Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Who's ready for VACATION!!?


I have to say that the best vacation of my life was the vacation that we took just last month. We decided to take a trip from the 31st of December thru the 11th of January. It was AMAZING! The flight was relatively short and happily uneventful. We landed and got through customs with out much trouble. The only discomfort that we experienced was the heat! In Addis the weather beautiful all of the time. Think central California weather. As soon as we stepped off the plane we were drenched in sweat. Jake even touched his sweaty little red head and said, "What happened to my hair?" He is not often that hot. 

We planned this trip with another family who is currently living in Botswana. They arrived in Dar es Salam (the city we were staying in) the day before us and were at the airport to help us find our way to the hotel and to ensure an easy car renting experience. It took a while but eventually we were given a Toyota rav4 to use for the next week or so. As I opened the door to the car try to imagine my surprise when the passengers seat had a steering wheel! Thats right folks, they drive on the left hand side of the road in Tanzania! It took serious concentration to remember which side of the car to walk to when getting in. Lucky for me the hubs drove across South Africa a few months back and is familiar with left side driving. 

Who's driving this thing?!

The hotel was fabulous! Beautiful, clean and inviting. 

The Sea Cliff Hotel

Sea Cliff Hotel 
Pool at the Sea Cliff
As soon as we were checked in the boys wanted to go swimming. Who can blame them, not only was it really hot outside, this pool is just to inviting to turn down! 

The next day we took our lives in our hands and headed to Mikumi National Park. The park is about a 5-6 hour drive outside of Dar. I thought the traffic was crazy in Ethiopia, WHOA! Not only were we driving on the other side of the road but semi-trucks were driving against the traffic toward us! No shoulder, no where to go, we scooted over to the edge of the road as best we could. I am honestly not sure how the hubs managed to get us out to Mikumi in one piece but I'm sure glad that he was the one driving. I would have screamed, wet myself and then probably passed out! Totally not exaggerating here! On top of the terrifying road conditions there were also normal African road hazards…..

Dinner, YUM!

Why ride when you can glide! 
We eventually made it to the TanSwiss Lodge safely if not a little rattled. 

He is not sunburned he is that HOT! 


Play equipment at the TanSwiss

The next morning we headed to the park and WOW! It was impressive! I was a little bummed that we weren't going to the Serengeti but we saw crazy amounts of wildlife and Mikumi was so much closer to Dar that it just made sense for us to visit this park instead. We were happily surprised at how GREAT it was. I highly recommend Mikumi if you are ever in Tanzania.

So, lets talk about these dear for a second. They are beautiful right!? When you first get to the park you are amazed, "Wow, look at the impala! So beautiful!"

Then you are like, "Uh, another impala! They are everywhere, like rats with pretty horns!"

Oh wait there are more of them! 

One of the craziest things that we saw on this trip was while we were driving back from the park to the lodge. As we were driving I noticed an impala running alongside the road. I realized that the darn deer was going to sprint across the road so I shout to the Hubs, "It's going to run across the ROAD!" The Hubs slams on the breaks as the deer jumps into the road. The oncoming traffic was distracted by a giraffe eating beside the road and didn't even slowdown. He hit the impala going at least 55mph! He was going so fast that his little sedan ran it completely over and it's horn snapped off and flew across the road!!! Luckily no one was hurt…physically! The kids were freaking out! "Oh my gosh Mom! Did you see that! His horn just snapped off! Is he dead? The car ran him all the way over!" I've seen a lot of deer hit in my day but never like that before! Whew! 

Itchy BACK!!!! 


Well hello! 

Water buffalo

It took the whole day to track down the elephants. They are beautiful animals and I couldn't believe how many we saw. There were literally hundreds living in the park!! 

Ice Cream is best after a hot day of searching for animals! 

The safari was awesome. I really can't put into words how incredible it was to see animals that I usually think of as "zoo animals" living and roaming free! We spent two days in the park and took over a thousand photos. Our little Rav4 held up splendidly! Let me tell you, we took that car up mountains, through mud, grass (like, 10 foot tall grass) and water. We ran over rocks that were too large and holes that were too big. We were nearly killed on multiple occasions driving back to Dar but you know what they say, "the toughest car is a rental car"! 

We were able to relax for about two days before beginning our next adventure, Zanzibar! 

Until next time friends and family! 

Survival tips for going on Safari

  1. Bring an extra battery for your camera
  2. Be sure that you pay attention to the road
  4. Wear sunscreen
  5. Enjoy the wildlife, but don't kill it!!!