For as long as I can remember, I have been passionately intrigued by ‘Africa,’ by the word itself, by its flora and fauna, its topographical diversity and grandeur; but above all else, by the sheer variety of the colors of its people, from tan and sepia to jet and ebony.”
– Henry Louis Gates (Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University)
I have been wanting to visit Africa since I was a young boy. I loved animals and seeing huge elephants, lions and other African animals on TV National Geographic, Nature and other wildlife shows. At the time, it was a bucket-list dream adventure that seemed well beyond my reach.
In 2010 I was a graduate student at the University of Arizona. I was studying biogeography and I was invited to go to Nairobi, Kenya to teach a species distribution modeling class as part of a biodiversity conference and workshop organized by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. I jumped at the chance to attend the conference and teach a course. Though we spent most of our time at the Multimedia University of Kenya, we had a few occasions to go on excursions where we briefly experienced the Maasai Mara and went on a one-day safari in Nairobi National Park. I was only in Kenya for 10 days, but I was hooked.
People say that once you’ve visited Africa, it changes you and you are never the same. I was not prepared for this, but it’s most certainly true. From the moment I returned from my short trip to Kenya, I knew I had to return to the region and experience more.
It took 8 years to get back there. Along the way we dealt with challenges posed by the economy, a cancer diagnosis, unemployment, and moving, My wife, Christine, was unable to accompany me the first time, so I had been eager to return with her so that she could experience the region and understand how it changed me – and hope that it changed her the same.
The following pages include details on our trip along with some of the many photos we took along our safari.
Tanzania, Arusha Region
Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
- Day 5: Northern Serengeti
- Day 6: Northern Serengeti
- Day 7: Northern Serengeti
- Day 9: Central Serengeti
- Day 10: Central Serengeti
Tanzania, Manyara Area
- Day11: Lake Manyara
- Day 12: Ngorogoro Crater
- Day 13-14: Tarangire National Park
- Day 15: Shanga