“Whose life is this!?”
“Wow! am I really here in the Serengeti, in Tanzania?
Dreams do come true and as cliche as it might be, the key to unlocking most dreams involves hard work and dedication. For me, experiencing a safari in The Serengeti was something I had wanted to do from as far back as I could remember. I had read about the great migration there and wanted to see it with my naked eyes. ( I have to work on my timing so I can experience the migration in all its full glory next time.)
Experiencing The Serengeti as a Solo Traveller
Unless you are rolling in dough, it may not be feasible to travel solo in The Serengeti. A guide is essential and when this is coupled with the entry fee it can be pretty pricey. It would be lovely to stay in one of the fancy lodges and make use of their guide services next time.
This was my second safari on the continent, so I did what I had done before. I spent much time diligently searching different places on the internet, until I found a small local company to give my business to. They had good reviews and when I emailed them they responded in a timely manner and such. I like the fact that as a solo traveller I could join a group of other travellers, which made it so much more affordable. I am still happy with my choice. The driver/guide was really knowledgeable and passionate about his job. It was exhilarating how he would communicate with other drivers and try to get us to see the different animals. He was just as excited as us every time. It also helps that he was sociable and a good conversationalist. This made a world of difference because we spent much time together over three days.
It is something of a gamble to join a random group of people, but travelling is an adventure and that’s a part of it. It turned out to be just myself and a young couple and we had some great conversations and gelled well. This is important because we had quite a few meals together and it was nice once we got to camp at nights, to chat and learn about our worlds.
One key element to budget for, is a good tip for the driver and the cook who take care of you for the duration of the safari. This is great encouragement for them and helps since they do not necessarily get much from what we pay for the safari itself. For two nights and three days on a camp safari, in the Serengeti I paid around $700 USD in 2016. This included entrance fees to both The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, two nights in a very budget hotel (1 night before the safari and 1 after), 2 nights in 2 different camps with a tent and sleeping bag provided (I brought my own because it’s more hygienic) and also lunch, breakfast and dinner for the duration of the safari.
Some Highlights from my Safari in the Serengeti
That sunrise above is the first one. It was worth getting up early in the freezing cold to watch that scenery take shape bit by bit. This is the iconic picture of sunrise in the Serengeti and I was so humbled, amazed and overjoyed to just see it unfold before my eyes. “Whose life is this!” This picture is in its rawest form, no fixing anything. Much is said of the animal migration in The Serengeti but there are so many awe-inspiring sceneries to bask in from moment to moment.
The animals showed out beautifully while I was there. Looking back, I realise that we spent much of our time driving from place to place to seek out different kinds of animals and they sure accommodated us.
A safari in the Serengeti is not as glamorous as one would think. It is an extremely dusty place owing to the fact that proper roads are not allowed to be made there. This is great and ensures that the natural habitat of the animals isn’t messed up to comfort us invaders. It works out well because the animals just go about their business often times crossing right before the safari vehicles.
Can you believe that one night while sleeping I woke up to the sound of screams from an hyena? Someone had failed to secure the garbage well and the hyena came scavenging and made no bones about it. The hyena was right outside my tent at that point and it struck me that I was living dangerously…phew!! That’s another thing to note for camping in The Serengeti. There are no barriers to keep out the animals and you must follow the safety measures per your guide’s instructions.
Fun fact, there are showers available in the camping spots and get this, you can even get hot water to wash away the dust of your day driving around seeking out the animals. Say what!? Yes, even in the wild in an African country you can enjoy such amenities. I tell you ‘Africa’ is far more than what the negative stereotypes promote.
Another highlight for me were the tasty meals prepared by our cook. I don’t know how he did it but every meal was hearty and flavourful. while we were out on game drives he was busy cooking up these lovely meals, so we could scarf them down after coming back. You know I had to tip him well and say thanks. Talk about a very pleasant surprise!
We were there about 30 minutes in the jeep right by this majestic being snapping pictures and just admiring away. It is interesting to remember how we were thoroughly ignored during this entire time.
Some tips to Prepare for a Safari in The Serengeti, Tanzania
- Check what the weather is like at the time you will visit. It does get really cold there, especially at nights some months.
- Take some time to read reviews about different safari companies to see what is best for you.
- Take clothes that accommodate dust well, have a scarf or bandana to cover your nostrils on the drives and sunglasses to protect you from the dust – there is a whole lot of it.
- Take a cushion to sit on because the drives can be bumpy.
- Take along a pair of binoculars in order to see some of the animals that may be far away from the road.
- Take a day pack for the things you will take on the safari when you leave the rest of your luggage with the safari company.
- Take some of your favourite snacks to enjoy on the drives just in case you don’t like the food offered.
- Do a bit of reading on The Serengeti to prepare yourself for that which you will be immersed in for a few days.
- Sort out malaria pills and take them responsibly. Also get a repellant with deet to add another layer of protection.
My safari in The Serengeti was lovely the first time around, I am looking forward to another adventure there in time to come.