First time ever in AFRICA. And the Safari? Best thing I’ve ever done.
But, before that, I had quite a time getting over my food poisoning illness I had in India. I left Chennai and had a 6 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, for a ~20 hour layover. My plan was to rent a car in Abu Dhabi, drive over to Dubai for the evening, and spend the night in Abu Dhabi before I got my next flight the following morning. That didn’t work because I was soooo sick feeling😟 Instead, I went to sleep in my hotel, and then later on decided to get a taxi to the closest hospital.
Since I don’t have travel insurance, I was wary of how much a nice, clean hospital in Abu Dhabi would cost. I checked in at the ER, and the man working the desk told me that I would have to pay out of pocket… overwhelmed and pretty out of it, I started to cry and walked away. It was one of those moments where, despite everything within me trying to keep it together, the emotions were too strong to control😢 As I was walking outside to find a taxi, the guy from the ER desk came running after me. He felt sorry for me. He told me how much it might cost out of pocket, which I hadn’t even asked about, and it wasn’t that much (all I had been thinking about was how much I know it costs to waltz up into the ER in the states without insurance, and I assumed it would cost way too much).
I was very grateful he came after me, and it was really nice of him to help me. He must’ve seen the desperation and pitifulness in my face😔 So, my UAE experience was this:
My first ever IV! Another first experience on this trip😂 And, actually, I think this is the first time I’ve ever been admitted to hospital as well… So, yeah. I’m very grateful that, without any insurance, the Emergency Room visit, two hours getting IV, doctors, and all antibiotics and medicine only cost $140. I can’t imagine what it would be in the states?
Still not feeling good, but with at least my sanity restored, as I had some antibiotics to take, the next morning, I headed out of the UAE and into AFRICA. How excited I was, having it been my first time on the continent! A random chain of events led to my safari that I had booked months earlier to be cancelled, which meant that while sick and in no mood to plan, I had to plan a new safari. Oddly, it all worked out totally in my favor because it meant that I could change to a four-day safari instead of five, which gave me an extra day of rest and recuperation before my low-budget-tent-sleeping wilderness adventure. The following day, I had a flight to Arusha, which is one of the towns that most of the Serengeti safaris start from (Arusha and Moshi). While there for two days, I found a last-minute, much cheaper safari option that still did everything I wanted to do😃 Some good luck, yayyyy!
At my hotel in Arusha, I got to birdwatch, as the property butted up against a woodsy area in the back. Great Hornbills and sunbirds! I didn’t get a good pic of the hornbill, but this is what those beautiful weirdos look like:
I had never seen one of these before my trip – I saw my first one in Nepal:) And I also hung out with this friendly, metallic rainbowy sunbird:
And the next day, my safari was set to take off with this itinerary:
Day 1: Arusha to Tarangire National Park Game Drive + to Twiga Campsite
Day 2: Twiga Campsite to Lake Manyara + through Ngorongoro Crater + to Serengeti Game Drive (Nyani Campsite, to overnight in the MIDDLE OF THE SERENGETI, UNFENCED…..!)
Day 3: Serengeti Game Drive in morning + to Ngorongoro Crater (Simba Campsite)
Day 4: Ngorongoro Conservation Area Game Drive + back to Arusha
Next up: Safari! Maasai people! Africa! Best thing I’ve ever done.