We wake to the smell of honey, a delightful smell. Soon it’s annoying as the source pesters us at every turn. Bees are present at our breakfast, hanging out drinking our wash water and buzzing around our ears constantly. I retreat to the quiet of the tent and dine alone.
We climb into the safari vehicles for our last full day. Tarangire is home to elephants and they are everywhere. Their destruction is obvious too as we see trees stripped of their bark. The elephants do this to get at the water contained in the fibre of the tree. Stephen seems annoyed with them as he tells us they need the shade of the tree that they tear down. It seems to be poor planning on the part of the elephant though we learn that they are making do with a small portion of the land they require. Stephen tells us that their habitat has been encroached by man. I think about bears and other wildlife back home and think of how this problem is widespread. Humans everywhere always seem to always take more land then is needed.
The baobab trees are plentiful here and I decide to photograph these trees today with a different animal in each photo. Stephen tells us of the legend of the tree. It is the tree of life. It seems as though the tree was conceited about its beauty. God was so angry at the tree that he ripped it from the earth and threw it back to the earth upside down. The tree survived by being resilient and learned to thrive in its harsh surroundings much like the African people.
We watch a very young baby monkey and his Mom. He is so unsteady on his legs as he take his first tentative steps. The scene unfolds in real time and we are in awe as we witness this heartfelt moment. We watch a baby elephant nurse, and a baboon looks right at us as we snap his photo. It seems at every turn there is much to witness and record.
We stop off at a Safari lodge. It is a welcome reprieve as we step into another world of proper chairs and cold beverages. This is where the other group will spend their final night of safari. We sit down and I enjoy a ginger pop and check out the first photos of our newest grandson, Hudson. John and I are teary as we look at the images. It seems as though we have been gone for a very long time.
Stephen tells us its time to go. I sink lower into my comfortable chair, willing him to go without me. I’m quite happy here. He tells us that he will bring us back here tonight and reluctantly I get up and join the others.’
We travel back to our campsite. Our treat today is a hot lunch. This is nice as we have all grown weary of the daily picnic boxed lunch. The bees are absent as they are waiting until its cooler before they emerge. After lunch, we find a spot by the shade of the tree and read our books, chat and write about the adventure that has passed and imagine the adventure that is yet to occur.
Later, we go back to the lodge and meet up with the remainder of our group. Its nice to see them again, hugs all around. We share our stories about our different accommodations, drink beer, wine and spirits. It is such a nice treat. Many in the other group are quite ill with colds and other infections. It has been difficult with the continued fallout from Kilimanjaro.
Some of the group will be going to Zanzibar, others will be going home. This for many will be the last night in Africa and we all reminisce about our African experience. I’m excited for the next part of the trip where finally I will share a bed with my husband, use proper sheets and have a proper bath or shower. I’m giddy with excitement for comfort that just a few short weeks ago would not have warranted a thought.
We leave for our campsite and our final night camping. The sun is setting and the scene is beautiful, the sky an orange glow. I quickly snap off a few photos and am pleased with the results. The sky changes quickly and too soon the moment is over, the camera put away for another day. We have taken nearly 6,000 photos on safari and countless other pictures that are imprinted in our minds. It has been an amazing journey.