Warning: the following travel blog will contain scenes of amazing African travel landscapes, wild animal content, and highly evocative depictions of must-do travel that will make readers want to book a trip to Tanzania in Africa tomorrow! Reader caution is advised.
It took all of five minutes off the plane for me to become instantly raptured by Tanzania. Simply driving in from the airport to the Northwestern crossroads city of Arusha was exciting enough – a spectacle of colours and images for my eyes to behold – and this was just arriving, my week-long safari hadn’t even begun yet!
I recently travelled to Tanzania to experience a camping safari with our award-winning local suppliers. To be frank with you, I never did full-on camping prior to this trip, and it was my first time travelling in Africa. The thought of being gnawed on by a lion in my sleep had crossed my mind.
After a night in Arusha at a hotel, my guide and chef in a Landrover that was packed with all the accouterments for 6 nights of camping on the African savannah gathered me, and we set forth. After only thirty minutes from the hustle and bustle of Arusha we were moving into the breathtaking Tanzanian countryside.
The geography of Tanzania is highly diverse, within a few moments we would go from dry, arid scrubland, to endless plains, onto chilly mountain tops, and down into lush, verdant rainforests. It was way more varied than I had expected it to be.
A day of camping safari consists of getting up early and having a camp breakfast – generally a fried egg, toast, and breakfast sausage, with fresh fruit and delicious Tanzanian coffee. Then it’s off for game drives for the day, with midday boxed lunch. As the sun sets it’s time to make camp again, with a dinner and lights out. Campsites have showers and toilets with running water, so you are not totally roughing it!
One question everyone has asked me: what is it like to sleep in a tent in Africa? There are no barriers or fences, so your tent is entirely open to the nature around it. As you eat dinner and it gets dark, a dazzling sky of stars comes out, and you start to hear the sounds of the night animals around you. I was never scared that a lion was going to lunge forward at me, but I knew that I was truly in a visitor in some other creature’s territory. Generally speaking, once I crawled into my tent, I read for an hour, turned off my headlamp, and went to sleep.
My first night I heard gazelles traipsing by my tent a few times. At 4am, I could hear a lion vocalizing in the distance. Around 6am, and moving into daybreak, an orchestra of birds set the stage. When I crawled out of my tent and brushed my teeth, giraffes strutted past mere meters away.
I firmly believe that a major trip should be accented with a memorable experience, so to experience that in Tanzania I took a daybreak hot air balloon over the Serengeti. I have hot air ballooned elsewhere, but nothing compares to seeing a bevvy of animals from an aerial perspective. Upon landing the champagne corks pop, with bubbly flowing freely and a full English breakfast served on china. What a change from my typical camp breakfast.
Of course, there are other memories that I will never forget. For example, I will never forget the thrill of seeing the earthshaking wildebeest migration – a full frenzy of thousands of animals stamping in unison. Or all the baby animals! Seeing baby blue vervet monkeys learn to swing limb-to-limb was adorable!
Let me tell you, if I can do a camping safari I believe anyone can. I feel personally empowered by the experience; and weather you camp or go for lodges, Africa is something I feel everyone should experience in their lifetime.
- Working with our local suppliers, we can customize a camping or lodge safari. Set it around your schedule, and enjoy a privatized experience. It is as affordable as larger group safaris. Imagine timing your experience to coincide with a major life event such as a milestone birthday or anniversary, graduation, or even family reunion.
- Private safaris can be for any sized group, from solo travellers to couples, families, groups, etc.
- Add an embellishment like a hot air balloon in the Serengeti – when else will you have the opportunity to do something like it!
- Consider adding some beach time… lots of people go to Zanzibar. I went to Seychelles.
August 29, 2013