Through the roof of our pop-top Jeep, three adults giggled like children. We were stopped in front of a group of giraffes, the first of many we’d see throughout our 7-day safari, when one of them started to itch its long leg on a small bush. Have you ever seen a giraffe scratch an itch? It felt like we were in the middle of some nursery rhyme, but it was happening like 10 feet in front of us. The proximity, the absurdity, the fact that it was one of the first things we saw as we entered the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania was enough to make one of us giggle, launching a chain reaction that caused Daniel, Aston, and I to escape the confines of our age and snicker madly for a good few minutes.
And for the remainder of the week, that childlike wonder never left us as we explored the Serengeti and dropped down into the Ngorongoro Crater, marveling at wild animals close enough to touch.
A few weeks prior, by a stroke of good luck our friend Caleb introduced us to Noel, an old friend he went to elementary school with in Ethiopia. Noel works for a tour company, Ahsante Tours, in Tanzania and graciously coordinated our whole safari. We met with him in the town of Moshi where he introduced us to Aston, our dear tour guide and driver, and we were off for a week of adventure. I’d heard a lot of accounts about safaris from friends and family, but I’m not sure Daniel and I realized how positively it would affect us until we hopped in that big jeep with Aston. We were genuinely happy for 7 straight days. Like ‘shit-eating grin’ happy.
From the first simba sighting (‘lion’ in Swahili), who we watched get it on with his lady right before our eyes, to the two cheetahs we saw hunt, kill, and eat a baby wildebeest, to the majestic African elephants that slowly graced our sight in each of the 3 parks we visited, it was a week of wonder. The Serengeti was vast, open, and full of roaming wildlife. We spent two nights sleeping in a tent inside the park. Those were a memorable couple of nights – a wounded wildebeest slept on the “porch” of our tent, wailing the whole night through.
But the highlights came at the end of our trip in one of the most breathtaking places on planet earth.
For some time now Daniel has talked about visiting the Ngorongoro Crater. A volcano collapsed millions of years ago and created the crater, now home to the incredible creatures and a variety of breathtaking landscapes. The crater is affectionately called the 8th wonder of the world but spend one second staring at the thing from the top and you’ll wonder how it didn’t make the original list. Then you descend down into it and you’re even more sure that it’s remarkably unlike anything else.
The terrain is as ecologically diverse as the wildlife. We spent the day driving through grasslands and expansive plains, past lakes and major rivers, and into the Lerai Forest full of giant fig trees. Along the way you’ll spot the “Big Five” a term coined by big-game hunters that references the five hardest animals to hunt in Africa, including the rare black rhinos, lions, African buffalos, African elephants, and leopards. You’ll also spot zebras, hyenas, warthogs, elephants, hippos and birds galore – including the kori bustard, the crowned crane and the secretary bird (three of our faves).
We’ve been fortunate enough to have many adventures in this wide world – hell, we’re in the middle of a 4-month honeymoon spanning 8 countries! But Daniel and I both agree that this safari was among the very best.