Traveling is simply possible… right now. Live!

6 December 2021

At the end of November I left for Tanzania with two friends. In need of a good dose of nature, animals, sun and space.
After almost 2 years of Corona related issues, I’m ready for some rest. Time to recharge, gain inspiration, just ‘being’ in Tanzania without a full program and agenda. And that worked out well.

We started our journey with a beautiful flight from Arusha to the Serengeti National Park. We fly out of the city and the beautiful landscape becomes visible. First we fly over the rich Lake Manyara National Park and over the majestic Ngorongoro Highlands with its craters and mountains. Then followed by the endless plains of the Serengeti, at first very arid and dry. Then bright green short grass. Arriving in central Serengeti we are welcomed by guide James and ranger Silver. Together we drive in a few hours to our hiking camp in the south of the park; where the wildebeest migration is this season. Along the way we immediately see groups of elephants, hyenas, zebras, wildebeest, ostriches and much more.

We arrive at the hiking camp in the Kusini area. 3 attractive tents are ready for us. A comfortable bed with white linen, solar-powered lights and a private bathroom with toilet and safari-style shower. At the restaurant-tent a nice campfire, coffee & tea for packing and a view of a ‘kopje’ where the baboons are happily grooming each other.
From this atmospheric camp we are completely pampered by the crew Hamisi, Julius, ‘Doctor’ and Imma. We go on a walking safari in the morning and in the afternoon we choose to go on a safari by car. So we have the best of both worlds!
We get up around 6.30 am with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast. While it is still cool outside, we start the walking safari of about 4 hours an hour later. We have the gigantic area all to ourselves. No news, no 4G, no WiFi (can be found), no computers, no crowds.
A great guide, cheerful ranger and good company.
We have nice conversations, are impressed by the roaring lions, enjoy the sounds of the birds, our beer and gin & tonic. All under the beautiful African (falling) starry sky and by the campfire. We are spoiled with delicious dishes and we all sleep like a log in the open air.

Our walking safaris… We see giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, porcupine spines, turtles and many birds. We listen to the nicest stories from James about the excrement of the hyena, elephants, dik dik, baboon.
Interesting to learn how really everything in nature is used. Nothing is lost. It makes me think about our ‘consumer’ society and inspires me to contribute even more in terms of sustainability at home. Every little bit helps, doesn’t it?
In the afternoon we enjoy a safari by car so that we can cover greater distances. The highlight was seeing a group of 11 lions; 3 mothers and 8 cubs. James estimates they are about 2 years old. And it shows, because they are very playful. We watched them for two hours. No other car passed by. It was so special that we had this all to ourselves.

After 3 wonderful days we leave the Serengeti. Along the way we see other travelers for the first time, which is a bit of a shock ;-) It is wonderful to have lived in your own bubble for a while.

After this we drive past the Ngorongoro Crater to Gibb’s Farm. A lovely lodge in the Ngorongoro Highlands on an old coffee plantation. I came here as a little girl with my sister and parents. It is nice to share my memories of this beautiful place with Serva and Kieke.
At Gibb’s Farm we look at Happy Robert’s fantastic paintings, stroll through the lush garden, watch the sun set over the coffee plantations and enjoy delicious meals with fresh ingredients from our own vegetable garden.
The next morning we take a bike ride across the plantation. So nice to alternate the safari in this way. With all these impressions we have the idea that we have been away from home for a very long time, it has only been 4 days!

And then comes another highlight. Two nights in our Green Camp Manyara. Meanwhile one of my favorite places on a river bed deep in the Lake Manyara National Park. A place I’ve been involved with from the start.
My business partner is also there, and it’s nice to be able to brainstorm for two days and make new plans for 2022.
The first morning I got up early again. With a cup of coffee in hand, you can look out over the waterfall and riverbed while nature calmly takes off. And there we see a lioness standing in the riverbed. Going for a walk to have a drink. She returns to the bushes, which we believe to her cubs because she is still nursing.

In the afternoon we climb the waterfall and enjoy the view with a beer in hand.

And how fantastic it was to have visiting elephants who come to enjoy the water.

My business partner brought a new tent. Always pioneering and trying out cool new things. Together we set up the new tent. This one is slightly larger than our current tents in the hiking camp. And the best part is that all sides can be opened, including the roof… but don’t worry, the tent is still completely closed by netting. How nice is it to be able to look outside in the middle of nature, enjoy the stars. And if it does start to rain, you can pull the tent cloth over it again. We are not 100% satisfied yet and will have some adjustments made. The aim is to offer these new tents to our travelers in the summer of 2022.

During our stay, 3 doctors (from the Netherlands and Ireland) also went on a weekend trip to the Green Camp in Manyara. They work in KCMC hospital in Moshi. It is very interesting to talk to them about the Corona situation in Tanzania. They confirm that there are hardly any cases in Tanzania. Not even a hospitalization at this point.
The country is large with few inhabitants per km2. In addition, the population is young (average 18 years), it is warm and people mainly live outside. Corona is therefore very different from, for example, with us in the Netherlands.

It was so nice to travel around here again for 8 days. When you get here everything is back to normal. Life just goes on.
People are sensible and act safely. What you know is often your safe haven and what you don’t know can sometimes lead to fear. But the people who live in that ‘other’ world also just live their safe lives.

Traveling in Tanzania is safe and pleasant. The only difference is that you now have to take a PCR test to travel to Tanzania. Furthermore, traveling in Tanzania is just as ‘safe’ or ‘dangerous’ as staying at home. It’s just how you do it.

We drive from Lake Manyara back to Kilimanjaro Airport for our KLM flight back to Amsterdam. Back home, my other home, that’s nice again.
The only thing is that the three of us look less forward to the atmosphere in the Netherlands… the divisions, the judgments, the limitations.

But we feel so rich that we have been able to escape from this for 8 days, have been able to recharge.
We will share our stories, and also inspire others to travel and enjoy this most beautiful place on earth.

Traveling is simply possible. Right now. Live!

[Photos Kieke van Maarschalkerwaart]