Uncornered Market » Lake Manyara http://uncorneredmarket.com travel wide, live deep Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:26:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 On Safari: If Africa’s Animals Were Motivational Speakershttp://uncorneredmarket.com/tanzania-safari-life-lessons/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/tanzania-safari-life-lessons/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2011 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=8511 By Audrey Scott

A few life lessons we picked up from the animals of Tanzania’s big safari parks: Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. Includes a slideshow of our favorite Tanzania safari photos. When we humans observe animals and their behavior, we’re often tempted to anthropomorphize them, ascribing to them our human qualities. The zebra “wears” stripes, the […]

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By Audrey Scott

A few life lessons we picked up from the animals of Tanzania’s big safari parks: Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. Includes a slideshow of our favorite Tanzania safari photos.

On Safari in NgoroNgoro Crater - Tanzania
On Safari in Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania

When we humans observe animals and their behavior, we’re often tempted to anthropomorphize them, ascribing to them our human qualities. The zebra “wears” stripes, the cheetah “eats breakfast” and the warthog “hangs out with his buddies.”

While we were on safari in Tanzania, all those lions, elephants, cheetahs, and hippos prompted us to take this one step further and ask: What could the wild animals of Tanzania teach us about life, and possibly even business?

If all the safari animals were contracted for an motivational speaking conference, here’s who might show up and what they might say.

Warning: Cheetahs feature prominently. We were fortunate to run into them several times in the Serengeti.

10 Lessons Learned on Safari

1. Cheetah brothers: Practice Makes Perfect, Learn from Failure

We were lucky enough to see a pair of cheetah brothers two separate times on our safari — once in the late afternoon as they played and again in the early morning as they searched for food and tracked a herd of gazelles in the distance.

Unfortunately, the cheetahs’ morning approach was too slow and far too obvious for the alert gazelles who’d fled long before the brothers ever had a chance.

Giraffes and Cheetah Brothers - Serengeti, Tanzania
Cheetah brothers on the hunt, but not a successful one.

Their hunt was a failure. But this is how the less experienced learn: by trying, through practice.

In this case, their hopes are pinned on the next outing. Eventually, they’ll succeed. Their survival depends on it.

For most of us, we can’t expect to succeed without practice and a few moments of failure along the way. Failure happens. What makes the difference to your future: if and how you learn from it.

2. Cheetah mother: It All Begins with Vision

Shortly after watching the cheetah brothers and their failed hunt, we came across a mother – likely theirs — lazing about on the cool ground of early morning.

We watched for a bit and almost lost interest.

Just as we were about to abandon her for something more dramatic, she began to move deliberately. She glided past a herd of gazelles that looked to us like the obvious choice for a kill. Then she bypassed another.

Cheetah Decides Hunting Strategy - Serengeti, Tanzania
Cheetah mother keeps a watchful eye over the scene, strategizing.

What was she thinking?

Little did we know, her vision was to the horizon, something a little less obvious.

This was her strategy for the morning hunt. Only moments later, she amped up her gait. We followed her as she turned her focus to another, much larger herd of gazelles. They began to move quickly, but it was too late.

The mother cheetah moved with stunning speed — the sort you expect from a cheetah — and zeroed in on the slowest moving gazelle of the bunch. In seconds, it was over.

When we left her, she was sitting, panting heavily over her kill. Although she was exhausted, she knew she didn’t have the luxury of time. She had to eat quickly; hyenas and vultures were on their way to take a share.

Three lessons in one. Know what you want. Scan the long horizon. And sometimes you skip the obvious in front of you for a better opportunity.

3. Hippopotamus: Don’t Sh*t Where You Eat

It might sound odd to take life advice from an animal that spends its days in a poop-laden pool of water, but stick with me on this one.

