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Traveler’s Corner: Exploring East Africa’s Wonders

May 15, 2024  By: Gretchen

Lynn and her husband Martin have traveled to Africa with Africa Adventure Consultants multiple times, visiting Botswana, Tanzania and Uganda, with another three adventures on the continent already on the books. Originally from South Africa, Lynn and her family have been enthusiastically traveling the world since she emigrated but after realizing she hadn’t spent much time in ‘her own backyard,’ she made exploring Africa a priority. She is a photographer and immensely enjoys capturing wildlife while on safari.

migration herd with cheetah

After their visit to Botswana, one of Lynn’s cousins told her that East Africa is “in a league of its own for safari” and that she had “never seen anything like it.” After their visit, Lynn completely agreed!

“The vastness of the Serengeti and seeing millions of wildebeest on the plains makes you start to realize how huge it all is. We watched an attempted kill. The cheetah missed because the ‘Tommy’s’ (Thomson’s gazelles) can run the same speed as the cheetah but for longer. We also saw the birth of a baby wildebeest. My daughter had just had a baby…our grandson is 6 months old and has two teeth. This baby was 2 minutes old and had to stand on its own immediately. Humans are born in a hospital and everyone rallies for the new baby. A wildebeest is born and has to stand up straightaway or it can’t survive.”
birds on a branch

Lynn and Martin loved watching the changing landscapes of Tanzania.

“The journey from the (Ngorongoro) Crater to the Serengeti is unbelievable. I just stopped taking photos because I wanted to watch it.”

They loved the Ngorongoro Crater. Gazing into the Crater from the rim they could see black shapes all over the Crater floor. On asking their guide what they were – perhaps bushes? They realized they were all animals and were hugely wowed! They spent two days in the Crater and were amazed by every moment.

Maasai in hut

During their time in Tanzania they were able to visit a Maasai village while in the southern Serengeti. Lynn and Martin loved the experience and found the Maasai to be very interesting people – quiet and unassuming. They enjoyed the tribe’s singing as well as their tradition of jumping and fire making. Lynn was dazzled by the incredible beadwork of the Maasai.

“Take me to look at beadwork any day instead of visiting the Louvre. It’s fabulous.”

Their time in Uganda was ‘unbelievable.’ They trekked to see both gorillas and chimpanzees, which was a huge highlight.

“They (the gorillas) don’t care about people standing next to them. That I loved. The photography experience is the big thing and this was beyond any expectation I might have had. Both families we saw on the two days had babies and juveniles and to watch the interaction was amazing! It’s like watching our own kids. To see a silverback climbing a tree – it’s massive. You don’t realize the size of it!”
shoebill stork

Lynn and Martin then visited Mabamba Swamp for the chance to see shoebill, which they did get to see – another wonderful highlight!

“Seeing (the shoebill) was amazing! It felt like we were in a Jurassic Park movie - it looks like it’s from another era…it doesn’t seem real. Our guide said you have to be lucky to see them – he taught us that if it’s made a nest you will see its egg and then you can find the bird.”
Ride for a Woman group

Lynn and Martin also visited the non-profit Ride 4 a Woman while in Uganda.

“Everyone that visits Uganda should visit Ride 4 a Woman. I had so much fun. I bought things there to benefit them. They are sharing their story of why they are there and offering something that they made. Afterward we went to the Bwindi Bar for coffee and invited Edward. It was so nice to have time together to relax and to get to know him as a person. It’s nice how he can take care of everything for us but he’s also a person with a family and a life.”
boy in black and white

On working with Africa Adventure Consultants to plan their adventure, Lynn said

“For the longest time, I always organized our vacations. Europe is so easy – you can just buy a rail ticket, look up what to do, etc. This (safari) was so superbly organized. The number of days in each place was perfect. “

Lynn has some great advice for travelers that plan to trek gorillas.

“Porters were my new best friend – they carried all my camera equipment, held my hand down the hill and pushed me up the hill when I needed it. We shared our lunch with our porter. When you hire someone you are supporting the local economy. Everyone should be encouraged to hire a porter.”
baboons in black and white

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Photos courtesy AAC Tanzanite Circle member Lynn R.