One never forgets the first time they visit the great Serengeti on the African plains of Tanzania! It truly takes your breath away and is far beyond words or the plethora of photo’s available to us online. Only one thing can truly do it justice – being there!
I remember reading that National Geographic listed seeing the Great Zebra and Wildebeest Migration as one of the “must do’s” on this planet. I’d have to agree. I’ve had the good fortune of spending many years traveling the globe with Dream Travel and without a doubt, the Mt Kilimanjaro Hike, Safari and Race is my favorite trip, period.
Imagine standing on the seats of a roofless 4×4 on the vast plain of the Serengeti. Binoculars and camera in hand, you take in the incredible and mind-boggling view. As far as the eye can see in all directions, zebras and wildebeest working and eating together and on the ever-constant hunt for water. A mere forty feet away, a pride of lions lurk in the tall grass, waiting.
Imagine walking up to the rim of the great Ngorongoro Crater, looking out over the 260 square KM’s of crater floor – the most animal-dense populated area in all of Africa and where every species of animal in Eastern Africa calls home.
Imagine visiting an actual Masai Tribe and being allowed to enter their homes, play with their children and be a part of a traditional dance.
Then, from the lowest point in Africa to the highest: Mt Kilimanjaro.
Mt Kilimanjaro has always been the center of attention in Africa. The largest mountain on the continent and the largest free-standing mountain on the planet, Mt Kilimanjaro stands 5895 meters over the vast plains below.
Although one only needs to hike it – no technical gear is necessary – it is not without its challenges. At almost 6 vertical KM’s, the thinness of the air on the last day makes mere walking a chore. But any trip to Tanzania is not complete without this 6 day hike, where one ascends through five distinct climate zones: Tropical lower slopes, Rain Forest, Mooreland, High Desert and Arctic Zone/Summit.
The final piece of this amazing trip: running with the world’s fastest runners…on their soil! Some of us have witnessed the Kenyan’s and Tanzanian’s running a race. Their grace and speed is mesmerizing – almost as if they were floating effortlessly along rather than huffing out 42.2 KM’s. It’s an incredible sight, but in East Africa, you have the opportunity to run alongside them…well, at least in my case, for the first half kilometer!
After we watch the worlds’ greatest runners disappear in a cloud of dust, all you need to do to witness an ever greater magic is look to the sidelines and smile. Here you will see the future of running: children as young as 5 years old, ready to run alongside you for as many KM’s as you wish. Yes, they can run a half or a full marathon – in sandals or even barefoot! And, without as much as a single complaint!
To say this is merely a trip of a lifetime would be a terrible understatement. To travel to this enchanted land, to visit an actual Masai Tribe, to safari upon the great Serengeti, to run with the children of Moshi, to see the Snows of Mt Kilimanjaro – is well beyond such a simple statement!