Our safari turned out to be a different experience for everyone of our family members. For me; personally, our safari was a collection of small wonders and a big finale. I found wonder in being surprised by animals that had become almost too familiar to us as the days went by.
Antelopes were a plentiful sight. Just when I thought I had seen enough of them they turned up at the center of a wonderful moment. I was under their spell as they hesitated before jumping over a small creek; puzzled over another group as they surrounded our moving vehicle in a sudden stampede; and surprised at the sound they make (a loud hiss/growl) when they warned each other about the close presence of a predator.
I heard baboons “barking” to warn a heard of wildebeests and zebras about coming near the watering hole where three lions awaited. I saw hippos doing 360 turns; their bellies and stumpy feet floating above water as they rolled over. I locked eyes with a servile cat for a long time as he confused my moving swatter with perhaps a tasty bird. We played hide and seek with a bush baby during our night game drive.
The big finale was a close encounter with a black rhino. Unbeknownst to us, Claude (our wonderful guide) had dreamt about the black rhino the night before our encounter. It was our last day on safari and we descended the crater at 6 am. Claude kept saying that if we were going to see it, the area we were driving around was the spot. We had looked for a while and I was feeling my eyes were going to pop out as I pressed them against the binoculars to “see better”. Then I spotted it amongst a close herd of buffalos and zebras. We were the only vehicle around. The rhino crossed the road twice right in front and behind our vehicle, strutted in circles and stopped several times to look right into our camera. This was our moment. Only ours!
Did we see the big five? The ugly ones and the small ones? Of course we did. For me; however, it was the small wonders like the ones I described above that stayed with me the most.
I savored every minute of our 12 hour drives with Claude. He was our wild life teacher and our window into Tanzania’s people, economic aspirations, and culture. I came back to the tented camps every day with my face covered in dust and with a feeling of having conquered the world. Every animal sighting felt like an accomplishment. Every little one of their movements filled me with joy.
Here are a few pictures. Erick reminds me they are not our best pictures. I say he is right but they are the best reminders of my small wonders.
Thank you Lynn, Claude and ADS for making possible my collection of small wonders!
Ana and Erick C.
Alec and Adrian C.
Safari Dates: June 27, 2013 to July 4, 2013