Sunday, January 19, 2020

Days 9-12: Safari in Ruaha National Park; and the long journey back to Minnesota.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, we began our adventure to Ruaha National Park. Our bumpy bus ride took about four hours, and we finally arrived at the entrance of the park around lunchtime.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, we began our adventure to Ruaha National Park. Our bumpy bus ride took about four hours, and we finally arrived at the entrance of the park around lunchtime. Our guides picked us up in Land Cruisers and we began our journey to Mwagusi Safari Camp. On the way, we saw zebras, hippos, and impalas. We arrived in the pouring rain to be welcomed by the Mwagusi staff, and we were seated for a beautiful lunch then taken to our bandas (tents).


We departed around 4 p.m. for our afternoon safari and saw numerous giraffes, elephants, ostriches, dik-dik (small antelope), mongooses, kudus (another kind of antelope), gazelles, lions, and many many bird species. We were all captivated by the animals and enjoyed spending time watching them and driving through the luscious green grassland.





That night, many of us heard animals throughout the night. Catie and Britta woke up to numerous “surprises” from a rodent, while others heard sounds from baboons and lions in the distance.

The next day, we woke up bright and early to begin our safari at 6 a.m. Our journey began and our guides set up our breakfast in the park. We continued our safari and headed back to Mwagusi for lunch.

After lunch, we departed for an afternoon safari around 3:30 p.m. A land cruiser was stopped by elephants crossing the dirt road, and we watched them up and close, staying quiet in our vehicles. We headed back to Mwagusi for a bonfire and dinner and were feeling more at ease about sleeping in our bandas.


Friday morning was our last morning at the camp. We began our safari at 7 a.m., stopping for breakfast, observing more animals, finding fascinating landmarks, and taking more pictures. We stopped at a tree that we estimated to be about 1,500-years-old (every one meter of circumference corresponds to 100-years-old).


On our way out, we stopped to climb a rock that overlooked the river.


We headed back to Iringa, and we finished some last minute shopping. We had dinner at the Lutheran Center which was made by the lovely Harrison, and we reflected about the past few weeks we have spent in Tanzania. Everyone expressed their gratitude towards the country and the people who have treated us with deep kindness and respect.


We departed the next morning on a 10-hour bus ride to Dar Es Salaam, enjoying our last group dinner at Sea Cliff. We listened to live music and ended our night by dancing together at the restaurant. Now at the airport in Amsterdam, we are on hour 28 of our journey back home. We are excited to see our friends and family soon!!

--
Mia C.

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