Mahree’s Tanzanian Safari – Part V

February 11, 2014  By: Gretchen

Hippos, Wami River

Mahree went on a unique Tanzanian adventure at the end of 2013 and has been sharing her stories with us. Here is the latest installment of her trip report, where she visits Tanzania’s coast for the first time.

To be on an African safari is different than any other kind of travel I have ever experienced. I like lying on a beach just as much as the next girl, but safari is (excuse the pun) a different animal. Perhaps it can be likened to a great adventure novel; one in which you can’t wait to see what happens next and yet you don’t want it to end. There is also something about safari (a great safari) that sends you back in time as if you were a great explorer – you’re moving, discovering – adventure surrounds you. It’s a “page turner”. Though the Serengeti was a chapter I know I will re-visit again, the story, like all good stories and all good travel, took a turn toward something I never expected – Saadani.

Kingfisher_Saadani

Saadani is a park where you can go on a traditional game drive, partake in a river safari, walking safari, ocean safari (I’ll explain later) or lie on the beach – in the same day. It’s a place where you may see an elephant playing in the waves of the ocean and you will most certainly see them walking under palm trees.

Our first night was at Sanctuary River Lodge which is nestled into the banks of the Wami River. The lodge is luxurious, elegant, and peaceful. Seemingly, in the middle of nowhere, the lodge offers everything one could ask for; gourmet dining, fine wine, and a first rate spa. Each suite has air-conditioning, indoor-outdoor showers, private balconies overlooking the river and jungle where hippos snort and monkeys swing.

AAC Saadani river_lodgeThough chic and comfortable, the lodge manages to be neatly camouflaged into the environment with thatch and indigenous building materials. Another nice touch is the web of walkways, built from wooden planks and rope, that weaves through the trees where one can peacefully walk or bird watch in the jungle-like paradise. The only unfortunate incident was a barrage of mosquitoes around sundowner time, that for many of us, no amount of repellent seemed to deter. Other than that, the lodge is spectacular, particularly if you like bird-watching.

Flamingos, Saadani, Tanzania

After a thoroughly relaxing night, we embarked on a “river safari” where we spotted not only hippos, crocodiles, and Colobus Monkeys but also a magnificent array of birds such as the Wooly Necked Stork, the Grey Heron, the African Fish Eagle and then, as we came upon the Indian Ocean, the coup de gras, a great flamboyance of pink flamingos. Yes, flamboyance is the proper term for a group of flamingos & how great is that? They were sitting peacefully at first and then flew off into the blue African sky – a magnificent sight.

After a beautiful picnic on the bank of the river, we prepared to move onward to our final destination.  Here I would see and experience one of the most soul stirring sights I have ever seen – anywhere. While on safari, I have experienced some of my most treasured tales. I hate to see them end but they don’t really end, do they? Traveling is part of who we are.