In October, Marc and Isaac had a week off from school and my cousin, Lauren was here from the States. Of COURSE we had to go on safari (which means 'journey' in Swahili)!
We live in Africa, after all!
We drove the 5-6 hours to Mikumi National Park (http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/mikumi.html), though not without being pulled over - a very common occurrence here. We stayed in a little lodge a few kilometers from the park entrance overnight and went in Tuesday morning. Being residents, it only cost about $15 to get into the park (and I don't think we had to pay for the kids!). We drove our own vehicle (Toyota Noah mini van) and hired a guide for 15,000tsh (about $9.25) to navigate us through the park and to spot animals for us.
We were able to sees elephant, zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, warthog, crocodile, hippo, lion, impala, wildebeest, and baboons. It was incredible to see them so closely and not in a cage! Our van has a moon roof that we could open, stand on the seats and get a great view of the animals and landscape.
One of the best moments happened as we were driving TO the park. Marc spotted 2 Lions off the side of the road so we pulled over & watched them for about 15 minutes. They walked right in front of our van! Lions are not always spotted, but we were up early enough (about 6:30am) which is apparently when they are more active and on the move.
Before we left, our church took an offering as a 'thank you' for my years of ministry there. We were blown away by the generosity of our church family. Half of the offering went directly to Christian Reformed World Missions, and the other half we tucked away for little adventures like this one. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the country that we are serving in and another piece of God's big and creative world!