African Safaris Consultants Blog » Tanzania http://blog.africansafaris.com Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Great Migration – New Twists in the Tails http://blog.africansafaris.com/great-migration-new-twists-tails/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=great-migration-new-twists-tails http://blog.africansafaris.com/great-migration-new-twists-tails/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 11:24:35 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3515 The Great Migration – otherwise known as the greatest spectacle on Earth – is an annual phenomenon whereby between one and two million wildebeest and zebra migrate from the northern Serengeti to the southern Serengeti in order to follow the life-giving rains and abundance of food. The migration is a massive drawcard for Tanzania and Kenya and lays claim to being the largest mammal migration on the planet.

This year the migration is a bit out of kilter as there are still big herds in the north which is unusual for this time of year as, by now, most herds are already in the south. Some animals actually turned around and went back north after beginning the migration south too early!  We’ve received word though from camps in the area that those stragglers have now started to head south again. This means that we’re witnessing a lot more river ‘crossings’ at this stage of the year than any in recent history.

Our guests in the north who were not expecting to see the migration have hit a spot of good fortune whilst, conversely, our guests who headed south specifically may be a bit disappointed – but thankfully not for too long it seems.

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

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Safari Icons: Jane Goodall http://blog.africansafaris.com/safari-icons-jane-goodall/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=safari-icons-jane-goodall http://blog.africansafaris.com/safari-icons-jane-goodall/#comments Fri, 04 May 2012 14:52:56 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2726 Every year, millions of people visit the continent of Africa to take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of its fauna and flora. Whether it’s the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya, the roaring cascade of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia or the vast deserts of Namibia, Africa has long since had a hold on man’s imagination. The routes we traverse across this great continent, metaphorical and otherwise, were mapped out by the intrepid men and women of yesteryear – explorers with a notebook and a thirst for adventure. In this series, we profile a safari icon of the past one by one and pay homage to the work they did.

We began the series by getting to know the man behind the walking safari, Zambia’s Mr Norman Carr (which you can read here). Next up, renowned for her amazing work with chimpanzees, it’s Jane Goodall…

Born in England in April of 1934, Jane Goodall possessed an extraordinary affinity for animals from a very young age. Born to a businessman father and an actress mother, Jane’s interest was said to be sparked by a gift given to her by her parents while she was still very young. The gift was of course a stuffed toy chimpanzee, initially thought to be too scary a toy for a toddler by her parent’s friends, which brought about her continuing love for, and fascination of, our primate cousins.

Jane in her early years

After having worked for several years in England after completing her high school education, Jane was presented with an opportunity to travel to Kenya at the age of 23 to visit the farm of a family friend. Immediately enamoured by the mystique of Africa, Jane set about looking for a job there that would enable her to stay on the continent she was fast falling for. It was a little later, in 1957, that Jane secured employment as a secretary for a Kenyan firm. Little did she know how much the position was going to change her life…

After a short while in her new role, Jane was given advice by a friend to contact prominent Kenyan archaeologist and paleontologist, Louis Leakey,purely about the possibility of meeting to discuss African wildlife. Fortuitously, Leakey just so happened to be looking for a researcher to assist him on his study of primate behaviour. He kept that part of the job to himself for the time being, instead offering Jane the chance work for him as his secretary in Tanzania. Jane was elated and immediately agreed to the job that took her that much closer to her beloved chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees - Jane's life and passion

Jane moved to Tanzania shortly after accepting the job and began in earnest her work for Mr Leakey. Leakey was impressed by her enthusiasm and ability, and, in 1958, he sent Jane to study primate behaviour in London with renowned experts Osman Hill and John Napier. In 1962, Leakey then arranged for Jane to study towards a Ph.D in Ethology at the prestigious University of Cambridge. With an aptitude that was clear to all, Jane became only the 8th person in the University’s history to obtain a Ph.D without having first obtained an undergraduate degree.

With her new-found knowledge and contacts, Jane returned to the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania upon completion of her thesis (titled ”Behavior of the Free-Ranging Chimpanzee”) where she continued her remarkable, almost personal relationships with the resident chimpanzee population. Jane immersed herself in her study of the animals and spent almost every waking hour being amongst them. Her knowledge of the primates was surpassed only by her love for them; and so Jane fast become renowned as the leading expert on Chimpanzees.

