Dessert time in Stone Town, Zanzibar Island

Here we are in the hustle bustle part of historic Stone Town, Zanzibar Island, patiently waiting for the local halwa stall to serve us our almond and cashew halwa.

Halwa is a sticky dessert made with fragrant spices all cultivated in the Spice Island, one of the names of Zanzibar Island. They use cardamom, saffron, rose-water mixed in with a variety of nuts from cashew to pistachio. The mixture is held together with corn flour and ghee and lots of sugar.

This lovely treat is served best with black coffee. A sweet indulgence when on your guided walking Spice Island tour.

IMG_5659Want to taste sweet Halwa? We can add Zanzibar Island to your Safari.
Finish your time in Tanzania with the lovely beaches and blue waters of Zanzibar Island. Pure bliss!

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Satao – a legend

What a sad story! Satao, the magnificient tusker, lured by rain ventured into an unprotected area and was killed by a poison arrow. No mercy. Help us spread the word to the rich person/people somewhere in the world who will make a trinket out of Satao that he/she just killed – butchered – an magnificient animal. A leader. Someone who tried surviving.

We failed Satao and the many who ventured for water! Let us save the others. Shame we need 24 hour security to save these animals. No safety in their own land.

Mark Deeble

Satao - legend just title

When I last wrote about Satao, I felt that I couldn’t use his name. I could refer to him only as a ‘magnificent tusker’ or an ‘iconic Tsavo bull’. I feared that naming him would risk revealing where he lived. Now that I can use it, I wish that that I couldn’t.

On the 30th May, poachers finally caught up with Satao. An arrow smeared with Acokanthera poison hit him in his left flank and penetrated his body cavity. It travelled right through to his vital organs. To begin with, he might have run, to get deeper inside the park, where he felt safe. Running would have made the poison work faster. He didn’t get very far. Eventually he stood still in open ground, not a mile from the park boundary – with the potent cardio-toxin coursing through him. Without any cover to hide his tusks, he’d have felt exposed…

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Zanzibar Island

News from our Safari //

You can not help but admire these old doors in historic Stone Town, Zanzibar. Some are more than 100 years old. The more intricate with accessories like brass knobs and larger in size, the richer the family. So much history in Zanzibar Island.

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Best time to go on Safari in Northern Tanzania

Taken by our elite guide Paul Oliver in Western Serengeti from Sabora Tented Camp

Taken by our elite guide Paul Oliver in Western Serengeti from Sabora Tented Camp in May 2014

One question we get a lot is what is the best time to go on Safari in Northern Tanzania?
Really, anytime you can make it, is good time for Safari. The wildlife is always present. If you are interested in the Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration, a natural wonder of the world where 1.5 million Wildebeest and 0.5 million Zebra roam the Serengeti and Masai Mara eco-system, then we move you in the right place, right lodge for the right month.

Having said that, some people are extremely sensitive to heat.  If that is the case, stay away from December to March as Serengeti can be dry, dusty and hot [90Fs during the day with cooler 70Fs during the evening]. Our camps + vehicles do not have air condition which can be an issue.

If you are up for an adventure, pack your bags.

  • November to December // short rain season. Sporadic showers will not hinder your Safari. Wildebeest and Zebra migration heading to Southern to Eastern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • January to March // hot. Birthing season for the Wildebeest and Zebra. Still in Southern to Eastern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Tarangire National Park with its resident wildlife and its rivers and swamps will make you fall in love with this park.
  • April to May // long rain season. Showers can last a few hours but when it clears, fresh skies. If you don’t mind being adventurous [plans may change but we always have a Plan B] this is a great time to visit and get some amazing deals on lodges.  Paul Oliver calls this the secret season – less crowd but awesome wildlife – see his picture above. Tarangire National Park has black cotton soil which is tricky to drive on when it has rained hard but as we mentioned, get ready for an adventure.
  • June to July // cooler months. June is green after the rains. Enjoy the wild flowers. Migratory animals are roaming from Central to Western Serengeti on their way to Northern Serengeti. Wildlife from the surrounding areas are about to enter Tarangire National Park.
  • August to October // cool and dry season. The Wildebeest and Zebra population is dispersed in Masai Mara to Northern Serengeti. Mara River crossing is a site to witness. Tarangire National Park is alive with wildlife thanks to its permanent Silale Swamp and Tarangire River.

Twende [Let’s go] Safari!

Maasai and Ngorongoro Crater

Walking is not allowed inside Ngorongoro Crater, unless you are a Maasai tribe member.  They are the only people currently [they were once again allowed in the 90s after restrictions] who are allowed to bring their cows [cattle] into this wildlife-dense eco-system. The number of cows a person owns displays the patriach’s wealth.  Its their currency. They depend on it for meat, milk and blood.  Yes, blood. Maasai tribe members fill their gourds with milk and blood.

Maasai have coexisted with wildlife for generations.  They used to live in the now Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation, and Masai Mara and its wider area in Kenya area until these areas were designated National Parks or conservation.

Today, in Tanzania,  they continue to live in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  You can stop at one of the boma [homestead] for a quick visit – a tourist stop – or you can go to a private conservation in areas like Longido [east of Serengeti] such as Alamana Reserve.  Here, you can spend time understanding and learning about the unique, fascinating, and changing Maasai tribe.

Maasai tribe members walking their cows to Lake Magadi

Maasai tribe members walking their cows to Lake Magadi

Flying taxis

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18-seater small plane – flying taxis.

What would we do without our flying taxi planes.

  • They have made planning Safaris to less visited areas simpler.
  • They save a lot of transfer time.
  • They are pretty cost efficient and with more carriers, prices are getting competitive.
  • They offer great aerial views.

Places like Northern Serengeti which about 6 + years ago was only accessible via driving. You needed to commit time in Serengeti to enjoy this beautiful area. Some clients still do of course enjoy drive and exploring different regions slowly.

Flying from Serengeti to remote parks in Southern Tanzania is now possible. Daily flights to Katavi National Park have been scheduled from Serengeti by Coastal Air. You can now easily make Southern Tanzania an extension to your Northern Tanzania Safari. Heading to Lake Tanganyika and beautiful Greystoke Mahale after your Safari – zip away.

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Ngorongoro Highlands on the way to Northern Serengeti. Taken in 2011

I will be flying from Arusha Airport to beautiful Northern Serengeti in 2 hours. Driving would have been a 2 day affair. After my walk in Serengeti for 2 days, I will be flying from Central Serengeti to Arusha in the evening in time for dinner with my family.

Thanks little zippers.  Even if you have a 33 lbs weight limit, you make getting from A to B convenient.