Monday, August 25, 2014

What I did with my summer vacation: Part 1

This should really be part 2 if we're going to be chronological, but due to technical difficulties, most of the photos from the first part of my trip are on my husband's computer. And it's been way too long since I've posted, so here we go. Non-chronologically.

I went to Tanzania. I am a bit sad to admit that the main motivating factor for this trip was actually work, rather than my own sense of adventure. But it has been on my list of places to visit for some time and I'm glad that I finally got to check it off. My husband met me after I was finished working and we went on safari for 2 days.

2 days doesn't sound like a lot, but we were able to visit two different areas.

First, we went to Lake Manyara, where you can sometimes see tree climbing lions (we didn't see any, unfortunately). We had a private guide who drove us around in a Land Rover. The roof hinged up so that we could stand and look out at the animals.

View of the lake, which is actually part saltwater and part freshwater
We did see lots of other animals. Like elephants.

And giraffes! Giraffes are one of my favourite animals. I just love how improbable they seem.

One of the amazing things about going on safari is that the animals are generally not that hard to find. The wild animals where I live are difficult to spot. If I have visitors, I can usually find them an elk, a deer or a group of bighorn sheep to gawk at. But it would be difficult for me to find a moose, a bear, a porcupine, or a coyote. And there are animals that I've never seen in the wild, like wolverines or cougars.

But when you go on safari, something like this watering hole is actually pretty common. Yeah, that's just a zebra and some wildebeest and cranes.

And that's a monkey with blue balls. Aptly called a blue-balled monkey.

We spent the second day at Ngorongoro Crater, another lake formed by the collapse of a giant volcano.

 There are flamingos, which I totally did not expect to see in Africa.

We saw gazelles.

Hyenas! I loved the hyenas. They look so cute and cuddly, like round little dogs. I was surprised to learn that there used to be hyenas in Europe.

And, of course, where there are hyenas, there are lions. They eat huge meals every few days, and spend a lot of time lying around digesting their food.  There are 4 lions in this picture. When they put their heads down, they blend into the grass remarkably well.

One of my friends told me that 2 days on safari is plenty, and I think that's probably accurate. In order to avoid total photo overload in this post, I didn't include photos of all the birds we saw... or the hippos, bushbucks, impalas, waterbucks, warthogs and other creatures. We would have loved to have seen a leopard or cheetah, but I guess they're more commonly seen in the Serengeti. 


  1. What an incredible trip! Scary how those lions blend in to the landscape. I had no idea that there were flamingos in that part of the world. How awesome! And I love that you called giraffes improbable. They so... are! Stunning pics!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Yes! It was so amazing. Yesterday in the car, I looked at my husband and said: "So we saw giraffes!" I am still in awe.

  2. Oh my goodness! I am amazed by you! That is incredible. I love giraffes, too. I love the way you describe them as being improbable. I love that description of them. It is what I could not put a word to. And the blue balled monkey?! Who knew? I would be terrified of seeing a hippo. Was that part scary? I love the adventure you got to go on. How incredible. Did you bring back any souvenirs? I cannot wait for your next post about your trip. This is so exciting!


    1. The hippos were kind of scary, but I guess they are more nocturnal and in the day they are usually hanging out in the water or sleeping on land. There was a lunch spot we stopped at where there were hippos in a little pond and people were walking right up to the pond and taking pictures with the hippos right behind them. The guides did not seem perturbed by this so I guess it was ok?

      I did bring back some souvenirs... maybe I'll show them in one of my next posts?

  3. What an incredible trip! Like a seriously magical, incredible trip! Thanks so much for sharing your photos. I can only imagine what this was like to experience in real life, but the photos are still quite amazing. The watering hole shot is my favorite. Like The Lion King come to life. What awesome memories you'll have forever of this trip! And now you've inspired several of us to go on safari, too!

    <3 Liz

    1. Thanks! It really was an amazing trip. There are lots of Lion King references on safari... the guide called all the warthogs "Pumba".

  4. wow the safari looks amazing, and so neat to see all those animals just hanging out. the pic with the birds is stunning!

  5. We spent a long time at that watering hole. There were hippos too!