As my friend and I stood in our African Dreams jeep after an incredible day with the wonderful animals in the Ngorongora Crater waiting for Tommy (Thompson) our guide to get our exit papers from the Crater we heard a loud thump on the hood of the jeep. As we turned around to look and see what created the noise the large baboon leaped from the front of the jeep to the back top of the jeep over our heads.
Kathy immediately started to grab for her camera, which was our go-to for everything we saw and before she could grab either her phone or camera the baboon came in to the jeep from back top to the front area seats where I was half standing up. Kathy told him in no uncertain terms NO- NO -NO. However, I think he only understood Swahili and paid absolutely no attention to her commands.
As the Baboon jumped from the back roof top in to the front area I suddenly was looking straight in to the round yellow eyes of a 3-4 foot baboon standing approximately 5 inches away from his face. We stared at each other, I think both somewhat questionable as to what to do. I was not sure if he was going to bite me, scratch me or continue jumping around the inside of the jeep.
Reflecting back on the incident I say “we” were somewhat questionable as to what to do, the Baboon had no questions as to his moves at all. As we stood there, which for me was like 5 minutes, really only lasting seconds, out of the corner of my eye I saw a very long arm reach to the seat next to me and gently secure a package of unopened shortbread cookies (provided by African Dreams in the jeep) and before I could blink, the baboon was up and gone over the top of the jeep.
Minutes later, driving out it was not difficult to find the visitor to our jeep as he sat in the road with cookies all over his face.
Thank you to our wonderful, educated, dependable informative guide Tommy and all of the incredible animals that gave us an experience of a lifetime.
And…thank you African Dreams for the trip of a lifetime and the cookies – gave me an exciting second, up close and personal.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Safari Dates: July 2, 2015 to July 14, 2015
In a recent Tanzanian wildlife census the Serengeti National Park recorded an impressive 98% increase in elephants. The census recorded 6,087 elephants compared to just 3,068 elephants counted in 2009. The nearby Tarangire National Park also recorded a solid 64 percent increase from 2,561 elephants in 2009 to 4,202 elephants today. Tarangire National Park now boasts one of the highest elephant concentrations of any game reserve in Africa with roughly 3 elephants per square mile.
Sadly, most other protected areas in Africa and even those in Southern Tanzania are experiencing significant declines in elephant numbers due to the alarming rise in illegal elephant poaching. Recently, an elephant orphanage was established in Tanzania to rescue baby elephants that were orphaned due to poaching. Click here to read our last week’s newsletter about this wonderful orphanage and learn how you can help these graceful giants.
For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of visiting the Serengeti, and the realization of that dream was more than I could have ever imagined from the moment we decided on African Dreams as our Safari operator to the very last second of the trip. Nearly one month has passed, and my Safari with African Dreams is still as fresh in my mind as when I was bouncing around in our Land Cruiser roaming the back roads of the Serengeti!
We were two women traveling together, and I cannot say enough about how wonderful Africa Dreams treated us, how efficient and pleasant everyone was who greeted us, their willingness to make certain we had everything we needed, and particularly our guide, Tommy (Thompson), who made certain we were comfortable and safe during our Safari. I am sure everyone says their guide is the absolute best, so I am no exception.
Tommy was the absolute best! He was personable, had a great sense of humor, was extremely knowledgeable of African Wildlife and particularly the roads and terrain of entire Serengeti, which made our adventure that much more enjoyable. Additionally, having our own private vehicle and driver for the two weeks we were on Safari was outstanding!
Around every turn, rock, and bush it seemed there were lions, cheetahs, elephant herds, hippos, giraffe, crocks, birds, monkeys, baboons, hyenas, buffalo, impala, gazelle, and countless other animals and birds…and of course the millions of Wildebeest and Zebra that were constantly in motion…trying to drink and cross at the rivers while sidestepping the crocs waiting and watching. What a sight to behold! We even encountered a Pangolin, which we were told are very elusive and bring good luck!
One of the many highlights for me was the abundance of new babies…some as young as a few weeks…some much older …but all so cute and curious…which reinforces my faith in the fact that Mother Nature is watching over life on the Plains.
Our accommodations were just what the Doctor ordered…with a welcome drink and refreshing cool towels when we pulled up to our camp after a long day on the road and then hot showers, wonderful food, spectacular sunsets, and comfortable beds! Each camp had a wonderful community area that provided a relaxing atmosphere to unwind and talk about the day’s adventures.
My traveling companion had a birthday during our trip, and the camp prepared a lovely birthday cake and a grand celebration for her! How wonderful was that! I particularly enjoyed the evening bonfire at each camp, which the camp directors bill as “Bush TV”, which was the perfect end to every perfect day!
My Africa Dreams experience was truly a dream come true and the most extraordinary memory of my life.
Thank you Africa Dreams so much for the memories!
Safari Dates: July 2, 2015 to July 14, 2015