Thursday, January 21, 2016

Arusha, Tanzania: Four Days on Safari in Wild Africa - January 2016

"In the coming decades and centuries, men will not travel to view marvels of engineering, but they will leave the dusty towns in order to behold the last places on earth where God's creatures are peacefully living. Countries which have preserved such places will be envied by other nations and visited by streams of tourists. There is a difference between wild animals living in natural life and famous buildings. Palaces can be rebuilt if they are destroyed in wartime, but once the wild animals of the Serengeti are exterminated no power on earth can bring them back." Conservationist and Zoologist, Bernard Grzimek (1909-1987)

Breaking through the light layer of clouds, our rickety propeller plane descended, and we caught our first glimpse of mainland Africa. Families with small children waved through a chain-link fence and a nondescript building with the words "Arusha Airport" painted on the roof came into view.

Walking from the plane we were warmly greeted by two men, "Jambo! Welcome to Your African Safari!"

Mr. Romeo Rweza, owner of Safari Multiways, wore tiny ovaled spectacles and carried a heavy brown briefcase. Mr. Amos, our safari guide for the week, donned a colorful tribal print shirt and a bright white smile. We all gathered in the dusty parking lot to settle the bill and within moments, we were on our way with Amos detailing the next few days of adventure.

Our ride for the safari was a dark green Land Rover with six elevated seats in the back and a pop-up roof. It was comfortable and also equipped with power charging strip. Throughout the next four days, Amos and our trusty Land Rover took us through dense forests, near ponds and swamplands, over grassy plains and down into a vast crater. We spent the days on game drives scouting animals and vegetation, and the evenings sampling typical African fare and resting for the next day's adventure. The accommodation was clean and comfortable, and one night we even tried glamping.

Along the way, we visited with the people of the local Maasai Tribe and caught a glimpse of Africa's tallest peak Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. "She's a very shy lady," Amos explained of the mountain, "She hides most of the time under the clouds and only allows herself to be seen from far off on very clear days."

Our four-day safari was thrilling. During our adventure we saw lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, cheetahs, hippos, rhinos, buffalo and even an elusive leopard. It was the perfect combination of excitement and relaxation. We couldn't have dreamed of a friendlier guide or a more memorable experience.

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