Tarangire National Park extends either side of the Tarangire River and has the highest concentration of elephant population in Africa. On the journey through from Arusha we passed many Masai “villages” and there were herds of goats and cattle being moved along (and across) the road by herdsmen dressed in the distinctive Masai “shoka” (cloak) with their herding stick across their shoulders. Some looked as old as the hills…others as young as 5!! 

From time to time, we passed waterholes with the women out doing the weekly wash. Shokas and other clothes are draped over bushes to dry ater being washed in the waterholes which is the shared with the cattle and goats.  Amazingly, without the aid of Omo, Fab or other detergents, the clothing is beautifully clean and the colours vibrant.


We stopped for a brief “bathroom break” as Sija paid the entry fees for the park.

Vervet monkey

The drive through the park to the lodge was amazing. Unfazed by the car, animals were grazing alongside the road and Sija pulled up whenever we came across anything. Water buck, Impala an, of course,  elephant were most prolific. A few warthog families and birds everywhere. Weavers, lapwings, eagles and vultures all on the list.

We arrived at the lodge around 6.45, just after dark, and were greeted by the lodge staff waiting to carry our luggage into the entrance lobby. Tarangire Sopa  Lodge is in a small river gorge and is barely visible from the road. The building is architecturally superb, based on the “rondavel” design of the local buildings. Built on several levels ito the hillside, every room has a view out into the bush.

Zebra & mongoose

At all the lodges, it is standard prctice for “security” guards to escort you to and from your room after dark as protection against wild animals that can wander into the grounds. Our guard greetds us “Jambo, jambo. How was your day” (Jambo is “hello” in Swahili. The focal greeting is Hu jambo with the response 'Si jambo”. The simple “jambo" is reserved for tourists. Back to our guard. He looked about my age (though he was probably 20 years my junior) and looked as though he had a badly broken ankle as he llimped his way up the pathway to the restaurant. As far as guarding was concerned, we assumed the strategy was that we would be able to escape while he was a sacrifice! In spite of his disability, he laughed and chatted all the way. Makes me feel ashamed of my grumpiness when the arthritis plays up.

  © Richard Miles 2019