Camping in the Wild
Just a 2 hour drive away from our home in Iringa is Ruaha National Park. Over the past couple of months we have re-discovered our love for this park (we visited it for the first time two years ago). The park is absolutely massive (7,809 square miles) so there is a lot of ground to cover and explore.
Usually we drive there late Saturday morning and get a 24 hour park pass. As soon as we pass the park gate, the safari has begun. We drive around the park for a few hours looking for animals, and then go to the campsite to pitch our tent and cook dinner. We head to bed pretty early so that we can wake up and get moving at first light.
We have camped there 3 times now, and it is both thrilling and nerve-wracking to lay in our tent at night and listen to the sounds of the night in the wild. In the morning we light a fire and make coffee and breakfast while the sun rises and the birds and hippos start stirring by the nearby river. We are always guaranteed to see a good variety of birds right there at the campsite that we can add to our bird list for the trip.
After breakfast we get in the car and resume our safari. There are pros and cons to exploring the park without a guide. While we are able to go at our own pace and have a lot more freedom than we would if we had a guide, it is also much less likely that we will see the big cats when we are the drivers.
On our most recent trip though, when we drove away from the campsite we saw a huge number of vultures circling in the distance. We decided to try and reach them and find out what they were circling. Lo and behold, they were circling a hippo carcass that had just been devoured by lions! It was so exciting to see the lazy, full lions up close and with no other cars around.
We are so lucky to live close to the beautiful Ruaha National Park and expect to make many more visits over the next year!