Monday, 20 February 2012

Honeymoon Pt19 - Safari - The Serengeti & Lake Manyara

On our final day of safari, we had a quick drive through the Serengeti, not really seeing much except these Vultures...

We made our way to a much smaller park, Lake Manyara.  Our guide explained to us that we probably wouldn't see much there due to the drought, the lake was mostly dried up so the wildlife was scarce but they always include it in itineraries to try and conserve the park.  If no-one visits and the money dries up then the authorities might not preserve the area.  As it turned out we enjoyed our time there.  It is supposed to be a good place to see lots of bird life, which we did - along with LOADS of Baboons!

Sunbathing youngster

Cuddles from Mummy


We then made our way to our third and final safari lodge, stopping at the Oldupai Gorge on the way which was very interesting but sadly we have no pictures to share due to the camera incident.  We were meant to be staying at a different lodge but due to renovations it was shut and we had been booked into The Rift Valley Photographic Lodge (as we found out en route).  The sound of the place got me very excited thinking maybe they would have some kind of exhibition of photos up or an amazing viewing platform I would be able to take photos from.  It turned out to be the most disappointing place we stayed for many reasons.

Initially we were impressed.  Our room was lovely (our guide came to check it out with us as this was a new place to the company) and the Askari friendly.  After settling into our room we immediately made our way down to the main area to find a spot for me to try and get one last sunset picture across the valley.  After all our days on safari and a particularly dusty and sweaty day in the dried up Manyara, we both fancied a nice cool beer at the bar.  On seeing there was a swimming pool there I was very excited until we saw that it was empty (and therefore rather dangerous next to the bar and very deep!)  Unfortunately we were both extremely disappointed when receiving two very warm, expensive beers and a bowl of peanuts on the table (we're both allergic).  While waiting hungrily for dinner time, I busied myself taking photos in the best spot I could find, by a big stone oven protruding into the view of the valley from the bar.

The sunset wasn't amazing, it was a bit hazy but I got a few photos of the valley floor while we supped our warm beers.  (Apparently they only turn the electricity on after dark but our guide was surprised they weren't able to keep the drinks cool in the freezer during the day like most of these more out of the way places apparently do.)  I realise we sound extremely fussy and spoilt to be complaining about this in the middle of Africa, but when spending a small fortune on a luxury honeymoon and experiencing such amazing food and drinks everywhere else (including the even more isolated tented camps) it was a bit disappointing to find our last lodge lacking in simple pleasures.

Rift Valley Floor

Rift Valley & Masai

Rift Valley

After changing for dinner we made our way back to the main area of the lodge to be informed that it was a set menu of Leek & Potato soup followed by Roast Chicken and then Pancakes for dessert.  The soup and accompanying bread was lovely and we started tucking into our roast dinners before I suddenly started to feel a bit odd.  My lips and soft palate (back of the roof of my mouth) were feeling a bit tingly - much like when I am having an allergic reaction.  It had been a few years since this occurred as nowadays it's generally pretty easy to avoid peanuts.  Sadly it turned out that it wasn't roast chicken with gravy as we had thought, but roast chicken served with peanut sauce!!

It was entirely my own fault for not asking if they would be serving peanuts with the chicken (I had wrongly assumed I would be safe with a roast!) but the way the staff handled the situation was somewhat upsetting (and extremely annoying!)  Nik immediately asked if there were any nuts in the gravy - which they went and found out was in fact peanut sauce.  He then went off to our room to get an anti-histamine for me to take (luckily he hadn't really touched his sauce as his allergy is much more severe than mine).  When he returned I asked for another bottle of water to take my pill as I had already finished the one I had (we later found out they charged us for this which I thought was a bit much considering the circumstances) and they brought me a plain chicken dinner!  They seemed most distressed when I said I was no longer hungry and didn't want it!

We sat there for a few minutes waiting for the anti-histamine to take effect while my lips slowly began to resemble a recent collagen procedure (again no pics due to lost camera - seriously hope whoever found/stole it didn't see those pics!).  The staff repeatedly came over to ask if I was OK when all I really wanted was to be left alone.  I wasn't in distress and had told them I would be fine.  We heard them explaining what happened to the German boss when she walked through the restaurant and her only concern was whether I had mentioned my allergy before the food was served to me. We eventually decided we were safe to go back to our room as my lips seemed to have stopped swelling and I just wanted to go and lie down.  Again, they seemed very upset that we didn't want dessert!  It all turned out fine, Nik kept an eye on me for the next hour until my lips had gone back to normal.  It was all just a bit scary being out in the middle of nowhere with no immediate access to a hospital should it have all gone a bit further since I don't have an epi-pen due to my allergy being judged as not severe.  Luckily I have never had a reaction go so far as anaphylactic shock with problems breathing and hope I never will.

The next morning after waiting for more than the 5 minutes we had been informed it might take the hot water to get through to our shower while feeling rather guilty for wasting so much water during a drought, we gave up and had a quick cold wash before breakfast.  Breakfast was pleasant with fruit being served first (I kept mine for after as I prefer savoury first thing in the morning) followed by eggs with either sausage or bacon.  We much preferred the other hotels, camps and lodges where you could just go up and choose what you wanted rather than wasting some fruit I didn't want (as it was served on a plate to each of us).  We were quite glad to leave this lodge.

We made our way to the airport at Kilimanjaro to fly to Kenya, said goodbye to our amazing guide (Nik took a photo of myself and the guide before promptly loosing the camera!  This was the last time we remember having it - I suspect Nik either put it down at check in or placed it in his bag while being watched by the trolley boys who may have had an opportunity to pick pocket him or he may have even put it down when sorting out our liquids before going through security, whatever happened it was gone with all of the photos of us and the hotels from the last 4 days.  We had even just tried to download them all to the iPad which we had taken to store all of the photos but this had filled up already what with all of Nik's music already on there which we were unable to delete.  Luckily I still had all of the more 'professional' photos I had taken using my SLR.)

We had a thoroughly wonderful time in Tanzania and would definitely like to go back!  Nik was incredibly impressed with the safaris there compared to what he had experienced before in Kenya and we were thrilled to have seen so much!  


Johan Silver said...

Desert Safari Dubai attractive place for traveling. It a very nice presentation of culture, beauty adventure

Queen said...

That was a well planned honeymoon you got there. I have never been to Serengeti and I believe you have given me reasons to. Thank you for posting this and good luck on your Marriage.

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