On November 1, 2014 Gary, Uma, Karen, Linda, Kim, Abe and Ann started on one heck of an adventure, a safari in Tanzania, Africa.
Our journey started in Chicago, we flew to Kilimanjaro Airport where we were met by our personal drivers and guide all arranged with our tour Company, Acacia Holiday. Jay, the owner, met up with us at our 1st stop in Arusha, our first stop and overnight to catch up on sleep and food. Arusha Resort is a very nice cottage style resort with good food and “free internet”, we were all delighted to be able to stay in touch and Facebook pictures.
The next day we met with Charles and Edwin, our driver and guide for the next week, they would be with us for the entire time. We had two pop up land rovers for the trip to take us on our journey filled in water, food and resources we may need while on safari. Our days usually were about 6-8 hours each with.. This trip was not a bunch of fancy hotels and a drive thrown into the trip, this was a real game drive photo safari. We all came equipped with cameras to preserve our memories of our viewing, especially Gary who looks like a Hollywood production crew with his long lens. When one is taking a trip of a lifetime you really want to be prepared.
We started our first of six game drives at Manyara where we had our first sighting of Thompson gazelles, grand gazelles, baboons, elephants, zebra, heartmoose, wildebeest and Giraffes.
Words cannot express the excitement to see these magnificent animals in the open and not behind bars in a zoo. Up close and personal is an understatement! We had the sensation we could reach out and touch the animals, but of course we could not.
While leaving Arusha and on the way to the Ngorongoro Crater we experienced the Maasai people a very unique people with very colorful outfits and appearing to be very poor by our standards, however, they appear happy with their life. Usual to us but this is their way of life. We were able to visit one of their krals or homes.
The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately one half million people. However, many Maasai see the national census as government meddling and often miscount their numbers to census takers.
Day 3 our journey continued on to the Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania. We spent quite a day here viewing the Zebras and the Rhinos!
The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. Had it not become the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain.
On the leeward of the Ngorongoro highlands protrudes the iconic Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano and Tanzania’s third highest peak after Kilimanjaro and Meru. Known to local people as the Mountain of God, Mount Lengai’s last major eruption occurred in 2007. At the mountain’s foot is Lake Natron, East Africa’s major breeding ground for flamingoes.
Day 4 and 5 we spent in the Serengenti
Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the 30,000 km² region. It’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root as well as numerous photographers and scientists.
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June.
The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitat. Enjoy the pictures below to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants!