Today we were up at 5:30 and were out of camp by 6:15, which is not bad for our first early day. Typically it is a little challenging for the first few days, as jet lag is a real force to be reckoned with. Our group was chomping at the bit to get out and see what Tarangire is all about. We are camping along the southern shore of Lake Burunge, and we headed east and north to move to the northern part of the park. We drove through what I can only describe as the most dense tsetse fly are that I have ever dealt with. 20 minutes of constant swatting, biting and scratching. It sucked! My ankles still feel like a raw piece of steak.
The weather was warm today, with big puffy clouds in every direction. No rain today, however the park doesn't need it right now. Today was not a predator day, which is very normal for Tarangire. Today was all about elephants and giraffe. I was blown away by the number of elephants. We likely saw between 500 and 1000 individuals, with half of them being within distance to get good photos. I think my travelers have no idea how truly special this is, as most of them have never been to Africa before.
We had a very nice picnic lunch at Silale swamp, which is extremely lush at the moment. You can always count on a pair of African fish eagles there, and today was no exception. My head guide, Kileo, had a bad stomach ache, so I went back to camp a little early to make sure he was well taken care of. I have a virtual pharmacy with me on these safaris, so I did my best to help out.
We worked with our digital images before dinner, and I did a slideshow of my past successful and unsuccessful photos in an attempt to teach composition, lighting, storytelling, depth of field, blurred panning and wildlife behavior. Knowing when to take the best shot was probably what most people wanted to know more about.
Tomorrow we will leave Tarangire, and we will drive across the Maasai Steppe and head up into the Ngorongoro Highlands. I cannot wait to get up to 7,000 feet, where we will have our camp along the crater rim.