Ndutu: My First Day In Africa

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After approximately 29 hours of travel I arrived at Kilimanjaro around 9pm.  The airport was shockingly small (or so I thought before I had been to the bush “airports” in the area).  It did make customs easy to navigate.

I had been a little wary about waiting until arrival to get my visa, but the process was really simple.  I waited in line for about 15-20 minutes and handed over the $100usd and that was it.  Then I had to show my passport and get finger printed.  It was probably the easiest customs process I’ve encountered, (even though I do find fault with a country that charges a $100 cover.)  My one complaint was that no one wanted to see my super expensive yellow fever card.  Seriously, I threw it at every official and no one cared.  $345 wasted! (except for not having yellow fever).

After a quick and painless airport experience, and a less quick and painless first time driving on the left side of the road (I’m using the term “road” pretty loosely here), I made it to Arusha just in time to be up all night before my 7am flight to Ndutu. Reverse jet-lag maybe?  I guess that’s the downside to plane naps.

Anyway, 7am came quickly and then I discovered the Arusha airport that made Kilimajaro almost seem like a real airport.

Arusha Airport

Arusha Airport

This “airport” was little more than string of shacks housing several airline offices and a coffee shop.  There, of course, was also a security shack which had a metal detector, and an x-ray machine from a hundred years ago.

I boarded the tiniest scariest plane I’ve ever been on and flew out into the Serengeti.

Flying to Ndutu

I must have been at least a little nervous because I think it’s the only flight I’ve ever been awake on, but it really wasn’t bad at all.  And it was totally worth it because at the end of all of that I was at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Ndutu

This was our room… too cute.

Ndutu Safari Lodge

It also has a main lodge with a bar and restaurant overlooking the Serengeti.

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Ndutu Safari Lodge

At night guests sit around the fire out back sipping gin and tonic and these little guys come and beg for food.

Dik Dik

That’s a Dik Dik, the most adorable antelope in the world.

We arrived at the lodge early enough to grab breakfast before going out on a game drive.

Safari Breakfast

I still maintain that baked beans are not a breakfast food.

Of course, the whole reason for going is the game drives.  My first game drive was amazing.  Within the first 20 minutes we saw two cheetahs eating a baby wildebeest.  I was there during the annual migration, so I saw every wildebeest in the world.

Photos can probably say it best, so here’s a selection of the amazing things I saw in my first day in Africa (and a few from the morning after).

wildebeest

Cheetah

Vultures

Elephant

Elephants

Wildebeest migration

Safari

lion

lion

lioness

lions

baby lions

lions

lions

lions

lion

giraffe

This guy was my favorite

baby giraffe

giraffes

lion family

lion family

…this guy was also my favorite.

baby lion

We were fortunate enough to have the manager of the lodge driving us around.

safari

safari

safari

Unfortunately, photos don’t do it justice, but literally gazillions of wildebeest everywhere (all the tiny black dots in the background)

Wildebeest migration

We even attempted a bumpy safari vehicle sundowner.

Insider tip: if you’re not getting out of the vehicle, red wine is a bad choice.

Elephant

African Night

Sunrise

Hyena

sunrise

scary lions

Nature is simultaneously gross and fascinating.

lions eating

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Ndutu: My First Day In Africa

  1. I probably would have been a little nervous on the flight as well. But WOW was the destination worth the trip! I’m sure it was even more beautiful in person!! Can’t wait to see more:)

    • Mags

      It was such an amazing experience, definitely worth the lengthy and sometimes scary flights, and don’t worry, there will be more. I took over 1000 photos in 2 weeks. There’s so much to see there!

  2. […] days in Africa were probably my favorite, (mostly because I met these guys that you can read about here and […]

  3. […] sets in pretty quickly after I return home from a trip.  Unfortunately, Africa cleaned me out financially for a bit, not to mention the fact that it’s recital season and my […]

  4. […] After an early morning game drive and watching lions eat breakfast at Ndutu, […]

  5. […] warm.  I was fine in Arusha and Zanzibar, but I was definitely glad I packed my sweater on the Serengeti.  It gets pretty cold at night time bonfires and early morning game […]

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