10 May 2015 / by Pilot Michael / in 2015 Africa Flying Safari
African Air Safari Day One
What an incredible first day for the 2015 air safari. We woke up at the early hour of 5am for what was to be an epic first day. First, the moon was full over the Chyulu Hills, there was no need for a flashlight walking around at that early hour. Second, the drive to the airstrip at Campi Ya Kanzi was peaceful with an edge of anticipation. Thirdly the sun rose over the Chyulu Hills while we watched the Zebra and Giraffe getting their morning meal, the stage was set for a great start.
We packed the airplanes with luggage and fuel, we added a few snacks for the guests and we did our preflight resgiams to make sure the airplanes were perfectly fit for flight. I could tell tell that we all wanted today to go perfectly, the mood was focused but anticipatory and we diligently prepared our aircraft for the start of a 7000 mile plus journey.
The time finally came when the guests arrived at the airstrip, there was no more planning, no more decisions to be made, it was time to depart. We loaded on all of our guests, three plus myself in the Cessna 206 and nine total in the Caravan. I took off first and buzzed the camp to say farewell, the Caravan followed closely behind. It was such a relief taking off from Kanzi, the prep was over and now it was finally time to fly.
Our first stop took us to Nairobi Wilson international airport where we cleared customs for our departure out of Kenya. We topped off with fuel, filled out all of the required paperwork and we were back in the air in 45 minutes headed for Tanzania. The flight from Nairobi to Tanzania was beautiful, it took us across the rift valley and over the Maasai Mara, two exquisitely beautiful places in Kenya. In just over an hour we were touching down in Musoma, Tanzania on the edge of Lake Victoria. While I waited for the Caravan to clear the runway, I decided to take a small excursion over Lake Victoria to see the small local sailboats cruising around. I felt carefree and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be on this adventure.
It was a quick stop in Musoma, which is an uncontrolled gravel airstrip in Tanzania, they stamped our passports, collected the fees and we were on our way. The next leg of the adventure took us over the Serengeti, a truly magical place filled with wildlife beyond your imagination. We kept the flight low enough to see the animals and spotted Elephant, Buffalo, Hyena, Zebra, Wildebeest, Topi, Antelope and countless birds. I don’t have the vocabulary to put it into words, but seeing hundreds of cape buffalo wandering the plains is spectacular.
As I type this I’m sitting in a bastion of serenity, there is no electricity (I’m working on battery power), there are no fixed structures (I’m in a mobile tent), it is just us and nature communing, staring at each other trying to figure one another out. To me, this is safariing at it’s finest, being in the wild amongst the wild sitting and contemplating your inner thoughts.
We are at this mobile camp in Tanzania for two days and then we move on to Mahale in Southwestern Tanzania. As I look forward the the continuation of this adventure, I quickly remind myself the look out over the incredible landscape that I’m currently sitting in. Take no moment for granted, live life as the adventure it was meant to be.