Take an African Wildlife Safari after Climbing Kilimanjaro!
Either as an add-on to your Kilimanjaro trek or as a stand alone vacation, be sure to add a Tanzanian Wildlife Safari with a cultural exchange to your Bucket List – it's epic! I have traveled to dozens of countries and my Tanzanian wildlife safari and visit with the Maasai tribe is a definite highlight of my travels!!!
This is the final part of our Three Part series on climbing Kilimanjaro plus the add-on wildlife safari with a cultural exchange. If you haven't already done so, check out Part I. Whether or not you care to trek Kilimanjaro, Cindy's inspirational story will help inspire you to achieve your audacious goals! In Part I, we learn how Cindy prepared mentally and physically for Kilimanjaro, despite being overweight and hating to exercise. It was life changing for her and inspiring for you! In Part II, we learn how Cindy makes it down from the summit of Kilimajaro and it wasn't on her own two feet! In yet another inspirational tale, we learn how the worst experience of her life changed her life for the better.
And now we go into the African bush to see lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras, hippos, leopards and cheetahs, primates, hyenas and birds of every size and color!
The people of Tanzania are very friendly and welcoming. Try to add a few days on to explore this magical culture and to check out the AMAZING wildlife! Jambo!
Why would folks WANT to climb Kilimanjaro? No doubt she thinks we are crazy, but what a challenge – and there's the appeal!
If you want more than a Tanzanian wildlife safari, consider taking Wildland Trekking's safari! They not only take you on incredible game drives where you're likely to see lions, elephants, hippos, and more, but they also take you to visit several tribes for a truly authentic cultural exchange! Be sure to listen to Seth Quigg on the podcast to hear more about this unique opportunity. I don't know of another tour like it!
Tanzanian Wildlife Safari
On most Tanzania wildlife safaris you will see an abundance of animals including those pictured here:
Lions, giraffes, hippos, leopards, elephants, wart hogs, hyenas, water buffalo, cheetahs and if you are lucky, a rhino! I saw so many animals that after a while, it was no longer special to just see a lion, now I wanted to see a pride chasing or eating a kill, etc.
You'll most likely go to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongora Crater. It is simply beyond words to describe the abundance of wildlife! You will travel around usually in a pop up jeep (see below) to keep you safely up high and to give you a great vantage point. Be sure to bring excellent binoculars and a good camera!!!
Safaris may be expensive, but out of all of my travels, it is the trip that sticks out most in my mind. SO WORTH IT!!!
I can't wait to go on Wildland Trekking's safari: they take you to several local tribes so you can get a real insight into the culture and food. It's a no brainer to add this on if you are already going to be in Tanzania and like I said, well worth it as a stand along trip.
One thing super cool about Wildland Trekking is that they offer a truly AUTHENTIC experience interacting with some local tribes. Co-owner Seth Quigg, our guest today, lived in Tanzania and formed solid bonds with the locals, so on this tour you actually just get to hang out with his friends from several of the local tribes. You'll sleep in a Maasai “boma” – village huts. Tag along on hunts, and in general actually experience life with the tribes! Wildland Trekking also offers a wonderful Kilimanjaro trek experience. Here's the link to their Kiliimanjaro guided trek tour.
Check out Seth's AMAZING photography on Instagram and Facebook @sethquiggphotography!
I'm pleased to announce my newest affiliate partner, Wildland Trekking! They offer AMAZING adventures aligned with the adventures we cover on Active Travel Adventures. If you decide to go with them, be sure to tell them that you heard about them through this site and use the links on my webpages and in the travel planners. Some of the links are affiliate links which mean that ATA may earn a small commission – at NO additional cost to you – which helps keep this program going – thanks for supporting ATA! Kit
Time Stamped Show Notes
00:00 Three part series on Tanzania, Kilimanjaro and a wildlife safari and cultural exchange
01:45 Introduction of Seth Quigg from Wildland Trekking
02:36 Seth's background and as a Maasai brother
05:22 Communicating with the loca tribes
06:08 The Maasai warriors
09:21 Maasai reverence for cows
10:33 Safety on safari
11:31 Kit's warthog story
12:16 Who is a wildlife safari suitable for
15:45 Seth's Pimbe Master story
19:30 Cultural exchange with local tribes
20:57 Wildland Trekking caters to its small groups and guests
22:00 Possible new hike offering
22:56 Seth's advice to Kilimanjaro trekkers and overview of his Kili tour
27:04 Seth's photography
30:15 Wildland Trekking
30:40 Minimum group size
31:16 Seth's parting words
32:05 Kit's water buffalo and bull elephant story
34:12 Kit's hyena poop story
35:20 Mickey's story and why she didnt go on the safari
37:16 General safari notes and animals you'll see
40:31 Subscribe to Active Travel Adventures podcast and visit website
Complete Time-Stamped Transcript
(Google Translate button at bottom, FYI)
Kit: 00:01 Welcome to the Active Travel Adventures podcast. I'm your host Kit Parks. Today we're going to be finishing up part three of our series on Tanzania. In part one, we climbed Kilimanjaro and learned how to prepare mentally and physically, how to set big audacious goals and actually complete them so whether or not you're even interested in Kilimanjaro, it's a great episode and a great interview. In the second part, we summited Kilimanjaro and then we find crisis on the way down as our guest, Cindy, injures herself and has the worst moment of her life that ends up changing her life for the better. Very excitin interview that I'd love for you to see that as well. And in this final part three today, we're going to do some on the ground safari. We're going to go into the bush and see some of the incredible animals, but unlike the safari that I took a few years ago on this safari that we're gonna be doing with Wildland trekking today, you also get the real cultural exchange. You're going to actually go into the bush and meet some of the different tribes. Our guest, Seth, has lived in Tanzania and because of the friendships and bonds that he formed while he lived there, he's able to offer an extraordinary tour unlike anything I've ever heard of. So I'm real excited for you to hear about that. So without further ado, I'll start with the interview and on the backside of the interview I'll be telling you some stories about my own experiences in Tanzania. So let's get started.
