29 January 2016 – Friday: Arusha, Tanzania
Arriving late in the evening, we were taken directly to the beautiful African Tulip Hotel in Arusha where we spent the night.
30 January 2016 – Saturday: Arusha, Tanzania
After the hotel breakfast and our first daily photography class, we drove to a traditional Maasai village where we toured their simple school and homes. They were non-materialistic basically wearing all their personal belongings. Several of the ladies were selling handmade crafts. Both the men and women demonstrated a traditional Maasai dance.
From the village, we continued driving through the countryside to the Ngorongoro crater. While we waited for our guides to have the national park permits processed, we were entertained by a troop of baboons.
Climbing to the rim of the crater, we stopped at the first overlook and were amazed at the vast expanse of the caldera. From there we witnessed a double rainbow. It was a truly awesome sight. We then continued around the rim of the crater to the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge which would be our home for the next two nights.
31 January 2016 – Sunday: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
We were up before sunrise for our decent onto the crater floor and an early morning game drive. We enjoyed a picnic breakfast on the crater floor. Only then did we realize the true size of this crater. Animals hadn’t been visible from the rim and now there were many including elephants, hippos, cape buffalo and a black rhino on the lush green crater floor! After enjoying a wonderful buffet lunch at the lodge, we returned to the crater floor ringed by high volcanic walls for more animal viewing and photographing. Later, waterbucks and monkeys visited the lodge grounds.
1 February 2016 – Monday: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
We checked out of the Sopa Lodge after an excellent breakfast. We drove around the rim of the crater and down to the vast Serengeti where we stopped for a picnic lunch in the midst of the gigantic wildebeast herd migration. A dung beetle was busy rolling her treasured manure ball. The Serengeti plain was wet and green from recent rains and the herd animals stretched as far as you could see. We continued driving and viewing the wildlife as we proceeded to the Nasikia Mobile Migration Camp. For the next two nights our accommodations would be tents. These are not your everyday camping tents. They were outfitted with carpeted wood floors, a mosquito netted real bed, a bathroom with a real toilet, and a shower pull chain to release a brief supply of warm water from an overhead canvas bucket. After checking into the camp we were back in our vehicles for an afternoon game drive. We saw giraffes, zebras, and lions very close by. The meals served were nothing short of amazing. They were what you’d expect from a really good restaurant, hardly from a dining tent in the wilderness of the Serengeti.
2 February 2016 – Tuesday: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
We continued to enjoy great meals, a photography class, plus both a morning and evening game drive.
3 February 2016 – Serengeti National Park and Crater Highlands, Tanzania
Our wonderful breakfast gave us a great start for the morning game drive. After our camp lunch, we ascended to the outer crater rim exiting the park. We received a farewell from the gates resident baboons. We drove partway back to Arusha stopping at the Acacia Farm Lodge for our farewell dinner and to spend our last night. The Acacia Farm Lodge is a beautiful resort in a coffee growing area. The accommodations are both spacious and luxurious and is a wonderful place to relax.
4 February 2016 – Arusha, Tanzania
You felt so comfortable at the Acacia Farm Lodge that you hated to leave. The staff made you feel welcome and relaxed like you were part of the family. Clouds blocked our one chance to see Mt. Kilimanjaro on the drive to Arusha. Our flights in and out of Tanzania were night ones. Both the flights and time in Tanzania were near perfect. No time was wasted due to the superior tour scheduling. We liked being in the company of the other 14 participants. We believe that they were all younger than us and were mostly photographers, writers or both. The airport and the big silver bird beckons. This adventure comes to a close and it’s time to return home.
All the Best,
Wayne & Dianne