We spent two nights in tents in the middle of 1600 acres in Tarangire National Park with elephants, lions, giraffes and dik-dik but no electricity or internet. Hot showers came from water heated in the kitchen tent and dinners were served by candlelight. It gets dark at 7 and we had to be in our tents by 8 because animals come out after that. It started with the honey badger, jackal and hyena, then the low, guttural oomph, oomph, oomph of a lion roaming close by.
The park stretches from horizon to horizon. Under the baobab and acacia trees we watched lions mate, smelled the musk of a herd of baboons crossing the road in front of us, and listened to the sounds of elephant trunks sucking water, rubbing together in respect or slapping in dominance. Outside of our tent were shooting stars, the Milky Way, and the southern cross in the clear, black African sky.
There is a constant motion in the people and animals of Tanzania. Many Tanzanians can’t afford transportation so they walk along the highways, some travel great distances into town from their mud huts. Women wrapped in colorful batik, kitenge or shuka balance bushels of bananas, baskets of produce, bags of coffee beans, or buckets of up to five gallons of water on their heads. Every day boys walk cows and goats to pasture or water, shaking sticks to move the herd forward or keep them together.Hands and tails swat away tsetse flies. In the wild, animals continuously migrate to find food and water and lines of zebras, wildebeests, and baboons stomp up dust as they cross the plains and riverbeds.
Our guides describe Tanzania as a peaceful country. For us there was peace in the isolation. For two days, all that existed was the land that we could see and we knew nothing about what happened in the rest of the world. However, the first stop that we had with wi-fi, there was anxiety when I couldn’t immediately find my phone. There is peace in texts and Facebook messages from friends back home too.0