Tanzania: A journey with silly safari animals in the national parks is written by Jacob Gowland Jorgensen
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 were in line, 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 than what you thought from home, and that you must therefore remember not to plan everything from home. Remember to give time, give space - and let yourself be surprised.
On safari visit to the baboon in the baobab
Our skilled safari driver, guide, chef and more stops right next to a 20 meter high baobab tree where the baboons play and scream. We have only driven a short distance on the savannah and are therefore somewhat puzzled when he says that here we are going to stay tonight, and there is the toilet, pointing to an open concrete shed. If I were a scary and hungry animal, I would definitely live in there, I mumble, while the girls in the small travel group look in vain for the fence.
My travel companion and I had run into two Swiss inside Arusha, and even though they said they felt more secure on a mountain - like at home - we had brought them on this trip so we could share a four-wheel drive. The night is completely calm, and we surprisingly fall asleep without thinking too much about how thin the tent wall is in relation to a set of predator claws in search of a piece of Danish farmed meat.
Amazing animals up close in Tanzania
It's morning and we drive down a long hill on safari, but stop with a jerk as we have apparently met a female elephant at the wrong time in her cycle. She almost gallops back and forth, and she trumps, so Næstved girl guard would be envious. A German film crew overtakes and tries to sneak around, but they do not get far and are forced back by a pair of fluttering 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 break at a small river, where everything breathes peace and idyll, until a couple of well-grown hippos suddenly appear, snorting and shitting, and playing a rooftop in the water. Our guide tells us that their gap can open up to 150 degrees when one of them suddenly looks at us and opens up to a slapstick land of fluttering flesh and very long tusks. Now we understand why the hippopotamus is Africa's most dangerous animal and why Dolph must 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.
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 on the wooden paths around the lodge, and there, just 30 cm from my feet, there is a whole strip of overgrown hamsters, which fortunately turns out to be not the honey badger family, but a rock badger family trying the ostrich trick: " We are not here, we are 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?
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: "Tempo, tempo", and a male elephant calmly wades through the camp and eats a little from the trees. It lives here, I think, so why should it not just take its evening walk? But it is large enough, such an elephant without a leash or elephant driver. It disappears again, just as soon as it appeared, and we confirm to each other, with silly smiles on our lips, that the sørme was good enough - there was a nice elephant right here in the middle of it all a little while ago.
"Hakuna matata", it sounds nice from our otherwise discreet guide, which means "no worries" in the silly but entertaining art language of Swahili. It must be a subtle colonist who invented it, I think. And that is it, too, a German probably - for the purpose of being able to communicate with all the tribes. Think of calling a slow animal like the elephant "pace". He must have bumped into elephants like her 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.
The trip to Tanzania - get off easily
There are quite a few Danish travel agencies, which has safari tours that include the national parks of Tanzania.
It is recommended to fly directly to the neighboring airports of Arusha or Kilimanjaro. Otherwise, the nearest major airport is not the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, but rather Nairobi in 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.
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