I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:
Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where we were leaving the Snake Park in Arusha, Tanzania and heading on out to the Serengeti to begin our game drives. We said goodbye to our truck Tommy, and switched our group into 3 game driving vehicles provided by a different local Serengeti Tour Company, for which Nomad Tours has teamed up with. Since this was an optional excursion (included in my 10 tour package, but not in the 30 day trek package), one couple decided to stay behind with one of our guides, Norman. The rest of the group continued with our other Nomad guide Survious, and three new drivers/tour guides.
My vehicle for the rest of the 3 day Serengeti tour included my sister Erica, Robin (a 19 year old man from the Netherlands), and an aunt Marjan and her college-aged nieces Myrna and Jorien (also from the Netherlands). You’ll be seeing them in my photos, I’m sure. I really enjoyed our group and it was fun spending time with them on the Serengeti.
We had a bit of a drive to get out of Arusha and all the way to the Serengeti. The above photos are to give you a sense of the landscape along the drive.
In the above photo you can see that sometimes cows have to cross the highway. Also note that our driver had one of the beautiful Maasai Mara blankets (they wear them as clothing) across his dashboard. I just love the colors and patterns of these fabrics. I ended up buying one as a parting gift. I can use it as a throw blanket, and I’ll think of this trip every time I snuggle with it on the couch. I haggled with a sales man for it and spent $10 (I think?), which was what I told myself it was worth to me before even speaking with the sales man. I probably over paid, but he was asking $20 for it, so at least I got him down.
Here you can see the Maasai boy in his red outfit trying to heard all these cows.
We started seeing these giant mounds of dirt along the drive, and our drivers pulled around to take a closer look at one. The photo above shows one of our gaming vehicles, and look at it compared to the size of the dirt mound- the mound is huge! Turns out it’s a termite mound. Later in the trip we saw a family of badgers digging for termites in one of these mounds (they eat termites).
As we are getting closer and closer we started seeing baboons! Our first glimpse of wildlife in Tanzania!
We stopped off to take some photos of a large Baobab tree. It looks like a giant upside down tree, and there’s a whole legend story of the gods to go along with why it’s like that.
You can imagine there aren’t a ton of public restrooms along the road, so they were good about planning stop off’s at place which had restrooms for us to use. Above and below are photos of the African Galleria where we could also stop for lunch.
They have an outdoor seating area where lunches were distributed to us. Our meals are included in the tour, so everyone got an identical food lunch box. Mine was a tad different as it’s meant for a vegetarians.
Here’s part of our group enjoying the boxed lunch under a beautiful thatched roof.
Here’s my lunch as an example. I was given fries, different breads with a coleslaw, banana, juice box, some nuts, and usually a desert or mars bar. The others had fried chicken or some type of meat with their meal.
After lunch, we were back on the road. These photos are to show more of the area and types of shops and open landscapes.
We took a bathroom break at the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater. Our guides figured out the permits to enter while we used clean restrooms, bought snacks, and took a walk through their little museum. We will cut around the Crater to get to the Serengeti, spend 2 days at the Serengeti and then come back and spend a day exploring the Ngorongoro Crater. This makes up our 3 day safari.
Above is our Nomad guide Servious leaning on one of our safari trucks.
Since we were driving around the upper rim of the Crater, we stopped off to take some photos. We would be back to explore this area in a few days.
This above photo was taken in the museum at the Nogorongoro Crater, and it’s just to point out the “Big 5” of game drives. The Big 5 is made up of the black rhino, the lion, the African elephant, the African buffalo (or Cape buffalo), and the leopard. **spoiler alert- we saw them all!
Here’s Erica snapping photos of the Crater.
Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael Grzimek are buried here (above). They made documentaries about the Serengeti to bring attention to the conservation problems as well as books. Bernhard created an animal life encyclopedia too.
As we started our loop of the Nogorogoro rim, we started to see animals I’d never seen in the wild before and it really hit me how incredible lucky we all were to get to be here seeing this. Most people go their whole lives only seeing animals in print or in cages, and here we get to see them roam free happily. It’s a special feeling.
As we drove a family of giraffe’s crossed the road in front of us and continued on. These animals are just so majestic.
Once beyond the crater, we still had a distance to go to get to the Serengeti and the landscape went from hilly to flat.
Very flat, but still beautiful. We kept our eyes pealed for thompson gazelles and ostriches which we passed along the road.
Above is one of the trucks from our group making its way to the Serengeti.
And I’ll leave it here, as we passed through the border onto the Serengeti. It’s real now, we are here. A feeling just came over me as you could see land stretch for miles with just animals and more land, this feeling of being this small dot in the middle of a huge continent. This is a special place.
Next up, we go deep into the Serengeti where we begin our game drives. I have SO many animal photos to sort through and share.