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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

African Safari!


Three weekends ago, the phrase “walking into the lion’s den”, was put into a whole new light for me..

I finally got to live out the main part of my childhood African dream by going on a safari (no hunting, of course) and let me just say, it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life!
The safari only lasted two days, which in all honesty, was a great amount of time for it. With my car sickness and hatred of sitting still, two days in an off-road vehicle was definitely enough for me. A quick summary of the weekend:
Friday: afternoon depart from Moshi
night visit a Mesai village on the edge of the Ngorogoro Crater & spend the night in a tented lodge
Saturday: spend the entire day driving around Ngorogoro Crater
night stay at another tented lodge with a gorgeous view of Lake Manayara
Sundaymorning tour Tarangire National park
afternoon make our departure back to Moshi
Over the weekend, I literally saw every type of African (stereotypical or not) animal that you could imagine! We started the trip with giraffes on the side of the road, followed by multiple different types of monkeys at the first tented lodge. It seems like it would be quite annoying, but the sounds of the monkeys howling and “talking” all night was absolutely beautiful and relaxing. The next day, at Ngorogoro Crater, I saw baboons, wildebeests, warthogs, ostriches, zebras, flamingos, hippos, lions, rhinos, even a cheetah! You name it, I saw it. I could hardly contain my excitement on the the trip; I felt like a little kid all over again.
Not only was seeing the animals themselves awesome, just being able to watch the way that they live honestly blew my mind. I come from the woods of Wisconsin, so I know there are many different species of animals all living together to form one ecosystem and a circle of life; However, seeing it was a completely different thing. In the woods animals are all hidden and from time to time you see an animal while driving or during your hunts or even just walking up to the house. On my safari however, I could see all of the animals, at one time, co-existing and it simply amazed me. Just to be able to witness something I never even take the time to think about really struck me. There are honestly no words that can even describe the feelings I had when I saw lions chase down a zebra for their lunch with hyenas closing in and elephants just grazing in the background. (Maybe in 20 to 30 years I’ll have a better grasp of my feelings to explain it!)
The second day of the safari, I got to see my favorite animal in the world, elephants! Tarangire National Park, as our tour guide put it, is the retirement home for elephants. So we saw families of elephants everywhere! In the water, in the trees, grazing in the fields, eating the bark of the boaboa trees; it was so wonderful! I think I took about 200 pictures of just the elephants and the boaboa trees. I also got the opportunity to see lions from about 60 feet away! The day before I saw a pack of lionesses, but this day, I was able to see a male lion in his prime with his female companion. (That’s my SFW way of phrasing it.) It was a little weird to learn about, but at the same time, amazing to be able to witness. That was definitely the icing on top of an excellent weekend. Immediately after admiring the king of the jungle, we had our picnic lunch and, alas, headed home.
Overall, the weekend was a blast! I absolutely adored everything about my safari: the sights, the sounds, the smells (yes, even the smell), the feeling of unadulterated happiness that I was unaware I even possessed, everything. This weekend alone, really put parts of my life into perspective for me. It gave me a whole new love for my own life and desire to pursue what makes me happy. (It may have made me a little more selfish, but hey, sometimes you need that in your life, right?)