Tanzania Travels: days 6 – 10

Dear Friends:

As we mentioned, Becky, Marian, Sharmean and I saved for a year and paid for a safari vacation for ourselves while we are here in Tanzania. We’ve had a wonderful time seeing the beauty of Tanzania. We’ve seen a pride of lionesses (20 at a time!), elephants and baby elephants crossing the road, a zebra stampede…and other things.

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Our first hotel was an amazing tented lodge, our second hotel was not as nice, but cozy with a wood stove to warm us at night (believe it or not, it gets really cold in Northern Tanzania when you are in the mountains), but then we got to our third overnight stay….it was basically a campground and we slept in tents. And after driving for 8 hours through the Serengeti over bumpy, gravel roads we were hoping for some comfort. Luckily, looks can be deceiving.

Even though we had no electricity, we had hot showers due to a generator. So we started to feel better after washing away the layers of dust from the long ride. We then went to the open air thatched roof community area that also served as the restaurant, and climbed up three flights of stairs to the observation deck where we had a gorgeous panoramic view of the African bush. Our hosts brought us roasted peanuts, and we bought wine and beer, and watched a gorgeous sunset.

Our Tanzanian hosts at the campground couldn’t have been kinder. They knew we were a bit freaked out, and went out of their way to make us comfortable. They told us there were two security officers, one with a rifle and one with a bow and arrow to protect us from any lions or hyenas that got too close (gulp!). They suggested we watch “bush TV” – which is sitting by the campfire. They served us fabulous food in the open air restaurant. And the beds were warm and clean.

It was beyond amazing. They even had a zebra mascot that lived there for safety because of its bad leg.

Once again, we are humbled at how courteous, respectful and kind our Tanzanian friends are. They would not let us carry our bags, or move a chair, or serve ourselves coffee from the buffet.

And by the end of our stay, at dinner, our assistant manager Steve led us in a traditional song and we danced in the dining room with the wait staff – “Jambo, Jambo Bwana, inzuri sana, Hakuna Matata etc.”

So, after 2 nights there, we decided that it was our favorite place, and we didn’t want to leave!

And now for the laughs.

First, let us tell you we are okay.

On our next leg of the safari, we stopped so our driver, Hubert, could sign us out of the park. We stayed in the car thinking we would be safe…even though a baboon jumped on the hood.

And then we realized, at the same time as the baboon, that Hubert had left his window open. Before we could move, the baboon jumped in the car, climbed over Shar and Robin, and visited Becky and Marian in the back seats! A BABOON!!!! He was less than 12 inches from our faces!

We all started screaming and chaos ensued. Becky’s yelling “Robin open the door!” Robin is saying “OMG how do you open the door!” Marian is frozen in shock. Shar broke through her seat belt and flew out the door, screaming to the security guards and other drivers – there is a BABOON in the car! A MONKEY!!!”

While Shar was getting help, the baboon grabbed Becky’s Kashi bars, jumped out Shar’s door and ran off!

We were howling with laughter! And we haven’t stopped laughing. Thankfully he didn’t take any of our cameras, phones or computers! We asked Shar how she got out of the car so fast. She responded “because I live in the hood, the mean streets of Baltimore City, and when it’s time to go, you got to go!”

What an experience.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Thankfully, the baboon didn’t bite or scratch us because we did not get rabies shots prior to leaving for our trip.

Robin, Sharmean, Becky and Marian.

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