Kit: 01:24 We have here with us Seth, who I found from another podcast and his story was so interesting and his experience and what they offer on their safaris is so different than when I had that I wanted to get him on the program to tell us a little bit about a different way to do the Tanzania Safari experience. So Seth, could you please just introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your program?
Seth: 01:45 Yep. My name is Seth Quigg. I am the international program director and Co owner of a Wildland Trekking. We currently run trips all over the United States and all over the world. And today we'll be talking a little bit about our trips in Tanzania. We run a lot of trips on Mount Kilimanjaro and then our guests have the option to add on a cultural and wildlife so far, which is, which is very unique and authentic to us specifically.
Kit: 02:19 Yeah. Well that was one reason why I wanted to reach out to you because you do such a different kind of experience. I mean I got to meet some Maasai folks and all that, but you really get to meet them. Tell us a little bit about, in fact, why don't we go almost like day to day of what the experience is that you're offering.
Seth: 02:36 Sure. Well, so I spent a lot of time in Tanzania. I studied there when I was 20 years old then maybe five or six times for extended periods of time and I've got to know a lot of people and friends and kind of have a Tanzania Maasai family. And so my, I call them my Maasai brother, he is his half Maasai, which is a, a big tribe and found in Tanzania and he's also have Changa. And so on our first day of our safari we actually go to his boma. Boma is basically a circular compound with a bunch of huts inside where the Maasai people live. And so we go to his boma and we get to meet the chief and we, we camp out there, we have these luxury tents and just have an amazing setup inside of the Boma and then we're camping with the Maasai people and the chief.
Seth: 03:33 So it's a really authentic and unique experience, you know, a lot of other companies will have just like touristy bomas you go visit, but we actually get to go and hang out with his tribe and his family and friends, which, which really makes it more authentic. Yeah, it's really cool. And so we will have like a barbecue there. We have a, a chef who was one of his friends and family. And so we have a, have a big barbecue. Sometimes we've killed a goat there, it's a big part of the Maasai, a lifestyle and cultures, goat meat and so we will, depending on if the guests are our keen to it, we will or butcher a goat and eat goat and then the Maasai guys, we'll do a little dance and performance and we basically just hanging out with the rest of the night.
Seth: 04:25 They'll stay up and hang out by the fire and yeah, it's really cool and so that's kind of the first day of the safari. And then the second day we drive through a town called Carratu and we have showers there and then go out to visit an another tribe called the Hadzabe. And the Hadzabe are the last Koyczan tribe in east Africa, meaning they're speaking a click language and are hunter gatherers. And so we'd go and visit them for a whole afternoon. We actually get to go hunting with them or sometimes they will invite you to go hunting and we ask them to do that and these guys are like the best hunters in the world. They shoot bows and arrows and you can practice if you want to, but we're not really doing the hunting. We're just kind of following behind them and watching them hunt, which is a really interesting experience.
Seth: 05:15 These guys can shoot out a quarter out of a tree half a mile away. You know, they're, they're brilliant marksman.
Kit: 05:22 Cool. How about the communication? Do you have a translator or do they speak some English or how does that work?
Seth: 05:31 They don't speak any English. We learn a little bit of their language and we have another friend who can translate and teach us a little bit of their language. And so our friend Memoia, he basically knows the Hadzabe folks and their lifestyle and knows where to find them. You know, they're semi-nomadic, so they're always, you know, traveling around. But he knows where to find them. He knows them and so he kinda will take us there and then kinda explain what, like, what's going on, why they're doing what they're doing and you know, kind of facilitate the cross cultural interaction.
