We had been impressed with the friends’ recollections of their African encounters after visiting Tanzania. We began thinking about a safari in The african continent. Where to start? The choices were huge. Within Swahili safari means “ trip. ” I wanted ours to be unique. Memorable.
We prepared to fly out to Kilimanjaro Airport terminal in Tanzaniand visit this particular wonder-of-the-world. Very few countries have put aside, preserved and conserved so much of the land for future generations.
Our journey was to happen in late January and early Feb. We had spent many months preparing and organizing our adventure prior to finally making a choice for an 11-night/12-day safari, with Tanganyika Expeditions. Expert only in Tanzania meant that they had built up a formidable reputation together superb people working with them. That they had registered under the name of “ The particular No . 1 Safari in the World. ” A bold statement. I loved that. I was keen to find out…
Our travel friends were African specialists, Allan plus Pasit. Regrettably Pasit later needed to drop-out due to family commitments. Therefore , we were three. Myself (British); Pichai (Thai) and Allan (South African). We had all become close friends following a number of adventures together. Most recently 2 exploration trips to Bhutan. Allan and I are both Skal members. Allan is linked to tourism and food through his work with the Southern African Thai Chamber of Business. So , all three of us have got tourism as our common denominator.
I was delighted to be also working with Kenyairways boeing 757, our airline of choice from Bangkok. On receiving our travel paperwork their Pride of Africa tagline seemed fitting for our journey. First of all, to Nairobi’ s Jomo Kenyatta Airport, then a short international jump of one hour from Kenya in order to Mount Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania, for the start of our safari. Hemingway fans may recall his brief story The Snows of Kilimanjaro and the film of the same title starring Gregory Peck and Leslie Hayward.
Were all of us travelling in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway? Well yes and no…
Like Hemingway we journeyed to Kenyand Tanganyika (Tanzania today). Unlike Hemingway we wished not to suffer any plane accidents in Africa nor contract fatigue. Neither did we plan to destroy any animals as trophies.
Certainly, his story has been exciting and unique and in this particular aspect our expedition was going to become a journey of a lifetime and I had been sure that the memories and pictures I would see on my very first visit to Tanzania would shape our impressions of this immense continent throughout my life. From this point of view, I had fashioned much in common with Hemingway. I used to be also about to learn much of very best essence of Africa.
We departed from Suvarnabhumi Airport terminal, Bangkok on January 27 traveling with Kenya Airways on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Nairobi. The particular journey of nine hours has been comfortable and the lie-flat beds in operation class made a great start for your expedition. Although excited we were every able to get a few hours’ rest ahead of our busy first time for our African adventure.
Our transfer from Nairobi had been on a new Embraer 190 aircraft. It was a short flight to Kilimanjaro Airport, taking less than an hour.
After a short wait to acquire our Tanzania visa-on-arrival ($50) plus showing our “ yellow book” with details of our yellow-fever inoculations we quickly retrieved our baggage and were met by Captain christopher who was to be our driver/guide/mentor/teacher and everything round good guy for the following 12 days. We all warmed in order to him immediately and over the arriving days we’ re grateful just for his encyclopedic knowledge. He furthermore taught us a few words associated with Swahili – Asante (thank you), Karibu (welcome) and Pole Rod (slowly, slowly). Christopher had incredible eyesight too – being able to place distant animals with radar-like accuracy.
(l-r) Christopher, Allan, Victoriand Pichai at our very first overnight stop
Our vehicle was the impressive Toyota Land Cruiser. A 7-seater automobile, a cross between a Property Rover and an Hummvee. It had been huge inside and out. A good all-terrain 4× 4. We had shovels, deep water snorkels and huge tires. It stood high plus proud above the dirt. It was the safari workhorse of preference – reliable and rugged. This had good height and presence. With a removable roof and defensive sun-canopy making for perfect 360° photo shooting. A fridge just for ice cold soft drinks, along with electrical sockets to charge phones and digital camera batteries.
