Serengeti National Park safari

Serengeti National Park

By Farzad Ghotaslou- Art in Tanzania internship

Serengeti is popular park for Art in Tanzania visitors. The Great Migration is at its best from June to September but animals are abundant all year around.

Chances are that you have dreamt of Africa, and when you did, you probably dreamt about the Serengeti. Countless wildlife movies have been recorded in the Serengeti, and with good reason: this is the home of the Great Migration and may very well be one of the last true natural wonders on planet earth.

Serengeti National Park is a World Heritage Site teeming with wildlife: over 2 million ungulates, 4000 lions, 1000 leopard, 550 cheetahs and some 500 bird species inhabit an area close to 15,000 square kilometers in size. Join us on a safari and explore the endless Serengeti plains dotted with trees and kopjes from which majestic lions control their kingdom; gaze upon the Great Migration in awe or find an elusive leopard in a riverine forest.

Or perhaps see everything from a bird’s-eye view and soar over the plains at sunrise during a hot air balloon safari. Accommodation options come in every price range – the sound of lions roaring at night is complimentary.

It’s the only place where you can witness millions of migrating wildebeest over the Acacia plains, it’s the cradle of human life, and probably the closest to an untouched African wilderness you will ever get welcome to Serengeti National Park. Where time seems to stand still, despite the thousands of animals constantly on the move.

The magic of Serengeti National Park is not easy to describe in words. Not only seeing, but also hearing the buzz of millions of wildebeests so thick in the air that it vibrates through your entire body is something you will try to describe to friends and family, before realizing it’s impossible. Vistas of honey-lit plains at sunset so beautiful, it’s worth the trip just to witness this. The genuine smiles of the Maasai people, giving you an immediate warming glow inside. Or just the feeling of constantly being amongst thousands of animals – it doesn’t matter what season of the migration you visit the Serengeti National Park, it’s magical all year round.

Serengeti National Park was one of the first sites listed as a World Heritage Site when United Nations delegates met in Stockholm in 1981. Already by the late 1950s, this area had been recognized as a unique ecosystem, providing us with many insights into how the natural world functions and showing us how dynamic ecosystems really are.

Today, most visitors come here with one aim alone: to witness millions of wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and elands on a mass trek to quench their thirst for water and eat fresh grass. During this great cyclical movement, these ungulates move around the ecosystem in a seasonal pattern, defined by rainfall and grass nutrients. These large herds of animals on the move can’t be witnessed anywhere else. Whereas other famous wildlife parks are fenced, the Serengeti is protected, but unfenced. Giving animals enough space to make their return journey, one that they’ve been doing for millions of years.

History of Serengeti National Park

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, explorers and missionaries described the Serengeti plains and the massive numbers of animals found there. Only minor details are all that were reported before explorations in the late 1920s and early 1930s supply the first references to the great wildebeest migrations, and the first photographs of the region.

An area of 2,286 square kilometers was established in 1930 as a game reserve in what is now southern and eastern Serengeti. They allowed sport hunting activities until 1937, after which it stopped all hunting activities. In 1940 Protected Area Status was conferred to the area and the National Park itself was established in 1951, then covering southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro highlands. They based the park headquarters on the rim of Ngorongoro crater.

So, the original Serengeti National Park, as it was gazetted in 1951, also included what now is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). In 1959, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was split off from the Serengeti National Park and they extended the boundaries of the park to the Kenya border.

The key reason for splitting off the Ngorongoro area was that local Maasai residents realized that they were threatened with eviction and consequently not allow to graze their cattle within the national park boundaries.

To counter this from happening, protests were staged. A compromise was reached wherein the Ngorongoro Crater Area was split off from the national park: the Maasai may live and graze their cattle in the Ngorongoro Crater area but not within Serengeti National Park boundaries.

In 1961 the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya was established and in 1965 the Lamai Wedge between the Mara River and Kenya border was added to Serengeti National Park, thus creating a permanent corridor allowing the wildebeests to migrate from the Serengeti plains in the south to the Loita Plains in the north. The Maswa Game Reserve was established in 1962 and a small area north of The Grumeti River in the western corridor was added in 1967.

