This past weekend was particularly busy for our students as they experienced their first safari! We left on Friday morning for Ruaha National Park, which is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania (it’s the size of Massachusetts!) After registering at the gate, putting up the roof to our car, and getting used to standing while driving (it’s an odd sensation), we headed into the park. On our first day, we saw so much, including lions mating—which was fascinating to watch. Our guide told us that they mate every 20 minutes during their first day on their “honeymoon.” They don’t even stop to sleep or eat!
Our safari took a more adventurous turn the following day. Just after a leisurely lunch enjoyed by the banks of river bed, we set out to cross the (mostly dry) river. Before we could get halfway across, disaster struck! Despite our guide’s best efforts, we became bogged down in the wet sand. Piling out of the car, we examined the problem, gathered sticks and stone, and attempted to free the car from it’s sandy prison. Alas, it was no use. As we waited for help to arrive, we were treated to the sounds of a lion and elephant fighting on the far bank of the river. It was quite an adventure!
Eventually we did get unstuck and were able to continue on our safari. The following morning, we got twice more, but by this time, we were old hands at it. The challenges of a safari in the rainy season! Despite these minor snafus, we had a marvelous time, saw many animals, and returned to Iringa tired, but safe and sound. It was the hallmark of a great safari!