So I recently finished a nine day safari in northern Tanzania with GAP adventures – I did the safari with Aimee, Alison and Julia, from project, along with about 10 other travellers from pretty much everywhere. And we camped for six nights in a row, which is definitely a record for me (as is not showering for four days). Moving on…

We started off at a protected park just oustide Nairobi, where we got to play with and feed giraffes – this was almost as tame as our Canada Day celebrations later that night! The next day we crossed the border into Lake Manyara, then spent some time in hot, flat and dry Serengeti National Park. Over the first few days, we saw all of the “big five” animals of Africa (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino – although the rhino was in more of a zoo than the wild). Big highlights for me were coming across a small (very smelly) pond containing approximately 145 hippos – it was hard to count because they were kind of on top of each other. The hippos went crazy when one of the guides (teasingly) started sharpening his machete on the rocks surrounding the pond. We also saw part of the wildebeast migration, which was beyond cool. Turns out they work together with the zebra (good vision I think?), who stay at the front and back of the herd.

Afterwards, we headed to Ngorongoro Crater – a permanent water source so a guaranteed animal viewing spot. The crater was freezing but beautiful. Unbelieveable that such a small area contains so many animals! I honestly think I like the flamingos best – probably because they’re pink. Camping there was pretty surreal. Three elephants walked non-chalantly by our campsite as we were pitching our tents at dusk (ok, I certainly wasn’t doing any “pitching” but you get the picture). And I almost walked into a buffalo when I was getting into my tent in the pitch black later that night…seriously.

After Ngorongo, we did another night at Lake Manyara, where we toured a village, learned about local farming, rice and banana plantations, and drank banana beer (really gross when unfiltered), before heading back to Arusha. All in all, it was a good safari, but I will not sign up for nine days in a car again for a long, long time!

I’m noticing a few differences between Kenya and Tanzania. For instance, small town Tz features sidewalks and sewers…there is a major difference from Kenya where both traffic and sewage are a part of daily life. Also, the language barrier is much more noticeable in Tz. In Kenyan schools, all subjects are taught in English, so everyone has a pretty good grasp of the language. This is definitely not the case in Tanzania – esp for cab drivers. This was particularly obvious when we were trying to get from a downtown bar to our campsite in Arusha around 3:00 a.m. on the last night of the safari. What should have been a five minute ride amounted to about an hour. My broken Swahili is less than effective…

Am in Zanzibar now, which is by far the most utopian place I’ve been in the past two and a half months. More soon!