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Tanzania Safari Part I

Six days with African wildlife

View Francis & Edward, Taste of the World on edcastano's travel map.

Flight to Tanania

On our flight to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania we saw Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain on the African continent. Sadly, Kilimanjaro's majestic snow cap is rapidly giving way to the powers of global warming.


Bus to Arusha

For a capital city, Dar Es Salaam is just about as nondescript as it can get. After the requisite overnight stay in Dar, we took an early morning bus to Arusha, 16 hours northwest of Dar. The bus ride was fairly interesting because it drove through many villages and farms, so we really got a taste for what life in most of Tanzania is like.


Basecamp Tanzania

We had already reserved our Safari prior to arriving in Tanzania. Our experience with our providers exceeded our expectations. The food and lodging at L'Oasis Lodge in Arusha was far better than we had grown accustomed to during our travels.


The owner, Achmed, personally met with us the night of our arrival to discuss our itinerary over drinks. He is a guy with a lot of personality. He knows how to have fun, but also runs a very tight outfight. He had our driver pick us up at the station, even though the bus was more than 2 hours late and we felt bad for him, it was nice to be greeted by someone upon our arrival.

Here is Achmed in his usual customer service role

6 days, 4 Parks, two great guys

We loved Joseph, our driver and Juma our cook. They were extremely nice and patient with Donnaven and Edward. Because we were unprepared for the winter in Tanzania, our driver, Joseph, was kind enough to take us to buy some used sweaters the morning of our departure. Believe it or not, the mornings and nights do get quite cold during the winter, even in equatorial Africa. The next six days with Joseph and Juma would be some of the most memorable of our trip.

Pictured from left to right: Francis, Joseph, Donnaven, Juma, Edward

We visited four different wildlife parks: Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater. Each offered a different but equally fascinating mix of landscapes, weather and animals.

We will first do a run-down of the different parks and their landscapes before going into detail on the animals we saw in a separate posting.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is supposedly one of the least visited of the northern Tanzanian game parks. However, it has plenty to offer and is especially famous for its many elephants and Bao Bab trees. As our fist stop, it did not disappoint. The park is named after the river that intersects it, pictured in the panorama below.

View of elephants frolicking on the Tarangire river from our picnic site
Elephants grazing in front of a baobab tree
Elephant on the mountain side

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is bordered to the west by the dramatic western escarpment of the Rift Valley. To the east is the alkaline Lake Manyara. The lake if famous for the tens of thousands of pink flamingos that flock to its shores to stock up on shrimp.

Manyara Panorama
Giraffe near Manyara shore
Flamingos on Lake Manyara's shore

Serengeti National Park

The vast expanse of the Serengeti contains a dramatic variety of landscapes and animals. Yet it is particularly distinct for one phenomenon. Lonely Planet Tanzania says it best: "On its vast, treeless plains, one of the earth's most impressive natural cycles plays itself out again and again, as tens of thousands of hoofed animals, driven by primeval rhythms of survival, move constantly in search of fresh grasslands." Because we were late in the season, we had to travel far north to get a glimpse of the tail end of the great migration. Nonetheless, it was a site to see.


Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The heart of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera. The Crater, which formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago, is 610 m (2,001 ft) deep and its floor covers 260 kmĀ² (102 square miles). The fantastic geography is as much a reason to visit the Ngorongoro as is its awesome concentration of animals.


Posted by edcastano 01:43 Archived in Tanzania Tagged ecotourism

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