A Window to Africas Soul

June 1st 2011
Dear Diary

Tomorrow I leave for my trip to Tanzania. I made sure I got my yellow fever injection and took my malaria tablets ( I declined the other injections which completely scarred me. What on earth is Meningococcal Disease??) Once I calmed down I decided to start packing. I always see foreigners in their khaki shorts, long white socks pulled up to their knees, big straw hats and shirts saying ‘’I love Africa’’ Being a South African there is no way I would ever think about wearing that. I feel however a bit guilty judging the foreigners as what exactly does one pack and how on earth will I manage only 15kg’s in a soft bag? I guess that means I have to leave out the hairdryer

Good night for now
Love Nikki

June 2nd 2011
I am onboard my South African Airways flight and without my deodorant. Apparently it is considered a ‘dangerous’ object to have on board. It is not as if I am going to walk to the cockpit and hijack the plane and attempt to blind the pilot with my jasmine spelling spray. I have arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport but its 19h30 so unfortunately no chance of seeing Mount Kilimanjaro. It is now time to be transferred to Arusha where I am spending the night. It is one hour road transfer to get there and I’m so tired and hungry. I sometimes feel that I am the only person in the world who can’t handle the smell or sight of plane food.

Until tomorrow

Love Nikki

June 3rd 2011
My knuckles are white from gripping the arm rest of my seat. I have sweat beads all along my face and at the back of my neck. I am sitting in a 6 seater plane with propellers ( I thought those were only used for planes in the 1920’s!)

Up and down, Up and down, up and suddenly what felt like a 10 foot drop down and then back up again. I’m deciding whether to throw up, pass out or cry. Before I decided to do all three I looked out the window. The Serengeti was just below and millions of wildebeest and zebra were all around. The western part of the Serengeti is definitely the place to be in June and July in order to see the migration. I have never seen so many animals in one place in all my life, it was exactly like the discovery channel depicts. I starred around in wonder an my nausea forgotten

The lodge itself is amazing, it is right on the Grumeti river. Twenty resident hippo’s are relaxing in the river in front of my tent. I realise now why I can not walk around the tent at night.

It has been an incredible day and I can only imagine what the few days have in store for me.

Love Nikki

June 6th 2011
It is home time sadly but I truly feel this experience has changed my life. Over the past few days I saw the black and white Colobus monkeys which are only found in Grumeti area playing in the trees. I discovered an antelope called the Dik Dik and yes, I got to witness the hundreds of wildebeest crossing the Grumeti River.

It takes just one wildebeest to start the massive exodus and the millions follow suit. The river bank is now all muddy and slippery and the animals are trampling each other. The crocodiles are inches away from the crossing heards and attack already terrified animals and drown them before they have time to reach the other side.

The river is full of wildebeest still trying to swim across and it is now also full of dead wildebeest floating on top of the river.

Television gives no justice as to just how beautiful and terrifying it actually is to witness. The animals know of the danger awaiting them yet it is a stronger force compelling them to cross. My heart was pounding and my camera clicking away, trying to capture what was truly a once in a lifetime experience. This is nature is its purest form and
it has been this way for hundreds of years. I am so humbled by the experience.

I will be back to this beautiful African country, it has touched my heart and soul forever.

It truly is an unique and beautiful country.

Love Nikki

N Carrol

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