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Mw Blog March 2015

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I thrilled when the opportunity to visit Saadani National Park came up for this year. I had thought about it several times since the park was gazetted in 2005, not but nothing had ever come of it. I justified not going until now by thinking that I was giving the park time to settle and the wildlife to start their own breeding generations, and for those reasons I am glad that I did wait. The park itself is not large, but actually quite diverse with forest, grassland and bushveld habitats. Unfortunately, there are still some villages inside the park boundaries and I understand that Tanzania National Parks are working on expanding the park borders and offering relocation programs to the villagers. Hopefully in the coming years that will all fall into place.
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I am not a morning person, but it was with great excitement that I woke at Naona Moru Camp one morning to set off on an early morning game drive. The migration herds filled with wildebeest and zebra had been muttering away all night over the rise near camp and I was keen to step outside my tent and see if the lions had left a carcass of one of them nearby. Morbid I know, but so interesting to watch the circle of life happen before your very eyes. It was a windy morning and the sunrise was just breaking on the horizon. We jumped into the open camp vehicle, wrapped ourselves in Maasai blankets and set off, slightly south to game drive the Moru Kopjes. This is the time of day when the Big Cats are returning from their nocturnal jaunts, and so we were going to search for them perched high on the kopjes as they settled in to catch up on their sleep. We saw hyenas, giraffes, zebras, elephants, countless bird species and a porcupine. But no cats; too cold, too windy, too early? We decided to take a coffee break and perch our ownselves up on a kopje to overlook the nearby area (personally I would have also liked to settle in and catch up on some sleep). As I wandered over the rock, I scanned the nearby grasses. Something was moving. 'Lion!', I shouted excitedly. And there she was, a beautifully strong lioness wandering by our coffee break spot and up onto a nearby kopje of her own. She scratched and arched and was restless at first as all cats are, then plonked herself down. I think she feel asleep instantly in the warm morning sun. It must have been a long hunting night for her and it seems that was settled in for the day. Indeed she was, when we came back in the afternoon - there she was, still lazing there up on the rock. Not a care in the world.

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I think that I have just found where heaven is located!. It is along the shores of Lake Burunge at Little Chem Chem! Our final two nights of our recent educational trip were dedicated to Little Chem Chem and Chem Chem Lodge (bordering Tarangire and Lake Manyara National parks), it seemed that we had saved the best until last.