Jane as she was most comfortable

In 1997, Jane established the Jane Goodall Institute as a means to protect and preserve the chimpanzees and their habitat. Recognising the importance of education, the Institute set about establishing “sustainable development programs that engage communities as true partners” (from the Jane Goodall Institute). The community outreach has proven successful as the Institute continues to this day to champion the rights of the endangered animals.

With speaking engagements and honorary doctorates from the world over, Jane is still as active today as she was decades ago in her attempt to safeguard chimpanzees for generations to come. She is a true Safari Icon and all of us at African Safari Consultants salute the good work of her and her Institute!

To Jane!

 

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Seven Reasons to visit Tanzania http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-top-7/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tanzania-top-7 http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-top-7/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2012 10:50:05 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2359 Beautiful Tanzania is rapidly gaining admirers. Recently featured as one of the top destinations of 2012 by The New York Times, the country is enjoying it’s growing reputation as a country that caters to many different tastes – with a smile.

The people are amongst the continent’s friendliest and the fauna and flora amongst it’s most diverse and plentiful. The range of activities on offer means that everyone from nature enthusiasts, to families or newly weds -or even extreme thrill seekers – are sure to find exactly what they’re looking for.

We’ve compiled a list of the seven best things about Tanzania. It was extremely difficult to keep it to seven, but we (just) managed…

Ngorongoro CraterThis UNESCO World Heritage site boasts an abundance of wild life at the best of times, but more so during the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra as they move south in December and north in June. The migration is one of nature’s great spectacles and is truly something to behold.

The Ngorogoro Crater

The Ngorogoro Crater

 

Meet the Maasai The Maasai People are a semi-nomadic ethnic group who reside in regions of Kenya and Tanzania. They’re well known for their energetic customs and colourful dress, and openly welcome visitors to the area to experience their culture and lifestyle first hand.

 

Maasai Warriors Dancing

Maasai Warriors

 

The SerengetiWidely regarded as the World’s Best Game Reserve, the Serengeti National Park has an incredibly high density of both predators and prey. A hot air balloon flight over vast herds of animals is the most incredible wildlife experience.

Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain is a dormant volcano, which peaks at Uhuru at an altitude of 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level. An exhilarating climb!

 

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Walk with Chimpanzees in Mahale National Park – The National Park is one of Tanzania’s two protected chimpanzee sanctuaries, and can only be experienced by foot. There are no roads or trails in the National Park so visitors forge their own path with their experienced guide.

Mnemba IslandThis secluded island on the coast north of Zanzibar is surrounded by crystal clear azure blue waters which feature some of Africa’s best known dive sites. Snorkel amongst the coral atoll or spend your days lazily soaking up the sun - Pure barefoot luxury!

 

Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island Lodge

 

Tarangire National Park – The Tarangire National Park is not as famous as the Serengeti or Ngorongoro, but that also means it’s less crowded. The park has an abundance of fauna and flora and is particularly well known for its baobab trees and big elephant herds.

Travel deal :  Stay at one or more of &Beyond’s Tanzanian lodges for six nights and only pay for five!   Contact African Safari Consultants now with your questions.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IncKWhFy5c&w=560&h=315]

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Tanzania Tour Diary http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-tour-diary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tanzania-tour-diary http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-tour-diary/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 15:28:56 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1152 Our Safari Honcho, Jeff Ward, recently spent a week exploring the beautiful country of Tanzania. The below are excerpts of his trip as he recounts his amazing experiences…

Day 1:

 

I arrive at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha after a long spell of travelling. It’s the perfect spot for a one night pre or post safari stay, and it has a wonderful day room scenario for the late KLM flights out of JRO.

The Hotel has that old world charm that reminds me of the Mount Nelson in Cape Town… the perfect place to take Gran to tea.

The next day, I headed out to Tarangire National Park. The drive was extremely long but there was lots of good game on the way, including a python in a tree!

