Safari Weekend was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had. We spent three days exploring the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks (Ngorongoro was by far my favourite, but next time round I am hoping to visit Serengeti as well – I have heard so much).
We spent each day in the Safari jeep driving around each park for hours, then having a lunch break followed by further exploration before eventually heading back to our hidden – in – the – woods campsite (glad I am still alive). On our way back we would often stop by Maasai markets to explore their art and shop goods – these people have exquisite taste! We would be back at the camp site by dusk, rushing to have a warm shower, washing off around 1 ton of dust, applying after sun cream on our freshly burnt skins and spending a significant amount of time untangling our hair – oh! And then apply tons of insect repellent sprays and oils – a must! Our evenings were well spent indulging the delicious food prepared by our cook and then enjoying cocktails, card games and story-telling at the open-space lounge. I think the only downside was the fact that we all got some altitude sickness by the end of it (the hills of Ngorngoro are around 3000 m tall).
Animal-wise, we were really lucky to get to see 4 out of the ‘Big 5’ – Leopard, Lion, Elephant and Buffalo. The Rhino unfortunately did not honour us with its presence. The Leopard, however, was the biggest surprise of all; we were departing from Ngongoro having seen everything we wanted but the leopard. On our way out, our driver and guide, Freddy, stopped the car and pointed at the branch of a tree high up on the hill – there she was, taking a siesta nap on the branch, with her tail hanging down – what class!
On that note, I was really impressed with Freddy’s knowledge and skills. I am convinced he has some sort of 360° eagle vision, being able to spot any animal regardless of how far away it was or how well camouflaged it was. He also knew soooo much about the animals – a fun fact I shall never forget is that Zebras are pregnant for around 375 days – yes you read that right – that is OVER a year. Oh, and another one, that only female lions hunt while the males just sit around waiting for food (gender equality I guess). Lions will eat anything but Hyenas, which as scavenger species tend to be quite disgustingly dirty – I guess lions appreciate hygiene.
Aside of all the fun, however, Safari for me was a very spiritual and eye-opening experience. I was looking at all these animals, Zebras, Wildebeests, Buffalos, Hyenas, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Impalas, Gazelles, all sorts of birds and monkeys, you name it, and I was struck by their ability to live with each other on good terms. Their species, abilities, colour and size did not seem to matter the way they would in the human world and the only sort of violent behaviour these animals have is the carnivores’ hunting attacks, driven solely by survival instincts. They do not kill for fun. They kill only when it’s absolutely necessary for their survival – and that’s okay, because (a) nature dictates these survival skills and (b) at all other times they live in peaceful wavelengths and harmonies. I have really started feeling as though humans, H. Sapiens, are the only thing that is going wrong in this world. I do not want be a pessimist, but this is reality, through my eyes; we have abandoned the traditional animal survival tactics and have adopted unnecessary and evil behaviours that lead to a corrupt way of life – Wars, Segregation and Racism, Hunger and Poverty – What for? I am deeply concerned that unfortunately our wrongdoings are not only harming us, but also all other forms innocent life on this planet – and we have NO right to impose our misery on the rest of the Universe. Perhaps a way to evolve better is to watch and learn from our fellow ‘earthlings’ – they are a lot wiser and have so much to teach us about coexistence and the laws of nature.