Tanzania: Wild Animals within Reach V – A Walking Safari and Visit to Mount Meru
The guides are already here. Our walking safari may start. There are strict rules which tell you how to move on the landscape and we need to abide by them. We are not in a zoo. It is truly wild landscape and there are truly wild dangerous animals. First, we saw a herd of buffalos. They calmly pasture before us.
Giraffes are another park inhabitants. It is great to be between them. I must say that these are very interesting creatures. Did you know that they almost don't sleep? The construction of their body prevents them from laying down. This would make them very vulnerable. Therefore, they sleep while standing about 60 minutes every day. You can say the age of a giraffe by looking at spots on its skin. The darker these are the older a giraffe is. Every giraffe has unique spots similar to human fingerprints. Moreover, giraffe is the national animal of Tanzania.
The road goes slightly uphill. The elevation is considerable. The vista is beautiful and the weather is great. Thereofre, we can observe giraffes, buffalos, desert warthogs, and ocassionaly we spot a hyene and many colorful birds.
We return. From now on we would travel only by an offroader. We would see many species of monkeys. The most itneresting is an albino baboon. Also we found interesting the most precious monkey in the park – eastern black-and-white colobus. I think we are quite sucessful in observing the park. We got many great pictures of animals Only thing I did not manage to take a picture of is – Kilimanjaro (5 895 m), Tanzania's highest mountain. We ride there for a scenic ride, however, everythign is veiled in fog so we see almost nothing. Our guide only shows us with his hand where the summit of the mountain should be. It did not emerged from the fog. Unfortunately. Well, we have to return here at some point.
The time flies. We have only one more day, one more trip. This would be a visit to Mount Meru. Our SUV climbs on quite bumpy road uphill. Sometimes it seems that we would turn over which woudl mark an end to our journey. however, about an our later we finally reach the place. A mama welcomes us. She is the head of the family of our hosts. We sit for a while on a garden at a summer shed. Then the "father" takes care of us ("baba" in Swahili). Then we set off for a tour around the village.
The father is a very pleasant companion and great expert on all plants. Locals don't need any medicine. Herbs are great substitution. Dracaena is very imporant herb. Locals have small fields where dracaena is planted as sort of a fence. If you drank too much alcohol, it would help you to chew on its leaves.
The walk was very pleasant and we learned a lot of interesting information. Near the garden, our guide stops us and asks us a small favor. If we were content with father's talk and intended to give him some tip, we should do so now. If mama saw us giving him the money she could take them away... Well, we cannot let this happen. Father really earned his tip and so we give him some money.
A demonstration of preparation of delicious coffee follows. The coffe plant has large, glossy leaves with tiny white flowers. There can be ripened and stil unripe frui
t on one bush. Therefore, hand-gathered coffee is of the highest quiality. First we go to a mill. We put coffee beans inside and only to see them come out on the other side peeled. Then we continued deeper into the garden. Local girls have been waiting for us there already. They dance and sing. We put coffee into a wooden post with a hole inside it. Then we take a pole and pound the coffee cherries. Soon the pergamen is removed. One women while dancing separates coffee beans from litter. Now the roasting shall begin. We use the same containers as for preparing food. Then we fire roast the coffee. We put the coffee back into the pole and pound it. Then our coffee is grounded. Now, it is time for a celebratory dance, a group photo follows. Now the lunch is ready including a tasting of great coffee.
The great day concluded with a sitting with our new friends. We buy some souvenirs and prepare to leae for hotel. This very friendly family made our last day in Africa exceptional.
Our African journey comes to an end. We had lots of great experiences, saw beautiful wild animals, learned a lot about Tanzania and its inhabitants. Maybe we return here on some day. Or maybe we visit another part of the African continent.
GPS: (Mount Meru) 3°14'20.8"S 36°45'47.2"E
Text and photos: Magdaléna Radostová
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