The Serengeti National Park was among the first places to be proposed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO at 1972 Stockholm conference. It was formally established in 1981.

The name “Serengeti” approximates the word siringet used by the Maasai people for the area, which means “the place where the land runs on forever”.

The Serengeti gained fame after the initial work of Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael in the 1950s. Together, they produced the book and film Serengeti Shall Not Die, widely recognized as one of the most important early pieces of nature conservation documentary.

On the eastern portion of the Serengeti National Park lies the Serengeti volcanic grasslands which is a Tropical Grassland Ecozone. The grasslands grow on deposits of volcanic ash from the Kerimasi Volcano which erupted 150,000 years ago and also from the Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcanic eruptions which created layers of calcareous tuff and calcitic hard-pan soil.

Geography

The plains that cover a third of the park were formed in volcanic eruptions. The main eruption in its formation was by Kerimasi, a dormant volcano near Lake Natron. The major eruption happened 150,000 years ago. Ol Doinyo Lengai has been active, erupting 15 times since the 19th century most recently in 2007.

The plains extend from the northeast near Lake Natron, to the west as far as Seronera.[8] The park covers 14,750 km2 (5,700 sq mi)[citation needed] of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands.

The Park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area.

Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem. The landscape of the Serengeti Plain is extremely varied, ranging from savannah to hilly woodlands, to open grasslands. The geographic diversity of the region is due to the extreme weather conditions that plague the area, particularly the potent combination of heat and wind.

Many environmental scientists claim that the diverse habitats in the region originated from a series of volcanoes, whose activity shaped the basic geographic features of the plain and added mountains and craters to the landscape.

The Park is usually described as divided into three regions:

Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals – zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, waterbuck – also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. “Kopjes” are granite floriation’s that are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.

In the Serengeti National Park lies the Serengeti volcanic grasslands. The Volcanic Grasslands is a edaphic plant community that grows on soils derived from volcanic ash from nearby volcanos. This zone of the plain is also famous for granite outcroppings called kopjes, that interrupt the plains and play host to separate ecosystems than are found in the grasses below.

Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests is home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The Grumeti River is famed for its thrilling river crossings during the Great Migration alongside Mara River. The migration passes through from May to July. There are sometimes rare Colobus Monkeys. It stretches almost to Lake Victoria.

Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. It is remote and relatively inaccessible. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), this is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik. This zone of the plain is also famous for granite outcroppings called kopjes, that interrupt the plains and play host to separate ecosystems than are found in the grasses below.

Human habitation is forbidden in the park with the exception of staff of the Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers and staff of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, and staff of the various lodges, campsites and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera, which houses most research staff and the park’s main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.

Wildlife

The Park is known worldwide for its abundance of wildlife and high biodiversity.

The migratory – and some resident – wildebeest, which number over 1.5 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem by 200,000 plains zebra, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle and Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest.

Masai giraffe, waterbuck, greater kudu, impala, common warthog and hippopotamus are also abundant. Some rarely seen species of antelope are also present in Serengeti National Park, such as common eland, klipspringer, oribi, reedbuck, roan antelope, sable antelope, steenbok, common duiker, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx and dik dik. Herds support 7,500 hyenas, 3,000 lions, and 250 cheetahs. There are more than 500 birds and 300 mammal species.

Perhaps the most popular animals among tourists are the Big Five, which include:

Lion: the Serengeti is believed to hold the largest lion population in Africa due in part to the abundance of prey species. More than 3,000 lions live in this ecosystem.Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit together with Maasai Mara National Reserve and a lion stronghold in East Africa.

African leopard: these reclusive predators are commonly seen in the Seronera region but are present throughout the national park with a population of around 1,000.

African bush elephant: the herds have recovered successfully from population lows in the 1980s caused by poaching, now numbering over 5,000 individuals, and are particularly numerous in the northern region of the park.

Eastern black rhinoceros mainly found around the kopjes in the centre of the park, very few individuals remain due to rampant poaching. Individuals from the Maasai Mara Reserve cross the park border and enter Serengeti from the northern section at times. There is currently a small but stable population of 31 individuals left in the park.