Day 2

The rooms at Tarangire Tree Tops Lodge are all built around a big old Baobab and Marula trees. A real tree house feel with great views.

 

Tarangire Tree Tops

Tarangire Tree Tops

 

There’s a watering hole right at the front of the lodge where we saw baboons playing (and fighting) while we had lunch.

Swala Sanctuary Camp

This under-canvas camp is right in the middle of the Tarangire National Park, so you can’t beat the location. With 12 tents, this is one of my all-time favorites.  The camp was completely renovated in 2009 and it shows. The place looks terrific. The large tents are permanently fixed on platforms and have full amenities. There is an outdoor shower for each room, with most overlooking the VERY active water hole. Guests at breakfast witnessed a mama lion snacking on a baby warthog this morning. The new managers are in the process of introducing walking safaris, which will be cool.

Swala Sanctuary Lodge

Swala Sanctuary Lodge

Day 4:

Manyara Serena Lodge

We did not have an appointment here, but Adam, my Akorn Driver/Guide thought it might be worthwhile to see.

We got a quick tour of the Manyara Serena which is right at the top of the escarpment. It has 67 rooms and was built in the 1990s. It was spacious, open, and clean, and had beautiful gardens for the grounds.

The lodge has amazing views out over Manyara and also has a refreshing pool that also overlooks the fertile valley below.

 

Manyara Serena Lodge

Manyara Serena Lodge

 

After breakfast at Manyara Ranch, we headed north-west past Lake Manyara National Park and up the Great Rift Valley escarpment  headed to the Karatu Highlands, where it was lush, green, and very pretty.

 

Karatu Highlands

Karatu Highlands

 

Gibbs Farm

I loved this place. They were expecting us and made us feel so welcome. We were immediately offered lunch from the buffet, which offered food that was almost completely grown on the farm (yes, the best meal I’d had so far). The front-office manager dined with us and was available to answer all of my questions. The environment was calm, serene and very relaxing.

Gibbs Farm Bedroom

Gibbs Farm Bedroom

 

 

The lodge sits adjacent to the Ngorongoro Crater National Park and has amazing views that overlook the highlands. There are 21 rooms — 3 older ones (2 of which are in the old home), and 18 new ones. All rooms are basically suites with sleeping, lounging and outside terrace areas. They are very, very well done and remind me a lot of LQF in Franschhoek. There are numerous “Rhythm of the Farm” activities offered and guests can basically stay busy all day (starting with bread baking at 6:30 am). Free activities include farm and garden tours, but there are also many other lower-priced activities in the park (hiking, mountain biking, etc.).

Best time of year to visit is June/July/August (especially for birding) and November/December when everything is green and the gardens are blooming.

At the end of the inspection, they gave me a 10-minute massage with a Masai traditional healer. It was amazing. I’m sold.

 

Masai Traditional Healer

Masai Traditional Healer

 

Manor Lodge

I loved this place, too, as it totally hit the JW-POSH button. It’s beautiful, it’s luxurious. The lodge is only 3 years old and it’s impeccable. Every guest will have each meal in a different location (of course, weather permitting). The have 4 horses (retired Kenyan polo ponies), a massage room, and a manicurist/pedicurist on staff.

The grounds are the loveliest I’ve seen in Tanzania. And the staff were all incredibly friendly.

Manor at Ngorongoro Crater

Manor at Ngorongoro Crater

 

 

Ngorogoro Crater Lodge

Wow! This place is definitely over the top and understandably the most expensive lodge around. The B&B product is very, very tight and the customer experience is one of the best I’d had this trip.

Each room has sweeping views of the crater, and is huge with separate living, terrace, sleeping, and mombo-sized bath areas. Any one of these rooms would be perfect for honeymooners. The Tree Camp rooms are somewhat smaller and have somewhat obstructed views of the crater, due to the foliage.

The lodge is great for honeymooners and families alike.

 

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

 

Day 5:

Serena Crater Lodge

Best suited for tour groups or those seeking less-expensive accommodation on the Crater, and cannot afford the Ngorogoro Crater Lodge.

