Ruaha National Park, part 1

It was a dark and stormy night… I mean day.  At least it was warm.  All these planes had three letter names as part of their identification.

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Drive to the camp..

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All the tents were along this river bank.  As you will see in subsequent photos, each day the riverbed had more water flowing through it.

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This was my ‘tent’, if you could call it that.  Definitely more luxurious than Thompson’s camps.  Although this was quite comfortable, there is something about a tent that really is only a tent.  It allows you feel much more a part of your surroundings.  Besides, we all liked the ‘ambience’ of the Thompson’s camps.  The guys that worked there were really connected to their camps and seemed much more enthusiastic about their guests.  The guides would eat meals with us and the kitchen staff enjoyed interacting with guests.  Lots of laughing went on.  There was something about how the ‘management’ ran this camp that made most of us uncomfortable after the warmth and enthusiasm of Thompsons’s employees.  The guides, the guys that serviced each of the tents, those that escorted us after dark, and the kitchen staff were all wonderful people however.  I would rather have been able to hang out with them instead of the management.  Enough ranting….

It was quite hot and humid so the tents were left open during the day.  Little ground squirrels and other critters liked to ‘visit’ during the day so we were advised to be sure everything was put away.  In the evening, the tents were closed up for us.

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A few of my neighbors..

yellow baboon

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There are two types of red billed hornbills here.  One is the regular red billed hornbill and then there is one that is endemic to Ruaha.  Now that it’s been a couple of months since I returned, I don’t remember the difference.  They are similar.

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woodland kingfisher

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bachelor herd of impala

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Finally, some decent shots of the Eurasian roller.

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And the rufous crowned roller

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So many baobob trees in Tanzania.  I wouldn’t have believed so many could be in any space until I saw it.

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More elephants!  Tarangire is well known for its elephants but I’d say Ruaha is right up there.  It is a huge park but we were never far from elephants.  They are the main reason you are not allowed to walk around after dark at the camp.  You have to wait to be picked up for dinner and must return with one of the guys as well.  Elephants feed everywhere and just about every evening walking to the main tents, we encountered elephants. At night, you could hear them cross the river splashing through the water and then trashing vegetation as they climbed up the riverbank on our side.   On a couple of occasions we had to cut through the bush away from the trail because of elephants.  I thought it was great fun!

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These were taken at different times of the day.  Also, I tried to adjust settings to compensate for the way the camera interprets the flat overcast light.  I really don’t know what I’m doing yet.. as you can see.

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Tracks… well preserved in the sand.  Notice these don’t have claw marks?

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And these do.

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female kudu

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More hornbill.. they are quite common but I really like them and never tire of watching them.

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I love to see more than one species sharing space.  The streaks on this baobob are where elephants have stripped bark.  They rely on bark particularly during the dry season.

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Zebra never fail to be photogenic!

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Impala ram…. what a poser!

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So many elephants!

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Some elephants definitely did not want us around at all and charged (mock charges always!) the vehicles but others were completely chilled and didn’t even seem to notice our presence.  Clearly this herd didn’t care since this little goober was interested in us and tried valiantly to get that little trunk to cooperate.

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Now this little calf has decided to get a little cheeky!

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When there is an elephant in the road, you just wait.

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Pretty tasty, whatever it is…

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More hornbills

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And more elephants..

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Didn’t see too many warthogs.  I’m sure they were there but the grass was much taller than they were.

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More landscape.. baobobs as far as the eye can see.

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More white storks

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Still more elephants..

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Lots of little calves nearly hidden by the long grass.

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Getting a good whiff of us…

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Another little calf.

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Another young elephant being tough.

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Notice this cow is tuskless.  I saw quite a few like this at Mashatu.  Although this would keep them from being poached, it would be a sad day if elephants eventually evolved to have no tusks.  Besides, they aid in feeding.

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A giraffe posing in front of a baobob.  Seeing so many ‘young’ baobobs was quite astonishing.  Obviously, they have to grow from something smaller, but I’ve only ever seen the ancient ones.

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Another big bull..

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This seems long enough.  Time to start a new one.

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One thought on “Ruaha National Park, part 1

  1. Once again so much green and what a transformation for me to see the dry river bed that I saw some years ago, now with water flowing through it. Beautiful photos of all the birds, specifically the Eurasian and Rufous Crowned Rollers.

    This trip you really have had some amazing encounters with elephants and their families. Ruaha didn’t let you down, you have captured some amazing shots.

    Some shots that stood out to me, 6089 way too cute, 6181 the ears and the leg, I can feel the charge, 6193 just beautiful mother and calf, 6294 the Baboon in the tree, 6282 striking hair-do, 6304 the giraffe before this young baobab gives some idea of the size of both the tree and the giraffe, and 6320 the sun was in the right place for this shot and I just love the grass and dirt on the ellies head. By no means are these the only ones that stood out but If I write a comment about all your photos, I dare say my comment will not be permitted to upload.

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