We rapidly left the airport compound plus were on the main highway in order to Arusha in no time before heading in to the bush and the Tarangire National Recreation area.
The Baobab tree
It was just as We imagined. Huge great Baobab trees and shrubs (the Upside-Down tree or Container tree), Acacia trees and the appropriately named Sausage tree.
The first animals that we spotted had been zebras and a herd of elephants. Then later gazelles, wildebeest plus giraffes. The landscape was simply extraordinary.
Herds of elephants
The first animals that we spotted had been zebras and a herd of elephants. Then later gazelles, wildebeest plus giraffes
The particular sheer number of wildlife and wild birds was amazing
Our first night was invested at Maweninga Camp which rests high on the escarpment atop of the very impressive granite boulder area. This particular camp is located in the heart of Tarangire National Park with great sights over Lake Manyarand River Burunge.
After a lengthy first day, leaving home in Bangkok at 2100 hours the day prior to, we arrived at the camp around 1500 hours local time, twenty two hours later.
All of us spent two nights here. The particular camp has free Wi-Fi within the public areas and all electrical power within the camp is provided from solar panel systems located within the campsite.
All 16 tents are equipped with quite comfortable beds, patio furniture and in room facilities. Camping just became attractive! There were stunning views of the recreation areand our two nights right here made our African adventure memorable.
More so for Allan. At breakfast, he explained he previously a visitor in his tent yesterday evening. A small Hyrax – about the dimension of a baby pig. It’ ersus actually related to the elephant yet you’ d never guess. Allan’ s visitor sneaked in the zipped-up tent somehow and startled your pet at 0330 hours.
Our Massai night watchman told us that the camp furthermore had a leopard visitor in the night time but it just walked through the camp… no dramas!
Right after breakfast, we left the Maweninga Tented Camp. Our first night time was comfortable with temps about 32-35° C day time dropping to a lot cooler 14° C at night period.
During our 2nd day safari-drive down near the lake, we came across an incredibly rare package of wild dogs. Fantastic! That they had been hunting and unlike the particular Mad Dogs and Englishmen associated with Noë l Porters song, these types of dogs were resting in the middle day sun under the shade of an Acacia tree, within sight of the moist marshland beyond.
Captain christopher explained that Tarangire National Recreation area comes into its own at this time of calendar year with the almost permanently flowing Tarangire River a haven for elephants with young, moving amongst the magnificent Baobab trees and dry-land bushes, and many different antelope and huge buffalo herds are seen. It is also well known for sightings of cheetah plus leopard.
We had quick access and the 4× 4 tracks injury in and out of copses of riverine trees and out across grassland habitat.
We noticed group of vultures in a nearby shrub. Christopher thought there must be an eliminate nearby. We later found a substantial dead Eland (a savannah plus plains antelope found throughout Eastern and Southern Africa) and not far a female leopard in a nearby woods looking-out over its recent eliminate.
Female Leopard in a tree close to a dead Eland
She was not entirely confident with our presence showing signs of anxiety and annoyance. We kept quite quiet!
In the event that looks could kill
The vultures had furthermore sensed the leopard’ s existence and were waiting to join in the particular “ feast. ”
The stunning African starling
This was Africa! Our own first few days sightings of Africa’ s wildlife had so far surpassed my expectations.
It had been a wonderful day and we had a have a picnic lunch down by the river not really far from the leopard in a forest. Later that afternoon we noticed a pride of four elephants sleeping under a distant tree. Great!
On the third day time, we left camp and going towards Lake Manyara in brilliant sunshine.
It acquired rained late yesterday for a limited time, a surprise and welcome relief for that locals after a particularly long dried out spell. There was however , little proof of ground water on the roadway. All of us came across buffalo and elephants by the bucket load as we headed down the escarpment to reduce ground.
