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24 February 2020

Client review: Tanzania – a beautiful discovery

Micheline travelled to Tanzania on a safari designed by YZ expert Charlotte, and explored Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti National Park.

I​ was asked to write a blog about my experience on my first safari. At first, I thought, that should be easy, it was such an amazing experience, the trip of a lifetime as many would claim. In hindsight, I would totally agree!

Finding the words to reflect the intensity of what I lived through is the challenge. I didn’t want to use the typical adjectives like it was amazing, incredible, a unique experience. This is without a doubt, an accurate description. I need to thank Charlotte at YZ, who organized my first safari, my introduction to the wonderful people of Tanzania, my first close encounter with wild animals.

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So let’s start! Within a few minutes of venturing into Lake Manyara, which was the first port of entry into the animal kingdom, we saw buffalos, monkeys, elephants, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, antelopes and tree climbing lions.

The temptation to step out of the vehicle and touch the animals was quite real but I’m old enough to understand that my desire to pet and cuddle them is not part of their culture. The safest thing I could do for both the animals and myself is to capture the moment with my camera. I’m in no way a professional photographer and do not have a super duper zoom on my little camera. Some of my pictures were at close range and some were taken while using a zoom.

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For those who asked, I spent 2 nights at Tloma Lodge near the Ngorongoro Crater and the last 3 nights at Ehlane Plains Camp in the Serengeti. 

Tloma Lodge was very nice, set up on a coffee plantation. I liked the fact that they use their own produce to feed their guests. My favourite is Ehlane Plains Camp in the Serengeti. Their customer service, attention to details, personalised service is on a par with any big fancy hotels around the world. The warm welcome, the food, the tent set-up, all perfect to set the mood for an epic journey into the midst of nowhere. You feel surrounded by curious beasts that awkwardly want to check you out, see if you are a threat to their unspoiled territory. At no point did I feel unsafe or threatened by anything. The staff at the camp are attentive to body language and sounds from the animals and, I am sure, very knowledgeable about the animal behaviours.

Let’s get back to the animal we encountered in the Serengeti. I was a witness to an almost ultimate showdown between a pride of lions and a herd of buffalos. The reason it’s an “almost” is because after 1 hour of watching each team positioning themselves to ensure they could either get a clear passage to the river or have a large dinner, we had to leave as the park was closing for the night.

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There were also a few lions feasting on their last kill, while vultures and hyenas were standing by for their turn. Cheetahs were walking around our vehicle, apparently we were blocking their way into the herd of buffalos, wildebeest, antelopes and zebras grazing on the other side. It was interesting to see how a predator can walk into a field among hundreds of potential dinner options and they would just move a bit, to let the cheetahs walk by, as they sniffed around to decide on their next meal.

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All in all, this Tanzanian safari will forever be forged into my memory as an exceptional experience. If you were to ask me if it was worth the time and money, I would say, without a doubt, the best investment I did in a while. Besides the beautiful pictures and the beyond expectation treatment I have received throughout the safari, I have come home with an even greater appreciation of the meaning “circle of life” and of the animal kingdom. If you pause for a minute, you will notice that animals don’t waste anything, they consume what they need and they can all live together peacefully, regardless of their race.

If you’d like to experience a safari to Tanzania, why not contact our experts here to discuss the ideal holiday for you? Alternatively, if you are looking for some inspiration, please take a look at our related blogs and trips below: