A highlight of this program is the safari, which usually happens several weeks into the semester. By this point, everyone has settled in and is up for an adventure. Our safaris take place in Ruaha National Park, an enormous park to the west of Iringa. It’s about a 3-hour drive to get there, but completely worth it once you’re in the park. The park boasts some of the largest populations of elephants and lions in the world.
During the safari, students stay in bandas (think little houses) near the park headquarters. Days start early (at 6am!), in order to see the sun rise and catch the animals moving around. During the middle of the day, students come back to the headquarters for lunch and some rest, before heading out again in the afternoon to look at more wildlife and see the sunset. They’re long days, but exciting ones (when else are you going to get to see elephants, zebras, giraffes, and lions in their natural habitat!?)
I think the highlight of this semester’s safari was the baby lions. It was a real treat to find them, since they are often kept out of sight by their mother. After an exciting couple of days, everyone made it safely home on Sunday, ready to start another week of classes. The next couple of weeks are a little quieter for the students, as they have their first wave of class deadlines. It’s only two and a half weeks to the mid-semester break, though, so there’s another adventure on the horizon.