Destinations- Part 2, East African Safari

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Today’s Destination post is all about an East African Safari.  My Destinations series is designed to help you choose what to put on your travel bucket list.  Destinations Part 1 took readers to Iceland for glaciers, hot springs, waterfalls, and more. Today is all about savannas and safaris.  My second recommendations to add to your bucket list is an East African Safari in Kenya and Tanzania- specifically the Masai Mara and Serengeti Reserves.

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My East African Safari was the best trip I took on my 18 month “sabbatical” by far. I started out in Kenya tracking through Lake Naivasha to the Masai Mara on my way into Tanzania, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.

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I also was a crazy person and climbed Kilimanjaro at the end of my safari with G Adventures Tours but I don’t necessarily recommend that unless you are an adrenaline junkie.

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If you are short on time (shorter also saves $$$) hit the Masai Mara and the Serengeti for the highlights, and highlights they are.  Giraffes outside my tent in the morning, a pride of lions napping under trees, and elephants strolling through a field were normal occurrences on my safari.

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I remember the first “exotic” wildlife we saw just on the edge of the Masai Mara was this cheetah escaping the hot sun.  I was so excited to see him (or her).

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The Wildebeest Migration was occurring in the Masai Mara, the animals (Wildebeest and their predators) were in abundance and the rolling grassland was very much alive.

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Sunsets were my favorite time in the Masai Mara.  The temperatures cool off but the light gave way for some excellent photography.

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Giraffes are my favorite safari animal.  Their graceful long necks and spots make them very photogenic. Plus, they were not really afraid of humans so we could look at them for a long time.

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In contrast even though the Serengeti is connected to the Masai Mara, the area is huge so when the Masai Mara is green the Serengeti is in their dry season.  Holy dust Batman! The Serengeti was land of the lions.  Fitting that Lion King “took place” here.

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Staying in tented camps was a great way to experience an East African safari. Sunsets and Tusker beer around the campfire followed by a delicious dinner was the only nighttime activity.  Relaxing in the tent, blogging, or reading after dinner proved to be a relaxing and restful night.

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Nothing scary ever happened except the night that monkeys ran across our tent outside Aberdare Reserve and woke me up.

Flamingos in Lake Naivasha:

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As previously mentioned there was also the time that a giraffe was right outside my tent one morning that I noticed when heading to the breakfast tent.

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If your mindset is that since you are in East Africa you might as well do it all, go to Moshi to start the Kilimanjaro climb, visit Zanzibar for some beach time, do smaller day safaris on smaller reserves in Kenya and Tanzania, and go see the gorillas in Uganda. It is after all, a once in a lifetime trip. Tailor it to suit you and your tastes.

Sunrise from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro:

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East African Safaris are not cheap, nor is airfare to Africa but this whole trip is worth the splurge,  new shoes be damned! Add an East African Safari to your bucket list and start saving now!

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Here are the links to my wrap-up posts on my Safari and Kili climb in Africa:

http://andreaonvacation.com/2013/10/07/east-africa-safari-wrap-up/

http://andreaonvacation.com/2013/10/11/the-thing-about-kili/

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