Elephantopia Going to Zambia.

When Elizabeth, the founder of Elephantopia, a wonderful non-profit organization came and asked us to put together a Safari to Zambia, we jumped.

m2DwY7mlvGTRN1GzyG7gml_VWCYkRopvQjiHn6Qo2GAWhat does Elephantopia do?
They #SaveElephants #BuildCommunity. They have built a great community world-wide that supports Kavala, an orphaned elephant located in Zambia. Their partner on the ground in Zambia is Game Rangers International.  Kavala started out at Lilayi Nursery in Lusaka and is now in Kafue National Park in their release facility. We want a safe life for Kavala outside of her current protected ‘home’.

Not only does Elephantopia support Kavala, they have also work hard at raising awareness of elephant plight around the world. And of course, the grave concerns of extinction with the current rate of elephant poaching. They are activity in informing the world that every day, about 100 elephants are murdered for their teeth, or called ivory. And the killing is for what? Trinkets, fancy carvings or chopsticks and more.

The message is simple – Stop the Buying and the Killing will Stop. 

Elizabeth and Elephantopia want to go visit Kavala and other orphans who benefit from the money raised for Game Rangers International. And then go on a Safari to appreciate the elephants in the wild, the way they should be!

This is their Safari //

May 19 // Arrive into Lusaka. Transfer to your hotel. Latitude 15.
May 20 // Lilayi Elephant Nursery Lusaka. Have lunch. To Kafue National Park. Mukambi Lodge.
May 21 // Kafue National Park. Mukambi Lodge.
May 22 // Kafue National Park. Mukambi Lodge.
May 23 // Flight from Lusaka to South Luangwa. Flatdogs Camps.
May 24 // South Luangwa. Flatdogs Camps.
May 25 // South Luangwa. Flatdogs Camps.
May 26 // South Luangwa. Flatdogs Camps.
May 27 // Flight from Luangwa to Lusaka arriving 2:00 pm. Transfer to your day-room. Relax. Transfer to airport for flight home.

9 – Day Elephantopia + Journey To Africa Safari :
$ 4,200 per person in a double room [2 people in a room]
$ 600 per person extra for a single room
By check + wire transfer
3.3% surcharge for mc + visa | 3.7% surcharge for amex
For May 2016

Here is the detailed Safari Itinerary via dropbox.

Join Elephantopia on their Safari and #SaveElephants #BuildCommunity.

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Get in touch via email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your Safari to Tanzania for the memory books.

 

Watching an Elephant Chomp.

On my Safari to wild Ruaha, our fantastic specialist guide Lorenzo got us very close to the elephants chomping away.

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This is how it happens without being scientific.

They use their trunks to uproot the grass, which was nice and tall in green Ruaha at the time of my Safari. If they are eating bark or something heavier, they may use their tusks to rip, dig and balance. Tusks are elephant’s incisors. They gnaw on the grass with their impressive sets of molars. They will have 6 sets of molars in their life span of around 70 years. Once these 6 sets are gone, the poor elephant has trouble eating. They will gnaw on the whole uprooted grass until the root part falls off from the fresh blades. Who wants to eat the muddy root system anyway, eh?

And the cycle begins again. Their bellies are hard to fill up. They are constantly feeding to sustain their 2-5,000 lbs. bodies. An adult elephant can eat up to 300 lbs of vegetation a day. Wow!

Check out Flickr for the video if you please – https://flic.kr/p/wEW2xK

Come explore these smart creatures in the wild in their own habitat.
We can help you with your Safari Plan.

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Get in touch via email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your Safari to Tanzania for the memory books.
Life worth Exploring. ™

Mama and Baby Elephant.

baby_sucklingWe had the pleasure of spending a nice long time with this large elephant herd in wild Ruaha National Park. The herd was about 30 elephants strong but the best part was seeing lots of young ones. The age ranged from a few months old to a few years old and all were under the watchful eye of the many female elephants. Even in the elephant kingdom, it takes a village to raise kids.

We saw the babies play with each other, babies becoming mischievous with each other and using their trunks to wrestle, who is stronger and who is going to run away when the tough get going. All of this play was conducted under the watchful eye of the mamas who were never far away from their young.

