Tanzania is the best safari country in Africa – according to Tanzanian safari companies – so we followed up our Kilimajaro climb with 5 days on safari with our guide David “The Bushmaster” (who informed us he speaks to animals) and our cook Aigano “Mr. Delicious” from African Scenic Safaris. First we headed to Arusha national park (canoeing!), then Tarangire (elephants!), then off to the Serengeti (ALL the Wildebeest) and finally to Ngorongoro Crater (White Rhinos). Enjoy the photos y’all!
First up, we followed up our Kilimanjaro climb with…another hike. This time, in Arusha. Ranger Julius led us to some giraffes and cape buffalo. He didn’t have to use the rifle he brought, but I’m not convinced it was really big enough to stop an African predator anyway…
Next up, we had a short game drive that took us to a canoeing spot on a lake. The Tanzanian government brought in a family of Hippos from Ngorongoro Crater and put them in the lake to boost tourism. Because what’s better than letting tourists canoe with the world’s most dangerous and territorial animal? We kept our distance from them, but saw some gorgeous birds.
After one day on Safari we were already taking Giraffes for granted. We also saw a beautiful black and white Colobus monkey on the way out – we didn’t see any more of those for the rest of the safari.
We spent the night back in our home base of Moshi, and then we were off to Tarangire, the “home of the elephants”.
We cruised around the park the whole afternoon in a big Toyota Land Cruiser with an open top looking for animals. The trick is that you find animals by looking for other safari vehicles. If there are more than two, there are probably elephants or lions nearby. We even got to step outside the vehicle once for a photo! And then a ranger came by and our guide had to lie and say the car’s propellor shaft was broken.
We headed to the Serengeti the next day with the Land Cruiser, doing 60 mph over gravel roads. Uncle Glenn was not happy. The first thing we noticed in the Serengeti were tens of thousands of Wildebeest making their annual migration to/from Kenya.
We *almost* saw some animals eating other animals in the Serengeti. We joined a line of 15 Land Cruisers to watch a Leopard stalk a guinea hen (if I were a guinea hen and noticed 50 people watching me intently, I’d start getting worried…). But the hen caught wind of it – and instead of flying off like I would have expected, started walking toward the leopard and clucking mockingly. The Leopard, despite being about 5 yards from the hen, knew it had been seen and stalked off in defeat.
We spent most of our Serengeti time cruising around looking for Cheetahs, but didn’t see any until we were on our way out of the park. We saw a bunch of cute little Hyrax (marmot-sized, but supposedly the closest living relative of the elephant?). Our guide didn’t fully appreciate that we were nearly as excited by the Hyrax, foxes and Mongeese as we were by the big game and we sometimes had to stop him from driving off immediately after pointing out small animals.
We spent the final night on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, which is the camp with the most wildlife wandering through. You’re not supposed to leave your shoes outside the tent, because Hyenas, like dogs everywhere, will steal them. My dad woke up in the middle of the night to see a cape buffalo standing directly between my tent and his (our tents were only about 5 feet apart). And we had an old elephant wander through camp as well, with the tourists standing way too close and taking pictures, as you would expect.
We spent the final day driving through Ngorongoro crater, which has the benefit of condensing all the wildlife together. We saw a ton of animals, including endangered white rhinos and a cute little serval cat, but most of our best pictures were from earlier in the trip.
That’s it! Pretty good way to spend a few days. My advice to future safari travelers? Arusha National Park is a really nice, under-appreciated place to spend a day.