On Safari in Tanzania
The early morning sunlight shone into the room though the mosquito netting, waking me from my sleep in Tanzania. I rolled over towards the wall, trying to escape the brightness. But then I remembered what we were going to do, and I got up. We were going on a safari!
At breakfast we talked about our plan. We were going to be picked up at around 8:00 by our safari company, Safari Makers. We were then going to drive to the Tarangire National Park. We would drop off our stuff at a campsite, and then drive around the park and see animals. It was going to be a great day! The safari would be five days long in total, also including the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
We finished breakfast and pulled our bags to the entrance of where we were staying. Then we waited. My brother playing near our bags.
After a while I heard an engine and saw dust rolling up the road. The Land Rover pulled in and we started putting our bags on the top and in the back. It was a new car, only three months old. It was like most of the other safari trucks we had seen.
There were two men that were going with us, a guide and a cook. The guide’s name was Joseph, and we started talking with him right away. He was a great guide, and he made the whole safari lots of fun. He explained more about the parks to us, and answered all of our questions.
Then we were off! We were all really excited. Joseph drove pretty fast. Here’s a picture of us driving along on our way to the park. Random fact: they drive on the left side of the road in Tanzania! Proof:
There were also a lot of Maasai herders along the way. The Maasai are nomadic tribes that live in Tanzania and Kenya. They are herders, and have goats, sheep, and cattle. There were lots of people leading their animals along the road in search of grazing land. Here’s a small group, leading their animals along the road.
There were also Maasai young men preparing to become warriors. Every boy goes through a ceremony to become a warrior, and after that there is about a six months transition period before they undergo another ceremony and become a real warrior. During that time the young men wear black and face paint. There were several nearby the road, and sometimes they would run yelling at the car waving their sticks.
When we got to the entrance of the park, we had a little while to walk around while Joseph paid our entrance fee. There were lots of colorful birds flying around and drinking from a water container.
Just after we entered the park, we saw some of the giant Baobab trees. Those trees can be thousands of years old and are massive, but not that tall. It’s kind of hard to explain it, so here’s a picture instead.
Shortly after that we saw our first animal! It was a warthog, running around. It had really funny tusks. There were several others nearby also.
Right after that we came to a small water hole. There were many animals there.
Guinea fowl with a stork
A little ways later there was a much larger water hole. There were lots of Wildebeests there, and also many birds.
Then we got to the campsite. Right away I saw my favorite Tanzanian bird, the Superb Starling. It is an amazingly colorful bird, and it seems to glitter in the sun.
We unloaded everything from the car and then put up the roof. In the picture you can also see the largest of the three buildings in the campsite, the kitchen.
Before we went off again, we had lunch. When we were sitting down to eat, we saw several small furry things running across the road a ways away. I took a picture, and Joseph said that they were mongoose.
There were also several squirrels running around, and some monkeys too. After our delicious lunch, made by our cook Sifa, we went off again.
Then we got to the riverbed. It was dry, though, without any water. Joseph said that there is water underneath the ground, and in a few places it is on the surface. We saw a bunch of baboons, including one with a little baby.
Joseph also pointed out a few elephants on the other side of the river valley. They were very far away though. We kept on going, and he said that we would see more elephants later.
A little later we also saw a giraffe! Somehow it didn’t seem as big as the ones in the zoo do, but it still was cool.
And after that a herd of zebra!
We reached another point where we could look over at the riverbed. Here there was water, and there were lots of animals drinking. There were zebra, giraffes, wildebeests, baboons, and some other animals too.
Then we saw some more elephants much closer. There was a group in the shade of the tree, and a little elephant was lying down in the middle to get some rest. Joseph said that elephants put their trunks on the ground to sense vibrations, and they can tell if anything is coming from twenty meters away.
There were six safari cars parked up ahead, and we went to see what it was. Then we saw our first lions! First we saw a male lion, and on the other side of a little hill was a partially eaten kill. It looked like a wildebeest, but we weren’t sure.
There were also several female lions and one resting with another killed animal a short ways away.
When we came to another little stream, there were more elephants there. There was a really small one that was frolicking around and playing in the water, really different from the lumbering older elephants. It was really funny!
We saw another really colorful bird, the Lilac-breasted Roller.
Then we saw some ostriches way off in the distance. We got closer to some other ones.
A little later I saw something moving in a bush near the road. At first I thought it was another mongoose, but when we stopped I saw it was a tiny deer, a Dik-dik! Joseph said it’s the smallest member of the antelope family, and an adult weighs five kilos (about ten pounds). It couldn’t have been more than two feet high, but it’s hard to tell how small it is in the photo. In the back you can see part of another elephant.
We saw another gazelle, but this one only had one horn! The other had broken off near the base, and it looked a little funny.
Because it was getting late, we started to head back. On the way back, Joseph pointed out a herd of cape buffalo a long ways away. They were all resting in the shade of a few trees.
There were also more elephants walking on the top of a hill, and it was really to see them against the evening sky.
We saw more of the black-faced monkeys that we had seen before, but they were much closer this time. They were really small, and one had a little baby that would fit in my hand. I would’ve loved to have one of them for a pet!
There were also more wildebeests and ostriches. The sun was starting to set, so it was really beautiful then.
Another baobab tree and some of the landscape was one of our last photos as we got back to the campsite. It was all lit up by the sunset, and it was really amazing. You can see us in the shadow of the truck too.
And that was it! We were back at the campground. We had a delicious dinner and then went to our tents, to get an early start the next day. It had been a great first day of our safari! I saw a ton of animals and it was cool to be able to see all of them in their natural habitats. It is so different from being at a zoo, and I had learned a lot more. I knew that the next four days were going to be fantastic too, and I could hardly wait until the morning.
Anders Bruihler is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Anders Bruihler.
On Safari in Tanzania