February 3, 2011

Meet Katie from Tennessee

New friends in Tanzania

Katie is an extraordinary child (like all of our kids!) who was so enamored of her family’s safari last March that in her French class she accidentally answered in Swahili. When I heard this I knew I wanted to know more. Wait until you hear about her favorite hobby in this interview:

How old are you / what grade in school? 12 years old, and in the 7th grade

What is your favorite travel moment? Passing out playground equipment to orphans & school children in Tanzania.

What have you learned from traveling? That not everybody lives the way we do in America. You have to be flexible about things like food, showers, schedules, transportation and other amenities we take for granted. When you travel, some experiences are good & some are not, but from them all, you learn something new about the people with whom we share our world.

What is your favorite hobby and why? In my room, I have constructed a town made from lunchbags. The people are made from popsickle sticks and milk lids and have names that are common to a particular country. My neighborhoods are culturally diverse and the shops and other buildings reflect what you might find in a particular geographic region. I get inspired to add new neighborhoods from books, movies, or meeting new people, This is a fun hobby because it doesn’t require batteries, allows you to be creative, and you have total control of the whole town. I don’t have any leftover space on my floor anymore, so I just have to build up; that’s how I came to add “Mount Olympus” to the town. I also like building houses on Google Sketch-Up.

What do you want to be/do when you grow up?? A missionary

Anything else you want us to know about you? In my lifetime, I want to travel to all 7 continents. I have 4 to go.

For some great scenes of Katie and her visits to the orphanage and Ayalabe School:

January 30, 2011

Wonder about a Family Safari?

November 12, 2010

Great Migrations – now see this rare species!

Every one is different , even with thousands to see

Are you watching National Geographic’s Great Migrations series? Beautifully done it will inspire your family to conversation and maybe new adventures.

My children and I were in awe of the wildebeest and zebra thundering over the Serengeti in Tanzania, and this show will give you a sense of how breathtaking it is to be there.

If you are inspired to the trip of a lifetime, a family adventure safari designed just for kids, teens, and adults of all ages call us now at 800-262-6255

Learn more at http://bit.ly/95iCvp

Now, don’t miss this rare breed that National Geographic might have missed in their series! http://bit.ly/aKxBRd

March 26, 2010

Zanzibar: The perfect finish to an amazing adventure in Tanzania!

Kirsten in Stonetown

After two and a half amazing weeks in Northern Tanzania my next stop before heading back to Boston was the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. I only had 3 days on the island but I wish I’d had 3 weeks! My adventures in Zanzibar included a walking tour of Stone Town (which is a UNESCO World Heritage site) where I learned about the history of the island and toured the charming winding streets through town. Stone Town has a diverse flavor as it was inhabited by people from Portugal, the Middle East, and India, and architectural influences from these cultures and more can be seen throughout the city.

After Stone Town, I headed up to Nungwi on the Northern Coast for a sunset cruise on a dhow, a traditional Arabic sailing boat. We spent two hours cruising the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, and from the boat we could see some of the reefs and quite a few fish as well. Zanzibar is a great spot for snorkeling and diving.

The morning I was to leave, I was able to fit in a spice tour, as no trip to Zanzibar is complete without seeing a spice plantation! It was amazing to see how cinnamon, vanilla, lemongrass, pepper and other herbs and spices grow. The most surprising spice to me was the nutmeg seed which is black with red stripes — the same colors as a ladybug — who knew?! Zanzibar was truly the perfect accompaniment to the safari in Tanzania and I cannot wait to go back!

Dhow sailing

March 14, 2010

Kirsten and Mt Meru

Kirsten at Mirikamba

Hello from the foot of Mt. Meru near Arusha! I had an exciting morning heading to Mt. Meru and setting off on a hike with one of the park’s rangers. We visited the Mirikamba huts (anyone interested in the Family Safari for Teens call me and I’ll tell you all about them!). The weather was warm and clear and we had a great view of Kilimanjaro. On the hike we found some elephant bones, and got a good look at the Ash Cone which formed in the crater of the former volcano. I would have loved to have climbed to the top of Meru but it takes 3 full days – including one day starting at 1AM! Maybe next time :)

I’m now at Mt. Meru Game Lodge awaiting the rest of the family safari group. There are some beautiful animals in the game reserve here – including a number of zebras! There are also monkeys swinging in the trees on the grounds, and they sometimes jump onto the roof of the buildings!

I’ll try and check in again but I may be out of touch in the parks for a few days.

March 12, 2010

Jambo from Arusha, Tanzania

Kirsten at the hippo pools

Hello from Arusha! I’ve been in Tanzania for 7 days studying tourism development in the country and I have to say — I love this place!! My journey has included a visit to the Ngorongoro crater where I saw my first Zebra (punda milia in Swahili), the Serengeti where I visited the hippo pool and a number of visits to local villages including two Maasai schools . I also had the privilege of meeting with conservation authorities and representatives from some local villages. I have loved learning about this beautiful country and meeting local Tanzanian people.

One of the surprises I have found in Tanzania is how green this country is. The soil is red clay but there are grass, trees, and rolling hills everywhere — it does not fit the arid, desert image of Africa. The weather has been perfect so far – warm and dry, which feels especially great after a cold Boston winter!

visiting with the local children

February 1, 2010

Two Left Shoes

the evidence

the evidence

If you caught this one in our August 2008 newsletter, forgive me for repeating it – it just happens to be my favorite travel story.

Flexibility is key to any good adventure and I can hardly think of a better example than this: our friend Sam, at the tender – but never awkward – age of 14, packed for a family safari in a big rush. She ended up in Tanzania with two left shoes. Since she’s an admirably light packer they also happened to be her only pair of shoes, except for flip flops. We were unable to find anything in her size before leaving town for the remote national parks, so Sam cheerfully donned those two left shoes every time we went out. She wore them without complaint or apology for two weeks, and always with a smile.

Needing some follow up, I wrote to see how things are now she is back home. To which my friend Sam wrote: “Yes… my feet have recovered. I actually had to wear two right shoes for a while because I was at my mom’s house and the two left ones were at my dad’s house. So maybe that helped, too….”

I know there is something to be learned in this story – something about packing, and humor, and the value of never letting the unexpected interfere with your good time. Maybe we should all wear two left shoes as a reminder.

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