Our flight on the single engine Cessna was to an airport just inside the border of Tanzania. There we changed to a twin engine plane for the remainder of our trip to Tarangire National Park.
Flying in the "Bush" in Africa is not quite like flying from small town to small town in the U.S. You see the difference very quickly when the plane first buzzes the "landing strip" to clear off the animals that are grazing there just so it can land.
"Welcome, I'm Julian", beamed our handsome, made-for-Hollywood host. "We'll load up just as soon as I get these other folks onto the plane." The exodus was led by a sad looking woman with a bandaged arm and large "plasters" on her legs. She boarded the little plane laboriously but with obvious relief. "Don't ask, just don't ask", I repeated over and over again to my anxious mind.
After dispensing with the ragged group, the staff stashed the provisions unloaded from our plane and our few pieces of luggage into one waiting Land Rover. Gorgeous Julian settled his new victims into the second Land Rover. "Anyone want a cold drink?" Julian deftly opened a cooler filled with soda, beer and water. I took a beer. "And here are a couple of swishers for the tsetse flies." "He's kidding. Just part of the tourist act," thought I. No such luck. The tsetse flies buzzed, attacked, and bit until sundown. Julian remarked conversationally from the front seat, "You remember that bandaged woman who couldn't wait to get out? Poor thing...allergic to the tsetse fly. Never saw anybody react like that." Oh, Lord!
Forty minutes and twenty-thousand tsetse flies later we pulled into camp, bug-eyed from sighting ostriches, zebras, elephants, guinea hens and birds of unknown label. If this was the trip from the "airstrip" to camp, what would real excursions be like? We had the obligatory drink and were led to our canvas tents to freshen up before tea.
"Tent" might conjure up the wrong impression. The "camp" at Tarangire had about 8 sleeping tents like the one shown on the right. Each tent had a wood floor, running water (both hot and cold, although the hot water was only at certain times of the day), flush toilet and a veranda on which to sit and watch for animals In addition to the sleeping tents, there was the main tent that housed the kitchen, dining area, lounge area, large veranda, etc.
The picture below left shows the inside of the tent. Below and right shows the view from the veranda.