Travel

Rare White Baboon in Arusha National Park

Rare White Baboon © Terry Divyak

Being on Safari can be full of surprises, but on this day we had probably the best surprise of all. We were on our first day of our 12-day trip and everyone was excited about what we might see. Arusha National Park is one of those gems of a park that not many people go to because you won’t see lions or any cats. But I like it because its a great introduction to our trip to see our first Giraffe’s, Baboons, Colobus and Blue Monkeys.

Arusha National Park Entrance

We arrived at the park gate around 10:30 AM and waited as Francis sorted all the paperwork and then we were off to our official start of our safari. Almost immediately we saw a field of Zebras and Wart Hogs and it was fun to feel the excitement for those in the vehicle who have never been to Africa before.  As we continued to drive we saw Blue Monkeys and baboons.

Mother and baby Baboon

As we continued to drive we saw Blue Monkeys and Baboons with a baby. That morning it had rained pretty hard and the baby Baboon was still wet and was being comforted by the mother.

Blue Monkey in Arusha NP

As we continued driving we saw more Blue Monkeys and I always want to stop when we see these little guys as they have such an interesting face. This one seemed larger than I remember as he foraged for his morning meal.  Next, we saw our first Giraffe and it was so fun to see the look on Amanda’s face as it ran across the road in front of us. She was so excited and commented how it ran across the road right in front of us. Of course, we stopped so everyone could take lots of photos, I took two, knowing we would see many more giraffes throughout our trip.

White Baboon Video

Seeing the White Baboon

White Baboon

After we were done with the Giraffe, we rounded a corner and off into the distance I had the first sighting of our encounter with a White Baboon. It was quite a ways away and my 300mm lens struggled to capture it as it looked back towards the vehicle. I was hoping it wouldn’t go the opposite direction, heading back into the tall bushes. Our guide Francis said he had seen a White Baboon in this park about three years ago, but he thought it may not have survived and he was as excited as we were to see it again. I cannot imagine guiding is very easy as you are at the mercy of Mother Nature and the animals, so I’m sure he was extremely happy to share this with us.

The following photos are some of my favorite of our brief encounter that lasted about 15 minutes and I took almost 90 pictures in all but also shot some video of this rare sighting.

White_Baboon

Finally, it was time to say goodbye as the baboon ran up and over a hill and as fast as we had seen it, it was gone. We were so excited after this sighting and we all realized that we had seen something very unique. After getting home I did some research and the last time this was seen in the park, was over a year ago and made the news. We felt fortunate to be the only vehicle that had seen it, shortly thereafter another vehicle came to the same spot, having no idea what they had just missed, a rare sighting of a White Baboon.

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