Few destinations can evoke such a striking and vivid experience as Tanzania. The biggest country of East Africa has everything and more than one can dream of. From the dry endless plains of the African Savanna full of wildlife, to lush green tropical rain forests with colorful birds, paradise islands with powder white beaches and lively coral reefs. Then there is the beauty of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa, an amazing sight worthy to behold.
Our visit from Kuwait to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania was made all the more pleasurable by the comfort and excellence of Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and most-awarded African carrier, that serves hundreds of destinations in Africa and the world with amazing service standards that went far beyond our expectations.
As the soul of Africa, Tanzania offered us an amazing glimpse of the continent with a warm hospitality that was a feature of our entire trip. The visit was captivating, and the magical experience will never be forgotten.
The fascination of the vast continent whose oldest roads are elephant paths is simply indescribable to someone who has never visited Africa. Wildlife is arguably the main reason people travel to countries in the world’s most exciting continent, and Tanzania is second to none is terms of diversity, volume and sheer ease with which you can view these animals. Couple this with truly spectacular backdrops — desert, mountain, rivers and forest scenery — and the experience is beyond most people’s imagination.
Encounters with wildlife can be so thrilling that some memories will never fade. Coming face to face with a lion who stares back at you can be intimidating, as it can be regale. Seeing wildlife in its most natural habitat, preserved and protected, can be awe inspiring and a return to nature that so many of us have never been fortunate to experience.
Tanzania has established ‘tourist circuits’ largely due the size of the country, which encompasses a variety of distances, travel costs and time. The four circuits include the Northern Safari Circuit, the Southern Safari Circuit, the Great Lakes Circuit and the Coastal Circuit.
We had the opportunity to do the Northern Safari Circuit as it is the most celebrated Safari area in Africa. Home to the world-famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, the sheer concentration of Africa’s big game in this area is phenomenal. It includes some of the most famous and remarkable sights in the world, such as the annual wildebeest migration and the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater. The crater area is a cultural and natural heritage site.
Ngorongoro is a huge caldera (collapsed volcano) 250 square kilometres in size and 600 meters deep. The crater alone has over 20,000 large animals including Tanzania’s last remaining Black Rhino. The crater, which boasts of the finest blend of landscapes, wildlife, archaeological sites and the Maasai people, is often called the African Eden and the eight wonder of the natural world.
No fences or boundaries border the crater walls, animals are free to entre or leave the crater, but many of them stay for the plentiful water and grazing available on the crater floor throughout the year. Open grassland covers most of the crater floor, turning yellow with wild flowers in June.
Game viewing around Lake Makat is especially rewarding — large antelopes, zebras and gazelles come to drink, while herds of hippos sunbathe in thick lakeshore mud. The small forest patches on the crater floor are home to leopards, monkeys, baboons and antelopes such as waterbuck and bushbuck. The most numerous and recent inhabitants of the Ngorongoro area are the Maasai, who arrived 200 years ago.
Moving on from the spectacular Ngorongoro to the incredible Serengeti National Park is a trip filled with memories and adventure. Our overnight stay in Serengeti in the night camp brought us as close to nature as we could possible be. Luxury camps are spread over the basin so that an early morning rise and visit to the Serengeti becomes a true nature experience.
The moment we set our eyes on the vast unlimited plains of the Serengeti, it seared our eyes forever. The Park is one of the most well-known of all wildlife areas and attracts thousands of visitors each year for the annual wildebeest migration, which is a must-see for its sheer beauty. The great wildebeest migration comprises the largest movement of land animals on the planet.
It was a privilege beyond our imagination to witness a small part of the greatest show on earth as we got a glimpse of the migration where more than one million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles gather on the vast plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti and travel north towards Kenya’s Masai Mara and back again in an annual clockwise circle. It was truly a phenomenon to witness.
With over 25 percent of the country’s total landmass dedicated to wildlife parks and conservation areas, Tanzania remains wholeheartedly committed to the preservation of Africa’s great wilderness and incredible range of animal species.
The abiding appeal of observing lion, leopard, cheetah and so many more in the wild, which makes them so captivating to watch, can leave you breathless. Just to spend time in the company of these animals was a privilege.
As we concluded our visit to Serengeti and bid farewell to our hosts, the trip we felt was simply magical. The beauty of this African safari was that the trip appealed to all levels of knowledge, interest and experience, also as first-timers, the Big Five safari was a trip of a lifetime for us.
Ethiopian Airlines – The best African connection
Voted as the best African Airline 2018, Ethiopian currently flies to 12 destinations in the Middle East and has daily flights from Kuwait, connecting travelers from the Middle East to over 60 destinations in Africa and over 115 worldwide. Ethiopian is a multi-award-winning airline registering an average growth of 25 percent in the past seven years and is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy plus years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.
Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network and operates the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 116 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.
The plush business class seats and service are world-standard and gives passengers the opportunity to experience African hospitality and warmth that is nowadays more often than not missing on big international carriers.
By Reaven D’Souza