Then, one of my favorite moments happened. A baby elephant only a few months old came to his mama and enjoyed a special bond only a mama and baby can have. Feeding time!

And we were so close, we could hear the satisfaction smack after the meal. Priceless.

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Get in touch with us via email at Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us on our Toll Free No. at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your family Safari for the memory books.
Life worth Exploring. ™

 

Ruaha National Park.

My first impression when I landed in Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania was … lush and cool. I had flown in from hot and dry Lake Natron. I was about to enjoy the ‘green’ season in Ruaha.

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Lovely Ruaha.

Ruaha National Park is the largest National Park in Tanzania. It is around 12,000 sq miles – larger than Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania.  Though quite vast, large parts of this park are not easily accessible due to a heavy Tsetse fly population.

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Impala ladies.

The good and bad of having Tsetse flies. The good is that is allows more land area for wildlife. The bad, we can’t enjoy spending time with wildlife without being bitten. As our guide Lorenzo from Kwihala Camp told us, there are so many part of the Ruaha that are lovely to explore, you don’t really miss going to those uncomfortable areas.

Although, Lorenzo’s secret fantasy is to find a potion that keeps TseTse flies away and then set up a lovely camp in that remote part of Ruaha.

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White headed Buffalo Weaver.

Ruaha, even though larger than Serengeti has fewer lodges. What does this mean for you visiting Ruaha? Fewer people on game drives. When we were here in the green season, we saw 1-2 cars the whole day. In the busier dry season, I am sure there would be more Safari vehicles enjoying this lovely park but you would still have a large area without bumping into too many vehicles.

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Mdonya River.

The areas where the few lodges have set up in Ruaha are close to the three huge rivers that run through this large National Park – the Mwagusi, Great Ruaha and Mdonya River.

These three rivers and it’s tributaries are the life line during the dry season which is usually from June to October. During this time, the elephants come here, dig on the water-bed and bring up the water that was filled here during the wet green season. This act of kindness also helps the other animals who depend on the  water ‘wells’ created.

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Elephant herd. A few babies in the group.

Our guides Lorenzo and Leverd told us that coming here in the dry season means you are bound to see large herd buffalos coming for a drink to the river. We are talking thousands and thousands buffalos. Lions are also easier to spot because the grass around here is not too tall during that time. Apparently, you don’t have to go far from the river to spot most wildlife.

Elephant herds large and small, well thankfully they can be spotted during both dry and wet season.

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The stare!

During the wet green season, while is usually from November to May, the short and the long rains disperses the wildlife population as water is present everywhere, gets the grass tall [we are talking 3-6 ft. high depending on the area] and the bushes thick which makes spotting wildlife a much more adventurous sport. There are hundreds of lions in Ruaha and yet when we saw this lovely male lion, it was a huge treat.

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Walking Safari.

Sally, my client who joined me on Safari and I also did a walking Safari in Ruaha, a bit tricky to do in the green season. Lorenzo went to scout an area for us with more open plains. Well, that was not possible. Even though the area seemed ‘open’ there is long grass and bushes.  This made for a hair-raising walk experience which Sally and I really enjoyed but you could tell Lorenzo and Chris, our ranger, were on high alert. You can not really see what is lurking behind the bush. Will give a detailed account of my Ruaha walking Safari like I did for my Serengeti walking Safari

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Giraffe under a large Baobab tree.

There is also a good distance between the few lodges built within this large National Park so each lodge usually gets its ‘own river’ to enjoy.  Sally and I stayed in Kwihala Camp, a Asilia property and ‘our’ river was the Mwagusi River.

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Red-billed Ruaha Hornbill

Even though the wildlife spotted was fewer than what Lorenzo said we would spot during the dry season, the many many lovely butterflies and birds kept us busy and excited. Oh the lovely birds of Ruaha. From the local birds like the Red-billed Ruaha hornbill to the popular East African birds like the Lilac Breasted Roller to the birds that travel the distance – from Southern Africa and all the way to Europe. Just look up – or eye level – and get carried away with all the lovely birds.

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The small things.

For those of us who go on frequent Safaris, even the green ‘quiet’ season was special. Just to be out here, have the park to yourself and enjoy the ‘hunt’ of capturing a few wildlife, lots of birds, colorful flowers all the while enjoying the stunning landscape. This experience of my Ruaha Safari was refreshing.

