Dennis Whitmore
Occasional Minster of Tourism

October 3-15, 2018

Most of our 26 arrived in Arusha, Kiiimanjaro the first day
To get Tauck’s 472nd Kenya/Tanzania safari under way.
Six of us came even more early
To pre-practice safariing in Tarangire.


We saw a family of cheetahs as one highlight along the way,
But loads of elephants with lots of youngsters made our day.
I actually got a good picture of a lilac-breasted roller—my favorite bird.
Most of my previous attempts were usually just absurd.


We met Chris ‘Lion Boy’ Morrison, our tour guide
Who briefed us in great detail what we’d see far and wide.
Day 2 began with a total group photo.
Then our drivers wowed us with how much they know.


We had a cocktail reception to meet one another,
But excess noise left us with names yet to discover.
We started with a visit to Lake Manyara National Park,
Seeing blue monkeys and elephants—arriving Ngorangoro nearly dark.


Nancy A had a birthday, and as dinner went along,
The lights dimmed, the staff brought a cake, and sang the Jambo song.
The night before Travis had had a birthday too,
But at Diluti, there wasn’t quite the same ‘to do’.


Day 3 took us to the floor of Ngorongoro Crater
Where they have 25,000 animals, but not one alligator.
Jackals, hippos , hyenas feasting, dueling gazelles, and other animals galore
Made visiting Ngorongoro a rare privilege to explore.


One new phenomenon for all of us that day
Was a new fresh water lake which we named ‘Lake Pepe’.
That night our doors and walls came under attack by a rabid hyena,
And a guard was bitten severely on his arms and legs at Hotel Serena.


Day 4 we left the Crater for a long days’s drive,
Spotting Maasai giraffs, for starters, then to Oldupai Gorge we did arrive.
We reached the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in late afternoon,
And the room views of the Serengeti Plains made everyone swoon.


Our game drive, on Day 5, proved to be a great success.
We got pictures of all the Big Five—more or less.
The crowning achievement reminded me of Baskin-Robbins 31 flavors
When we found a huge ‘Super Pride’, the memory of which we’ll always savor.


Day 6 was a travel day starting with an Arusha flight
To shop in the Cultural Heritage Center which is a delight.
We crossed into Kenya, and there was little border wait,
Only to be swarmed by women at the Amboseli gate.
We saw lots of elephants in the shadow of Kilimanjaro,
And saw scads of pink flamingoes like there was no tomorrow.


Day 7 we took an extensive tour of ll Kangere Village of the Maasai.
We met some elders and leaders and John who was their top guy.
Then we climbed a lookout point to scan the horizon far and near
As part of a couple of game drives on a day that was quite clear.


Day 8 we flew to Nanyuki to start a special day,
To look for rhinos in Solio near Mt Kenya along the way.
There was a lot of success with rhinos as everyone did see,
Resulting in sightings of 52, 55, and 59—a rhino lottery.


We visited the orphanage which shelters injured animals.
We saw bongos, monkeys, cheetahs, pygmy hippos and the other mammals.
The highlight there was probably the leopard high up in the tree,
And the dances by everyone crossing the equator was a special memory.
We got Chris to dance just like we did with our great inspiration,
And saw swirling waters reverse direction which caused a sensation.


Day 9 was a game drive to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Reticulated giraffes were the most noteworthy species to see.
Next we toured Jane Goodall’s Chimpanzee Reserve, but there were only four.
Nothing there was of much interest—even if there had been more.


Late afternoon we saw the two surviving Northern white rhinos,
With plans for artificial insemination—success no one knows.
Two stops could be had for spinners and weavers to see,
And a grocery store visit to buy coffee and tea.


That chilly evening we went to a bar-b-que dinner outdoors,
And ended the evening by the fire making s’moors.
The Mt. Kenya Safari Club is a gorgeous place to stay,
But we had no time to do anything there before we went away.


Day 10 we took a morning flight from Mt. Kenya to Masaai Mara
Where there are hippos and crocodiles which we’d see again tomorra.
That evening at dinner the lights went out along the way,
And immediately Jim led us singing to Rita, Happy Birthday.


Day 11 began before dawn—we got up way too soon,
To go for a ride in a giant hot air balloon.
There was time to rest in the afternoon till after five,
And we ended the evening with a night game drive.


Day 12 we took a visit to a local private Maasai school,
and we sang to each other with David dancing like a fool.
Our sundowner was relocated indoors due to the rain,
And we had to pack up everything all over again.


Day 13 we flew to Nairobi and stayed at the Norfolk Hotel
Before heading to the airport and bidding a fond farewell.
So what about the animals with which we had exposure?
Here are some facts learned from our guides’ disclosure.


When warthogs eat, they get down on their knees,
And to find a leopard, look up in the trees.
Elephants can distinguish different conversations,
And different breeds of rhinos maintain no relations.


Elephants are strangely related to the little hyrax.
Hippos kill more people–these are the facts.
Hippos are known for their loud mating calls,
And we don’t know why those monkeys have bright blue balls.


The graceful giraffes have a tongue 18 inches long,
And just look at the ugly wildebeests—they are built all wrong.
Two kinds of giraffes were exciting to find,
And they are the only animal that is not color blind.


Impalas are known for the block I on their rump,
And also for the fact 10 feet high they can jump.
The heads of white rhinos are notably larger,
While the unfriendly black ones could be a charger.


The biggest identification challenge as far as I could tell,
Was figuring out we were looking at which kind of gazelle?
Vanessa documented every bird we saw in every reserve or park,
And that matched the keen interest of Dian and Mark.


While the ten of us were all going home
Most of the others were continuing to roam.
Mary and Kathleen were leaving the next day for Turkey
While Nancy and Travis, the Ark of the Covenant they planned to see.


Ernie and Karen were adding South African places to go
While Jayne had a beautiful new tanzanite bracelet she could show.
As for Stuart and Karen and Nancy and David Baltimore,
They have time to decide where else to explore.


One thing I am sure, we’ll all get home sooner
Than David and Dale, our perpetual honeymooners.
Their lust for travel would continually amaze.
Because they were traveling for a total of 62 days.


Thanks to Fran and Phil, we traveled together once more
With Mary, Will and Brett, where else can we explore?
The consensus seemed to point to returning for another safari here some day,
But using only the Four Seasons and Mt Kenya Safari Club as where they’d like to stay.


Dennis Whitmore
October, 2018