July 20, 2010 GMT
Magic In Mikumi

After staying in pleasant and compact Dodoma a couple of days it was time to head off and explore the road to Morogoro. As far as I can tell, it's tarmac all the way to Cape Town now, unless I get sidetracked down dead-ends again.

A little before the Nguru Mountains there's a lot of volcanic scenery:



Then we climb up into the Nguru range:




It's not very high, but was quite cold up here when the clouds blocked out the sunshine, which was a bit of a surprise. I'm not used to cold now.

We dropped down into the plains again and the warmth, and Morogoro lay ahead, at the foot of the Ulugurus. I arrived here fairly early, so decided not to stop but to turn right, towards the southwest and Mikumi:

Heading southwest just after Morogoro. The Ulugurus keep to the left of the road for twenty five miles or so.


It looked as though I would reach Mikumi town in good time, so I stayed on the road as it went straight through the middle of Mikumi National Park on the way.



First on the bill were baboons wandering all over the road, they certainly like the tarmac. Followed by antelope with long horns, don't know the name. I had to snap them as soon as I stopped. If I get off the bike they scamper away.






Then this chap:

Our previous encounter with giraffe told us that they are oblivious to moving traffic, but will retreat smartly from anything that stops on the road. So I snapped this one quickly without getting off the bike.

He was followed by more antelope, some zebra and many more baboons.
Next, the Rubeho mountains came into view which I'll be climbing over - or through the passes - to reach Iringa:


This is the same picture before cropping. There's a hidden creature in there. See if you can spot it.

I didn't spot it, not until I was posting these pictures on the website, and it was just a little way across the road from me when I took the photograph. Those giraffe are certainly well camouflaged in this environment. Here it is on the extreme right hand side of the full picture:


I started the bike after taking this photo, completely unaware of any creatures around, rode a hundred yards, and there they all were, right next to the road!
I stopped quickly on the bridge just visible between the car and my bike in the pictures above, thinking I might blend in with the railings on the parapet. It seemed to work, because the five giraffe nearby stood rock still, staring at me, as I took these photos. In fact the nearest two edged a bit closer for a better view.

"Karibu Mr. Ken, what will you do with your bike when you reach Cape Town?"

"Sell it to me. Give me your bike! It'd be so handy for getting around!"

This one made a particularly close inspection of the bike's rear.

"I see you've lowered the height of it. Just right for my feet to reach the ground easily."

"You know it makes sense, you'll have more room in your garage when you return home to Whyteleafe!"

"You're a strange crowd in England, wandering around all on your own!" said Mr. Giraffe. "We don't do that here, do we Mr. Zebra?"

"I think we'd all fit on that, don't you?"

"I say, is that a GPS? I do love playing with those, don't you?"

"Karibu Mr. Ken, how are you? I see Mr. Giraffe didn't buy your bike!"

"I can see clouds in this mirror, it'll help to forecast the weather. Give me your bike!"

"Watch me! -- Elephant through the looking glass!"

"Three elephants through the looking glass!
Now, seeing what Mr. Ken's wearing on his head, the Mad Hatter must be here somewhere - I do hope we're in time for tea with The Queen of Hearts!"

"Pssssst! ..... should we tell him the football finished last week?"

Can't think of a name for this thing - it was in the campsite one sunny morning. Probably it's Mr. African Super-size Grasshopper.



Am in Iringa now on the way to Mbeya. Photos of scenery across the Rubeho Mountains coming up next if I can do them in this internet cafe. The service seems pretty good. Hold tight!

Posted by Ken Thomas at July 20, 2010 12:08 PM GMT

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