When Africa calls, you owe it to yourself to answer. We have been waiting years for the right moment to book what is most certainly the trip of a lifetime - a weeklong safari across the African savanna. To say it is a life changing experience is an understatement. Our time in Tanzania and Kenya transported us to another world, one of serenity and patience,n teeming with life and staggering beauty. It is a trip that takes planning and dedication, so here are a few things I learned along the way. The most important advice, however, is to embrace the stillness - no phones, no laptops, not wifi. There is no better detox from the bustle of modern life, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed, inspired and content. As Hemmingway once remarked, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”
WHERE TO STAY
We started off at Oliver’s Camp in the Tarengiri National Park. The tents are beautiful and very comfortable, but set up right in the middle of the savanna; it took a few nights to get used to the noises. Breakfast was our favorite meal, set out with views for miles. Next we moved to Namiri Plains retreat in the Serengeti National Park. Take a dip in the pool in the afternoon before the sun sets and temperatures drop.
in the Masai Mara conservancy is spectacular, like a five-star treehouse. The drives are long, 2-4 hours two times a day (do 5 minutes of yoga whenever you stop) and we saw 4 out of 5 of the big game animals (elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion - only missed the Rhino). A special treat was visiting the Masai tribe in the late afternoon and listening to their stories by the fire.
WHAT TO PACK:
First and foremost, you want to focus on layers. The days are hot, but the nights get very cool, so you need good socks and warm sweaters. I lived in my safari jacket (the pockets really make sense) and my favorite pashmina. Beige and khaki pants and t-shirts are a requirement - I found most everything for the whole family at Uniqlo and Banana Republic. Don’t forget a hat! Earplugs, an eye mask and a little pharmacy are all great ideas. As far as jewelry, I packed simple, everyday pieces (more stainless steel than gold) and my dual time Navigator St Tropez was a dream.
WHAT TO BRING HOME:
This is a time to invest in a quality camera with a good zoom. The kids really found their light in the African sunset. We got a Leica and a pair of good binoculars. I’ll definitely be ordering a photo album to keep all the memories. And while the wildlife is the star, my mother and I were delighted to spend an afternoon browsing the extraordinary jewelry of the Masai tribe. I bought a beaded cuff called a Masai watch which I wore for the rest of the trip. The colors and patterns are gorgeous. I’m sure it will remain a favorite token of one of the best vacations of my life.