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March 23rd, 2011:

Safari Pangani and Amani

Thinking updating would start on Sunday was a bit optimistic. Hein managed to upload some photos last night though! Click ‘home to solum’ on the right side of the page. There are 2 files on the ‘Tanzania’ page (in excursions 2011) and of course the ‘Tarek and Miko’ page has now been updated with some March 2011 photos of both the kids.  One of my favourites is Miko on the swinging chair in Amani:
miko amani
She’s getting more gorgeous by the day!

I must admit that the photo of the three horned chameleon is also very cool:
3 horned chameleon
Three horned chameleon

After spending 2 days on the beach at Pangani we drove up into the Amani Nature Reserve in the East Usambara Mountains  (download map). The reserve has an extremely high biodiversity. We saw butterflies, Black and white Colobus monkeys, birds, birds, birds and, one night after the kids had gone to sleep, chameleons. The owner of the camping knew a chameleon spotter. He guided us through the forest and along the stream where we saw only two, one of the species being endemic. We had been forewarned that the end of the dry season is the worst time to see chameleons. Walking in the forest at night is great though, even if you don’t see many chameleons. (Must admit that I’m not sure my sister would agree with that, but for the city girl she is she dealt with the discomforts that come with such camping very bravely.) Then we remembered we had 2 children who were sleeping in a tent way out of earshot. We walked back along the road and saw 5 more chameleons, one of them the guy you see pictured above!

Now just a little bragging about my favourite 2 year old. As you may remember we often visit a hotel called Mediterraneo on Sunday. One day we met a Tanzanian-Austrian boy named Simon there who had a great way of catching crabs on the beach. He’d throw some seaweed on them to immobilise them. Then someone slowly pulled away the weed while someone else was ready to catch the crab in a bucket. Tarek was so excited that for weeks as soon as we put him in the car he’d ask if Simon was coming.
Up in the rain forests of Amani there were some river crabs but no seaweed. On the field that we camped there were lots of butterflies though. I never thought of it but of course grass also needs fertilisation and it looked like a particular kind of butterfly was doing a very good job of that. I found Tarek standing in the grass holding a butterfly that he caught. I thought the butterfly must have been wounded before until I saw Tarek pull out some grass, run to another butterfly and throw the grass on top of it before it could fly away. He had another one. That’s human ingenuity if ever I saw it.