Another wonderful place I will never forget was the Swala Camp in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. Swala makes up part of the sanctuary of retreats – a luxury collection of camps, lodges and explorer ships in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, etc. The philosophy around Swala’s “luxury, naturally” is to design their properties with the aim of allowing guests to have a real experience and more natural kind of luxury in places with a commitment to the conservation of nature, and allowing animals the freedom to roam around the tents.
That was the fulfillment of my wish: to see animals running around our tent. The managers – wonderful Liz and Garth, who were so kind as to make every wish of ours come true (it was right around Christmas) – told us that in the dry season, the elephants (there are thousands in Tarangire Park) come to drink the water from their pool. Since it was now the short rainy season, they stayed in the park. But numerous families of impalas – and some of the wicked black-faced monkeys – made their home around our tent.
Every afternoon, right at “tea time,” one special monkey would come around our tent to see if she could get inside and grab something out of my beauty box. One day I was having a shower in the “sky shower” outside our tent when she jumped up and grabbed my soap. She was so funny and beautiful that we became friends.
Christmas day the chefs prepared the most incredible dinner. All of us guests sat at one long table, having fun drinking champagne and amarula, and tasting that wonderful food. The manager / owners of Swala are the most gracious hosts. Before dinner every night at sunset we had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres around the fire, looking at the animals who peacefully wandered around the camp. It was all so wonderful!
Our loyal driver, Crispin, who had been with us for 8 days by that time, ever since our arrival in Serengeti, was there, too, telling us the fascinating stories about these thousands of humongous elephants we saw in Tarangire Park, and the beauty of the park, the special kind of acacia trees, and the favorite animal of Tanzania – the giraffe. Crispin saw the huge baobab tree where the poachers hid in a whole, to hide from the rangers. I couldn’t believe that anyone could go through such a little hole like that, but apparently they did.
What a sad story – to know that there are people who are able to destroy the most precious asset of their own country, the animals, just so they can get paid by the crazy Chinese who want the tusks of the elephants and the horns of the rhinoceros! How could anyone do that to the “gold” of their own country?
We have to do everything possible to stop that before these animals are extinguished! How selfish of the foreigners who try to bribe the natives there.
Our Swala hosts, Liz and Garth, were working hard to secure the safety of the animals and the preservation of their habitat. They also created a school for the Masaai children because they believe, just like our President Obama, that education can change the world.
Thank you Liz and Garth for making our stay so unforgettable.
Here are my favorite photos from our time at Swala and Tarangire Park.