Other Trip Activities with Education on Safari While in Tanzania
The thrill of a game drive in the parks of Tanzania cannot be overstated, and game drives with Education on Safari are not limited by time or distance. You will enjoy game viewing from the comfort of a Land Cruiser that has been modified specifically for safaris (see more in mode of transportation). If clients want to be out all day, from sunrise to sunset, that’s great! We will have the camp prepare a packed breakfast and lunch. Many clients enjoy a midday break, however, and we will do our best to please all. Of course, we do have to schedule some time for the outstanding educational program that is part of your safari. We typically plan continuing education for the middle of the day, leaving the evenings free for relaxation, beginning with sundowners by the fire to enjoy pre-dinner drinks.
Our first two nights in Tanzania are spent at Lake Duluti Serena Hotel. After all that sitting on the long flights to get here, a walk around Lake Duluti can be a welcome bit of exercise. Lake Duluti is a fresh water crater, approximately 700 meters deep and 1100 meters across. A small trail leads through the forest around the lake, from which we can view several species of reptiles, such as the water monitor, as well as hundreds of different species of birds, particularly water birds like cormorants, ospreys, egrets, kingfishers, and the African fish eagle. If the weather cooperates, there are stunning views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is not a strenuous walk, and the shade from the forest makes it enjoyable even during the hotter part of the day. We can also arrange for canoeing on Lake Duluti or biking around the lake and neighboring farms.
Maasai Village Visit
Several Maasai villages dot the countryside in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and we will visit one of the cultural bomas. Although this often feels like a staged experience to some visitors, the village is not just set up for tourists: this is where the members of that village live and raise their cattle. This source of income from cultural tourism has become significant for a people who are trying to maintain a traditional way of life against many odds. A village spokesman will give you a tour of the village and one of the houses, explaining the Maasai customs and way of life. Visitors are welcome to take pictures and ask any questions, and of course, purchase any of the beaded items made by Maasai women.
Oldupai Museum and Olduvai Gorge
Within the arid west-central region of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, inside the Great Rift Valley region lays the Oldupai Gorge (often referred to as Olduvai Gorge, an early misspelling of the Maasai word Oldupai, meaning sisal). The discovery of hundreds of fossilized bones and stone tools dating back millions of years is what led paleoanthropologists to conclude that humans evolved in Africa. The most noted paleoanthropology team to make discoveries here were Louis and Mary Leakey. There is a small museum here that stands at the site where, in 1959, Mary Leakey discovered pieces of a 1.8 million-year-old skull and teeth from an early hominin, now known as Australopithecus boisei. Numerous other fossils from early hominids have been found here including some from Homo habilis and Homo erectus. You can visit the small museum on your own; there is a series of explanatory panels written in English, and a short lecture about the history of Oldupai will follow.
Forty kilometers south of Oldupai is Laetoli, where a half-complete bipedal female skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis – now known to the world as “Lucy” – was discovered in the early 1970s. In 1979, archeologists discovered fossilized footprints left by two adults and a child approximately 3.75 million years ago that proved that hominids were walking upright long earlier than previously thought.
Maasai Market in Mto wa Mbu
There are several shops and markets we can visit, but one of the most enjoyable is the Maasai Central Market in the town of Mto wa Mbu, (Swahili for “River of Mosquitoes”) which we drive through on our trip from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Tarangire Park. Mto wa Mbu is a small but lively and diverse town, and many guide books state that all of Tanzania’s 120 tribal groups are represented here. The market has many paintings done in a particular style called Tingatinga, as well as Makonde wood carvings and other styles of artwork depicting wildlife or Maasai culture. Good-natured bargaining is expected.