Hippos spend nearly all day in the water in an attempt to stay cool as they digest last night’s dinner. The result: hippopotamus pools fill to the brim with 6000-pound pollution devices farting, pooping and splashing themselves in their own glee. Water churns. (Stomachs do, too.) It’s foul, it’s mesmerizing. It’s stench-laden, almost stifling.

Active Hippopotamus - Serengeti, Tanzania
The filth and stench of a hippo pool.

The hippo pool is a battering, an all-out assault of the senses. It’s not a place where you light a match.

OK, enough of the scatology. The point? The survival of the hippopotamus seems odd given their size and circumstances. Three tons, vegetarian, and a sensitive skin that forces them to spend their daylight hours immersed in foul water and nighttime hours searching for and eating plants.

How have they not become extinct?

When it’s time to eat, the hippopotamus knows to go far, far away from their fetid bathing pools.

Hippopotamus in the Grass - Serengeti, Tanzania
Out of the water. Now it’s time to eat.

Good advice, both literally and figuratively.

4. Elephant: Sometimes Size Matters

No one messes with elephants. They aren’t predators, they aren’t ferocious. They’re just bigger than everyone else.

Elephant Face - Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Up close and personal with an elephant in Lake Manyara Park.

This size advantage confers certain benefits.

When you’re bigger than everyone else (either literally or figuratively), aggression isn’t required to earn respect.

5. Guinea Fowl: No One is Too Small to Help

When the two cheetah brothers began their hunt, they passed by a rasp of guinea fowl feeding on the ground.

Guinea Fowl Raising Alarm for Cheetah - Serengeti, Tanzania
Guinea fowl – in the background – make a racket to warn other animals of cheetahs

These birds knew they were safe, for they weren’t the cheetahs’ target. Their behavior went beyond themselves and they raised a ruckus to alert the other animals in area of the approaching danger – a calamitous noise that belied their size.

Never underestimate your ability to play a role, to help, or to make a difference.

6. Leopard: Get the View from Above

Leopards spend much of their day perched in trees, which is why they’re among the most difficult animals to spot on safari.

The leopard’s camouflaged aerial position allows him to take in the whole of the landscape, observing all animals and their movements. Best of all, nobody knows he’s up there.

Leopard Walking in Tree - Serengeti, Tanzania
Leopard in a tree, taking in the scene from above.

When the leopard has finished his reconnaissance, he comes down from the tree and makes his move based on the intelligence he’s gathered.

Get an overview, gather your intelligence, then act.

7. Hyena: Persistence Pays

Say what you want about the hyena. They don’t look pretty and they always wear hangdog looks as though they’re up to no good, plotting something unsavory. It’s easy to dislike them.

Hyena in the Early Morning - Serengeti, Tanzania
A persistent hyena in the Serengeti.

However, as our guides tell it, hyenas are successful hunters because of their persistence. They rarely give up and they keep trying until they get what they want.

Sometimes persistence isn’t pretty. But it sure can be effective.

8. Wildebeest: There’s Strength in Numbers

On its own, the wildebeest can be an easy target for big cats like a lion or leopard. Yet one wildebeest in the midst of hundreds or thousands is enough to keep the cats away.

Wildebeest in Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania
Wildebeest — lots of them — in Ngorongoro Crater

The wildebeest know there’s strength in numbers and value in working together.

9. Cheetah: A Solitary Life Can Be Difficult

Of all the big cats, cheetahs are the most vulnerable – in great part because as adults they are among the most solitary of all animals. Each cheetah relies only on itself for food. This means that if becomes seriously ill or injured (and therefore cannot effectively hunt), it will likely die of starvation. No other cheetahs will be there to share food or to help it recover.

Cheetah Crossing Road - Serengeti, Tanzania
A lone cheetah in the Serengeti.

Going it alone has its advantages, but a life without community or support may leave you vulnerable.

10. Lions: Live and Share in Community

Lions, on the other hand, live in communities – called prides – whose numbers can grow to ten or more. In a pride, female lions are responsible for hunting, for male lions are too slow and cumbersome.

