Can I do it one more time?
On Thursday 7 July we will leave for Tanzania with our three children and their loved ones. An unprecedented journey for us. Despite all the reports about crowds at Schiphol, we go through all checks without much delay. We fly to Zanzibar where two drivers are waiting to take us to our first place to stay: the Swahili House. Beautiful building with an even nicer roof terrace. We get a warm welcome. The next day we get up early and visit Stone Town market. Our senses are working overtime, what colors, smells and sounds.
A man in worn-out clothes comes to sell his fish. In the hall with fish and meat you don’t believe what you see, but the pungent smells urge you to keep walking. Market vendors sleeping on top of their wares, an abundance of herbs and vegetables. What an experience. I want to go back, because I was short of eyes and ears to take in everything properly. Can I do it one more time? In the evening we enjoy a delicious dinner on the roof terrace of Emerson spice Hotel, only a 5-minute walk from our overnight Hotel.
At 05:00 am we are awakened by the call of the mosques in the area. That’s good because we have to get up early. At 06:00 we are ready and patiently waiting for the taxi that will take us to the airport for our domestic flight to Arusha. At 06:10 we start to get a bit restless. We speak to the night workers, but we don’t see them again, so the man who has just arrived but first unrolls his prayer rug. 06:20 am…..We have already approached 5 people but no idea if anyone is approaching. The city is coming to life more and more, but a taxi driver is nowhere to be seen and it is now 06:45. “What time does the plane leave again? What if we are late? “Then we just call Explore Tanzania”. Despite all the stress, it is also a nice thought that there is an organization in the Netherlands that will undoubtedly think along with us for a solution if necessary. Finally someone comes walking who will take us to the airport. We run to the bus, throw the luggage in the trunk and with screeching tires we fly through the city. Fortunately, there is a working horn in the taxi so that various pedestrians, cyclists and cars can avoid us in time. We have few delays at Zanzibar airport; in five minutes we have dropped off our luggage, we have passed all the checks, and we are checked in. We run to the waiting plane that departs immediately. We made it! Pffffff…….
And then there are our guides for the coming days. Kivuyo and Hassan. With these two men, we’ll be going from one Wow and Ooh to the other Aah for the next few days. We visit Lake Manayara, of course the Serengeti and also a day at Ngorongoro Crater. The amount of wildlife we see is huge. The big five is spotted, at least if I believe Kivuyo on his brown eyes because the rhinoceros is so far away that it might as well be a buffalo in my opinion. I spot the leopard with a monkey in its mouth, but it hides quickly so that not everyone has been able to spot it. A day later, if you look very closely, we see a leopard’s tail in the tree. Everyone can tick it off now but to say that everyone has spotted a leopard….. and then, suddenly, almost out of nowhere we can capture one in all its glory with our smartphones. What a picture of a leopard and what a picture of a photo.
It feels like a gift from Mother Nature. During the various game drives we spot many elephants, giraffes, zebras dikdiks, monkeys, hippos, lions, hyenas, chytas, impalas, ostriches, waterbuck, many different birds, a wild cat and also a crocodile, … So much. We also see the migration of the wildebeest in the North. Hassan and Kivuyo, seemingly indefatigable, tell a lot, see a lot and drive a bit on the bumpy roads of the parks. They patiently indicate for the umpteenth time that the waterbuck I think I see really is a …… Both men have so much knowledge of all wild beasts and birds. From a distance they can see which animal it is by its posture. In addition, it is nice to see that respect for nature is at the top. Here we are guests in the living environment of the animals. We would prefer to get as close as possible, but for the animals it is really different. Good that Hassan and Kivuyo are there to guard that. (And that can’t be said of all guides in the parks).
The days at Into the wild in the Serengeti were very special. Again a warm welcome and such hospitality. Dani was our topper. Equipped with walkie-talkies, we are taken to our luxury tents. As soon as it is dark we are not allowed to go to or from our tent because of the possible presence of wild animals. I hear that they are there the first night. From the sound of shuffling paws I suspect that they are hippos sniffing around our tent, but I don’t dare look and hope I fall asleep again before my stress hormones get the upper hand. In the distance I hear a hyena or leopard or……? Then I happily fall asleep again. My husband says he saw the shadow of a giraffe, he says the next morning. The second night I wake up to smacking and grazing in front of our tent. By now I am a bit tougher and I get out of bed to peek carefully. Five zebras are standing at ease less than 10 meters from our tent. This is cool! The third night I sleep well. Too bad (I think now that I’m back home), I should have stayed up all night to absorb all the animal sounds, it’s really not as scary as I thought, is it? I won’t be seeing this again anytime soon. Can I do it one more time?
We arrive in Arusha after dark. What a people on the street! It takes some getting used to for us and we feel viewed as white people. The smells also penetrate our nose and we are not immediately very enthusiastic. It feels a bit eerie and some of us are happy to be safe in the hotel. Too bad really, I would have loved to stroll around and make contact with the residents of Arusha. Can I do it again?
At the hotel, after six great safari days, we say goodbye to our guides, our toppers. They also learned something from us. If you ever get them as a guide, you can calmly use the words “cozy” and “What a sweetheart”. Then they know exactly what you mean.
Asante sana, Kivuyo and Hassan, Asanta sana!!!!!
The next morning we have a bike ride on the program. Recommended. We get a glimpse into the world of the Tanzanians outside the main road. We wave to the residents in the villages: “Jambo” and are amazed about their living conditions, but also about the rich plantations, everything grows here. What a calm there is behind the busy road, well, until school ends and hordes of children come running next to our bicycles and keep this up for a long time. Who and what is an attraction here? What a joy
After two days in Arusha we fly again with a domestic flight to Zanzibar. Here we will recover from all impressions and experiences for a few days before we start our return flight to the Netherlands.
All impressions are indescribable, there were so many. That we were allowed to experience this with the eight of us is very special and we will cherish it in our memories for a long time to come.
Thank you for thinking along and organizing. We will recommend Explore Tanzania to anyone who wants to travel to Tanzania.
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