Kit: 06:08 I remember when we visited a Maasai village, they had one of the young men, when they do their hair red, why don't you explain a little bit that, but he took us out and showed us all the plants and how they use it for the different medicines and all that. Tell us a little bit about the tribes that you interact with.
Seth: 06:22 Well, there's, I mean there's a lot of different tribes all over Subsaharan Africa, but the main tribes that we visit or encounter are the Chaga, the Maasai, the Hadzabe, which I was just talking about. And then the Toga as well. And so the Toga live adjacent to the Hadzabe and they'll sometimes trade like metal for meat or certain things that they need with the, with the Hadzabe. And so those are the main tribes of people that we're encountering,
Kit: 06:55 Like I mentioned, the young man that, toured Mickey and I around the Bush and pointed out which plants they use for medicine in which they broke off and used as a toothbrush, etc. He had his hair dyed, a bright, bright red. And I believe that was to indicate that he was entering adulthood and he had certain things that he had to do in order to become a man. Did I get that right?
Seth: 07:17 Well, so within the, I mean the Maasai is a massive tribe and so you find subtle differences, between central Tanzania all the way to central Kenya. I mean they're there have a big range and they live all over eastern africa. And so you find subtle differences from, from like subsect to subsect. But yeah, there are different stages in men's and women's lives. I think one of the main stages is right before boy gets circumcised. While they get circumcised and they have to go out into the bush for seven days after that. And then this is like the, they're called folios and so they're sent out there and they hunt birds and are going to just hang out until ttheir seven days is over and then they come back.
Kit: 08:06 And we should note that these young men are probably 16, 17 years old at this point. So that circumcision hurts.
Seth: 08:13 Right. And I must say like, this is my interpretation of what is going on. So I mean there are a lot of different nuances of the culture that I might not be getting right. You know what I'm saying? Just for critics that are out there, this is my interpretation of this situation.
Kit: 08:31 The young man that took us into the bush spoke excellent English and the way I interpreted what he was telling us is this transition into adulthood with a really big deal and something they are really proud of.
Seth: 08:43 Yes. That's a big rite of passage for the young boys, as they recalled moranis. Then that's them becoming a man. But then there's also later stages of that where you become a junior warrior and you become a senior warrior and then a junior elder and then the senior elder. So there's lots of different stages
Kit: 09:03 And do, do all the different tribes of where the red robes or is that just the Maasai?
Seth: 09:07 That is just the Maasai. Those are called Shukas. And so yes, the Maasai are traditionally known for being tall and athletic and wearing those shukas.
Kit: 09:21 And I remember the cow is super important to them. As I recall, they eat the meat, drink the milk and the blood, and of course use the hides and other parts for building materials.
Seth: 09:32 Absolutely no part of the cows wasted or really go for that matter.
Kit: 09:35 As I understood it, the cow was not sacred but rather revered because of it's important to their culture.
Seth: 09:40 Yeah, I mean it's essentially the currency of the Maasai. They're pasturialist, so your wealth is determined by how many cows you have.
Kit: 09:49 I like how you equate the cows of their currency. So you visit the villages and then you're also doing some game drives as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what people would see?
Seth: 09:59 Yeah, totally. So then after the Hadzabe, we go back to the hotel, sleep there, and then the next morning wake up and drive to the Serengeti national park and we have an all day game drive there. And then we sleep in this a great lodge called Cottey Cottey Tinted lodge. You have hot showers out there that's brought in and it's absolutely amazing. You can hear lions, I mean you're, you're out in the national park. You can hear lions and all types of wildlife. There are guards, so you're not in danger by any means.
Kit: 10:33 I'm glad to hear you say that about the guards. That's the one thing I should have asked my tour company before I went on this camping safari where we camped every single night and I assume we'd have armed guards, but it turns out nope, we're on our own and they would pack us pretty tightly and all that. But I have some stories I'll share at the end of the program about one night in particular that was a little bit dicey. So anyway, it's good that you had the guards there because there are lots of animals out there that are carnivores. So what's next?
Seth: 11:01 And then the next morning we wake up early before breakfast and go on an early morning game drive. Wildlife is much more active at night and in the morning. So we have an all morning game drive. The last, the last time I was there, we actually saw four cheetahs kill a gazelle. You rarely see one cheetah. And so to see four cheetah- this was a mom and three cubs- take down an animal was just super lucky. It was amazing.
Kit: 11:31 I have one story to share on that and I remember we were doing a game drive and there was a wart hog in the middle of the road, just screaming bloody murder and there's tall grass on both sides. We could tell it was upset about something… just screaming, screaming, screaming, screaming, screaming. So we stopped, trying to figure out what it was so upset about. And then fInally we saw, I can't remember whether it's a cheetah or a leopard with its baby and taking away the baby. And then the wart hog, once it finally realized, when the mother realized that it was all lost, took one last look, turned around and trotted back into the grass as if nothing ever happened. I'll never forget it.
