Tanzania: Tarangire National Park

I feel like this was a trip to elephant land.  Everywhere in Tanzania we had incredible sights and encounters with elephants.  Perhaps a bit too close for comfort for some…

However that is not where I start..  As we entered the park..IMG_1089

These are olive baboon.  I thought they were the yellow baboon which is new to me but turns out they were only in Ruaha, not Tarangire (thanks, Stephen..).

Lovely impala.. I won’t put in too many but they are quite photogenic.  And there are so many babies right now.  This size photo doesn’t do them justice.. click on one to see it in a larger size.  Then you’ll see how pretty they really are.  When you look at their rear ends the black markings form an ‘M’.  Our guides said it stands for ‘McDonalds’.  It  It is true that they seem to be breakfast, lunch and dinner for most predators!IMG_1154IMG_1155

This just to show you what these camps were like.  The company, Thompson Safaris, has numerous camps in Tanzania (except the southern part).  They are all completely mobile; there are no permanent structures.  During the rainy season, they are taken down completely and everything is returned to their headquarters in Arusha.  All the employees in the camps are Tanzanian.  I like that very much.  Everyone is friendly and enthusiastic.

This is my tent, right up against a baobob (which are quite common in this park).  Off to the left is the central tent where meals etc were done.  This was so much fun because the wildlife is really just outside your tent at night.  Needless to say, walking around alone in the dark is not allowed!

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This is the ‘alley’ behind the tents.  You can see the shower hook ups.  Even the toilet is portable!  We spent four days in Tarangire.

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We encountered quite a bit of sparring by bulls but none of it was serious at all.  Just practicing for the big moment I guess.

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And then it’s over and they amble off. 

This one found us to an interesting smell..

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Saw a number of elephants reaching into trees but never saw one actually stand up on their back legs to get at something. 

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This was a magnificent bull who approached very calmly eating all the while.

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And off he went to rummage around in a tree…

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It seemed that wherever we went in this park, there were elephants spread out over vast distances.

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Now a few birds…  This is probably the most photographed bird in Africa, the lilac breasted roller.  With colors like this, how can anyone resist?

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And here’s one on top of a very tall termite mound!

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This last one is my failed attempt at capturing one in flight.  When the wings are open the colors are even more spectacular, particularly the blues.

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I have completely forgotten the name of this stork, it’s a new one to me.  But it is sharing the water with my favorite African bird, the hammerkop.

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Baboons being baboons…

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Secretary bird… they are excellent at catching snakes but I’ve not been fortunate enough to witness that.

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In the photo below, you can see the ‘quills’ which are said to be part of how they got their name.. although there is some debate on whether that actually is the reason.

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I was a bit surprised to see so many jackals around.  The grass was high and jackals are quite small.

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This was an ‘event’ I will not easily forget.  This is a herd of eighteen bulls of many ages that have been together for many years.  It is highly unusual.  Bulls usually travel alone or at most with a few others.. often with younger bulls that have recently been kicked out of their herds.  There is no way to describe how massive these guys are nor how quiet they are as pass, one giant after another.  They had obviously been wallowing in very dark mud.  I lightened the photos so you could see some detail, but I probably shouldn’t have.  The light was bright but very flat, making decent photos difficult. The only thing you hear is the skin on their legs rubbing against their bodies.  Other than that, complete and utter silence.  You hear nothing from their feet.  I wish I’d had the presence of mind to use the video on my camera rather than photos. Perhaps the astonishing presence of this magnificent parade would have been better portrayed.  And there’s no way to make clear just how big they are.  If I were standing next to one, I might be as tall as their leg, at most.

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And they’re gone.. just as quietly as they appeared.

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Just another family passing by…

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Most of the giraffe I saw on this trip were all quite dark compared to the others I’ve seen in other places.  They are all of the maasai species of giraffe but there are obvious differences in color.  I don’t know if it’s a regional thing or not.

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incoming…. red billed oxpeckers.

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A baby giraffe.. always cute, no matter what.  Always close to mom.

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And a female waterbuck.  Although I usually see these frequently, not this trip.

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While these are clearly not the best photos of honey badgers, they are the only ones I have seen that were not lost in a cloud of dust in the Kalahari as they dug for things to eat (like scorpions!).  They made a habit of coming to the camp to eat left overs after dinner. 

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A tawny eagle and a bateleur, in adjacent trees.  Too bad they weren’t any closer.  This is the palest form of a tawny eagle I have ever seen.  And although bateleurs are common this is the first time I’ve had a good look at one.IMG_0461IMG_0462IMG_0463IMG_0464IMG_0472IMG_0473IMG_0474IMG_0479IMG_0484IMG_0485IMG_0486IMG_0498

Dik diks… always a pair; they mate for life.  Such incredibly tiny little things.  I was surprised to see as many as we did with so much vegetation around.  Our guides, who were with us through our time with Thompson’s were amazing.

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Lovebirds!!!

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spur fowl… very good at sounding the alarm!

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Chilling under a tree in the heat of the day.  And it was hot!

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This is the European roller.  I was happy to finally see them.  Their colors are more muted than the lilac breasted roller.  These are not the best photos… the light was bright but flat which made it hard to reflect the colors.

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A few landscape shots….. can’t really begin to capture the great variety of landscapes.

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This is a superb starling.. really that’s its name.  They are all over the place.  Believe it or not, there are many beautiful species of starlings.

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A rather large gathering of open billed storks.

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2 thoughts on “Tanzania: Tarangire National Park

  1. So much to see and it’s only your first blog. It was worth the wait and you have made me feel like I was there with you. The only thing you didn’t do but you may still do, is walk me through ‘my’ tent.
    There is too much to comment on but I shall give it a shot.
    Love the Bateleur, it is a magnificent eagle and most probably my favourite.
    The stork with the Hamerkop I am totally at a lose as to what it is. I was thinking Abdim’s stork but I am not so sure.
    Honey Badgers, how come you got so lucky, I have never been so fortunate.
    Great shots of the Lovebird and the Spur fowl.
    And then there is the elephants, one can never get tired of seeing them, not even the numbers they have in Tarangire.
    It’s a hard choice whether to take video when you are not used to using the video setting on your camera or taking still shots. For someone who has been on safari and been to Tarangire, I know what it feels like to be amongst all those giant elephants so capturing it on video is not a necessity for me but for some, video does give a broader picture.

    Thanks Nancy, it was worth the wait. And by the way I did look in my lunch break but it was on my iPhone, so I had to wait now to comment.

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