Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Goodbye Serengeti - Hello Zanzibar

Mar 7 - Goodbye Serengeti - Hello Zanzibar
Last night we had a great final meal in the Serengeti with lots of laughs and good memories of our safari.  One of the funny moments on our trip was in the last camp when some other guests heard that one of our guests was not feeling well due to dehydration. They we concerned because they understood that his age was over 80 years old.  I think they must have seen me taking oral rehydration packers to my guest's tent. Imagine their surprise when a healthy, rested, completely hydrated young man joined us at the dining table...laughs all around that we had developed the greatest rehydration solution on the planet taking 40 years off your looks...
The lion in the sausage tree was also good fodder for our camp humor.  
Fortunately our flight was at 11:00am so we had time for another morning game drive.  We we lucky to encounter an antelope called a Tope which we had not yet seen.  When we stopped at a lookout we found huge male lion prints in the sand next to the bathroom.  Then it was on to the hippo pools where we were treated to a large pod happily snorting and bubbling up the mud in the shallow depression.  A giant croc was perched on a nearby shelf.

The scene at the airport was classic - about 20 safari vehicles lined up at the dirt airstrip all picking up or dropping off their guests as about 10 caravans rotated down from the sky and efficiently unloaded and reloaded for the next flight.  We bade a faint farewell to our superb guides, Sylva the amazing spotter and Emanual the gifted interpreter of all things wild.  Our flight path took us straight over the Oldavai Gorge and then above the Ngorongoro  crater so it was good fun to retrace our journey and sport familiar landscapes.  After about an hour and a half we landed in Arusha and changed planes to Zanzibar.  Upon reaching the coast we had spectacular views of he lush green island, fringing reef, and percent white sand beaches ringing the various atols off the coast.  The classic one masted white sails of the dhows appeared as we neared the airstrip.  

It took a while for us to adjust to the humidity and heat even though it was only about 85 degrees but the humidity made it seems worse.  We transferee across the island through spice plantations to our little corner of magic on the northwest coast called Matemwe Lodge.  We were welcomed with fresh coconuts full of rich milk and cool towels to wipe down our faces.  The accommodations here we fabulous - each one of us had a beach side villa with high ceilings, four poster beds, well decorated sitting area, and well appointed large bathrooms with walk in shower,  one piece stone bathtub, double sinks, and a separate bathroom.  Out front their was a hammock and a nice couch on the private lanai.  Each unite had great privacy and was only steps from the bluffs overlooking the turquoise sea.  Mnemba Atoll was just across the channel beckoning us to its powdery white beaches and renowned coral reef for snorkeling and diving.  We quickly settled in and went for a swim in the two pools, signed up for incredible massages with Bertha at the spa, and booked our dive/snorkel excursions for the next day.  The drink of the day was a dark and stormy rum concoction that went down perfectly as the sun set.  We were treated to a lavish seafood BBQ at the restaurant with fresh shrimp, octopus, tuna, lobster, and more....the resort offered some nice table wines as well as a selection of reserve wines from around the world.  I settled on a nice Chenin Blanc from South Africa which was the house wine.  We tapped back into the internet and started sending photos and updates to our friends and family so it was great to get reconnected.  I used a VOIP application called Viber to call Jale and the kids - great to hear heir voices.  Gotta love the Internet - free calls and texts half way around the world!  We all conked out early from the long travel day as the gentle Indian Ocean breeze blew across the resort.  

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