A Typical Day on Safari (and Why it’s Anything but Typical)

Written by Halee Mahoney

thomson staffer halee in serengeti

Hi, I’m Halee and I’m a Senior Safari and Kilimanjaro Consultant here at Thomson Safaris! Usually, I’m helping guests like you book their dream safari, but last September I got to trade spreadsheets for sundowners and set off on a safari of my own. While I was there, I kept a journal of what a typical day on safari looks like so that I can look back on my adventures and share them with you!

Ultimate Safari – Day 4: September 1st

6:30 AM:

I wake up to the sounds of birds and a friendly “Jambo Jambo” outside the window of my Nyumba. A steaming blend of Tanzanian coffee and hot chocolate (my signature safari drink) is delivered to my tent courtesy of the ever-smiling camp staff. Here in the Northern Serengeti, the mornings are warm and tranquil. I sit on my veranda and enjoy the sunshine, taking in the view of endless golden plains and wildebeest in the distance.

coffee on tent verandah in eastern serengeti

7:00 AM:

I meet my safari group and guides for breakfast;  a delicious spread of fresh fruit, porridge, toast with honey and scrambled eggs. We talk about the day to come over our meal. After breakfast, I unwind in the dining tent and take in the grasslands around me. The different scenery at each camp is just so beautiful. At my last camp in the Eastern Serengeti, we had prime views of a watering hole just off in the distance. Each morning, we ate our breakfast while watching giraffes and zebras drink and play.

breakfast at thomson serengeti nyumba camp

8:30 AM:

It’s time to set out on a wildlife viewing drive  on our way to Central Serengeti Camp! We climb aboard our trusty Land Rover and get our camera gear ready. Our guides, Ojukwu and Nasibu, navigate the dusty tracks, their keen gazes scanning the plains for wildlife.

elephants and topi antelopes in serengeti national park

thomson safaris guides nasibu and ojukwu at ngorongoro crater

9:00 AM:

We encounter a group of cheetahs  laying on a rock. Our guides explain how they, too, probably just had a nice breakfast, since their stomachs are so large. We watch as they nap peacefully. One sits up a little and yawns. Very cute. But mostly they just lay and relax in the heat of the day. It’s impressive how close we are. We don’t need to use the zoom on our cameras to capture some good pictures!

napping cheetahs in serengeti tanzania

11:00 AM:

We spot a lioness and her cubs basking in the Serengeti sunshine. The mother set out to hunt for an early lunch. As we watched the adorable antics of the cubs, Nasibu pointed out their mother returning with a gazelle for them to feed on. It was fascinating to watch, but I was glad I didn’t have to watch the kill.

lion cubs find shade under land rover in serengeti

mother lion carrying meal for cubs

12:30 PM:

We stop in the bush for a picnic lunch. Today’s menu: a delicious grilled chicken (or tofu) curry with fragrant coconut rice, fresh-baked bread and a variety of tropical fruits. We eat in the sunshine and enjoy the sounds of the wildlife around us.

bush lunch on safari in serengeti tanzania

bush lunch served by thomson safaris guides

3:00 PM:

We spot a family of warthogs, my favorite animals!  They’re fairly skittish, but we get close enough to observe a mother nursing her young. It was amazing to watch such a sweet moment unfold.

warthog mother nurses young in serengeti

Here are a few more favorite pics from my safari

5:30 PM:

As the sun starts to set, we arrive at camp  and the staff welcomes us with a cheerful “Jambo Jambo” song. I settle into my Nyumba to clean up and rest before dinner. After refreshing, we meet for our nightly sundowner. Gin and tonics clink as we raise a toast to the day’s adventures, sharing stories and laughter under the glow of the African sky.

safari guests enjoy sundowners at the campfire in serengeti

7:30 PM:

We gather for dinner and talk about the day. The spread includes a blend of traditional Tanzanian dishes, like Mbaazi Nazi (pigeon peas in a thick, rich coconut sauce), Ugali, (a cornmeal staple not unlike polenta), and dishes we recognize from home. My favorite, which seems to be a common theme among us Thomson employees, are all the delicious soups. (Here’s a recipe for the best soup I ate!)

dinner table at thomson serengeti camp

8:30 PM:

We exchange stories around the campfire,  led by our guide, Ojukwu, who tells us all about the Maasai traditions of life in the Serengeti. After a few hours of learning and laughter, I settle into my Nyumba with a good book and tuck myself into the freshly ironed sheets to get some rest for the day ahead.

nighttime at eastern serengeti camp

And that, my friends,  is just a glimpse into a typical day on safari in Tanzania. It’s a journey that reconnects you with nature and leaves you with memories that will stay with you a lifetime. Call me today to start planning your dream safari!