I think the heat is getting to me. I took my time at breakfast today and so did my sister in law.
Today was to be our last Game Drive day. Ombeni arrived at 8:30 and patiently waited for us. We left the compound of our tent lodge and today there were a lot of bright electric green grass shoots sprouting up in the previously burned areas. The sky was sparkling blue. About a mile down the road animals started to appear. A tortoise was crossing the road.
In the rolling hills before reaching the straight plain there are many tasty acacia trees. A group of about 12 giraffe including some babies appeared next to the road. The giraffes were observing us very carefully. I managed to get a few good shots and then they were spooked. Giraffe have a highly articulated tongue that can remove the green tasty leaf without touching the protruding thorns of this particular tree.
There were a few animals scattered here and there such as warthogs, zebra, water buffalo, various impalas and antelope. A group of Southern Ground Hornbills was next to the road they have red growths all over the top of their beaks, look to be black until they stretch their wings and you see the white tips on the outer fringe of the wing. The Hornbills eat lizards and insects.
A truck full of standing rangers went speeding past us. It is a big fine if you go off road to see something up closer, since it destroys the grasses and makes dust if it is dry. Around 12 we set up tea and cookies under a large shady tree near a herd of Coke’s Hartebeest antelope. The herd was mixed with some zebra. We sat enjoyed our tee and reflected on the trip while eating Chef Christopher’s fantastic butter cookies. Breaking up our camp and driving back to the lodge was a bit sad.
We sorted out a lot of our clothes and toiletries to give away as we thought they would not let us on the small Cessna the next day if our bags were over 15 kilos. I fell asleep until just before sunset and awoke in time to catch the hot orange sun dipping below the hills far out on the range. Tonight for dinner Sifuni the head waiter promised us a special surprise.
Walking up from out tent with our Kuriya tribesman guard after dark, I smelled a bonfire and indeed out in front of the dining tent a large campfire was burning with chairs around and other lodge guests were seated. It was not raining here tonight. The wait staff was serving cocktails and wine and light conversation was in progress as the guests asked about each other. We met two girls at least they looked like girls, who were both doctors in their 30’s and best friends since college. They spent 6 days climbing to the 19,000 foot summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. They had a hard time breathing up so high and it was extremely cold, so cold in fact that you reach the summit and immediately turn around to go back down to a more tolerable level.
Sifuni came and asked us to follow him into the woods with quite a few tribesmen guards. We turned and descended into a hollow in some gigantic boulder where they had lit two fires one on each side and set a most elegant table for four in the candle lit grotto like place. Sifuni asked us how many stars could we count up above. Dinner was extremely special with free flowing wine from South Africa and a very special dessert of a two layered mousse, crunchy something on the bottom, chocolate and then raspberry served in pie slices. In Tanzania they cultivate a lot of coffee and so you can imagine the coffee was superb.
We retired to our tents, tomorrow was going to be a very long day and we had to be ready to depart for the airport at 8 AM.