Sleepless in Serengeti

Yesterday morning we woke up in a tent in the middle of the Serengeti. I didn’t sleep well, partially due to excitement and adrenaline, but also because we could see hyenas walking around our tent and hear other unknown animal calls in the distance throughout the night. I kept thinking to myself “How is this real life?”


As we setup our campsite we were told that the animals were afraid of light, so as long as we had a flashlight we would be safe. Sounds logical, right? I told myself this as I climbed out of the tent for my midnight pee, waving my flashlight around like a maniac. I got about five steps away from the tent when I saw a large hyena about twenty feet away rummaging through a bin full of empty plastic water bottles.

Hyena chew toy/recycling bin

The beam of light from my flashlight met his body and our eyes met. Moving the fastest I’ve ever moved in my life, I dove back into the tent similarly to how Michael Phelps dives into an Olympic pool. By the time Christopher jolted awake, the hyena was gone. We were discussing how he may or may not believe me and whether I could pee right next to the tent when the hyena came back and hung out about ten feet outside of our window. Christopher and I were like children trying to spy on Santa from our tent window. It was such a thrill.

Leopard tracks found in our campsite
Sunrise view from our safari vehicle

Christopher and I agree that this safari has been one of the best experiences of our lives. We spent four days traveling to three very different national parks, Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro crater, as well as taking in the beauty of Tanzania. In the last four days we have taken 1,500 photos and 30 videos, which we are downloading and culling through as I write this. I can’t wait to see what shots we got and share them with you all, which I hope to do soon. Today we fly to Zanzibar where we hope to have some down time and decent wi-fi.

Serengeti sunrise

Also, just in case anyone was wondering, Christopher escorted me to the camp bathroom that night, a decision I now regret. I think it would have been easier to deal with the hyena than hear him remind me repeatedly the next day that he had to escort me to the bathroom with his muscles and show that hyena “who was boss”.

Love from Tanzania,

Cathleen & Christopher The Brave


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