After spending a week in the blue seas of Zanzibar (read full post here) we flew to Arusha via the Kilimanjaro airport, for a couple of days of safari and to see the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Honestly a safari wasn't on the top of my list of things to do, although I'm a big animal lover (and have always hated and avoid Zoos of course) I didn't see the attraction of a Safari. I had done some light search before actually arriving to Tanzania and found them extremely expensive. As per usual, one day before my flight to Arusha I still had no plans or hired a company for the safari. I guess it was time to start planning, after searching some sites I ended up with five simultaneous whatsapp conversations from different companies. I ended up finding a really good deal with Afrozone Kingdom Safari and managed to also get a trekking day on the Materuni park and waterfall.
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The falls are 150m and are beautiful. But the whole point of my trip was to get a good view of the Kilimanjaro, which just didn't happen. Apparently the Kilimanjaro is not so easy to see. The whole sky may be clear, but most of the times the Kilimanjaro is covered in clouds, at least around April. After the trekking we got to visit a coffee production and actually make the coffee we would drink. This was quite fun but nothing new to me since I grew up in a coffee farm. The food was amazing though, and I've been missing so much Brazilian food that Africa made me really feel at home. They then made us try Banana Beer. It was by far the most disgusting thing I have ever drunk. They made it themselves, and it's full of little parts of God knows what. But I'm not one to say no to try new things. After the tour we had down to the car, and they were so locals drinking it. An old guy offered me some, I tried to explain to him that I had already tried it, but of course he didn't understand anything and I didn't want to be rude, so that's why I ended up - again - having banana beer out of a very suspicious container, the same that the guy was drinking from.
I didn't know what to expect from a safari, but it was absolutely amazing. I don't know if I was just lucky but I got to see all animals, minus the leopard! We started at the Tarangeri Park. Five minutes in, two female lions just walk by our car. We then got to see many animals just enjoying their day, and it's trully amazing to be part of it.
After seeing one of the most amazing sun rises at the Lake Manyara Park (in all fairness I'm usually sleep at sun rises, so I don't get to see many) we went to the Ngorongoro Crater. Which was full of Zebras, Lions (at one point there were about 15 of them around, but who's scared right?) and apparently Cheetahs and Leopards, who didn't come out to greet us.
One thing that really shocked me was when we were driving inside the Ngorongoro park and we saw a Maasai guy just casually walking, with all Lions and Leopards that could be around. Lions are afraid of the Maasai, said our driver. But he just had this easy going look on his face that me think "Well, there goes a WARRIOR". A couple of hours later we made a bathroom break, I asked Richard, our driver, if it was safe and he said "Sure. Just watch out for the lions". I thought he was joking.... When I get back I see everybody taking pictures, 40m from us was a baby lion just resting on a tree. Hey, Richard wasn't joking! And I was outside of the car. I didn't feel like hanging around to wait for his mother though, and got quickly back to the car, while other people were out trying to get the best shot of him... After two days inside a car I was ready to call the Safari over. We got back to town and the Kilimanjaro was still behind clouds. I was mad. So mad. We got to the aiport (KI-LI-MAN-JA-RO Airport) and still nothing. Then when we were walking to the plane, there it was. Standing tall, the tallest mountain in Africa. The airplane then did a 360 spin around it, leaving me breathless and just so over the moon happy. After four days of trying to see it, it had finally showed up!
The plane was high now, I decided to open my book. I've been reading My Year with Eleanor, a story about an American Girl who gets a little to obsessed with Eleanor Roosevelt and does a whole year devoted to facing her own fears. That's when I open the book and out of the blue, she starts talking about..... The Kilimanjaro. It was the perfect ending to a truly amazing trip.