Meeting children in Tanzania
Africa, Travellers' Tales

The unexpected is often the best


Meeting children in Tanzania

© Robert Climie

When Dr. Robert Climie travelled to Northern Tanzania with Tribes in January 2019, he wasn’t expecting one of the highlights of the trip to be a simple road journey…

…children waved and shouted greetings…

It was Sunday morning and we had just left the wonderful Tarangire National Park.  We weren’t really looking forward to the three-hour drive to Lake Manyara, despite the possibility of seeing lions in trees.

After an hour or so on a main road, driving past Sunday markets and various Maasai warriors and their cows (interesting, but not the Big Five) we turned into a small road, happily leaving behind the white-uniformed police who pull you over demanding money for their breakfast.

Heading past a couple of small rather run-down towns and some paddy fields we were suddenly confronted by green cliffs. Peter, our excellent driver and guide, told us this was the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Grabbing our binoculars we scanned the area but could not see palaeontologist Richard Leakey anywhere, which was slightly disappointing.

Our journey started to take us through villages consisting of small houses surrounded by lush vegetation and crops of corn and mangoes. Immaculately dressed families filed out of tiny churches, the children in – I think – their school uniforms, the boys in pristine white shirts and red ties. They were almost immediately replaced by files of similarly dressed people going into the church; clearly there was no rest for the priest on Sundays or the ironing board on Saturday night.

As we carried on children waved and shouted greetings. We waved back but our Swahili was not up to replying. On a few occasions Peter stopped and chatted to the children while we gave them biscuits and the fruit from our lunch boxes – admonishing the older children who ran away with most of the spoils but, to be fair, they always came back and shared!

They all looked very healthy and had very good teeth so we didn’t feel too guilty about the biscuits.

Eventually we reached Lake Manyara National Park. We saw lots of flamingoes and hippos – and the famous lions in trees –  but by far the overriding memory is of the happy, friendly children and not a mobile phone – or even one of the Big Five – in sight.

Let our Tanzania Specialists take you on your own Tanzanian adventure!

If you’d like to have your own friendly encounters while exploring Northern Tanzania – or, indeed, any part of Tanzania – why not have a chat with our experts?

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