In order to take down a big animal (like a buffalo) to feed the pride, lionesses must work together. After a kill, food is shared between members of the pride, each member takes his turn depending upon hierarchy, and injured members of the pride are ultimately taken care of.

Lions Gather Around Dead Buffalo - Serengeti, Tanzania
A group of lions share a killed water buffalo.

Who do you want to be? A cheetah or a lion?

11. Vervet Monkey: In Grand Creations, Inject a Sense of Humor

A monkey with blue balls? And they are permanent! Mother Nature absolutely has a sense of humor.

What does this tell us? Perhaps, “Don’t sport blue balls if you are camera shy.”

Vervet Monkey (aka, Blue Balled Monkey) - Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Ther permanently blue-balled vervet monkey. Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

Beyond that, take a cue from Mother Nature. Every so often, a nod to the not-so-serious — even in your magnum opus.

12. Rhinoceros: Generate Demand

After four days on safari, we were missing one animal in Africa’s legendary “Big 5” – the rhinoceros. On our final day, in our final hour, we saw one – elusive, far off in the distance, a dark silhouette almost more mystical than real.

Oohs and aaahs. Cameras clicked away even though our camera lenses captured the animal as a mere smudge.

Can You Spot the Rhinoceros? Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Can you find the rhinoceros in this scene?

Being elusive adds mystery and builds demand.

13. Zebra: From Ordinary to Icon

Add a few stripes and you become an icon. How else can you explain why zebras – in Swahili literally “striped donkeys” — are so prized while their donkey cousins are so under-appreciated?

Zebra Heads - Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Now, how did zebras get their stripes again?

Next time you’re looking for a new designs, consider adding stripes.


Slideshow of our Tanzania Safari: Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater

If you don’t have a high-speed connection or you’d like to read the captions, you can view the Tanzania Safari photo set.



Disclosure: Special thanks to our G Adventures tour leader, Moses, and our driver, Emilian, both of whom proved expert on the animals and the layouts of the parks. Our tour to Tanzania is in cooperation with G Adventures as Wanderers in Residence. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.


The experiences above were from the G Adventures Tanzania Encompassed Tour. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on the ad below. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission. Thank you!

Africa Tours with G Adventures

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Tanzania: My 7th Continent, A Mountain to Climbhttp://uncorneredmarket.com/tanzania-kilimanjaro-safari-serengeti-zanzibar/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/tanzania-kilimanjaro-safari-serengeti-zanzibar/#comments Thu, 26 May 2011 06:44:58 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=8306 By Daniel Noll

This is a story of an old legal pad, a mountain in Africa, and a distant dream of shooting an honest game of golf under 90. Tucked deep inside a cardboard box in Prague, Czech Republic, there’s a half-torn crumpled piece of yellow legal pad paper that reads somewhere in the middle, scribbled in blue […]

The post Tanzania: My 7th Continent, A Mountain to Climb appeared first on Uncornered Market.

By Daniel Noll

This is a story of an old legal pad, a mountain in Africa, and a distant dream of shooting an honest game of golf under 90.

Tucked deep inside a cardboard box in Prague, Czech Republic, there’s a half-torn crumpled piece of yellow legal pad paper that reads somewhere in the middle, scribbled in blue ballpoint: “Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

Those words date back to December 31, 1999. Audrey had been visiting me in San Francisco on a break from her Peace Corps stint in Estonia. As some people frantically stacked cans of beans in their cellars in anticipation of a Y2K meltdown, Audrey and I sipped coffees and each scrawled out “25 Things” – 25 things we’d hoped to do before we died. (If I were writing more formally, I’d call it an “exercise” and make it sound like something from an expensive self-help personal growth program you’d find in Skymall.)

On my legal pad I wrote, “Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.” (Just under that, I incidentally also wrote, “Shoot an honest game of golf under 90.” Please, I’ve already been given a lot of grief about how uninspired that particular entry is.)

