African Safari

Trip Start Oct 31, 2006
Trip End May 2007

Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, November 17, 2006

We landed at Kilimanjaro Airport around 8 pm. It was dark and buggy...literally, bugs falling from the ceiling as we were paying for our entry visas. We booked one night at an incredible guest house called the Onsea House: They are in Arusha, which is a 45 minute drive from Kili airport. The owners of Onsea are a Belgian couple named Dirk and Inneke. He is an architect/interior designer and she is a prosecutor, in the appeals section of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, were fantastic. Check out the website to see what a beautiful place they have built...a former law office turned B&B. We had a fun and delicious dinner prepared by Dirk's cousin Axel and stayed up very late talking and drinking good wine with our new friends Axel and his girlfriend Leen. Who knew this would be our last good meal before our 8-day safari adventure through Tanzania's national parks. On the very rainy morning of the 17th, our safari guide Baldwin picked us up from Onsea to begin the safari.   
While we loved the safari, 8 days in the middle of Tanzania was a bit long, especially given our close encounters with enormous and unusually shaped bugs. It was gorgeous and watching the sun rise and set on both the serengeti and the ngorongoro crater was spectacular. However, our food and lodging situation for most of the safari was fair at best...time passed permits this generous assessment. We could have been camping really; the only nice room we had was at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge thanks to Baldwin--he used to work there. We had the honeymoon suite which was gorgeous with amazing views overlooking the Serengeti, but like the rest of the lodges, still had yellow water coming out of the faucets and enormously sized bugs.

While in Africa I also learned quite a bit of swahili...not enough to get me out of a traffic ticket but enough to make me charming at a cocktail party. Uddy said I was a hit with all the wait staff at our lodges in Tanzania since I could make small talk. Who knew learning to say in swahili, "No leopard on the safari today and could you please bring me tea with no milk" could be so endearing. By the way, the leopard unfortunately eluded us during our safari despite Baldwin's best efforts. He had a nice sense of humor and got a huge laugh when I mistakenly referred to the moths, called 'gumi gumi' in swahili, as 'guma guma', which is slang for vagina. 

In the late afternoon of the 24th we happily arrived back to the Onsea House for one more night's stay. Great food and soft sheets once again. It was another fun night recounting our safari tales with Dirk, Inneke, Axel, Leen and several of their friends. Cannot recommend this place enough!
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