Seth: 12:04 Yeah, you never know what you're going to see out there. That's a part of the brilliance of safaris driving so far and cultural safaris. I mean, you never know what you're going to see.
Kit: 12:16 Let's talk a minute, Seth, about who the safari is actually a suitable trip for. I went to Tanzania with my girlfriend, Mickey, who it turns out for reasons I'll get into after our interview, why she actually did not come on the safari with me, but for her it actually was an unsuitable trip. It turns out Mickey gets car sick and she has to go the bathroom every 30 minutes, which may not always be safe when you're on safari, right?
Seth: 12:40 I think, I mean, yes, you are in the car all day and you're bouncing around, but we can accommodate almost anybody at Wildland Trekking. We run a lot of trips that people perceive as very challenging, but we cater those trips to fit almost anybody. You know? Granted, there are extreme differences between safari and climbing Kilimanjaro, but for the safari aspect, like almost anybody can go. Granted, you need to expect that at nights, yes, you wIll be comfortable. We're going to have great accommodations and hot water and then, I mean if you've got to go to the bathroom all the time, that's part of life, you know. We can pull over on the side of the road and go to the bathroom, you know, just got to always say like nothing is a big deal unless we make it a big deal, you know, so it's, it's usually about how the person feels about that, you know,
Kit: 13:35 Because Mickey it didn't come on the actual safari in my jeep, it was just myself, a French couple, our driver who is also the guide and our cook who was also the person who set up and tore down our tents. And we were told if we had to go to the bathroom on an unscheduled bathroom break, that our spot was right behind the jeep because that was the safest spot for us. And we did have scheduled bathroom breaks throughout the game drive. And while nobody in our group had to make an unscheduled stop, if somebody did the guide's eyes are so well trained that they can spot danger and find an appropriate place to pull over for you to go to the bathroom. In fact, I remember there was a rare black rhino that most of the times you don't get to see. And the guide literally spotted him from, it had to be more than a half a mile away. We didn't believe him until we got the binoculars out and saw that he was right. So we did see it, although it was really teeny. But that's how sharply tuned his eyes were.
Seth: 14:32 Right? Yeah. Guides know, they know everything, you know. And so no, they'll let you know what's acceptable and what's not. So my Maasai brother is a safari guide and he'll tell you, rest assured he's not going to put you in a position where you're going to get attacked.
Kit: 14:54 It sounds like your accommodations are a lot more luxurious and particularly well guarded than mine were at night. We actually had to pee in a bottle. We couldn't leave our tents.
Seth: 15:04 Oh yeah, that we don't do that, so, but it's different. So we have when camping, we have a portable toilet- just kinda like a luxury porta potty and then the next three nights we're in really nice hotels.
Kit: 15:20 Obviously your tour is a much nicer trip than the one I took.
Seth: 15:25 It's pretty nice. But the first night again you're camping with the Maasai to get the authentic feeling. But we have the luxury tents and it's really nice. You're not peeing in a bottle by any means.
Kit: 15:36 Inventing a one liter water bottle toilet was part of my adventure, Seth. Now you picked up an interesting nickname out there. Why don't you tell us the story behind that?
Seth: 15:45 Yep. So I'm known as the Pimbe or Pimbe Master, if you will. And so Pimbe is a small mammal that it's called a hyrax, a rock hyrax or tree hyrax. And basically it looks like a groundhog. So when I was a student in East Africa, when was that? Sixteen years ago. All of us, the students, gave each other nicknames and I became Pimbe because I resemble the pimbe. So my Maasai brother Yow, we call him Yani which is baboon. And then like the tall guy, the trip we caught him Twigga, who was like the giraffe. So we all have these names, names that are just kind of a joke. And so, I think it was our last day hiking, we go and we meet our friend that knows the Hazabe and so Memoia introduces us and takes us hunting with the Hazabe.
Seth: 16:39 Again, we're not really hunting, were following behind the Hadzabe and so we're running through the savanna and it starts raining and so we pull under this big overhanging rock and Hazabe, they started singing this good fortune hunting song, which sounds like this da da da da da da da da and nana. And they keep singing and dancing and we're like, okay, we're dancing. And then because I have an outgoing personality, they're like, I think YanI is like “Pimbe! Get up and sing!” So I started getting up around the fire and I'm doing the my take of the song, which is “pimbe pimbe molaniye” dancing and start doing this dance. And all of a sudden the pimbe animal hyrax runs out from under the rock. They shoot it in, cut his foot off and make a necklace for me and give me all of these jewels and a monkey tail to wear on my head.
Seth: 17:35 And they thought that I had summoned the pimbe, and that I was a magic man. And so Yoni or Yow said that was the first time he's ever seen mazumgu break the cultural boundary between the Hazabe and mazumgu, or white person. So now most of my friends over there know me as Pimbe. And it is always a funny story and it's a good way to make people laugh, whoever you are, like the local Tanzanians love that. The Maasai think it's hilarious. And they're like, yeah, you know, look like a pimbe. So that's a good laugh and a good, a good way to break that cultural boundary.
