We have two nights here in the Tarangire Safari Lodge. The view into the park from the edge of the lodge is stunning.
This is the start of a long rainy season but the rains have been minimal so far. This is of great concern as all the important crops of which corn is the main one here, have been planted and it is critical that they get the rain now, no irrigation here.
The rain that has fallen though makes the park already lush with vegetation and it will soon get the return of large numbers of wildlife. At the moment it is Ely ( fond for elephant) heaven. They turn into grazers at this time of the year and the trees do not get browsed on so much, giving them time to regenerate from the dry season munching. Elephants are amazingly smart and socially complex creatures. Their family structure is so solid and matriarchal that a baby although belonging to a specific elephant will be suckled by any of the Mums that are breast feeding. The herd consists of several generations of females and their young plus any male up to 10-12 years of age. After that the males start getting a bit of a pain in the family and are told to move out and sort themselves out.
The elephants here are doing really well, with lots of babies . We see a few generations in each of the herds we come across. The smallest easily fitting under the belly of Mum , tucking into frequent supplements of milk and suckling. They have not been decimated here by the poaching and good solid tusks are seen on the grown ups. We even come across a vendor selling T-shirts with “Tusks belong on elephants” logo. Thumbs up to that one!
We have some beautiful encounters with all the elephants being relaxed and showing interest in us. We get to see jackals, mongoose families, monitor lizards, large ostrich families , waterbuck, gazelles, impala, more warthogs and an amazing display by a married couple of dung beetles.
This is an amazing creature that in cooperation with its partner finds suitable dung ( elephant dung quite prized) and they roll it into a ball to bring to their nest for their babies to have food while they grow . That way they do not have to leave the nest until fully grown. The two beetles roll the ball they have made 10x their size and weighing the equivalent of what it would be for one of us to roll a bus home. The male helps steer it stuck underneath the ball, while the female does the rolling, up and down hill, over vegetation that would be the equivalent of a tree in the way of our bus. We watch totally mesmerized.
At camp we have small antelopes called dik diks and vervet monkeys playing around the tent. A large hornbill lands next to André and tries to steal some snacks from him.
As we get back into the car Andrew shouts ( uncharacteristic) for him LIONS! Sure enough literally 300m from where we had been engaging with the turtle there is a lioness and her four subadult cubs. Wow, we watch them until they decide it is time for a siesta and get comfortable under an acacia tree. I guess they were not too hungry:)
Today is clearly a road wildlife day , as Andrew stops again not to run over a chameleon crossing the road. We pick him up and deposit on a nearby tree to the glee and squealing of the small children that happen to have peeled out from school for a break.