Where the Wild Things Are - A Tanzanian Safari
Yes, the obligatory safari when in Africa. I must admit that, even though I love animals and Planet Earth, I wasn't all too excited about spending 4 days in 3 national parks with the sole intention of wildlife spotting.
But how many people can claim they've seen the Big Five - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and cape buffalo? And boast that a cheetah came within 3 feet of their convertible jeep? Or that, when camping at the rim of a 3,200-sq-mile crater the size of Crete, 2 wild elephants rumbled through during an early breakfast? Not to be overshadowed, of course, by the thrill of watching a live chase of lion vs gazelle. Even though our entire group cheered for the lion, in hopes of seeing some bloodshed, the gazelle swiftly escaped. And despite their physical hideousness, seeing thousands of wildebeest in a mass seasonal migration was pretty awesome.
We marveled at the gait of the giraffe, the sea of pink flamingos lining the edge of the crater lake, and the 1950's-style hairdo of the cape buffalo. We all proclaimed disgust when, thanks to the power of binoculars, each of us saw a hyena feeding on a carcass, surrounded by 5 vultures waiting their turn.
Four days through Lake Manyara, the Serengeti Reserve, and the Ngorongoro Crater, were enough to satiate my lifetime curiosity for wildlife viewing. And it's pretty awesome to have seen a pride of lions surrounding a near-decapitated giraffe on my birthday. What a great start to, as Vijay and Amrit would proclaim, an auspicious year - 27 = 3 cubed. Having a charcoal-baked birthday cake brought out to my pacha (Swahili for twin) and I as we dined outside in the Serengeti, and hearing Happy Birthday sung in Swahili by 3 off-key Tanzanians, was Kachizi Kamandizi Bareedi (Swahili for 'Cool as a cold banana').
Prefer photos to words? Click here to view my Tanzania album.