Exploring the Serengeti on a two day tour during the trip The Great Eastern Summer.
The Serengeti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site can be traced back to 1892 when it was created as a game reserve by the British colonialists. The name comes from the Maasai word siringet meaning “the place where the land runs on forever”.
The German conservationist Bernhard Grzimek further secured the protection of the area and helped create the first national park of Tanzania.
Ever since my father told me about his backpacking through Africa and hitching a ride with Grzimek for over a week through the Serengeti, I was fascinated and inspired to visit the park myself.
After Lake Manyara, we continued our tour with Nature Beauties and entered Ngorongoro Conservation Area in order to reach the park. There was a line of safari cars processing paperwork and one vehicle that stood out. An old car a family of six is driving around the world with their slogan Spark your Dream plastered on the car along with country names they’ve traveled through. People lined up to take pictures with the friendly group. I spoke with Herman briefly and with his warm personality I can see how he is welcomed around the world.
Entering the Serengeti, we passed through the office to register our two day stay. Then we drove directly to the camp with some safari sightseeing on the way.
Besides the incredible wildlife, the camp and dining situation was interesting. We opted to rough it and camp. Little did we know, the campsite was just open in the middle of the Serengeti. There was no fence in a place where lions roam. The only thing separating our sleeping selves from the wild animals was the thin layer of tent canvas.
The first we heard the disturbing howling and calls of the hyenas which seem to frequent the camp grounds in search of food. There was also a lion’s roar in the distance. Waking up in the middle of the night, I heard footsteps a few feet away walking around the tent… Not wanting to move or make noise, I lay perfectly still hoping that they didn’t catch my scent. The next morning, we found the garbage that was left after they rummaged through a safari Land Cruiser that they somehow entered.
There were no break-ins the second night, but the hyenas were definitely around.
Our dining options were limited as we did not opt to hire a cook for the tour. We could either buy meals from another tour’s cook or eat at a restaurant where the park rangers eat. Wanting a local experience, we went to the ranger’s outpost and had our meals at the restaurant. The meals mostly consisted of rice, beans, and chicken for about US$ 2 per person. They were surprisingly delicious though a few days on that diet did have its consequences…
The rest of the experience is best shown through pictures.
Next up, Ngorongoro Crater!