One of my YOLO and bucket list countries was a trip to Tanzania and a safari in the Serengeti. I booked a 6-day safari to tour and visit 3 parks - Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Conversation Area. The parks all blew my mind and were everything I expected and more.
My first stop on the safari was Lake Manyara. The guidebooks play down this park as it’s usually the first stop on a Tanzania safari tour and is much smaller than the other two parks. They are known for tree-climbing lions, but I didn’t see any while I was at this park. What I did see was African Elephants, Zebra, Troops of Baboons, Giraffe and Antelopes. It was a great start to my safari tour!
I was told that I would be in the Serengeti during the great migration which is when ~2 million Wildebeests, Zebras, and Thompson Gazelles all migrate from Southern Serengeti to the Northern end. This is also dictated by the rainy season and just my luck I was there on the day they entered the northern area! Soon as we drove through the gate we saw millions of animals blanketing the plains! None of my photos captured just how massive it was. I took a photo with one of the jeeps in front of ours to show all the animals covering every inch of land, in the area, but it doesn’t really do it justice! This is really something you need to witness in person. We spent a good 45 minutes in there and glad we did because when we came back through 2 days later, they had already moved on. I spent 3 days in the Serengeti and saw 4 of the big five – Leopard, Lions, Buffalo, Elephants along with numerous other animals including hanging out with the hippos at the hippo pool!
As one of my friends told me, this is the motherload! Had I not seen the migration this would have hit my expectations none the less. There were animals everywhere! And here is where I saw the last of my big 5 – the black rhino! My guide told me there are only 30 left and are now on the critically endangered list. I’m glad I got to see them and hope the numbers improve. I also saw warthogs, flamingos, ostrich, hyenas and more lions.
Olympus announced their new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III two weeks before I headed out and I got on the list to grab one three days before I left. I love this new model! It has a new continuous autofocus tracking (C-AF+TR) feature that came in handy with the moving animals. I also took along my original Mark I and Canon AE-1 film camera. For lenses, I brought my Olympus f2.8 40-150mm (equivalent of 80-300mm) and Olympus f2.8 12-40mm (equivalent of 24-80mm) lenses. Hindsight, I wish I would have also bought the 2X teleconverter to make my lens the equivalent of 160-600mm. There were a few animals that were further away and would have benefited from having a longer lens.
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