AAC Friends & Family Safari (Kim is in Tanzania!)

August 22, 2012  By: Gretchen

Kim and the five folks lucky enough to join her on our AAC Friends & Family safari have arrived in Tanzania and made their way to the Ngorongoro highlands; here is her first report.  Stay tuned to hear more stories from their safari and as they get closer to their Kilimanjaro climb!

Back in Africa…a wonderful feeling! Being greeted with “Jambo, karibu” (hello, welcome to Tanzania) and a vibrant smile makes the long overseas journey worth it. this time, I spent the weekend with friends near Frankfurt Germany which made the transition to Africa time so much better. I highly recommend breaking up the journey in europe or arriving to Arusha early and spending two nights at one of the charming lodges tucked away in the outskirts of town.

Our friends and family trip is finally here! I am hosting a 5 day safari with an intimate group of six before meeting the rest of our fearless 13 signed up to hike Kili next week. We set out with Japhet, our trusty guide,from Arusha this morning, our eyes fixed on local people and stunning scenery passing by. The Maasai were out with their herds of cattle or goats, school kids were running about enjoying the last days of summer break, and the striking trees and dry brush of the acacia woodland reminded us that we are now in Africa. We stopped midday to stretch our legs in the bustling town of mto wa mbu for some authentic local interaction. A local guide led us through the rice fields, a banana farm, work station for wood carvings, and a local home. The people were very welcoming.

Continuing up the rift valley into the NgoroNgoro highlands, we arrived at Gibbs Farm…a slice of heaven! The new cottages and stunning views from the renovated dining room make Gibbs an even more favorable choice.  After our farm to table fresh lunch, we toured the 10 acres of organic farm, marveling at the lush fruits and veggies and colorful array of flowers…salivating over the food that awaited us for dinner. We then enjoyed a fascinating talk with the local healers about the traditional Maasai culture. The tembo fire (to keep the elephants at bay) warmed us as the sun set over the green gardens.

Not much beats an outdoor shower under the African sky before another farm to table meal (thankfully served family style to monitor portion control for our already growing bellies)…except maybe the night sky full of stars that blanket me now as i type this email from the garden. I’m off to bed, which will be warmed by the heat from our cozy fireplace.

Africa…oh how I’ve missed you!