I can officially say that I survived the Serengeti! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.. of course I've said that about everything that has happened on this trip. The biggest attraction in the Serengeti is the large amount of carnivores that can be seen, especially the big cats. I saw 3 leopards, and 5 cheetahs total, and a whole bunch of lions. I actually saw 17 in one day! Our assignments on this trip were to analyze the behaviors of giraffes and elephants. We had to do a 2 hour study on each. It got a bit tedious because we just stood up and watched them out of our land rovers. They pretty much always did the same thing: walking, eating, observing. But a few times we got to see some really cute things like the baby elephants playing, elephants saving snack for later (big patches of grass on their backs), and elephants taking a bath. The giraffes weren't quite as exciting but they are really fascinating animals too. I never knew this but the older they get the darker their colors get. We saw one that was so dark it looked like a black silhouette. One of my favorite things was waking up at night to the sounds of the animals. They were literally 20 yards away from our campsite, and sometime roamed through our campsite. We had 2 nighttime guards that chased them away though. So many times I woke up to zebras barking (yes they bark..), buffalo and lions making a grunting noise, and hyenas laughing. We also were able to go to one of the travel lodges in the Serengeti and swim and eat a scrumptious buffet. It was well worth the $20 since I am definitely missing the food back home. The food here isn't bad, but it's all the same, every day.
I'm getting sad though.. I leave here in 3 days. We have our last academic presentation today and then we're going to a market in a town nearby. Tomorrow we are planting trees around camp for our 3rd community service day, and then we get to have some free time to go check out some new things or just hang out at the restaurant where we can pig out :) Monday we just have a debriefing and evaluation of the program and then we get to hang out with the staff for the rest of the day, and of course pack :(. Then we leave early Tuesday morning to go out to lunch with everyone one last time and then it's off to the Kilimanjaro Airport.
I'm so excited to see all of my family and friends, but I also feel like I've just gotten close to my new family here. It's a bittersweet feeling, but every part of this trip has been worth it!