Kit: 18:17 Very cool. And it's amazing that you've been able to do that because it is such a distinct culture. It's so different. and I could, I can see that it would be hard to break into, but you've managed to do that.
Seth: 18:27 Yeah, absolutely. And I've never been one that's like hesitant or shy when meeting new people, I'm very willing to jump in and do what they're doing. Start cleaning the elk and like helping them out and like learning from them and learning, learning from the differences of, of different people around the world. I think super important and to empathize that all humans, although we are different and have different lifestyles, like we're all similar to we share similar feelings And we cry and laugh and get angry and you know, we're were similar as much as we are different. I loved it. To help our guests learn that about other people around the world and other cultures. I think it's important moving forward in this day and age to be able to empathize properly.
Kit: 19:17 They're lovely people too. I love the people in Tanzania. Very friendly and very welcoming. It was just hard to sometimes wrap your head around a culture that was so different if you didn't have the exposure like you're able to offer people.
Seth: 19:30 Right. And a lot of times people were like, our guests will be like, “Wow! Like all of them are staring at us, you know?” And like, well imagine if you're sitting in your backyard and you see six Maasai people walk down the street, you'd probably stare at them too. Like, that's unusual, you know,
Kit: 19:50 In my Maasai village, the eldest woman was named KoKo and she didn't know how old she was, but they figured somewhere in her nineties and she was fascinated with my hair because I have very blond hair and she just could not stop staring at my hair and I know she wanted to touch it. I should have just given her some.
Seth: 20:03 That's a very common thing. I mean, again, thinking about what their experiences, you know, where you're very different looking from the people there. Well, I guess white people, I shouldn't say we blond hair and blue eyes and you're very different looking than the Maasai people and so it's just this natural curiosity of something different. Right?
Kit: 20:27 Well even from that too, and I remember, you know, when in Rome do as the Romans do and I'm a little germ phobic and I saw the pot she was gonna make the tea in. It looked like it had dirt in it and I was like, all right, I'm going to eat dirt tea. That's okay. And it was spices and it was so good at. I now incorporate that in my daily tea. So all the clothes and the cinnamon, all the things that she's putting in that to you is just fabulous. That was delicious.
Seth: 20:49 That's right. Nothing is a big deal unless you make it a big deal.
Kit: 20:53 Any other stories you want to share about things that people might see or some favorite memories?
Seth: 20:57 Yeah, I mean I think this safari or African cultural and wildlife safari is for everybody, you know, like don't, don't feel like because you have some kind of limitation, you can't come: anybody can come. We will cater to you, you know, so I would, that's it if you want to have your mind blown and really get to experience authentic East Africa and the people and the wildlife, this is the safari for you. And it's unique: ot many other companies do that, you know,
Kit: 21:30 I couldn't find another tour company and believe me, I looked. What you offer is truly unique.
Seth: 21:35 Yeah. Most of them just got to Serengeti and Ngorongoro. We actually got to Ngorongoro too, which is a big crater, on the last day. We do a game drive through there, which is brilliant. It's like the Serengeti, like lions, cheetahs, the big five elephant, lots of animals,
Kit: 21:55 In the crater, the wildlife is so concentrated you can't help but see gobs of wildlife.
Seth: 22:00 So when we're actually thinking of doing another hike. So there's Ngorongoro Crater into the north of that. There are two other crators: Imbuki crator and Imbeguy crator. And we are thinking about running a cultural trek there where you're hiking with Maasai, go into Imbuki Crater, you have like two or three Maasai warriors with you and then camp in Imbeguy crater and then come out and maybe camp inbetween Imoti and then go into Imoti and camp there. And then wind up around.
Kit: 22:30 That would be so cool.
Seth: 22:32 Yeah, it's amazing man. So me and my Maasai brother, we did that a while back and we have some pretty adventurous stories from that hike.
Kit: 22:44 I'll bet! This safari episode is kinda like a little bonus add onto our Kilimanjaro trekking series two part series. And you go to Kilimanjaro as well. And I like that you do it at a nice pace. Any advice that you can give folks?
Seth: 22:56 Absolutely. I would say just make sure that you hike: that you're a hiker beforehand. I know there are a lot of folks on there that think they wanted to go climb Kilimanjaro and they haven't been on a hike in like six months. You need to be an avid hiker. You need to be in pretty good shape. The summit of Kilimanjaro is at 19,300 feet, so it's really high. So you need to have good respiratory and circulatory fitness. The main limitation, it's not technically challenging by any means. it's just really high and a couple of the days at the end or are very challenging longer days. But yeah, our trip is really good because we have a three nights acclimatization at Marangu , which is the south gate of the park, and we do some cultural activities on south side and then we drive around to the north side and hike up the Rongu route.