When our exercise concluded, Audrey and I compared lists. And wouldn’t you know it, she had “Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro” on hers, too. Alignment. Nice.

But all these years living, traveling, and thinking about the world, Audrey and I somehow always missed our Africa landing. (In fairness, Audrey spent time in Africa growing up.)

No longer.

This Sunday, we fly to Tanzania to begin a tour with G Adventures (Tanzania Encompassed) that takes us to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, to game parks like Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara to witness the migration of the wildebeests and catch a look at some of the Big 5 (elephants, leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino), and finally to Stonetown on the island of Zanzibar.

Why Tanzania?

Three things.

I want to see the real-live Wild Kingdom (Or, as some of you may remember from watching it as a kid “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”). Marlin Perkins’ voice would rise only slightly – the pounce! A poor zebra or gazelle sipping at the water’s edge was another animal’s lunch. Aerial shots of great movements of wildebeest running across the veldt spoke to lifecycles and the vastness of our small Earth.

Then, looking eastward to the Indian Ocean, there is Zanzibar. Spice markets, beaches, and thoughts of pirates (a friend who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania had taught me to say “Zanzibar!” with a pirate’s accent.) Arrrgh.

Finally, there’s Mount Kilimanjaro, a mountain peak whose upper reaches are within our reach. A place where you can just put one foot in front the other and end up on the highest point on the African continent — that is if the altitude doesn’t get you.

While I know I have time to hone my golf game, all reports are that climate change is taking its toll on Kilimanjaro and its glaciers are retreating to the point that perhaps in my lifetime, they will be gone. I’d like to see them before they go.

Africa, My Final Continent

This trip to Africa also marks my seventh and final continent. Before I took my first trip abroad when I was 26, it never really occurred to me that I’d see them all.

From my first travels abroad, it will have taken me almost fourteen years.

My first steps were in Scranton, Pennsylvania in North America. In 1997, Hong Kong offered me a first glimpse of Asia while Sydney was my first touch down under. The following year in Europe, my first taste was an unlikely Tallinn, Estonia in the grayest of winters. Eleven years later, the crisp, blue skies of Quito, Ecuador welcomed me to South America, a long continent whose southern tip was the launch point for a frosty welcome to Hanusse Bay, Antarctica.

In a few days Moshi, Tanzania at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro will be my first taste of Africa.

Now, I feel this is all a bit unfair to Audrey whose life travels began 22 years before mine. But for her, one continent remains: Australia.

We need to do something about that.

Where Else in Africa?

Traveling to Tanzania and saying “I’ve been to Africa” strikes me as a bit unfair to the continent. It’s akin to saying, “I had a piece of that pie” when in fact you’d only eaten a fragment of crust just rubbed with filling. You think you know what the whole thing is like, but you really don’t — and you won’t be certain until you’ve tasted more.

So a taste of East Africa I’ll have. But there’s much more to East Africa than Tanzania. Add to that North Africa and the Sahara, West Africa and southern Africa and you’ve got yourself another lifetime of travel. This is just one of the ways in which Africa overwhelms me when I think about it.

But for now, Tanzania. I’d like to think of this journey as planting a seed of something bigger, much as our first trip to Asia together in 2004 planted the seed of our current travels.

And yes, I know. I still need to get that honest game of golf under 90.

But until then, I’ve got a mountain to climb.


Follow our journey to Tanzania with us. We’ll be posting photos of our travels in Tanzania via Twitter (#dna2tanzania) and Facebook and in our photo gallery.

After this trip, we are going to be still for several months. I know, I know. We’ve been saying this for months, but barring an offer we absolutely cannot refuse, we actually mean it this time. The location, still to be finalized, points again to Berlin. Stay tuned.

Disclosure: Our tour to Tanzania is in cooperation with Gap Adventures as Wanderers in Residence. The opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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