It was the first of many things. The first time in several years that we had gotten away for a substantial period of time, the first time to East Africa, the first time on safari, and perhaps the most important - the first holiday as a married couple. I started the planning with Zanzibar and worked my way from there. It sounded exotic, and like a place that I might like. I knew few people who had ever traveled to the island renowned for its spices and once ruled by the Sultan of Oman. From Zanzibar, the sensible place to go (we quickly found out) was Tanzania. We also learned rather fast from an amazing British Travel Company that we should go south.
South? I asked? But what about the migration? The wildebeest? The Serengeti?
Do not worry, I was told, go South, go to Selous.
Selous? What the hell and where the hell is Selous?
Oh, it is wonderful. It has the largest population of wild dogs and it is about 55,000 sq km (the largest game park in all of Africa).
Well, that was all fine and good, and lovely that it was the largest game park in all of the African Continent, but that also meant that there was a diminished chance of seeing the lions, the rhinos, the BIG FIVE!
But, I was told... there were wild dogs.
I spent some time looking at the camp where we would be staying and quickly decided if nothing else, we would have some lovely lie-downs, and I would be in Africa, on safari, in style. We were going to stay in a proper tent that zipped up and down and an outdoor shower, and since it was located on a lake, I would see crocodiles.
OK - and then, then we would get to Zanzibar. The Spice Island. Beach, sun, and more beach. I started to get excited, I started to plan, and to pack. The list of shots was long...meningitis, tentanus (mine had run out), Hep A, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, and of course the malaria pills. But none of this mattered. We were looking forward to the adventure of a lifetime.
It did not hit me until we were on the 12-seater airplane flying from Dar es Salaam to the middle of the Tanzanian Bush.
The little plane lifted off and left the city behind. The 30 minute flight took us over lush green fields, hills, valleys, and the like and as we flew further south, the landscape started to change. Since it is winter in sub-saharan Africa, the landscape had hues of pale greens, yellows, and browns.
and so it began...