Written by Professor Cindy Johnson (Biology & Environmental Studies)
Photos by students in the class
I have traveled to the Serengeti many times, yet I marvel each time as I gaze at thousands of wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle. There are no words to describe the vastness of the Serengeti; the animals that stretch as far as the eye can see, the sensory experience (smell, sound, touch of the wind) of moving herds and the deep seated sense that this is home, where humans came out of the trees into the plains. Tanzania in January is magical. Rain controls the movement of the wildebeest and so too the concentration of elephants at Tarangire National Park. Concentrated around the Tarangire River, it is easy to count 500 elephants in a morning.
The quiet graceful movements of elephants amid the giant baobab trees or the equally graceful and silent canter of giraffe among the acacia trees is something to behold that is precious and reminds us of our place in the world.
I have the privilege of accompanying students on January term to Africa which includes sites as diverse as the Serengeti and the Indian Ocean.
In addition to wildlife encounters, the course also includes experiences with members of the Hadza and Maasai tribes. We spend several days with Hadza hunters and gatherers learning to gather roots, tubers and honey and watching as hunters stalk a hyrax (small rabbit sized animal related to elephants). Camping for three weeks in Tanzania immersing ourselves in the best Tanzania has to offer….what’s not to like?