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Just back from amazing Tanzanian safari!

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Just walked in the door after a long series of flights home from Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam to Newark and finally home to DC. Couldn't wait to post here to say what an incredible time we had. I really think it's the best trip we've ever taken and that's saying something. We were in Tanzania for 15 days & nights and it was all just fantastic in every way. Our guide and driver, Saidi from Good Earth, absolutely made our trip -- he was like a good friend from the moment we met him and so accommodating and eager to share, not to mention an expert at spotting and identifying all sorts of birds and animals, endlessly patient with our questions and so helpful when it came to repositioning the vehicle for the best light for photos or for the least obstructed view possible.

Our favorite places that we stayed were Migration Camp and Swala but all of the places were really nice. Gibbs Farm was very special too.

We kept a list of our sightings each day and in total we saw over 260 different species of animals, including over 190 different kinds of birds (plus a few more that we were not able to identify for sure). We aren't birders, but Tanzania will make bird-watchers out of anyone!

We did experience large herds of wildebeest and zebra in the northern Serengeti not far from Migration Camp, and then some ENORMOUS herds in the central area of the Serengeti around Seronera where it really felt like the "great" migration. Even saw four different attempted kills by lions at rivers & waterholes, of both zebra and wildebeest, but none successful -- although we saw lots of feasting on kills that we apparently just missed witnessing -- including hartebeest, buffalo, zebra, and wildebeest. Also had an amazing sighting of a leopard in a tree who seemed riveted by something we could not see on the ground, which we watched for a long time -- and what she was watching turned out to be a lioness in the long grass stalking some hartebeest! Watching the leopard watch the lioness was most entertaining. Other amazing things -- lots of leopard sightings in Serengeti and one in Tarangire where we least expected it, a female cheetah with five very young cubs near Ndutu, a family of bat-eared foxes playing at dusk in the Ngorongoro Crater, a huge 10-foot long African rock python digesting something massive at one of the picnic areas in Ngorongoro, a rhino calf suckling in Ngorongoro (in fact we saw a total of 7 different rhinos in Ngorongoro), being charged by elephants in Tarangire, 2 different sightings of beautiful serval cats (one in northern Serengeti and one at Naabi Gate), watching a gorgeous pride of 12 lions including lots of cubs playing at sunset along the Seronera river and then watching as they attempted to ambush some approaching wildebeest, etc. etc. Hearing lions roar in the middle of the night while sleeping in tents at Migration Camp and Swala was an experience I will never forget! And the Tanzanian people we met were so warm and welcoming. We had a really nice visit at a Maasai village on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.

Weather was fantastic and I have to say that I think Nov-Dec is a great time of year for the areas where we were as it was low season, not crowded at all -- in fact, the night we stayed at Gibbs we were the only guests, which was also the case for one of our nights at Swala and one of our nights at Migration Camp. The quiet suited us very well.

I will have to post a real trip report later but couldn't resist just posting this to say how terrific it all was. Already can't wait to go back. With everything that we saw, there is always more to see! (As we were driving out of Tarangire on our last day we met a couple who had just arrived and who had seen 3 wild dogs on their very first game drive...needless to say we were green with envy but also thrilled for them.)

Feel free to post questions and I will respond once I've gotten some sleep!

P.S. Every baby animal we saw was the cutest ever, one more adorable than the rest. If there is anything cuter than a baby elephant it can only be a baby dik dik...or a baby cheetah...or a newborn zebra...or the tiny little monkeys and baboons...even warthog piglets are irresistable! We even saw a baby leopard tortoise.

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