Jill and I had the immense pleasure to fulfill a lifelong dream of going on an African Safari. We experienced several different venues (with lots of driving), incredible animal sightings, interaction with local Africans and the Maasai people, and downright scary moments of flash flooding toward the end of our journey. We began our journey in Arusha, Tanzania and upon arrival managed to breakdown in the middle of the highway on our ride to first lodge. Several hours later, we dragged our tired bodies to our room. The next morning we flew a small plane to the Eastern Serengeti Nyumba. Another fun moment, we had to abort two landings because of gazelles on the grassy airstrip! On the third attempt to land, the excellent pilot pulled in early and gave the animals more of a chance to run, which they did. Other locales included Central and Southern Serengeti Nyumbas, gorgeous Gibbs Farm for three luxurious nights, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Because of flash flooding, getting stuck in the mud twice in one day, and getting into our last Nyumba near midnight, we rebelled and insisted on a better last night and safe journey out the next day. We spent our last night at the Tarangire Safari Lodge, a beautiful setting high above the raging Tarangire River! It was a much easier drive out for our return trips home the next day.
First Jetlaggy night at Rivertrees Country Inn.
Our exceptional pilot on way from Arusha to the Eastern Serengeti Nyumba or camp. Below is our landing strip.
We travelled with Thomson Safaris and received first class service and attention from our guides to every single member of the staff at all the nyumbas. Thomson Safaris has contracted with the Tanzanian government to hold large exclusive land tracts within and out of the parks for guests. They also contribute to local communities through their Focus on Tanzanian Communities outreach. We were all happy to contribute to local economies in a number of ways. The photos below were captured as we drove into our first Nyumba on the Eastern Serengeti.
We made it to our first nyumba to be met by Chris, a great guy and cheerful Thomson employee.
All of our tents were luxurious with our own private toilet and showers inside. Coffee served hot every day at "jambo jambo" time.
Amos, a local Maasai gave us a morning walking tour and lecture. He also introduced us to the local women's group who sold us their beautiful artwork.
Our head guide, Kumbi, and man who knows every species of flora and fauna in Africa. He can also spot animals while he 4X4's and answers endless questions from his passengers.
Breakfast in the bush!
Our visit to the Maasai Women's Center, with contributions from our safari operator.
An eye opening visit to a local Boma (Maasai house).
Eastern Serengeti Nyumba...Safari living at it's finest!
The food was fabulous and this guy made sure it happened.
Our wonderful guides, staff, and park rangers bid us goodbye from our first Serengeti nyumba.
Central Serengeti Nyumba
We saw many "new" animals on our way to our new safari home. We did break down again, and damn if Mohdy didn't drop the entire rear axel and determined new bearings were in order. After a couple hours, a rescue vehicle came for us and Thomson Safaris shipped out an entire new axel and had it installed by the next morning!!
The next morning after our arrival at camp 2, we saw this carnage. Hyenas tearing apart a zebra which had been taken by a solo lioness. This pack drove her off and really got after it.
Serengeti Visitor Center. We circled back to this site several times, as the vehicle fuel is nearby!!
New friends from NYC.
We waited patiently for the show and were highly rewarded when these hippos displayed their "yawning" behaviors!!
Serengeti Balloon Safaris
The balloon ride across the Serengeti in the early morning was absolutely thrilling. It was beautiful, quiet, then shockingly loud with a hot, bright blast! The landing was much less traumatic than I expected. We didn't even roll over. A champagne breakfast finished off a great experience.
On to Gibbs Farm! You're going to love it.