Sometimes, I go on a travel bucket list rampage. I suddenly develop the urge to make my way through the list as quickly as possibly, because everyone on my social media is going places, and the list just keeps growing and growing and growing. Or in business school terms, #fomo. 2016 was definitely one of those years, but it was also what inspired me to start this blog. For a little context in this vast world, I’m currently a business school student in Chicago. I have lived in 2 continents, so I have friends who are constantly traveling all over the world. #majorfomo.
I have been intending to start a proper blog forever. There were two false starts: a sad attempt to create a fashion blog in college (who was I kidding, me fashionable?) and a very sad one post blog documenting my lovely trip in Kyoto (again, amusing, given I traveled leisurely only once a year). And given that I have a little less than 9 months until I graduate and return to the real working world, if I don’t start now, this will never happen.
What really inspired me to write this blog were two things:
- I went on some pretty epic trips, cooked some pretty delicious things, and tried very many types of exercise classes.
- I wanted to find some way to document all of that in one place for my friends.
But really, that was far too much preamble for a post that should be about the awesomeness of the Serengeti plains of Tanzania. Without further ado, Serengeti:
Serengeti (Mid September, 2016)
It’s nearly a 5 hour drive from Arusha to this lonesome gate – about 3 hours of very smooth road + 2 hours of very bumpy dirt road!
Lions aplenty on the safari – Cheetah and leopards are far more difficult to spot! We happened to be on our trip in the middle of mating season, and well, let’s just say that they are not shy at all.
Elephants aplenty on the safari! But did you know an elephant is killed by poachers every 15 minutes in Africa? Even at the Serengeti information center, there was a very vocal woman demanding to know if the animal bones on display was available for sale? Unbelievable.
Notes for the safari
- Serengeti is a wild plain – tourism has carved out roads in the vast plains, but they are dirt roads. We wouldn’t want them to be any other way! As a result, the roads are very, very bumpy. We had the lovely pleasure of watching someone puke out of their safari jeep, so take your motion sickness pills!
- You will be spending hours and hours and hours in a car with your friends.
- Toilets in Serengeti are absolutely amazing – I have never seen public toilets so clean!
- Big 5: These refer to lions, elephants, water buffalo, leopard, and rhinos. We saw every one of them except rhinos, unfortunately. Apparently they are very, very endangered in Tanzania (think <20 in the whole country), and they are under armed guard by rangers.
- Things to bring:
- Scarves / face masks: There is dust everywhere, and it flies when cars pass
- Sunscreen / sunglasses – you may be in a car, but the sun exposure is still insane
- Clothes: the temperature difference throughout the day can get pretty crazy, so make sure you can handle the heat and the cold
- Shoes: There will not be much walking in the wild (only near your campsite), so wear comfortable shoes that can slip off, as you may spend a lot of time standing on your car seat
- Binoculars / Camera with zoom – the cars can’t just drive off-road, so sometimes the action is far away
- Tissue roll – just in case the toilets have run out
- Cash for tipping: You will need to tip your safari guide (who is usually also the driver), and the staff at your campsite. Tanzania actually has a very big culture of tipping for tourist services
- Wet wipes: So important because there’s dust everywhere!
- Our trip was organized by Flash Safari, who were really friendly people.
So we’ll see if this newfound habit of mine goes anywhere!