On Safari in Tanzania

Our safari wagon for the next 5 days.

I am in a jeep on my way to the Serengeti and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m really thrilled about this for a few reasons. One is that I probably wouldn’t do it quite this way on my own, I’d probably do it on a shoestring budget with a bunch of Europeans from my hostel. Instead, I’m going with a group of friends who I know through work and some of their extended family. Two, I’d probably decide to go and not wait for anyone and go alone so I’m glad to have a group that wanted to go and invited me.  It’s good to travel with people.  I’m also careful about the countries I travel to alone and Tanzania had mixed reports.  This trip is so well planned though and touristy that I don’t think that’ll be a factor.

I cannot believe my life has allowed me the good fortune to be able to see so much of the world.  Some of you probably read this and think I say the same thing a lot.  Maybe it’s like, “Wow, Rachel is shocked every time she gets on a plane.”  And I’d laugh and say, honestly, I can’t believe how much of the beautiful world I’ve gotten to see and I feel so blessed just to be able to experience so much of it.

Can’t get out now, there are lions in the bushes.

So, off we go into the Serengeti.  I’m most looking forward to seeing giraffes but I’m also just really excited to see such exotic animals.  I grew up 10 miles out-of-town in Montana where there were deer, elk, bear and the occasional mountain lion.  Nothing quite as exuberant as a giraffe or a zebra, but beautiful to be sure.

Today in the Serengeti we saw more than I ever thought we would.
Lions
Leopard
Cheetah
Elephants
Ostriches
Zebras
Wildebeest
impalas
Gazelles
Topi
Giraffes
Hippo
Hyena
Mating lions and a cheetah chase

Seriously, how beautiful is that?
Awwww!
Reptiles inspired by Lisa Frank.

I sat in the front most of the time with our Guide/Driver Tom.  Tom used to be the guide for those hostel safaris I would’ve seen myself on.  Now he works for one of the bigger companies here.  His English was great so he and I could joke all day while I helped copilot.  An by help, I mean, I did next to nothing but I still got the title so that was cool.

 

Best pilot

While we drove from place to place I was amazed at how whatever or whoever the creator is, how amazing and imaginative that force is.  If someone were to tell me, there is a horse out there, that is black and white striped, I’d assume they were exaggerating.  I’d assume it was tan and brown and somewhat striped, but here I am with a zebra in front of me, as distinct as possible.  It’s just amazing that it exists.

A lion watching us watch her.

What’s more amazing, is we saw so much.  We saw a stampede.  We saw lions mating (enjoyed more by some members of the group than others).  We saw hippos running.  I cannot being a hippo and thinking, okay, I’m going to run, for fun.  You get the point though, it was just humbling and inspiring

I loved watching the elephants.
I imagine this hippo was lip synching to Whitney Houston. I just can’t imagine them singing to anything with less power.

We decided not to camp since the majority of the group spent all of last week climbing and camping on Kilimanjaro.

We booked lodges with very low expectations. We’ve been surprised to see the lodges around the park are luxury retreats straight out of a Cialis commercial.

The pool which overlooks Ngorongoro Crater.
Ngorongoro crater

I went on safari with the expectation that I would see some of the animals, but not expecting to see all of them.  I was totally blown away though.  We got to see some of everything.  It was 5 days in a vehicle, which was a bit much for me.  I needed to get out and walk for about 10 hours by the time it was all done.  But I would also say, if you ever have the opportunity, it’s worth the money.  Just go.

Just do it.

Yeah, I coulda bought some pretty sweet shoes and handbags with the money.

But…

We only walk the Earth a short time.  Look at all the weird animals that walk it with us.

Me and my travel group.