After everyone finished their Kilimanjaro climb, most people in our group stayed in Tanzania and went on safari together. WHOA Travel offered a 2 day safari add on to their Kilimanjaro climb and I couldn’t resist adding it to my trip. It was the perfect way to hang out with the amazing group of ladies that came to Tanzania without having to do anything athletic! On the drive out to Tarangire National Park we stopped at a gas station to stock up on road trip snacks. Everyone bought Pringles, which ended up being useful later in our trip…
Day 1: Tarangire National Park
As we started our drive into the park our guide told us a few facts about the park as well as the animals we’d likely see today. The first thing we saw were zebras and we LOST OUR MINDS. We had no idea that we would see approximately ten thousand zebras throughout the next few days but we didn’t care. Every time we saw a new herd of zebras we asked our guide to stop so we could take more pictures. They were beautiful!
Zebras and wildebeests live together so we saw a lot of those as well.
We saw pumbas (yes, the swahili word for warthog is literally “pumba”).
We also saw quite a few elephants (or “tembo” in swahili) really close to our safari car. We even had a baby elephant run in front of our car and scream really loudly!
We also saw lots of elephants at a watering hole. Some even took a bath there which was really cool to watch!
After a lot of searching we finally saw a few giraffes, which was a huge highlight of my trip. They were beautiful and I could have watched them all day.
We also saw a lot of monkeys which was a bit much for me. I am not a fan of monkeys and they were in huge groups walking around the park!
It was fun driving around seeing all of the animals just living their lives in the separate areas of the park. I honestly would have loved to spend every moment of the day there but eventually we had to leave. We drove a few hours towards Ngorongoro Crater to spend the night right outside the park so that we could get an early start there the next day. We stayed at Pembeni Cabins, which were gorgeous and fancy tent cabins that had amazing views of the surrounding area (and weirdly enough the best wifi and showers of the entire trip).
Day 2: Ngorongoro Crater
We’d been told that Ngorongoro Crater was going to be incredible, and it really was. We were at a higher altitude than yesterday, and we had to drive uphill for a while so that we could drop down into the crater. Once we were down in there, we could see for miles. It was like every safari show I’ve ever seen on TV – all of these different animals lived in this big open area together!
We stopped to use a bathroom and literally saw an elephant from the bathrooms! It was instantly a wild experience and we kept singing Lion King songs because it all just felt so real.
We saw new animals here, like some water buffalo and hippos.
We saw giant herds of animals roaming around. Did you know that wildebeest moo like cows?
We spent quite a lot of time watching a pride of lions stalk a group of zebras and wildebeest across the crater. It was too far away to take a picture but it was so exciting to watch through binoculars! Speaking of zebras, I was still totally in awe of them and couldn’t stop watching them run around.
Towards the end of the trip we saw a hyena pacing around. We couldn’t figure out why until we saw a group of lions relaxing by a fresh kill!
The last animal we saw before leaving was one last giant elephant. The elephants live solo in Ngorongoro unlike the ones we saw in Tarangire.
When we left the crater we stopped for one last picture and I just couldn’t believe how vast and endless the crater was. I could have spent days exploring down there!
I do have to admit that driving around all day for two days straight got us feeling a bit silly. After lunch in Ngorongoro we decided to look for animals using our empty Pringles cans as binoculars and the result was pretty awesome.
If you’re ever in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro and you’re wondering if you should do a safari add on, DO IT! It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done on a vacation and I’ll never forget it. It felt nothing like going to a zoo. I’m obsessed with zebras now and can’t believe I got to see them in their natural habitat for two days!
My safari advice:
- Wear light colored clothes. You will get dusty and dirty so you might as well just wear colors that already look like the dirt. I wore the same outfit two days in a row because I didn’t feel like making 2 outfits dirty (and I packed light for this portion of my Tanzania trip) and it worked out really well. I bought a “safari jacket” at Old Navy before I left and I was glad to have it for the breezy car rides, the early mornings, and literally the entire time we were at higher elevation in Ngorongoro.
- Heads up that dark colors can attract tsetse flies. I didn’t get bit by any but some of my friends did and their clothes were darker than mine! I didn’t wear bug spray and didn’t feel like I needed it since we were only out of the car when we were eating lunch.
- Bring CDs to listen to in the car. Our car’s phone hookup didn’t work and we had some long hours of driving between parks. Our guide made some mix CDs of Tanzanian club music for the ride which was awesome!
- Make sure you have lots of road trip snacks. All we did was snack and look at animals for 8 hours each day and we would have been starving without our Pringles and candy. Leftover Kilimanjaro snacks work perfectly.
- Your iphone will be fine for pictures. With all my Kilimanjaro gear I didn’t have room for my big camera, and I didn’t really need it (especially in Tarangire where the animals were closer to the road).
Have you ever been on a safari? What animal would you most like to see on one?