Sara’s Arrival and The Laughing Safari



Arriving in Africa (for the first time!!!)


First moments alone in Africa (for the first time!).   My flight from France arrived six hours before Steph and the Canadian crew were to arrive, so I was on my own. Ack!


Flying in low over Kilimanjaro airport, green-brown scrub land all around, just as you might expect.  Welcomed in light rain with friendly greetings, a bright van to take us just a hundred metres to the low-key little airport.  The look of happy surprise from the driver and the immigration officers when I know how to say “Asante” (thanks Iris!!). Boniface, our safari guide, there waiting for me on the other side of the barrier, who came to get me and take me to our hotel in Arusha when he wasn’t asked to because he knew I would appreciate it. More rain, gentle at first, then monsoon force (didn’t Steph say we wouldn’t be needing umbrellas??).  Air a perfect temperature.  The hour-long drive to Arusha takes us through endless small towns, little shanties by the side of the road and then open countryside filled with coffee plantations and fields ready for planting.


Learning so much from Boniface as we drive: about what plants are growing all around us (flowers in December—whee!), about why he lives in Arusha when his family lives on the other side of the Serengeti.  Discussing the expense of a good education and the wisdom of having small families as the scenery changes, becoming lush and wooded in the rain shadow of Mount Meru.  The sun is suddenly bright, almost blinding for my rain-accustomed eyes.  Arriving in Arusha Town, a spawling city where we are to stay the night.  The corrugated roofs, the tiny shops displaying bright plastic goods, the streets mostly paved but with huge potholes feel familiar. So do the young men lounging all over and the women crouched down in the market selling tomatoes, mysterious fruit and spinach.  We stop in front of our hotel, located in a bright blue building on the other side of a small ditch.  I feel suddenly at home—this is going to be alright.  I have arrived in Africa!



The Laughing Safari

The laughing safari.  What a trip. Driving, driving, driving so that we could take it all in: Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro in three days!  Amazing skies that changed every minute.  Such animals: everything you can imagine.  Troops and troops of elephants in Tarangire, wildbeast stampeding through the forest, a pink haze of flamingoes on the lake.  But even more memorable was the laughter: over a bottle of champagne on New Year’s Eve, when the THIRD dung beatle landed in Lois’s lap, after watching a pair of lions copulating just off the side of the road in Ngorongoro (should we wait another twenty minutes to see them do it again????).  Guided by our eagle-eye driver/animal expert/Swahili teacher Boni, we experienced days we will never forget.  Thanks so much, Steph and Boni, for a magical safari.











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