Julie Scott-Seaman, local travel agent, spends 13 days on an African safari

Going into the wild

Alicia Seaman (left) and Julie Scott-Seaman dance with the Masai in their village between Tararangire and Ngorongoro.

Going into the wild

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Photos contributed by Alicia Seaman Hippos were a common sight near the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Africa.

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A lion wanders through one of the many wildlife parks in Tanzania. "It was like being in an issue of National Geographic," said Julie Scott Seaman.

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A hyena soaks in a mud puddle on the side of a dusty road in the Serengeti.

Julie Scott-Seaman is a traveler by nature. That’s why she turned her love into a lifelong career at Camas World Travel. Since 1976, she has been helping people plan their vacations, and seeing beautiful places along the way.

“I love it because you’re helping people, you get to travel and most of the time, you’re sending someone on vacation so they are in a great mood,” she said.

In her position, Scott-Seaman has been all over the world. But recently, she embarked on a new adventure: A wildlife safari in Africa.

She, along with seven other people, including clients, friends and her daughter, went to visit various wildlife parks in Tanzania.

They left Portland on Feb. 28 for Amsterdam. From there, it was a 10-hour flight to Tanzania, where they stayed for 13 days.

The group included herself, Alicia Seaman, Don Shore, Fred Hockinson Mark and Connie Irwin, and Gretchen and Dave Lhommediu.

“Tanzania is one of the safest countries in Africa,” Scott-Seaman said. “I never felt like I was in any danger. You just use common sense, and you’re fine.”

The idea to go on safari was born several years ago, when Scott-Seaman met Allen G. Mnyenye, a professional guide from Arusha, Tanzania.

“He kept trying to talk me into going, and finally I agreed,” she said. “I asked my husband, and he wasn’t too enthusiastic but my daughter said, ‘Heck yeah.’”

Safaris are not for the faint of heart, she added. The days are long and include riding in bumpy jeeps through hot wildlife parks on dusty, unpaved roads.

Hours are often spent watching nature unfold.

“This isn’t a sit-by-the-pool and drink-a-beer kind of vacation,” Scott-Seaman said. “But it is just amazing. During the day, it’s as if you were in a Disney movie, and at night, you’ll be relaxing with a glass of wine and see zebras, giraffes, buffaloes and baboons just wandering around. It was amazing.”

While in Tanzania, the group stayed for 13 days in various wildlife parks.

Sometimes, they slept in a lodge. Other times, it was in wilderness camps.

A typical day began at 6 a.m. The group would visit sites such as Tarangire Park, Lake Manyara Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and parks in the Serengeti. There, they would stay for hours, watching for various wildlife.

“It was like being in National Geographic,” Scott-Seaman said. “Giraffes would walk right up to your jeep, and there would be a line of elephants in front and back of you.”

Animals always have the right of way, she added. One time, the group saw a male lion lying in the road, just a few feet away.

“We stopped the car and he got up, looked at us, and let out the biggest roar, not a scary one, just one acknowledging us and went on his way,” she said. “It was such a surreal moment.”

She added that all the parks had their amazing points, so it is hard to pick which one was the best.

“At another park, a cheetah came by, grabbed its prey, ran across from us and started to eat it. That’s why you go out all day, to see things like this.”

In addition to the safaris, the group also visited Misaim tribal villages and an orphanage. Riverview Bank in Camas donated several baseball caps to bring to the children.

“Don’t be afraid to go,” Scott-Seaman said. “There is such a variety of stuff to do in Tanzania, and so many fascinating things to see. The people are lovely and friendly.”

Other interesting things that happened included meeting a man named God Sent, hearing the sound of the rain coming in like a freight train, and seeing the moving sands of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Scott-Seaman is planning to take a group over to Africa again in two years. She plans to put together a CD of trip photos for those who are interested in learning more.

“If people are interested, they should also talk to others and do their own research,” she said. “You learn so much. I didn’t want to miss anything while I was there.”