From Dar Es Salaam, we hopped on a quick flight to Arusha, where we headed off on Safari. This was my second time on safari (you can read about the first time, here, for my mother’s 60th birthday), but it was Justin’s first, and watching him experience the magic was arguably better than anything else. If you ever have the chance to head out on safari, please (please!) do it. It’s a life changing experience – very likely my favourite travel experience yet. I truly can’t recommend it highly enough.
We stayed in the southern part of the Serengeti at a place called Camp Kusini, which we booked through Sanctuary Retreats, and the whole experience from beginning to end was flawless. It’s one of the only permanent camps in this region of the Serengeti, and it somehow manages to feel quiet and rustic, yet infinitely luxurious all at once.
When we landed on the airstrip, we were greeted with the most wonderful team of guides and rangers, and an incredible spread. Biltong, champagne, hot tea, dried mango… the way to my heart is through food (and champagne), so needless to say they had me hooked from the start.
While driving to camp, we were informed that we were actually the only guests at the camp for three out of four of the nights we had booked. At first this made us both a little nervous. We started wondering if there was something we had missed – was there a reason nobody else wanted to stay at this particular camp? We very quickly learned, however, that the universe simply works in mysterious ways, and having the entire camp to ourselves for a few nights was definitely not normal, and ended up being pretty special.
We were treated like absolute kings from the moment our eyes opened (typically to a hot tea & coffee delivery to our tent each morning), to the minute our mosquito nets were tucked around us before bed. Fabulous three-course meals were abundant. Late nights by the campfire, Amarula on ice in hand, was a daily specialty. And having the entire car to ourselves for each game drive, which was stocked to the brim with our favourite beer and wine, was amazing.
And while the actual camp itself was perfect, the game drives were even better. We were lucky enough to spot everything from cheetahs, lions (both lion cubs, and their full-grown counterparts), and leopards, to jackals and lilac-breasted rollers, to hoards of elephants, an infinite number of giraffes, zebras, and beyond.
On our second day morning game drive, we managed to see a kill – and you guys, I can’t even begin to describe the experience. We watched a mama cheetah and her five cubs stalk, chase, catch, and devour a male gazelle from begining to end. The hunt was about an hour and a half long, but once they took the animal down he was gone in 10 minutes flat. It was like real life national geographic, and we were all legitimately shaking from the adrenaline once it was over.
I will admit that I had very mixed feelings about the whole thing (I swear I asked our guide, Joshua, a solid eight times if the gazelle suffered – I was promised he did not). I kept flip flopping between wanting the hungry cheetahs to eat, and wanting the poor gazelle to live out his days. The fact that not a single morsel goes to waste (once the cheetahs are done the hyenas swing by to eat everything leftover – bones and brains included), and the fact that it’s simply the circle of life calmed my hesitations. It was still conflicting to see in person, but apparently it’s super rare to see something of this nature, and it is an experience I feel honoured to have had.
Stay tuned next week for the last portion of our honeymoon!
ps: If you missed it, and are interested, I did save all of my Tanzainia stories under an instagram highlight (which you can check out here).
filed in /