When Shutter Tours first embarked on our adventure to Africa, I had no expectations as to what it would be like. Back in early 2014 Shutter Tours participated in an adventure trade show in Seattle. The show was so big that we parked our bus inside the venue and marketed our local tours in the Seattle area. A needed a bit of a break and decided to wander the show to see what other vendors were there and ran into Hellen from Maasai Magic.
As a photographer I enjoyed the photos she had on her display and not being one to be afraid of asking questions, we talked at length about what they do in offering trips to Tanzania. Thinking there might be some way to a partnership with them, she suggested I hop on a plane and join them on a “Fam” trip. Anyone that knows me will agree that once I say yes to travel, I am on my way. Six months later I was on a plane to Amsterdam, with my ultimate destination to fly to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. How exciting I thought, being in Africa and flying into the airport named for the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Fast forward to today, and I’m just a week away from taking my fourth trip to Tanzania and partnering with Maasai Magic Safaris. This trip is extra special to me as I will be taking my daughter Amanda with me this year. She has been an excellent tour guide for Shutter Tours this year, and with the cancellation of a guest who was unable to make the trip, I was excited to have her fill that spot.
Africa can seem like a scary place for some people, but from my experience, it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever travelled to. The people are warm and gracious and also seem to have a love of life that is missing in western society. So this is point number one.
So this is point number one.
1. You Will Change Your Opinion About Africa and the African People.
You will cast aside your thoughts of little children with distended stomachs and all the visions from late-night television commercials. Tanzanians are very educated and even value education more than westerners it seems. In the travel industry, you don’t just show up and become a tour guide for safari, it takes years to achieve that goal. Most workers have a four-year degree in the hotels and they all speak English.
From the time Tanzanians start high school, all lessons and homework are in English, even though Swahili is their natural language. The value of education is refreshing and is not a have to, but a want to.
The economic pressure we experience is not as apparent as well. Happiness comes from interactions with family and friends and not accumulation.
2. The adventure will be better than you thought
Our customers have made comments like “Trip of a lifetime” and there is no doubt that this trip will be top of your all-time favorites. I always say that travel is an appreciating asset and you will talk about this trip for years afterwards.
3. Every day will be a wow moment
That time that Christa got scared because she thought the lions were chasing us in the vehicle at night, or when we saw the double rainbow in the Northern Serengeti on our last day. The visit to the Hadzabe tribe where we learned to make fire and eat after they hunted or the visit to the Datogo and Makonde tribes to watch them make jewellery and wood carvings. Every day is a new experience that you will not soon forget.
4. You’ll have to address your fears of wild animals
I hate snakes, never seen a snake in Tanzania, but I heard they are there. The first trip I would do a complete sweep of the place I was staying, on the off chance that one somehow made it into the tent or room. Now I am fine, but sometimes your fear will take over and that’s something you have to wrestle with. Overcoming that is a wonderful feeling.
5. You never realized how much you’ll embrace other cultures
For me, the highlight of our trips is meeting the people of Tanzania. Whether we are visiting the Hadzabe or the Maasai or spending time with the Datoga tribes, I’m always excited to meet old and new friends.
6. The food and accommodations are way better than you expected
In Swahili, they say “Hakuna Naficy Yauatcha Kula” which translates into I’m full. Learn this phrase, because of the amount of food they feed you in amazing. I have skipped meals while on safari as I just cannot eat anymore. Also, keep in mind there is no “Bushmeat” served, it’s beef, chicken and vegetarian options made by wonderful chefs each night.
7. Going to the zoo will never feel the same
Tanzania has over 6,000 elephants in Tarangire park and some of the highest concentrations of lions in the world. A visit to the zoo will never compare to the experience of a lifetime on safari.
8. An African safari will be one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime
I like pretty and captivating places, but at the end of the day, I want experiences and conversations that I’m talking about for years to come. At the top of my list are all the trips I have taken to Africa.
9. Seeing animals roam free as nature intended without interruption of man is exhilarating.
10. You’ll want to come back
After 6 trips bringing groups to Tanzania, I can safely say I cannot wait to get back to there to see old friends If you’ve been there before and the wild is calling you back, why not join us in 2021 on another exciting safari.
If you’ve always dreamed of going, well I can assure you that our itinerary will allow you to have lifetime experiences every day.
Learn more at our Safari Page