Tanzania: Into the Wild
The name conjures up vast expanses of grassland populated with gnarled thorn trees and herds of exotic wildlife – a National Geographic magazine’s worth of predators and prey, struggling for survival in a land that predates by millennia the earliest fossilized footprints of our ancestors who lived here 3.6 million years ago. And it’s all happening outside the canvas flaps of your wilderness tent.
Not all destinations live up to the romanticized images you have in your mind. Not so Tanzania. It is everything you expect and more, rightfully earning its place on virtually everyone’s bucket list. If it’s on yours, don’t shortchange yourself – if you can afford to extend your safari by a few days so that you can actually spend some time soaking in the experience and not just rushing to check off your “Big 5” list, it will be well worth the extra dollars and time.
The Northern Circuit is the most popular route for safari-goers, crossing the great migration route on the Serengeti where, depending on when you go, you can see millions of wildebeest and zebra making their clockwise annual trek through Tanzania and Kenya. Another must-see on the route is the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the most impressive wildlife conversation areas you can imagine. With a zoo’s worth of wildlife contained within the dramatic sloping walls of a large volcanic caldera, you can’t help but want to visit this stunning natural wonder, even if it means sharing it with scores of other jeeps.
Tanzania brings out the adventurer in all of us. Just be sure to bring lots of memory cards, rechargable batteries and binoculars so you won’t miss a thing, as you venture out into the wild.
TIP: If you have a specific goal in mind for your safari, it is worth the incremental cost to book private tours so that you aren’t sharing a jeep with others who may not share your ideas. For example, if you are a bird enthusiast, you don’t want to miss that shot of the secretary bird returning to its treetop nest, because someone else in the jeep wants to search for cheetahs. A private vehicle means you can call the shots, literally, whatever your specific needs are.
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