After an early morning game drive and watching lions eat breakfast at Ndutu,
we headed to the airstrip for a short flight to Seronera in another tiny plane.
I’d gotten a little less scared of them by this point.
Once at the Seronera airstrip we met up with a driver from ANG’ATA Camp in a truck that was less than passenger worthy. We took a long scary bumpy ride back to the camp standing up in the back of a utility truck that I was fairly certain would knock my teeth out, but it ended up okay. My hair was a little worse for the wear, but at least I still have all my teeth.
This selfie was way more dangerous than it looks.
When we finally arrived at the camp, our digs were a little less luxurious than at Ndutu.
This is where I first learned about bucket showers. A “shower” where a man brings a bucket of hot water and you race the clock and hope it doesn’t run out while you’re still soapy.
This is also where I learned the truth about “plumbing” in most of Tanzania. No matter where you are, a good 30% of the time the toilet is not going to flush and everyone has chosen to accept this.
All of the camps and lodges we stayed at provided bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth, because the water you’re using to “shower” and wash your hands is so offensive that it shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth. You can’t help but feel a little dirtier after a shower in that. Not super encouraging. In fact, after going to the travel clinic in Florida to get my vaccinations (that no one even checked!) and hearing about all of the horrible diseases and parasites I’d likely get from seemingly innocuous activities, this was borderline terrifying. But honestly, after a few days of worrying about where the ice in drinks came from, what water was used to wash dishes, and whether fresh fruit was safe, I couldn’t worry any more and everything was fine. By my last day in Africa I was eating sashimi.
I’ll admit that this camp was a little more “outdoorsy” than I’m used to, but it ended up being pretty nice. We didn’t do any game drives here, but just relaxed and spend the day drinking wine in a tent. There was a main tent where dinner was served about a hundred feet away that required an escort after dark to make sure the scarier zoo animals didn’t eat you. This was also not super encouraging, but I came home with all of my limbs. Plus, it was actually pretty cool at night listening to lions and hyena right outside the tent. And for added safety there was a whistle hanging in each tent so the lions might be mildly annoyed while they devour you.
This is also where I realized that even at nicer places, instant coffee and dehydrated milk was the norm, which is kinda tragic when you realize that Tanzania is one of foremost coffee growing regions in the world.
We only stayed one night at ANG’ATA Camp before heading back to the airstrip to meet up with our next driver to take us to Asilia’s Dunia Camp. While this was more of a transit than a game drive, we did run into a bridge full of baboons, which was pretty cool.
Mostly the baboons were a little scary, but the baby ones were pretty cute.
They were still one of the few animals I’d rather not hug.
When we arrived at Dunia Camp, we received a warm welcome from the staff.
This was another tented camp, but was a little nicer than the first one.
Unfortunately, this camp also featured bucket showers, which this time were limited to 20 liters. Of course, no American knows what 20 liters is so that added an extra bit of excitement.
(Those green sacks are the “buckets” for the bucket shower)
These tents were a little fancier than the ones at ANG’ATA, the safety whistle had been replace by a walkie talkie, which was to be used any time you needed to shower or go out after dark. When it came time for dinner, you would radio the main “office” and they would send a guide with a knife and flashlight to escort you to the main tent.
The main tent featured a public restroom, which was also a tent
and had the largest scariest African spider living in it.
In spite of the bucket showers and scary spiders, this was one of my favorite nights there. The guests seemed more social than at the other camps (mostly because we were the only ones staying at ANG’ATA). Before dinner everyone gathered around a large fire and had drinks and some sort of spicy chips and talked about the animals they’d seen during the day. Dinner was served family style at one large table so we ate with a Canadian woman traveling by herself, a family from Columbia, a couple of women that lived in Arusha, and the manager of the camp, Angel. It was a really great experience, and everyone had an interesting story to tell.
The really great thing about dinner at all of the bush camps was that you just sat down and food came out. That’s really excellent for someone like me. I can’t make decisions and have terrible order envy. I wish every restaurant worked like that. Of course, I’ll eat just about anything. I imagine this would be a stressful experience for a more particular eater.
I think I stayed awake most of the night, this time the lions sounded really close. Around 6am a man stopped by the tent with tea and cookies as kind of a pre-breakfast while we got ready for breakfast and an early morning game drive on the way to the airport. We had second breakfast in the main tent and watched a gorgeous sunrise.
That makes waking up at 6am almost worth it. The game drive was, of course, amazing as well.
Apparently when it’s wet lions hang out in trees.
This time we got a safari vehicle with a pop up roof too!
Unfortunately our game drive was broken up with a trip to a restroom that looked like this,
Yes, that’s a dining table blocking the entrance. And after that they still had the nerve to put up this presumptuous box,
This was another restroom where there was no water for flushing, hand washing, etc. and no one seemed to mind. Thank God for Purell!
But back to the game drive!
As I said before, mostly I find the baboons very unsettling, but this relaxing baboon was pretty great.
That pond is full of hippos. They do not smell great.
We arrived at the airstrip for our morning flight back to Arusha and had to say goodbye to all of the adorable, terrifying, and smelly animals.
(Fun fact, none of these airstrips have any manor of security before getting on these tiny scary planes.)