Africa is amazing. It is another place that is hard to understand unless you have experienced it, but is worth reading about. My first trip to Africa was to southern Africa and included visits to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. While on that trip I was told by my guide that I would be infected with the Africa “virus” and I most certainly was. Please do not panic, it is only contagious if you visit Africa and yearn to go back. The virus makes you eat, sleep, dream and breathe Africa until you can return and get infected again and return home to eat, sleep, dream and breathe about Africa all over again. There is no single cure that I know of except to keep going back and I am fortunate enough to be headed back to Tanzania in July!
The best part about being in Africa is its beauty and freedom. It is limitless. You gain a sense of serenity that for most people is unheard of. One of my favorite days involved standing out of the top of my game drive vehicle just listening to the sounds of flamingos. It was spectacular. I felt amazing. If someone took a picture of me at that particular moment it would have expressed pure bliss.
Africa is huge and I want to see it all. I am blessed to have visited two different regions, but I need to see more. There are so many unique features about being in Africa. One of the best includes enjoying game drives and exploring the wilderness. During my East African expeditions in Kenya I spent time in Masai Mara which is a magnificent landscape of open plains bisected by the Mara River and its tributaries and punctuated by marshes and forests. This 650 square kilometer reserve supports the highest density of game to be seen anywhere considering its size. During the seasonal migrations, Masai Mara is home to up to a million wildebeest and an equally impressive number of zebra that move into the area from neighboring Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The reserve is home to all the “big five” and it is also possible to observe baboon, eland, ostrich, bat- eared fox, jackal, cheetah, and the rivers are abound with hippos and crocodiles. In addition to all of this they are also noted for their abundance of lions. My life could not get better until the morning I was told grab your camera, binoculars and only a backpack! For what? To take to the sky over herds of wildlife in the Masai Mara game reserve flying in a hot air balloon safari. Can you say amazing? I woke up very early, met my driver and in the cold and dark morning began my voyage to the site where I would meet the hot air balloon. What an experience. It was my first time in a hot air balloon. The balloon can soar over the most inaccessible and undisturbed parts of the reserve. I remember seeing a vulture’s nest and could not believe the size of it. Also, being above the terrain you see the animals from a unique perspective above them. It was unreal.
I did not think my trip could get much better until I flew from Kenya to Tanzania and began my journey in Tarangire National Park. It is renowned for its abundant birdlife and plentiful big game. It is hard for me to decide what my favorite place in the world is, but I will tell you for years it was easy for me to say Peru until I visited Tanzania. I think I love many places, but Tanzania has a permanent place in my heart. The game drives in Tanzania were one better than the other. I also had the benefit of being with terrific tour guides who were fun, caring and knowledgeable. I think my friends and I might have scared them on some days, but definitely in a good way.
Ngorogoro is a world heritage site. Ngorogoro Crater is remnant of an ancient volcano peak and has one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. It was one of my highlights of my trip in East Africa. I remember not wanting to eat dinner because I did not want to come inside and leave the night sky. I never saw a more spectacular night sky. I felt like I was in the stars. If you have ever visited Africa you know all of the emotions that come over you and my voyage was no different. I was happy everyday and feeling honored to be able to see and feel what was in front of me each day. Some people go places and have a different mindset. You have to be like Africa and be limitless. Expect nothing and gain everything. If you go into a game drive with a list of what you want to see you will immediately be disappointed since you are not in a zoo. You are in the wild and need to respect your surroundings. Each morning I would pray and thank God for my experience and also I would envision lions everywhere. I was obsessed with seeing lions and my prayers usually worked. I was fortunate to see every animal and in abundance. Go to Africa, go on safaris, meet local people and you will gain a calmness in your existence.