OnSafari: Rain

OnSafari: Rain

The rains start north to south, and we traveled north to south and always seemed to be just a day or two ahead of the rains. It was so dry and dusty in Tarangire when we got there Monday that the interior of my room was 105F and my hands were dry after washing my face in the sink before I could get to the towel rack.

We followed the Tarangire sand river and found lots of elephant but little else. At least the tse-tse were down in such conditions. Tuesday morning our dawn drive headed to the Silale Swamp and I swear that every animal in Tarangire was there.

It was a spectacular morning of game viewing with hundreds of elephants, hundreds if not thousands of zebra and lots of wildebeest, impala, reedbuck and warthog. At the swamp’s edge the breeze was cool, but the moment we headed back to camp it was stultifying.

So nobody wanted to go out again after lunch. Great conversations tried to decide the exact way to keep the tent flaps permanently opened. Some people just kept walking into the cold outdoor shower and enjoying the coolness of evaporation. And then, it drizzled.

And just before dawn this morning my roof clattered with steady, heavy rain. The temperature fell 10-15 degrees. Birds sang and shook the water off their feathers. The veld smelled so sweet.

Normally the rains start with a bang, just like Steve and I experienced at Gibb’s Farm a few weeks ago. There was no thunder or lightning with this morning’s rain and it didn’t last long. The skeptics will be worried but for the moment it was sheer bliss.

The skies had cleared a few hours later when we drove to the airstrip to begin our journey home. It was hot, again, actually a good sign for building up strong rains. We flew into the main Kilimanjaro airport and it was searing hot with giant storms rumbling around nearby Mt. Kilimanjaro. As I finish this little report, now, the thunder continues. I think it’s going to be OK.