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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tanzania



"The less I seek my source for some definitive 
The closer I am to fine" - Indigo Girls


Before Mr. Deep took off for Geneva leaving me in Joburg to manage the mother of all Ops assignments, our departure, we went to Tanzania. I will get to Tanzania in a minute. I promise. I'm as tired of talking about our move from Joburg as you are of reading about it. But I do have an important update to share. The situation that I was cranky about, the job that I thought was taking us to America, St. Louis to be exact, isn't happening. Instead, the plan is for us to spend the remainder of 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland where Mr. Deep is overseeing a project. 

When I talk about our future, I sound like a journalist. I say, "the plan for us" the way a reporter might say "the alleged attacker. " I do this because I think we might end up moving to St. Louis one day. So I'm not going to go on and on about how relieved I am not to be going. Doing so would be like telling your best friend you don't like her boyfriend only to find later they are getting married. It's better to say very little and to secretly celebrate if they break up.

And now, Tanzania. 

As you read the word do you pronounce it Tan Zan Knee Uh? Or Tan Zany Uh? Mr. Deep and I always pronounced it Tan Zan Knee Uh and then we noticed that many people here say Tan Zany Uh, a pronunciation which annoyed Mr. Deep greatly. Turns out both are wrong as the locals pronounce it Tan Zon Ya the last part almost rhyming with lasagna. 

Africa is huge.  It's 30.3 million square kilometres. In comparison the USA is 9.8. Globes are fictitious representations of scale. I know how big Africa is because when we fly to Joburg from New York we reach the coast of Africa in eight hours but it takes another eight of flying time to cross almost the entire length of the continent.  Although Mr. Deep and I have done an amazing job of visiting Southern Africa, having been to seven out of ten Southern African countries, this was our first visit to East Africa and let me tell you it's another world. 

I remember when Mr. Deep and I flew to South Africa for the very first time. I was sitting in coach and he was in business class. No, that's not the point of the story but it bares repeating that it occurred. Anyway, the man I was sitting next to told me that South Africa isn't really Africa. Funny enough today in Joburg I spoke with a Spanish lady and she  informed me that Geneva isn't really Europe. Anyway, it is true that South Africa is different from other parts of Africa and so if it's real Africa that you seek, I think Tanzania fits the bill. 

We started off with a midnight flight to Nairobi, Kenya, a four hour flight from Joburg, and then flew to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. As luck would have it we were seated on the wrong side of the plane when we flew over Kili so I don't have a photo to share with you of the mountain from the air. We were picked up at the airport and driven 1.5 hours to Arusha where we stayed at Arusha Coffee Lodge for one night before going to the Serengeti.


My first impressions of Tanzania are that people drive very slowly on long two lane roads, similar to Lesotho. Also, so many men drive motorcycles. It was almost like being in Asia (not that I've been but I imagine lots of Japanese made bikes.)  Our driver told us there are so many scooter accidents that the hospital had to build a wing dedicated to treating scooter injuries. 

Not the best photo quality but you can see the bikes and I love how every man in this pic is looking at the woman. 
Coffee beans. 


The next morning, we flew back to Kilimanjaro on a small plane. This time it was too cloudy to see the mountain. We then flew to Lake Manyara and then finally to the Serengeti. It was similar to our trip to Botswana where the plane stopped multiple times and different passengers came and went. 



As we walked down the steps of the plane, we met Justice our Serengeti guide. He took us out to the parking lot and advised us he had to file our park permit paperwork and that we should wait for him. Everyone else appeared to be in the same situation as it seems the park doesn't allow the guides file until the guests arrive. Justice had set up a lovely table for us with lunch and he showed us where the cold drinks were. 

When he returned he told us that we'd spend the rest of the afternoon doing a game drive and then we'd return to camp. It was only about noon and we'd never been given the opportunity to do such a long game drive before. We were thrilled at the prospect. He also showed us a map of the park and a paper showing us the type of birds we might see. I told him that Mr. Deep loves birds and Justice said he also loves birds so I knew we were in for some birding excitement (oxymoron.) Our pilot, Gareth, also joined us for a portion of the game drive. He wasn't scheduled to fly back until the next day and was spending the night at our camp. He rode with us for a bit until another guy from the camp came and collected him.





The purpose of visiting Tanzania in May was to witness the great migration, an annual natural phenomenon in which nearly two million antelope, wildebeest and zebras travel about 2000 miles in search of better grazing. The trip is dangerous and many animals are killed by predators such as lions and crocodiles (during river crossings) as they migrate.

Viewing the migration is challenging because the animals don't follow a strict schedule meaning you can't count on them to arrive in one area on a certain day or a certain week. This is understandable as they are animals searching for nice grass, not putting on a show for humans. In order to ensure that we maximized our one chance to see the migration we booked our trip with And Beyond safari company and stayed in a mobile camp, meaning the camp moves throughout the year to put itself close to the migration. More on this camp in a future post. 

From the moment we left the airstrip, the animal sightings were incredible. We have never seen such large herds of zebras and wildebeest at one time and we had never before seen lions in trees. 



These poor zebras were so nervous, they would go in the water, drink for a few seconds, get spooked and run and then repeat over and over. It's not easy to be the hunted. 
Photo credit to Mr. Deep for possibly the best picture taken during our entire time in Africa. Bravo! 

More to come on Tanzania....




2 comments:

  1. I saved this forever in my inbox. So jealous you got to see the Serengeti. And what good timing just before leaving! I bet it was absolutely amazing. I love all your pictures. And as always the writing. I laughed out loud about St. Louis. That's how I felt about Nashville! And it actually surprised us in being a lot more hip than we thought. But I'm sure Geneva is more amazing!

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    1. Nashville is very cool. I've been there and really enjoyed it. It's possible that St. Louis is cool also and just that no one ever talks about it? Luckily for me I don't need to find out first hand at least for now. More to come from Tanzania soon. I am just so busy these days with the logistics of leaving. I need to make time for the blog. Thanks for the comment!

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About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.