We awoke with the sun around 6:30 a.m. to the sounds of a buffalo sniffing for breakfast outside our two-bedroom canvas tent. A pack of hyenas cried in the not-so-far distance and countless songbirds were chirping in the trees overhead. My wife and I were on day four of our weeklong Tanzanian safari and had already seen the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo), witnessed the great wildebeest migration and explored two national parks. We traveled across jungle, desert and plains to a luxury safari camp in the middle of the Serengeti. Surrounded on all sides by the African savannah and miles from the nearest ranger station, we were truly a world away from the life we knew.
Over the course of seven days, my wife Lauren and I enjoyed a private safari through Tanzania that included Tarangire, Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks, as well as perhaps the most beautiful safari location in the world, Ngorongoro Crater.
On safari days, we hit the trail from morning until dusk in search of as many animals as we could find. Some of the most memorable moments included watching a family of elephants knock over trees so their calves could eat the leaves, observing a pair of young female lions stalk a herd of buffalo; and, from our perch on a branch of an acacia tree, witnessing a jaguar feast on a gazelle.
The accommodations were incredible and as impressive as the safari itself, ranging from luxury camps offering sunset happy hours to a boutique hotel with its own organic farm and colonial style coffee plantation.
The coffee in Tanzania is world-class, particularly the Arabica beans, the country’s largest export crop. The food was excellent, with each destination serving local grilled meats, fresh local produce and delicious bean dishes for dinner, and quality breakfast buffets. The chef prepared a pack lunch each morning, comprised of fresh baked goods, grilled chicken and fruit. South African wines and zebras grazing nearby, a picnic organized by our tour guide was easily one of the most memorable parts of our trip.
Our Tanzania safari was a unique, luxurious experience with just the right amount of adventure. August and September are peak season, but go in early July for excellent weather, few insects and smaller crowds.