Joey's cousin, Angela, and her husband, Steve, flew over 30 hours and almost 10,000 miles from Seattle to meet us in Arusha. We couldn't decide whether we were more excited to see Angela and Steve or to begin our long-awaited safari. Luckily we didn't have to, because no sooner were we reunited than we were loaded into the Toyota Landcruiser in which the four of us would have many, many hours over the next week to reconnect.
About two hours through the Tanzanian countryside and a snack of red bananas later, we reached our first safari destination: Lake Manyara National Park, where we were greeted by a blue monkey before even passing the gate. Once inside, our driver and guide, Ibrahim, popped the vehicle's roof hatch so we were able to stand while he drove through the park.
|Standing in the back of the car. See the giraffes in the background?|
After lunch we headed into the bush and over the next several hours spotted wildebeest (which Ibrahim pronounced as "wild beast"), giraffes, elephants, teeny tiny little impalas called Kirk's Dik-Dik, an Egyptian lizard, warthogs, zebras, hippos, and numerous species of birds! With the aid of Ibrahim and my journal, we counted 23 different animals and we still had four more days to go!
|Pink flamingos, giraffes and wildebeest|
|This giant turkey vulture looking thing is called a Southern Ground Hornbill|
We left the park and about an hour later arrived at the Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, a welcome respite from our accommodations the previous night. We had our own cottage, with a four-poster bed draped in mosquito netting, a fireplace and large walk-in shower, which I employed immediately.
Feeling much fresher, Joey and I met Angela and Steve for dinner in the lodge. Many glasses of really bad boxed wine (actually, the first glass was the only really bad one; Angela said she saw them tipping the box to get all the wine out) and many good laughs later, we finally retired to our romantic little cottage.
|Click here for the rest of my pictures from our first day of safari|