Mar. 22nd, 2013

tanzanian_tales: (Lion)
Let’s just say I’m really glad I’m short and leave it at that, because I can’t imagine being tall and taking such a long flight in such a small seat. But as with all amazing journeys – and trust me, this trip was the very definition of amazing – all the rigors of travel were forgotten when we landed at last at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. Just the words sound magical, and that’s another very accurate way to describe this trip, as you’ll (eventually) see.

It didn’t take P and me long to make it through Customs and head out to find our bags, where we met the first of our fellow safari-goers, D. She recognized my picture from the blog I'm doing for the African Wildlife Foundation site, wich is a shorter and (very) photo-light version of this one. She introduced herself, and like everyone in the group, she was easy to talk to and a great traveling companion. But then, we were all there for love of Africa and animals, and because we support everything AWF does, which undoubtedly helped.

Baggage collected, we headed for the main hall of the airport (which was much smaller than I ever would have expected), and there were our fearless tour leader and his equally fearless “co-captain,” AWF’s S and A. S was making his 27th (or thereabouts) trip to Africa, while A had been to Africa before but was on her first safari, and they proved to be wonderful company and excellent caretakers. For example, I live on Diet Coke but was perfectly willing to drink the high-octane regular version on safari, but S not only made sure the nyumbas (tent camps) stocked lots (and lots and lots) of Coke, I’m pretty sure that it’s thanks to him that Coke Light started showing up at the bar.

Most of our group had come in on the same flight – one woman, P2, had come in a day early, and a couple, R and D, were delayed by a lost passport – so once everyone was in the bus we were off to Rivertrees, a relaxing lodge set – surprise! – right by a river. We had a quick welcome briefing – and a snack – and then we were guided to our cottages so we could collapse. We only spent two nights total in lodges, but I have to say, they were both wonderful, really spacious and comfortable, and the settings were gorgeous.

I cut because I care - and because there are going to be crazy many photos coming up )

And now I'm going to break this post into two parts, because it's already ridiculously long.

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