Ruaha has captured my soul!

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Life worth Exploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 1.877.558.6288
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Form – Request Information

 

Elephant Poaching

What a heart-breaking subject to talk about. Poaching. But we need to so we can do something. Together my friends. 

Hear me out. 24,000 elephants poached in three years in East Africa alone. Around 8,000 in a year. 83,000 elephants combined in Central and Southern Africa in three years. Total this up and we are talking around 100,000 elephant souls. 100,000! Terrifying numbers. That is like saying the whole University of Texas Austin campus is wiped out. Forever. [National Geographic].

They say elephants will be extinct in 11 years. Extinct! Extinction is forever.

Can you imagine going on a Safari and not seeing elephants. These wonderous, intelligent, maternal, emotional, sensitive elephants and much more. We can not fathom that.

So let us do something about it! 

zack
What can we do as wildlife lovers and preservers? Let us start with four things.

Completely ban ivory.
Countries that continue to sell ivory legally should stop this harmful trade.  Asia countries like China and Vietnam are heavy users of ivory.  Their new-found wealth is fueling the demand.

We need to raise our voices.

Wildlife supporters within the Asian nations are working hard to raising awareness. Houston Rocket super star and Chinese citizen Yao Ming has been to Kenya many times to see the atrocities first hand. Action hero Jackie Chan has joined the fight. They are spreading awareness to their countrymen. Look at this amazing WildAid film by Chinese film star Li Bingbing. Oh so powerful.

“When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

Educate the buyer.
How can we let the end-user, the ‘unaware’ trinket wearer, the collector of fine ivory carvings or the person who is thinking about using ivory to show wealth what really happens. [LA Times Article].

It is not just one trinket or just one elephant. Elephants are not just beautiful to watch, they are vital to the eco-system. Their footprints collect watch for the small animals, their dung spreads seeds, the branches they break for food makes compost on the ground. They have excellent memory and other animals depend on elephants to remember water source during droughts. Elephants are part of a bigger picture.

They need to see what is happening to the elephant when it’s tusks are butchered away.  The horrible death the elephant suffers when their tusks are hacked, the orphan[s] that is left behind, the terror to the whole elephant community and the generational deterioration of elephant wisdom.

That buying ivory is actually funding terrorism. Watch The last days of ivory by director Kathryn Bigelow. Terror groups are using ivory to buy weapons so they can hurt and terrorize us.

Fund the fight.
Security for our elephants. We really hate that this is what it has come down to so we can ensure the safety of our elephants. Funding ground rangers, ground vehicles, flying planes, drones, night vision, etc.  Unbelievable but it is what it is.

There are many organizations that do good work and when you stay in some of our lodges, you money goes into elephant conservation.

Some of the hard-working organizations are – David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Big Life Foundation, WildAid, Save the Elephants. Our friends at Elephantopia take care of Kavala at Game Rangers International

Help spread the word.
Please. Time is running out. Our elephants need us for their survival. But, we can do it. Together.

  • Stop buying ivory.
  • Educate those who think just one elephant
  • Help fund the fight.

“Extinction is forever”.

Elephants_Kate Bartell_ Doug Hughes

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Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
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Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
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Why Serengeti still takes my breath away

As soon as we passed Oldoniyo Lengai, the volcanic mountain in Loliondo, east of Serengeti National Park from my Tanganyika Flying Company scheduled flight to Kogatende airstrip in Northern Serengeti, my heart skipped a beat.  Serengeti, here I come … again and again.

Why Serengeti still takes my breath away?
My current top eight reasons why I could go back to Serengeti in a heartbeat.

One.
The Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration.
Oh yes!  Being surrounded by hundreds and thousands of animals is unexplainable unless you have been there to witness it first hand. When I was flying to Serengeti in early June, I was expecting to see the migration in Central Serengeti. Well to my surprise, and lucky me, I got to see the arrival of the herd in Northern Serengeti earlier then normal from Western Serengeti. There is no exact timetable on these matters.  Luckily our guide said some of the Wildebeest and Zebra groups where still in Western Serengeti as we had clients booked in that region to experience this phenomena.

