Destination: Serengeti, Africa
Date: May 2014
A safari is something that I never really thought much about. It sounded cool but I never understood what an awesome experience it could be. Little did I know what a surprise I had in store. Our first day on safari started out with a 7:00am group meeting and ushering into our safari vehicles to make it over to the Arusha airstrip to ride prop type planes to the Serengeti. Since our group number was seventeen we had to separate into two planes to make the voyage. We were told it would be a little over an hour flight and I’ll admit I was a little nervous flying in such small planes. Of course my worry was for naught because the flight was smooth and enjoyable and we all chatted most of the way.
Upon arriving in the Serengeti we were pointed to a small dirt road airstrip where our plane would land. The first thing I could see out of the window of the plane was what looked like ants running in formation across the plains of the Serengeti. Only to be told by other passengers that what I was really seeing wasn’t ants but a migration of wildebeests going north. It was unreal! I could barely believe my eyes because the number of wildebeests was incalculable. As we lowered our altitude we quickly could spot more and more wildlife. Just upon arrival we saw impala, giraffe, zebra, hippos and of course tons and tons of wildebeests. It was an amazing start to our two week adventure!
Once we unloaded our baggage was loaded into one vehicle destined for our tent accommodations for the evening, and the rest of our group split into three vehicles to start our first full day of safari with the folks at African Dream Safaris. Again as quickly as the plane landing we were finding animals left and right. There were so many wildebeests that we sometimes had to slow down to snails pace to maneuver the roads of the bush. There were hundreds and thousands of them. Our guide informed us that this is one of the largest migrations yet with over three million wildebeests migrating this year! Quickly we spotted more giraffe, baboons, impala, zebra, and then as we crossed a water crossing we were enthralled by the hippo on one side of the bridge bathing right next to a twelve foot crocodile. We were so enamored with the croc and the hippo that we forgot to look to the left of our vehicle until I heard a blowing sound coming from the water. As I looked over I almost screamed as we spotted about twenty more hippos that had surfaced to take a look at us crazy humans. It was an amazing sight!
The best part of our day was when our driver pulled up to the far shore of a riverbank and we watched as wildebeests snuck down and tried to take sips of water from a river full of crocodiles. We all wanted to witness the circle of life and see if any of the crocs could catch a wildebeest. Twice we saw some very noble attempts by the crocs but each time the wildebeests got away. We really sat there for about three hours watching but the time flew by because it was such an entertaining real life National Geographic special.
Once we arrived at our “tents” for the evening our group was pleasantly surprised by the accommodations. Since our guide had used the word tent I really thought we were going to be roughing it for the next three days. However our tent was anything but roughing it. It was an actual bungalow in the savannah that yes had canvas roof and a few canvas walls but it had big beautiful beds, a full bathroom and a gorgeous porch overlooking the savannah. My expectations were far exceeded and I was delighted. The only catch was since this is in the middle of the Serengeti reserve there are animals all around us. In the evening hours we must always be escorted by locals that brandish spears keeping us safe. It is a most unusual feeling knowing something out there could be hunting us but at the same time I feel like I’ve walked into a dream because this place is surreal. It really is one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Safe and Happy travels!