|Young male lion in morning light|
|Looking for someone to play with|
|A little bit tired|
|More big yawns in the morning|
|Stomach full, needs a lie down next to our car...|
And after about 10 minutes one of the males started heading towards the road. We quickly positioned ourselves in front of the overland truck to get some head on shots. And as if directed, he walked straight towards us, closer and closer and closer and… wait… he decided that the shade of our car was a good place to park and promptly lay down at our back right tyre ;)
We couldn’t wait for him all day, so we had to
start the car for him to get up and move off towards the lioness. After giving on of the other cars our card so
that they could send us a photo of the lion next to Kili. (Unfortunately they never did), we headed off
the back way towards Naabi Hill gate, ecstatic that Serengeti had delivered as
promised yet again!
|A final sighting - first time catching an Spotted Eagle Owl|
Just as it was coming in, the road was excruciating heading out and it was a slow torturous 4 hours before we made it to the NCA gate. We actually made slightly better time coming out than we did going in, as they’d graded parts of the road while we were camping, and it was enough time for us to have a stop at the NCA campsite to do some birding.
Luckily we had no problems at the gates and were at Kudu Lodge in Karatu in time to do some birding there as well before sorting out our tents and having a hot shower for the first time in 6 days ;)
Day 7 – car repairs again…
Up early the next morning, we planned to spend the evening in Mkomazi and catch up on the birding there. It was quite a drive to Mkomazi, so we preferred getting there as early as possible, so after a cooked breakfast we were on the road.
No problems on the road and we were near Arusha by about 11am. We decided to stop at a supermarket just before Arusha to see if we could get the provisions we needed for camping, this would save us time driving through the busiest part of Arusha to get to Nakumatt.
This is when Dru spotted that the shock that he’d been assured was not leaking, was indeed leaking. This was a problem. A quick phone call to one of mechanics in Dar and we were advised not to try to drive the car the 700km to Dar es Salaam but rather get it fixed in Arusha.
Since it was almost midday, we were worried that the Toyota dealer may close soon, so headed straight there to see if we could get spares. But they were actually closed the whole of Saturday, and we had no idea where to get the spares.
Once again, Ngomi from Makasa Safaris came to our rescue (thanks Ngomi!) and immediately said to take the car to his friend and mechanic Kashmiri, who would sort us out in no time.
We arrived in Moshi and headed to Kashmiri’s workshop running into him just arriving there at the same time. He’d come to tell his mechanic to expect our car and what was needed, but then went beyond the call of duty and took it upon himself to help us out personally, driving Dru around Moshi to find the shocks. We owe Kashmiri a debt of gratitude again – this isn’t the first time he’s helped us out of a bind. Thank you Kashmiri.
As luck would have it, they couldn’t find the exact part. It’s ironic that we bought an old Toyota Landcruiser specifically so that we wouldn’t have problems with spares, but this has become a recurring theme with our car that they can never find the exact spares.
Eventually, thanks to a visit to Toyota Moshi, and a phone call to get the store manager back into the workshop, we were able to get a set of standard shocks (as opposed to the heavy duty ones we use) and these were able to be fitted to the car.
Of course, this took quite a long time, and it soon became apparent that we wouldn’t make Mkomazi. So we fell back onto our go-to accommodation – the Marangu Hotel. This has a camping ground, and is nice and peaceful, and if lucky we’d catch a glimpse of Kilimanjaro in the morning.
We did have an overland truck of schoolkids from New Zealand parked right next to us, but they had all taken rooms, and probably the most well behaved and quite kids even when making dinner – we hardly heard them the whole evening.
Day 8 – safely back to Dar…
Up early in the morning and it was raining. Well, not exactly raining, but the mist was so thick that it was causing dew and waterdrops on our tent. Of course that meant no view of Kili. We had opted not to have breakfast because they started serving too late, so after a quick breakfast bar and a cup of coffee we finished packing up and headed out of Marangu for the long trip back.
A stop at the White Parrot in Korogwe, and a stop just past Msata for soft drinks, and we were back in Dar by early evening – all in one piece! While the car had had its problems, it was to be expected considering the rough roads we had travelled the last few days. But once again, we’d managed to head into the Serengeti, have an awesome time and get out unscathed with plenty of memories!
* First time sighting
|African grey hornbill||Ostrich|
|African hoopoe||Pied wagtail|
|Bare-faced go-away bird||Red-billed buffalo-weaver|
|Black crake||Rufous-crowned roller|
|Black-bellied bustard||Ruppell’s long-tailed starling|
|Black-faced sandgrouse||Sacred ibis|
|Black-headed heron||Taita shrike *|
|Black-lored babbler||Saddle-billed stork|
|Black-shouldered kite||Secretary bird|
|Black-winged stilt||Southern ground hornbill|
|Cape rook||Spur-winged lapwing|
|Capped wheatear||Superb starling|
|Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse||Three-banded plover|
|Common bulbul||Wattled starling|
|Common moorhen||White-backed vulture|
|Coqui francolin||White-bellied bustard|
|Crowned lapwing||White-bellied canary|
|Double-banded courser||White-browed coucal|
|Egyptian goose||White-headed buffalo-weaver|
|Fisher’s sparrow-lark||White-headed vulture|
|Fisher's lovebird||Yellow-billed oxpecker|
|Goliath heron||Yellow-billed stork|
|Green woodhoopoe||Yellow-throated sandgrouse|
|Green-winged pytilia||Senegal lapwing|
|Grey-backed camoroptera||Water thickknee|
|Grey-backed shrike||Magpie shrike|
|Grey-breasted spurfowl||European bee-eater|
|Grey-capped social weaver||Rufous-tailed weaver|
|Hamerkop||Red-cheeked cordon bleu|
|Helmeted guineafowl||Chinspot batis|
|Hilderbrandt’s starling||Hottentot teal|
|Hooded vulture||Red-billed teal|
|Kori bustard||White-browed robin-chat|
|Lappet-faced vulture||Red-billed hornbill|
|Lesser flamingo||Yellow-throated longclaw|
|Lilac-breasted roller||Straited heron|
|Little bee-eater||Speckled mousebird|
|Long-crested eagle||Little grebe|
|Marabou stork||Spotted eagle owl *|
* First time sighting