“Classroom” Observations of Wildlife in Tanzania

Submitted by Maggie Rodney, Abroad101’s Global Ambassador in Tanzania


Jambo! The last few days here at the Moyo Hills Camp have been insane, so hopefully I’ll be able to fit everything in – I doubt I will. We spent Friday and Saturday exploring Lake Manyara National Park. We saw giraffes, elephants and zebras from only about ten feet away, and even more animals from less than 200 feet. 


This guy was hilarious! He wouldn't stop staring at us while he was eating!

It wasn’t really all fun and games in Lake Manyara, though. We had to observe the activity and eating patterns of some of the troops of Olive baboon that live in the park, and I just completed an eight page scientific write-up of our findings. Sure, it would be fun if we could just drive around the parks, but I really like having a purpose to work towards in terms of what I’m observing and learning about the wildlife and conservation. After all, that’s what makes this a true learning experience rather than simply a vacation.  It definitely did take some time and dedication to get it done, though, so that’s something to be aware of before choosing this trip! I hadn’t done any sort of scientific paper in years, though, so I think I had a harder time of it than most, and while it was challenging, it was not unreasonably so.

Sunday, we had an off program day, which meant that we were able to basically choose our activities.  Most of the group went on a morning hike and then spent the afternoon in the town of Karatu – shopping and exploring – and then had dinner at a pretty touristy bar (but I got to eat a cheeseburger and it was amazing).  I’ve gotten some really cool souvenirs, like little wooden carvings of animals and an animal mask for my little niece and nephew back home. I’m trying to brush up on my bargaining skills, but I’m pretty much horrible at it. It’s becoming a running joke in the group that I always get ripped off badly and end up paying full price. Some people have been getting nearly everything for half price!

Tomorrow we’re already headed to another park! We’re going to Tarangire National Park to study animal distribution and counting techniques, and then getting a presentation ready.

I’m about to type my way into being late for class, but I’m hopefully going to send a post in soon about the layout of the camp itself, which I realized I haven’t really talked about yet. Kwaheri!