Sunday, 13 May 2012

On the road: day 3

Today was our rest day, by that I mean we were not going to be traveling on the road point to point. So instead we did 150km off road around Mikumi National Park! There was a question mark around wether we would set off early to catch the sunrise and the game, this question continued to be debated well into a leisurely breakfast...much better than the best breakfast in Tanzania served at Irente Farm.

Mum your arm pits really smell!
We were soon on the road fueled by our triple espresso's and restful sleep. The wildlife came to meet us on the road as a gang of baboons strutted around the middle of the highway with underslung babies, a fashion many Hamstead mums will no doubt find attractive in time. Suffice to say these dog like primates showed a clear disregard for the trucks and 4x4's who utilize this road. Along they way to the main gate of Mikumi we saw Giraffe, Zebra and assorted gazelle.  

Look at those ugly humans

Once in the park we had to decide if we were to take a guide, but as this is our road trip and as everyone onboard has an adventurous disposition we went with the simple map and hope. We worked our way into the park where we soon came upon the Hippo lake, complete with a family of Hippo's, or heard to be precise. Josh decided they were like water pigs, and no amount of telling him they were herbivores more related to cows could dissuade him from this view. A little patience brought about our first sighting of an African crocodile, resplendent with freshly caught cat fish type thing. This elicited much excitement  especially as there was a huge school outing emptying numerous buses of very small African children. In a very health and safety fashion Zanner worried for these children due to the proximity of the croc, the boy's however took the paparazzi view and thought it would make a great picture if the croc grabbed one of the pupils.

Cat fish...always with the cat fish, mmmm yummy children now that would be looooooovely
We trekked off to seek out new adventure and it wasn't long before we found ourselves in the middle of the flood plains. Now we are in the middle of the rainy season and these tracks had clearly not been used for some time...well they have now as our once clean land cruiser made easy going of the muddy trail. But the real problem came from the swarms of tsetse flies, many getting into the car and doing there damnedest to bite everyone inside. Much to Zac's amusement and consternation they took some forceful killing, these things are armor plated. We made our way round this section and headed off for lunch at one of the lodges, the first was closed but the second provided fine fare and a welcome rest from the flies.

Back in the cruiser we headed further round the park and again found ourselves on unused trails, but this was a real joy as we came upon massed herds of every type of beast. Better still as no vehicles had been through this section for some time the grasses had grown to cover much of the trail and this brought the animals a lot closer than they would normally have been. The only disappointment was our failure to spot the lions who patrol this area, but with the grasses so high we could have been yards away from them and not known about it. There were a few hairy moments where we struggled with the mud in deep ravine sections but the cruiser was peerless in its ability to find traction. The boys emotions transversed between...."oh no we are going to be stuck here all night", to "cool that was really fun, should we do it again, I bet no one else will get through there".

On the way out we thought we spotted a lion stalking a wildebeest, so we headed down a track that looked pretty much like many of the others we had struggled down. In no time at all we were accosted by a ranger who told us we were off the track and had to pay a fine! Now is it me or have I become a magnet for those seeking to add to some kind of early Christmas fund? We schlepped up to the office to argue our case, I didn't resort to the bribe function on my auto response iTax device as Apple have said that the software upgrade is only applicable to Fat PoliceMan ver.2:1. As it turns out my time spent at bar school paid off as my defence was accepted and we were very courteously sent on our way. By the way the was a piece of wood!

Back out of the park on the way home we came across more wildlife either side of the road, culminating in a revisit to the baboon pack from earlier in the day. Just like the previous day, death awaits the road user or abuser who challenges mortality with a low sense of self preservation. Much to Josh's horror, strewn in the road was a dying baboon, the pack trying forlornly to bring the animal back from the brink. We struggled with the idea of putting it out of its misery but with the boys in tow and with Josh already in tears it was a step to far for this adventure. We selfishly abandoned it to which ever oncoming truck chose to ignore the baboons and we felt pretty miserable for doing so.

Life and therefore nature is a funny thing, we spent the day watching it, amazed and awed by the animals and the surroundings. We scoured the park in the vain hope that we would see a top level predator hunting down its lunch, psyched by the idea of crocodiles and their natural killing instincts. But the truth was we were shocked and sickened by another human beings lack of care and their complete disregard for the life of an animal that was simply playing in a place it thought was home. It's a dangerous place to play but I suppose primates don't have a Mr Tufty roadshow?

Back at the lodge we had supper and met some interesting mission workers who discussed the state of the country, from schooling to healthcare, of course this was all achieved with the occasional reference to corruption or as I am starting to understand it CIA, not the American model but Corruption Is Africa. After the previous evenings shenanigans with the boys sharing a double bed we 'topped and tailed them'; having explained what this meant at least 20 times. Prior to falling asleep Joshes final words were, "what's the point in sleeping like this if you still take up all the bed?" goodnight.

Ah runaway ugly humans
Who's the odd one out?
Captain prepare to dive...dive, dive, dive.
Tanzanian synchronized swimming team ready for London 2012
Does my bum look big in this...No dear it looks fine
Daddy ponders the meaning of life....but it's me...still me...gotta be me!
Last family trip through here ate well me thinks
Lesser spotted englisheses in their natural habitat

Spot the difference right & left pics

Do you wanna see my bracelet?
Zac had all the girls in Tan Swiss screaming
On the lookout for 
Daddy that eagle has fingers
Do you have anything for head mantis?
Well thats it, if your going to be so necky I'm off!
Typical cannot get borning
Grants Gazelle, nice horns
Impala, but mine are bigger
Great's just more gazelle 
What a real 4x4 should look like...dirty
Mummy what's that over there? Oh darling its only stupid human's, now eat your grass
Black and white African tiger
Hehaw...that bloke is stupid!

African face jewelry

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