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Tanzania. The Most Magical Place

April 2017

Taking a trip to Tanzania has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. What I didn’t realize was exactly how amazing it would be. Without a doubt, it’s the most magical place I’ve been. I went fully expecting to enjoy watching the animals and enjoy the scenery, but that was a small piece of it. As a first timer, I was blown away by the knowledge of our guides. By the time we left, I left like I had a master’s in East African wildlife science.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip with Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC for me (though I honestly could say the entire experience was a highlight):

 

In Tarangire National Park:

-the elephants– they came right up to our vehicle to smell us. We also followed a herd as they headed down to a water hole to drink. And probably my favorite was watching them cross a stream only to have a young one stay behind to play and splash in the water.

-the Baobab trees– Quite possibly the most amazing trees on the planet. They are huge!! It took my breath away to see them on the landscape. These trees can live up to 3,000 years. To stand next to one, feels like your standing next to an ancient creature with lots of stories to tell.

-the flamingos on Lake Manyara– While staying at Maramboi Tented Camp, we took an early morning hike with a Masai guide down to the shores of Lake Manyara. There were thousands of flamingos hanging out in the water. The noise they made was beautiful. To see so many flamingos in one spot was amazing.

 

In Ngorongoro Crater:

-the variety of animals– Upon our decent into the crater, we stopped at the cross roads to watch a huge group of baboons cross. While sitting there, I realized at least 6 different species of animals were living together. The peaceful coexistence between them was heartwarming to watch. (And beautiful)

-the rhinos– Our guides said there are 30 rhinos that live within the crater and on a good trip they see one. With their amazing skill and sharp eyes, we saw 9. Rhinos were on my top 5 things I wanted to see in Tanzania. Seeing so many, including one fairly close sleeping, was awesome!

-hyenas hunting– We came upon some hyenas in the tall grasses of the crater. Our guides quickly realized they were gathering to hunt. We sat and watched as they took turns going into the Cape Buffalo herd trying to flush out a baby. Fascinating to watch.

 

In Serengeti National Park:

-cheetahs– We saw several cheetahs in Serengeti, including cubs varying in age of 6 months-1 year. My favorite was watching a mom and her 2 one year old cubs hunt wildebeest and gazelles. Seeing the speed and chase as it went down was thrilling.

-lions– Lots of lions in Serengeti, including a female and her 2 month old cubs laying out on a kopji.

-python– We stopped by a tree to get out and stretch. Our guide said he saw a python there last month. He looked around and sure enough it was still in there. We watched it slither around the tree for awhile. It was huge. The fact our guide remembered that particular tree in all of the Serengeti shows how good these guys are at their job.

-Sametu Camp– Our lodging for the Serengeti was perfection!! It’s tented camp in the middle of the action. When we arrived, a mom and baby elephant were wondering through the camp. After dinner, 12 or so lions were hanging out calling each other 50 feet from the dining tent. The staff was amazing. It was a great way to spend 3 days in the wild.

As a first time traveler to Tanzania, I can sum it up by saying there is no place like it on earth. The wildlife is AMAZING!! (This coming from a portrait photographer that had sworn off all nature pictures, until now.) The people are AWESOME!! But the experience and what you’re left with when you leave is PRICELESS!! That trip was life changing!!

Jenny Gegg

 

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