Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 4 Ruaha

We are treated to a lovely sunrise for our final morning here.

Sunrise peeking over our shower

This camp has a camera set behind the main office than that is triggered by movement during the night.  At breakfast this morning we hear that a leopard with 2 cubs has come through camp overnight.  Also have to mention the fantastic jams from Iringa that they serve at breakfast, though they do attract the bees.  So much activity around the breakfast table this morning again, giraffe pass by, lots of baboons come very close to the table, impala, it seems to be never ending.  You could easily do a mini safari here just sitting on your deck for a few hours.  A bit of a sad day as we say good bye to this camp and move on to the next one.  

This guy jumped in Andres bag while he was packing, guess he wanted to change camps with us?

Tourists think they are cute, not so sure the staff do

Vervet Monkey visit at breakfast again this morning, baby hitching a ride

Looks like this guy got something to eat
Safari drive this morning:

Lesser Kudu, only saw a few of these and they were much shyer than the Greater Kudu, So now I understand this is a greater kudu, hopefully a lesser kudu another day...

Rock Hyrax

Dik Dik

Grey Kestrel

Rufous-crowned roller

Crowned Hornbill

Impala fight

Aren't these male greater kudus amazing!

I will pose all day for you if you like, I am so beautiful

Monarch Butterfly

Little Bee-eater

Brown snake eagle

We had such a great time with these guys, thanks so much guide Hussain, driver Thomas and guide in training Sosten, who gave us an amazing start to our trip (can you tell how much fun we all had?)

Very happy to not be getting on a plane today, we are just switching camps by jeep.  Notice that there are no fences along the airstrip, landings must be careful that there are no wildlife around

We are driven to the airport  by our 2 guides and driver where we do a switch of vehicles and off to  our new camp.  Our first camp knew that we were going on to Ikuka so they intentionally kept us away from places in Ruaha that they knew Ikuka guides frequented, we thought this was really considerate of them.  Paperwork at the airport seems to take a long time today, Safe our guide from Ikuka is here for the trip back to camp tells us there is a computer glitch, lol my work life is haunting me here.  I didn't love the drive to the camp, it is quite a way up a bumpy steep road, Ron and I will always be in the front seats at this camp. 

Drive to Ikuka

Ikuka is at the very top of this mountain

We saw a lion on the way to camp, a good omen for the days to come

We are met at our jeep by Mark and Tanya who is the camp manager here at Ikuka.  Lovely to have fresh juice and cold wash cloths to freshen up.  Someone is always there with a smile to meet us when we come back to camp, asking about our safari stories.  Think they ever get tired of the stories?  We also send regards from Rebecca from Mdonya, she had worked with Mark in the Serengeti before.  I'm sure it is a small world out there being camp managers.  Another thing I liked about this camp is they had wooden stairs that they bring up beside the jeep when you come into camp, so easy to get out.  I am definitely not the most agile person, getting in and out of this type of jeep is not the easiest.

We arrive at our new camp in time for lunch, oh my we have definitely moved up a couple of notches.  A regular trip advisor poster had told us about a new camp called Ikuka which though more expensive than the other 2 camps we are using, they did have the same sale, stay for 4 nights pay for 3.  She also said she though that this camp would probably raise their prices once it becomes better known, it has only been open for a little more than one year, so we splurged and went for it.  There is a buffet lunch served and a waiter follows you around holding your plate which you fill up as you please.  An excellent lunch, I’m sure it will follow with more great food as the days go on.  This camp is on the very top of an encampment with the most beautiful views you can imagine.   Before lunch we were shown to the "Loo with a View" to wash up.  The views from the dining room are to die for, then we move on to see our tents, ha ha, and the views here are equally as spectacular.  Ron and Nancy even have a plunge pool on their balcony! We have time to unpack and settle in before our afternoon safari drive that starts at 4 PM.

A little more about the "tents" here, Andre paced our tent, if it was square it would be the same size as our house!  My favourite of all, 2 sinks, wow I would love to have a double vanity at home.  The tents are opened up once we head out on safari for the day, when we come back for lunch everything is wide open, giving you these most amazing views.  I am sure it takes a couple of people to do this every morning, the flaps are huge and roll up so it is wide open.  When you return from safari after sundowners the bedroom part of the tent is closed up, but the living room section and bathroom are always left open.  It really is amazing.   

Our "tent" for the next 4 nights.  Notice no side panels during the day.  Pictures do not do the views justice


Our balcony

View from our bed

Andre in the infinity pool at the main lodge

Our tent, yes nearly the same size as our house at home

  We meet our guide Lazaro after lunch who we think will be with us for the entire time here.  He says he will be with us unless we want a change.  Again lots of laughs, I think we will get on fine. He is extremely sarcastic, a little hard to understand his accent, but we should get on great with this group.   It is a little hard to get used to only having a guide with us, we are used to a driver, guide and the apprentice guide from our last camp.  We also discover quite quickly that this guide is a little bit of a crazy driver, well maybe more than a little bit.  Our safari this afternoon brings 3 more lions, so a good start.  2 of the lions are at a giraffe kill, Lazaro was out with a couple this morning and they witnessed the kill.  It is a baby giraffe that the lions have taken out, the Mother is still walking around looking for her baby, very sad.  Mom is lactating, my heart is breaking a little for her.

2 lions that got the baby giraffe, very full tummies

Hundreds of cape buffalo coming for a drink at the river

have you ever seen so many oxpeckers hitching a ride?

Something spooked the cape buffalo, doesn't it look like one is standing on top of the others

Saddle-billed stork

Pin-tailed Whydah

The safari sundowners here are done while out on safari.  The driver finds a nice place to stop where we can all get out and then he pulls out a bar.  Life is good!  Some snacks, a gin and tonic for me, and the others have made a request for some different liquors for the rest of the week, they will do with beer for today.   We have pulled up to an absolutely beautiful scene of elephants in the dry river bed, it is like a dream.

Can't think of a much better spot for a sundowner


Our jeep for the next 4 days

Sunset, this means a long drive back to camp in the dark

On the drive back to camp for supper we stop at a bat eared fox den that is right beside the road to camp, lucky for us Mom and Dad are home so we get a peek at some babies. 

Bat Eared fox den, baby peeking out

Back to the camp in time for supper.  When were are met at the jeep they have a drink waiting for us, it was like a Baileys except from South Africa I think, this was waiting for us every night.  After showers we gather for a before dinner drink in the bar/lounge/dining room and even more snacks.  An amazing chicken dish, wow this place is going to be very hard to move from and back to our real life and world.  This camp only has 6 tents, so much fewer at dinner even though camp is full.  Endless glasses of wine with supper and it is time for me to move on to bed. Did I mention liquor is also included at this camp?

Table set for dinner
View from the loft of the bar/gathering area
Amazing dinner







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