Seth: 23:49 And so that first day is really easy. You hike up to Simba camp and then the next day we hike over to Kikaloaika cave, which is a relatively easy day as well: long, but it's flattish. And then we go up to Mawenzi where we have a layover day and this day really makes it for our guests. And so we have a layover day there and we go climb up thousand feet and by climb, I mean hike up a thousand feet and come back down, sleep again there. And then we head over to the main summit, which is called Kibo. I mean, I'd say the best giving advice is drink a lot of water and eat a lot of food. And I see people come down from it having an altitude sickness because of those two things and then going slow and having that acclimatization. And so our itinerary itineraries sets people up for success because it goes pretty slow, you know,
Kit: 24:43 I appreciate that too because I think, and I mentioned earlier in the podcast that a lot of people try to rush it because the daily park fees are so expensive. But what good is that if you don't, if you can't summit , and you've worked this hard and spent a lot of money just to get over there. So, I liked the way that you all do it and that's why I reached out to you so I could share your company with my listeners.
Seth: 25:01 Right? It's a great. I tend to, I mean, it really does work for folks. We have a high success rate of people summitting.
Kit: 25:09 Perfect. And if somebody is unable to, do you have it set up that is able to be with them back behind? Or how does that work when some of the party can and some can't.
Seth: 25:19 Yes. We have multiple guides that are on the mountain and they're constantly assessing the guests. You know, that assessment begins on day one. Really like, okay, how does this person take care of themselves because self care is the biggest thing really, you know? So the guides, we're making assessments on the guests and then we have multiple guides. We have radios and walkie talkies so we can communicate everywhere. I mean it's very common that somebody goes up and then wants to come back down, you know, because you're, you're getting up to summit at at 12 midnight, you know, so you're walking through the night basically. Which is beautiful. I mean you get to see all of the stars and the lights down in the Samburu plain in Kenya and it's just really peaceful to be out there. You're walking and you're going you're switching back a lot, doing a lot of switchbacks.
Seth: 26:13 So a lot of it becomes kind of deja vu staring at Kenya, but it's a great hike. It really is a wonderful hike and you got a lot of support, lot of guides. So that's kinda how we do that. And then if you're not feeling good then one of the guides may walk you back down to camp and then we'll have a base camp manager and the chef and we have waiters and a big crew there. And so they'll check in with you, serve you tea, cookie food, things like that. And then the guys might return back up to the mountain. They can go up there pretty fast.
Kit: 26:47 So you got it worked out regardless of what happens. So that's good.
Seth: 26:50 Absolutely, yep. With the park fee, like the national park has its own rescue services as well, if there is any big incident, but there's so many people and a lot of support and resources there, so it's good.
Kit: 27:04 Excellent. Now let's switch gears here. I want to talk about your photography. It's outstanding. Tell us a little bit about that. Are you self taught or did you go to school or just tell us a little bit about your photography?
Seth: 27:15 Well, no, I studied see when I was in high school I was the yearbook photographer was kind of like picked it up and started really enjoying it. And I found out I was good at it and I think at that time in my life was, it was good to, to have something I was good at. And then when I went to undergrad I started studying photography. I have a minor in technical photography and then has been pretty much a hobby since then. I mean, I've gotten to travel the world over and over and over and I love taking photographs of landscapes, of people, of culture and I've gotten in some really unique positions in the world and that offers good photos. And I had a show, We just moved back to North Carolina from Colorado, and I had a show in Colorado and had some photographs up in friend's coffee shops and things like that. But still it's mainly a hobby at this point.
Kit: 28:19 I love your portraits and that's one thing when I'm traveling, I want to take the pictures of the people, but I don't know if I should. So how do you handle that? I sometimes I don't want to make people feel like they're a tourist attraction. And then I remember one time I was on a boat ride through some of the canal ways of Bangkok and I remember a lady coming up near me and putting her finger waving it in front of her face saying, no, no, no, no, that, she did not want her picture taken. So how do you deal with that?
Seth: 28:51 I think it has to do a lot with personality. You know, I again, my personality, I'm very outgoing, I'm very friendly with people. I've always asked people for permission to take photographs. And so building rapport with people before you take a photograph is absolutely apparent. You have to have a relationship before you just take a photograph. And so it depends. I would urge folks that want to take photographs of people to go and talk to the person and, have some small talk before you stick a camera in their face, you know, that's the most important thing. And not everybody wants to have their photograph taken.
Kit: 29:30 Exactly. And I get where that woman was coming from.
Seth: 29:34 I was going to say a lot of the portraits I have are like friends that I've met along the way that I've been sitting down with and have built a little micro relationship with. And I remember unique stories from each of those portraits. So it's almost like photography for me is kind of like a journal. Keeping a journal of memories. I don't write much, but I have a lot of photographs.
