My last day in Tanzania was spent in Moshi. While some people had been there for days and not actually seen the mountain. I was lucky: I saw Kili at sunset and sunrise!
As we climbed higher on Kilimanjaro, the mists grew thicker and the light dimmer. The air was heavy and visibility low. It wasn't the hike I expected, but it was still stunning.
I was climbing the Marangu route to the Mandara hut. Along the way, we found a pretty rare Kilimanjaro impatiens flower - with a little green bug in it.
I was welcomed into the home of the main leader of this boma. We stepped in - I was the farthest one inside - in their kitchen.
There are four or five smaller pens that are off to each side in the second rung -- this is where the goats or donkeys are kept, separated by family.
On our second day in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area (WMA), we ate breakfast with the goats and packed up our campsites. We were headed to a local Maasai village, also known as a boma.
I’ve never seen anything like this dust. So light that at a footstep it poofs into the air. So invasive that it leaks through car windows and into closed bags and your lungs.
Near our workplace, along the dirt street with the small butcher shop and music store, were several murals. I wish that I had captured more and walked the street more slowly.
We watched the giraffe for a good 20 minutes. At first, there were only two. They were looking intensely to the right, as several more walked out of the canyon.
These moments were magical. We were struck with how the elephants approached us, especially the young ones.
At the campfire the night before, our little group heard about some lions the tourists had seen earlier that day. We asked them if they could find the lions again.
Our second day in Tarangire started with an early morning Cape Buffalo herd. The landscape here was epic. Empty savannahs, gnarled trees, thin stretches of water.
The light was a deep red. The air was peaceful. The mighty leafless Baobab trees standing guard over the savannah.
Our lunch spot for our first day in Tarangire was perched above a beautiful river and what felt like the entirety of the park (it wasn't).
We were wide-eyed with cameras flashing the entire afternoon, passing my binoculars back and forth to get closer looks.
We found a central watering hole where we sat and watched as a small herd of zebras and wildebeest ventured in to drink. It was stunning.
While there were some giggles, the instructor mostly discussed the causes of early pregnancy: poverty, distance from home to school, peer groups, rape.
As we journeyed up and out, we passed an entire troop of Olive baboons on the move. They were curious, but confident.
This was where the expanse of the crater really came to view. It was stark and beautiful. The intense sun beat down on the quietly grazing wildlife.
There were so many different species, sizes and colors among the brush of Ngorongoro: rainbow and dull, tiny and large, strutting and flitting about.
Many animals hang around water in Ngorongoro - we stumbled upon more than a few hippos, as well as a lion couple.
We perched ourselves on a ridge overlooking an expansive green river. Two elephants, far off, trekked toward it. I felt like we were in Jurassic Park.
I wasn't prepared for Ngorongoro Crater. The morning air was cool on our way down as we passed villages and zebra in the distance.
Our group marveled at the elephants' quiet chomping and slow movements, giggling at the baby elephant.
There were thousands of cranes - so many that the entire forest of trees was white from their perched bodies. It was loud, and spectacular.
There's so much I love about being among the ruins of Rome, as they stretch across the continents. Amazingly, there were storks among the ruins as well.
Just like Marrakech, the souks in Fes were windy, narrow and bustling. We visited artisans practicing their various crafts, from weaving to tanning to mosaics.
Before reaching Fes, we passed through a forest in the middle Atlas where, quite suddenly, Ismail spotted some Barbary macaques.
We were the last ones to leave our encampment, just a couple of us, and our jeep was packed to the brim with the Berber folks who worked with us. They even climbed on the side.
The Sahara started as a faint orange on the horizon. There's someplace that deserts have to start, and I guess this was it.
The sheer cliffs and rocky river of the sparse Dadès Gorge had little traffic. The sun was setting, and there was an immense quietude.
Once a prominent caravan stop, now only eight Berber families remain living inside the ancient fortress walls. They are the caretakers.
When we reached the top, you could see the painted hills all around us and just marveled at where we were standing, looking at the new town across the river.
The high Atlas Mountains were sparse and dusty, with a lot of construction work and a caravan of vehicles trekking up and up.
Eventually, the swallows swam around us as the evening prayer was marked by the mosque loudspeakers across the entire city.
Some courtyards were lush and overrun with plant life -- others were massive and bare, yet still tiled in greens and blues.
For four hundred years, the voices of 900 Marrakech children reverberated against the Moorish architecture of the Koranic school.
Far outside the city center in the newer part of Marrakech, is the Jardin Majorelle, a garden built in the 1900s and later bought by Yves Saint-Laurent.
The Souks dominate Marrakech life. They are markets, homes, shops. Over the course of a couple of days, we wound in and out of them.
The "incomparable" Palais el-Badi was once a wonder of the Muslim world. Today - and since 1683 - the palace has lain in ruins.
We were amazed when we sat down on the third story of Cafe Restaurant Nid Cigogne near Palais el-Badi and looked across the square. A stork's nest.
In the middle of the Souks in Marrakech, our peaceful, tiled riad was a sanctuary. From the rooftop terrace, we could see the entire city.