Cape buffalo: the most numerous of the Big Five, with around 53,000 individuals inside the park.

Carnivores include the cheetah, which is widely seen due to the abundance of gazelle, about 3,500 spotted hyena, two species of jackal, African golden wolf, honey badger, striped hyena, caracal, serval, seven species of mongooses, two species of otters and the East African wild dog of 300 individuals, which was recently reintroduced (locally extinct since 1991).

Apart from the safari staples, primates such as yellow and olive baboons, patas monkeys, and vervet monkey, black-and-white colobus are also seen in the gallery forests of the Grumeti River.

Other mammals include aardvark, aardwolf, African wildcat, African civet, common genet, zorilla, African striped weasel, bat-eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, three species of hyraxes and cape hare.

Serengeti National Park also attracts great ornithological interest, boasting about more than 500 bird species; including Masai ostrich, secretary bird, kori bustards, helmeted guinea fowls, Grey-breasted spurfowl, blacksmith lapwing, African collared dove, red-billed buffalo weaver, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, sacred ibis, cattle egrets, black herons, knob-billed ducks, saddle-billed storks, goliath herons, marabou storks, yellow-billed stork, spotted thick-knees, white stork, lesser flamingo, shoebills, abdim’s stork, hamerkops, hadada ibis, African fish eagles, pink-backed pelicans, Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, martial eagles, Egyptian geese, lovebirds, spur-winged geese, oxpeckers, and many species of vultures.

Reptiles in the Serengeti National Park include Nile crocodile, leopard tortoise, serrated hinged terrapin, rainbow agama, Nile monitor, chameleon, African python, black mamba, black-necked spitting cobra, and puff adder.

Great migration

The great migration is a iconic feature of the park. It is also the world’s longest overland migration.[18] Roughly 1.5 million wildebeest migrate north from the south all the way through the park north into Maasai Mara. From January to March (calving season), half a million wildebeests are born which makes sure the herd survives to the next year.

Attacks by the largest lion population in Africa are common this time. In March, the herds leave the southern plains and start the migration. Giant eland, plains zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle will also join them on the way.[18] In April and May, they will pass the Western Corridor. When this happens, smaller camps must close due to impassable roads.

When the dry season comes, the herd moves north to the Maasai Mara where there is lush green grass.

They will have to pass the Grumeti and Mara rivers though and 3,000 crocodiles that wait and suddenly lunge at them. For everyone wildebeest captured by the crocodiles, 50 drown. It is a reason why the Serengeti is so famous. When the dry season comes to an end in late October, they will head back down south to where they started their journey a year earlier. The full trip is 800 km (500 mi).

Annually, around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 plains zebras die usually due to predation, exhaustion, thirst, or disease.

Threats

Massive amounts of deforestation in the Mau Forest region has changed the hydrology of the Mara river where its’s source is. The river dried up for the first time in the 2010s. Leopards started cannibalizing each other in the late 2010s. It is not uncommon for leopards from the same family to eat each other.

Proposed road across the northern Serengeti

In July 2010, President Jakaya Kikwete renewed his support for an upgraded road through the northern portion of the park to link Mto wa Mbu, southeast of Ngorongoro Crater, and Musoma on Lake Victoria. While he said that the road would lead to much-needed development in poor communities, others, including conservation groups and foreign governments like Kenya, argued that the road could irreparably damage the great migration and the park’s ecosystem.

The African Network for Animal Welfare sued the Tanzanian government in December 2010 at the East African Court of Justice in Arusha to prevent the road project. The court ruled in June 2014 that the plan to build the road was unlawful because it would infringe the East African Community Treaty under which member countries must respect protocols on conservation, protection, and management of natural resources. The court, therefore, restrained the government from going ahead with the project.

