So I just got back from almost two weeks in Tanzania. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this because I can’t stop posting photos of our travels. It’s an understatement to say this trip to Africa changed me, but I can’t quite pinpoint just how yet. Tanzania was my second visit to Africa; in college I spent a Spring break in Tunisia with friends. It’s safe to say I love the African content and am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced two vastly different countries.
Trying to figure out where to start with blogging about Tanzania was almost impossible, so I picked our first game drive. There were events before, which will come later. There are about eight posts coming at you, and I hope you don’t get sick of these experiences. I am excited to share them.
Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? Last November, my husband’s cousin and his wife, who work for Overseas Adventure Travel, mentioned they were going on a trip with the company to Africa. We were so excited for them, so a week later when they asked if we wanted to join, we just couldn’t say no. We had tentative plans to visit Peru this Spring, but those went out the window as we started planning our safari adventures. Fast forward to the end of February, and we found ourselves entering Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park for our first game drive.
On the trip was a group of 10 of us plus two guides split between two safari vehicles. None of us knew quite what to expect when our guides popped open those jeep tops and we entered the gates of Tarangire.
The very first animals we saw were impala, and between them, antelopes, and gazelles, we would see thousands of deer-like game animals over the course of our stay. Fast, lithe, and graceful, these animals dance across the plains of Africa, and they are everywhere.
We were more excited to see our first Zebras, which were also everywhere in the Tarangire area. No two zebras have the same pattern of stripes. They are beautiful, funny, skittish, and unfortunately often the prey of cats out in the wild.
Tarangire is known for its elephant population, and when we saw these gigantic creatures lumbering from afar, I was excited and completely satisfied with the sighting. I didn’t realize at the time that we were driving TO the elephants, and they would soon be within arms’ reach of the vehicles.
The elephants just got closer and closer, as we learned how elephants, when threatened, can stomp a predator to death, and will then wait three hours to be sure it is dead. Noted. Our guides were experts in animal behavior, and as a result we always felt very safe, even when close enough to see the wrinkles on this guy’s trunk.
Baby animals got lots of squeals throughout the entire trip. It was hard not to jump out and hug the little ones. . . until we remembered the whole being stomped to death thing.
Tarangire was also where we had our first lion sighting. With the grass being as blond as they were, lions were tough to spot, but we had some good eyes in our group. How beautiful is this lioness? We saw several lions over the course of the trip, and each time their beauty and quiet strength took my breath away. It was also fun to compare their behavours to those of our house cats.
Tarangire showed us a variety of beautiful birds like vultures and ostriches, along with giraffes, baboons, mongooses, dik diks (the cutest miniature antelope you will ever see) along with many types of vegetation and an endless supply of intricate termite mounds, cities of termites topped with hills just perfect for game-lounging.
We also saw extremely rare African wild dogs. One of our guides hadn’t seen these dogs for 16 years, and the other had never seen them. It was definitely a treat to see these endangered dogs cooling themselves in the mud of a dried-up river bed.
We went to Tanzania during their rainy season, but there was no rain. Despite this, there were a few areas of water and an endlessly changing landscape that showed us lush green along with baked earth, hills, valleys, and perfect blue sky. Tarangire was the perfect introduction to the animals of Tanzania and just the beginning of this life-changing journey.