Safari in Mikumi National Park

Dar es Salaam Travel Blog

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Having an afternoon tea at Mikumi National Park
We were finally able to go on Safari - leaving at 4am the morning after the wedding and through a storm like I've never seen before. On our way back we saw a lot of roads that were flooded and many trees blown over onto their sides. Considering the roads are full of ditches to begin with, this caused a lot of traffic and congestion in Dar Es Salaam.

We stopped for a morning tea and then went off to explore the few dirt paths that were not flooded shut. We saw a lot of animals very close up and I have enough pictures between all of us to make a nice calendar for everyone! The most amazing sights were watching the lionesses stalk around each other.
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Giraffe
The are so muscular and sinewy that they scream power and agility. We saw giraffes running on the road and elephants crossing the highway in front of us, it was fantastic! Elephants are really shy, though, and when they see people looking at them, they turn their backs. But we saw so many families/herds of 8-10 elephants and always with a small baby. It is quite different from seeing 2-3 large/old elephants locked away in a zoo. The baboons liked to hang out by the side of the entrance road hoping to get fed.

I was almost eaten by a crocodile because I was crazy and wanted to get a picture of him. He jumped up 3 feet into the air when I got too close and leaped into the hippo pond with a big splash. All of us including the tour guide  ran for our damn lives when he leaped and I thought "What the hell was I thinking getting so close?!" In hindsight since we safely got away, it was exciting and we were giddy with laughter from the adrenaline afterwards.
Zebras and Impalas


In hindsight, this was a fairly expensive trip as we traveled almost 4 hours to get from Dar Es Salaam to Mikumi. This park does not furnish jeeps, so whatever you drive up in is what you will be stuck in for the duration of the ride. Some families had open air jeeps, while others had vans with an open second story. We were in a nice SUV, but there were so many people jammed in that 1) not all of us were able to sit by a window and 2) there was only the sunroof access to the outside, and that could only fit one person at a time. I made the additional mistake of insisting that the tour guide sit in the passenger's seat - the best seat for taking pictures. Instead we should have stuck her behind the driver so that someone could have had superb-picture-taking possibilities.
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Elephants shunning the photographers.
My bad.

It was during this travel that I learned a lot about Wafaa. I started asking Wafaa questions about the U.N. and what she did and what it was like, as I was really curious to see if I could locate the exact moment that the U.N. transformed the well-intended young adults into these super cool and kind and charismatic and idealistic and amazingly interesting type people.

I didn't realize it at the time, but what my mind was doing was imagining myself working in the U.N. I couldn't help it, the lot of young adults that I met at the wedding that all worked for the U.N. ended up enchanting me with their lives and stories. I have never been so honestly interested in so many people at the same time. Usually in a group, if I'm lucky, one person will be interesting enough to hold my attention and stay in my memory for more than a week.
Mikumi Wildlife Park
But I know that I will remember every single individual I met on this trip for the rest of my life. Everyone (both U.N. and non-U.N. people) was just so unique and memorable.

I heard amazing stories about the fun to be had just from forming friendships, going on shopping excursions after being cooped up in their campus for 6 weeks at a time, and more frightening things like co-workers being pulled out of vans and being kidnapped. The stories were so varied but had this intense, bond-forming outcome that threaded together all the difficult and pleasant situations. I was rather awestruck listening to it all, but at the end of it, I realized I wanted to do it too! And I realize that sounds childish and immature, but it's hard to explain the feeling that it was destined to happen during our conversation.
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Monkeys!


To this day, whenever I hear the song "Makeda" by Les Nubians, I think of Wafaa. She is the first Nubian I have ever met =) I will always think of her like an older sister.

And it's funny. I remember the night that I met Stefano, he flippantly asked me "So have you fallen in love with Africa yet?" And having only been there for 2 days and still in the midst of sorting out the various degrees of my discomfort and itchiness, I silently chuckled in my head "what is there to fall in love with?" He saw the hesitation on my face and said "You have not seen enough of it to know.." But surely enough, those damn fateful words. Within 3 days, I had fallen under the spell of Africa. Damn him to hell for saying that to me.

kristinasub says:
"Have you fallen in love with Africa?" ...oh, i understand his question, 'cause really, you can't not been fallen in love in Africa when you step there and smell her soul :o) And i completely your wish (however can sound childish to someone...who care for them when they doesn't understand :o) to stay there and try all what you heared from stories, doesn't matter whatever it can be and what happen ( i don't dare to write more, 'cause my mind "turn on" when i think of Africa)
Posted on: Mar 07, 2008
jenn79 says:
No bitter - boo on bitter! My trip was sooo special and precious to me and I'm sure you came back from your trip very happy and satisfied! =)
Posted on: Apr 09, 2007
Amanda says:
You did the safari the same day as I made it to Rome... you'd think that would be good enough for me but NO...I'm bitter... I want YOUR trip! ha ha... it all looks SO AMAZING!!! these pics are fantastic!!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2007
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Having an afternoon tea at Mikumi …
Having an afternoon tea at Mikumi…
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Giraffe
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Giraffe
Zebras and Impalas
Zebras and Impalas
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Elephants s…
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Elephants …
Mikumi Wildlife Park
Mikumi Wildlife Park
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Monkeys!
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Monkeys!
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Wildebeasts
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Wildebeasts
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Crocodile t…
Mikumi Wildlife Park - Crocodile …
Lodges at Mikumi National Park
Lodges at Mikumi National Park
A rare Hippo sighting.
A rare Hippo sighting.
Impala with its striped butt.
Impala with its striped butt.
Literally wallowing around in the …
Literally wallowing around in the…
Gorgeous vista
Gorgeous vista
Just to give you an idea of how cl…
Just to give you an idea of how c…
Lion!
Lion!
Zebra!
Zebra!
Tired from waking up at 4am!
Tired from waking up at 4am!
Croc!
Croc!
So many Zebras!
So many Zebras!
At the entrance to Mikumi National…
At the entrance to Mikumi Nationa…