Friday Update – Lots Done

•February 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

We had a great morning in the crater. We drove across the rim, and down into the bottom. Saw many of the same animals as before: zebra, wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelles. Also saw a bunch of hippos, lots of hyenas, warthogs with babies, 2 varieties of jackal, and not too close were a couple of rhinoceros. Rhinos!

Apparently, it was a day for flirting, because we saw lions courting, a Cory bustard all fluffed up and strutting, dancing crown cranes,  and wildebeest who were fighting. The hippos were also splashing, but who know what was happening under the water.

Now we are on our way for a little shopping, then to pick up our bags from the Impala hotel, and off to catch our evening flight.

Carol (sent Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 4:06 AM)

NOTE: As I post this, Delta 161 is a little over two hours outside of Minneapolis – Dave

Thursday at Ngoro Ngoro Crater

•February 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello! This is the last day before we start heading home. Today was a drive to the ngoro ngoro crater. We left at 8:00 this morning and arrived about 6:00 tonight. Saw lots of animals on the way. Got lost, but saw some amazing landscapes on the way. So, it added some time, but it was a great detour.

On our way out of the Serengeti, we saw a cheetah that had just caught a baby Impala. Also saw a lion at the side of the road, about half a mile from our rest stop. There were a lot of people at the stop, so that probably keeps them away. The joke is that I just have to be faster than one other person, anyhow.

We all are getting tired, and our bodies are protesting from the treatment. Sore backs, and digestive issues all around, I think. No one is sick, or even in a bad mood, but I think we are all ready to be about done.

Tonight we are in a lovely lodge on the top of the crater. Magnificent view of the crater. Nice beds with no need for nets because it’s so high. Buffet for dinner. Even hot water bottles in our beds. Somehow Sheri managed to get us a great deal on this lodge, or it would have been out of my price range. Hooray Sheri!

Tomorrow we leave here at 6:00 am to drive through the crater and then back to the airport. Goodnight all!
It’s now Friday morning here, and we are preparing for breakfast. No internet in the rooms so I could not send last night.

Carol (sent Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 8:51 PM)

Thursday, I think. Or is that Wednesday?

•February 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It seems I can not keep up with my posts. I am still a day behind.

This morning, we saw a stein buck, some Impala, and several cute birds. Whenever we drive, if we see something interesting, the driver stops the car and turns it off so we can photograph without vibration. So, today’s problem was that the car would not restart. So, we had a while just sitting and watching the trees and sky. And “checking the tires”. One of the issues is that if your battery has a loose wire, you cannot call for assistance. Eventually, someone came along and went back to the camp for us to get a mechanic.

Once again, we just had to make the best of the situation so we talked, and laughed, and made up stories. The driver told me there could be snakes in the tree, so I should not climb it. Ah well, just as well I am sure, as we later found out that the lions were sleeping quite close to us. Eventually we got on the road again. Still morning, and we were none the worse for wear.

The next animal we came upon was a wildebeest in labor. We watched her for maybe half an hour; we could tell that she was working hard but she did not complete the task. We decided to move on. Next we saw an elephant, which turned into three, then into several. When we realized we were in the middle of two groups, we moved out of the way. Not good to be in the middle with no exit. Finally, all the elephants together numbered 21.

When the families came together, the elephants rubbed noses as if in greeting. We drove slowly closer until the dominant male stared us down. So glad the driver knows what he is doing. We watched them for a while. Then found a good viewing spot to have lunch. They eventually made it to the watering hole and we watched them drink and then play. Truly amazing.

We went down to a lake and found 7 hippopotamus swimming. And many cool water birds. We went back to check on the wildebeest, and found she had not yet given birth. Our guide said she was giving birth for the first time, and it was not going well. He said she was not likely to have a good outcome, with all the lions and hyenas around and she looked very weak.

We also saw lions just snoozing beside the road. Five in total.  They look up when we drive up, but then they just go roll over and close their eyes again. But tonight they will roar and keep us up.

Ok, it is time for my shower. I will try to get yesterday’s notes done soon.

Carol (sent Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 8:42 AM )


The list of animals today:

Steein buck, lions, white browed coucal, lilac breasted roller, black headed heron, Impala, hildebrant starling, elephants, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, dik dik, dung beetle, chameleon, masked weaver bird, waddled starling, hippo, yellow neck spar finch, red bishop bird, and gazelle. No guarantee that those are spelled right. (Photo of zebras was sent to Molly – sometime Thursday, I think.)


Carol (sent Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 9:19 AM)


Tuesday from the Serengeti

•February 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Tuesday was another exciting day. Started the safari seeing two cheetahs eating a zebra they had just killed.  I am amazed at how the big cats just ignore us as long as we don’t get too close. They would take turns eating and watching.