We exited the Tarangire NP at the Sangaiwe Gate and headed north towards the lake. It soon became obvious that the Sangaiwe Hills had obtained a lot more water from the recent down pours, than we had at the camp. The flash flood blocked our method. What was once a substantial road had been now a 100-meter wide water with fast-flowing water. Christopher had taken it all in his stride. With the local people all watching and offering their own opinions he quietly ignored the particular hullabaloo and battened down the hatches and lowered the sun-canopy plus closed the roof. He told all of us also to close all the windows plus hold-on!
The particular river crossing
He revved the engine plus set-off at speed. He obviously felt forward momentum would be beneficial. Thankfully the water was only a few foot deep and Christopher was able to properly drive (sail? ) across. All of us cheered when we reached the opposite part and regained the high ground.
Privately I think we were many relieved. Had it been good fortune or experience? We’ ll provide Christopher the benefit of the doubt upon that one…
River Manyara National Park turned out to be incredible. Awesome bird life around the comfy waters of the lake fed simply by underground hot springs.
The springs provide the lake using a year-round supply of water, nutrients plus minerals for plant growth, producing for a bird lovers paradise. The particular alkaline waters favor pink flamingoes.
We had a have a picnic lunch once more and marveled on the thousands of birds flocking the coast line. As well as flamingoes, we saw storks, cranes, pelicans and so many more…
The plentiful bird life of Africa
Bashay Rift Villa was our next home for 2 days. It was beautiful! Lush eco-friendly manicured lawns; colorful bougainvillea all over the place and a swimming pool. Our accommodations had been wonderful. We had a gorgeous suite having a four-poster bed. An ENORMOUS bathroom plus heaps of hot water and power showers. Tents are good but this was divine. Bashay Rift Lodge was a pleasurable surprise and one of my favorites.
Bashay Rift Lodge
Dinner was under the superstars and delicious. The Lodge increases all their own vegetables. We were used to 4-course meals. Soup had been very much in vogue in Tanzania. Along with excellent African wines, we had the most pleasant evening.
We all turned in reasonably early following a night cap in the bar.
Allan had elected in which to stay camp the next day and catch up in the work, but Pichai and I recently had an early start. We were off to fulfill the Hadzabe tribe!
After a good overnight’ s rest, we woke early to be on the highway by 06. 00hrs for the 75-minute drive into the mountains.
The countryside was rather more unwelcoming and desolate. As the seasons modify in Africa the shades associated with green and brown change in order to yellow and beige, true firefox colors. The Eyasi mountains appeared yellow, beige and grey. It had been very dry.
There were a brilliant morning. We met plan a local guide who escorted all of us to the Hadzabe tribe village. The particular Hadzabe are an indigenous ethnic group, living around Lake Eyasi within the Central Rift Valley. They quantity less than one thousand and approximately four hundred Hadzabe live as part-time hunter-gatherers. They have lived in this region for thousands of years.
The Hadzabe tribe
The “ village” had been tiny, made up of a small collection of huts built from mud, sticks and lawn. The tribe is highly mobile plus move around the countryside often.
We went on a searching expedition with a few of the men from the tribe with their dogs and ribbon and bow and arrows.
Nearly immediately they shot two wooden pigeons with their wooden arrows. Quicker than you can say McDonald’ h they had built a fire; plucked among the birds and had it grilling around the fire. They had their breakfast! These people offered Pichai and I a piece to consume but we didn’ t, actively playing it safe rather than risking the digestive upset.
One hour later we were back at the tribe village, where we had a small archery competition. We bought a couple of trinkets for a total of 20 dollars which they were very pleased with. The beaded/bone wrist band for Pichai and a small clay pipe for me personally, for my collection.
They wished us well using a blessing dance, before we came back to the Land Cruiser.
The whole mountainside was strewn along with quartz. A sign that gold can also be present. I asked the guideline and he confirmed that there was certainly gold in them there hills!
After the hunting, we produced our way to watch how a nearby tribe melt down scrap metallic to make metal items especially steel arrow heads for hunting.
