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Back from safari

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                 Confusing the predators. Zebra in Tanzania

I'm so glad I happened to have my web update as my diary entry today. It's the first day back after 7 days on safari. Mark the mechanic and I took a few extra days off on top of the 3 rest days in Arusha and went on a week long trip, away from TDA and the infections & the broken bikes. It was amazing and I think will be the most memorable trip I will ever do.

We left from Sagana, first stop Aberdare National Park. We splurged a little bit and stayed at the Arc, a top end resort right in the park. You start by being dropped at Aberdare Country Club where you are met by warm, wet towels to freshen up as well as a glass of OJ, this is followed by a tour of the pool where we relaxed with gin and tonics and looked out over the plains where we suddenly saw our first animals: giraffes in the distance. That was followed by an awesome lunch.

We then met our guide who drove up to the resort. On the way we had a spectacular game drive where within minutes we saw eland, zebra, giraffe, warthog, collobus monkeys (endangered species) and buffalo. As we arrived at the Arc we were treated to the sight of a spectacular building that appropriately enough looked just like Noah's Arc… very apropos. It was complete with viewing platforms and buzzers in your room so they can let you know whenever animals are in sight, which is constantly. Within our first 30 seconds the buzzer went as a herd of elephant had arrived! We raced from our room and stayed in the viewing area for hours. Actually we were the only two guests so we had a 50 bedroom resort to ourselves and 5 staff to tend to our every need.            

The animal sightings continued and we saw more buffalo, warthog, elephant, hyena, giant forest hog (another endangered species), suni (smallest antelope). A sensational private dinner, awesome beds, another great breaky and then sadly we had to leave our private African paradise. I won't go into detail about the rest of our trip but the amazement continued in every way as we hopped from Hells Gate National Park to Masai Mara where we did a dawn balloon ride with champagne breakfast (sensational). This was followed by the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara. 
          
Animals seen included the Big 5, named because they are the 5 most dangerous and 5 most valuable to poachers. They are the lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and the rhino. We also saw cheetah, topi, bushbok, gazelle, impala, lion cubs, hippo, crocs, wildebeest, genet, mongoose, many birds, blue monkey, baboon and blue ball monkey. Additionally, we were treated to lions mating. I am sure we saw more that just these species but that's all I can remember as it was wildlife overload. The riders managed to get a few days of safari also and were lucky enough to see cubs making a kill and have garnered lots of impressive stories. One night we were visited in our tents by an elephant and buffalo. Frank was visited by a curious lioness.

Today all were back on their bikes and I'm currently sitting overlooking Lake Manyara with the sunbeams shining down on the lake as dark storm clouds loom to the north, a spectacular way to end the day and to reflect on the most amazing week of my life so far.


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