I love being outside. Breathing fresh air, hiking, relaxing at a lake, and just exploring new places in nature. Sometimes all we have to do is reconnecting with nature to find our inner calm and joy. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in one of Tanzania’s stunning nature reserves. Let me paint you a picture.
An animal kingdom
Four years ago I got the chance to spend six months in Tanzania during my studies. I was in the middle of my first degree, stressed from my exams and final papers just a week before I was leaving to my East African adventure. I went there for my internship but what I learned in Tanzania about myself and life is nothing I could ever learn in an office.
I lived with the most amazing family in Moshi, a small town in the North of the country, with the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro as my daily window view. This mountain will forever be my favorite view, that’s for sure. The first weeks very definitely an adjustment. German and Tanzanian culture are quite different and it took me a while to get used to it. I definitely learned to be a little more relaxed and take things one at a time (not an easy task for someone who tries to do everything at once sometimes and pushes herself to her limits).
While living there, I got the chance to go on safari twice and visit 6 national parks. (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, Mount Kilimnajaro National Park). If you have never been on a safari, put it on top of your list. It will change you and the way you look at life and our role on this planet.
Endless plains. A leopard relaxing in a baobab tree or monkeys jumping from one branch to another. A giraffe eating some leaves while an elephant is drinking from a pond, lions on the lookout for their next meal and targeting a gazelle. These are just some sights and sounds that surround you each day on the safari. No phone service, no distracting noises and influences. It’s just you, the animals, and nature.
On a typical day, you wake up at 4 in the morning in a tent on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater. While going to the showers you pass through a herd of zebras. You then get in a Jeep and drive for an hour to find the perfect spot for a sunrise surrounded by nature and wildlife. At night in the Serengeti you see the most beautiful sunset while some animals around you go to sleep and some others only now become active. This is when you know you are truly alive.
I got to see the Big Five (lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, rhino) in all their majestic glory. I also spent time with the Maasai in the midst of the Ngorongoro Coservation area learning about their culture and traditions. But my favorite part might have been seeing so many baby animals playing.
Seeing all the animals in their natural habitat and seeing what Mother Nature has to offer if we humans let her be, is absolutely incredible. You realize that you are just a small part of this planet and that there is so much more out there. Looking across the Serengeti gives you a sense of freedom that you can’t get in the confinements of our every day life. Getting to witness the true “Circle of Life” (yes, big Lion King fan here) gives you an understanding of the natural mechanisms that define and shape our environment. It makes you realize how we as a human species are seemingly working against these natural mechanisms through so many of our actions.
The opportunity to witness all these majestic wild animals in their natural habitat and from such a close proximity, is something I will forever cherish. No doubt, it was definitely one of the best experiences of my entire life.
My time in Tanzania’s stunning national parks has brought me so much closer to nature and our amazing wildlife. My appreciation of the planet we call home has risen immensely. Everyday I got up early to experience stunning sunrises and then we left the tents or camps for game drives. You will see spectacular events every single day. You might get the chance to witness the “Great Migration.” Or you will see a bunch of lionesses surround their prey in order to provide for their little cubs. Or watch some elephants playing in water. Watching the sun rise and set over the African savannah makes you appreciate everything life has to offer and all the beauty that surrounds us.
Before I went to Tanzania, I took many things for granted. I also did not appreciate my environment as much as I should have. While I saw so much amazing nature and wildlife in Tanzania, I also encountered the less enjoyable sides. I worked with one organization that helps local communities who live in poverty, with HIV, are orphans etc. Working there, spending time with the local people and learning about their lives gives you a completely different outlook on your life and what is important to you or rather, what should be important to you. I reevaluated the things I worry about and the things I care about. Then, going on Safari and seeing the beauty our earth has to offer further made me shift my values and changed me as a person.
I for one left my heart in Tanzania. And if you get the chance to witness this amazing place, so will you.
See more pictures from my Safari adventures on my Instagram: @beccy_liz_photography.
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