I left Tanzania’s islands with a bit of a heavy heart. I’m not sure there is ever such a thing as enough time on a gorgeous beach, especially if it is on Mafia Island. I really fell in love with the place, it’s people and the whale sharks.

The flight to Arusha was in a small unstable plane and wasn’t the most comfortable. Especially as the guy behind me had a serious case of travel sickness – bad seat choice on my part. When I got out of the airport though and spotted our guide, Manase, and the awesome jeep waiting to take us to the hotel, my spirits instantly lifted. My Tanzania safari suddenly felt real.

Our camping safari was 4 days long. 1 day in Tarangire, 2 in the Serengeti and 1 in Ngorongoro Crater. We booked our tour with Misele Africa Safris and had a private jeep for just us, along with a guide and cook.

#1 The first time you set off on safari

By 9.30am, on the first morning of our Tanzania safari, we were at the gates of Tarangire park ready to go. The roof of the jeep was raised, binoculars put in hand and off we went. We were both like children, excitedly pointing out the animals that we passed. There were so many. Within half an hour we had seen zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, gazelle and warthog.

It’s a great moment seeing them in nature for the first time, realising that these animals exist on the same planet as you.

Gil in the jeep on our Tanzania safari

Zebra

Giraffe

#2 Tarangire landscape and the baobab trees

We had spent a lot of time debating between visiting Lake Manyana or Tarangire on the first day. We definitely made the right decision. Tarangire has lush green landscapes and huge baobab trees,which I just love.

Tarangire View

#3 Home of the elephants

Tarangire is also famous for its elephant and it was clear to see why. After lunch dozens of herds headed to the river to drink.

Tarangire Elephants

Baby Elephant

Elephant Front

#4 Getting goosebumps entering the Serengeti

The Serengeti terrain was completely different. Vast, flat and desolate. As we entered the park we stopped, spotting a huge herd of elephants heading towards us. We had seen so many the day before but watching them move quickly, in tight formation, straight towards us. It gave me goosebumps. 

They crossed 2 metres from our jeep, some of the older ones pausing to eye us up, before heading back on their way.

It was my favourite moment of the trip.

Elephant Herd

Elephant Herd Near

Elephant Passing

Elephant Leaving

#5 A lucky leopard spot

Manase spotted a leopard in the distance. It sat in the tree, looking full, with a half eaten Zebra at the truck. Surrounding the dead zebra was a herd of its friends, all just stood staring at it! Apparently not the brightest animals.

Leopards are really hard to spot as they are nocturnal and spend their days camouflaged in trees. We were lucky to see 2 on the trip.

Leopard View

Leopard watching Zebra

#6 The cutest creature in the entire world

We saw a massive pride of lions with 14 cubs. Then shortly after, as we were driving around, a hidden lioness pounced from the undergrowth and unsuccessfully chased down wildebeest right by us. But….nothing beat spotting this little cub in the tree.

Lion Cub in Tree Close Up

Lion Family

Lion Cub in Tree Falling

#7 A lion selfie

As we sat watching the cub, a lion and lioness appeared on the horizon walking towards the tree. The lion spotted us and lazily came trotting over before collapsing in the shade of the jeep.

Lion selfie

#8 Nothing beats an African sunrise

On the second day in the Serengeti we left the campsite at 5.45am and, shortly after, were treated to a spectacular African sunrise.

Africa Sunrise

#9 The wildebeest migration

It’s quite a site seeing so many of them on mass as far as the eye can see.

Wildebeest Running

Wildebeest Jumping

#10 lazy hippos

Hippos are my favourite animal. I like that they are so underestimated. They might look lazy but these things can run 30 mph. Although they are vegetarian, they are extremely territorial and kill more people in Africa than any other animal (assuming the mosquito doesn’t count!).

Hippo

#11 Possibly the worlds coolest campsite

On our third night, we drove to the rim of Ngorongoro crater and our campsite, Simba.

As I was having a shower in the bathroom block at the campsite, I heard the undeniable sound of an elephant, close. When I came outside, I saw a heard of elephants about 10 metres away just crossing next to the camp site.

Camping at Simba Campsite

#12 Desperately needing a wee in the night

Elephants weren’t the only thing that payed us a visit at Simba campsite. In the night I felt a nudge from Gil. I woke up sleepily and saw his wide eyed face staring back. Then I heard it. The grunt of a huge animal right by our tent. Buffalo. Grazing noisily on the grass.

You might not think buffalo are that scary but these beasts are vicious. Pure solid muscle that, after the hippo, they are the deadliest animal.

It moved right by us, it’s giant horns silhouetted against our tent from the light left on in the kitchen area. It reminded me of a scene in Jurassic Park. My heart was pounding. I kept imagining it getting spooked and charging across our tent.

They didn’t leave all night which was a pain as I was bursting for a pee but didn’t dare leave the tent.

Buffalo with Battle Scars

#13 One of the best views on the planet

I was tired from my restless night but the sunrise appearing over the spectacular Ngorongoro crater soon woke me up. The crater is a huge bowl rich with vegetation and wildlife. I think it is one of the best views I have ever seen.

Ngorongoro Crater View

Nogrongoro Sunrise

#14 Close encounters with so many animals

It’s easy to ignore the fact that, besides from the big hunters, there are loads of fascinating animals that call this place home. I loved that in the Ngorongoro, they got so close to the jeeps.

Hyenas are so strange. They have the strongest jaw in the animal kingdom and the girls have a pseudo penis….

Hyena Sleeping

Warthog Feeding

Thomson Gazelle

Buffalo Herd

#15 Seeing the endangered Black Rhino

Best of all, we saw 2 black rhino (to far away for a good picture). Knowing how endangered these wonderful animals are, it was a treat seeing them in the flesh. I just don’t understand how anyone can hunt them.

It was the perfect sending off for what had been an amazing 4 days on safari. I wish I could go back and do it all again…

Lioness

Lion Stretch

Driving in Jeep

I can fully recommend Misele Safaris who were brilliant.