We headed out early that morning. It was a 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Moshi to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park and I couldn’t wait to get there and start this 4-day adventure. It was my first safari and I can’t remember the last time I was THIS excited about a trip.
I was the first to be picked up and was soon to discover it was going to be an all-girls trip. Five of us, to be exact, and all of them were amongst the coolest ladies I have ever met. I’d booked a group safari as there was no way on earth I could ever afford a private one traveling solo and because spending 4 days with nobody else but the guide didn’t sound like the best fun. I felt a liiiiiittle bit sorry for our guide and driver Rachid, as the poor guy was definitely going to have a headache after 4 days with these 5 crazy chicas, but we all knew it right from the start: this trip was going to be epic and we were about to have the time of our lives!
Ever-changing landscapes define the scenery. More than 10 different ecosystems are present in the park, and there’s animals literally everywhere. Depending on the season you’ll get to see more or less of certain species. During rainy season, for example, the shores of the lake are crowded with thousands of flamingos. During dry season they’re a lot more difficult to spot. Oh and have you ever heard of tree-climbing lions? Watch out for them, they’re very hard to see but we were lucky to find two!
“Is that a zebra?!?”, one of the girls screams from inside the jeep.
“Nnnnnope, that’s 7 zebras.”
Rachid hits the break and we all jump up from our seats at the same time. We clearly still need to train our animal spotting radar a bit more, but for now we’ll just fall in love with these cuties.
Look how cute they are when they stand there in pairs, each in a different direction. They actually do this to have a better view of the surroundings and protect each other but I like to tell myself they’re cuddling… #JustTooCute
OK let’s be honest. While it might not be the ONLY thing that matters, size does help sometimes, and it’s definitely an asset when you want to try to impress a bunch of girls on safari. We’re definitely on a roll and are able to scratch number 2 – the Cape buffalo – off our big 5 list soon after seeing the elephants. Woooooop! They were very far from the car though, so stay tuned for buffalo pictures from the other parks.
After staring into our binoculars until our eyes ache – that’s what happens on day 1, even if the animal’s 2 km away and your guide keeps telling you you’ll see plenty more in the next few days, you’ll still want to stop and stare, because well, you never know – we hit the road again. Giraffes are next, and I can’t believe how elegant and beautiful they are.
We got to see both a male and female lion sitting in a tree. Big 5 – 3/5, and it’s only day one… #LuckyGirls
We skipped a whole part of the park to go see the lions, so we drive back for a while and never seize to be amazed. More elephants, more giraffes, more zebras, … we basically stop every few minutes and it never gets old.
A nice drive along the shores of the lake later it’s already time to head to our campsite – we’ve been in the park for several hours – and while it feels as if the day’s only just started, we realize we’ve been very lucky. Lions, buffalo’s, elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, birds, antelopes, … And it’s only day 1 of our safari!
The next day we headed to the Serengeti and it only kept getting better and better.
Want to live this experience yourself? I have my own tour business in Tanzania and can organize it for you!
Have a look at our website and get in touch with all your questions.
Any other thoughts or ideas? See you in the comment section!
Disclaimer: this article is about my first safari ever, long before I had my own tour company. The safari was fully paid for by yours truly and opinions are my own and straight from the heart, as always.