Hakuna Matata

by Jane Moneypenny

Last year while Greek island hopping, I swore the crystal clear waters and mountains and beaches were probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen or would see. The rich blues of Greece were the epitome of beauty, peace and happiness.

Then I went to Africa and was introduced to an entire new view of breathtaking. Instead of the bright blues and colors of Europe, Tanzania was all earth – browns, greens, dust. And all I could think was “wow.” Hanging out the rooftop of the Land Rover and looking out to the endless plains of the Serengeti was something I never thought was possible. Pictures can never fully capture the true scenery.

What was even more exciting was the wildlife! On paper, a safari sounded fun, but nothing to write home about. After all, how different could it be from Disney World’s Magic Kingdom? I hadn’t given it much thought due to all concentration on Kilimanjaro, but it ended up as a huge highlight. Camping in the middle of the Serengeti with animals roaming by our tents was nothing short of surreal.

One camp, in the middle of the night while going to the bathrooms, C discovered two lioness in the men’s bathroom. I was on the other side of the short wall, about to go (and I really needed to go) when I hear a growl, a bam and open the door to see him bolting out of the bathroom, yelling “lions in the bathroom!”

At another campsite, there were giant beautiful elephants hanging out, drinking water and wandering around as if it was a daily occurrence. What I would give to see  it sit on a car!

One of my favorite moments was watching a leopard eat a gazelle in a tree. While I usually get bored and change channels during these shows on TV (unless it’s Planet Earth), I was riveted to watch this beautiful creature go after his prey. Circle of life, indeed.

And then there was the herd of 40 elephants crossing our path. Just incredible!

So I have to admit, wildlife in its real setting was something I can’t really capture in words. It seems like a dream to gaze across endless plains and animals with no wires or gates. Just nature at its best. Too bad we missed the Serengeti migration by a month!

Thoughts and more pics on Kilimanjaro soon.