Short Break? Go on safari in Tanzania, a beautiful country where 30% is made up of national parks.
“The sounds of insects, birds and animals create a symphony of the Savannah”
As the world continues to expand around us, it can be safely said Tanzania is one of the most misunderstood places to go. Not to be dramatic, but I can honestly say that going to Africa for eight days was probably the best experience I’ve had in my entire life, (it also helps that I’m obsessed with wildlife in general).
Scouring the vast plains of the Serengeti (which means endless plains in Swahili) and the vast canopy of leaves of Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro for the golden, sleek fur of a lion, a trotting zebra or watching the sunset behind a giraffe in an amber glow as it moves in an embodiment of delicate grace is unforgettable.
“There are avocados the size of your face growing on trees”
The sounds of insects, birds and animals create a symphony of the Savannah luring you in deeper every day. Does it sound like paradise yet?
Tanzania will surprise you. Everyone thinks that it is hot all the time and put off by the idea of holidaying in the sweltering heat, but Africa has a huge range of climates. It gets cold at night, making it a very nice temperature during the day to explore.
Moreover, contrary to the popular belief that Tanzania consists of only dry Savannah, it flourishes with lush greenery, coffee plantations, rice fields and a plethora of mountains everywhere you look. There are avocados the size of your face growing on trees, and tasty banana soup and ugali every place you visit.
“You can get the best pictures of animals in the National Parks”
Tanzania is also home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, which is a phenomenal spectacle witnessed over the months of June and July, as the wildebeest travel from the Serengeti National Park to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Spend an afternoon in a Masai village and immerse yourself in learning about the traditions and culture of the tribe.
And if sitting in an open jeep and spotting animals isn’t your cup of tea, Tanzania is also the home to the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Take a 6-day hike up the mountain to see the summit 5,896 meters above sea level, but the view is just fine from the ground too, and on a lucky day, from the window of your aeroplane.
If you are planning to go on safari, book it online (the company I used was (My Kenya Travels), head to the Ngorongoro crater, which is an incredible volcanic crater and the largest un-flooded caldera in the world. The crater is home to over 25,000 animals over its 260 square kilometres.
“David Attenborough can only do so much when depicting the Serengeti”
A benefit of going on safari is that if you’re into wildlife photography or photography in general, you can get the best pictures of animals in the National Parks.
I recommend staying at the Marera Valley Lodge, but to be honest, if you’re looking to spend more on your safari, then there are some fantastic hostels and basic tents to stay in throughout the trip. From Ngorongoro, drive up to (my new favourite place), the Serengeti National Park.
“The second you enter the Serengeti, you will be greeted by floods of Thompson gazelles”
David Attenborough can only do so much when depicting the Serengeti, and pictures do not give the beauty of the plains any justice. It is recommended to spend at least 3 days here, in which you can spot countless animals and have a picnic in the middle of the endless plains.
I was shocked that I saw almost 40 different species of animals during our “game drives” every day, and that’s not even counting the birds! The Serengeti Acacia Camp is a fantastic place to stay when you’re exploring the Serengeti, but there are many campsites all over the Serengeti depending on your budget as accommodation is varied.
The second you enter the Serengeti, you will be greeted by floods of Thompson gazelles and birds as well as several various habitats. It also the best place to spot the Big 5, hyenas, water hogs, baboons, and elusive animals like the Leopard and the Cheetah, or even a Rhino!
Finally, to conclude your trip, head to Lake Manyara, the home of many hippos and other species of birds. So head to Tanzania with your camera and an open mind for a fantastic short break.
All images courtesy of Nila Varman.
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