We returned last night from an amazing adventure! Our safari team consisted of Denny & Ann Kleeger & Tom Warren in one vehicle and Alison Hadziosmanovic, Phyllis Hollingsworth, Mihoko Nelson and me in the second vehicle. New friendships were formed and much laughter was shared with this special group.

Our first night was spent in a tent camp at the top of the Norongoro area. We all agreed that this was the best meal we’ve had in Africa and it was elegantly served in a dining tent in the pouring rain with the cooking being done over wood fires! This was Masai country and we were privelged to be taken on a walk by two Masai men who also demonstrated their spear throwing technique. This was very interesting to Alison, a former javelin thrower! Their friendliness and hard work on our behalf was really humbling. There was thunder and lightning and pouring rain (and I thought I knew what rain was like having come from Oregon!) all night and for a short while I was dismayed thinking we would not be able to continue our Safari. But I had underestimated the fantastic Land Rovers and the experienced African drivers.

The next day we really began to see the animals as we traveled to the Serengeti. We saw thousands of zebra and wildebeasts and at one point crossed a wildebeast migration. As far as the eye could see was a long line of these animals making their way to Lake Eses sp? for water. Some of the highlights of the day were two young male giraffes sparring, nine young male lions basking in the sun and a group of about 20 elephants including several babies.

The next day we descended into the Norongoro crater where, among other wildlife, we saw 5 Black Rhinos including a baby! This was a real treat since there are only 20 of them there! What amazed me was the vast variety of beautiful birds in the area. Our driver, Mtili instantly knew all of them by name.

Our last night was spent in the luxurious Kifuru lodge on a beautiful coffee plantation in the Norongoro highlands. The flowers were georgous!

It had been unseasonable rainy so the roads at time were quite harrowing or actually non-existent but our driver got us safely home despite performing some flashy 360s in the mud. He earned the nickname “Cookie Monster” from us for his spinning cookies! We never got stuck for which we were thankful. We had far less trouble than our other two teams.

All together we must have seen over fifty species of birds and animals! This has truly been a trip of a lifetime.

– Sandy (Mama Simba)