First of all, I want to thank you for your help to reschedule our trip. And what a magnificent journey we had. You ask me to tell you our story. Julian Barnes wrote that “our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but – mainly – told to ourselves”. And I believe this is so true. I will remember with you some magic moments.
Magic Serengeti. Immense. Full of animals. And emotions. We went there with one purpose. The migration. We told that to our guide, Massay when we first met him at Lobo airstrip. And he took us on the best ever game drive we could imagine. Leaving Klein’s Camp at 6 am Returning at 7 pm. We were overwhelmed with the landscape. And animals. Thousands and thousands of zebras and wildebeest. Hundreds and hundreds of elephants and giraffes. And the lions… Male Lions. Females lions. Cubs. Lying down or walking. At close range in an open car. scary? No. Fantastic. There are emotions you cannot explain. You just feel it. Some emotions speed up time, others slow it down. We stayed, as in the U2 song, “Stuck in a Moment You Cannot Get of …”.
We had a fantastic breakfast in the bush in a nice spot. Then, more lions. And a rhino and is baby. And then we saw the crossing at Mara River. Unique. Tenacity. Confusion. Life. Bucket list checked. Lunch with a view near Mara River. Or as Lou Reed would say, “It was a perfect day, we drank shiraz in the park.
Return to Klein’s camp. More herds. Baby zebras. Baby wildebeest. Baby ostrich. Baby warthogs. More lions. And a camp fire for sunset.
We had an unforgettable day. We cannot express our thankfulness to Massay (and Franko). They were fantastic. They exceeded our expectations. They went beyond the duty of call.
In Klein’s Camp we had happy moments. With our happy butler Dennis. And friendly staff. At the diner, we remembered the game drives. With a couple ( or more) of laughs.
“I see trees of green, red roses too
I see then bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world…
I see skies of blue and clouds of white…”
These lyrics were written for Ngorongoro? Maybe not. But it could be.
The green acacias. The red roses all over the hotel. The sky and the clouds in such an inspiring setting. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was already in my imaginary for over twenty years. October is not the best time to visit Ngorongoro. But even without the flamingos, the experience was fantastic.
The lions. Again. Always the lions. And some lessons for life. The coalition of five brothers that made them invincible. The cubes fighting for a shadow. The teen age lions injured by the dominant males. The hyenas though ungainly and slower kill more than lions because they work as a team. The jackals that can survive in a world they cannot dominate.
The buffaloes and the zebra eating grass at my room’s door. The bathtub in the middle of the room overlooking the crater turning me, for minutes, into Finch Hatton. Breakfast in the crater. Lunch over the crater. Diner in a splendid dining room Chandeliers and velvet, silver and raw silk. Again an exceptionally friendly staff. Again a butler called Dennis. And our nice guide Kitoi.
The light. The sunset. The withe sand. The ocean. Green and blue.
No doors. No windows. No shoes.
Diner on the beach. Barefoot with stars on the ceiling.
Wake-up with the birds and the sun.
Swimming with dolphins.
Fantastic villas. Great food. Great staff. Natalie’s smile. Lou’s sympathy, Deyla’s massages, Chris the great diving teacher, our butler’s ( Suryani) kindness.
East of Eden? East of Africa, as near as you can be from Eden.
Last day. No time for goodbyes. Just one evaporating sigh, Happy days. Adventure, laughs and The sun, the stars and the moon. Like Auden, we will like to pack them. To take it home. With that sand and the sea. How could we put our shoes back after three fantastic barefoot glorious days?
There is objective time. And also subjective time, the kind you measure in your heart. In your memory. This is real-time. We were there for just one week. Mnemba and Serengeti will remain with us to the rest of our life.
Best holidays ever? Possibly? Of course not. That will be our next journey.
But as I mentioned when we were leaving Mnemba to the staff waving at us on the beach: I’ll be back.
To seize the moment? No. Just to let the moment seize us.
Thank you very much for everything
Fernando Vaz – Portugal