Archives for November, 2012

Dear Nigella, Hello from the steamy jungles of Udzungwa, deep in the heart of Tanzania! Without any exaggeration, I think that Udzungwa National Park may just be the most exotic place I have ever reached in my lifetime (and that is definitely saying something): the air is hot and thick with tropical moisture, the trees…

African Violet Society of America 2375 North Street Beaumont, Texas Dear Madam or Sir, I have come upon a strange flower and wish to inform you of its vague and general whereabouts. I shall commence right away by stating quite clearly that I cannot—not without the greatest stretch of the imagination—consider myself an enthusiast, let…

Magical Mikumi

Dear @KenGreig, Jambo! How are you? Is Toronto absolutely freezing right now? I only ask because today in Mikumi, it’s a friendly 34˚ Celsius (94˚ Fahrenheit) and even with all the fans blowing on me, my tent/office feels a bit like a warm convection oven. As one of my most dedicated followers, I must congratulate…

Founded in 1964, Mikumi National Park is one of the most convenient destinations for seeing a host of common African animals (lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo and impala). Though most visitors stick to the central loop of the park, I would highly encourage travelers to head south into the wooded hills, where there is…

Dear @6thGradersRule, Greetings from Mikumi National Park, where I continue my exploration of Tanzania’s natural wonders, one park at a time. I love it here because I am surrounded by animals all of the time, day and night. Every minute, a new creature reveals itself to me. Last night, after a day of wildlife-watching, I…

Thanksgiving Goat

Dear @NerdsEyeView, Habari soul sister! How is news in your part of the world? Nzuri—I am well and enjoying Tanzania, as you promised I would. Our travels seem to weave back and forth in remarkable ways. I know that you were just here last year, so perhaps there is very little I can tell you…

Saadani Superhero

Dear @Marilyn_Res, Greetings from Tanzania, where I am quickly settling into the slow and deliberate rhythm of Africa. Every day I must remember not to rush things—just roll with it. That’s what I keep telling myself. Just a few days inside Saadani National Park and I am reminded that humans invent far more stresses than…

Sunset in Saadani

Dear @USelaine, I am only writing to you first because it is late at night and I can always count on you to be awake. No matter what time zone I am in, you are on Twitter and as social media friends go, you are as dependable as the fire department. This morning at breakfast…

Back 2 Africa

Déjà vu. This place seems so familiar, it’s like I never left. The air is thick and wet—a bit smoky. The streets are as dark as the night I left behind a day ago. In that time, my body has left home and effortlessly crossed the globe. Call it travel or translocation, the passport of…

Over-quoted and underfollowed, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu famously expounded that, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” I remember this every time I pass through an airport’s metal detector—to affirm that I am not merely a passive subject of security screening, but rather an intrepid traveler breaking the threshold of a…

It takes nearly six hours to fly across the Sahara Desert — —about the same distance it takes to fly across the United States. Indeed, the biggest desert in the world is as wide as the continental U.S., and from high up in the sky, I was able to take in the sea of sand…