Karibuni! While there are only 38 days left in our program, the past few days on expedition have provided some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve experienced since arriving in Tanzania. We camped out in Serengeti National Park’s Nguchiro (Mongoose) camp and visited Ngorongoro Crater and Oldupie Gorge. Surprisingly, the wildlife wasn’t even the best part. As an animal behavior major, I expected to fangirl over leopards, cheetahs, and (weirdly my favorite) wildebeest, but I did not expect the landscape to become my favorite part of our expedition to some of Tanzania’s most famous protected areas.
Though a dreary and rainy morning shrouded our departure, once we arrived at the crater, I found its expansive size and green plains, evergreen blue mountains, purple-brown road, and smoky-grey clouds absolutely breathtaking. I loved standing up in the land rovers and feeling the rain against my face as I gazed at the far-reaching plains stretching out to tuck themselves under the rolling crater walls. Yes, we did spend an hour hanging out RIGHT next to a male and female lion that had just finished feasting on a wildebeest, and we spotted rhinos grazing contentedly in the distance… but the best part of my day was just seeing the crater itself and spending the morning within its protective walls.
When we arrived in the Serengeti, the setting sun created a Bob Ross-worthy painting of colors: blues of all shades, orange, and yellow splashed across the sky, tinting the road pink and the grass golden-green. During those moments watching the sunset with the wind blowing against my dusty face, I felt at peace, soaking in the undisturbed landscapes. Though I did not get to see cheetahs (my favorite African mammal), the landscapes of Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater reminded me to value and appreciate not just Tanzania’s wildlife, but its people, landscape, and what majesty nature can create when we leave it to prosper and protect it from harm.