Last Day of Safari
This is the last day of safari. It started with a long trip East toward Arusha, and then a turnoff South. Along the way we saw Lake Manyara from high up, and could see where we explored on the first day. Unfortunately, there were pushy people trying to sell merchandise there, and I caved in for some trinkets.
The journey to Tarangire Park was lengthy, but we got a more personal discussion with Zamo about working conditions, how he gets paid, the significance of tips to workers like him, and family life in Tanzania. This was all new ground for us. Since he had been involved in organizations that promote better conditions for porters on Kili and elsewhere, we were able to get a better sense of how we should tip and generally interact with our team during the upcoming hike. It was all extremely helpful, and a relief to know that Summits Africa, our company for the Kili climb, though more expensive, leads the way in treating their people right.
Eventually, we arrived at the Tarangire Park. This park was clearly more within the reach of the locals, as we foreign tourists were outnumbered by school children from many schools on field trips. In the park we saw much of the same as on the rest of the trip, but the terrain was hilly, varied, and quite interesting in and of itself. There were a lot of Baobab trees and other vegetation we had not yet seen up close. On the whole, I thought that we could have skipped this park without missing much. At lunch, entertainment was provided by many Velvet monkeys. Although they would come and steal food and were generally a nuisance, they were interesting and rather cute, especially the little ones. The outing was saved when we ended up encountering a group of two elephant families right at the road, and got to see them eating up close. The baby elephants were suckling.
On the way out, our last safari experience was definitely interesting. Apparently, elephants have good motor control of their penis. One of them got a massive erection and then used it to scratch an itchy spot on his tummy. It then retracted back to normal. Just when you think you've seen everything there is to see... great way to finish.
The trip back to Moshi to the Springlands Hotel was very slow, and we were stuck in heavy traffic in Arusha. The drive was scary as night came on, with a lot of cars without headlights, or misaligned lights, or blinding high beams. Also, lots of very creative passing and generous usage of the highway lanes, shoulders, and sidewalks.
At Springlands, I was quite ready to pack it in. Thankfully, Zamo suggested he could get someone to do our laundry for a reasonable price. We tipped, thanked him, and went off for dinner, and to catch up on much-missed Internet.