Following footprints in Tanzania - by Phoebe Millard, aged 15
When we visited Saadani National Park, the thing I was most surprised by was how many game drives we went on. I was expecting to go on a few, but not get into the jeep every day! They were so much fun. We learnt something different every day. For example, one day we would take camera traps disguised as pieces of tree and position them in popular areas like waterholes, that animals went. Then, at the end of the week we all collected our camera traps and had a look at what we had got. It was so unexpected when we opened up the memory card and found pictures of giraffes, water buck and even herds of elephant wandering about at night!
On another day we went looking for footprints of animals. The park is relatively big and open, and so when we pulled up in our truck on one of the salt flats, and got out, it was amazing to see how many different animals had walked in one area! They included hyena, lion, civets, water buck, leopards, baboons and elephants. Our guide taught us about every kind of footprint we saw.
We learned how to spot a gecko, whose tail leaves a swirly trail and we learnt that hyenas do not have retractable claws and so their footprints are actually different to a lion’s as they have more of a pointed top, due to their claws always being there! Another thing we all had no idea about was the fact that the feet of an elephant are quite different. The front footprint of an elephant is round and big. Its back foot is oval and small. This is because the weight of an elephant is all at the front. Its head alone weighs one ton.
My mother thought she had found a very rare footprint of a bushbaby, and got all excited about it. She was a bit put out when our guide explained it was the mark of someone’s trainer. Even though you can learn a lot from David Attenborough programmes, it’s a great treat to be able to see it all up close. I really appreciated how much there is to learn and the different aspects of the African National parks, by having the opportunity to be in one.
Other blogs for this trip
- 6 family travel myths debunked
- Ocean adventures: 6 of our favourite
- Secrets of Tanzania caught on a camera trap
- Cutest animals in Africa - by Honey Millard, aged 10
- Elephants in Tanzania - by Gabriel Millard, aged 13
- Turkey: in pictures
- Rosie Millard on the Longleat Family African Safari
- 5 tips for packing the perfect rucksack for an adventure
- Adventurous accommodation