Just a few of the numerous African mammals we saw throughout our safari
Afterwards we returned to the Bashay Hills Lodge to have lunch along with Allan. We had a free afternoon in order to chill, relax or swim within the hotel pool.
The particular Lodge was very comfortable and am so enjoyed my time generally there. It’ s ideally located just 8 km from the Ngorongoro Door and offers breathtaking views. The Rift Valley on one side and the Ngorongoro forest and foothills on the some other. The 26 rooms are occur large gardens and coffee plantations.
The following day all of us headed for the Ngorongoro Conservation Region, an extinct volcano with wall space that completely enclose an areassociated with 120 square miles teeming along with wildlife.
Using its steep sides, it’ s a distinctive biosphere. A Garden of Eden. Wildlife viewing in the crater had been extraordinary.
Elephants had been common, but only bulls, the bigger number of females prefer to stay over the crater where there was a lot more plentiful food supply. A fully-grown hippo consumes 300 kg of plant life per day.
Tanzania’ s extraordinary variety of wildlife upon view is difficult to beat
Rare black rhinos are here. They spend the night time amongst the trees and the day within open grassland in the crater. Additionally, there are hippos, big cats and jackals.
The only real exceptions are giraffes, which are found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, although not in the crater itself because of the large descent.
Due to a long lasting water source from a number of suspension springs and streams inside the crater, the particular animals have no need to migrate to look for water and food.
• The Ngorongoro (pronounced goro-goro) Crater is the largest unchanged caldera in the world, a cooking-pot formed collapsed volcano, with a crater part of 310 square kilometers (120 sq . miles) including its steep ski slopes. The walls of the crater are usually 610-760 meters in height and fourteen. 5-19 km across.
• The Ngorongoro Crater can be found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). It is a protected areand an UNESCO World Heritage Site since lates 1970s, located 180 km (112 miles) west of Arusha.
• It is believed that the Ngorongoro Crater volcano was as high as Install Kilimanjaro, one of the highest mountains on earth.
• The Ngorongoro Crater sees approximately 500, 1000 tourists a year, they have to have a guidebook and a permit.
• There are a number of hotels in the area, which makes it easy for tourists to access “ the particular unparalleled beauty of one of the world’ t most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries” (UNESCO).
• The indigenous Maasai named the areas El-Nkoronkoro meaning “ Gift of Lifestyle. ”
• Fossils found in the area suggest early guy occupied the area 3 million years back.
• The first Europeans didn’ t set foot in the Ngorongoro Crater until 1892.
• It is the only conservation region in Tanzania that protects animals while allowing human habitation. Farming is prohibited at all but subsistence levels.
• The particular crater has the highest density associated with lions in the world.
• Ngorongoro Crater is host in order to more than 35, 000 birds plus animals, most notably the rare dark rhino.
A rare black rhino along with a wildebeest view a waiting lion
As we originated into the crater, by one of the high access roads that winds the way down and around the inside of the crater, I was in awe of the massive scale of the caldera. It was our first time inside the crater of a volcano and it was utterly awesome.
After one of our best times, viewing so many animals, we going north to Olaado Camp at the border between the NCA and The southern part of Serengeti.
Serengeti is really a Maasai expression given to this unique savanna: a magical, evocative word. It’ s landscape to me represented not just the colors of Africa yet it’ s very heart and soul. Really synonymous.
The see of a rocky outcrop amid the particular flatness of the savannah; the beige and yellow savannah and the ever-present Acacias, were images and reminiscences that will be constant reminders of The african continent to me.
Olaado Get away is a mobile tented camp. Enabling the organizers to move to follow the fantastic Migration. It takes just 4 times to strike the camp totally.
On our way to the particular camp we viewed the immigration up close – a spectacular sight because thousands of wildebeest follow the rains looking for fresh pastures. We pass fantastic look out spots to view the milling herds which wind and wander across the plains twice every year. The region is ideal for full day game hard disks, searching for the unforgettably rich plus varied species for which Tanzania can be rightly famous.
