The Long Road Home

When we embarked on our adventure to Tanzania, we knew there would be a bit of travel involved. But we didn’t think much about it because the front part of the trip had all the travel broken down into more than one day, so it didn’t feel like much.  However, the trip back home was another story.

When I was planning this trip, I really didn’t want to take the small “lightweight” aircraft at all.  The only reason I conceded was because it meant we got an extra day of safari in, so it made better use of our time there.  But the trade for Continue reading

Paradise on the Indian Ocean

We love to travel and we do it a lot as you can probably tell.  Most of our trips tend to be more city type of vacations but we try to make a point every year of doing at least one relaxing beach vacation.  And this year our trip to Tanzania is hands down one of our top beach trips ever.  Paxos, Menorca and Croatia are all up there but I’m not sure if they can compete with Tanzania when it comes to the beach. Continue reading

The Disappearing Island

I’d say hands down, one of our favorite parts of this whole adventure to Tanzania was our trip to Maziwe Island.  While records of the past indicate that Maziwe was once an island with palm trees and vegetation, today, they neither of those things exist on this island. Whether this is due to a change in sea levels which causes the island to literally disappear each day with the high tide or from the locals cutting down trees for use, thereby causing the biological integrity of the island to change, it is not known.  But regardless of history, it is now a massive sandbar about 5 miles off the coast of Tanzania.
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Sunrises Over the Indian Ocean

I’m a morning person, always have been.  I try, though, not to be up at dawn.  But when you go to bed early, it’s only natural to wake up early.  Not to mention the stifling heat is keeping me from getting a full night’s sleep.  And… there is a very big Muslim population in the area and there is a call to prayer EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING at 4:45.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with it… just wish it was slightly later because 4:45 is mighty early!  As the rest of my family sleeps like the dead it hasn’t seemed to bother them at all.  But since I’m up, I’ve been watching the sun rise.  It’s an amazing phenomenon to see and every morning is so spectacular and so different, that I felt like my favorite pictures deserved their own entry.  So here are some of my favorites from the week… Continue reading

Local Village Tours

One of the most memorable experiences of this trip to Tanzania has been seeing the local villages and how the indigenous people live here.  While we only got a small taste of this, I expect it will have a lasting impact on us.  We found it educational, upsetting and also eye-opening.  After speaking with some other (more prosperous) locals, it was explained to us that while these people live in poverty, it is not acute poverty – that you see more inland.  By living in coastal regions, these people always can rely on the sea and will not starve unlike their counterparts inland who have to rely on crops and cattle.  We were also told that more often than not, the villagers do not want the government’s help and chose to live this difficult but yet very simple lifestyle. Continue reading

From Safaris to the Beach

The original plan for this trip was a warm weather destination where we could go to the beach.  When planning it, we kept finding ourselves having to go further and further south in order to find somewhere that had beach weather.  We added on the safaris after planning the beach portion of our trip as kind of an aside…but the beach, that’s where we wanted to go!

After our final safari with Tent with a View, we made the 2 hour trek on dirt, pothole filled roads (without dirt it was probably less than an hour) to The Tides Lodge (www.thetideslodge.com) in the Pangani / Tanga region.  It was a bumpy ride for sure, but with an open sided jeep, at least we didn’t have Continue reading

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!!

Ok, there were no tigers or bears in this park and in the end, we didn’t see any lions (though they do live there and apparently one ate a bicyclist the day we left the park but then I personally wouldn’t bicycle thru a game reserve) either, but I couldn’t think of a better title to start out our safari experience J.  First off, let me state that Saadani is not a Big 5 park, the Big 5 being the lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhino.  We knew going into this part of our trip that certain animals were unlikely to be seen and some definitely not at all.  Saadani does have 4 of the Big Five, but up until 10 years ago, this area was poached, a lot. And it’s only been in the last 10 years that it has become a national park where the Continue reading

Puddle Jumper to Saadani

In order to get to our first lodge, Room with a View, in the Saadani National Park, we had to take a little puddle jumper, 15 seat plane.  Now, I’m not a good flyer on any day and this flight had me stressed from the moment I booked it.  But in order to squeeze in 2 ½ days of safari, it was necessary for us to fly instead of drive to Saadani (which takes about 4 – 5 hours from Dar es Salaam).
On the way to the airport we were struck by the poverty in the area.  Not only tons of people crammed on buses, but many were also just sitting together under trees on the side of the road.  Buildings were run down as was everything around us.  It saddened me to no end to see people having to live this way.  Again, I wish I had taken some pictures but there never seemed to be the right opportunity.  Our driver did tell us that schools there often had 100 kids in a class – this is in the city!  And to do private school is very costly.  I don’t even know how it came up but regardless of how, this statistic is dumbfounding as I don’t know how any student can learn and hope to improve their situation when in that kind of environment.

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Arrival in Tanzania… We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!!

Admittedly I was a little bit nervous about our trip to Africa.  Not just the long flight but what to expect when we arrived.  My biggest concern being safety.  After all, this is a third world country and absolutely out of not just our comfort zone, but also our knowledge base.
But at the same time, I couldn’t hide my excitement about this trip.  Going outside our comfort zone is a good thing.  This is the adventure to top all adventures thus far for us.  And this trip has been organized to a T.  I arranged everything through both of the lodges we would be staying at and felt confident that we were in good hands.

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"I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas" (Destination… Africa!)

If there is anything that I hope our children learn during our time abroad, it is to not only live outside their comfort zone, but to also embrace it.  In everyday life and on vacation, life is about new experiences.  For us, in this moment, never is there a more challenging way to be outside our comfort zone than…Africa. Yes, Africa.

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