Kenya and Tanzania: March 14 to
(Pictures are thumbnails. Click on them for a larger view. You may click on the subjects listed to go directly to them.)
Subjects: Nairobi Giraffe Farm Amboseli National Park On the Way to Tanzania Tarengire National Park Manyara National Park Gibb's Farm Ngorongoro Crater National Park Oldupai Gorge Serengeti National Park Flying Back to Kenya Masai Mara National Park Masai Village Kid Safari Fun
The Rich Family just finished their travels through four very interesting countries. We went on a long game safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Then we took a tour through Egypt learning about the ancient Egyptians. And finally, we had a spectacular time touring the country of Jordan learning about their ancient civilizations. This update is in two parts due to the amount of information that we have in pictures. Stephanie also has included an excellent short story entitled, The Lion's Party. Check it out in Stephanie's Schoolwork. There are also two new map sections showing our recent travels plus you can get an overall view of the Odyssey by seeing the world map in Itinerary.
Part of the reason for our delay was the limited availability of affordable phone lines in these countries. To get an idea, you can click on the picture above in Egypt showing a phone booth offering International lines. The phone was locked in a drawer. Phone charges to the US were typically $7 to $10 a minute -- it is expensive to call from the Serengeti Plain on a radio phone. Anyway, here is Denny working away getting this update ready for you. Yes, there was electricity and water. He just decided to avoid shaving for the last month. We are not sure when his face will be back to normal!
These three pictures give you an idea of what you have in store when you check out our two updates. We saw a lot of great animals in Africa such as this giraffe. The Riches pose for one of their "Japanese" style pictures outside the large pyramids in Cairo. And, the view of The Treasury as you emerge from the canyon in Petra, Jordan really does take your breath away! Click on either of the update lines in the box above or use the Navigation Frame on the left to check out all that is new!
We hope you enjoy learning more about The
Rich Family Odyssey travels through Africa and the Middle East!!
We arrived after a long flight to Johannesburg, South Africa from Hong Kong and then a shorter flight on to Nairobi. The traffic in Nairobi is substantial, but this is a modern city accompanied by, unfortunately, a very large poor slum area with little or no housing and some unsanitary conditions. The above pictures give you a typical view of Nairobi as you pass through.
Our hotel was the Norfolk, an old and famous place with doors showing the names of famous people who have slept there, such as Teddy Roosevelt. Shown here are our safari vehicles for Kenya which we loaded for our initial adventures looking for wild animals. Jennifer and Stephanie are getting us ready for our safari. We left behind the world items we did not need and took onlly the things that we needed. Nevertheless, packing and repacking on our world Odyssey is one of the negative parts of our trip.
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After arriving in Nairobi, our first adventure was to the Giraffe Center where an American couple has provided funding to help the Rothschild Giraffes, which are endangered, find a home to allow them to reproduce. We had lots of fun feeding them and getting giraffe slobber all over us!
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Amboseli National Park
We drove south from Nairobi to the Amboseli National Park. The sign at the Park entrance said you needed a 'smart' card. Our guide, Ernest, found out his smart card had apparently expired and it took us a little while to get through the gate. While we were waiting, the locals spent some time trying to sell us everything they had! Once we were in our very nice lodge, Stephanie took a nap enclosed in mosquito netting. We were taking our Malaria pills and were not worried about the disease, but a mosquito bite anywhere is a pain with its itching. The netting gave us protection, but there were not too many bugs anywhere we went. The next morning, we were greeted by a fish eagle on top of one of the Amboseli directional signs. You would not want to be in a car here as a four wheel drive game vehicle is absolutely necessary.
This first shot shows the typical African plain with its Acacia Umbrella trees. This looks very much like the scenery in Lion King! On our first game safari drive, we saw lots of elephants. Click on the picture to get a better view and to see the birds flying. Finally, we got a glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance. During the day, it's19.000 plus feet is covered in clouds and it is a treat when you see it clearly. Even though Mt.Kilimanjoaro is located in Tanzania, you can see it everywhere in Amboseli National Park.
The next morning, we saw lots of vultures hanging around waiting for a meal. Next, you see one of the common African animals, the Cape Buffalo. They are mean animals and you would not want to be out of the vehicle while one of these was around. The birds are around to get the insects that the Cape Buffalo kicks up while they are walking.
In the morning, Mt. Kilimanjaro is free of clouds and quite spectacular. The elephant walking and the reflection in the pond is quite a sight. Next, we saw a herd of elephants, including young ones, out foraging for grass. At the end of the day, the Riches are shown on top of a hill with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background.