 

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

 

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

Actually not in the Serengeti National Park, but instead in the Ngorogoro conservation area. This is a lovely 20-tent property owned also by Tanzanian entrepreneur Willy Chamulo. Tents are nicely appointed with tubs and outdoor showers. Built in 2009, the camp is 100% solar powered – nice one Willy!

Best lodge in the area…

 

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

 

Sanctuary Kusini Tented Camp

After a long day of driving, I was so happy to get to this lodge. There’s a large rock formation adjacent to the camp, which is fun to climb and has a stunning 360-view of the Serengeti.

 

Sanctuary Kusini

Sanctuary Kusini

 

Day 6:

 

After leaving Kasini, we continued through the Serengeti to Dunia Camp.

Dunia is a permanent tented camp lodge. The camp is 100% solar powered and has bucket showers available 24/7. There is also power available in the tents. It’s well appointed and the staff greeted me warmly. The camp feels like a luxury, mobile tented camp, but rustically elegant and a bit nicer than the standard mobile option.

 

Dunia Camp

Dunia Camp

 

Bilila Kempinski / Four Seasons

Built in 2009 this large, luxury lodge hotel is owned by a wealthy Arab investor so its super luxurious, world-class and very pretty. It has 2 dining venues, wine cellar, large spa, pool area, and sweeping views of the plains.

Perfect for guests who want a large, luxury lodge experience. Not for those who want an intimate camp.

 

Bilila Kempinski Lodge

Bilila Kempinski Lodge

 

Kirawira Tented Camp

This camp, built in 1998 is part of the Serena hotel group (which I learned is part of the Aga Khan’s empire). It’s a SLH (Small Luxury Hotel) property and the common areas have a clubby, intimate feel to them. There are 25 tents, all of which are on vaulted platforms offering amazing views of the Serengeti..

The one thing I didn’t like was the decor of the tent rooms. It looked like it had not been updated since opening, and the bedding was definitely not up to international luxury standards (i.e. duvet covers instead of cotton/poly bedspreads).

The management was welcoming and accommodating and the camp is in a great location with excellent common areas and views. I couldn’t find anything wrong with this place other than the outdated room decor.

 

Kirawira Tented Camp

Kirawira Tented Camp

 

&Beyond Grumeti Tented Camp

For my 6th night on the road, we stayed in Grumeti camp, which is located on a tributary of the Grumeti river, inside the Serengeti national park. The most interesting aspect of the lodge’s location is the large number of hippo in the river right in front of main lodge. There are 3 families and the hippos are very rambunctious (i.e. active and loud). Across the tributary, on the other side, there’s also a lot of other game viewing (giraffes, monkeys, impala, etc).

The staff here was VERY high-touch, with on-going name usage with all guests. The &Beyond lodges all stand out above the rest in their customer service and friendly, confident levels of service (as opposed to Sanctuary’s very timid, unconfident lodge wait staff). There’s a butler assigned to every guest, who is there for every whim (and meal).

I found the food above-average, and some of the best I had on the trip.

 

Singita-Grumeti Camp

Singita-Grumeti Camp

 

Day 7:

After leaving Grumeti Camp, we were able to do a site inspection at one of the Singita Grumeti camps:

Singita Sabora Lodge

The first of the 3 Singita lodges in the Grumeti concession, adjacent to the Serengeti national park, this luxury tented camp is run like the other Singita proprieties — all-inclusive with game package. Basically, all the East Africa tour operators drop the clients at the lodge and step away.

There are 9 luxurious tents, built on platforms, that are suite-sized. 6 of the tents are arranged in pairs (but still can be sold as singles), sharing a library tent between them.

The lodge is pure Singita in every aspect. It’s luxurious, serene, and tasteful on all fronts. There is a pool, spa, tennis courts, wifi throughout, and air conditioning in the tents.

Sabora sits out in the middle of the plains and is beautifully located. There’s nothing around besides the resident family of zebras in the camp, just in front of the main lodge.

The game is starting to come back after years of depletion.

 

Game viewing at Singita

Game viewing at Singita

 

After flying back to Arusha, and then to DAR, I transferred by land out to the Ras Kutani Beach Lodge.

