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Tanzania: A journey with silly safari animals in the national parks

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Join us on an unforgettable adventure to Tanzania.
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Tanzania: A journey with silly safari animals in the national parks is written by Jacob Gowland Jørgensen.

Safari - Tanzania - elephants - travel

The trip to Tanzania - an unforgettable experience

We sit and eat at a camping table, while our all-in-one-little-man tells us that baobab means "upside-down-tree", because it undeniably looks as if someone has stuck it upside down in the ground when it was a baby tree. In return, the tree can hold over 100.000 gallons of water in its swollen rumen, the tree creaks a bit, and welcomes us.

Behind, zebras pass by, and a proud baboon mother shows off her little baby, and we sit there in the middle of the savannah and think that now Knuthenborg can go home. Here's a little account of the greatest wildlife experience I've had in my life - a safari in northern Tanzania. There were many organized experiences, but even more unforgettable surprises of the four-legged kind.

After accidentally bumping into silly animals on a fantastic journey to New Zealand I had to admit that meeting wild animals just gives those great travel experiences that one remembers year after year. More want more, so now the penguins and sea elephants were not enough, and the choice fell on a trip to Africa, where Ghana and Kenya became the warming for a trip to Tanzania.

Safaris to the Ngorongoro Crater National Park and the Serengeti in Tanzania are at the top of the list of my 20 greatest travel experiences because everything went up in a higher unit. Tons of tropical animals, friendly and interesting people, a nature that takes your breath away, and not least, it's all easily accessible.

You just had to put 570 US dollars for five days, but then it was all served according to your own wishes. Even though it was the wild experience we were looking for, one was lulled into such a Knuthenborg feeling of security because it was all so organized and there were so many providers who were constantly shouting for one: “Jambo, my friend, you safari ? ”

On this trip, small and big surprises lined up, and how nice it was to get confirmation that the fascinating thing about traveling is to be surprised. That the coolest thing is often something completely different from what you thought from home, and that you must therefore remember not to plan everything from home.

Remember to give time, give space - and allow yourself to be surprised.

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Tanzania, baboons, travel, the national parks of Tanzania

On safari visit to the baboon in the baobab

Our skilled safari driver, guide, cook and more stop right next to a 20 meter high baobab tree where the baboons play and scream. We've only driven a short distance on the savannah and therefore become a bit of a puffer when he says that this is where we'll stay for the night, and that's where the toilet is, and points to an open concrete shed.

If I were a scary and hungry animal, I would definitely live in there, I mutter, as the girls in the small tour group scout the fence in vain.

My travel companion and I had run into two Swiss inside Arusha, and although they said they felt more secure on a mountain – like at home – we had brought them along on this trip so we could share a 4WD.

The night is completely calm, and we surprisingly fall asleep without thinking too much about how thin the tent wall is compared to a set of predatory claws in search of a piece of Danish-raised meat.

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Tanzania - elephants - travel, the national parks of tanzania

Amazing animals up close in Tanzania

It's morning and we're driving down a long hill on safari, but come to a screeching halt as we've obviously met a female elephant at the wrong time in her cycle. She practically gallops back and forth, and she trumpets so that the Næstved girls' guard would be envious.

A German film crew overtakes and tries to sneak around, but they don't get far and are forced back by a pair of flapping ears and a set of small, staring eyes.

There are many elephants in the area that good-naturedly trudge through the wilderness, and we follow them and the giraffes, birds and zebras for a while before the big elephant nut gives up and sourly jogs away. The fascination will never end, and apart from the eternal pressure on the camera, you hear nothing but the animals.

We take a driving break at a small river, where everything breathes peace and idyll, until a couple of well-grown hippos suddenly appear, snorting and shitting, playing one-to-one in the water. Our guide tells us that their jaws can open up to 150 degrees, when one of them suddenly looks at us and opens up to a slafferland of flapping flesh and very long tusks.

Now we understand why the hippopotamus is Africa's most dangerous animal and why Dolph had to be a hippopotamus.

They are ugly, smelly, dangerous and overweight, they like to spray their shit out with their tails, and then they are completely and utterly indifferent to our presence. We are completely sold, and the hippopotamus becomes our traveling companion, who time and time again causes the enthusiasm to run away with us, while praising its stepped forms and perfect ability to just be itself.

The wild honey badger - the dreaded safari animal

After a good breakfast in the open air at another semi-random campsite, we set course for one of the national parks in Tanzania. We drive into the Serengeti National Park and see the flat and huge plain reveal itself. We all know that this is where many of the animal programs are being recorded, and before long we also know why.

Five meters from the road lies a cheetah with a recently killed victim, and the party is bloody and intense. There are hyenas that splash in the puddles, gazelles, zebras, wildebeest and circling vultures that land in the characteristic savannah trees – the acacia tree with the flat crown.

Everywhere there is a show for all the money and animals, animals, animals.

The guide says that the only animal that really attacks the safari vehicles is a small sharp-toothed devil called a honey badger, who fearlessly takes up the fight with off-road tires and who otherwise amuses himself by eating beehives. It can also take up the fight against the predators, who usually lose that fight.

We are told that even though there is a bit of an overgrown hamster over it, you just have to slip away quickly. So we do as he shows us a picture of an attacking honey badger.

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A curious experience: the mysteries of the rock badger

We see our lodge appear by some rocks, and look forward to a bath and a real bed - even though we are getting used to the small tents with the best comfort I have tried in a tent.

