It's hard to leave Tanzania without a song in your heart and a head full of memories. The truth is that this ancient land fills you with an after taste, which clearly leaves you hungry for more. Between getting regaled on the tales of spotting the big 5 (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino & leopard), and actually seeing them in the wild, time flies! Every traveller has his big 5 experiences; here are mine!
The Migration Dance
The Serengeti is a grassland that sings a tune. It waves it hands as you pass by, welcoming you to its folds. The millions of animals that co-habit this space equally makes us feel at home as soon as we set our foot off the airstrip carved in the thick of action. A beautiful sense of peace envelops you as you drive through the grasslands enjoying the idyllic setting. Millions of wildebeest and zebras participate in the awesome dance of migration every year. As they move in a formation they create a spectacle that few sights in the world can match. Thousands of crocs lie in wait for them to cross the river Grumeti. And as they all gather by the riverside over several weeks, there comes a point of inflection when one of them takes the plunge of certain death and the millions follow through to the other side. Who will that chosen one be and why would it take that step is a mystery that has remained unanswered since time immemorial. Such is the beauty of the Serengeti.
In the wild, conversations soon slip into a realm that are at the cusp of reality. Here is an interesting snippet from one of our many lunchtime conversations with our safari tour guide over some refreshing locally brewed beer:
"What happens when your 4WD gets stuck in the jungle? Not much really. Another 4WD pulls you out with a rope. Simple! The only difference is that the lions sitting nearby on a rocky cliff stare down at us, wondering as well about how long will it take to get the tires rolling!"
You will notice that every meal here is an experience to be savored and has a story. It's never ending and you will understand this only once you are here.
Beware of the Lion Sized Expectations Syndrome
Humans! We can never be satisfied. After seeing over 50 lions in the wild we were stuck by the LION SIZED EXPECTATIONS SYNDROME.
We see cubs that are no more than a few weeks old. We have the honour of seeing a full pride of 20+ lions. We gape at the big fellas and their lionesses as they majestically took their evening stroll.
We see two magnificent kills, not to mention lions in the bush, on the rocks, on the road, stretching, yawning, growling and even had a roaring wake up call. What more could the poor lions do for us? This thought strikes me as I sit on a beautiful armchair in a luxury tent listening to Mick Jagger belting out 'I can't get no satisfaction'!
The Unusual Accommodation Choices
Where would you like to stay? A simple question can sometimes have a bewildering variety of choices. We stay in a tent next to a hippo pool; my loud snores participate in a symphony of hippo grunts through the night much to my wife's amusement!
We also stay on the tip of the Ngorongoro crater. It's a world heritage site with an incredible concentration of wild life. As we enter our resort, we are greeted by a welcome party of a dozen humans and a heard of zebras. Then one day, as we are served our meals in a tree house nearby, a couple of Cape Buffaloes found in abundance in the area, have an argument on the doorsteps; finally concluding it by breaking the very steps!
It's a wonderful phrase that is the essence of this beautiful country. It means no worries for the rest of your days. It's a problem free philosophy... Words from the famous movie Lion King immortalise the soul of this natural paradise. Visit it to feel it!
Vikram is a marketeer by profession and an avid traveller by choice! He loves his holidays with a passion and dreams of visiting his 50th country on his 50th birthday. His bags are packed!
All Image credits: Vikram Krishna