Written by our guest blogger: Leo van den Berg
As written before the rest of our trip through Tanzania together with Jolene and Lennart was all about nature and wildlife. We were so used to Tanzania and its challenges by now that we had to cancel and rebook another accommodation due to the river crossing being too deep. We managed to find another hotel close to the entrance gate of Arusha National Park: the Meru Mbega lodge. This national park is one of the smallest in the area but is known for its diverse scenery: swamps, plains, the mountain forest of Mount Meru, old volcanoes and the Ngordoto crater. The diversity in wildlife we saw was great: buffalos, zebras, giraffes, olive baboons and countless birds. With a great homemade coffee near the edge of the crater and a Kilimanjaro beer on the lookout tower of our accommodation we ended the first “wildlife day”. We were ready for some more!
Unexpected beauty: Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National park was the next park on our list. Some books describe this park as one of the few places where you can still admire the African nature the way it was intended. It is also home to one of the biggest herds of elephants in Northern Tanzania. The mountainous forest landscape with more baobabs then one can count, some of them are over 2.000 years old, is another highlight. A couple of minutes after entering the park we were ‘treated’ with numerous vultures eating the remains of a zebra. We followed their example and headed to our lunch in the Tarangire Safari Lodge, the same place as where we would stay for the night. The view from the terrace was amazing: huge African plains with a river in the middle where elephants were drinking. In the afternoon we went on a self drive along the river on some very rough roads and spotted lots of animals. We then enjoyed a wonderful sunset on the terrace of the lodge and went for dinner. After dinner we were escorted back to our luxury tents since there could be wild animals near the lodge as well due to the absence of fences.
At night a number of animal sounds were heard. At that time I wasn’t quite sure what is was but according to Jolene and Lennart lions, hyenas and hippos could be heard. After an early morning drive with our ranger Brendon, where we got a great impression of the diversity of the park, we went for a late breakfast and then headed to the Kudu Lodge in Karatu.
The vegetable garden tour
It was at this lodge where we were surprised by the enormous size of both the lodge and the beautifully decorated rooms. We spend two days at this lodge and enjoyed ourselves there. On one of these days we went to Gibb’s Farm where we did a coffee farm & vegetable garden tour. I didn’t know that there was that much work in a simple cup of coffee. It turns out you’re never too old to learn something new! We then visited their vegetable garden with one of their Masai guides. These gardens and the chicken, pigs, cows etc. make them completely self-sufficient for their guests.
The rest of the activities (relaxing at the pool, playing cards, and watching Belgium-France) these days were mere warming ups for one of the highlights of our visit (according to the younger folks amongst us): the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti.