“Just think of everything in the Lion King”

Yes, the title of this post says it all. When on safari in Tanzania, we truly did see most of the animals in the Lion King. You name it – we probably saw it. Lions, hippos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, birds, baboons, warthog… Zebras became such a common sight that after the first day, the vehicle with the “younger” crowd (Roy, Melisa, Matt, India, Vanessa, and myself) almost stopped stopping to take photos just of them. Here is one photo, however, that I did take of that animal.

Zebras and wildebeest turned out to be the most common animals in the Ngorongoro Crater when we visited – although in the distance we did see rhinos. Many animals were seen both at the crater and at Tarangire National Park – however, we saw way more elephants located there. Our game drives that occurred over three days were spent with one day inside the crater and two days at Tarangire.

  During our first encounter with the elephants up close, I recall one male of our group (who will not be mentioned by name, but instead by photo to the left) starting to whisper, telling the rest of us to be quiet, and not move – for fear of the elephants becoming angry. Our driver, Nicholas, told us that elephants are generally peaceful – living often in large numbers. When noticing one extremely large elephant in a group, it would typically be the “alpha male” – with the rest being female mates and offspring elephants. A few photos were taken of …well, excited elephants but they were deemed too scary even for grown ups to be put on to the blog!

One question that was frequently asked was “when will we see a lion?” (Or insert other animal there.) Doing a safari is nothing like going to the zoo. At a zoo, you know that animals will be in a cage or a location, unless there is a sign up saying “temporarily unavailable.” On a safari though, you have to take the time to find the animals. Often our driver would stop and point to a small dark mound off in the distance. He would ask “what do you think that is?” We would respond with “a pile of dirt” or “a rock.” Quite often, those “rocks” in the distance would be a hippo, rhino, or elephant.

Also, in a safari, vehicles do not always stick together as a group. Some people on our trip were really interested in birds – while another was interested in animal poo. This meant that the vehicles often would split up shortly after the beginning of the drive, merely to reconnect at the end of the couple of hours driving around.

 The “young” vehicle did get lucky though. During one of our drives, we had a pride of young lions (six females and one male in his early “teenager” years, pictured to the left) walk near our vehicle. The closest lion was easily within 300 feet from our vehicle – as they all walked various pathways to the watering hole nearby.

After this safari experience, which was new to everyone but myself, people had quite a few more photos than before the drives – and a greater appreciation for animals. I believe, the only question remaining unanswered still is what type of bird is Zazu supposed to be!

All photos taken by Karolyn Wojtowicz. Image of Zazu from the Lion King found at: