Whether you’re knowledgeable about African wildlife or not, chances are you’ve heard about the mighty Serengeti.
*Cue The Lion King theme song: “Nants ingonyama bagithi…”* Ahem, sorry.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world’s animal kingdom, and the largest national park in Tanzania. It’s home to thousands of animal and bird species, and is probably most well known for the big annual Wildebeest migration, where up to 1,5 million Gnus (their less popular name) trek across the savannah. The Serengeti plains are nestled within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the heart of Tanzania, a gem on its own, and the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic crater (#funfact it was also the location chosen for Swifty’s “Wildest Dreams” music video). Serengeti, meaning ‘endless plains’ in Masai (the language spoken by the Masai tribe in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania) offers 15 000 square kilometers of savannah, and was showing off for us like it had never shown off before. Let me tell you why…
We spent a magical 24 hours driving over bumpy muddy terrain in a beast of a Jeep, spotting 29 Lions (yes, 29), some Cheetah, Leopard, Hyena, Elephant, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Dik Dik, Gazelle, Warthog, Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Lilac-breasted Rollers (one of the most magical birds you can see), Marshal Eagles and a few Vultures. Did we mention we were only in there for 24 hours?! Let’s just say that if you’ve ever dreamed of being on set on The Lion King (or any killer National Geographic African special) this would be the place. There is so much game here that we felt like something was wrong if we went 10 minutes without seeing a wild animal at all.
But it didn’t end there. Our safari continued as we drove to the 2400m-above-sea-level rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, viewing a breathtaking vantage point spanning 8300 square kilometers. This place is insane and we don’t think you could ever really comprehend the scale of this old volcanic crater. Even when we zoomed in with our binoculars to see the tiny, tiny speckles on the lush landscape, we couldn’t grasp how small the massive grazing Buffalo were from so far away. So, naturally, we had to go check them out, after spending a night camping amongst ‘organic land mines’ which we coined affectionately for the large Buffalo poo puddles around our camp. Our morning game drive proved to be another success, as four members of the Big Five, and massive herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, and flocks of Flamingoes, Crowned Cranes and Kori Bustards came out to say ‘hi’.
Man, what a life-changing experience being so close to all the wildlife in their own garden of Eden. We would recommend it to any animal- and adventure-lover, of any age and nationality. Just remember that Africa is wild and falling asleep to the roar of Lions and cheeky Hyena chuckles are the norm, so if you're game, then this shouldn't be missed!
How Far From Home is made up of Chanel & Stevo – two creatives who quit the good life to travel the world (and live the great life instead). Their aim was to get as far from home as possible while inspiring others to do the same. Check out their blog here.