When you are on Safari, you spend a lot of time in our Safari vehicles. Driving is great. You get to see the various landscapes, the scenery and wildlife.
Now try walking.
‘Walking heightens your senses‘, as my guide Richard of our partner company African Environments told me. And he is right. The minute we got out of the land cruiser and touched Mother Earth in our private walking area in Serengeti, the hairs on the back of my neck were on alert. Let the walk begin.
Our first encounter, buffalos. Three of them. “Get behind me and walk sideways‘, instructs Richard who is carrying a loaded gun. Yes sir. I am thinking, will this large 70-300 mm L canon lens work as a weapon. I will swing hard. Luckily, I did not have to try this maneuver. They run away. Whew. My heart stops pounding. What a thrill. And that is only the first 30 minutes.
As we continue our morning Private Serengeti walk up and around the kopjes, we pass through lots of colorful butterflies, birds, klipspringer, hyrax and male impalas. The grass is tall from the long rains but dry. It is hot even in June. I am reminded to drink water.
Good walking shoes are definitely recommended. Leg gaiters would have helped from getting the sticky seeds from poking. Tsetse flies are a bother. Keep calm and swat them away. Wear loose clothing so they can not bite you through your shirt. Light colored clothing would have been a better choice. Lesson learned the itchy way.
After about 3 hours of walking [you decide what is comfortable for you], we stopped for a delicious barbeque lunch by the dried up river. Chicken, beef, variety of vegetables, fruit, salad, coffee and wine – the whole works here for lunch. Relax and enjoyed the view after a yummy feast. Hard working crew – Asante.
After a good strong cup of coffee, Richard and I continue our afternoon walk. We encountered more animals in our afternoon walk. Elands, hartebeest, kudu, harem of female impalas and about 4 male bachelors, topis, and more.
The one male impala with his harem gave us a good show. When they first saw us, half of the females ran left and the other half followed the male to the right side. You could see the male trying hard to get back to his group on the left to bring them back to the rest of his females on the right. I was rooting for the left group females to run away and leave the ‘demanding’ male behind. It did not happen. Alas, they rejoined and the group was together once again.
Richard and I were enjoying the walking when we came across a barbed snare. According to Richard, this area, east of Central Serengeti was closed off to the public for a long time by TANAPA. There were no protective eyes here. Poaching was easy until the five + hand-selected companies known for their ethical practices, one of them being our partners came into the area. This has helped with poaching. The numbers have gone down but not completely unfortunately.
And one thing you will notice when walking in Private Serengeti, the animals here are afraid of humans. They run when they see you. When you are on a game drive in a vehicle in the main areas of Serengeti, they do not budge.
Around 5:30 pm or so, we are getting close to camp, walking on a dry river bed when we hear some noise behind the bushes on top. Now Deo has been a calm ranger all this time but when I hear him cock his gun, I can hear my breathing quicken. Richard is on alert. My arm hair is stand up again. Fear is healthy. My heart is pounding. I am instructed to climb up the bank. I run. False alarm. Buffaloes lazily grazing up top the river bank.
We make it to our Wilderness Camp.
This is comfortable basic camping with a cot but still good food in a closed dining tent. The dome shaped tent has a comfortable cot with sheets, blankets and pillows. Toilet and bathroom are outside and the make shift walk-way is lit with solar lamps hoisted on a tree stump.
The toilet is a pit latrine – toilet paper included. You cover with dirt after you are done doing your business. An eco-friendly way to leave the land when the camp is packed up. Basic. The shower is a bucket shower which was comfortable and the 5 gallons was enough water. Soap and shampoo in pump bottles was included.I ended up taking a shower at 9:00 pm – adventurous!
Why you ask?
When we got there, it was around 6:00 pm. The crew at the camp had started a beautiful roaring fire and the sun was about the set. I was not about to miss this lovely setting. So I opted to wait to wash away my day.
And I am so glad I did. I was rewarded by some of the most glorious stunning sunset sitting by the cozy fire over a cold Kilimanjaro beer. Oh the colors! Brilliant.
Between enjoying the magical sunset around 6:30 pm to shower time around 9:00 pm, I enjoyed a lovely dinner in the dining tent while it rained outside. The crew again – asante for your hard work.
The rain continued to drizzle but that did not deter Richard and I from heading back out to the fire, hurdled under one large umbrella, sharing stories about the walk, our children, Safari life and more.
At around 9:00 pm, I did take the bucket shower under the dark skies and slight drizzle.
I can honestly say this was one fantastic experience I can not wait to experience again and share with you all. Happiness is being on Safari. I sure made lots of memories on my Private Serengeti Safari.