project review

My Tanzanian Adventure

Review submitted by Anna Hodgson
Review date 10 Feb 2017

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Tanzanian Adventure has been the best and hardest weeks of my life so far!! The first half of my trip was spent on the Savanna camp, an 8 hour bus journey from Dar es Salaam. It was no National Express- and old woman sat on my lap for a good 20 minutes it was that crammed! It was a novel way to see a bit more of the country, and we even spotted some giraffes when going through a national park. We arrived in our destination and awaited our truck to the camp.

Our assessments were focused around the human-wildlife conflict and how human settlement is affecting wildlife migration paths.  We slept, cooked and washed outside, very liberating having a shower in open air- I highly recommend it.  We were tracking large mammals, sometimes walking 12km a day in 40 degree heat.  Sometimes I swear nature had a vendetta against me- in one day I managed to trip on a log, get back up and tangle myself in vines and then get impaled on some thorns- my skin, not just trousers!! tanzania campHowever a good laugh was had by all.

Amongst other activities we also did baiting with meat at various carnivore stations, it was exciting to find civit and genet prints but rather unexciting breathing too deeply next to the rotting meat.  We were also doing butterfly and lizard surveys- which got surprisingly competitive when beer as a prize was mentioned! We also did a conservation lesson at a local school which was embarrassing but we soon got used to being silly and making the kids laugh...some of them are surprisingly strong and bold for their age!

As for the animals-  it's not quite the same as on safari, where if you see an animal everyone gets excited and gets their camera out; when you see an elephant or buffalo in the thicket on foot it is rather more scary....so after that we were always on the look out for a decent tree to climb. At night we could often here hyenas and lions- at one point the hyenas were 150m from our bandas! As for the food- it really was 2 weeks of rice and beans- and whatever variation you can muster. I was hoping it would eliminate my chocolate cravings, but it just made them worse!  Birthdays and people who can bake well are always welcomed with open arms! We had a very productive first week and after dinner Swahili lessons courtesy of our local bird expert/ community liaison officer followed by card games and bug flicking sessions by torchlight.

After 2 weeks of being on the Savanna camp I was rather looking forward to doing some diving on Mafia Island, and just be weightless and clean(er) for a while! The camp was really beautiful- like something from Swallows and Amazons- with our boat 'Potway' to suit. I didn't expect to have to wade out to the boat as soon as I got off the plane- check your pockets as soon as you land! Everything was right on the beach, we were sleeping in huts made from palms and we even had a camp dog and two cats which was cool. The views are just stunning, white sands lined with palm trees and all different blues, greens and browns like a water colour painting span out across the horizon when the tide goes out across the sand.

When we were diving we saw loads of pretty fish and beautiful coral formations- turtles and octopus were spotted often. Dolphins often swam close to the boat and on my last day I was lucky enough to see a humpback whale! It was all very magical and I can honestly say a week later I've not stopped smiling! The way of life in Tanzania takes some getting used to, but you can't help but laugh at the totally laid back attitude of the people there- it's infectious.

There is only one way to find out about Tanzania and all her treasures- go!!

Read more about the Tanzania Dive, Teach & Wildlife Adventure.