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  • Writer's pictureAlana Conner

East Africa Safaris, 2009

Updated: Apr 10

Menlo Park, California, U.S.—Most travel is better in the doing than in the sharing. But while sorting through the photographic evidence of my February, I made a curious find: When it comes to safaris, the slide show equals the schlep. Indeed, the interplays of predator and prey, the landscapes soaked in beauty, the holy-cannoli-is-that-a-hippo-flipping? moments that I witnessed two months ago are even more astounding to me now than when I witnessed them firsthand.

A hippo on its back in a pond in Ngorongoro Crater.
Hippos flip in the water to keep their skin moist. They also smell remarkably bad.

I must admit: When I embarked upon my six-day safari to Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater national parks—the durations and locales that all the guidebooks recommended—my baseline for amazement was abnormally elevated. I had just spent three weeks crashing along on my bike and hoofing up mountains, inhaling every pixel of this hyper-saturated world. Somehow breathing dust in a Land Cruiser for six days just wasn’t buttering my biscuits.

I also objected to the many forces that keep Black people out of the national parks. After so many days of being one half of the white population on every town I visited, I was dismayed to realize that the majority of safari-goers in Tanzania—rounding the safari circuit in their identical khaki kits, replete with Tulley hat—could reasonably depart with the impression that Tanzania is a majority-white country.

But when I got home and snapped open my camera, I was properly wowed. “Yeah, watching those two cheetahs hunt from the termite mound was incredibly rad,” I thought.

What's for dinner?

"Seeing whole families of elephants capering beneath the acacias was also straight-up magical."

For Olan Mills family portraits, elephants prefer the acacia background.

"Giraffes nibbling clouds? Yes, please?"

Nom nom nom.

Lions yukking it up, all Stadtler-and-Waldorf style, is also a once-in-a-lifetime treat.

Phyllis! Couldja bring us a femur?

And the zebras were especially beguiling, with their habit if clustering in threes so that they can protect each other from predators."

I got your back.

I could go on and on, but it's probably best to just check out my full photo galleries on Flickr.

Sometimes the light or this world reveals things we never thought we could see.

Godlight on the Serengeti


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