breathtaking!

24 June 2022 | Menno & Giovanni

I remember well that my father (70 years old) used to always watch National Geographic. As a little boy I found the nature movies very boring, but as I got older I started to appreciate it more and soon “safari” ended up at the top of my bucket list. Although my father was always fascinated by nature and its animals, he is less fond of travel than I am and would never undertake such a safari trip himself. Nevertheless, I thought it would be a great idea to embark on this adventure together with him.

With considerable persuasiveness and with the help of the information evening at Explore Tanzania, he changed his mind. After two years of waiting, due to the pandemic, we could finally start our adventure from June 24 to July 5, 2022. After arrival at Kilimanjaro airport, we were nicely met by the driver from Explore Tanzania, who drove us singing (Jambo BWana) to our first lodge “Ilboru Safari Lodge” in Arusha. Besides this warm welcome, we were again confronted at the lodge with the enormous hospitality of the Tanzanians. After all, around 23:00 a team was waiting for us in the kitchen to provide us with a hot meal.

Day two we used as a rest day to acclimatize. The lodge had a beautiful green garden and an excellent restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also enjoyed the wonderful massage service. On the third day we met our guide “Chrisple” and left in the jeep to the next lodge “Tarangire Safari Lodge“. However, before we drove to the lodge, we already made a short safari in the Tarangire National Park. We soon came across a lot of animals. Zebras, jackals, wild boars, impalas, lions, elephants, giraffes and even a cheetah that went to rest right next to our jeep. We could not have wished for a better start to the safari. Around lunchtime we drove to the lodge to check in and have lunch. Here too we were warmly welcomed and during lunch we could enjoy the great view over a valley and the Tarangire river where the elephants, zebras and giraffes were drinking quietly.

Around 4:00 PM we left for our second safari. This time too, luck was on our side, as we saw a lioness sneak up on some wildebeest and launch the attack. Unfortunately for the lioness without success, but for us a real real time national geographic experience! In addition, a herd of elephants passed our jeep a stone’s throw away and we saw a leopard in a tree in the distance.

After a short night, in which we were awakened several times by the roar of a lion quite close to our tent, we left around 8:00 am for another safari in the Tarangire National Park. After a short drive we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a herd of elephants (about 20). On either side of the road they were grazing peacefully and almost silently. It seemed as if time stood still and we became part of the group, because they didn’t care about us at all. It was a breathtaking experience!

After the elephants passed us, the safari continued towards the south of the Tarangire Park. Along the way, the landscape changed from woody; in grassy plains; and in swamp. The swamp even looked like a sawa from Indonesia from a distance, but what immediately brought us back to Africa, was what the Tarangire park is known for, namely again a huge herd of Elephants (about 35) grazing/ bathe in the swamp. Despite the fact that we had already encountered many elephants in the morning, the different landscape provided a different experience. In addition to the elephants, we encountered zebras, lions, a bald eagle, waterbacks, antelopes, buffalos and a group of baboons that day.

The next day the trip from Tarangire to the Serengeti was planned. We left at 8:30 am and passed lake manyara (visible at a distance) and the Ngorongoro Crater. This time, too, we found ourselves in a different world. Around the crater it was cold, foggy and jungle green and after passing the crater we saw a huge open plain which reminded me of the Andes region in Peru. Then we ended up in a desert and eventually this turned into the savannah of the Serengeti. The road between the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti will go down in the books as “African massage”, because boy oh boy we were shaken back and forth. Around 6:00 PM we arrived at our new lodge Serengeti Sound of Silence. In retrospect we can say that this was the best lodge we stayed at. The view from your tent; the facilities of the lodge and luxury of the tent; the sunset and beautiful starry sky; but above all the staff made the stay like a party.

We had chosen to stay 3 days in the Serengeti, because the migration of the wildebeest and zebras would be in full swing and we had therefore expected a lot of action. Despite the fact that we saw several special things all 3 days, the immenseness of the Serengeti meant that unlike Tarangire you had to drive around a bit longer before you saw anything and some animals could only be admired from a great distance. Nevertheless, we saw many leopards, elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos, hyenas, crocodiles and of course the thousands of wildebeest/zebras that had started their migration. We also saw a lioness and a cheetah hunting. Both attacks again came to nothing for the felines, but we experienced tension and sensation.

After the safaris in the Serengeti, we continued our journey towards the town of Karatu, where we stayed overnight in Rhotia Valley tented lodge. Again we had a beautiful view and the lodge had very friendly staff. This lodge was somewhat outdated compared to the previous locations, but basically still very neat and in good condition. The next morning we left very early for the Ngorongoro Crater. The visit to the crater felt like a good summary / conclusion of our previous safaris. After all, we came across all the animals and the landscapes that we had already seen there, very concentrated. However, this time too, the crater walls in particular provided a different decor and a different experience. In addition, seeing the rhinoceros ensured that we were able to tick off our “Big Five” and the flamingos were a nice addition to the list of spotted animals.

All in all, we can now look back on a great adventure, which was made possible in part by the good organization and care of Explore Tanzania. We have been completely relieved and have been able to fully enjoy a carefree journey. The safaris were great and the guide “Chrisple” was extremely knowledgeable, patient, friendly and had a lot of knowledge about the different animals and nature/ landscapes. In short, we grant everyone the same kind of experience and can confidently recommend Explore Tanzania as the travel organization for travel to Tanzania.

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