Tom and Joan's Trip to Tanzania - 2006

From September 21 through October 3 of 2006, Joan and Tom, along with Joan's sister Kathy went on a trip to Tanzania in East Africa.  We used Thomsons Safaris as our tour company and they specialize in just Tanzania.  It was a fantastic tour and we were able to see many animals in their natural habitat. 

We started by flying into Arusha, in the north.  It is the third largest city in Tanzania and a main entry point for safari tours.  Here's a breakdown of the itinerary:

Moivaro coffee plantation in Arusha   
Gibbs Farm cultural visit   
Ngorongoro Caldera 

Maasai village
Ouldavai Gorge
Serengeti Park including a dawn balloon ride
Ruaha Park

Selous Park

The prize is watching wildlife in their natural surroundings and the lions were the prize.  Here are some great shots.  On the left is a shot of lions mating.  On the right is a lioness guarding a giraffe kill to keep the vultures and jackals away.  We were able to drive right up to them and they were neither threatened by us, nor were we threatened by them.  It made for great close-ups.


Leopards are great to watch , but they're always seen up in trees.  This one is no exception.  Giraffes are so regal looking.


The most difficult animal to spot in the Serengetti is the cheetah.  Here is a shot I took from my video of the only cheetah we saw.  As it happened, I had the only shot of the cheetah, since the other folks in the Land Rover couldn't get their cameras up in time to shoot it before it sat back down in the tall grass and became invisible.

We saw a great many elephants and they all seemed so clean and healthy looking.  The first is an adult and the second is a frisky juvenile.  The third is a small herd.


We were able to visit a Maasai  village, where they showed us some of their cultural heritage.  We also took a few intra-country flights, and here we flew over an active  volcano, called Ol Doinyo Lengai, which had erupted just a few weeks previously.


We had a balloon ride over the Serengeti at dawn and here is a shot of it on the left.   On the right is an open side Land Rover used in Ruaha and Selous.  We were actually able to drive right up to the animals with these vehicles, including lions, and park just a few feet away.  As long as you're in the vehicle, they just see a big green object.  If you step out, you're lion meat!


Our accommodations were luxurious.  Here is an example of our Thomson Classic tent in the Serengeti and our covered luxury tent in the Selous.