-  Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area  -  Serengeti National Park  -  Lake Manyara National Park  -
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SerengetiBesides meeting Emanuel, the second big draw for us in Tanzania was to see the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the wildlife found there. In Maasai, the word  Siringet means  endless plain. The Serengeti has often been called the world's last great ecosystem; a sign at the entrance to Serengeti National Park reads: This is the world as it was in the beginning. Nothing could be closer to the truth.

We have read about and studied African wildlife since before we started school. Once in Ngorongoroschool, we saw numerous films and videos on the Serengeti and the great wildebeest migration. Even through university we studied the ecosystem and the predator-prey relationships found there. The lions of the OlduvaiNgorongoro Crater were a study in the loss of genetic diversity. Dwindling elephant populations were a study in poaching and wildlife management. Olduvai Gorge, we learned and studied, was the cradle of modern anthropology with discoveries made by the Leakeys. And the East Africa Rift Valley... to all geographers it is continental drift in action.

Now we were leaving the studying behind and going to see the real thing. Books and videos can never quite prepare you for that first encounter with Cape Buffalothe dramatic landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater, or the vastness of the Serengeti, or the steady gaze of a Cape buffalo. Africa was alive and well and close enough to touch. Our five days of travel and game drives were the ultimate field trip for two people who have spent their lives studying Geography and Ecology.

Tanzania MapEven the word safari (Swahili for  journey) conjures up images of big-game hunters, four-wheel drives, and vast tracks of "empty" land. Thank goodness the hunters have been replaced by camera-toting tourists, at least in the National Parks. Tanzania is to be commended for their planning and management - for being the fourth-poorest country in the world, they have managed to set aside fully 25% of their land for wildlife preservation. Canada lingers at less than 10%. Tanzanians recognise the importance of foreign currency through international tourism. We in Canada have yet to give wilderness the same priority despite the equally lucrative potential.

Begin your Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater 


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