As we near the end of 2019, the Thomson staff has been reflecting on the year, trading stories from Tanzania and all the magic that accompanied us on safari and Kilimanjaro treks. 2019 was a year filled with an abundance of wildlife, incredible safari and Kilimanjaro guides, welcoming Maasai communities, personable porters and a true sense of togetherness.
Seven of our U.S. based colleagues were fortunate enough to travel to Tanzania this year and they have an abundance of tales to tell. We’ve asked them to choose their favorite memory to share – the memory that they just can’t get out of their head, the memory they’re still sharing with friends today. While it was difficult to narrow it down to just one, read on for their most special memory.
A river crossing to remember
“The river crossing along the Mara River was an incredible sight to see. We watched the wildebeest herds linger along the riverbank, building such anticipation. Just when some seemed to be walking away, one brave wildebeest jumped into the water and all the others followed suit! We sat there for about 40 minutes watching the herds make their way across the river, right by our vehicle.”
Experiencing the Maasai way of life
“My favorite memory from my trip to Tanzania was visiting with the Maasai. It was incredible to learn about their culture and they welcomed us with open arms into their home. I will consider Tanzania a second home forever.”
Conquering adversity to reach the top
“My favorite memory from Kilimanjaro is the camaraderie created amongst my fellow trekkers. Despite feeling the effects of altitude, I look back at this time fondly, as it allowed me to truly see the best in everyone around me. The porters were all so helpful with anything I needed, my teammates were encouraging and constantly trying to keep my spirits up, my co-worker/friend Heather was unwilling to leave my side and our guides were caring, knowledgeable, kind, patient and motivating. To watch and feel a support system instantly grow around you is magical, and I feel lucky to have experienced it.”
Experiencing a sea of wildlife
“As one of the safari consultants here at Thomson, I talk every day about the Great Migration, but it was completely awe-inspiring to actually see it in person…It was like entering a sea of wildlife! I remember, our guide stopped the vehicle and just let time pass as we watched thousands of animals run across the road in front of us. That moment really put into perspective just how enormous and magnificent the Serengeti is.”
The sounds of the Serengeti
“Late night at the Southern Serengeti Nyumba camp, my co-worker Kendra and I were having drinks with photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks. In the near distance, we heard the howling calls of hyenas shift to excited yipping, laughing. ‘They got ‘im,’ I remember thinking. A minute later, I heard the low rumble of lions roaring to challenge the kill.”
Taking on the summit with a new group of friends
“When we started our Kilimanjaro trek, I only knew my co-worker, Carolyn, but as we climbed together, the group started to become more like family. Fast-forward to the sixth night while at Barafu Camp, the group and our guide made the decision to stay together to reach the summit. On the seventh day when we summitted, I reached the peak not with a co-worker and a group of strangers, but with a group of American and Tanzanian friends! My fondest memory is the camaraderie and the happiness felt on summit day!”
A multigenerational safari experience
“For me, the best part of my time in Tanzania was going out on safari with guides from three different generations. In one safari, I traveled with Emanuel Kileo, my beloved first guide and one of our longest-standing teammates, Freddy Mushi and Leonard Temba, who have emerged as true leaders in the industry and newcomers Seph Badi and Simon Sige, who brought a vibrant sense of pride, excitement and energy. They all made such a wonderful team.”