The truly amazing Migration is estimated at a lot more than 1 . 5 million head associated with wildebeest and zebra. It is section of the greatest migration of wild animals on the planet.
The magnificent Great Migration
The short grass plains listed below are rich in nutrition which provides the herds with the best conditions to raise their particular newborn. During calving season within Feb approximately 8, 000 wildebeest are born every day during a 3-week period.
With great sightings of lions at close up quarters just minutes from our camp we all headed back south towards Olduvai Camp, located in the Ngorongoro Preservation Area only 50 minutes through the crater’ s northern gate and an hour away from the Serengeti Nationwide Park.
Olduvai is really a must, an ultimate Out of The african continent camp. The 17 tents are usually spacious and comfortable with ensuite amenities. The tents are built around a “ Kopje” (massive granite rock). From this level we had wonderful full day video game drives.
Afterwards we head across the vast Serengeti plains towards Ronjo camp.
Located in the heart from the Serengeti National Park where we all stayed 2 nights. From here all of us head north to the Grumeti Hillsides.
Grumeti Hills camping is located in the Grumeti Game Hold serve on the edge of the Serengeti National Park.
The particular camp is on a hilltop area with amazing views of the recreation area.
It was extremely comfy and all 16 permanent tents had been well decorated and ensuite. A fitted glass shower with lots of hot water. The interior was huge.
An impressive main building using a lounge, bar and restaurant embellished with a blend of modern and traditional safari furniture. We had Wi-Fi once again after a four-day hiatus and there is a hilltop swimming pool. How cool is the fact that! Great views too.
Just a few of the people we fulfilled along the way
Throughout our two-day stay here, aside from our regular daytime game hard disks, we took a walking tour in addition to a night-time game drive with hyenas scavenging in the headlights.
Our time in Africa was sketching to a close. We headed to Ikomairstrip for the short flight to Arusha.
We travelled over the NCA and the sacred volcano “ Ol Doinyo Lengai, ” known to the Maasai people because the “ Mountain of God, ” it looked spectacular from the air flow. It last erupted in 1960.
Our last night within Africa we would spend at Rivertrees Country Inn, just outside of Arusha.
Rivertrees is a wonderful country estate that was once a vintage coffee farm, looking out over Mt Kilimanjaro, it’ s sprawling 10 acres of grounds is full of greenery and birdsong. Elegant, traditional the guest-rooms are charming cottage that are dotted along the river, within thickets of tall trees. Every cottage has its own gate plus pathway to the front door. Simply fantastic.
In the morning, we travelled with Kenya Airways to Nairobi plus from there back home to Bangkok.
During the flight, I shown on my African adventure. The particular brochures had been accurate, their photos honest and true. We’ deb had a fantastic time and had skilled a No 1 Safari that was simply World Class.
The sister always asks, “ Might I return? ”
She believes it’ s the particular litmus test after a good holiday. My answer…
“ YES, in a heartbeat! ”
Safari Expeditions represented within Thailand and Asia by Allan & Pasit Tours. For complete details and sample itineraries make sure you contact fpasit@gmail. com
In regards to the author
Toby was born in Yorkshire England, he or she is a professional hotelier, Skalleague, travel author and director of WDA Company. Ltd and its subsidiary, Thailand simply by Design (tours/travel/MICE).
Toby has over 35 years of food and travel experience. He is the hotel graduate of Napier University or college, Edinburgh.
Andrew is really a former board member and Movie director of Skal International (SI), Nationwide President SI THAILAND, President associated with SI BANGKOK and is currently Movie director of Public Relations, Skal International Bangkok. He is a regular guest lecturer on various Universities in Thailand which includes Assumption University’ s Hospitality College and most recently the Japan Resort School in Tokyo.
All photos and tale © Andrew J. Wood
Original eTN articles are editorially regulated according to news values, significance, and accuracy, copyright protected, and independent of any advertising and sponsorship carried unless clearly marked otherwise.