Wildlife spotting

Great expectations and fastened seat belts. Our private bush plane introduces us in utmost style to Africa’s wildlife world in motion. Spoiling us with an unforgettable bird's’ eye view from the Kilimanjaro to the Ndutu Airstrip, a non-paved clay strip in the middle of the endless plains of the Northern Serengeti. Our first stop in Tanzania immediately sets the tone for the natural wealth that will humble us the following days. En-route to the andBeyond tented camp, we already enjoy our first game drive and meet a handful of so many of the great beasts that call Africa home. Going on safari may sound as a travel cliché, but - I can assure you - spotting your first wild giraffe, zebra, hyena, lion cub and a seldom-seen leopard on a first ride out gets you up to the ecstatic state of childlike wonder.

Happy glamper

Our host andBeyond lives up its name, as we’re spending the night in a remote luxury wilderness campsite that reaches far beyond the bounds of the traditional Tanzanian safari. These exclusive seasonal camps move around the Serengeti year round, bringing guests within range of the Great Migration. Marching in seemingly endless columns, this annual movement of the herbivores is perhaps the greatest spectacle to witness in the animal kingdom. Over two million mammals partake in this migration, including zebras, elands, Thomson’s gazelles and wildebeests. A thundering cavalcade, followed by a host of predators and scavengers, who prey on the old and the lost. To witness this timeless phenomenon in the Serengeti an unforgettable privilege, as it’s one of the few places on earth where a full-scale migration still occurs.

It’s needless to say our first night in the camp is as exciting as our first game drive. Just imagine yourself snoozing under canvas with a wildebeest to the left and a zebra to the right, while a hyena is laughing out loud... This is the ultimate glamping experience, located in a grove of acacia trees, complete with a private butler service and chef. Our luxury mobile tent boasts a comfortable bed, ensuite bathroom and a bucket shower under the stars. You’d be surprised how fast you get used to that hot water bottle warming-up your chilly night sheets… Or having an exquisite bush dinner in blissful silence, only hours after a mud fight with a wild African Elephant. At the end of the day, we are all boasting around the campfire about the animals we’ve seen and their extraordinary facts, as if we were playing a wildlife quartet. This is Africa at its best!

Make sure to be careful what you wish for in the Serengeti. Because the local rangers and guides don’t give up quite easily. After a six-hour dusty and wobbly game drive through a minor part of the 15,000 square-kilometer national park, we still haven’t found the cheetah Mathieu bucketlisted. Alex, our personal driver convinces us to beat the bushes one last time. A succesful attempt, because moments later we witness an epic battle between predator and prey. A hungry cheetah is chasing a wildebeest calf, with a crazy sprint of 105 km an hour in a split second. An adrenaline rush. After a refreshing homemade lemonade back in the camp, the park ranger takes us and it’s kalasjnikov out for a wild gamewalk to the salk lake during sunset. As if the gamedrive isn’t exciting enough.

Paradise found

The Ngorongoro was once a gigantic volcano, until it’s peak collapsed and eroded into a crater - often referred to as the Garden of Eden. The assemblage of wildlife on the crater floor is seen as one of the world’s wonders. And that’s exactly why the stunning Ngorongoro lodge on the rim of the crater comes with an emergency whistle. Watching over a wicked wildlife scenery including the big five, there are no fences to be found around. You can take it from me, that it’s no exception to bump into a wild buffalo while having an apero... The safari suites are without doubt one of the most architecturally spectacular lodges in Africa. Not to speak of the personal butlers, who discreetly tend to every need, even if you didn’t say these out loud. When you find your bathtub filled with hot water, soap suds and rose petals after an intense eight kilometer hike into the neighbouring Empakaai Crater, you suspect them of mind reading. Two words: paradise found!

Meet the mighty maasai

The Maasai are one of mankind’s earliest ancestors, who traditionally roamed free around Africa and grazed their herds alongside the wildlife. Today some of them have abandoned the nomadic lifestyle, but many of them uphold their tribal traditions. We meet them in a nomadic village of 20 tiny wooden shanty, in the middle of the plains. Talking about the perks of jump style dancing, polygamy and the value of cows. “With a staple diet of milk and blood, the welfare of our cattle is of prime concern. All Masaai men pass through three life stages - boyhood, warriorhood and elderhood. Each of which is marked by a time-honoured rite of passage ceremony. A boy only becomes a warrior after he has survived outside the village in the wild for 6 months. We arm them with nothing but a spear and stories of spirit worlds never lost.”

The wildest sounds

Long safari rides can be a waiting game. Enjoy the silence or let the soundtrack of noah's ark of wildlife light the way along the road. Roarrr!

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