Tanzania: The Great Migration Trip

This March, Ms. Sheri Mahoney, one of our Upper Division Science teachers, took a group of students and parents on the trip of a lifetime to Tanzania. While they all had different reasons, it was pretty unanimous that this trip was something that they would never forget. Here is some of the travelers thought about the trip :

I have been very fortunate to travel the world with high school students.  I have visited five different continents on 9 different school trips.  I can say, without a doubt, that this trip to Tanzania was the best trip I have ever taken with students.  Part of that was due to the location.  As a biologist, there is no possible way for me to be unhappy while standing in the middle of the great migration or Olduvai Gorge.  Most of my joy on this trip, though, came from my travel companions.  I had four amazing parents on the trip with me who were flexible and enthusiastic and hilarious.  It was as much fun to spend time with them as it was for me to spend time with their children.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about how our students traveled.  They were culturally sensitive, energetic, respectful, and curious.  I feel so lucky to be a part of this wonderful community that values and supports experiential education and travel.  If you would like to hear more about this trip or see more pictures, please feel free to contact me.  If you would like to be added to our list of interested families for this trip in 2021, please feel free to contact me at smahoney@academyatthelakes.orgor Mrs. McCormick at cmccormick@academyatthelakes.org

For now, I’d like to share with you the experiences from the view of the student and parent participants.  Please enjoy!

Warm Regards,

Mrs. Mahoney


Our trip to Tanzania was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I love that I was able to travel with both friends and family, so that I could share the experience with the largest amount of people possible. Learning from a culture so full of people willing to share it made me feel so welcome in a place so far from home. Every person I met and talked to in Tanzania made it clear that their home was our home as well, and I think that is why everyone was able to appreciate the beautiful experience that we had.

The wildlife that we had the privilege to see was absolutely out of this world. Of course, we saw the big five, but the smaller life roaming around the Serengeti plains and living in the treetops of Ndutu was what made the experience that much more incredible. From the smallest rhino beetle to the millions of wildebeests and the rare black rhino – we really did see so much beauty in the small details, and the beauty in the most iconic, biggest African wildlife.

I am beyond grateful that I was able to have this incredible experience at such a young age. I will never forget my trip to Tanzania.

Isabella Kane ’20


I had high expectations for this trip, but I could have never expected it to be as amazing as it was. Traveling from Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro, to Ndutu, to Olduvai Gorge, to the Serengeti, while passing through villages and communities, every day was full of new sights and experiences. We saw the full circle of life, including visiting the cradle of humankind and seeing multiple kills. It is impossible to pick a favorite sight, or even a favorite day, but I find myself missing the livelihood of the communities and watching the different ways of life in action. I will forever remember singing in the vans with our tour guide Nixon, watching the hippos for over an hour, overlooking the Serengeti during sunset, hearing the roar of a lion, trying different foods, drinking the fresh juice at each new lodge, and admiring the beauty of Tanzania each day. I can’t wait to go back.

Lauren Reinhart ’20


Tanzania was amazing. We were only there for 8 days, and I saw everything I wanted to see. I was astonished as I observed millions of wildebeest during the great migration. But the animals weren’t the only thing that made our visit so unforgettable. The 5-star lodges we stayed in just made our time in Tanzania that much better. They had excellent food, outstanding views, and wonderful customer service. I couldn’t ask for a better experience.

Cole Lallanilla ’20


When I heard about the trip to Africa over a year ago, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to go and experience the animals and people in their environment. It didn’t disappoint. Every day I kept saying that tomorrow couldn’t top what we saw today. BUT every day got better. I truly appreciate that the school coordinated this fantastic trip. Thank you, Sheri Mahoney, for supporting these educational opportunities. It was so much fun traveling with you, the other parents and kids!  What a great group!  Dolly and Paul Beaver from Amazonia Expeditions are top notch. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and hope that my son doesn’t either. We are blessed to be able to experience such wonderful things in the world.


Julie Lallanilla- Parent


The Tanzania trip was, without a doubt, the best trip I have ever been on. It was the best week of my life. My favorite part of the entire trip was the Serengeti National Park. It was the last destination we would stay at for the trip and it was absolutely breathtaking. There were wildebeests as far as the eye can see traveling in the great migration. As a kid I would watch a lot of nature documentaries and travel to Tanzania brought all those amazing animals from the TV screen to life. Whether we were driving on the road only feet away from a family of elephants walking around or we were right there watching a cheetah tear down a dead wildebeest only feet away from it, this trip really opened my eyes and made me realize just how really beautiful our planet is.

Adam Zarac ’21


My trip to Tanzania was one that I could have never imagined possible.  I saw tons of nature documentaries on the unbelievable migration of millions of animals, but being in a place where I was able to experience it in real life was overwhelming with emotion. I found myself unable to believe that the things I was being taught in school about world history, evolution, natural selection, and anatomy were standing right next to me. We were so close to elephants that we were able to hear them pull up the grass and chew. We also saw cheetahs specifically eating the mesentery off a wildebeest carcass. Along the journey we were able to see the big 5. Overall my favorite part was seeing lion cubs learning how to jump, and lions sitting on top of rocks in the most picturesque way. My trip to Tanzania was eye opening to the world of travel and most importantly to different cultures. Our guides Nixon and Ayoub gave me so much information about the animals, but also gave me insight to the numerous beautiful cultures of Tanzania.

Zoe Moore ’21

Click here to see more pictures from the trip to Tanzania.

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