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On the Way to Tanzania
On our way out of Amboseli, we encountered some deep water on the road. Our vehicle got stuck, but eventually four wheel drive and a great driver got us out. We then made our way towards Tanzania. Along the way, we could not pass up the sign for a gas station that said, Camel Filling Station. At a rest stop, you see the adults of our safari (four of us with five kids) with our driver, Robinson. Notice the mud from getting stuck. Jennifer was quite concerned as we got stuck on a 25 degree tilt and, while hanging out the window, got a lot of mud on her behind as we were pulling out!
On the way to Tanzania and the town of Arusha (a nice place), we saw some distinctly US signs. If you click on this one, you can see the sign advertising Hotel Fort Des Moines. We have no idea how they got it. Next, you see the Tanzania version of McDonalds... McMoody's. We don't know how their hamburgers taste as we did not try them. But, we would guess that they are better than McDonalds. Also, notice a Masai Warrier in his traditional red dress. They are everywhere, but they do not like their pictures to be taken up close and we honored that desire.
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Tarengire National Park
After getting to our great lodge in Tarengire National Park, we enjoy the sunset over the pool and the western sky. This is definitely NOT roughing it! One of the more colorful native lizards is shown in the next picture crawling toward our rooms.
Ant hills are a common sight in Africa. Here is a spectacular one. We were able to see many animals while on our twice daily game drives in our Toyota Land cruiser vehicles. Stephanie is busy video taping some giraffes that walked by in front of us. Here is one running away after getting tired of looking at humans in a metal box with wheels.
As we return to our lodge, we were treated to a sight of some male impalas. Later, we were greeted by baboons on the road. They are in no hurry to get out of the way. We enjoyed them and took many pictures while we crawled on past.
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Manyara National Park
We left the giraffes, elephants, baboons and other animals in Tarengire and proceeded to Manyara National Park the next day. Here you get a view of the entrance and the park adjoining the rift valley with mountains on the right as we climb above the park
In Manyara National Park, we first spotted a lot of giraffes walking down the road ahead of us. They are curious animals and frequently look at us before heading off on their own mission.
In the park, we saw a lot of black faced monkeys, followed by an impala who thought he was trapped by us in a river wash and finally, a family of wart hogs (remember Pumbaa in Lion King?? Here they are!)
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We stopped for lunch at a place called Gibb's Farm. This is a place which is quite beautiful and grows coffee. The flowers shown here, from the Poinsettias to the Orchid to the tropical flowers were very beautiful.
Here are the kids, playing a game and getting to know each other by now. Kate is in the chair in the foreground with her brother, Daniel, standing by her. Jeremy and Zoe are on the left with Stephanie on the right. As the safari went on, they became best of friends.
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Ngorongoro Crater National Park
We proceeded to one of the most spectacular parks we visited... Ngorongoro Crater National Park. Our guide, Ernest, is going in to obtain our park entrance permits. Both Kenya and Tanzania charge about $25 per person per day to visit the parks. You should note, however, that they don't have millions of visitors so the fees are reasonable. The last shot shows a view of the crater from the rim with the plain and lake in the background.
The next day, we saw lots of zebras and wildebeests (a very dumb animal and frequent prey for lions) in the park. Next, you see an elephant drinking from a ditch and filling itself with its trunk.
Here is a cheetah lying in the bush waiting for something to kill. We saw wart hogs (Pumbaa, remember?) taking advantage of the mud as we traveled the roads. Last, you see a mama wart hog nursing her four offspring.
Here is a female lion just taking her time by the water. Cape buffaloes enjoy the mud and keep the insects off. Last, two young male lions are laying around waiting for something to come near. We saw an impala get real close while we were watching, but they decided not to chase it. They must have been full. We also saw some rhinoceroses in Ngorongoro Crater, but they were too far off for a good picture.
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The next day we proceed to Odulpai Gorge and Steffi and Jennifer pose while we wait to get our safari vehicles filled with diesel fuel. Along the way, we spot some Masai youngsters dressed up along the road. For a few dollars, they would allow us to take their pictures in their dark dress... a far cry from the normal bright red we would frequently see along the road.
Oldupai Gorge is where the Leakeys did their work to help find the origins or modern man. Stephanie and Zoe and shown in front of the point in the gorge where two sections join together. This is the location where early man was discovered by the Leakeys. Click on the next picture to learn about the discovery of early man walking upright in the volcanic ash many thousands of years ago.
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Serengeti National Park
We continued on our way traveling to Serengeti National Park. At the entrance station, you get a view of the vast plains of the Serengeti. Next, a shot of the very nice lodge that we stayed in while in the Serengeti. It is definitely not roughing it. Last, one of the colorful lizards that greeted us at the lodge.