References:

  1.  World Database on Protected Areas (2021). “Serengeti National Park”. Protected Planet, United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  2.  UNESCO World Heritage Centre. “Serengeti National Park”. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  3.  Poole, R. M. (2012). “Heartbreak on the Serengeti (continued)”. National Geographic Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  4.  Neumann, R.P. (1995). “Ways of seeing Africa: colonial recasting of African society and landscape in Serengeti National Park”. Ecumene. 2 (2): 149–169. doi:10.1177/147447409500200203.
  5.  Wanitzek, U. & Sippel, H. (1998). “Land rights in conservation areas in Tanzania”. GeoJournal. 46 (2): 113–128. doi:10.1023/A:1006953325298.
  6.  Makacha, S.; Msingwa, M.J. & Frame, G.W. (1982). “Threats to the Serengeti herds”. Oryx. 16 (5): 437–444. doi:10.1017/S0030605300018111.
  7.  Boes, T. (2013). “Political animals: Serengeti Shall Not Die and the cultural heritage of mankind”. German Studies Review. 36 (1): 41–59. JSTOR 43555291.
  8.  Jump up to:a b “About the Serengeti Plains Formation | Natural High”. Natural High Safaris. 6 January 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  9.  Scoon, Roger (2018). Geology of National Parks of Central/ Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania: Geotourism of the Gregory Rift Valley, Active Volcanism and Regional Plateaus. Springer. pp. 69–79. ISBN 9783319737843.
  10.  www.olduvai-gorge.org. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  11. Wikipedia
  12. Serengeti.com

Katavi National Park

By Farzad Ghotaslou – Art in Tanzania Internship Project

Due to its long distance Art in Tanzania team goes rather seldom to Katavi. We need minimum 3 participants to make the long drive to Katavi and back to keep the cost reasonable. However Katavi is always worth it as it is still the real wilderness of Africa.

Katavi National Park, located about 35 km southwest of Mpanda, is the third largest national park in Tanzania (added to the two contiguous “game reserves”, the protected area extends over a territory of 12,500 sq km) , as well as one of its most pristine natural areas. Although this is an isolated and less crowded alternative to other such destinations around Tanzania (Serengeti National Park receives more visitors per day than Katavi receives throughout the year), the lodges here are luxurious. as in any other park in the country, and for backpackers it is one of the cheapest and easiest to reach destinations; as long as you have the time and energy to get here.

The park is named after the Wabende spirit, Katabi, who according to local legend lives in a tamarind tree near Lake Katavi. Locals looking for blessings from his spirit still leave offerings at the foot of the tree. The area was first protected in 1911 during the German occupation and was later named Rukwa Game Reserve under British occupation until 1932. In 1974, an area of just over 2,200 km² was declared a National Park and the larger area was finally gazetted in 1996 and opened officially with the name Katavi National Park in 1998.

The main feature of the Katavi territory is its vast (425 sq km) alluvial plain, the Katisunga Plain, whose wide grassy expanses occupy the heart of the park. In the western and central part of the park the plain gives way to large tracts of scrub and forest, and these are the best places to spot tawny antelopes and black antelopes; along with Ruaha National Park, Katavi is one of the few places where you have a good chance of seeing both of these species. Some small rivers and large swamps that do not dry up during the dry season are the ideal habitat for hippos and crocodiles; moreover, the Katavi is populated by about 400 species of birds.

Wildlife features include large animal herds, particularly of Cape Buffaloes, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, and elephants, plus along the Katuma river, crocodiles and hippopotami which upon annual dry seasons results in mud holes that can be packed with hundreds of hippos. Carnivorous animals that roam this park are cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, and lions. Some sources claim a very high biodiversity in the park, although there are also reports of wildlife decline due to illegal hunting and poaching, presumably ‘bushmeat’ sustenance. Katavi has fewer human visitors and jeeps conducting game drives than other Tanzania parks.

Art in Tanzania safaris. Tansanian safarit

It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into life. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffes, zebras, impalas and reedbucks provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.

Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is provided by its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday incident, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.

The number of visitors to the park on an annual basis is extremely low, in comparison to better known parks, just above 1,500 foreign visitors out of a total 900,000 registered in the whole Tanzania National Parks system during 2012/13. A survey of the actual rooms sold by the available ‘Safari’ style accommodations might reveal the number, but based on total room count and season length, an upper limit can also be estimated. In addition to a public campsite (located at SO 06’39’19.1 E0 031’08’07.9), as of 2013, there were only three permanent camps permitted to operate at Katavi, namely the Mbali Mbali Katavi Lodge and the Foxes on the Katuma Plain and the Chada on the Chada Plain. These camps each have a visitor capacity limit of approximately one dozen each.

