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Posts Tagged ‘giraffe’

 

It's easy to see that giraffes are what help give the umbrella acacias their shape and name. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

“Each day I live in a glass room unless I break it with the thrusting of my senses and pass through the splintered walls to the great landscape.” – Mervyn Peake

African Safari: Runners, Wildlife and Thorns

When I travel from place to place in my native America, I try extremely hard never to get on a boring freeway. In Tanzania, Kim and I never had to worry about our driver, Bilal, taking such a wide interstate from place to place. There were none, or at least none in the areas we traveled.

We were lucky if the roads were paved. Their roughness prompted Bilal to joke that along with being our driver, he was giving us a free massage.

Which was perfectly fine with me. The bouncy ride was part of the adventure. And the slower we were forced to go, the more time it offered for sightseeing.

And there was plenty to see this morning as Bilal transported us from Lake Mayara’s Serena Lodge to the Sopa Lodge in the Serengeti. The drive took us from wide-open Wyoming like scenery through a misty jungle that brought images of Jurassic Park floating though our brains.

Wildebeest and morning mist on the Ngorongoro Crater escarpment. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the populated areas we passed through was Karatu, which Bilal told us was the home of many great marathon runners. Watching the area’s slim, black men brought to mind images of the Boston marathon and other long-distance races I had seen in which racers with such physiques were always frontrunners.

The misty jungle scenery came near the top of the Ngorongoro Crater, which was formed seven million years ago when the land was pushed up by volcanoes, then collasped. At the crater overlook, a Maasai salesman was immediately upon us, but Bilal suggested that we wait to shop somewhere that would benefit an entire Maasai community.

This hungry simba had his eye on a tommy (Thompson's gazelle). -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Zebra, cheetahs, lions, gazelles, monkeys, giraffes, gazelles, and other African wildlife were also on the sightseeing agenda this morning. We lingered the longest to watch a mother cheetah with four young cubs that stayed mostly hidden in the grass while the mother kept a look out.

Bilal stopped to show us the whistling acacia tree, on which grow hollowed nodes favored by ants. The ants create holes in these bulbous growths and when the wind blows over them the produce a whistling sound.

Despite the thorns, giraffes find this plant a delectable meal.

Whistling acacia

I found this information fascinating, but once again, our sight-seeing put us behind schedule. And so Bilal again put the pedal to the metal to get us to the Serengeti lodge in time for our scheduled lunch. Kim and I just hung on – and smiled.

Next:  The Homeless Maasai

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