We drove around for the morning, seeing all kinds of cool stuff. Our driver would take off across country when he saw anything he thought we might like. I have no idea how he could go for miles and not get lost. Eventually, we hit a bump and “bang!” we stopped. Deja vous. We broke a spring and now we were stuck. In the middle of the savanna. Of course there is no cell phone service, but the driver has a radio. We are hours from camp, and so a long way from rescue. We sat and chatted, and snacked, and stretched our legs and “checked the tires” (there are no bathrooms in the middle of the plain, or even a tree). We could see a group of vehicles gathering about 2 miles away, which almost certainly meant they were watching a lion.

Eventually, another group from our camp picked us up and let us share their vehicle. The group was from Portugal, and their vehicle had 3 extra seats. Awesome! We piled up squishy stuff to make a fourth seat, and we were off to the lions. When we arrived, we found 9 lions lying in a cluster. Wow. Then we saw more cheetahs, hyena, and jackals. Three different times we came upon a cluster of vultures fighting over the remains of something: once a zebra, once a wildebeest, and once an impala. Cool and gross all at once. I got video, if you are tough enough to watch…

So our camp-neighbors brought us back to camp, where we found our vehicle had been repaired and would be ready for a new day. We made some new friends, and had a fantastic day of witnessing life and death.

Lots of waiting, lots of dust. A little rain, lots of sun and wind. I am so blessed to be with a group who are determined to keep a positive attitude no matter the glitches.

Back at camp for a shower and dinner, and another night of noisy  lions in the dark.

Carol (sent Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 10:07 AM)

Monday from the Serengeti!

•February 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello from the Serengeti! Today was another adventure.

I guess I should start with Monday.

We left Arusha bright and early Monday morning. We stopped for a picnic lunch at a touristy gift shop along the path. Along the way, we saw several giraffes and lots of baboons. We drove along the rim of ngoro ngoro crater and then into the Serengeti.  Then we saw secretary bird, zebra lion, elan, giraffe, Impala, dik dik, thompsons gazelle, grants gazelle, kori bustard, wildebeest and ostrich.

We arrived at our tent camp and were given a drink of juice and a cold washcloth with menthol. Very nice. Three of us in our tent, with nice beds and a private bathroom. There is a dining room where we all met for dinner. Mushroom soup, roasted carrots with beets, chicken with rice, broccoli and cauliflower, and banana flan. Sweet.  Then we are escorted off to bed with a reminder to not come out without flagging down an escort.

Surprising how noisy it is at night.

In the morning, we were told we had heard lions and zebra, along with the crickets and night insects. And early morning is filled with a cacophony of birds. A very loud cacophony. At 6:00 we were served coffee or tea to prepare for the day. I sit and pick out all the sounds I am hearing. One of the few places I ever go you can sit and listen without hearing any human sounds.

After breakfast we were off for the day. We start in the trees but then head to the open plains.

Carol (sent Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 10:05 PM)

Cats on Safari

•February 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The schedule shows our travelers enjoying a well-deserved break. By the description, it sounds like they will take in a game preserve.

Oddly enough, the four pictures I am aware of that have come through so far are all of “cats” – so I thought I’d share. One comes from Sheri, one was sent to me, and the other two to Molly.

Please enjoy – Cats on Safari!

Cat on Safari 2 Cat on Safari

Dave (written Tue, Feb 6, 2018)

Sunday Update

•February 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment
subject: Happy birthday

Today we visited Pangaro village, which is a Massai village north of Same. It is quite a way back from the main road, 
Massai Men Under a Treeabout 20-minute drive. Well, 20 minutes when there is a dirt road to follow. Unfortunately, that was not the case today. There were some major washout spots, and we ended up driving through the bush. I am not sure how the driver found his way, but he did.The new path doubled the travel time, but it was beautiful if bumpy.  Our vehicle had been repaired, and we were none too anxious to repeat the issues of the previous day.

So, Pangaro is a spot where we had recently dug a well.  The people of this hot, dry village had been walking several kilometers to fetch muddy water at the foot of the mountain. Neither the people or their herds were getting enough water to be healthy. Only a year previously, 2 young children

Mud Hole for Fetching Water

had drowned in the mud hole. Now the village has water, it is clear both the people and the animals are healthier and happier.

We attended church service (which was held in 2 languages that I don’t speak) where we danced along even if we could not sing along. We introduced ourselves in our bits of Swahili, and were cheered for the attempt. The people are warm and friendly, and some of them feel like old friends even though we can’t speak the same language.

