In January 2013, my husband, two kids (ages 6 & 8) and I took a two week safari trip to Tanzania. What a great adventure!
We started in Lake Manyara National Park. We were in a camp by a huge surreal waterfall. The kids played in the sandy-bottom streams by the waterfall, and we climbed the rocks of the waterfall to enjoy the view. Sleeping in camp was great. Camp beds with white sheets and fresh water bottles each night, warm water in our outdoor washbasins each morning, and warm outdoor showers in the evening. Good western-style food (including lasagna!) was cooked by amazing camp cooks. We are campers in Canada, and I’d have to say that we’ve never camped like this!
Manyara may have been the best park for seeing animals. At one point we were surrounded by a herd of 54 elephants (before we stopped counting), with giraffe, zebra, waterbuffalo, and flamingos all in sight. We even took a ‘night drive’ in a jeep with no walls or roof (all the better for leopards to jump on us), but felt better with a park ranger with a rifle directly behind me. Vervet monkeys, impalas, zebras, and termite mounds were everywhere. Our guide James was college-educated to be a safari guide, and his knowledge of the flora and fauna was amazing. He could also spot animals that we never would have seen had he not pointed them out.
Around Lake Manyara there were many traditional Masaii villages. We also visited a non-Masaii village for a tour and meal. This was very interesting, and an opportunity we would not have had if Wayo had not built a relationship with this community. Note: one of our group got traveller’s diarrhea this day- I highly recommend Dukoral (vaccination) pre-travel as it seemed to protect those who’d taken it. In general, before you travel to Africa, a visit to a travel medical clinic is essential.
We visited the Ngorogoro Crater. Highlights were the elephant who’d claimed our hotel lawn as his own, a hyena taking down an impala, and lions closeby and unafraid of our safari vehicle. There are a lot of bumpy roads in Africa; you may relieve your driver of the need to show you ‘all’ the sights. Some of the sights are enough!
The Serengeti came next. The scale was amazing. You could drive for an entire day and see nothing more than animals (we did this). It was hotter and drier here. We could see elephants and wildebeest from our camp, and baboons in camp. Lions and hyena came through the camp nightly.
Wayo arranged our flight from the Serengeti airstrip out to the ocean, and drove us to the airstrip with lunches packed. Thanks for this.
Wayo means “Touch the Earth” in Swahili. It was really an immersive experience, staying at the ‘green’ camps. We were surrounded by nature 24 hours a day, as opposed to being daytime visitors. With the Wayo staff catering to our needs, it was relaxing and enriching. If you take the time to travel to Africa for a safari experience, I can’t think of a better way to maximize your experience. Thanks James, Jean, and the rest of the Wayo team!
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