The longest flight. Like ever.
Today we flew from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam (8 hours). We had a 4 hour layover in Amsterdam and then it was onward to Kenya another 10 hours. Oh also - I forgot that we had to drive a couple hours when we landed. Yay. Welcome to Africa. When we landed, we quickly fell in love with our guide who taught us that Hakuna Matata means “no worries” in Swahili and we shouldn’t stress after the long flight.
Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
After arriving in the middle of the night in Kenya, and trying to sleep through the night, we woke up to the nicest people and yummy food. We then met our safari driver, and walked outside to see our awesome Safari vehicle. I have always dreamed of riding in one of these vehicles, so it really was a dream come true. After exchanging some money into Kenya shillings (I felt like a rich girl with so much cash), we were off to explore the city. Surprisingly, the city was just like any other, full of skyscrapers and lots of people and cars--except one thing was dramatically different and that was the Marabou Storks. I felt like we were on the border of Jurassic Park park with these things flying at record speeds towards us. Imagine seeing a mini dinosaur hanging out in the tops of the trees - and that is what they look like. Then we took a long drive out to Amboseli. Amboseli is known for all the wildlife and the variety of plants and animals. All along the way we saw the people of Africa--from balancing water on their heads to the beautiful school uniforms of the students. In addition it was amazing to be driving down the freeway and yell “GIRAFFE!” or “ZEBRA!” because they were all around the side of the freeway. We told stories of adventures past and laughed our way until camp.
Day 2: Amboseli, Rift Valley, Kenya - Kibo Safari Camp
We arrived at Kibo Safari Camp in the middle of the Amboseli National Park. CAN YOU SAY GLAMPING!? We stayed in the coolest tents in the middle of nowhere. The tents were actually so nice and even had toilets inside! We were told to be sure to zip your tent because animals or even worse SNAKES might get in… haha. You know that I was constantly checking to see if that thing was shut. Anyways, we headed out for our first morning on Safari. After waiting for 1 hour to get our paperwork done (everything takes a lot of time in Africa), we finally entered safari area. As I looked to my left I saw Mt. Kilimanjaro towering over us in all of its majestic beauty. I almost cried to be honest. And then it started. Zebras, Gazelles, Wildebeests, lions and Elephants were literally EVERYWHERE! They were all hanging out like they were homies. It was majestic. They were all feeding in the sunrise light. Also side note at this time of year Africa is NOT hot. It fact, it’s extremely cold, especially in the mornings! So we were all bundled up trying not to freeze and enjoy the animals. The safari cars are really cool, because you just push up the top of the vehicle and then you can see outside of it just like a raised up jeep. We went exploring for the next 4 hours, looking for all types of animals. We saw a lot of lions including some that were hunting a pack of wildebeest. Honestly it was terrifying. But we had a great time. At night, we surrounded the campfire and watched the Masai tribe dance around the fire. It was honestly a beautiful sight.
Day 3: Masai Village, Amboseli
Today we visited one of the many Masai villages in the Amboseli. They were all dressed in what they usually wear (bright beautiful colors and a lot of jewelry). They welcomed us with a traditional welcome dance. It was full of chanting, jumping and beautiful dancing. We even got to go up and dance with them. We then followed the prince of the village around the village and he showed us the walls that they make out of thorn bushes to keep out the animals. He showed us their houses made out of elephant poop, and how they make fire. They were the happiest and coolest people I’ve ever met! After taking a million photographs and hanging out with the people, we left. That night we went out to see Kilimanjaro at sunset and watch more zebras gallop into the sunset.
Day 4: Arusha, Tanzania
We drove to the beautiful city of Arusha after we walked across the border of Kenya into Tanzania. This literally took forever. We had to unpack the cars, check all of our luggage over, exit Kenya and re-enter Tanzania. It was quite the process. Let’s just say by the time we got to the hotel we were absolutely drained. We relaxed by the pool and explored the villages. We took a million photos and did a series of yoga to relax after a long drive and day. Nothing feels better than a delicious meal after a long day, so we decided to eat at Khan’s a famous restaurant in Arusha. It was literally the best thing I have ever eaten. Naan with butter and delicious rice it was soooo yummy after a long hard day of taken photos and travelling! We saw the most beautiful sunset of all time - all splashes of orange and yellow.
Day 5: Serengeti, Tanzania, Safari
After driving another 6 hours on dirt roads we made it to the middle of the Serengeti! And when I say the middle of the Serengeti, I’m not joking. Our tents (like actual tents) were literally on top of grass where lions like to hide out! Honestly, I was scared out of my wits to even get out of the car. But I bravely got out. We had an amazing dinner (celery soup) and then were told our tent was surrounded by hyenas. We walked outside and saw hyenas just feet away. I almost started to cry, but I survived. Early the next morning we went out on safari and we had no idea what we were in for. We saw a total of 20 lions, a leopard with its cub and 3 cheetahs! What a lucky day. Some people come to Africa and don’t see a leopard or cheetah, so we go so lucky. And it was so epic to see these animals in the wild. We literally drove for 8 hours looking for animals and it paid off. We saw all the big cats, hippos, giraffes and even the rare male lion! What an amazing day! We spent the rest of the time shooting photos in the tent and around the campfire in the beautiful Serengeti. Since it got dark around 6 p.m., we had to shake our lanterns if we ever wanted to go anywhere outside our tent and wait for a guide to come retrieve us. What a life! Oh and did I mention the showers? You have to order a shower and they come to your tent at your appointment time and pour a bucket over you. And it is NOT WARM! Freezing, actually. But hey… all part of the experience, right? We also went down to the largest crater in the world.
Sadly, after seeing so much wildlife and making a ton of great memories, we started the 36 hours of travel this time back home - needless to say we were exhausted by the end. Jet-lagged but happy we made it back. :)