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For the first time in my life I was in real Africa (for me that is everything South of the Sahara). My plan was to do a Safari so I had to choose between several African countries and ended up with a private Tour in Tanzania together with two friends. Getting a rental car is not advisable (route fees could be crazy for tourists, also local drivers know where the animals are and call each other for locations so you can focus on the photography). I chose a tour that also had some cultural visits included – we visited 3 tribes – Masaai, Datoga and Hadzabe. Especially the Hadzabe experience was impressive when we went hunting with them. I was only hunting with my camera of course.

Sroll down for pictures…

But lets start from the beginning. After we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport in the middle of the night with Turkish Airlines (good food but small and narrow airplane) we spent the night in Arusha. In the afternoon we had a game drive in the Arusha National Park. A game drive is a safari with a car. We had a Toyota Landcruiser with a flexible roof. You can stand up in the middle of the car and take photos 360 degrees around. No need to open and close windows. On our first „warm-up“ game drive we saw monkeys, giraffes, hippos and lots of flamingos.
The second national park we visited was Tarangire famous for the elephants (which we saw) and a lot of Baobab trees.
First big highlight was the Ngorongoro crater. We did a full 6 hour game drive in the crater with a fantastic amount of animals. It was very impressive to see some lions with small kids to cross the street and play around the cars. Also we saw Hippos, Buffalos, a Rhino in far distance and many more. Sadly we were leaving the crater 5 minutes too late and got charged with a 50$ fine which our driver could somehow avoid paying the next day…
The second highlight was the famous Serengeti. We were here a little before the main season (which means there are just a few tourists and we had our tented campsite almost for ourselves). The first gnu herds just arrived and it was very impressive to see the walking in a looong line. Also we got attacked by an elephant as we watched his kids playing in the mud. Luckily our Toyota was faster ;). For me highlight was seeing a cheetah with 4 little kids and a leopard coming down a tree. Other highlights were big birds feasting and fighting over a dead gnu and a lion couple trying to mate (she did not really want…)
A little too warm for me was Lake Natron. Sadly there were not so many Flamingos as I had hoped. On a morning walk I had to carry my big tele to get at least some pictures. Other than that it was very! warm. It felt like above 40 degrees and it did not cool down at night.

One thing I was was worried about did not turn out that bad – mosquitoes. As they can carry lots of deceases I bought a lot of anti mosquito stuff. Of course I got 2-3 bites but it was not as bad as I expected. I think it depends on the season.

I was really impressed by the safari experience, although Tanzania was very expensive for that. They really take the money from the Tourists with crazy entry fees and hotel prices. Also souvenir prices are stupidly high even after hard bargaining (also when you buy from the local tribes). And everyone wants to be tipped…

Lets see what the next Safari destination will be. It was definitely not the last one. I really enjoyed having the 500mm lens, even if it was a pain carrying it.

Enjoy the pictures.


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