A little squished, cramped and dusty, I have finally arrived back in the Serengeti (at least for a short time). This, after all, is only the beginning of my trip. I will be traveling to four different villages west of Serengeti National Park to study domestic dogs to understand the effect of vaccinations on dog demography.
After stocking up in Arusha for staples such as peanut butter and pasta, I boarded the “Coastline Express” bus that passes through Serengeti National Park. Boarding the bus was an adventure all unto itself. You see, this bus doesn’t just go through the Serengeti. It’s the only bus that goes to the towns on the other side of Serengeti National Park, so as you can imagine, there are quite a few people that want to get onto this bus.
Transport that’s in such high demand must be efficient, and therefore seating arrangements quickly become creative. Passengers are packed into every available space, such as between seats and in the aisle, as well as some of the headrests and railings near the exits. So to get to your seat, you participate in a Twister-style maneuvering between people, children, luggage, eggs, purses and a box of tomatoes. Everyone is understanding and as courteous as possible, and you end up making several friends on the way.
On the way, we pass through several villages and the scenery starts to give way to nature as we pass into Ngorongoro Conservation Area and finally the Serengeti. Zebra, giraffes and several antelope species scatter as we bumble along on the dirt road. Seven hours later, I’m in the Serengeti. I made it! And so did all the gear (all four bags, a box of groceries, questionnaires and backpack) I will need for my research. I’m excited to meet up with the Serengeti Health Initiative team and start planning the next leg of the journey.