Back From Africa

Jambo! I’m back.
Here’s a quick photo summary of our amazing two weeks in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Yes that is Rwanda. Yes, Rwanda is safe.

No, they do NOT walk around hacking each other to pieces with machetes.

And the epicentre of the Ebola epidemic is closer to Spain than most of East and South Africa.

We got an enthusiastic welcome to the Volcanoes National Park.

Where the mighty Mr. Guhonda gave me the eye!!

DSC_5742 copy

Jumbo said…”Karibu Sana to Tarangire!”

DSC_5665 copy

But his royal highness didn’t seem as pleased to have yet another voyeur disturb his peace.

DSC_6171 copy

In the vast endless plains of the Serengeti, Cheetah played hard to get…

DSC_6502 copy

and our picnic spots were mostly taken…

DSC_6404 copy

but the daily drama of survival in the Savannah captured our hearts.

DSC_7600 copy

And a brief stopover in exotic Zanzibar made for a fitting finale.
Back soon with details. Until then…Safari Njema* no matter where life takes you.


  • Swahili for Safe Journey or Godspeed. Did you know the true meaning of ‘safari’ is journey and not its game-drive connotation?


Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

141 thoughts on “Back From Africa

  1. One thing I’m really impressed with Rwanda is its nationwide ban on plastic. Did you feel that the country was really clean from plastic rubbish? Anyway, this post answers my question on your whereabout. Glad you made the journey to Africa and managed to see some of the continent’s most majestic animals.

    1. We were amazed by how clean it was Bama, from any kind of rubbish! A truly impressive rise from the devastating depths of genocide. As for the Serengeti, we were very grateful to have had the opportunity to see some of the mind blowing variety of creatures it hosts. But like your Komodo dragons, the cheetahs remained surprisingly elusive!

    1. Isn’t it? That is a view of the twin lakes near Ruhengeri, as seen from a high end lodge that we didn’t stay in 🙂 More coming up as soon as I get the mountain of laundry and a million other things that have piled up under control.
      Hope your ankle is fully healed by now.

  2. What an amazing trip! pictures are fantastic! Rwanda is in my top bucketlist of places to visit..can’t wait to read more about it 🙂

    1. Thank you very much. Rwanda was an add on to our Tanzania safari just to see the gorillas, so we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked. I hope I can return for a more leisurely trip someday.

    1. Thank you Jenny. Seeing these amazing creatures in their natural habitat was indeed an unforgettable experience.

      1. It must have been; it is on my list! I know what you mean – seeing wildlife in their natural habitat is always such an exciting privilege.

  3. So happy for you,Madhu. The African experience is incredible and the memories last forever. Zanzibar is a perfect finale. Looking forward to more.

    1. It was. I had no idea about the significance of the word safari either, although I should have, since journey in Hindi (and Urdu) is ‘Safar’! 🙂

  4. Jambo Madhu and thanks for another lovely post. I hail from Kenya so this particular adventure is close to my heart.
    Safari in Swahili derives from Arabic, safr, which is to journey. Indeed in its usage as a loan word in English, we have come to know of it as a game drive which is only way to use it.
    Asante sana for sharing! Wiki njema.

      1. Karibu Sana! I should have known considering it is ‘safar’ in Hindi/Urdu as well! Glad you enjoyed this post. Asante Sana for reading 🙂

  5. That’s joyful that you had such a life experience. I cannot imagine the feeling of seeing such majesty up close. Thanks for the travelogue and will await more.

      1. Africa is definitely on our wish list – we are tentatively looking at travelling there for a few months – heading North/Northeast from South Africa through to Kenya.

        Can’t wait to read about your adventures there. – Ginette

    1. Dallas, this was our first visit to Africa (Egypt and Morocco don’t count as Africa!) and it was indeed amazing.

  6. A dreamy collection, Madhu. That shot of the elephant in the late afternoon light is my favourite – I have still not yet seen one throughout my travels. Can’t wait to hear about your experiences in Rwanda. It has been lauded as East Africa’s success story for all the big improvements made since the horrors 20 years ago. And you were even in the Serengeti and Zanzibar – very, very jealous! Glad to have you back safe and sound. 🙂

    1. James, I can’t believe you haven’t seen an elephant after all the time you spent in Bali! Shall have to set that right when you come to India. Our local temples should have resident elephants. (I know they do in Kerala and Mangalore) You will need to visit a forest park to see one in the wild of course.
      Rwanda was an eyeopener despite all that we had read beforehand. Their resurgence turned my cynicism about India to hope! 🙂

    1. Delighted and honoured Nicole! Thank you very much. Shall showcase it on my reader appreciation page right away. (Link on the sidebar)

    1. Mr. Guhonda is the largest silverback in the world Sylvia. To say I felt small standing in front of him is an understatement 🙂 You would love Zanzibar.

    1. It is. And even my basic DSLR felt inadequate Gilly. I would have loved to have a more powerful zoom at least, but the cost of a good lens was too prohibitive considering I wasn’t sure if I would get much use out of it after the safari.

  7. It’s so good to have you back! I love the way you take care of our anxieties about Rwanda and Ebola in the first paragraph. And the photos are a wonderful taster. I’m eager for more. What is the bundle up the tree in the first photo showing the superb expanse of Rwandan landscape?

