Africa – Arusha National Park

After our briefing in the hotel lobby, we were off on our first day of our African Safari adventure…Camera…check, excitement…big check!

After working for years at Werribee Open Range Zoo as a safari guide and overnight camp leader and hearing stories from guests about their African adventures, I was finally experiencing  it for myself and boy, was I excited!

Our first day was a half day exploring the lesser know. Arusha National Park. We paused at the entrance while the official paperwork was completed by our guide and read the informative interpretation boards about Arusha National Park, the wildlife, the local tribes and the geology which was fascinating. After a quick photo beside the life size African elephant, geez those things are huge, we off in search of wildlife.

11022425_10153344704269493_3472036492131764024_n-300x231 Africa – Arusha National ParkA small herd of Cape buffalo and zebras was our first sighting and after being initially startled by us, they continued on with their grazing while moving across the Savannah.

We made our way to the lookout over the crater where we spotted in the distance some more zebra, Cape buffalo, water buck and a lone hippo all grazing. We next spotted a small family of blue monkeys, energetically moving around on the tree at a frenetic pace.

Soon after, I spotted a rare black and white colobus monkey with its spectacular long white tail and beautiful long haired coat. These monkeys are quite rare due to the hunting for them over the years for their coat. Although hidden amongst the trees, after further inspection we realised it was a family of 4… bonus! We spent a good 20 minutes watching then moving through the trees and doing daring leaps from one tree to the next… truly spectacular!

 

Only a few minutes drive down the road we were met by a large family of curious baboons which were sitting on the road in front of us. They all stared at us before continuing their playing and grooming of each other by meticulously searching over each other for any critters. I’d seen baboons before at Zoo’s but to see them in their own surrounds was fascinating to watch.

We ended up spending the next 20 minutes watching and photographing these characters and ended up seeing another 8 family groups of baboons throughout the rest of the day.

11055286_10153368415679493_4739637545775356450_n-300x225 Africa – Arusha National ParkWe laughed hysterically at the sight of a small family of warthogs barging through the scrub, these funny looking characters are great to watch, always running around like they’re grumpy about something. They seem like they want to run away from you but also want to stay not too far away so end up kind of running around in circles. They crack me up!

Giraffe! The excited shout from our guide was contagious, we were super excited about seeing these graceful animals and they didn’t disappoint! A family of three giraffes were making their away alongside the lake peacefully with what seemed like not a care in the world. They are such beautiful animals to watch in their natural environment.

Our next stop saw us arrive at another lake in the park to discover hundreds of beautiful flamingo’s wading in the shallows of the lake. Seeing them in the wild like this and the stunning pink hues in their feathers really is an extraordinary sight.

As we made our way back to the park entrance, we stopped occasionally for more animals that we came across, cape buffalo, zebra, giraffe, birds, warthogs, baboons and more. It sure was full of wildlife and for a lesser known national park, one that you should definitely include at least half a day to visit while in Tanzania.

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