We did have adventures along the way. One of our vehicles had difficulty making it through the mud in this low spot in the road. The next morning, we had a flat tire. Our guide and the driver got out and changed the tire. We stayed in, as animals are always everywhere, even though you feel perfectly safe as you travel along. Here is a beautiful shot of the sun coming up on the Serengeti plain.
Later that morning, we spotted a pair of mating lions. Here they are going off to do their 'thing.' Stephanie video taped the whole episode and the sounds are terrific. We decided there is no better way to teach reproduction than to watch a couple of lions mating. Our guide told us that the lions mate for about a week and that they can do their thing on average every 27 minutes! Last, click on the picture to see a lion yawning as the sun gets higher.
Here is a herd of zebras crossing our road on their way to find better water availability. You can see that there are lots of animals to be seen, but this does not compare to the numbers seen when they are migrating from one spot to another. Later that afternoon, we spotted some young lion cubs up on a rock.
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Flying Back to Kenya
We left the Serengeti Plain and proceeded in airplanes to an airport by Mt, Kilimanjaro and then on to Nairobi before proceeding to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Denny had a great time as he got to fly the Cessna Twin 406 from Serengeti to Mt. Kilimanjaro and then on the second leg to Nairobi, shown above, in a Pilatus powered by Pratt and Whitney single engine turbine. He had lots of fun and the rest of our safari crew was not even worried about the pilot!
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Masai Mara National Park
In the Masai Mara in Kenya, we saw lots of animals and were treated to a stay in a very elegant tented room. You can see the bathroom and shower and the front of the tent with it's zippered front door. This was definitely NOT roughing it!
If you click on the first picture, you will see a beautiful and colorful animal called the Tapi. Next, a female lion we saw just resting and gazing at the non-threatening metal box animal... us, in our Toyota Land cruiser. The last picture shows a beautiful bird, the crowned crane, which is the inspiration behind the Uganda national flag.
We spotted a Cheetah mom and her offspring helping themselves to a kill. We learned that the mom will wait for the youngsters to feed before trying to get some meat for herself. The youngsters are at the age where they would be going out on their own. These are beautiful animals and we were lucky to be able to see them in action.
Here is a hyena on his/her way back to the den. A water buck stops to observe us passing. Finally, a pride of lions were enjoying the day. They all moved from one open spot to a more shady spot while we watched. Fun!
Crocodiles are prevalent in the rivers in Africa. If you click on the first picture, you will see a large crocodile on the edge of the Mara River. Next, Stephanie and Jennifer are in front of a very large group of Hippopotamuses. The last picture shows Hippos surfacing to get air as they relax during the day in the river. At night, they get out and forage for grass near the river. You would not want to be out with them. As a point of fact, more people are killed by Hippopotamuses each year than any other animal. We gave them due respect, even though we learned they make a lot of noise at night. They were in the river right outside our 'tent' and were very vocal. The first night, they woke everybody up at about 5 AM.
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At our last stop in the tented lodge, a village of Masai was nearby and were willing to educate the tourists on their culture. (For the opportunity to sell some items and thereby buy more cattle, which is the means by which they measure wealth.) In the first picture, a Masai Warrier (Pius) with his knife and radio educate us, while on our way to his nearby village. Next, the entire village turns out to greet us in the middle of their village, which is used to house their valued cattle and goats at night... hence the dung all around. Finally, a fifteen year old new wife to one of the village elders is shown. The number of wives, children and cattle is the measure of their success. Nevertheless, modern society is slowly changing their culture through schools and outside influence. It is felt that, within 20 years, their old ways will be largely gone and replaced by more modern ways. In the meantime, debates over their historical owned land and its use go on.
A masai child stands in the doorway of one of their houses. Next, a shot of the inside bedroom areas of a masai house. After we had visited the village, they all lined up in a large circle of tables to sell us all of their wares. Finally, a view of a typical Masai village and a herd of their cattle on the right.
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Kid Safari Fun
The kids had a great time on our safari in Africa. Here is Jeremy holding Steffi upside down while on a bush walk with some Masai Warriers. Steffi is happy to be riding in one of the Land Cruisers. Last, our guide, Ernest is shown with the kids, Kate, Zoe, Stephanie, Daniel and Jeremy.
Here is our group in front of a Land Cruiser while we wait for the plane to take us back to Nairobi and our way out of Africa. In the back row, Ernest, Jeremy, Kate, Terese, Jennifer, Marjory, Denny. In the front row, Zoe, Steffi and Daniel. A great time was had by all.
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