn lunch are buffet. So, uh, I spend my days eating and sitting in a land cruiser. Let me tell you, its really rough.

My favorite thing I’ve seen in a wildebeast migration. I prefer to call them gnu, because i grew up watching sesamer street. When i was livingon the farm, Wilf used to say the cows weren’t so smart, well, the gnu could relate. They would get nowhere if they weren’t hearded by smart, friendly, well sighted zebra. gnu without zebra is like a trick-or-treater with short term memory. I’ve watched them all run one direction slow stiop, stand around and en mass turn around and wander some other direction. Herd metatlity at its worst.
The last animals we saw were a pair of leopards, pretty rare. They look pretty regal. I quite like the hyraxes. This is a special treat because I had -np idea- they existed. They are a rodent, and they mark their territory constatnly, they must drink 7 times their bodyweight daily. It smells like mild skunk, which I don’t mind. I also quite like the dikdik. It weights like 12 pounds, and is antelope looking and shorter than my knee. I didn’t know Reedback, or grant’s gazells or Hartebeast existed either. Living is learning!

I was quite pleased with my self when I spotted a spotted hyeina. My travel companions are old hands at safari-ing, and they have quite they eagle eyes. In fact they are birders and pointed out quite a few eagles. I wish I coudl have shown all the birds to Ruth B and the Oyas.

as a former vegetarian, it is with mixed feelings that I would get caught up in the glee around multiple circling vultures. That’s a sign of a kill, and it is a jewel of a safari. i am glad we only saw a bird kill a bug.

Oh, we saw ostrich mating – that was wild. Okay so these giant clunky birds do this ornate dance, he’s flapping and spinning, and dancing up a storm, wings out airing his armpits, and she’s all what ever, turning the other way, till she sits down, and then there’s dancing near/ on? each other, then shaking, then he strolls off very proud. All in under two minutes. We also saw the hamerkop (pronounced hammer-cop) (small bird that builds giants nests) do it, but it was less cool.

I invented a really fun new game for the end of a long game drive – land cruiser surfing. What you do is stand in the middle ofthe land cruiser as it goes up the ridge of a imploded volcano (the Ngorongoro Crater) and keep your knees bent and stay standing without touching anything for as long as you can. It’s pretty cool. Angie said I couldn’t do it for 5 sexconds, and i was over 20. How do you like dem apples?

I am way less impressed by Dr. Suess’s “imagination” now that I see where he got all his ideas. There’s some crazy fauna here. Like the sausage tree. I got Raphael, our driver to pick one up for us (you can’t leave the vehicle), and it is really hard, like a yam, and root-y, but it hangs from a tree. I guess it is breadfruit, (which is not at all bread-y or fruity).

I used to think africa was a hot dry desert. No sirree! I have seen so many eco-systems on my safari. serengeti south is the sea of grass, or the endless plain, and it really looked like Sasaktachewan. then there were lush mountain rainforest-ish places, and short grasslanfds,a nd long grass lands, and woodlands, and roak kopjes arising out of the eroding soil that reminded me of the Canadian sheild.

I have some bites, but I haven’t seen any mosquitos. They might be Titsi fglies, so in 1-2 months i will show sleeping sickness, but doctors will proabbly diagnose malaria first, which will be logical, because I am in and out of malarial ares this whole trip. Brent if I am dozy in korea, you know why.

My old housemate geneviueve told me about Ghanian bras, which seemed to secure you in like a pilot. I don’t think I understood why until I drove on African roads.

Speaking of which, today we flew a littel little plane back to our part of Tanzania, andthe pilot said sit close to the front, so i said can I sit beside you/ He said yes! So I got to put on the crazy four way seatbelt, adn watch the cluthy-thing move in my lap. Got some neat pictures from above.

You must pardon my e-absence; internet has been hard to come by. The lodges charge $5usd for 15 minutes. Sometimes I can finagle myself into free internet acess (which I have again right now).

Grr the under-reliable african internet connection just ate my later (spelchecked) version of this post. I think you will miss the hot shower report, so in the dark, some rusty water, but none cold yet.


  1. Hi Martha,
    I just checked out your blog. It was really funny in parts. And you have a lot of the same thoughts I do when I’m travelling.
    Safe travels,

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