What I love about travel is that you are constantly learning. In a previous blog post, I discussed how travel is more than a physical journey. My recent trip to Africa was indeed a learning experience. Here are a few reflections from my trip to Africa.
I truly felt like I returned home. My interactions during my stay were far from customer service, and it was as though I was a treasured guest. Tanzanians were warm, friendly, and genuine. There was a sincere desire to ensure that everything met my needs, not only at my accommodations but everywhere I went. It was a truly unique experience to interact without feeling targeted or a minority. I left Africa with a stronger sense of self-pride and confidence.
“Pole, Pole” Pronounced as Polay, Polay is the Swahili word for slowly, slowly. My new friend Saleh reminded me of this constantly. It was as though I forgot I was on vacation, and he had to remind me that I was. “Pole,” he said. After a while, I started to remember that the journey was just as fulfilling as the destination. I now plan for this phrase to be a part of the new me. I will take life slowly and enjoy the ride.
An African massage on a safari is not the desired perk! However, it is one you will absolutely want to experience. There are no paved roads on the safari, and you are in a four-wheeler. “Hold on,” my guide Elle said, and indeed I did. As the engine started, so did the massage. You are slung from side to side as the guide takes you on your game drive. The African massage is complimentary, painful, but extremely rewarding.
I will never visit a zoo! There is no comparison to seeing wildlife up close and personal and in their natural habitat. Patience is indeed a virtue. We waited almost two hours to see the wildebeest crossing the Mara River. The wait was truly worth it, and it’s an experience I will never forget. My guide Stephen jokingly asked me what “Jaz” meant? After a while, I truly understood, “just another zebra.” Sightings were plentiful and awe-inspiring. However, if I never see another Zebra or Wildebeest in my life, I’m good!
“Maisha marefu,” in Swahili, means long life. My new friend Peter set up a beautiful picnic lunch for us as we left Ngorongoro. He said that he could not think of a better send-off than to wish us a long life. I reflect on seeing the vultures in the Tarangire national park, watching the voracious eating of a zebra and the many carcasses left throughout the safari. The phrase “Maisha marefu” was a poignant reminder that life is to be treasured. It summed up my trip in the best way. Pole, Pole is the way to Maisha marefu, unless you are the prey. Lol.
As a lifelong learner, this trip was indeed a learning experience. I hope you will consider a visit to Africa, whether on a safari or a heritage trip. Africa is a destination all EbonyTravelers should take.