We found a few days prior to leaving Istanbul that Americans need a visa to enter India, even for connecting flights. We tried the embassy in Istanbul, but we couldn't wait the required four days for the visa. So the plan was to apply for the visa in Dar es Salaam Tanzania and they would mail it to Zanzibar, where we'd pick it up after our safari. We landed in Dar es Salaam at 2 am and then "slept" until 8am where we hired a car to take us into the city to the Indian consulate. We dropped off our passports in the hopes that they would approve the visas and then send our passports to Stone Town in Zanzibar after our safari. We were more then a little concerned that we had just given away our only way of leaving the country. Our trip hung in the balance and rested on the Indian embassy's ability to quirky approve a visa and return our passports.
Well, we made it back to the airport at about 11am and we were able to hop on an earlier flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. We were picked up by our driver and made it to Moshi. We were pretty exhausted, since we'd been traveling for a full 24 hours, I timed it.
We met our guide, driver and buddy for the next week, Elvis. And we, finally, got to meet Ria. Ria has been such a huge help, not only with arranging everything involved with our safari, but she's helped us change things last minute in order to handle our India visa issues.
There is no way I could give you a play by play of our entire safari. There's just too much to say. We saw every animal you could imagine on a safari and experienced things that we could not have imagined beforehand. We saw elephants up close, and were even charged once. We watched giraffes get spooked by our slowing car, then stop to check us out. The lions were majestic and even more impressive close up. On our second day in the Serengetti we watched a collared lioness kill a thompson gazelle and then retrieve her two young cubs to treat them to a feast.
The safari nights were just as eventful as the days. Our chef, Good Luck, treated us to some lovely meals that we were able to share with the good company of Elvis. We were so fortunate to be able to share our safari with these wonderful men.
We only left our tent in the middle of the night once, and seconds after we got back into our tent we heard close sounds of hyenas and lions. And the noises only became more intense. I woke up one evening to the sounds of a kill, lions grunting and hyenas cackling. Those noises stopped any future nighttime bathroom runs
We were able to partake in a few days of cultural experiences as well. We jumped and shrugged with the Masai, we spent time in the sitting room with Tatoga tribeswomen, and went on a hunt in the wee hours of the morning with the Hadzabe tribesmen. We were able to catch a glimpse of life that hasn't changed since the beginning of communities. The experience has been life changing and I hope our pictures can give you a glimpse into our adventures.