The safari was a incredible experience that is once in a lifetime. I will do a top moments of the safari in no particular order. It was a great experience and was awesome to see God’s beautiful creation.
We stayed at two different hotels during our four day trip. They were unreal and after being in the Tanzanian culture the last week, I felt like they were too nice. We stayed at a hotel in the ngorongoro crater for one night and in a hotel in the Serengeti for two nights. The name of the places we stayed were Serena hotels. The one in the Serengeti was my favorite. First off, the food was amazing. They made you pasta in the buffet in front of you, and you could ask them to put whatever in it and they would cook it in front of you. They also had BBQ beef on a stick, sausage, potatoes, bread and other great food. The view was amazing since the rooms were on the top of a big hill facing out into the vast Serengeti. They had a great endless pool, and the Serengeti was in the background. We stayed in huts, which were very luxurious. When it was dark, we had to have a guard escort us from the dining areas to our room. The view at both places were breathtaking. When we walked in from the safari, we we’re meet with wet, hot towels to wipe off your face and fruit juice to quench your thirst. The workers were very polite and helped make the experience memorable.
The crater! It was so beautiful. The ride up the crater was just like climbing a mountain. The landscape was like a jungle all the way up the crater, and we were going up these winding roads like you would see on a movie. The crater is huge and everywhere you look you are surrounded by it. The vegetation is incredible, and is very green and luscious. This is a vast difference from the Serengeti. The Serengeti is what you would see on tv with the flat plains that go on forever.
Right when we got in the Serengeti, we went to a rest stop to eat. There was a herd of elephants there. Our professor, Lisa, went on this trip like 10 times and this was her first time seeing the elephants at the rest stop. We were allowed to get out of the jeeps, meaning no one on this trip was ever this close to an elephant outside a vehicle. We watched the elephants graze for a while, and they got closer and closer to us. People kept on posing for pictures in front of one elephant that was right in front of us. I didn’t think they were close enough, so I wanted to get closer than everyone else. They were probable 20 feet away, really close! For my picture, I kept creeping closer and closer till I was about 10-15 feet away, think a free throw line away at furthest. The elephant did not like that and flipped back his ears and blew a loud noise out of his trunk. I was scared for my life and ran behind the jeep. I don’t think I ran that fast before in my life. Everyone else also ran with me. The elephant wasn’t going to charge, it just wanted me to leave it alone, and wanted me to know its feelings about me. It was a moment I will always remember. Anyways, no one could believe how close the elephants were, not even the safari drivers.
In the crater we got to see a rhino! It did not come up super clear on my iPad because it was kind of far away, but some other people got great pictures with their cameras. It is so exciting to see a rhino because there are less than 30 in the whole country of Tanzania. All the rhinos in the Serengeti are in a part which is secluded from tourists, so to see one in the crater was cool. I guess the rhino we saw was actually closer than people usually see them. Thus, it was a rare and awesome experience.
A few miles after the rest spot where we saw all the elephants, we saw a different herd of elephants in a mud hole. The cool part was there were two lions watching their every move. They were looking at the baby elephants. It was cool to see this interaction. When the elephants left, they were staring down the lions, and they made sure to make a wall around the babies, it was National Geography material. That was very exciting, as we were anticipating an attack. The safari drivers said the lions would not attack that large group of elephants, but were probable following them for a while to see if they would leave a young elephant behind.
We saw 2 leopards, one on day 2 and the other on the last day. They were both in trees far away, and we had to look through binoculars to see them. One was in a tree on the top of a bunch of growing rocks so it was like a Lion King seen with leopards instead. I do not know how the drivers spot them. It took forever to find them in the tree even when they told you where to look.
The last day we saw two lions that were sleeping under a tree. We drove right up to them and they were about 5 feet away from the truck. It is surprising how the lions just laid there and did not run away. Even though they were just laying there, it was so cool because they were wild Simba’s right in from of our eyes! The four days we were on the safari flew by and felt like a dream. Good thing I have pictures to prove it!