After uploading all my pictures from safari, I realized I have over a thousand. I hate to do "teaser" posts, or posts divided into parts, but putting everything into one post would simply be ridiculous in this case. So today I'll just share some pictures from our first time on the road in Tanzania. Most of these pictures were taken from inside a moving vehicle, so they're definitely not the best quality, nor are they my favorite pictures from this trip, but I loved watching the scenery change as I left the city and I really wanted to document it on my blog.
Dar es Salaam to Mikumi:
The drive from Dar es Salaam to Mikumi is about 3.5 hours if you leave early and there's no traffic. We hit the road at 4:15am; leaving too much later would have cost us hours. Even that early, traffic is pretty gnarly- not in that it's stop-and-go, but in that there are crazy trucks trying to get to Zambia or Malawi. These two countries are landlocked, so they use Dar es Salaam as their seaport. The trucks are pretty scary, on another level than those in the United States. Mostly because nobody follows traffic rules here. I saw one truck flipped over on the side of the road on the way there, and several accidents on the way back. Another terrible thing about this road is the crazy placement of speed bumps. They come without warning or explanation.
I can't tell you how excited I was to finally see mountains again. There are no mountains in Dar, so when I watched the first one peek over the horizon it was like a breath of fresh air. It was exactly what I needed.
It was interesting passing through village life in the early morning hours. People were making their long commutes to work, school, or wherever. Women were carrying things on their heads. Men were pushing carts up hills. Maasai were hearding cows and goats.
We made a few stops on the side of the road to stretch, use the restroom (in the bushes, of course), shoot the shotgun, or whatever. Evita was NOT happy to be on a road trip. I don't know what I'm going to do on our upcoming 16-hour flight to the States.
Driving past Mikumi National Park:
It's amazing how many wild African animals you can see without paying for any sort of official safari or park fees. I'll never forget the time I first laid eyes on wild giraffes, zebras, and elephants, all together in the same place. The feeling was indescribable. It was similar to the feeling I got when I first saw the eiffel tower. Simply unreal. The highlight was seeing these two huge elephants cross the road right in front of us:
Daniel got out of the vehicle to try and get closer to this elephant. I have to admit, I was scared. I was ready to jump in the drivers seat and leave him behind if that elephant came charging. But he didn't. I think he was just curious, like we were.
From Mikumi to Udzuwanga
After dropping our stuff of at our lodge, we drove to Udzungwa for a hike. Although it was only about 60km away, it took another hour because of the dirt roads. The mountains were so green and beautiful; if the sea were a bit closer I would have thought I was back in Hawaii.
We frequently passed over little rivers and streams were people were bathing or doing their laundry. There were whole groups of people, naked without a care in the world. At this point I really did feel like I was in a Nat Geo video.
This is just the start of the story of our safari (our journey). I'll share the next part around this time next week.