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Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:00

Where's Waldo, it ain't

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It is hard to say what I imagined as we drove past the gate of Tarangire National Park and rounded the first corner of the first park of my first safari. I suppose I anticipated spotting wildlife would be something akin to a Where's Waldo book. There would be trees. There would be grass. There would be wide open spaces. Binoculars would be required. A keen-eyed guide would be necessary. And a little luck would be needed to see the animals. This was the wild, after all, not the National Zoo. And even in a zoo, a cage or fenced in area of any size can offer enough room and enough cover in which even a larger animal can be concealed.

And while binoculars and a keen-eyed guide and luck are required in certain cases and especially with certain animals, Waldo was everywhere from the moment we rounded the corner. Within moments, vervet monkeys were seen dashing about. Elephants lumbered across the scene as, if on cue. Giraffes snacked on the acacia trees in full view for even a dull-eyed safari adventurer like myself.

I felt Spielberg must be off to the side yelling "Action!" It was a sensation that would return again and again throughout each day and was voiced by those who would join the safari later on.

Stretching for dinner, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Elephant, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Giraffe in Tarangire, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Elephant family, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Baby baboon, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Elephant eye, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Baboon, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Elephants under the baobab, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Cheetah under the baobab, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Scanning the terrain, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Male impala, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Elephant eye, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Indeed, by the end of my time in Tarangire, spotting an elephant was as common as seeing a squirrel at a park in the States, albeit a very, very large grey squirrel with armor-like hide, massive tusks, and enough weight to squish our Land Rover flat, if it wished.

Amazing and heart-stopping and breathtaking and beautiful and humbling.


View a selection of photos from the safari in the Under African Skies gallery. View all Under African Skies photos on Flickr or just the shots from Tarangire National Park.