We spent about a week in Tanzania, crossing the border from Kenya by car, and were welcomed into this country by its lush green land and friendly locals. During our time here, we visited the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha city, and Zanzibar. The animals, the beaches, and the landscapes were all incredible, but the piece of this trip that made the deepest impression on me was the people. I had the privilege of meeting so many beautiful individuals in East Africa, whether young, old, or of my age. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to see life through their eyes, and come home with a restored clarity on my own.
Please enjoy the stories and recommendations to follow. Our trip was arranged by East Africa Adventures.
Lamadi is a town located on the shore of Lake Victoria, not far from the western gates of the Serengeti. Before visiting the Serengeti we spent an afternoon visiting the village and were taken around by Susie (pictured above), a local to the village. Polygamy is still practiced in smaller towns and villages across Eastern Africa, and the people of this particular village still embrace this lifestyle. Unfortunately this has left the men with most of the power and money, and the women with little rights and finances to bear all responsibility for their children.
Upon our arrival to Lamadi, we were overwhelmed with love from the children who live here. They followed us around the entire afternoon, acting as shadows just behind us smiling, giggling, and watching our every move. It was impossible not to fall in love with these adorable faces. Susie has grown up watching the women and children in her village suffer and fall victim to the control of their husbands/ fathers. As a single 30 year old woman, she took it upon herself to start a school in her village to provide free education and food to the children, with the help of outside donations and out-of-country volunteers. Her care falls beyond just the children, as she actively seeks to empower the women here by teaching them skills that can one day lead to financial self-sufficiency so that they may no longer fall prisoner to their husbands. It was incredible to watch a woman of my age work so tirelessly to break the cycle of gender inequality in her community. Susie has grown up in a village that has given her little empowerment, but her fight has already imparted change on the future generation of Lamadi. Watching Susie's strength has convinced me that no matter what our communities, nations, or world believes of us, anyone has the ability to make a difference in this world, whether small or large.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is located in Northern Tanzania, and is famous for its annual migration of Wildebeests and Zebras. Most people travel to East Africa to catch the river crossing portion of the migration, however these animals are migrating year-round, seeking new pastures for grazing. Though we did not travel to the Serengeti during the time of the river crossing, we still saw hundreds of thousands of Wildebeests and Zebras throughout Tanzania.
As mentioned in my Kenya post, our Maassai village visit in Tanzania was a very authentic experience. We were able to visit a Maasai school where the Maasai children were getting a lesson in Swahili. They greeted us with with a welcoming song, and we paid a visit to their village and homes.
Ngorngoro Crater is a breathtaking volcanic crater located west of the major city, Arusha. It is the world's largest caldera, and the area spans vast plains, savanna, and forests. The wildlife here is diverse and includes the globally threatened Black Rhino. We were lucky to get a glimpse of the Black Rhino from a far, and were also able to catch many more lions, zebras, and wildebeest. Watching the animals against this very green and vast backdrop was a beautiful experience.
Zanzibar is an island off the coast of mainland Tanzania, located in the Indian Ocean. It is known for its white sanded beaches and crystal blue waters, as well as its main city, Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We spent a short few days here relaxing by the beach at our resort, and an afternoon exploring Stone Town's food, historic trade center, and Swahili and Islamic influences.