This evening (28th Feb) we welcomed back John McGuiness from Tynemouth CC. John was last with us in April of last year when he ‘hot footed’ to us straight from Newcastle Airport after his plane was delayed returning from holiday. Luckily no such drama this time.
When John was asked what he wanted to do for his 60th Birthday he said he wanted to go on safari to Tanzania and so his presentation this evening was the resulting images, anecdotes and stories from his 2 week trip. John wished to embrace not only the wildlife but also the culture and environment of the indigenes population.
As a party of 5 John visited 7 National Parks including Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
His first stop was the slopes of Kilimanjaro with its lush green vegetation where the locals farmers, the Chagga, grew bananas, coffee and potatoes whilst living in basic tin shacks.
Moving on to west Kilimanjaro where entry to the national park was allowed on a 24 hour basis, John and his group enjoyed camping in the wild where he was able to show us beautiful images of Wildebeest, Zebras, Elephants and Warthog to name but a few. John also showed some shots of the night sky with the Milky Way in all its glory so visible because of the dark skies with no light polution, with light painted trees in the foreground. Black Mambas were a constant fear when paying visits to the ‘ablutions’. The presence of a chef to take care of the cooking made the camping experience more bearable.
Visits to see the Masai tribes followed where we saw the beautiful birds that inhabit the area including the strange Mousebird. John told stories of the Hadza bushmen who worked as ‘blacksmiths’ forging fine jewellery from scrap metal and 6" nails whilst living in mud huts.
Moving on to the Ngorongoro Crater some 34k kilometres across home to the Masai tribes, we saw fabulous images of the wildlife including Hyena, Ostrich and Secretary Birds.
John’s last stop was the dust bowl of the flat plains of the Serengeti where few trees grow due to the dust spewed out before the volcano became dormant. No brick structures are allowed to be built here so all the safari lodges are wooden structures. Apparently the Elephants here are some of the largest in Africa. Game drives start around 5.30am when skies are still dark and the animals still mostly active from their night time activities. John was able to capture some fine images of Elephants, Hippo’s and some stunning shots of a Leopard up a tree with its kill as well as Vultures always waiting and watching.
At the end of his presentation John answered questions from the members before receiving a well earned round of applause from the audience.
Bob Finlay (President)