After service, we had a nice lunch of rice and goat soup. Then off again to drive the invisible road through the bush and back to the road. It was a long ride then to Arusha where we are spending the night.  This was the end of the work, and now we get to spend a few days being tourists.

Time for bed. Love to all,

Carol (Sent Sun, Feb 4, 2018 at 2:43 PM)

Update from Carol – Saturday

•February 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Ask I sit drinking a passion Fanta, waiting for my dinner, I am reflecting on another eventful day.

We left this morning at 7:30 for a trip up the mountain. Definitely a trip that needs Dramamine if it is ever needed. We start on fairly smooth roads but they get increasingly bumpy as the trip goes on. Beautiful views of the mountains with clouds rolling over them and the sun peeking through and highlighting random bits. I hope the photos can do it justice.

After an hour and a half, we needed a break from the jostling, so we pulled into  little rural cafe shaped like an elephant. With a loud “bang!” we lurched to a stop. A bit of investigation showed the axle was no longer attached to the wheel. Really, if you have to break down along the road in lion territory, a cafe is the place to do it.  We had cold drinks, watched monkeys, took photos, and just relaxed under the trees. The most pleasant break down I ever had. In a couple of hours, we were picked up in a new vehicle and on our way.

We finally made it to our first planned stop: Gonja Hospital at the top of the mountain. It is cool enough up there to not have many mosquitos and so malaria is not much of an issue. The hospital provides medical care, but that is all.  Family members of the sick or injured must provide food for the patient, wash their clothes, and do general care, so they stay close in the village. We were met at the door by ladies singing and dancing a greeting, and we each were presented with a little bouquet of flowers. Before we left, we were given a snack of chai, hard boiled eggs, chapati, yams, and cassava.

After Gonga, we went to Msindo to visit the Kids Club, which is a Saturday school for 50 children designated as most vulnerable. They work on life skills, English, and receive help with homework.  The teachers say the kids are doing much better at school. Some of the most important things they get are love and encouragement.

Then we start back down the mountain. From the near the top it is said you can see Kenya. The driver beeps his horn every time we get to a hairpin corner. Beautiful views, unless you are afraid of heights.  The road was quite skinny, but only once did we meet aa truck and have to back up a bit to find a spot to pass.

Made it back to our rooms and we all laid down for a few minutes just to be still. The wind is picking up again this evening, however we still have electricity so far. I will be ready for sleep tonight.  Who thought you could use so many muscles just riding in a car!

Driving to Arusha tomorrow.

Love to All!

Carol (sent Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 1:31 PM)

Still Friday

•February 3, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Today we visited Lambo village, which is up in the mountains. It was quite an adventure, with some challenging dirt/rock roads. Not frightening, but steep and bumpy. The dash board has a dial that shows how far we are listing at any moment, and it showed we had a 20degree incline once. Definitely not a road I would want to be on in the rain, when the mud gets slippery.

Lambo is a lovely little village and we met some adorable preschoolers who sang for us.  After a bit of convincing, I got most of them to give me a high-five. Little kids this age are often afraid of us, especially kids in the more remote villages who rarely see white people.

New Farmers in Lambo

We were in Lambo to meet with a new group of farmers who are just starting the integrated farming project. They were on their second day of training on goats, sheep, and amaranth. This village has more water than Hedaru or Massandare, which are the first two villages that have begun integrated farming projects. More water should mean that the project is easier to grow. At least we hope.

We came back to our hotel in Same town, to clean the dust off and to have dinner. The electricity is off and on again tonight, and the wind is howling. I set my headlamp under a bottle of water, and it makes a decent lamp for the table. The restaurant in the hotel has walls on 2 sides and is open on the other sides; the breeze is nice but the mosquitos are not.

It’s now 9:00 in the evening. Everyone is tired and off to their rooms.  I have washed some of my clothes and they are dotting my room to dry.  I have scrubbed off my bug spray, tucked in my mosquito net, and have set both my alarms. We are to be on the road by 7:30 so I need to be sure I don’t oversleep.

Hope you are having a good day, and that everyone is healthy. Love to all.




Carol (sent Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 12:16pm)

Friday, I think

•February 3, 2018 • Leave a Comment


Yesterday we had a meeting with ladies who are home health educators (CHE’s) who are people who have been trained to teach communities some basic health concepts.  They told us what is working well and what are the challenges.

We had the afternoon off to nap and do laundry and such, then we went to mr. Chambua house for a lovely dinner.

Today we are off to Lambo to help start their integrated farming project.

Talk to you later!

Love ya!

Carol (sent Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 11:54pm)