On My Itinerary (hopefully): Tanzania!

I am absolutely dying to visit Africa for a long time, ever since my dad first brought up the idea of moving our family to Nairobi with the United Nations while I was in junior high (Parents decided it would be too much uprooting for us, though it would have been so cool). Now, I realize Africa is one giant continent and requires swallowing a lot of hallucingenic anti-malarial pills. Each time I have traveled somewhere requiring malarial pills, I have stopped taking them. Bad, bad traveler. Mostly because the pills made me lose my appetite, and what’s traveling without being able to taste the local cuisine? Also because I was traveling to areas that weren’t super high-risk malaria, and I often picked the insurance-covered Doxycyclene which required me to take them for another month after returning, which I thought was an awfully heavy dose of medication.

From tangent to Tanzania. After much mulling over African destinations that were safe, cultural, exciting and not overly touristy, without spreading ourselves too thin and too expensively over several countries in two weeks, I have set my eyes on Tanzania. Names I have heard only in passing before are now real places: Kilimanjaro! Zanzibar! Serengeti! I want to blend some beautiful scenery, active activities (a little canoeing, hiking, biking, the works), wild animal peeping, cultural encounters, and fewer tourists. Our timing is mid-July, after all the soccer fans have departed from South Africa, and before the August rush of tourists into the fancy camps with electrified tents and down pillows. Did I mention we’re on a budget, too? (As always)

Planning an African trip is tricky: there’s always some war going on, whether political, religious or disease, and I’ve been warned that white tourists are somewhat targeted and somehow I’ve been roped into being “white” even though I’ve overly curious just how the Africans regard Asians. But since I’ll be traveling with Jon, I will get categorized and treated as a White Person. We’ll also tend toward the slightly more beaten path, after I read some reviews criticizing Lonely Planet for taking tourists into areas that black African locals said were “too dangerous” for white travelers.  It’s also hard not to avoid surrounding yourself with tourists, since it appears that it’s sometimes the safest place to be. We also have to carefully check which areas have not recently kidnapped tourists or have violent protests exploding. Other than that, I can barely contain my excitement about this prospect. I’m now off to purchase my first of several guidebooks to Tanzania! Stay tuned for updates!

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