Before starting this entry I have to say the people, the country, and the animals of Tanzania have truly impacted us. It was unexpectedly emotional to leave. I can't really put into words what this experience has been, so I won't try (but pictures help).
Now on to the fun stuff :), courtesy of Alex:
After leaving South Africa we made our way to Tanzania for a safari. We pretty much spent our entire 8th day traveling with the highlight being a 5 hour delay in Nairobi. For those of you who keep up with such things the Nairobi Airport burned down approximately 30 hours after we left. Everything worked out fine but the makeshift Nairobi airport was an interesting experience. We'll have more on that next time.
We also need to say a few words about our guide Deo Magoye. Deo has been a guide for 26 years and has been the head guide for series produced by national geographic and the BBC. He is amazing at avoiding most crowds and for spotting game that is nearly invisible. In fact sometimes it is invisible but he finds it based on reactions of other animals. He taught us about animal behavior as well as about Tanzanian culture and geography. He was also fun to be around and have a beer with. If you ever go on safari we highly recommend Deo Magoye and the Wild Source.
As for the safari, we started in Tarangire National park then moved on to Ngorongoro Crater followed by the central and then the northern Serengeti. All of our accommodations were in permanent or seasonal tented camps with the exception being a working coffee plantation called Gibbs farm. You might think that we were roughing it when you hear that we stayed in tents but we were not. All had hot showers (some were bucket showers you had to ask for), a real flushing toilet, and a nice bed. The food was outstanding in all but one place and even there it was good. The staff at each place was very accommodating. Wake up calls were done by a staff member who walked outside your tent saying good morning and then dropped off either coffee or tea. It was a very rough life.
Here are a few pictures of our meager accommodations 🙂
This is the view from our shower at Oliver's. Most of the time we could see elephants from the shower and even from the bed. Oliver's was in Tarangire national park and was a permanent “tented camp” with plumbing.
This is more typical of the other 2 we stayed at in the Serengeti. These had hot bucket showers on order but were more “tent-like.” In all camps we could hear zebras or wildebeest grazing nearby. In some elephants would come through. One even charged one of the other guests when they came out of their tent
This is Olakira in northern Serengeti. One of the staff members is filling up our shower
This the inside at Olakira. We had a nice little porch to watch game while drinking a beer.
And finally Gibbs farm. This was a working coffee plantation owned, believe it or not, by a guy from Boston. Anyway, beautiful grounds.
Coffee beans growing. Red means they can be harvested.
Beans after they'd been dried in the sun.
We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit a Masai village, or boma. The Masai migrated to the Serengeti in the 1800's and were kicked out in the mid 1900's when it became a national park. The visit was an interesting look into their culture and how they lived. Here are a few of the photos.
They did some traditional dances and songs for us. The competition song is the one where the men jump as high as they can to try to impress the ladies.
In the next blog we will show some of the game. Originally everything was in one blog but we have been unable to post it so we decided to break it up into 2. Hopefully it works.