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Earth in Balance: A Serengeti Safari

Native American Proverb: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Of all the hundreds of places I’ve visited on this big, glorious earth we call home, there’s only 1 where I’ve felt anything close to resembling a total absence of human interference.

tanzania

That’s not to say that our mark on this planet is all bad. Some of the most mind-boggling and amazing things I’ve had the privilege of witnessing were crafted through the pure ingenuity and cunning of human creativity. But as we continue to multiply and take over more and more of Mother Earth’s natural resources, I can’t help but feel that a crucial balance is being irrevocably changed.

Even in Tanzania’s Ngorogoro Crater, lauded as “one of the world’s most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries,” I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a large, open-air zoo. The walls of the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera might very well have the highest density of big game in Africa, but it might also have the most 4x4s with binocular-sporting people too.

The lions were as unfazed by this line of jeeps as I was uncomfortable, never mind the prey animals who could scarcely be bothered to move, let alone be startled by the never-ending series of vehicles that traversed their home.

It wasn’t until we moved onto the Serengeti portion of our safari that I truly felt nature unchecked.

We hardly ran into another jeep or person over the course of our 3 day adventure. Zebra and gazelles jumped in fear whenever we approached, wildebeest and elephants migrated along pathways as old as time, and lions mated unashamedly in the swaying grasses of the savannah.

When we lucked upon a cheetah right before she pounced on a gazelle who wandered unknowingly into her jaws (no dramatic running involved), she felt safe enough to summon the 3 cubs from their hiding place to eat. We watched from a safe distance for a good 30 minutes, while each of the cubs took turns being look-out.

And not a single other jeep showed up to disturb her reverie. Or ours.

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Have you been on safari? Did it feel like “nature unchecked? How do you feel about our impact on earth? Are we in balance? What can we change?

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24 Comments Post a comment
  1. great post

    May 8, 2016
  2. Never been lucky with ‘big cat’ sightings! Africa (every reserve) – another one of the list? πŸ™‚

    May 8, 2016
  3. This safari looks like so much fun, and it must have been refreshing to feel a world away from a world that you are so familiar with. So lucky that you got to witness feeding time for the cheetah and its cubs. But the poor gazelle πŸ˜€ I suppose that is how the food chain and circle of life goes. I’ve never been on a safari before but hopefully one day. There is an open air zoo a few hours from where I live in Australia and when I have time and the weather is good, I’ll make a trip there. I heard in safari and open-air kind of zoos, it is always best to stay in the vehicle πŸ˜€

    May 8, 2016
    • I experienced a peace and serenity there that I have never felt anywhere else in the world, Mabel. We were so lucky to see a cheetah at all, let alone a kill and her baby cubs! Our guide said that Nat Geo would wait months to catch something like that for their documentaries. I thought I would be disturbed by the kills too, but somehow when you’re there witnessing it, it feels like the natural order of things…like everything is supposed to be that way. And yes, mostly you stay in the vehicle, but there are also walking safaris that you can go on, that are supposed to be amazing, and probably a little frightening too. We stayed in a tented camp inside the Serengeti, and we could hear the animals moving around outside all the time. A little nerve-wracking by also so incredible. πŸ˜€

      May 9, 2016
  4. I think every human should be priveleged to make a safari in Africa as it is truly life-changing. There is absolutely nothing that compares to seeing these beautiful creatures in their native environments. After making a safari I feel so terribly sorry for animals in zoos and preserves. Lovely choice for the challenge!

    May 9, 2016
    • Totally agree Tina! I already had trouble with animals in captivity before the safari and have skipped a lot of must-do tourist activities because of it (Tiger Kingdom in Thailand, riding elephants etc…), but safari really gives you a perspective on how things are supposed to be. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to visit a zoo or preserve again…and I feel absolutely awful every time I think about how wrong it is to cage an animal for our pleasure. How is a lion or polar bear who ranges hundred of miles supposed to be okay in a small pen? It’s beyond unnatural. 😦

      May 9, 2016
  5. Your photos and the others I have managed to see on this Earth challenge just go to show how wonderful a place our Earth is, I’m loving everyone’s interpretations of this week’s theme, some really special experiences out there, your’s being one of them! Great shots…

    May 9, 2016
    • Thanks Vicky! The Earth is truly wondrous, and I feel so privileged to have been able to see as much of it as I have. πŸ™‚

      May 9, 2016
  6. Great post and pictures. I don’t know about such trips myself. Whenever I want to be as close to nature/ want a wild feeling I prefer trips alone or with another through nature, hiking for a week or two with just basic equipment in in Lappland πŸ™‚

    May 9, 2016
    • Thanks! Lappland is certainly remote…probably better in summer than winter, which is when we were there. So cold, but beautiful with all the snow crystallizing on the tree branches. A safari is definitely a different kind of experience, but one worth having for sure. I would love to go back again one day…if only it weren’t so expensive!

      May 9, 2016
  7. I have been on a Serengeti safari, too, and agree that it is one of the most natural, peaceful places I’ve been. (Remote stretches of rural Tibet probably beat it for emptiness, though!) It is a place to ponder the state of the earth and the balance we are harming in so many ways. What worries me, an inveterate traveler, is what I myself am doing to upset the fragility of nature in many places I go. I try to keep my footprint light and do no egregious harm at home or abroad, but it’s sobering to think about how long our precious earth can be sustained.

    May 9, 2016
    • Yes, that is something that I struggle with as well…and I try to blend in and leave as little footprint as possible also. At the same time though, I think we can have a positive impact on the places we visit. I have never seen so much garbage and littering as I have in countries of the Middle East. The Red Sea by Dahab was full of plastic, and I literally saw fields full of plastic bags, rather than crops in Jordan. It was extremely disheartening, and we spent some time picking stuff up and pulled stuff out of the sea. A small thing, I guess, but is made us feel just a tiny bit better…

      May 10, 2016
  8. Love that Lone Tree! 2 kewl fer skewl πŸ™‚

    May 9, 2016
  9. it looks as wild and as amazing as I imagine it would be!

    May 10, 2016
    • Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with our 2 prior stops – Lake Manyara and the Ngorogoro Crater – way too much of the open-air zoo feel, but the Serengeti was just amazing. I’m pretty sure there’s nowhere else on earth like it! πŸ™‚

      May 12, 2016
  10. Fabulous read with magnificent photos!

    May 22, 2016
  11. Lovely pictures, love it! Following, lets stay in touch!

    January 28, 2017

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