Tanzania1 / Tanzania2 / Tanzania3

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    The trip to Tanzania was for us the first in the heart of Africa and the experience was something not to be forgotten for a long time. We had only ten days holiday, so we organized soon after our arrival the safari trip with the company Safari Makers in Arusha. We decided to do not only the standard five days Serengeti tour but to add two more days trekking between two volcanic craters, the Olmoti and Empakai. We made the tour alone with a driver and a cook so we could take our time for animal watching and photography.

    The car was a Toyota Landcruiser which could seat five tourists but even with only the two of us it was quite full with all the camping equipment. We had a very big tent, big camping table and comfortable chairs. The food was not what you would call gourmet, but it was plenty. Because the tropical climate the food has a lot of preservatives so the health conscious better don't read the food labels. And it is better to be vegetarian as the the condition for meat storage (an ice box, but no chance to get fresh ice) is not ideal.

    On the first day we drove from Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park, a relatively small park but rich in wildlife. We saw elephants, giraffes, monkeys, tens of hippos at the shore of the lake, hundreds of pink flamingos and some unusual creatures like ground hornbill and chameleon. The night we spent at Panorama Safari Camp with view to Lake Manyara. Next day we drove to Serengeti National Park where we spent four days mainly driving around and watching the wildlife. It was like National Geographic, not on TV, but for real. We had luck because it was the end of wet season and the animals did not yet migrate to the North, so we saw hundreds of zebras, gnus and impalas, giraffe, elephants, hippos, monkeys, vultures, hyenas, jackals, leopards and lions hunting. The highlight was a pair of cheetah which we could admire only some meters away from us for a long time.

    Serengeti is a big enough place to drive away so that the tourists disperse and you get a real feeling of remoteness and you can enjoy the nature and the wildlife in peace. Some moments you think you traveled back in time when you are in such places where there are no signs or sounds of human activities. We camped every night inside the park and we were rewarded every time with the beautiful African sky with it's billion of stars. Some nights we heard lions roaring near the tent, such an experience!

    We left Serengeti and drove to Ngorongoro crater, an extinct volcanic crater 20 km in diameter which is now a natural zoo, with the difference that the people are behind the fence (or car window) and the animals move around free. In comparison with Serengeti, Ngorongoro looks crowded with lots of safari cars everywhere. The highlight there are the rhinos, the few left in Tanzania live protected by armed rangers.

    After five days spent in the car it was time to go on foot, so we trekked for 25 km between the volcanic craters of Olmoti and Empakai with a Maasai guide. The first night we slept just outside of a small Maasai town - or lets say a large village. The monthly market was in full swing, all around the people in red clothes looked at us as we picked up our guide Winfried for the hike the next day. We went up the hill for one hour to the rim of Olmoti crater where we met some Maasai sheperds. In the evening we heard the villagers singing and dancing, celebrating the market. The next day on the way to Empakai we passed by Maasai small villages where the people live in straw and dung huts after centuries old rules, we met Maasai warriors carrying spears, Maasai women loaded with huge quantities of wood. As there are no many foreigners coming in the area, the locals were as curious about us as we were about them. The landscape was really beautiful and even the human presence there were wild animals like zebras, gnu, ostriches and jackals. Out last night we spend in a wild camp at the rim of Empakai at 2500m. As the rules of the national park say, we had to stay with an armed National Park Ranger - that this is really necessary we realized when Diana saw a black leopard crossing just five meters behind our tent.

    The time in the wilderness was at the end so we returned to Arusha to spend the last three days in the Moivaro Coffee Plantation, a luxury resort with a colonial atmosphere. We washed the multiple layers of dust off and enjoyed the peace at the coffee farm. We were sad to leave, the time spent in Tanzania left unforgettable memories.

1   The delicious African bananas
2   Driving in Lake Manyara National Park
3   Serengeti National Park
4   The first encounter in Serengeti, the King of animals
5   Cheetah pair relaxing in the shadow
6   Cheetah a fast and elegant feline 
7   The migration of gnus, an impressive event to be seen only on few occasions in the year
8   Group of lions before going to hunt
9   Lion hunting zebras, an adrenalin pumping show
10   There are in Serengeti thousands of zebras moving around in big herds
11   Giraffe
12   Portrait of a giraffe
13   Leopard climbing down from its hide place

Tanzania1 / Tanzania2 / Tanzania3

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