I am going on the most amazing vacation ever in exactly 9 days now. I cannot, cannot, cannot WAIT!
My husband and I are flying to Dar Es Salaam Tanzania and staying on the beach for one night before flying to Lake Manyara/Ngorongro Crater in the north and staying 2 days and nights on a coffee plantation where we can do some hiking, biking, birding and trail running, hang out in the local bar and maybe get a massage. We hired this guide fellow that is sort of a friend of a friend (she's been to Africa a bunch and always hooks up with this guy) and he's taking us out in his landrover, and it will be just the three of us so the car won't be cramped. After the coffee plantation we are driving at last light to the Serengeti National Park to camp out for 4 days and 5 nights and do some wildlife viewing, particularly the great Wildebeest migration. Then we fly to Zanzibar for 3 days, 4 nights on the eastern coast of the island where we are staying in a bungalow right on the beach. We can do some kayaking, fishing and snorkeling and we will probably go see the nightlife in Stonetown, the major city (and home of Freddy Mercury of all things) one night.
We've been married almost three years but this is our honeymoon. We've been saving up for this trip for like...forvever. With the extra medical and evacuation insurance and all the vaccinations and wierd gear we had to buy (special hats, binoculars, head lamps etc.) the preperation was one of the biggest costs of the trip. We also got flights through Dubai to Dar Es Salaam for less than a $1000 each on Emerites Airlines (which I was happy with!)
I feel kind of odd going on this kind of trip but we had it booked way Lehman Brothers collapsed sending the economy spiraling. So there was no way to get our deposits back. We haven't been on a vacation for three years, except we went to London a little over a year ago for a few days because my maid of honor was getting married! But with bridesmaid duties, its not exactly a relaxing vacation. But we're going to Mother Africa! This is a dream come true for both of us!
I've also never been to a third world country before, so spending what is a lifetime of earnings to the locals feels a little odd too. But all the people and companies we will be dealing with a local companies with a focus on community re-investment and environmental sustainability. Our friend who has been to Africa a lot had us talk to this guide (a local Tanzanian) and he made sure that we spent our money in the best places possible and supported all local companies. The coffee plantation for example "owns"/supports a primary school that provides education without a school fee. He said many people who stay there get to know the kids and teachers and develop enough of a relationship in a short time to send support and supplies from the US and UK when they get home. They also support a residence for East African artists and have exported a lot of art to Europe which helps the economy. And they have a huge organic vegetable farm that employs a lot of people and provides food to all kinds of Safari expeditions. So that's cool. Still, its a little tough to dodge the western guilt knowing most people live on less than a dollar a day.
I really looking forward to this trip! I can barely contain myself. Anyone been to Africa? I remember one member talking about their trip to Botswana.