God’s House in Tanzania

p1030617Some people call churches “god’s house.” But a church is a building made by humans to honor god.  The real god’s house is the 12,000 square miles of the Serengeti ecosystem.  The sky is immense and seems to enfold the land and elevate it at the same time. Most of all, millions of animals live together there peacefully.  In the same vista, you can see zebras, elephants, wildebeest and warthogs.  And hyenas and lions and gazelles, and an endless variety of birds. Even humans seem to fit right in.

p1030378I just returned from 9 days on safari with two amazing tour guides from REI Adventures and 11 other happy campers. Before I went, I wasn’t sure how I felt about a safari because I resist joining tours.  But, like North Korea, you can’t go on your own (although that is where the comparison ends) and having knowledgeable tour guides is essential to understanding the region’s natural history. The experience was magic.

p1020411

We saw elephants (tembo) on the plain and in the forest.

p1030348
p1030154

This cheetah (duma) posed for us for a long time.

p1020943

The black rhino (vifaro) lives comfortably with herds of wildebeest in the Ngorongoro Crater.

p1030368

Zebras and wildebeest migrate together. The wildebeest sense the rain and know when to move, and the zebras know the way.

p1020600

Thompson’s gazelles (paa) are everywhere and very photogenic.

p1030408

Leopards (chui) are elusive, often camouflaged in the trees while they wait for prey.

p1030251

Our tent camp in the southern Serengeti — we didn’t sleep much through the sounds of lions and hyenas, but that was part of the fun.

p1030646

Zebras (pundamilia) and giraffes (twiga) enjoying dinner just outside our camp.

p1020587

We saw lots of babies.

p1030526
p1020862

We were there during the migration to the south. Wildebeest (nyumbu) can delay giving birth until they arrive at their destination, but this one didn’t.

p1020233

At Lake Manyara we saw thousands of water birds (ndege)…

p1020271

…and a few drama queens like this saddle bill stork….

p1020674

…and crown cranes

p1020283

A common site — Isaac (bwana) with his long lens even after everyone else was too tired to stand.

p1020818

The lions (simba) were not nervous about us.

p1030682 p1030550
p1020677

Zebra crossing

p1020498

Cape buffalo (nyati) are dangerous to humans but they like each other.

img_1429

Our tour guides, Rama and Joseph, were so knowledgeable and a lot of fun, even at the end of 8 hours of off-road driving.

p1020908

Hippos (kiboko) do not want you to get between them and the water, where they feel safe.

p1020416

Masai herd their cattle near the wild animals at Ngorongoro Crater.

p1020172

Hakuna matata. Wart hogs (ngiri) everywhere.

p1030465

Before sunrise on the Serengeti.

p1030580

“We are family. I got all my sisters with me.”

p1020697

Zebras are so architectural

p1020359

Lots of baboons (nyani) and monkeys (tumbili) at Lake Manyara

p1030491

Sunrise over the Serengeti

p1030119

Leopard or cheetah? Cheetah because they have round spots.

p1020698

Rama’s seat cover is (faux) leopard.

p1020685 img_1387
p1030352

The end

22 comments

  1. Wow, fantastic photos. Thanks for posting these. Sounds like good feedback on the REI tour, too. I have always been curious about “how to do” Africa. So you have shown a great first step.

    1. REI was great and not expensive (that is, compared to other safari options). Tanzania is a very good first Africa country too I think — besides the amazing parks, it is safe and friendly — and there is Zanzibar, where I am now! xoxox

  2. This is a fantastic article, thank you for posting it for the rest of us to get to see and read. I am going to reblog this one for you so that even more folks can get to see this beauty.

  3. Hi Kim, thanks for tor the great blog and photos of the trip! Jeff & I had a great time visiting friends in The Netherlands and are now at home in Seattle digesting the last couple of amazing weeks. Hope to see you again maybe somewhere in the Mediterranean??

  4. Hi! I found your blog post while researching the REI Tanzania safari tour. I usually like traveling solo and a planning my own trip, but safari is much harder as a solo traveler. I love the pictures and your summary of your experience. How was the lodging? There isn’t much on the REI site about it. Thanks!

    1. Hi There, I did a lot of research before I chose REI and, for the money, it was a great tour. The lodging was very good. Our final three nights at the tent camp on the Serengeti had a few small issues but overall we were very comfortable. The food was surprisingly good even for a vegetarian like me. I also chose REI because I assumed there would be like-minded people on the tour and it was a really good group for me — fun, engaged, upbeat. Have a great trip! Kim

      1. Hi, Kim–we also chose REI because we thought there would be like minded people, and we found you! So glad we were able to do this together. You brought so much and I an now following you–not as a stalker but as a fan! Hugs, Meryl

  5. Love your blog too, most especially of course OUR Tanzania section. It was a pleasure to meet you and I wish you luck on your trip. Wish I could join you in November. Maybe another time 😉 Be safe! Hugs, Carol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s