The next morning we walk the wooden walkways around the lodge, and there, just 30 cm from my feet, lies a whole strip of overgrown hamsters, which fortunately turn out not to be the honey badger's family, but a rock badger family, who tries the ostrich trick: "We're not here, we're not here".

Our guide insistently tells us that the little hairy guy is of course related to the elephant - and can climb...

All that diversity provides entertainment for many hours, with many fanciful relationships being tested on our guide, but he denies that the baboon is related to the zebra, even though it sounds as logical as the rock badger-elephant. And who would have thought that the greatest experience at a lodge in Serengeti, Tanzania was such a little cousin and his sweet family?

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  • Elephant - Animals in Africa - safari - travel

Air Tanzania at Ngorongoro

We set course for another of the national parks in Tanzania. We drive uphill and see that something big is to our right, which really unfolds as we land on the trip's most organized campsite overlooking the supposedly largest volcanic crater on the planet: Ngorongoro National Park in Tanzania.

It forms a more than 260 km2 natural amphitheater, which is surreal and beautiful. The crater also contains the largest number of large wild animals per square meter in Africa.

Linguists are arguing over why it is called Ngorongoro, because it can mean a cold place, a mountainous place and a big hole, but it fits everything, and at an altitude of 2200 meters it will be both the physical and experiential highlight of the trip. We sit and chat while dinner simmers.

Without warning, a stork-like matter lands a little away - it is probably 1,5 meters high, has a wingspan of several meters and looks at us peacefully from its thin, white legs, while correcting its bluish plumage. We rename it flux to Air Tanzania and look admiringly as it flies over the crater.

A man shouts: "Pace, pace", and a male elephant calmly wades through the camp and eats a bit from the trees. It lives here, I think, so why shouldn't it just take its evening walk? But it is big enough, like an elephant without a leash or elephant handler.

It disappears again, just as quickly as it appeared, and we confirm to each other, with silly smiles on our lips, that the smell was good enough – there was quite a nice elephant right here in the middle of it all a while ago.

"Hakuna matata", says our otherwise discreet guide cheerfully, which means "no worries" in the silly but entertaining art language Swahili. It must be a cunning colonist who invented it, I think. And that's what it is, a German probably - with the aim of being able to communicate with all the tribes.

Think of calling a slow animal like the elephant "tempo". He must have bumped into elephants like the one we met a few days earlier.

The night falls and we have to sleep, but even though I've never been closer to the equator, and it's even July, it's really cold here - around 8 degrees. With all our clothes on, we hear the warthogs grunting outside while we freeze like little penguins with oil on their feathers.

The next day we walk around with an armed ranger and meet a friendly masai who also has his spear with him when he rides a bike. We see the crater's abundance of wildlife and the fine Rift Valley, which is humanity's starting point. We are filled to the brim with all the experiences and wave goodbye to the guide and the Swiss, who have already promised that they will show us their mountains next time we have a holiday.

But more wants more, so now I'm pondering how we can sneak a safari to central or southern Africa into the travel program. It will probably succeed one day - otherwise I will first be really surprised - and until then we have to go down to Lolland and play safari in cozy Knuthenborg.

Africa, Tanzania, Safari, Zebra, Travel, Tanzania National Parks

The trip to Tanzania - get off easily

There are a number of Danish travel agencies that have safari trips that include the national parks in Tanzania.

It is recommended to fly directly into the neighboring airports of Arusha or Kilimanjaro. Otherwise, the nearest major airport is not the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, but rather Nairobi i Kenya.

However, Nairobi is not the most pleasant city in the world, so if you can avoid it, we would recommend it. Or, alternatively, land early and cross the nearby border the same day. From Arusha and Kilimanjaro you can fly directly to Zanzibar.

Roads to Tanzania are many, but whichever one you choose, there are plenty of experiences waiting in and outside the national parks.

Nice trip!

Here are 7 fantastic experiences in Tanzania

  • Serengeti National Park
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Zanzibar
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • The Maasai villages
  • Olduvai gorge
  • Tarangire National Park

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About the author

Jacob Jørgensen, editor

Jacob is a cheerful travel geek who has traveled in more than 100 countries from Rwanda and Romania to Samoa and Samsø.

Jacob is a member of De Berejstes Klub, where he has been a board member for five years, and he has extensive experience in the world of travel as a lecturer, magazine editor, adviser, writer and photographer. And, of course, most importantly: As a traveller. Jacob enjoys both traditional travel such as a car holiday to Norway, a cruise in the Caribbean and a city break in Vilnius, and more out-of-the-box trips such as a solo trip to the highlands of Ethiopia, a road trip to unknown national parks in Argentina and a friend trip to Iran.

Jacob is a country expert in Argentina, where he has been 10 times so far. He has spent almost a year in total traveling through the many diverse provinces, from the penguin land in the south to deserts, mountains and waterfalls in the north, and has also lived in Buenos Aires for a few months. In addition, he has special travel knowledge of such diverse places as East Africa, Malta and the countries around Argentina.

In addition to travelling, Jacob is an honorable badminton player, Malbec fan and always up for a board game. Jacob has also had a career in the communications industry for a number of years, most recently with the title of Communication Lead in one of Denmark's largest companies, and has also worked for several years with the Danish and international meeting industry as a consultant, e.g. for VisitDenmark and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Today, Jacob is also a senior lecturer at CBS.

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