Tag archives for Tanzania

Breaking rocks is hard work. I wish I could speak from a lifetime experience, but in all my years, I only have these two half-days in Tanzania  during which time I personally smashed very hard rocks with iron tools. As activities go, breaking rocks can hurt something horrible. I still have blisters on both hands,…

It gets cold in Africa. We are just below the equator but over a mile high in altitude, so that evenings are cool and mornings are overcast. In Tanzania, July does not bring the T-shirt weather of home—July means winter. We have traded summer for the African winter and I am shivering beneath a spotty…

I went running that morning. I took off outside the gate and launched up the chocolate-colored road, ankle-deep in dust. A minute later, my shoes and socks were black with dirt, and I tasted the earth on my teeth, like salty crushed graham crackers. Tanzania’s winter is so dry and the air so still, the…

Wandering Tanzania’s national parks for an entire month taught me many things—like how to stay very quiet and still when there’s a 7-ton elephant rubbing against your tent. In all my travels in all the world, I have never had such rich and fulfilling wildlife encounters as I did in Tanzania, which is why I…

I walk through the uphill dust of an ancient explosion. My boots crunch into the slope in rhythm, worn rubber upon stones and sand, and in my head, I imagine the mighty boom that formed this mountain before me. I have walked five days to get to this point—through leafy forests jumping with monkeys, then…

This will be the shortest blog post of my life. It is minus 15° C [5° F] with very strong wind and typing means taking my gloves off, BUT, I wanted to live blog my reaching the summit of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Yes, right now, I am typing this at 19,341 ft (5,895 m) which…

Mars

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day two, and day three. There is life on Mars—I know because I am here. There is water on Mars, too—I know because I am wet. I cannot see the rain in the foggy glow of my sunglasses, but I can feel it—like…

Acclimatizing

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day two, and day four. Every morning my guide Zachary asks me if I have slept like a baby and every morning I tell him yes, just like a baby. Whoever invented this expression never had a baby, because most of the babies…

Zachary

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day three, and day four. My guide smokes. In fact, I suspect that when he is not climbing mountains, he is probably quite the heavy chain smoker. I have no problem with this. Up here, the wind is strong enough that I don’t…

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day two, day three, and day four. I am not athletic, I am not an Olympian, I am not a climber. I am neither Sir Edmund Hillary nor Jon Krakauer, nor shall I ever aspire to mimic mountaineering men. I am merely a traveler on…

Dear Jane Goodall, Greetings from Gombe National Park, which you brought to our attention not so long ago. I never thought I’d make it to this little sliver of mountain forest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, but somehow, the fates landed me on the same beaches that you continue to walk ever since you…

Chère Nancy, Bienvenue à Katavi National Park! I have been meaning to write you ever since I arrived here in Africa, which is a place that I think you would enjoy immensely. I realize that your blustery Acadian home is quite different from the steamy green forests that I find myself in now. In fact, this…

Monkey Love

Dear Shelternook, We have never met, but you have been traveling with me for quite some time now. I count you among my very devoted followers on Twitter and am always grateful for your comments and interest in my travels, especially now, here, in Africa. A few weeks ago I showed you all how I…

Dear Annette, Greetings from Katavi National Park, which is about as wild a place as there is left on Earth—so wild that I feel slightly guilty entering this raw chunk of Eden with my heaping pack of electronic gadgetry. Lugging my range of manmade technology into camp, I am a cold and steely intruder in…

God’s Garden

Dear Janet, Somehow I know that you love flowers–so do I. I mean, who doesn’t? I wonder if that is even possible, since like animals, flowers are such a huge and vivid ingredient of nature–symbols of such emotional depths that where words fail, we trust flowers to transport our love and sympathy and friendship with…

Beautiful Ruaha

Dear Maxine, Hodi! Hello there! How are you? I am still in Tanzania and will remain here for quite some time. I know that I have a habit of hopping from one country to another, but despite my continual hopping around, I still find myself deep inside the endless dry miles of central Tanzania. This…

Dear @CauseAnUproar, I send you greetings from the lions that have kept me awake all night. Every time I began a new dream, they began their strange and hollow growls and unsettling calls. I thought by midnight they would taper off—but no, they would just not shut up. If there are any typos or bad…

Dear @GioPalatucci, I write you from the very dry heart of Tanzania where the ground is very brown, the grass is lion-colored and the trees look like they could all use a bit of water. I tell you Gio, it is everything you imagine Africa to be: forever skies with evasive clouds, the hot, hot…

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…