AFRICA WE ARRIVE AT SERENGETI – Nov. 14th, 2009
We arrived at the “Serengeti Serena Lodge”, another beautiful hotel located in the middle of the Serengeti. The animals and wildlife were a site to see. There were wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as far as the eye could see. They covered the plains in large groups. The landscape changed into dense forest separated by open valleys. We saw lions, baboons, giraffes, leopards, hippos and Cape buffalo along the entire route to the hotel.
I must mention the Tsetse flies. As soon as we got out of the van we were attacked by huge flies, they were everywhere. They are big, they bite, and they hurt. We were assured these monster flies were no longer a threat to humans because “Sleeping Sickness” had been eradicated. I now know there are 21 different species of the Tsetse fly that live in Africa, and the World Health Organization reports there are 25,000 new cases of sleeping sickness throughout Africa every year and increasing. Oh Well!
I was still very concerned about the mosquitoes and malaria because I was unable to use the Deet spray for protection. I tried spraying it on my clothes avoiding any areas of my skin, but it still burned and made my blood pressure shoot up. I took more antihistamine to counteract the reaction.
The night before we left Ngorongoro a waiter spilled hot water on my hand. Today I slid down a roadside embankment while we were waiting for our driver, Joseph, to change our flat tire. My hand was red, but not blistered from the hot water, and the slide down the embankment only scuffed my hands and twisted my foot. My pride was hurt more because everyone thought I was a Klutz. Two hyenas watched us curiously as we all stood waiting to get back in the van. No one is allowed to get out of the van, except to fix a flat tire, so the hyenas were very interested in us since they never see people outside of a vehicle. They were kind of cute.
The hotel was set high on a tree-clad ridge with a panoramic view over the vast Serengeti. It was designed in African style architecture. Streams and ponds surrounded it. The circular dwellings and the winding paths were inspired by the architecture of a Maasai village. The pool had no rim appearing as if it were the same level as the ground. I took a photo of my friend Betsy, sitting at the back end of the pool that over looked the Serengeti and she and the Serengeti became one with a vanishing horizon. Every Serena hotel we stayed in had the very best of amenities. All the lodges we stayed at had beautiful dining rooms and bars, traditional music, culture and dance, guided walks, massage and beauty treatments, and gifts shops and boutiques. One of them even had a steam room. All the rooms had private baths, hair dryers, private balcony, and phones. It would be a pleasure just to work there!
This particular hotel had security guards with flashlights, who escorted you to your room after dark. We were told to call for an escort whenever we left our room after it got dark. There were no fences or gates and the animals can come and go as they please. After all this is there home, and the Serengeti has a lot of nocturnal animals that roam throughout the night…especially big cats!
Dinner was at 7:30 as usual and we got back to our room at 9:30 p.m. Betsy and I just never got used to the time change and if we slept for four hours we felt good. Betsy averaged two hours sleep a night. This particular night I think she was up awake all night long. I got up to go to the bathroom around 4 p.m. and when I went into the bathroom I saw her in a robe seated on the toilet seat cover reading a book. She scared the dickens out of me and I was afraid that everyone heard me scream. We laughed ourselves silly over that, and then neither one of us got anymore sleep. MORE TO FOLLOW…