With no traffic, it’s a 1:15 drive from the DAR airport (mine was 1:45 in traffic), or a 12-minute air hop. This lodge provides a very nice, relaxing alternative for an after-safari beach experience. The lodge is part of the Selous safari company portfolio, along with their 2 Selous lodges. The property has 4 suites, with private plunge pools, 9 “castaway chic” cottages, and 1 family cottage. a few of the cottages have lagoon views.

Their cottages have large verandas with hammocks, spacious king/twin rooms, and large bath areas. The resort is super causal, with most guests walking around barefoot. There’s a beautiful beach with very warm water for those mid afternoon dips.

For my return flight out, I had a 7am air hop transfer back to DAR, in more than enough time for my 8:35 am BA flight back to London.

Ras Kutani is a well-kept secret and the perfect solution for guests needing to overnight in Dar es Salaam. Two nights here after the northern circuit, or Selous, is the perfect way to end a safari. It’s also closer than Zanzibar and provides a good alternative.

 

Ras Kutani Beach

Ras Kutani Beach

 

All said, Tanzania is a beautiful country with plenty to offer a variety of visitors. Get in touch with us here at African Safari Consultants and we’ll make sure your trip is as unforgettable as Jeff’s.

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Wildlife pic of the week: The African Buffalo http://blog.africansafaris.com/wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo http://blog.africansafaris.com/wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:57:42 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1031 The African Buffalo is a respected member of the Big Five even though he might look like a mellow bovine. His cousins in the East, the Asian Water Buffalo, can be domesticated. Not this guy!  He is extremely dangerous, and is capable of killing a lion. He is on the trophy wish list of big game hunters and I am pleased to report that he has gored and maimed many a hunter! You have heard the expression – ‘like a wounded buffalo’ to describe someone who is so mad with rage and attacks relentlessly again and again…Those geeky looking horns actually act as a ‘shield’ and the thick bone is capable of stopping a rifle bullet. We do NOT condone big game hunting! But we do encourage you to join an African Safaris photographic safari to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands, the South Luangwa National Park, the Lower Zambezi National Park, the Masai Mara and the Serengeti.

It is thrilling to be in a safari vehicle amongst a herd of buffalo. You are quite safe if you stay in the vehicle, but you definitely get a sense of their power and potential danger.

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The great migration – the gory aftermath http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2011 09:58:18 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1018 Being in East Africa’s Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks during the annual migration is high up on every animal lover’s wish list. The awesomeness is in the sheer numbers and the opportunity to witness one of
nature’s most incredible spectacles.  Not everybody is lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to see the famous River Crossings – when thousands of wildebeest, on auto-pilot, launch themselves as one into crocodile infested rivers with a seemingly blind faith in ‘safety in numbers’.

As nature has it, there are casualties and this is good news for the predators – the crocodiles, hyena, jackal, other small mammals and ultimately squabbling parties of vulture and ugly marabou storks.

jackal & vulture 'tidying up' in the Serengeti

But be prepared. The aftermath of the migration is not for the faint hearted. You will need a strong stomach.  The river banks and immediate surrounds are literally littered with carcasses being chewed and pecked.  Grim as it may be, this is all part of nature’s big plan as hundreds of creatures, birds and insects ultimately benefit from the gory slaughter.

Vultures and a 'picked clean' carcass

If you would like to visit East Africa and see the migration it is best to start planning and booking your trip now. It is tricky choosing which safari camps to book as it all depends on the time of year and whether you travel to Tanzania or Kenya or both. Talk to one of our African Safari Consultants for more advice and info.

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Vultures & their International Day of awareness http://blog.africansafaris.com/vultures-their-international-day-of-awareness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vultures-their-international-day-of-awareness http://blog.africansafaris.com/vultures-their-international-day-of-awareness/#comments Wed, 31 Aug 2011 13:21:28 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=946 Vultures in Africa’s food chain

I learnt this week that International Vulture Day occurs on the first Saturday in September each year.  So this year falls on 3rd of September which amazingly (the year is flying by) is this coming weekend.  The event was started by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme and its partners and associates.  There are a few organizations worldwide highlighting this cause and it even has its own Awareness Day Wikispace.

