First day in Tanzania: Simon and Frankie hit Tarangire

I am currently sitting in my tent writing by lamplight in the otherwise pitch-dark surroundings listening to the bellow of lions not far off and the suprisingly melodious cries of hyaenas. Today, we left Lake Duluti Lodge, which was comfortable and friendly.

Roughly three hours in the car and we reached the edge gate of the Tarangire. Another three hours after negotiating our way past the unavoidable gate queue of other travellers hungry for game drives and sundowners, and we had reached our stop: Nomad’s Kuro.

As a general rule of thumb, unless someone from the team has personally visited a property, we don’t send guests there. This means that we have our work cut out in terms of taking trips to properties around Africa. This particular time around, Frankie and I were lucky enough to be invited to stay at some of Nomad Tanzania’s camps and lodges. Kuro was our first stop of four.

Nomad Tanzania started 20 years ago and was one of a handful of original safari companies that aimed to seek out some of Tanzania‘s little-known wildernesses and share them with those adventurous enough to explore them. In this respect, Nomad’s ethos is similar to that of Journeys by Design. We share many attributes – space, minimalism and undistracted wilderness being the focal points of both. That’s not to say their camps aren’t as comfortable and cushty as one could hope for. Indeed, somehow they balance this perfectly. I digress – onto the trip.

The game drive in was a stark introduction to the wilderness we’d been craving since setting off. I haven’t seen such a high density of elephants before, even in the Kruger, where the nature of the dense scrub can sometimes restrict one’s view. On the contrary, aside from baobabs and some acacias dotted around, the view through the landscape was clear and could often see a 360 degree view of elephants, giraffes, zebra, antelope at any given time.

And eventually we made it to Kuro. Set in the remote southern Tarangire, this simple camp comes with a main mess area, seven en-suite tents and a couple of loos scattered about – it’s all you need. We took a few site inspections, followed by a gin and tonic in front of a sunset, plus open plain, plus large game, plus mountain backdrop. Ideal recipe really.

On the night drive home we did a touch of spotlighting, a technique used to locate mammals that exhibit ‘eye shine’, usually observed in those with nocturnal tendencies due to extra tissue located behind the retina called the tapidum lucidim. Using this technique, we saw no less than a porcupine, a civet, cerval, genet, cheetah, spotted hyaena and spring hair, not to mention plenty of zebras, buffalo, giraffes and elephants.

So here I am. End of the first day and I have just attempted some long exposures of the stars, a little unsuccessfully, since the once distant-sounding lions seem to be getting louder and therefore nearer. Having indulged in a 10 litre bucket shower, amazed and frankly a little guilty about how quickly it went compared with my showers at home, it is time to hit the hay.

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