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Feb 2, 2013

My African Safari in Tanzania

African Safari in Tanzania by JoseeMM

In June 2012 I had the most wonderful chance to join two of my friends in Tanzania, Africa for a Safari.  This is one of last year's event I am the most grateful for. It is the best trip I had in my life. The wildlife, the scenery, the culture, the learning experiences ... everything was so enriching, new and unique.  Here's a few favorite pictures of my adventure:

African woman in the streets of Arusha, Tanzania by JoseeMM
Women in the streets of Arusha near the lodge we stayed at.
Everyday life in the streets of Arusha, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
Everyday life in the streets of Arusha, Tanzania.
African Safari pictures. Elephant at lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania by JoseeMM
Our first elephant during a game drive in lake Manyara National Park.

African Baobab tree by JoseeMM
The Baobab trees at lake Manyara ... so impressive!

Valley near Ngorongoro conservation park, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
A valley near Ngorongoro conservation area.

Ngorongoro crater, the cradle of life, Tanzania, africa by JoseeMM
A good view of the Ngorongoro crater. The cradle of life, my highlight!

Ceremonial dance with Maasai women and children by JoseeMM
Me with the women and children of a Maasai tribe. They performed
and invited us to join them in a ceremonial dance and signing
to welcome us.  It was magical!

Maasai village with huts, Tanzania, africa by JoseeMM
The Maasai village we had the chance of visiting.

Gazelle in Serengeti national reserve. Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
A gazelle in the Serengeti National Reserve.

Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
The panorama of the Serengeti.

Girafe eating in the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
A giraffe eating from a tree.

Giraffe posing in the Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
Giraffe posing just for me :)

Sunset over the Serengeti by JoseeMM
Sunset over the Serengeti.

Lioness Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
Our first feline sighting! A lioness in the Serengeti park during a game drive.
pregnant lioness in a tree, Serengeti Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM

Cheetah in Serengeti, Tanzania by JoseeMM
My favorite of all felines; the Cheetah.

Serengeti Oasis in Tanzania by JoseeMM
A small oasis in the Serengeti.

Zebras watching each others back by JoseeMM
The zebras watching each others back.

Serengeti elephant and Acacia tree by JoseeMM
A small elephant with Acacia trees.

Cheetahs in the Serengeti reserve, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
Two cheetahs

Maasai people's cattle in Ngorongoro crater by JoseeMM
Maasai people's cattle in Ngorongoro crater.

Ostrich in Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania, Africa by JoseeMM
Check out the legs on that ostrich!

Pink flamingos on the horizon in Ngorongoro crater by JoseeMM
My biggest highlight: coming down into the crater and seeing thousands
of pink flamingos on the horizon; breath-taking!
flamingos in Ngorongoro crater, Africa by JoseeMM

A very lazy lion (as they all are apparently). We watched him sleep
on his back for an hour before he decided to acknowledge us.
Lion in Serengeti Tanzania Africa by JoseeMM

Plane view of Zanzibar by JoseeMM
Off to Zanzibar! We need to relax from all those exciting game drives.

Market in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Africa by JoseeMM
A market in Stone Town, Zanzibar.

cat in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Africa by JoseeMM
After all the BIG felines I saw, I still love the little ones. I like this picture.

The streets and architecture in old Stone Town, Zanzibar by JoseeMM
The streets and architecture in old Stone Town.

Streets of old Stone Town in Zanzibar, Africa by JoseeMM

Stone Town, Zanzibar, Africa by JoseeMM

Before telling you about this voyage, I have to thank my good friend Nancy for inviting me. I would have never dreamed of going there.  I knew I couldn't have afforded it in a million years. She had been working far far away for almost a year. Towards the end of her contract; she decided that for her last vacation before returning home, she would invite our friend and I to meet her in Tanzania. She paid for the whole safari. Generous you say?? She's the best friend anyone could possibly have. I thank life everyday for the chance I have to know and love her.

The adventure didn't start off without a glitch. For some reasons (I won't go into this!), my friend Karine and I, missed our FIRST plane in Ottawa. Oh the disappointment, anger, sadness, disbelief and guilt!! Our dear Nancy was ALREADY in Dar Es Salaam awaiting us. Thankfully, after twenty something hours of searching on the web and too many phone calls, we found reasonably priced tickets leaving soon enough to still make our safari reservations. Back to the airport in a rush, sleep deprived and under a lot of stress and emotions, we finally made it :) We were the happiest girls in the world.

We arrived in Dar Es Salaam almost forty hours later after a stop in Washington, DC and a stop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (the most unorganized, chaotic and unscheduled airport ever!). We met our friend Nancy at the airport and cried tears of joy for a few minutes before taking a domestic flight to Kilimandjaro's airport. And the journey begun!

Nancy had booked a safari package through Tanzania Adventures. They're were fantastic at accommodating our needs and getting everything together for us, very kind and helpful. Simon, the guide that was assigned to us was the sweetest guy, fun and professional. The first night we stayed at Ilboru Safari Lodges in Arusha to begin our Safari the next morning at Lake Manyara National Park for our first game drive.  The second and third days we spent in Serengeti National Park and slept in luxurious tented camps at Eco Lodge Africa (the friendliest staff ever!) amongst the wildebeests and zebras. We visited a Maasai village where we were welcomed by signing and dancing women and children. They invited us to join them in the ceremony. They also guided us to visit the village and their huts. The chief of the tribe spoke English and taught us about their traditions, beliefs and way of life. It was a wonderful experience.

On our last day of safari, we explored the magnificent Ngorongoro Conservation Aera with its crater and lakes (Lake Magadi, amongst others). The crater's area was my definitive highlight of this trip. Coming down into the crater with the fog clouds rolling down the top of the mountains, all the wildlife, zebras, ostriches, wildebeests, hyenas surrounding us, seeing the pink blurry line on the horizon that the flamingos were forming. It looked like they was a million of them. It felt incredible. There's definitely something magical about this place. After a night in Moshi, we took off to Zanzibar Island to spend the rest of our vacation relaxing on the beach, shopping and visiting Stone Town and it's beautiful architecture and spice markets.

 That's it! As in most travels, I wished I had more time to sink in more of all the beauty, culture and treasured moments that Tanzania had to offer.  I think that's part of the richness of traveling: taking the time and learning to appreciate the moment while it last a bit more, time after time. Because you know it's going to end sometime soon.  I will cherish the memories of this journey for all my life.

Here's the link to the full Flickr photo album

Kwaheri! (meaning goodbye in Swahili)
Jo :)

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