Lake Burunge & Tarangire National Park
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We arrive at the Lake Burunge Tent Camp early
in the afternoon. The drive on the bara bara ina rasta is really
for the next set of roads we will be on the coming week. How quickly the landscape changes once again.
From the lush countryside of Arusha to a dry
desert like hillsides we find ourselves in a flat, scrub woodland area.
Lake Burunge is
a small alkaline lake.. The Tarangire River empties into this shallow soda lake just outside the park's western boundary.
Flocks of flamingos are found on the lake from July to November. It is a large lake and makes a pretty picture with the Great Rift Valley's western escarpment in the background. There's no outlet, so salts and other minerals washed in by the river have turned the lake inhospitably saline, although during the rains the water is fresh enough to serve as a watering point for animals, including elephants and lions.
The lake's shallowness (barely 2m) means that
its extent fluctuates widely. It tends to dry up completely
at the end of the dry season, leaving only a shimmer of encrusted salt
on its surface.
The tent bungalows and the dining hall.
Our first afternoon gave us time to rest and
get ready for an afternoon walk around the property. From this point on
we could become
part of the food chain. Our walk with a Maasai guide named Lobulu provided us with some unusal finds around the lodge.
We came across Dik-Dik scat or droppings. The
Dik-Dik is the smallest of the Antelopes. Their hoof prints were
everywhere around the lodge but it wasn't until we got to Tarangire National Park that we saw them. Lobulu showed us
the various plants the Maasai use for food and for medicinal purposes. The short walk allowed us to stretch our legs and rest up before dinner.
This is a Black-crowned Tchagra. Joan reads while I do some birding from our porch.
Everyone hit the sack early that night because
in the morning we would be heading for Tarangire National Park. The rain
hit around 1:00 am.
It was loud and constant. At first all I could think of was that our first game drive was going to be rained out. However by morning the rain has stopped and we were ready for
our game drive. Following orders, Joan and I were riding with Salim this morning. Yesterday Herbie had been our driver from Arusha to Lake Burunge.
As we head east on this bumpy gravel strip Herbie
calls on the radio to Salim. Salim talks to him and after a few seconds
slows down and begins to make a U-turn in the road. He turns to us and
says, "Herbie had four flat tires. Need to go back and help him." We look
at each other and we're all wondering how he could have gotten four flat
tires. Sabotage perhaps? Just as Salim is finishing his U-turn Herbie comes
back on the radio and tells Salim something. Salim stops and turns the
Land Cruiser back towards the park. He doesn't look to happy until he turns
and says, "April Fools." Herbie made that up. We all start laughing. Somehow we need to get even with Herbie, of course, we never do.
Want to go to Africa? Begin here.
© 2009 Anthony Galván III
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