MY MOST RECENT VACATION



Seeing is better than hearing!
My most recent vacation took me on safari in Tanzania for three amazing weeks. Knowing that the game viewing in Tanzania is best in the dry season, July through October and January through March, I planned my trip for last October. Yes, I was born there. I known the country, languages, people, and culture, and yet the three week safari was definitely the highlight of my 2010 adventures. You may asks yourself why I went on safari, in Tanzania, Africa when I grew up there? My answer; I wanted to have fun, learn, and explore the country I call home, from a new perspective. I now enjoy sharing my experience of the beauty, richness of cultures, tribes, attractions and friendly people of Tanzania with the world. Because Tanzania is a safe and peaceful Country, I urge anyone of any age to go there. Visit Africa, and see if you walk away with the same passion for this beautiful place.

While in Tanzania my itinerary involved a visit to Zanzibar Island followed by a cultural tour and ended with a safari in a few different parks. While in Zanzibar, I spent some time in Stone Town which I had read about in history lessons and was pleased to see it in real life. The most popular activities in Zanzibar are sightseeing, relaxing in the white sandy beaches and shopping in the town centers. The best place to do this is in Stone Town. It is the cultural and historical heart of Zanzibar.

My destinations were Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar Island, Arusha, Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and Ngorongoro Crater highlands. No doubt, the greatest of all of Africa’s safari destinations lies in northern Tanzania. For that reason, I spent more time in northern Tanzania than any part of its other territories. There are four circuits of safari in Tanzania and it will take some time to cover all of them if you want to see all the best of the country. Following is some information I have put together to help you understand what your safari can include.


The Circuits are:
Northern Circuit (the best of the circuits): Most frequented by tourists due to two reason; most of the destinations are fairly close to each other and popular destinations such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mt. Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa) are all in this Northern Circuit.

Southern Circuit: These parks are enormous, with the highest concentration of animals than any other country in Africa. It holds the hidden treasures of Tanzania’s game parks.

The Western Circuit: Lying in the Great Rift Valley are the inland lakes called Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. These are the best places to see Chimpanzees and get a different taste of safari from the water. Canoes are available as well as an opportunity to fish and swim in the lakes.

The Eastern Circuit: The national parks, game reserves, and marine parks of the eastern circuit are perfect luxury weekend retreats for guests on business related trips to Dar es Salaam.

For three weeks, I left behind “the fast life” and most of my electronics gadgets. I enjoyed the slow and laid back life of Tanzania that was once my life. While in Tanzania, one of my destinations was a place called Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This place  captured my attention for several different reasons. 

1: Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a multiple land use in which wildlife, livestock and     people (Maasai) are managed together without obvious interferences. 
2: The meaning of Ngorongoro comes from the cowbell maker who used to live in the area. Cowbells makes the sound “Ngoro-ngoro” hence the term joined to form the word Ngorongoro. 
3: The Crater’s floor is the ultimate ‘Big five’ destination, home to elephants, lions, leopards, rhino and buffalo.
3: Ngorongoro Crater is known as a “Caldera”, a sunken or collapsed cone of a volcano.
4: It is the largest inactive, unbroken and unflooded caldera in the world.
5: Walls of the Crater rise to a towering 610m. It has a diameter of 19.2 km and covers an area of 8,300 sq km.
6: By touring Ngorongoro, you will be supporting local communities living within its borders. Tourism plays a role by helping to fund schools, hospitals, roads and other things necessary for local communities.

PEOPLE:
The residents of the conservation area are the Maasai. They are pastoralists. Traditionally these people move widely with their herds to find pasture and water but in recent years, they have been encouraged to make settlements in Ngorongoro highlands.  Maasai are allowed to live in the conversation area due to the fact that they don’t interfere with wild animals, as they don’t feed on game meat.

OLDONYO LENGAI:
This Mountain is located just outside Ngorongoro Crater, near Lake Natron.
The name derived from a Maasai word which means “ Mountain of God”.
The height of the mountain is 2,878m and it is the only active volcano in the area, last erupting in 1966 and 1983.

OLDUPAI GORGE: An archeological site.
The first skull of zinjanthropus, commonly known as “ Nutcracker man” was found here. He is thought to have lived about 1.75 million years ago and was found by Lous and Mary Leakey in 1959. A site museum is open daily to the public.

LAETOLI:
At Laetoli, west of Ngorongoro crater, hominid foot prints are preserved in 3.6 million year old volcanic rock and represent some of the earliest signs of Mankind in the world.

SHIFTING SAND:
This remarkable black dune is composed of volcanic ash from Oldonyo Lengai. It is being slowly blown west across the plains at the rate of about 17 meters per year. Some 9m high and 100m long in its course, it can be found to the north of Oldupai Gorge. The cresent shaped dune has a constant wind blowing from the east that pushes sand grains from the back of the dune, up its firm, rippled windward slope. The grains scramble upward only to topple over the steep leeward slope. Thus the dune marches westward grain by grain. 

Dr. Leakey discovered the movement in 1969. When rain falls, the dune stops moving. However, rain is so rare in this part of the plains that the dune never stays wet long enough for plants to take root in its sand. There are a number of old dunes caught by vegetation here and there all over the plain.


                     
Here I come to the end of writing about my adventure. I would love to tell you more, but I decided to stop here to let you enjoy it and hopefully share it with a friend. Along your reading, I hope this adventure story had something that caught your interest. If so, share it and let me know what you liked. Thanks!