1. Manda Ulvile
“The village of Manda Ulvile is an authentic village of 250 and half of its population is made up of kids 10 and under. A 10 minute boat ride from Lupital Island on Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika, fishing is their main livelihood but the villagers also grow crops such as corn and cassava. A few kids followed us at the beginning of the tour but by the middle of the visit, we had about 30 kids in tow. This was one of the highlights of my Tanzania safari.”
2. Maretsu, Maasai waiter at the Mwanga Moto Camp
“Maretsu, our Maasai waiter at the Mwanga Moto Camp in the Southern Serengeti, was very hospitable and quite an innovative young man as evidenced by the sandals that he made out of a truck tire. East Africa is renowned for its diverse culture and friendly heritage; as we discovered, you will arrive as a visitor and leave as a friend. The unique culture of some of the ethnic groups, notably the Maasai, is a great experience to be enjoyed.”
3. Scary story from Shamwari (Eastern Cape, South Africa)
“We had just arrived at the Shamwari Game Reserve Eagles Crag lodge, 45 minutes from the Port Elizabeth airport. After greeting the staff and savoring a hot chocolate, we were escorted along a curved boardwalk that led to each of the nine exclusive suites – all surrounded by gorgeous mountain cliffs and tucked away behind lush vegetation. We had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real!
Around the time we passed the suite where John Travolta had just stayed with his family, we wondered aloud if we would be able to find our way back from the matrix of paths. After settling into our suite, which is fashioned in glass and stone with views of the surrounding rock faces, we prepared to change for our first evening game drive and dinner.
Then it came: blood curdling screams. We were told the lodge area was completely surrounded by electrified fences, but the sounds were so close. Had one of the animals gotten through the fence? There was no way we were venturing out, even if it meant missing the evenings’ events. It was May, so it was already starting to get dark in the Southern Hemisphere. We closed the sliding windows and door and pulled the curtains and turned out the lights as the screams continued, getting louder. Were they coming closer? Eventually, we relented and called security.
The friendly staff told us no worries, “hakuna mata,” that sound was simply the local baboons mating; probably those we saw outside the area on the drive in! We breathed a sigh of relief, grateful for that news as well as grateful to not be born a baboon!” Click here to listen to a baboon sound (sound #3)