The magic of a safari in Tanzania (2) in the wave park

Lake Maniara National Park was just one type of introduction (see previous post), interesting for those who discovered Africa’s great reserves for the first time, but a little disappointing for others. Our best safari, always with Swedes, our Terrace d’Aventure driver-guide, begins the next day with the discovery of Tarangir National Park (2600 km2) in 1970, where about 500 rangers watch over the animals.

Wildlife richness puts this park in second place for density, right after Serengeti which we will see the next day. About 120 km long, 30 feet wide on average, it is named after the famous river that crosses it. Surrounded on the west by the eastern edge of the African Gorge, the park offers a vast landscape of rolling plains: to the north of the park, they are, for the most part, occupied by a wooden savannah, populated by numerous acacias. . On the other hand, the landscape south of the park is more waterlogged.

With the exception of valleys dug by rivers, relief is usually not very marked. Its average height is only 1,100 meters: this probably explains why it is so hot there. And to the north of that garden sometimes grows countless baobabs with interesting stems, where these trees are, in principle, rare in northern Tanzania. Everywhere, termite mounds – isolated or sloping with tree trunks – form more or less large mounds, recognizable even to the untrained eye.

In summer, elephants are easily spotted at the bottom of the river (PB).

In summer, and in the more dry seasons, i.e. from August to October, the animals are easily spotted near the bottom of this river where they migrate as soon as the rains stop in June. This is actually the last permanent water point: in October, it will be nothing more than a legacy of water holes. There, one can see a suffocating number of elephants, big and small, men and women, falling into the mud. After spraying yourself along the path, with floor and track dust, ubiquitous. They rub against the baobabs quickly and often tear off their skin.

It is interesting to see these huge pachyderms moving in groups, sometimes calm, sometimes fast. Often in flocks of more than one woman, including one male and several young men. Tanzania has come a long way: In the 1980s, about 80% of the country’s elephants went missing due to poaching for ivory. “Since the ivory trade was banned, the number of elephants has started to rise again,” said Sweden. Admittedly, a few hunting licenses continue to be issued, but “in dribs and dribs and it’s very expensive,” he says. Each permit sells for several thousand dollars. And the victim? Swedish speaks less. Of course, Tanzania wants to fight against it. In November 2014, he set up with the help of NGOs PAMS Foundation, NTSCIU: The Special Forces tasked with combating poaching mobilizes civilian personnel from various services (police, intelligence services, army, forest rangers, etc.) and receives public support from President John Magufuli. According to the latter, this elite unit “must attack all criminals regardless of their location”.

This elite unit, for example, arrested about 900 poachers in August 2017, with a lot on its plate. In fact, although Tanzania was an example of conservation in the 1990s, at a time when its elephant population was stable at about 150,000 specimens, there was a resurgence of ivory trafficking in the early 2000s. How did the poor Tanzanians not allow themselves to be tempted? To improve their income? According to a WWF report published in late 2013, the price of rhino horn on the black market was € 51,000, with one kilogram of ivory sold for about € 1,500. And then there are the more common ones: smuggling to simply sell meat … eat.

So Tanzania remains a country severely affected by poaching and is regularly criticized for its inadequate response to this disaster. However, deadly clashes regularly pitted rangers and rangers against poachers, who are often well-equipped and organized.

In addition, some smugglers are heavily punished, while others are lightly punished. And, arrest smugglers are regularly criticized for the weakness of the judiciary. In addition to the allocation of exceptional hunting permits, the illegal export of ivory to Asia seems to be a matter of corruption, especially at the highest levels of the administration and the ruling party, if necessary. The Economist magazine believes. However, in August 2017, in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital of Tanzania, Wayne Lotter, a 51-year-old South African man who sacrificed his life to protect Africa’s wildlife, was killed. One of its co-founders PAMS Foundation (He has, as we have seen, provided significant support to NTSCIU), drawing the attention of the global media to the fight against poaching in Tanzania.

> Read about it: In Tanzania, hunting is not for tomorrow

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We don’t really think about this brutal battle between poachers and animal keepers during this photo safari. We are amazed, and happy that way! Let’s go back to the waves: near the water point of Macabini, dug to give water to the animals, we were surprised to see huge flocks of zebras settling there. Peaceful. A few small zebras born last March are still drinking their mother’s milk. Suddenly, no one guessed why, they panicked and ran away. In the sunlight, their males are adorned with red reflections … Then, as soon as they fall, the zebras calm down, stop and return to the water hole where they enter with courage. Soon they have water until dry.

Nearby, in another water hole filled with “salad” – in Swedish terms, our driver-guide – there are wildbeests, a variety of brown deer with a black line, which is water.

(PB)

And now the Lady Giraffe has appeared, great, with a slight jolt of her long legs, which must be pushed aside for her to drink. ”The giraffe is a symbol of our country. It is forbidden to hunt, “the Swedes recalls. Our driver-guides added that under the punishment of confiscating their livestock, Masai herdsmen are not allowed to enter the park area. It doesn’t seem like a river ….

In this region, the population density is always low, mainly due to the large presence of tsetse flies. Nevertheless, when the “Wildlife Conservation”, created in 1957, was transformed into a national park, the population living within the perimeter of the park relocated to a nearby village …

Listening to the Swedes, one guesses that the Masai have not always fully acknowledged that large areas of traditional pasture are no longer accessible to them. “Because they don’t kill wild animals, they don’t eat them, unless hunters attack their livestock …”, the Swedes added. We’ll be back.

Also on that day, at Tarangir Park, lunch with lunch box in the picnic area. Then we go back to admiring the countless elephants, baobabs, birds, warthogs who live in families and eat the roots on their knees. And also the lioness… in front of this animal and this landscape, we are all, young and old, like children. With the stars in their eyes. And cries of praise.

(Continued)

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In preparation: This “previous safari” is what Terrace D’Aventure has included in its catalog in Tanzania. There are no physical difficulties in this discovery trip, the safaris are being done in 4 x 4. Duration: 9 days. From 2295

These prices include airfare, transfer, luggage transportation, French-speaking Tanzanian driver-guide supervision, charming accommodation (lodge and canvas camp) and full board. This price does not include the registration fee, insurance, visa fee (it is issued at Kilimanjaro Airport, cost: 50 50 in cash), tips and drinks.

In addition, calculate 40 540 to 90 590 for adults for taxes, especially for national park entry fees – these are high – for wildlife conservation and for visiting communities.

* A guide: Tanzania and Zanzibar. Gallimard Guide. 25.90. A new version is planned for October 2018.

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