Africa

The Real Life Lion King

 

 

….pink bottomed monkeys, tree climbing lions, grandiose babao trees, running giraffes, bathing hippos, dirty warthogs, laughing hyenas and all! There is no one person who would travel all the way to East Africa and not go on a safari: it is one of the highlights of the incredible nature, landscape and, dare I say, attraction to Tanzania. It’s a very famous and common reason for tourists to travel to Kenya and Tanzania: the Serengeti, Masaimara and the migration that occurs in early July.  The main attractions in Northern Tanzania are the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Arusha National Park, and of course the Serengeti. For any lover of animals or simply nature every one of these locations is unmissable on a trip to Tanzania! Circle of Life Broadway version

Now,the tricky part of organizing a safari is definitely figuring out a respectable, yet affordable, company to go with. I had a rather unfortunate experience with the company my volunteer friends and I chose to use: we fell for the “the cheaper the better” trap, and shopped around until we found a company with the best price. That obviously came with a much larger “cost” in the end- the company’s name was SunBird Tours: 1) they picked us up 1 hour late on our first day, 2) added extra people to our safari car (whom we didn’t know) when we specifically had asked for it to only be us six friends, 3) didn’t provide us with drinking water, 4) we got a flat tire in the crater and had to change it ourselves and 5) the car ended up breaking down (the clutch blew out) and we waited in the middle of nowhere for two hours until it was fixed…and above all we got no apologies whatsoever. In the end our driver/tour guide got no tip (which he obviously wasn’t happy about). HOWEVER, this story is not to scare anyone or discourage a safari trip: the animals and locations were definitely incredible, and we did get home safe in the end!

I chose to do my safari for two days in Lake Manyara and the Ngorogoro Crater. Unless you’re a wild animal or landscape fanatic I think two days is sufficient to really experience the African savannah in two very different climates and landscapes. A couple of my friends did a four day trip and although they loved it, they definitely felt very tired and drained from sitting for four days in a bumpy car. The extra two days, however, allowed them to visit the Serengeti (which I visited on my previous trip to Tanzania), which they definitely didn’t regret; yet again there is a landscape and climate difference between these three locations that allows you to see game in various settings. I’d definitely recommend Ngorogoro Crater and Serengeti: the crater is breathtakingly beautiful, although slightly chilly because of the altitude, and the Serengeti is the live image of what many of us picture as the African savannah!
I vividly recall driving into Lake Manyara, and abruptly stopping to view a tree…at first we had no idea why so many safari cars were paused but the closer we looked into our binoculars we could see a lioness resting on a tree trunk. It was something I had never seen before while and it took me by surprise, it also touched me in an unfamiliar way. Although I love animals and enjoy watching them, until that moment they had never moved me: the lioness’ sheer beauty, majesty and size made me see animals in a different way. I was simply so intrigued at how she lay, still and serene, yet moments later seemed so ferocious! It’s a completely different feeling seeing a live tree-climbing lioness in her natural habitat than it is behind a cage in a zoo.


I definitely felt more powerful seeing her in control of her body, her surroundings and most of all her cubs…she can even be an inspiration for us human females: taking charge of what we’re proud of and protective of. I could have stayed there for hours watching how attentive she was, analyzing every possible situation, every move of a leaf in the wind…absolutely unbelievable. Whoever said that lions are in charge certainly has never watched a lioness in her throne…because then the rules of the jungle would be severely different! Lioness take control, as should us women in our world.

Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke
Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke is a soon-to-be-senior at Emerson College in Boston, MA. A double major in Theatre Education and Political Communication, Monica is passionate about education and the arts as mediums for international understanding and social justice. With a Portuguese mother and a Norwegian father, and having lived in England, the Netherlands and now America, she likes to call herself a global nomad. This intercultural lifestyle has strongly benefited her in understanding culture, society and our individual responsibility to contribute to our global community. Through travel she seeks to engage with her "host" community by volunteering: be it teaching English to the Maasai tribe, building houses in Nicaragua, tsunami clean-up in Southeast Asia or just playing with orphans in her native Portugal, Monica looks to learn from others and build positive relationships. You could rightfully say she's a feminist dedicated to bettering women's education, health and well-being on a global scale. Join her on this Go Girl stint as she interns for the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guine-Bissau, East Africa.

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Africa