Berna's travelblog Marco Bernasocchi's adventures blog

Tarangire NP, or the one with the Cheetahs

When I asked some friends about Tanzania everybody mentioned Serengeti and Ngorongoro, then while planing the rough itinerary, we listened the guys from fortes car hire, and put Tarangire national park into the plan without knowing much about it.

Leaving Arusha 3-4h later than planned, we even considered skipping it, what a mistake would we have done.
We arrive there sort of late, just 30 min before sunset, and we immediately set off looking for the special camp site where we’ll spend the night. It’s called Kware and we have no idea how it will be like, they just said beautiful and solitary.

just couple of Km into the park we face the first challenge, elephants, heaps of them just on the roadside. Some are fighting, some scratching their trunk o a tree some just hang around, but wow, they are really close and some actually block the road. We stop, get on the roof and enjoy. Just us, the elephants and the setting sun. It’s amazing we couldn’t have had a better start and we immediately know the this trip will rock. :)
We move, we still need to find the campsite. We find some signs, which we follow until we get to an opening in the middle of nowhere surrounded by giant Baobabs. The road ends, there are two little hashes piles, and it is absolutely stunning. We guess we found Kware… wow!!!
As soon as we open our roof-top tent, we know that we were super lucky that fortes car hires suddenly had an extra. In 5 min the full camp is ready, we start cooking our first solo bush dinner under a crazy sky. I’m totally in love…
Alive? yes, you? yes! We survived, not that we ever doubted, but the hyena and other we don’t know what calls in the night were for sure interesting :)

Did I mention how quickly a rooftop tent opens? Well it closes as quickly, this thing is the best invention ever, I’ll never ever want to ground camp any more on safari.
We are off, the first full day of exploration. Super high in our wishes is to see cheetahs but as usual we just take what mother nature gives us and love any second of it.
The Tarangire NP is known for its internal small migration which like in the Serengeti happens annually following the cycles of drought and wet. We are at drought and the animals migrate to the north part of the park where the Tarangire river ensures a water support throughout the year. This makes our life easier because the place to be is one, the riverfront.
We start off by going to the Tarangire Lodge terrace which is beautifully perched on a gorge, stay there a while looking at the morning drinking activity down below. Once we are happy, we start moving south, randomly. For navigation we use a custom brewed solution to use tracks4africa on an android phone (the geek in me is smiling) and some times osmand. We decide intersection by intersection were we want to go, randomly again. That is the beauty of the GPS, we just go where we feel like (even if the “road” is uncharted) and we will find our way back.
The scenery is stunning the river flows in the middle of a dry grass landscape dotted with acacia trees and baobabs. Elephants, Giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, storks are just about everywhere. We keep on driving south and after a short rooftop lunch break, we see a car looking at some tall grass. The driver says that they previously spotted two cheetahs and he points out where. We see them, very far but still it’s a start. The car leaves due to time constrains, we stay, another advantage of self drive. No more cars arrive, it’s just the Cheetahs and us. And they decide to be nice, very nice. They first go to the river for a drink scaring away all the zebras on the other side. Then one tries not very convinced to catch a bird and then they walk to the tall grass again. When one is at 30m we loose the other one in the tall grass and we think that’s it. But then, bam there it is the other is just behind our car, and it seems it is where he wants to be just posing for us for almost an hour. They relentlessly keep on getting up checking around and then sitting down by the car again, those guy are definitely hungry.
After one hour show, they decide that it’s time for real action the one sets off on a light trot towards an impala to the right in the tall grass. The other walks to the left. Due to the tall grass we only see the cheetahs and the impala at intervals.
The first raises his pace now running after the panicking impala pushing him to the left. In a matter of seconds, the second raises is pace cutting the impala’s way and all we hear are 2-3 suffocated noises by the impala and then no more movements.
We are stunned, all happened so quickly and efficiently and it didn’t even look like they were pushing their speed. I guess that is why they are considered the fastest animal on land.

What an amazing first day and the night camp with fresh fire baked bread and view on Lake Manyara is just as amazing.

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