Saturday, July 03, 2010
The Safari Experience
An African safari is an adventure of a lifetime. The starting point of ours was the small town of Arusha. We started daily by 8am and usually returned between 3pm and 4pm. The safari vehicles were customized and specially outfitted stretched Toyota Landcruisers that seated seven adults. The hard tops can be pushed open upwards creating enough space for one to stand upright in the jeep. Our driver cum guide during the entire safari was Paul - an experienced, knowledgeable and highly enthusiastic fellow who added to our overall experience.
Once inside the national park, we would open the hard top and get ready with our camera and binoculars. The jeeps drive on trails, which are rough dirt and mud roads through the plains. It can get dusty when you have other vehicles directly ahead of you. There are a few designated spots in the parks where the vehicles will stop and we could get down to take a closer look and shoot pictures. Lunch on a safari is usually a box lunch and we stopped at various picnic stops along the way for a lunch break during the safari. The weather in June was not bad as it was approaching winter in Africa but it did get fairly hot in the afternoons.
An animal crossing is always an exciting event during a safari. This happens when an animal or a group of animals cross the trail in front of or behind your vehicle. During our safari, we had zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, elephants, antelopes, baboons and cheetahs cross the trail in front of and behind us.
We also went up in a hot air balloon in the Serengeti during our safari. This is usually an early morning affair and you must take off just after sunrise. Viewing wildlife and the landscape from a hot air balloon is an exhilarating experience and offers a completely different perspective.