One of the reasons for staying in a safari camp when you visit Tanzania National Parks is the proximity to wildlife. Your camp is set up in or at the edge of the National Park so that when you get up in the morning, the wildlife is easily found as soon as your board your jeep or even grazing placidly beside your tent. Most of our wildlife safari experiences were enhanced by our safari camp. Here’s a rundown of what to expect if you reserve a safari camp tour.
Six AM Wake Up Call in a Safari Camp
Since dawn brings the first opportunities for wildlife, most tour guides are eager to get on the road as soon as it is light. Our tour company, National Wildlife Adventures always conferred with us the night before and arranged with us when we wanted our wake up call. Staff members showed up outside our tents at the wake up call time saying “Hello or Jambo Jambo” and carrying warm water for wash up and shaving.
Seven AM Breakfast in a Safari Camp
Breakfast always had cereal, fruit, yogurt, toast, coffee and tea, fresh squeezed juices, jam, jelly and peanut butter plus other items like oatmeal and sometimes, depending on circumstances, a hot meal with bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, with the eggs cooked to order. We usually were given a half hour for breakfast before boarding the buses and many of us chose to make another flushing toilet bathroom visit.
Seven Thirty to Ten AM Safari Wildlife Viewing
Wildlife viewing usually involved a drive down a dusty, bumpy road with stops any time a creature or plant of interest was spotted. Our main tour guide Naiman Munger knew over 1000 birds by sight and plus all the animals, many of the plants and had an extensive knowledge of the animal behaviors–where and what they ate, how and when they mated, mating rituals and territorial battles, migration patterns, etc. His coworker Henry knew most of the wildlife but not as many birds. Riders in the jeep had the ability to say “Stop Please” when they spotted something or wanted a photograph.
The jeeps had two or three bench seats and two front seats. The rooftops opened up and you can stand up on the floor or seat to view the animals. The side windows also opened for fresh air or to get a better photographs. Every seat had bottled water and room for storage of personal goods like binoculars, cameras, day packs etc. Sand bags were provided to help keep optics safe while riding. The jeep also had bird, wildlife, and plant life identification books.
Ten AM Tea Time on Safari
Tanzania was developed with British traditions so at 10:00 am we often were taken to a safe rest area either at the camp headquarters or beneath a wide open tree and served coffee, tea, and cookies.
Ten Thirty to Noon Safari Wildlife Viewing
More chances to see wildlife.
Noon Lunch Time back at Safari Camp
We either returned to our camp for a sit down lunch or had field lunch boxes–the latter containing chicken, rolls, cake, vegetables and fruit along with your choice of beer or soft drink. Chips were sometimes available. Meals were cooked that catered to limited diets like mine that avoided dairy, and others that were gluten intolerant or vegetarian.
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM Siesta in your Safari Camp Tent
We didn’t always get a siesta since our group avidly liked to see the wildlife. Occasionally we were able to hide out from the worst of the heat for a couple hours and catch up on our sleep.
4:00 PM Coffee and Tea and Snacks followed by Safari Wildlife Viewing Until Dusk
More wildlife viewing, mostly directed toward finding some of the night time creatures coming out for their evening hunt–especially looking for cheetah.
Dusk to 7:30 PM Clean Up and Cocktails waiting Back at Safari Camp
On our return to camp, the staff often had cold cloths, fruit juice, beer and cocktails waiting for us. Within fifteen minutes of our return, the staff often had our shower water ready for us. They heated and brought 18.5 liters of water, about 5 gallons and loaded it into a shower bucket that had a handle where you could let water flow or shut it off. Some people had problems with this system. It helped to talk with the delivery guy and make sure you could reach the handle before he left. I had plenty of time to wash my hair, condition it, soap up clean and rinse thoroughly. It was very refreshing. Wasps and bees sometimes made it into the shower area but I was only stung by a red ant. When I screamed, a woman staff member came to check on me. The welt left by this painful ant sting lasted for three weeks–nasty creature. We had insect spray to rid our rooms and shower of any nasty creatures as needed. We only sprayed once. Towels and sheets were used for the duration of our stay, with plentiful bars for allowing things to dry. I was glad I had plenty of q-tips because the dust of the road ended up in my ears, one time taking 4 to clean out on ear.
7:30 Dinner in our Safari Camp Dining Tent
Dinner was often a merry meal and served with flowing bottles of wine, your cocktail or beer or soft drink or bottled ice cold water. We never had the problem of being underfed. Dinner featured seafood, chicken, stewed beef or chicken cooked in a variety of ways, salad, soup, dessert, rolls, potatoes, fruit. All served on china with clean white linens.
Night Time in our Safari Camp Tent
Most of the time we were escorted to and from our rooms after dark. The tents featured either twin beds our one king sized bed. The tents had flaps that unrolled to mosquito net that allowed in the cooler air. We usually left ours wide open but even so there were secluded places where one could dress with ease. I usually slept soundly but one night I woke to a lion’s roar. Animals ran past the tent for quite some time before I heard the deep bellow of an animal that howled and cut off abruptly. The next morning we found a pride of lions with their bellies stuffed full walking slowly away from a carcass. Vultures were busy with the remnant of a wildebeest. Most staff had weapons in case we were endangered but we never ran into trouble.
Special Events in the Safari Camp
Some of the special events held during our three week long safari included a night safari drive that often drove off road, a sunset cocktail viewing hour on a hilltop, a campfire where you could watch the stars. We were given a few lectures about the territory we passed through, the animals, the history and more. Every time we left, the staff surprised us with a goodbye song and dances–we learned the tune of one of the most famous songs of the region, “Jambo, jambo sano” — meaning Welcome, Welcome very much” with the intent of letting us know that they liked visitors to come to Tanzania and see the rich diversity of animal, culture and environments.