The Rambling Family




When I was in college in Philly there was a jazz club called Zanzibar Blue down on the Avenue of the Arts.  This was the classy kind of jazz club where upscale folks went, people who can appreciate the finer things in life.  In my head this where people like my friend Jed’s parents went. I’m not sure if they did actually go there, if we met them there once, or if it was simply mentioned at one point in their presence, but in my memory the two are linked.  Classy folks = classy jazz club in Philly.

Twenty years later and Zanzibar actually showed up on my radar; the real Zanzibar; the spice island; the tropical paradise.  The whole time I was planning the trip I recall saying often, in my head, in a smooth jazz-FM kind of NPR way, “Time to skedaddle to Zanzibar Blue, gents.”  Continue reading “Zanzibar!”


Final Days

Our final days on safari found us waking late at the Endoro Lodge, enjoying their tasty breakfast, and hopping in our car for a drive to Lake Manyara.  On the way we stopped at a few roadside stands and open air shops; I was on a mission for a painting. Continue reading “Final Days”

Excitement on the Serengeti

Today has been my favorite.

We woke early for a long drive across the Serengeti to the Ngorogoro Crater, and had just  settled into the safari car when I noticed some gazelle bouncing along to the right of the road.  Then Zoe yelled, “Cheetahs!”  and sure enough there were three – one as a leader giving chase to the gazelle. Continue reading “Excitement on the Serengeti”

Animals out the wazoo

A full day of Serengeti game driving is what we looked forward to today!   We started seeing huge herds of zebra roaming around the road and wandering about the grasses as soon as we crossed into the main portion of the park.  Hippo’s featured next, and I have to say that I could sit and watch hippo’s for a long time.  They are hysterical. Lazy, fat, lounging in the water after along night foraging, the hippos are just absolutely grumpily funny.  Continue reading “Animals out the wazoo”

The Serengeti is big and far far away

Prior to going to the Serengeti we stayed in a beautiful lodge call the Endoro on the outer edge of the Ngorogoro crater in a cloudforest that we did not expect to see.  Tanzania has surprised us in so many ways, but the varied ecosystems has to be the biggest.  I expected grasslands and aridity, but I did not expect the lush tropical forests that line the edges of mountains. Nor was I expecting the quantity of farms and fresh produce that dot the area. We were a bit underprepared for the cold morning chill up in these humid jungles; but it didn’t last long as we continued to drive. Continue reading “The Serengeti is big and far far away”

Tarangire Elephants and Lions


The first day of Safari was amazing!  We woke early for breakfast at Songota Lodge and our driver, Danny, arrived promptly for an 0830 departure.  He had to wait for our sorry slow selves. On safari there is a lot of time spent in the Land Cruiser.  It has 4 individual seats; each by a window, plus a bench row across the back.  Our first stop was a grocery store in Arusha to buy some bottled water and a couple snacks, but then we all claimed a seat and watched the scenery roll by for a couple hours.  We saw the landscape change from jungle on the sides of Mt. Meru where we stayed to scrubland and dry grassy plains full of goat and cow herds free grazing and crossing the road. Continue reading “Tarangire Elephants and Lions”

Getting to Tanzania

Taking the family to Tanzania for a safari has been a pipe dream for a long time, but living in Spain has afforded us the opportunity to go and we couldn’t pass it up!  Getting there, though, is easier said than done.   The best flight options ended up being a red eye out of Madrid on Ethiopian airlines, through Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and finally into Kilimanjaro airport in Arusha, Tanzania. Continue reading “Getting to Tanzania”

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