Tanzania: Going on Safari

I had always wanted to go on a safari and see exotic animals in the wild. And when I did, every moment was amazing and sometimes it felt like someone had pulled down a screen and let animals walk across in front of it.

After our trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro, we drove west to visit the Tarangire National Park and the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. While the vast area and the amount of animals in the Ngorogoro crater is amazing, I found Tarangire to be the more beautiful park. The vegetation is more abundant and you have to search for the animals.

As we drove into the park, our guide asked us what we thought we’d see first. Some of us thought elephants, others giraffes or zebras. Turns out the first ones we saw were impalas and they were everywhere!

Then came the zebras, giraffes and elephants. I loved taking photos of zebras with their pretty stripes. The elephants reminded me of grazing cows they way they slowly walked around and munched on huge clumps of grass. Giraffes were the most surreal for me, probably because they are so tall.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and would tell us all about the animals. He also let us take our time watching and photographing them. Once, we were driving down the road at what felt like a breakneck speed when he suddenly stepped on the brakes and said “Lion!”. What, where? He saw things out of the corner of his eye, things we would never have suspected were there.

We also saw a number of birds.

When the first warthog was seen someone cried out “Look, Pumbaa!”.

The youngest elephants we saw were a week and 2-3 weeks old. They wobbled around on their legs and were protected by the other larger female elephants in the group.

In the morning we woke up the the sound of animals screeching and running through our camp. When we decided it was safe enough to get out of the tent, we saw giraffes grazing in the morning light. Our sunrise safari began and we watched animals go to the watering hole to drink and bathe.

After saying good bye to Tarangire, we drove to the Ngorogoro Crater.

Here, it was easy to see many animals grazing side by side. In the distance there were lions getting ready to lie down and digest their early morning meal and hyenas enjoying left-overs.

We saw four of the “big 5”, the leopard was the one we missed. We kept our eyes peeled for a tail or a leg hanging out of a tree, but they kept themselves very well hidden. We did see a rhino, though, which I thought to be very special as they are on the list of endangered species.

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