At least for me, sitting down in a bumpy land rover all day is surprisingly exhausting. And by all day, I mean literally for 10 hours a day. You see, animals in the wild don’t live particularly close to humans. It makes sense in retrospect, but going into the whole safari experience I was not expecting 3 hour drives just to get to the parks. It was a little bit of a shock, especially after hiking for hours every day to trek up a rather tall mountain for the previous seven days.
As a side note, I probably should have figured it out when I was told that the Swahili word “safari” translates to “journey” or “voyage” in the English language, both of which sound long and daunting. At the end of the (second) day, I was pretty glad we only did a two-day safari even though others in our trekking group had signed up for an entire week.
Day 1 – Tarangire National Park
We started off the first day with a 6:30am wake-up call, followed by a two-hour drive in a van to get to our land rover and safari guide, followed by a three-hour drive to Tarangire National Park, followed by a three-hour game drive, followed by a two-hour drive to our safari lodge for the night. Exhausted yet? I was, for sure.
Tarangire is mostly known for their elephants, and we luckily saw a ton of those, including a tiny one (less than a week old) who had a super useless noodle flopping off the front of his face and needed his mother’s help to eat and drink. It was adorable.
On the bright side, the safari lodge was the nicest hotel we’d stayed at the whole trip, even boasting 24-hour power! (You know you’re in a third world country when 24 hour power is on the amenity list for the hotel.) Minus the GI-FREAKIN-NORMOUS spider I found in the bathroom when we first got to our room. Even my brother decided to get rid of it with a shoe instead of with a was of tissues because he was worried it would win against the tissues. These spiders are ferocious. This also happened to be New Year’s Eve, so there were some fun celebrations and a fancy buffet dinner involved as well. Except for the fact that I was fast asleep by 9pm, because again, sitting in a vehicle all day is really hard, and I was tired from my nap earlier.
Day 2 – Ngorongoro Crater
The crater is breathtakingly majestic. The closest I’ve come to feeling that way about nature before is in Yosemite Valley, which is also incredibly beautiful but not quite as expansive as the Ngorongoro crater.
Besides the views of the crater, one of my favorite parts of the safari was watching this African buffalo get really irritated with all the flies buzzing around him while his friend just hangs out nonchalantly and slurps muddy water. It’s only a 30-second video but he was going it at for at least five minutes.
I also got to see some exotic animals in their natural habitat for the first time, which was cool, except for all the other vehicles everywhere. Still considered natural? I guess. Felt kinda weird though, and sort of Disneyland-ish. But I guess the people aren’t generally bothering the animals so maybe it’s okay?
Overall, the safari was awesome once but I’m not sure if I’d go again. Too much sitting around for these antsy legs of mine.