I have learnt that there are 2 distinct groups of vultures – Old World Vultures and New World Vultures.  Old World vultures live in Africa, Asia and Europe and the latter New World Vultures prefer the warmer more temperate climate of the Americas.  South Africa is home to 9 vulture species, 7 of which face the threat of extinction.

There are many factors that have contributed to the endangered status of vultures.  Some of these include:  poisoning, persecution, power lines, drowning and shortage of food in drier countries.  There has also been an increase in the illegal trade of live birds, and a greater use of the bird in traditional medicine.  A final very interesting fact is their loss of habitat – amazingly to the increasing population of elephants.  Less trees means less nesting!  So ironically in saving the one, you are tampering with the environment of another!

A few other interesting points that I found in my reading:

-  There are 23 species of vulture in total
-  Between Old World and New World Vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica
-  Old World Vultures don’t have a good sense of smell but have unbelievable eyesight, being able to spot a small animal carcass from 4 miles away
-  Vultures can eat up to 20 times their body weight in one sitting
-  All are scavengers and specialize in feeding on carcasses
-  Vultures have a digestive system that contains special acids that dissolve anthrax, botulism, and cholera bacteria
-  They are social birds which means you will often see several feeding together on the same carcass.  By consuming carcasses vultures help prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases.  Therefore, they too are very important in natures food chain.

And my final word – did you know that a group of vultures is called a venue, and when they are circling in the air they are known as a kettle!

Play your part in International Vulture Awareness Day – Saturday 3rd of September!

Lappet-faced vulture taken by photographer Stefano Pesarelli

]]> http://blog.africansafaris.com/vultures-their-international-day-of-awareness/feed/ 1 How to choose your Safari – Part 2 http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2 http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:55:59 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=932 Choosing the right safari

Last week I promised a few more tips on how to choose the right safari.  Last week I covered:

1.  When do you want to go?
2. Winter vs Summer?
3. Malaria Free Safaris?
4. Your budget?

With these 4 questions covered we can look at getting a little more specific about your experience.

Once you have covered the above the next thing that I would ask is what kind of vacation or safari are you looking for and who are you traveling with?
There are options out there that are more suited to families, older generations, honeymooners, adventurers, 1st time safari goers and those looking to volunteer and give something back.  So believe it or not, this is an important consideration and really helps your consultant provide you with the product best suited to you.

Although your budget might decide where you can go – it would be good for you to have an idea about this too?  There are plenty of choices out there – somewhere like East Africa with Kenya and Tanzania and of course the Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda – has been on the safari circuit for decades.  They are awesome destinations for game viewing and they can be busy and expensive.  Botswana is going to give you an exclusive wilderness experience.  I think it has been said that there are more beds in the Cape Town Waterfront, then in the whole of Botswana!  Because of this exclusivity there is a premium cost attached to staying in this beautiful country.
South Africa has marketed itself well over the years and certainly is a destination that has something for everyone.  So if you are looking for other experiences to include with your Safari, then perhaps South Africa is the right place for you.   Of course – if you like Deserts……nothing compares to dunes and ancient paths in Namibia.

The last thing I would consider when making my safari choice is how much support these establishments are providing to the local communities and how much they are giving back to wildlife.  This is actually something that you do find often now and I think it is an important consideration.  You want to know that you are also giving back to the local people and wildlife you are seeing.

In this way we all play a small part in preserving our Earth’s amazing treasures.  I hope this has been useful.  I always value any comments or thoughts so please feel free to add yours!

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A story about the Cheetah – a Safari highlight http://blog.africansafaris.com/a-story-about-the-cheetah-a-safari-highlight/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-story-about-the-cheetah-a-safari-highlight http://blog.africansafaris.com/a-story-about-the-cheetah-a-safari-highlight/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2011 12:38:08 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=904 The beautiful Cheetah

A newsletter popped into my inbox yesterday from a lodge in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa.  At the bottom they added some really interesting facts about Cheetahs which I didn’t know.  So I thought I would do a little research and see what else I could learn for myself.

