What I learned in Tanzania will stay with me forever

I have been trying to figure how to put my gratitude into words. Here it goes.

On June 5, I boarded plane from San Francisco California to Africa. I had a duffle bag crammed full of clothing and toiletries and a backpack heavy with too much camera gear. I had no idea what I would find in Africa. I hoped for a glimpse of a lion and maybe a rumor of cheetah or see a few zebras on the horizon.

What I got was something so much more. And what I learned will stay with me forever.

I learned there is nothing like listening to wildebeests and zebras having a late-night snack right outside your tent. I learned watching a cheetah and her two cubs feeding on a wildebeest can bring tears to your eyes. I learned that hearing the rumbling breath of a lioness as she sidles up to your vehicle will take your breath away.

cheetah closeup in serengeti
visiting maasai women in tanzania
lion in serengeti
elephant in serengeti
women on safari in serengeti

I learned that Maasai bomas are humbling, but the people welcoming and the children’s smiles unforgettable. I learned the Serengeti can be hot and dusty, and the roads a little bumpy, but I wouldn’t trade those rides for anything. I learned to never underestimate what seeing the sunrise over the Serengeti and the sunset over the Ngorongoro Crater can do to you. I learned in Stone Town it’s not about our past mistakes but how we learn from them that makes us a better generation. And that the best way to end your day, is with more food and stories than you could ever consume.

But most importantly I learned there is truth behind the saying, ‘Life is not about the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.’ I realized that life is too short to waste time on moments that don’t take my breath away. Because those moments and the people who are in them are far more valuable than you realize.

On June 18, my plane touched down in San Francisco, California. I stepped off that plane with a few life lessons and lifetime of moments that took my breath away. And for that I can never thank you enough.

Melissa Naatz
Highlights of Tanzania Safari

All photos taken by Melissa Naatz

Read more from our guests!