Ohhh Tanzania… It was so close to being an ordeal to get there but well worth the hassle. FYI – African airlines require you to have the credit card you purchased your ticket with to get on the plane. Rules definitely vary from airport to airport since we were allowed to bring certain liquids on the plane and you were, supposed, to have a copy of your proof of flight before even entering the airport. Luckily, I was oddly prepared for this, for myself, but I guess they just let Ben slide! We landed in Moshi watching, what I believe, was Mount Meru (the first photo below) appear through the clouds from the plane as we landed. Kilimanjaro was so large it was predominantly covered by clouds. We took the hour long cab into Arusha, the land of safari companies.
Excited about our recent arrival in Tanzania, Tara & I were eager to walk around the town to get a lay of the land and hopefully seek out a company to fulfill our future safari needs. We ended up going out a little too close to sunset time and ultimately found ourselves walking around town with a local tout/fly catcher and a local chatty pothead in search of a Tanzanian restaurant to seek refuge from the scary, drugged out, crime-riden, streets of Arusha. After calming down and losing my paranoia we were able to enjoy our first local Tanzanian meal without utensils. Grilled chicken and lamb (I believe) with collard greens and ugali, a bland version of a potato/starch. We took our 3000 shilling ($1.75) cab ride home back to the not-so-comfortable Spices & Herbs hostel. A hostel where if you haven’t been woken up by the heat or the mosquito buzzing around inside your mosquito net, you wake up to the call to prayer at 5:00am sharp, every morning. At first the call to prayer seems exotic and almost enchanting in a way to a foreigner that lives in a mostly Christian culture, where call to prayers are illegal, but after day 3 I would find it… lets just say, less enchanting. While the accommodations were lacking the people sharing our neighboring rooms were not. We met a UT & Harvard anthropology grad (of many years) that was working for Cambridge university in the UK studying a local tribe over the last 20 years and effects that tourism and the advancing society has had on them. Tara met an interesting Tanzanian girl that is now living in Germany but once used to live in North Korea! I am still fascinated by the North Korean culture… I digress…
Lets get to the most exciting part of our entire trip. THE SAFARI. We set our sites starting at the Ngorongoro crater, considered one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. The crater is beautiful and full of amazing wildlife but the Masai people that have inhabited the area for generations are slowly being driven out. Unlike Rwanda, Tanzania has many tribes, over 120 different ones to be exact! We spent a day cruising around Ngorongoro, we were able to see many animals and some that are rare like the black rhino. We stayed at the rhino lodge where lions are known to show up and wreak havoc, that night outside our patio we saw two water buffalo fighting. The following 2 days and nights were spent roaming the bumpy and fly filled roads of the Serengeti. We saw more wild animals than I can remember and sites that felt like we were in a Discovery channel documentary. It is sad to imagine that when we possibly have kids our age, that they will not be able to see the amazing things that we saw on this trip. We stayed in glamping style tents for two nights, after dinner we could shine the flash light all around us to see 5-6-7 hyenna eyes all surrounding us. In the middle of the night we could hear the hyennas howling every few hours. It is difficult to describe the… epicness… of what we experienced while being out in the wild in this manner which is why photos will have to do. Next up, Kenya!
These photos were taken with our 5dIII, 40d infrared converted camera, or our iphone :).
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