A few weeks ago we went on a "do-it-yourself" safari to Mikumi National Park. We took self-guided drives through the park in our Rav4, we set up our own tents and camped inside the park, and we packed all of our campfire food and drinks ahead of time. Our total costs for the whole weekend came to a whopping total of $100 per person, based on shared expenses among our group of 5. But the trip itself was priceless, seriously nothing beats seeing the silhouette of a giraffe in your headlights once dark falls.
That same weekend, some acquaintances of ours in Dar also went on a safari. Instead of the "do-it-yourself" approach, they opted to take advantage of an offer to stay in a luxury tent camp, priced at $1200 per person per night (although they were lucky enough to secure a "deal" which needless to say was still well out of striking distance from our $100 per person range for the weekend).
We all returned to Dar eager to trade stories of our respective safari experiences. Their opening question was, "Did you tents have a chandelier?" Hilarity ensued. While we all got to see animals and take snap shots til our hearts' content, it quickly became clear that our respective experiences were beyond compare. We all readily agreed that neither experience was for the better nor the worse, although perhaps that was just a convenient accord to strike between the "haves" and the "have-nots." Incidentally, most of our more luxury seeking counterparts are MBA students visiting Dar for the summer from a prestigious Ivy League program. Whatever happened to the life of a so called starving student?
Following our recent tour of Tanzania's northern park circuit, including 3 day game drives through Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara, I almost laughed out loud when I came across the latest Louis Vuitton "safari" ad campaign shot in Africa. The ads star Dree Hemingway, as in Earnest's great-granddaughter. Described as "quite simply superb," the ads within this 2010 Travel Collection catalog contain all of the regular features of a safari experience from tents to lions to sunsets to jeeps, but somehow the final effect is so jarring from my own safari experiences to date that these photos somehow seem to mock the "typical" safari experience. Perhaps I should ask my more luxury seeking friends for comment? Until I get a chance to edit recent photos from our more humble safari experience, feast your eyes on these glamorous shots.