Sherry Steele "Collectors" Safari

Safari Group 2013

Our latest adventure was Safari 13, that included 15 days in Tanzania in late February- early March of 2013.  The following notes summarize our trip.

Sherry Steele Safari ‘13

Some notes to share about the Sherry Steele Safari, TANZANIA – 2013.

As we have said before, we consider each of you who have gone on Safari with us to be very special.  Sherry or I can mention one of your names and both of us immediately recalls special images and stories about your being with us.  The Sherry Steele Safari Alumni now numbers 69 people.  We thought you might enjoy these notes about our 2013 trip.

Our group totaled 13 plus Sherry and me.  We were quite disappointed that our friends from MT (Stan & Barb) had to cancel due to medical reasons just a few weeks before departure.  Can you imagine someone being able to say “YES, I’ll go with you”, on such short notice?  Well, she did say yes (after a few days of scrambling), and Ann Strock from Dallas joined our group.  She was a Dear, and added a special flavor to an already great group!  We had 5 people from the Dallas area, and couples from Houston, Fair Oaks Ranch, and Kingsbury.  Our only non-Texans were Kathy Miller and Glen Brown from the Washington, D.C. area, who had been on Safari with us in 2006.

The Safari itinerary differed somewhat from past trips because we added one extra day for an additional night in the Serengeti Bush Camp to make the trip 15 days.  Another difference was eleven people went into Arusha one day early and had a day of relaxation at the Dik Dik.  Our sightings started early with a little excitement provided by Vervet and Colobus monkeys on the hotel grounds. 

Day 1 found us stopping at the Good Hope Orphanage to drop off much-appreciated donation items.  Thanks again Safari 13 folks for your extra effort to find and bring more than 300 lbs. of “stuff”.  We toured the facility (not much has changed), still no electricity.  Those bright-eyed children sang and danced for us, and we fell in love all over again with their big smiles.

Arusha National Park kicked off our sightings with a huge Elephant, our first ever at this park.

The black and white Colobus monkeys performed lazily for us, and we were off and on our way to the Tarangire Preserve and Kikoti Camp.  It seems that we always say this, but REALLY, the Tarangire elephants were more numerous, bigger and closer than ever.  We saw our first cats in this park with lion cubs and our first Leopard sighting.  I had told the group that to see the “Big 5” our most difficult sighting would be finding a Leopard, so to have that early treat set the stage for an amazing safari.   We would wind up with a total of seven Leopard sightings.

Our itinerary included two different “bush camps” on this trip.  The first was a more modern design with larger tents, wood floors, a lounge area near the dining tent, Zebras munching around our tents to add a little realism, and a dining tent that could accommodate about 30 people.  It was a new camp and had not yet been properly “broken in”.  Fortunately, everyone survived the experience.  Our second mobile tented bush camp was the typical Safari Legacy mobile camp that will always evoke the most memories for you.  

Tanzania was dry!  We had only 2 short showers during the two weeks.  Animals were in the early stage of gathering for the migration, and most of the Wildebeest seemed to be waiting for the rains to drop their babies.

Our Guides did a great job!  Godson was smiling for two weeks.  He is extremely proud of his family, and his son Daniel is now three years old.  Renatus, a guide in 04, 06 and 09, was once again with us, and we met two new guides, Bariki and Gabriel.  Bariki is a Level 4 guide (as is Godson), and was a real “hoot”, while Gabriel’s sighting abilities (and personality) were “off the chart”.  The nine travelers who took the Balloon Ride ran into our longtime guide, Shaukat, at the Visitors Center.  He now guides for a different outfitter, but he sent “a hello” to Sherry and me and all of his friends from our past Safaris.

Our visit to the village at Lake Victoria and Susan’s school went well.  They have made nice progress on both the location for the orientation and the material presented.  “Main Street” has not changed much.  The children still have that glint in their eyes that says “I’m a happy kid”, but the poverty is extensive.  Susan has a baby daughter, born last November, and is as pretty as ever.  Our group went “an extra mile” in coming up with so many items to donate to the school.  The materials will be greatly appreciated and will probably remember they came from the group that had a parade with our pied pipers (the Ehingers) bringing up the rear.  Thanks again.

The most exciting and very special sightings included: a mother leopard with two cubs who casually strolled under the vehicles that were watching; an elephant who stood on his hind legs to reach a limb he wanted; three different pairs of Honeymooning Lions who were doing their thing; nearly grown Cheetah Cubs trying to climb atop the hood of Chuck’s vehicle;  7 lions (with tiny cubs) camouflaged in a small patch of grass, a Black Rhino crossing, then re-crossing the road between our vehicles and forcing a showdown with 2 Cape Buffalo bulls;  and the take-down of a Cape buffalo (valiantly defended by Loyal Larry) by a pride of Lions.

Prior to making the trip, we had spoken about this being our last Safari to Tanzania.  Now we are not so sure.  Each of you made this safari so much fun that we don’t want to say it is the end.  At present planning is underway for Sherry and me, plus three special friends to go to Botswana and Victoria Falls in 2014, and we have asked Safari Legacy to pull together the numbers for a possible Tanzania ’15 trip. 

Sherry is still working on her photos “Best of Safari ‘13” and we will share them with you at an upcoming show.


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