Here are the facts in the newsletter from Nambiti Hills:

-  A cheetah’s body temperature at rest is around 39ºC (102.2F).  When the cheetah hunts, her body temperature gets up to 242.5ºC (468.5F)!
-  A cheetah can eat 14 kg of meat in a sitting. That’s close to one third of her body weight
-  A cheetah’s heart, liver and lungs are nearly three times the size of those of a lioness. That’s because they need to get as much oxygen into their system as they can

Using a few resources I found a few other things about the Cheetah that I don’t think are common known facts:

-  A cheetah can go from 0 to 60 miles (96 kilometers) an hour in only three seconds
-  The cheetah hunts by vision rather than by scent. Prey is stalked to within 10–30 m (33–98 ft), then chased. This is usually over in less than a minute, and if the cheetah fails to make a catch quickly, it will give up. The cheetah has an average hunting success rate of around 50%
-  When cheetahs run fast they use their tales to steer.  Their tails work like a rudder of a boat to help them turn the direction they want to go
-  Cheetahs do not roar like lions, but purr just like a domestic cat. They also chirp like a bird, hiss, whine, growl in anger or fright and moan in distress
-  The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black “tear marks”, which run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth, keep the sun out of its eyes and make it one of the most deadly hunters
-  It is the only felid with non-retractable claws and pads that, by their scope, disallow gripping (therefore cheetah cannot climb vertical trees, although they are generally capable of reaching easily accessible branches).

Most wild cheetahs are found in Eastern and South Western Africa. Perhaps only 7,000 to 10,000 of them remain, and those are under pressure as the wide-open grasslands they favor are disappearing at the hands of human settlers.  The average life cycle for a Cheetah is up to 12 years in the wild, but most survive around 8 years and in captivity they can live up to 20 years.

If you looking to see these animals in action then chat to us about a vacation to Phinda, the Eastern Cape, Namibia or Tanzania and we can tailor make the perfect itinerary for you!  I have only seen these beautiful mammals a couple of times in my life and always hold my breath.  I find them magic!

And in case you have missed it – don’t forget to go and see The Last of the Lions, a National Geographic movie!

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How to choose that African Safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-that-african-safari/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-choose-that-african-safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-that-african-safari/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:42:51 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=894 Tips for choosing the right Safari Vacation

We are often asked in this business where the best place to go on safari is.  People ask this without realizing the choice that is out there and without really thinking about what it is they want to get out of the experience.  Everyone is different, and we are all looking for that awesome “thing” that we can tell all our friends about, or that will last a lifetime.

By choosing a Safari destination you are one up on everybody already!  It is a totally unique, mind blowing, awesome thing.  You will never experience anything like it, anywhere else in the world.  That is why Africa is so unique!  That should be enough to sell you on the ultimate vacation…..but if you still need some pointers on how to choose the right Safari, below are a few pointers:

1.  When do you want to go?  – The biggest thing to remember is that the seasons are opposite way round in the southern hemisphere, where most of your big safari destinations are.  So summer in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern.  The good thing about this is that winter in the southern hemisphere is generally the best time for game viewing.  The general lack of rain in the winter months keeps the vegetation dry and short – this allows for much easier spotting of wildlife or the big 5.

2. Even though winter months are generally better for game viewing, the summer months also provide their advantages.  These are primarily better package deals due to the “low season”, but it also provides a more intimate safari experience.  The summer months are not as busy as the winter months.  My favorite summer safari experience are the magical, electric thunder storms.   Paints a safari in a whole new light.

3.  You should consider if you are looking for a Malaria free safari or if you are comfortable taking prophylactics or other precautions.  Certainly there are times when a Malaria risk is not good – usually involving pregnant ladies or very young babies.  There are not many areas that are Malaria free, but South Africa has 2 locations – Madikwe and the Eastern Cape.

4. The final pointer for today is your budget.  Everyone has a budget in mind when going on vacation and a safari vacation is no different.  The advantage about Safari’s is the broad range of price choice over a wide range of destinations.  Some countries offer value for money, others offer the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity, some have been hosting safaris for generations, while others allow for pristine wilderness.

So you need to decide what your important factors are for this ultimate vacation experience.  Next week I will highlight a few more that should really help you make the perfect decision!

One of the Big 5 - The King of the Savanna

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