Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Safari: Oldonyo Sambu, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park


Hello family and friends! This is our final correspondence from Tanzania. As you can imagine, internet access is hard to come by over here-- especially when you’re on a seven day safari! We left last Monday for Oldonyo Sambu, in Maasai land, south of Arusha. Douglas and Habibu, our Dorobo Safari guides, were amazing-- we urge you all to ask your kids for details about their inspirational philosophy of wilderness exploration and conservation at the nexus of protected and settled lands.

Our first day on safari consisted of a hike up Oldonyo Sambu (Oldonyo means “mountain” in Maasai) . When we all made it to the top we were actually above the clouds; we were welcomed by a 360 degree view of the gorgeous Tanzanian savannah. We finished off the day with a bush walk around our campsite, searching the lands for animals! We had a great dance session with the Maasai guides that evening around the fire and learned a lot about Maasai culture and traditions.

The next day we were lead on a 9km walk to our next campsite, outside of a Maasai Boma.
This was a challenging day in the African sun, but everyone arrived in high spirits, proud of having arrived! The following days consisted of exciting game drives through Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Manyara National Park, accompanied by our National Geographic Expert, Anna Estes. We saw elephants, lions, giraffes, wildebeests, baboons, hippos, hyenas … and much more wildlife, all of which the students documented through their photography. Anna and our guide, Douglas, talked with us about land use, animal behavior, and various other environmental issues within the parks. In addition, each student learned about a specific animal and presented it to the group.

We are now back in our village, Maji ya Chai, finishing up work on our On Assignment projects and preparing to present our final work to the UAACC community on our last night, with UAACC Tanzanian students. Everyone is doing well and although we are looking forward to returning home, it is a bittersweet farewell, as we all feel a strong connection with Maji ya Chai and the people we have met and befriended while in Tanzania. Students are looking forward to sharing stories, photographs, and final projects with families and friends!

Enjoy the photos below, all of which were taken by students.

-Megan, Zik, and Nick