African Safari for the Adventurous Senior
Have you ever dreamed of going on an African safari? It was something you never got to do when you were young and something you’ve always wanted to do since then. Now that you’re retired, over the age of 60 and classified as “senior,” you still have the urge to go to the continent of Africa. You still desire to experience the magnificence of this land and an African Safari, right into the heart of nature and stare up close at some of the wild beasts you’ve only seen in a local zoo. And if you are wondering if you, as a senior citizen are too old, well, stifle the thought. You are never too old. You are still active. You are as young as you feel.
Let’s take a look at Tanzania and Zanzibar. You can find many tour companies that offer African safari tours that feature safaris through Serengeti National Park, one of the most famous national parks in the world. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is a Serengeti National Park World Heritage Site and the seventh wonder of the world. It is famous for its wildlife and the migration of wildlife during the rainy seasons from the hills to the southern plains. You can take a spice tour of the famous “Spice Island of Africa,” Zanzibar, and learn how spices such as cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper are grown and cultivated on the spice plantations. You can explore and enjoy the unique, tranquil northern beaches of white sand on the shore of the Indian Ocean.
At Serengeti National Park, I recommend the Sopa Lodge which offers a spectacular view of the plains through the floor to ceiling windows. Other amenities include an open-air restaurant, a bar, swimming pool, parking, laundry among other creature comforts. From the Serengeti National Park, make sure you add Ngorongoro Conservation area to your African Safari tour. The center of attraction is the Ngorongoro Crater and the wildlife of the Conservation area in its natural habitat. Stay at L’ Oasis Lodge a basic hotel, close to the airport, with amenities such as WiFi internet connection and a swimming pool.
At Stone Town in Zanzibar stay on the beach at the Tembo Hotel, an ecletic apartment hotel suitable for seniors, families, single travelers. The Tembo Hotel was once an abandoned building but has been renovated into a lovely hotel. Stained glass windows, balconies, large ceiling fans, dark wood furniture and cool tiled floors make this a visually interesting hotel. Balconies over the inner courtyard overlook the swimming pool of the Tembo Hotel. Air conditioning, ceiling fans, large four poster beds with mosquito nets as well as other modern amenities such as cable television, free Wi-Fi connection, telephone, fridge/mini-bar and en suite bathroom make it a perfectly comfortable for seniors on an African safari. Stone Town is a maze of narrow streets and back alleys. At night time, visit the Night Market, an open air market where you can feast of grilled fish, desserts and drinks, either on a tour or by yourself where you can mix with the locals.
You can explore the culture and meet the people in the local villages of this land. Merit offers a 16 night Safari tour of Zanzibar and Tanzania, with tours and culture connect experiences which also include your meals, hotels, gratuities to guides and drivers, taxes and service fees.
Active Tanzania Adventures is another good tour company that offers East African wildlife safaris you can design and create yourself so you experience exactly what you want from the African safari of your dreams. Tour guides who are not only natives of this land, speak English and a few other languages and are experienced in taking tourists of all ages, including seniors on these tours.
Hotel accommodations on these African safari tours are in hotels of all classes, lodges and sometimes what is known as “tented lodges.” There are many different hotel accommodations from basic to luxury hotels depending on your budget. Don’t let the term “tented lodges” discourage you and think that as a senior citizen, this will be roughing it too much. These tents are big, luxurious and comfortable where you will sleep in a real bed under a mosquito net. They are quite lovely with ensuite bathrooms, restaurants and services. Nestled away in remote areas, these tented lodges are sometimes five miles down a dirt road in the mountains. Your encampment offers you spectacular views of the wilderness, the mountains and the plains with sun rises and sunsets that make you feel like you never want to leave.
Lake Manyara National Park on the Rift Valley escarpment offers scenic landscape which Ernest Hemingway once described as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa.” A safari in Lake Manyara National Park will bring you up close to the wild animals such as giraffes, baboons, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra herds and over 400 varieties of birdlife. Water birds such as flamingos, pelicans, cormorants and storks hover over the water. At Lake Manyara National park, stay in the Kirurumu Tented Lodge where your African safari package will include breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What’s the climate like in Tanzania and Zanzibar? Is it suitable for seniors? In Zanzibar, it is extremely hot and humid. In Tanzania, it is hot and dry. Bring bottled water along with you and pace yourself.
An African safari can be luxurious and elegant as well as comfortable for seniors. On the safaris you will be driven around by your tour guide in a 4×4 safari vehicle or an air conditioned safari tour bus. You will find yourself up close with the wildlife of Africa surrounded by some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world. Don’t forget to bring your camera and or video camera to record your memories and show the folks back home. If Humphrey Bogart and Kathryn Hepburn could manage Africa in the 1951 movie, The African Queen, surely you too can enjoy it. If you are a fit and active senior, an African safari will be perfect for you. Live the dream on your youth on an African safari.
Photos by our good friend Mel C.