Kit: 29:56 Okay, cool. If people want to follow you on instagram, how would they reach you?
Seth: 29:59 Yeah. My instagram name is @sethquiggphotography. Also on facebook.
Kit: 30:04 Okay. I'll make sure I put the links in the show notes on that as well. And on the website and people want to learn more about your treks and all that kind of thing. Where would they find you there?
Seth: 30:15 Well, our company's called Wildland Trekking, www.wildlandtrekking.com. Our facebook and instagram is also wildlandtrekking, so we run trips all over the world, all over the United States. We run backpacking, camping trips. We also have lodge based trips for people that want to be more comfortable. so we cater to a wide variety of people.
Kit: 30:40 Very cool. One last question I meant to ask you about the safari. How do you have a minimum group size or how does that work? Is it all custom or do you tell us about how that works?
Seth: 30:52 Yeah, we have a minimum of two people. So if you are solo, grab a friend and come on our safari and then, if you are a Wildland Trekking past guest, you get 10 percent off of that. So we usually have groups about six or more, but our minimum is two.
Kit: 31:11 Perfect. Okay. Great. Anything else that I should've asked you that I didn't?
Seth: 31:16 I think it's important for folks to just get out there and be active and be healthy and explore the world and explore yourself in this world and get to know different environments in explore different cultures as well. It's the only thing that's going to save the planet is understanding.
Kit: 31:37 So true. It's been great hearing about Seth and Wildland Trekking about doing a safari in Tanzania, particularly in conjunction if you're going on a Kilimanjaro hike like we did in our two part series on the previous two episodes. I did promise to tell you some of my own stories about my African safari and so I did mention about meeting Koko and changing my whole tea ritual. So in addition to the Koko and the tea memory and the wart hog memory, I've a couple of other stories I'd like to share.
Kit: 32:05 One night we were camping in the Ngorongoro crater and I noticed that they made the tents particularly tight together and I found out the reason why later that night. Right after dinner, several bull elephants, these are the big massive ones with the massive trunks came up. They had realized that the camp was a reliable source of water.
Kit: 32:23 So each night when they finish their food hunting for the day or what not, they come up to the camp and help themselves out of the big water tanks, which is kind of exciting because we were able to get pretty close and, while still wild of course they were used to humans being up close to maybe 30 feet away, get some really cute shots of them dumping their trunks down into the water tank. So at night they told us that it was not safe to leave our tents, as I told you about the peeing in the water bottle kind of a thing. And I remember going to the latrines right before I had it to the tent for the last day as now just getting dark. You could see eyes watching us from just outside the tent area or camping area and so I'm not sure what was out there, but you could see glowing eyes as I went to the restroom one last time.
Kit: 33:13 So I get back to my tent, I go to sleep fairly quickly. It's been a long day and all of a sudden at maybe 10, 11:00 at night, the elephants start trumpeting. Two of the male bulls, got in a fight. And I was like, “Oh my God!” I guess I should just stay here. I was worried that they would trample us or something. But eventually they settled down and I said, okay fine. So I go back to sleep and then a little bit later in the night I hear this noise and I was like, it sounds like somebody walking on really thin ice and crackling the ice, but it was like 90 degrees, so that's impossible of course. And what it turned out to be was water buffalo. They were grabbing the grass and ripping it out and as a ripped it out and made that sound and the reason they packed, packed our tent so closely was to keep the animals from getting near us.
Kit: 34:02 But of course we had to have aisles in order to get out of our tents and so these water buffaloes had wandered and were just working their way down our pathways. Just eating the grass all night long.
Kit: 34:12 Another story is we were camping, I'm think it was in the Serengeti park, the couple that I was camping with at breakfast, the woman was all miphed. She saId, somebody is so rude. They pooped outside my tent last night and Aloisha, our chef, when he was tearing down the tent starts laughing. He said, that wasn't human poop. That was hyena poop.
Kit: 34:34 He had also warned us, never leave our shoes outside the tent because hyenas will come and take them away. And hyenas, just as a side note, I always hated them out from Lion King and all that. They were always the bad guys, but it turns out hyenas do a couple of really cool things. Number one, because they have such sharp teeth, they're actually like the garbage disposal of the plains. They are the only animals as far as I understand, that can actually crunch the bones, so if it weren't for the hyenas, the bush land would be littered with skeletons. And number two, they're actually very kind to each other in their family packs or dens or whatever it is they call themselves. if one of the hyenas gets injured, the others will make sure it gets fed and nurtured until it gets back to good health. So that's kinda cool.
