There was a lot of South African wine poured along our journey in Tanzania. A lot. The weather was blissfully hot, in the 90s  every afternoon, and after dusty days bumping around in a safari vehicle, all I wanted was a cold glass of South African white wine by the pool. Thankfully, I got my wish pretty much all the time.

Robert's Rock Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay

After four days camping in the Serengeti (more to come on that, lots more) I wanted cold white wine and the pool more than ever before. This Robert’s Rock Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay blend has a little bit of everything I want in a summery white wine. It’s bright with dry mineral notes, flinty, I would say, but with bursts of tropical fruit and a gentle toasty coconut-vanilla finish. For a value wine, there’s a lot going on. This is a great food wine, and as we experienced, a great pool wine.

Ngorogoro Farm Valley Lodge I have always wanted to visit South Africa for a safari and wine tasting, and my time in Tanzania, both my love for the landscape and people and my love for the wine, made South Africa even higher on my must-visit list.

If you could visit any wine region, what would it be?

My other two top wine region trips are Mendoza, Argentina and Sicily.

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Tags: chardonnay, chenin blanc, South Africa, South African wine, wine, wine of the week

Our trip to Tanzania wasn’t all  game drives and luxury lodges (though I have plenty more to share on that front); it was a truly well-rounded itinerary that exposed us to local culture through art, food, and most importantly, introduction to people. The Maasai people are commonly seen throughout Northern Tanzania; as we drove through the country and even small towns, their signature red cloth punctuated the landscape. We passed many Maasai villages, made up of straw and mud huts called bomas, and as we traveled, we learned about their marriage practices (where men can have multiple wives), their cattle raising (which is where their wealth lies), and some of the challenges they face in our modern world. Part of our program was then spending part of a day in a Maasai village to learn about daily life and customs.

Masai Village

 

Masai Boma

 

Upon our arrival, we met the village chief and learned how he battled a lion to earn his standing in the village. The chief, Lbulu, was well-regarded and quite progressive, working toward education and opposed to female genital mutilation, which is an ongoing practice in Maasai cultures.

Masai Village Tanzania

We also met the village elder on the right. It’s hard to tell by looking at him, but the man on the right is 99 years old!

After our introduction, some of our group went with the Maasai men to kill a goat, which our group bought for the village. I decided not to participate and instead wandered around and met a few adorable children. When the goat was killed and the men drank the blood (blood and milk make up much of their diet), our group was split in two; the men went off to prepare the goat for barbeque and the women were each welcomed by a Maasai woman.

Maasai boy

Maasai Village

Masai women

Maasai Village

This woman was my guide for the morning. She greeted me and brought me to learn the art of basket making, one of the ways Maasai women pass their days and a way that they earn money. I was terrible at it, but it was interesting to learn! Some of the other women in the group  made beaded jewelry.

crafting in a Maasai Village

Maasai women

And then we were all dressed in vibrant red cloth and beaded collars for singing, dancing, jumping, and activities like carrying sticks on our heads and thatching a boma roof.

Maasai Warriors

Jumping and dancing are a huge part of Maasai culture, and we were moving for quite some time. I’m still processing some of my video, but I will share the songs at a later time. It was loud and boisterous. The Maasai are a physically expressive people, and there was a lot of them holding our hands and touching us. If I am being honest, it was a little uncomfortable for me. It was really hot, and we didn’t entirely understand what was going on due to language barriers. The woman I was paired with was pretty aggressive about holding my hand, even when I tried to let go, and shy or not, there was no way I was getting away without dancing in the circle. . .

jumping Maasai Warrior

Maasai Village

Masai carrying objects on head

As bad as I was at basket-weaving, I was about 100 times worse at carrying a giant stick on my head. I didn’t feel great the day we visited the Maasai, and being that we were standing for several hours and it was in the 90′s, I was not at my best when this stick was placed on my pounding head. I opted not to climb on the boma to help thatch the roof, but I was super proud of the other ladies with me who did.  After we finished our activities, we went inside a boma, which is basically as simple as it looks from the outside. There was a makeshift wooden wall creating an area for a bed and a fence that cuts off the area where the animals stay. Yes, animals come right inside the hut for the night! The floors were mud, and it was incredibly hot inside. The walls were decorated in interesting paintings which were fun to look at, but to be honest, I couldn’t wait to get outside.
Maasai boma art

Our final activity at the Maasai village included optional consumption of the goat that had been killed earlier in the morning. I decided not to have any, since the poor goat was baaing for its life when we arrived, and instead I went to look at the spread of jewelry the women had out. They do a beautiful job of creating crafts, which helps to boost their economy and gives them a small connection to the outside world.

Our day with the Maasai then wrapped up, and after an intense morning I think we were all a little relieved to go. The Maasai people were very welcoming and warm, and their culture and way of life are interesting, but it was definitely extremely different than what we are used to. Spending the morning in the village was outside my comfort zone, which is a place where the best learning takes place. I am glad that I experienced everything that we did that day, but there were definitely moments of anxiety along the way!

 

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Tags: adventure, Africa, culture, living, Maasai, Masai, Tanzania, Travel, travel blogger, tribe, village, wanderlust

In the weeks leading up to our trip to Tanzania, we reviewed our itinerary about a million times and checked out the websites of the lodges and camps we were to stay at, all the while finding it almost impossible to imagine ourselves there. We’ve been back for a week, and honestly it all seems like a dream. The colors, the smells, the sounds, the food, all so vibrant that they felt part of a different world that we got to be part of for a short while.

Upon arrival we learned that there was a slight change to our itinerary for the our visit to Tarangire National Park. Instead of staying in Lake Burunge, we were moved to Maramboi Tented Camp which turned out to be a very lucky switch for us.

After a dusty day of game driving in Tarangire, we pulled up to Maramboi and were greeted with cold towels and hibiscus iced tea. Tanzanian welcomes are something I could get used to!

 

Maramboi Tented Camp

Being that it’s a camp, the accommodations at Maramboi are technically tents, but tents that happen to be permanent and luxurious.

Maramboi Tented Camp This is glamping at its finest!  Our bed was so comfy, and we had a huge shower with plenty of hot water.

Maramboi Tented Camp

We also had a porch with a view for days, which was filled with zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, warthogs, and ostriches.

Maramboi Tented Camp

The grounds of the camp were even more impressive, with a sprawling dining area and a long boardwalk out to the pool, where we happily spent our sunset each night.

Maramboi Tented Camp

Maramboi Tented Camp

Maramboi Tented Camp

Maramboi Tented Camp

Just like in all of the other places we stayed, the food at Maramboi was delicious. Dinners were more African-influenced, while lunch one day was definitely geared toward travelers with options like fish and chips in addition to lentils, spinach, rice, and quiche.

lunch at Maramboi

And as it did in every other stop on the trip. mineral-y South African white wines were flowing.

South African wine While staying at Maramboi we had the opportunity to go for a nature walk with a junior Maasai warrior, and it was just breathtaking.

 

Maasai guide

giraffes in Tanzania

zebras at Maramboi

While getting up close and personal with non-predator animals, we learned about Maasai culture and our beautiful surroundings. It was definitely one of the more memorable afternoons of the trip for me.

ostrich in Tanzania

zebras in the water

Of course it didn’t hurt to go back to our tent and watch zebras in a watering hole. They were so close at night that we could hear them ripping up grass. Another one of the tents had zebras rubbing up against the tent to scratch. We were definitely at one with nature while also in the lap of luxury at Maramboi.

sundown in Maramboi

sunrise at Maramboi

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Tags: Africa, Food, hotels, luxury, safari, see the world, Tanzania, Travel, travel blog

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