Getting to Katavi for visitors will likely be arranged by the hosting camp, with one of the available charter flight services being the Mbali Mbali Shared Charter (operated by Zantas Air Services) or Safari Air Link. All flights will require landing on a dirt airstrip; the Ikuu airstrip (near the Ikuu Rangerpost) has minimal services. It is very approximately a three-hour flight from Katavi to Dar es Salaam and two-hours flight to Mwanza via a small, bush-compatible light aircraft. A flight to Arusha is similarly ~3 hours distant and operates on limited service usually only twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

Access to Katavi via ground transportation: estimates vary widely; it is generally discussed not in hours but in days. The town of Mbeya is (550 km/340 miles) distant and is described as a “…tough but spectacular…” drive; Google Maps indicates that Mbeya is 838 km from Dar es Salaam, making the total distance approximately 1,400 km (870 mi) and requiring 20+ hours. The most direct route to Dar es Salaam as per Google Maps is approx. 1250 km (~800 miles) and requiring 16+ hours. Arusha is similarly distant: 1000+km /13.5 hours. The percentage of transit on unpaved surfaces is unknown, but parts of all of these routes will definitely be on dirt roads. Since all of the above times from Google Maps assume an average transit speed of 80 km (50 mph), all these indicated travel times should be considered to be optimistic.

The park no longer offers vehicle rentals, but Marula Expeditions charges US $ 150 to US $ 200 per day depending on how far you want to travel, while the less flexible Riverside Camp (see Overnight) offers two off-road vehicles with canopies. retractable at a cost of US $ 250 per day.

Walking safaris (short / long US $ 10/15 per group) are permitted with the accompaniment of an armed forest ranger; Bush camping is also allowed (US $ 50 per person plus walking fee) throughout the park, making it a great option for the budget traveler. However, keep in mind that this is one of the most infested parks with tsetse flies. The road to Lake Katavi, another of the seasonal floodplains, is a good destination for walking; the road starts from the park management offices, so you don’t need any vehicles.

The main activity, of course, is game viewing, which can be done on both game drives and guided walking safaris. The bonus of game drives in Katavi National Park is that you’re unlikely to come across any other humans. Walking safaris are an experience not to be missed to really get up close to the African bush, its sights, sounds and aromas.

Fly camping is offered. This is the definition of bush camping, where normal tents (don’t expect luxury!) are set up in the bush at a temporary campsite. No fences, no flush toilets or showers. It’s living in the wild; cooking food over a fire and spending evenings chatting around the campfire, staring up at the breathtaking African night sky and listening to the nocturnal calls of wild animals.

Katavi National Park offers great game viewing all year around but reaches its peak during the dry season from June to November or December when the animals gather in their thousands around scarce water sources.

During the wet season, the floodplains turn to lakes and offer spectacular birdwatching opportunities.

References

  1.  “Tanzania National parks Corporate Information”. Tanzania Parks. TANAPA. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2.  Katavi NPArchived 2008-02-06 at the Wayback Machine information from tanzaniaparks.com
  3. ^Parks arrivals highlightArchived 2015-12-20 at the Wayback Machine from tanzaniaparks.com
  4.  Campsite info from tanzaniaparks.com
  5.  Katuma Bush Lodge official site
  6.  Foxes of Africa official website
  7.  Chada Camp official website
  8.  Safari Aviation official website
  9.  Highway route on Google Maps
  10. Wikipedia

At the Nyuki Market – Buying food for volunteers

By Saara Kanula

Emmanuel is a Purchase manager in Art in Tanzania (AIT). He has been working for AIT since 2007. His responsibility is to make sure the volunteers get to eat every day.

Usually volunteers have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the volunteer house. There are four people working in the kitchen to prepare meals. The meals are sometimes typical Tanzanian food such as wali (rice) and maharage (beans) or nyama (meat), Sometimes kitchen ladies prepare western food such as fish and chips or spaghetti and vegetable sauce.

