Back to Africa with Outside GO's Jill Indovino
Back to Africa with Outside GO’s Jill Indovino
Our trip designer Jill shares her safari story from Tanzania, including intimate moments with a pride of lions, plenty of elephant antics, and what it’s like to travel with Outside GO.
“Karibu,” a greeting I heard often while on my trip through East Africa, means you are welcome in Swahili. Every time I heard this word, I immediately felt like each Tanzanian I met was so excited for me to be here.
This was my first trip to Tanzania and my second to Africa. As a trip designer for Outside GO, I was ready to return to this unbelievable continent and be submersed in every detail to help curate the perfect trip for our clients. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the journey.
Arriving in Kilimanjaro I was met by a smiling, welcoming Tanzanian, Shadrock, who helped whisk me through customs in no time. I soon found myself being served a relaxing, delicious dinner at Machweo Retreat in Arusha. Outside GO’s meticulous planning had made my arrival completely stressless and welcoming, and had found the hidden gem of a boutique hotel with extraordinary cuisine to start my trip off right.
"I was already thinking that I needed to come back."
The next morning, my guide met me and as I looked around at the bustling city of Arusha surrounded by the beautiful peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, I was already thinking that I needed to come back to climb one of those peaks. But for this trip, safari was the main attraction and it did not disappoint. As we arrived in Tarangire National Park, we were quickly greeted by elephants. If you want to see elephants, Tarangire is the place! Not only do you see them, but you get to witness their unique family dynamics. We spent the afternoon up close and personal with two young bull elephants play fighting, their tusks clanking and our small group laughing at the strong reprimands from the matriarch elephant in the background who was scolding one of her adolescent teenagers. I could have watched this for hours but there was so much else to see. After all, Tarangire has one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Tanzania. We moved on to watch several ostrich on a date (a group of females were essentially throwing themselves at one lucky guy). After this wonderful introductory game drive, we arrived at Kuro Tarangire Camp. Upon arriving, I rested in a beautiful, chic, and very comfortable tent just waiting for more animals to appear in front of my deck.
The next day, we made our way to Ngorongoro Crater via another safari drive out of Tarangire, seeing a pride of lions with their cubs, more majestic giraffe, and of course elephants along the way. The drive up to the crater is in and of itself an event; rain-forest-like conditions on one side and savannah on the other. The steep, rugged terrain mesmerized me and as we rounded one particularly sharp corner, an enormous bull elephant was blocking the road as he inexplicably made his way up the steep hillside. It was breathtaking and shocking all in one. We made it to Entanamu Ngorongoro perched high on the edge of the crater on what appeared to be the end of the earth. It seemed improbable that the animals would be up here at close to 7,000 feet, but giraffe, zebra, and ostrich accompanied us along the final ascent and passed by camp regularly. I was welcomed with a warm fire and a fun and engaging dinner with fellow safari goers. The next morning we made it down into the crater, the sun rising with endless views and herds of wildebeest, hyenas, hippos, cape buffalo, elephants, and two magnificent male lions in plain sight. They were like models looking into my camera. I ended the day at a Maasai village, where a proud family shares their traditions and customs with guests with lively song, fire making, and an intimate tour of their huts and village.
"If you want to see elephants, Tarangire is the place! Not only do you see them, but you get to witness their unique family dynamics."
Sleep is good in the cool mountain air and the next day was the last stop of my Tanzanian tour. It was a short flight to my next camp, Lamai Serengeti, in the northern Serengeti. As the plane approached, we quickly pulled up and went around again—zebra were on the airstrip. Lamai was truly remarkable, nestled into the rocky highlands. I was torn from just wanting to be in camp relaxing in its beautiful surroundings to exploring the magnificent savannah of the Serengeti. Fortunately, I had three nights here to do both. The very first game drive out of camp I watched a lioness and her four cubs feast on a zebra. It was endearing to hear my guide talk about what a good mom she was and how healthy her and her cubs appeared to be. The pride of lions around the camp were always prevalent each morning, and at night you could hear them roaring and vocalizing to each other. The other camp residents, cape buffalo, grazed in front of my room each evening. My guide Jairo was fantastic, and we experienced so much each day it was like running a marathon. I was out of breath sometimes just taking it all in.
Witnessing a “crossing” was the pinnacle of my safari experience. A world famous event that actually occurs year-round, just in different locations, my trip perfectly coincided with their passage near Lamai Serengeti—the wildebeest were making their great migration and crossing the Mara River. It was treacherous for them and you could feel their trepidation as they started to make a move. The crocodiles are ever present here, and I rooted for the wildebeest as they stampeded across.
"As the plane approached, we quickly pulled up and went around again—zebra were on the airstrip."
My last day came all too soon. Joiru drove me to the airstrip and watched as my plane took off–the guides take such good care of you–it was just like having my own family to see me off. Having had the chance to experience this slice of Africa for myself, I cannot wait to send friends and family to Tanzania for the experience of a lifetime with Outside GO!
See Jill’s itinerary and learn more about the classic East African properties she visited at the link below, and get in touch to start planning your own epic safari today.
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Jill’s Tanzania Trip Report
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