Kit: 35:20 I mentioned to about my girlfriend Mickey who I adore and she, on the way to walking to breakfast to start our safari adventure, trips and does a complete face plant and just smashes her face in and pushes her nose in to this gruesome mess and of course you can't just blast it with regular water because the water's not sanitized. So wIth bottled water we are having great difficulty trying to clean the wound out and eventually she saw the doctor, got stitches and all that and the doctor wouldn't let her come on and go out in the bush because if it got infected, it would be too far from civilization to have it taken care of. So she ended up staying in the lodge, which is a beautiful lodge for the entire week that I was out on safari. And we were able to communicate most nights just to check in on her.
Kit: 36:09 And she was doing grand and she was the one that I said it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because that safari for Mickey at least would have been unsuitable just because of her car sickness. And you are jumping in a jeep all day and also she has to go to the bathroom a whole lot, so that was inconvenient for her too. So she ends up making lifelong friends with all these folks that she still keeps up with today and some of them are going to come over and visit her and this has been years now and they still keep up on a regular basis. So it worked out great for both of us. That is also another reminder too, that when you travel it's a good idea to get travel insurance because had Mickey been more seriously injured, her travel insurance would have flown her to better hospital facilities, even getting her out of the country if need be. And the insurance, while it was a little bit of a fight, she did get reimbursed for the safari part of her adventure, which of course are expensIve frankly. So that ended up being a good thing and a good reminder that it's a good idea to get travel insurance. I always make sure I get it too because I have elderly mother and at one time my elderly father, if something happened to them or another immediate loved one, I can be brought back without additional expense. So anyhow.
Kit: 37:16 So a couple of notes on that and also just one of a couple of few notes just on safaris in general, the jeeps that you are in have pop up so you can stand up in the jeep to get some great views and photographs and all that and that keeps you pretty safe from all the animals because you're going to see a lot of animals.
Kit: 37:35 And when I say a lot too, where you get say, “Oh, another lion. Oh, another elephant. Oh, is that another giraffe?” That's how many animals that you see, particularly when you're in the Ngorongoro crater, where they're kind of isolated this crater. The only ones that you won't see there are giraffes. For some reason they weren't able to get down into the crater, but you're going to see birds galore. Hyenas, elephants, lions, wart hogs, water buffalo. I saw at during my time there- I was there late January- I got to see the starting of the migration of the wildebeasts, which is amazing. In one of the alkaline lakes, Lake Natron I think was called, thousands of flamingos. Very cool. My favorite animal is the Thompson Gazelle: it is just this delicate, beautiful, bouncy little gazelle. I just loved looking at those and never got tired of seeing those.
Kit: 38:22 You'll also see some massive termite hills that are taller than humans. They're all over the place and it's just a marvelous experience. The food is outstanding. I was shocked because I was expectIng to eat yucky food and every meal Aloisha made went above and beyond. We always had a delicious soup and just a wide variety of all sorts of genres from spaghetti to steaks. It was just great food. The people were marvelous. Just cannot more highly recommend doing the safari if you're going to Kilimanjaro, make sure you add this on, and like I said, I did this as a stand alone trip. We went to Istanbul for a couple of days, which I may not recommend that right now, but pick another place to kind of break up your trip. It is a long flight to get there, so we've got based in Europe for a few days to kind of get our bearings there and then you arrive and just have a spectacular trip of a lifetime.
Kit: 39:17 I cannot wait to go back and this time when I go back I'm going to go back with Wildland Trekking because I want to do that more intimate cultural experience that Seth's company can do. I did go to a Maasai village and that was marvelous, but it's not the same. Ours was I would say touristy and it was great because we're helping that particular village make a little money, but it wasn't the same thing as spending the night there, sharing bread with them and so I definitely want to do that and I'm pleased to share Wildland Trekking with you. I did do a lot of research trying to find a good company. I was very happy with my company, but I'm not so sure they had enough safety precautions. Like I said, we didn't have guards and there are animals out there that can hurt you and I think that his company offers just a little bit more comfortable experience and a safer experience, so I'm pleased to recommend them. If you go on safari or climb Kilimanjaro and use Wildland Trekking, please be sure to let them know that you heard about them from Active Travel Adventures. And the podcast, to the website please use my links when possible. If you use my links on some occasions, I do make a small commission so that does help support the overhead to help keep this program on. So I appreciate your support and plus it just lets them know that they heard about it from the ATA podcast, so I really appreciate that.
Kit: 40:37 If you haven't done so already, also make sure that you subscribe on Apple podcast or wherever you listen to this podcast so that you don't miss any episodes.
Kit: 40:46 I hope you've enjoyed this three part series on climbing Kilimanjaro and the wildlife safari as an add on. I'd love to hear your feedback. And remember, you can always reach me at kit at active travel adventures dot com. Go to the website. There's a contact page and fact just poke around the website. I've got some great photos. There's also more resources, videos, etc. And I tried to put together the whole package so that you can get the information in the manner that you most prefer, whether it's audio or visual. So I'll see you back in two weeks. And until next time, this is kit parks and Adventure On!
Wildlife Safari with Cultural Exchange after Kilimanjaro by Kit Parks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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