    1. Thanks Meg. I was irked by the stereotypes people carry in their heads about Africa in general 🙂 That bundle is a traditional bee hive. It had just been harvested and had no resident bees though.

  8. Madhu,
    It’s great to see you back around here! Love the pictures. My cousin lives in Uganda and I’ve heard a bit about that area of the world from her. That gorilla is the best, just that intense look.

  9. Great picture! Glad you had a safe trip. And hiking to spot the silver-backed gorillas is one thing that I have GOT to do in my life…
    Waiting for more pictures and details! 🙂

    1. The Gorilla experience surpassed all our expectations Sumitra. I didn’t get too many great shots because they were moving about all the time, but watching them for a whole hour in their natural habitat was unbelievably moving.

    1. Yes Zanzibar was lovely, although not as exotic for us as I expect it would be for Western visitors. The food in particular has a strong Indian influence.

    1. It must be, although we found each of the four parks we visited distinctly different in landscape and atmosphere. The sunsets on Zanzibar were particularly beautiful. Thank you Ian.

    1. Thank you Frank. I was already behind when I left, now I have a bigger pile up of blog reading. Promise to catch up eventually 🙂

  10. Wonderful photos and captions, Madhu, and I love the “friend” who stole your picnic spot. Glad you had a good and safe time and welcome back! xx

    1. Doesn’t our picnic spot thief look benign, almost tame? I so wanted to get out and rub her belly 🙂 Thanks Lauren

  11. Wow! Really looking forward to seeing and hearing all about this journey. Your private version of The Lion King? With other denizens of that amazing part of the world!

  12. WOW!! I so missed my Safariss, my virtual, my vicarious safaris!
    Thank you for finding me again!! But most of all thank you for providing me with such beauty!!

    God Bless ♥

  13. Really stunning pictures and the royal highness in particular…must have been a very exciting venture into the nature. Look forward to more of those pics…

    1. 😉 It was a dream come true for me as well Mariska. Hold on to yours. My tagline (doesn’t show up on this theme) is “For those that can dream, there is no such place as far away” 🙂

  14. You had me with that first shot! 🙂 A lovely appetiser, Madhu. You will be engrossed in your photo memories for a little while (and so will we 🙂 )

  15. It is lovely to see you back, Madhu! Your presence was missed over here…
    No doubts you have had a fabulous time – can feel it “through” your ammmmazing photos and comments. 🙂

    1. Thank you LuAnn. Am busy trying to catch up on my reading before I return to a regular posting schedule 🙂

  16. welcome back – thanks for the swahili word – and loved each and every photo you gave us here was artsy cool – like the background on the first one – the lighting in the Jumbo – all those horizontals in the “endless plains” shot – and laughed when you could not find a lunch spot – can;t wait to hear more – have a great week

    1. Happy you enjoyed this post Yvette. More coming up as soon as I have sorted through my photos. Thank you for reading, and a great week ahead to you too.

  17. Welcome back, Madhu! Absolutely stunning photos… looking forward to the details 🙂 Didn’t know about the original meaning of safari…. but come to think of it… should have guessed. Common roots with our “safar”, I guess.

    1. Oh thank you Trish! I am delighted and touched by your kindness. I am sorry I don’t do award posts anymore for lack of time, but I shall certainly showcase it on my awards page. (Link on the sdebar.)

    1. I am truly honoured, thank you very much Jenny! I don’t do award posts any more, but I shall certainly post a link to your post on my awards page. (The Reader Appreciation widget on my sidebar)

      1. Thank you Madhu, you are welcome! No problem, I totally understand – thanks for offering to link to my post in lieu of accepting the award. Have a good week. :o)

  18. What an adventurous two weeks it has been for you 😀 The photographs are full of energy – being there in person must have been quite a thrill!

  19. These are National Geographic quality 🙂 I did know about the safari meaning (me gloating) 😀 I realised these photos are from the trip you took in September? It is not easy to keep track of your movement, especially when I move too.

  20. Madhu … Awesome pic in Zanzibar. Love the animal photos, too. What is Jumbo saying: (….”Karibu Sana to Tarangire!”) My granddaughter likes how the sunlight makes the setting Jumbo is in look golden.

  21. Outstanding “journey” pics! All should belong to National Geographic magazine. Can’t wait to see the detailed posts.

  22. Jambo Memsahib! Habari gani? Judging from your posts you seem to have thoroughly enjoyed yourself. 🙂 Kwaheri Sasa (see you soon)

  23. Happy to have you back, and enjoying the first fruits/photos of your African experience. Love the personal introductions of the folks you met along the way! Except maybe for the lecherous Mr. G —

  24. I remember seeing this in my inbox and making a mental note to get back to it soon after. Then… I saw the post today. Awe-inspiring – the magic of Africa. Your pics capture it all.

  25. Dear Madhu,
    You are a true adventurer! It was very brave of you to go in the midst of the Ebola epidemic. Your photos are amazing, as always!

  26. very nice and interesting article….i have never been to Africa but yes do have a dream to visit atleast once…..

  27. Africa is such a land of contrasts in colour, culture, animal migrations, rich and poor. It’s sad to see that with the emergence of each country the animal population diminishes.

  28. Sort of caught up, at last! I don’t know where to start oohing and aahing, Madhu. What I know is that you curated a stellar trip and I enjoyed my voyeuristic position here on the couch enormously 🙂

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s