The Safari Sleeper Effect
Most travel is better in the doing than in the sharing. But while sorting through the photographic evidence of my misspent February, I made a curious find: When it comes to safaris, the slide show beats 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 astounding me now even more than before.
I must admit: when I embarked upon my six-day safari to Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro national parks–the durations and locales that all the guidebooks recommended–my baseline for amazement was abnormally elevated. I had just spent three weeks living by my spinal cord, as Vonnegut wrote, crashing along on my bike and hoofing up mountains, inhaling every pixel of this hypersaturated world. Somehow breathing dust in a Land Cruiser for six days with David–by now like family, for better and for worse–and two German tourists (though lovely people) just wasn’t buttering my biscuits.
I also objected to whatever economic forces had sucked all the black people out of the national parks. After so many days of being one half of the white population in town, I was dismayed to realize that the majority of visitors to Tanzania–rounding the safari circuit in their identical khaki kits, replete with Tulley hat–most likely depart with the impression that Tanzania is a majority-white country. “Whitey is everywhere,” I would say in Kiswahil to our guides, who always laughed at my small subversion.
But when I got home and snapped open my camera, I was finally and properly wowed. “Yeah, I guess watching those two cheetahs hunt from the termite mound was pretty rad,” I thought.