Every day Emmanuel visits the local market in Tegeta called Nyuki Market to buy all the grocery needed. It takes about 15 minutes to go there through a bumpy road by Bajaji (three wheal motorcycle) or by pikipiki (two wheel motorcycle).

At the Nyuki market you can buy almost anything. There are big tables with vegetables, fruits, beans and rice. In surroundings there are dozens of small shops where you can buy for example clothes, shoes, meat or even electronic devices.

In the early afternoon Nyuki market is not really busy, so it is a good time to do some shopping. In the evenings and on the weekends there are lots of people buying food and the place is filled with greetings and laughter.

Even though there are not many customers the shopping takes some time. Emmanuel needs to go to many different stalls to buy different types of food. Furthermore, in Tanzania everything takes a little bit more time than in Europe. People seem to have more time in their hands and one doesn’t need to hurry anywhere. “Europeans have the watch and Africans have the time” as the saying goes.

Food banana (ndizi) is a typical Tanzanian food. It tastes little like a potato and it is usually eaten with meat. It is greener than normal sweet banana. You can usually buy them from a little stalls beside every road. One banana costs around 300 TSH (0,2 USD).

Rice and beans are sold in kilos. One kilo of rice is about 2 000 TSH (1,25 USD) and beans around 2 300 TSH (1,4 USD) Rice and beans are typical lunch in Tanzania and Emmanuel also buys them every day.

At the back side of the market place you can buy really fresh chicken (kuku). The chickens are grown elsewhere and brought to the market for sale. You can choose the chickens you want and the they are deplumed while you wait. One chicken is enough meat for dinner for four volunteers.

The Market Place

After shopping Emmanuel brings the food to the volunteer house and kitchen ladies start to make dinner. Today volunteers are having chapatti for dinner. It is a pancake style bread and traditional Tanzanian food usually eaten with soup at breakfast. Today it is served with a sausage, so it resembles a hot dog.

The kitchen in the volunteer house is a typical outdoor Tanzanian kitchen. All the cooking is happening at the fireplace.

The food Emmanuel bought today at the Nuyki market is enough for dinner this evening and for breakfast and lunch for tomorrow. Tomorrow Emmanuel will visit the market place again. He draws up a budget for the food and buys everything needed to make the volunteers fulfilled for the next day.

Asante kwa chakula! (Thank you for the food)

Safari Time!

By Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten

DSCN6872We had chosen a three day volunteer’s safari, containing of a visit to the Masai village, N’gorongoro crater and Lake Manyara. On friday five excited people climbed into the 4×4 driven Land Rover. We were heading to the west, through Arusha aiming for our first stop, the Masai village.

When we arrived, they were already expecting us. The Masai children took our hands and led us into the mystery of their world. Our driver/guide told us how to greet the Masai chief, so we headed towards him with great interest. He is a very powerful man, with 30 wives and 124 children. He was sitting by his cattle, watching over the whole village. The tour took us around the village, and even into their houses. We heard the story of the evil tree and why the Masai are missing a front tooth. We felt free to ask anything. Art in Tanzania is using the safari income to support education in Masai land and volunteers have assisted to build up a nirsery and primary school to the village.

DSCN6980

We then spent the night in Karatu volunteer house. The second day it was time to meet the animals in N’gorongoro. The ride was very bumpy, but the view of the huge crater was amazing. The drive was exciting, because you never knew which animals you were going to meet. Our driver/guide did his best to find all the hiding animals, and he could spot them from a long distance. It was incredible to see the lions sunbathing next to the zebras and gnus. We even got a look at the black rhinos, which are really rare.

DSCN7109The third day was also filled with game watching. This day with a different terrain, because we were heading to Lake Manyara and the jungle. It almost felt like we were in the movie “Planet of the Apes”, since baboons and monkeys were everywhere. Here we could also see the giraffes, which are not living in the crater.

On our way back to Moshi, Kilimanjaro, we visited the optional snake park. Snakes are very hard to spot in the nature, and we wanted to be face to face with the Black Mamba. We also had the chance to try our courage by holding a snake and a baby crocodile. Back in Moshi we washed away all the dust from the safari, but the memories will stay forever.

(Originally published on May 15, 2014)