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Walking in single file. The herds are coming into Northern Serengeti from Western Serengeti. Oh the excitement!

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The longer we sat watching them march in, the larger the herds grew. What an experience!

Sunrise over Northern Serengeti

The morning sun spraying gold over Serengeti. Here is a small herd having just crossed the river.

Two.
Cats and cats. 
Oh these beautiful animals. Serengeti is home to a large concentrations of lions, cheetahs and leopards. In Northern Serengeti, I was lucky to see group of about 20+ lions ranging from couple of month olds to their mamas having a go at a freshly hunted wildebeest. ‘Food’ aka the migration was coming in. What an experience! Reuben, my Olakira Camp guide and I did not want to leave. He had promised me a sundowner near the table hills but we opted to stay back. How can you blame me. Look at those eyes.

We spent a while enjoying the interactions of this beautiful family in the Northern Serengeti valley.

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In the valley, about 20+ lion family enjoying a recent wildebeest kill. Some cubs were just a few months old.   What a splendid sighting!

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Some having a go at dinner while others needed a stretch or rub after some grub.

Central Serengeti is known as cat central. And it did not disappoint. We got to enjoy a few sighting away from the crowds that Central Serengeti attracts. Trust your guide and head the other direction.

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Look at that wee one following her mama through the tall grass.

Rains were about to come when in Central Serengeti and my guide Makubi and I were trying to get to Dunia Camp. Well, this stunning leopard appeared and getting wet was an understandable option. We got to hang out for a bit and stare.

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A stunning leopard spotted resting on a branch.

Three.
Elephants.
I love elephants! They are just beautiful and so precious and threatened.  In Northern Serengeti, I spotted a few but at a distance. South Central Serengeti, very close to Moru Kopjes, I was elated. Large herds were right next to the road. Elephant mama and babies – lots of them. Please stay safe! I am coming back to see you grow.

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Elephant mama warning us. We hear you mama. We will not harm you and your babies.

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Little one marching on. Look at that little trunk.

Four.
Impalas, why of course.
On this Safari, thanks to Makubi and my private Serengeti walking guide Richard,  I got to know more about these beautiful yet polygamous animals.

Did you know a male impala has a harem of female impalas? Yup, one male can have up to 20 ladies at his back and call. Then there are the bachelor herds who are always ready to spring into action should a window open.  As per Makubi, it is similar to the Maasai and Kuro tribe members who live on the boundaries of Serengeti. Ummmh!

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A female group with babies.

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Privacy please! Here is a male impala getting ready to mount on the female. The mating ritual lasted for about 20 minutes before she would let him on.

Five.
Birds.
My friend and elite guide Paul Oliver is a birder. I know many birders. He has been trying to get me into birding.

So this time, I chose to look up and was so impressed with the many colors that were presented to me. Lovely magpies shreks, common but colorful lilac breasted roller and egyptian geese.  I will have to work on honing my birding skill on my next Safari. I am hooked.

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The beautiful watercolor like Lilac breasted roller

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Magpie shrek. Mama bird with the white feather just handed over a worm to the baby Magpie. It was a fun exchange to witness.

Six.
An array of eco-system.
Serengeti has so much to offer. My time in Northern Serengeti and Central Serengeti gave me a glimpse of hills, valleys, rivers, endless plains, long grass, short grass, stunning kopjes, bushy terrain, woodlands and more.

When game driving or heading back to your camp, you can stare at the landscape and not tire of what you have in front of you. The sunrise that starts to peek behind the acacia tree and the sunset that makes for the magic golden hour are pure bliss. Serenity in Serengeti.

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The table hill of Northern Serengeti. So many other hill dotted in the North.

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The open plains of Central Serengeti heading towards Dunia Camp near the Moru Kopjes

Seven.
Great lodges here to unwind end of the day.  
At the end of the day, it feels so good having a comfortable bucket shower [common in most tented camps] and then heading to the main lounge and dining area. Usually the first stop is the campfire [unless is rains like it did for me at Dunia Camp] where you get to relax with your drink and get to know other guests. This is when the stories start. Who got to see what, were and do you have pictures to share? You get to sharing things like where are you from, why Tanzania, where are you going next, etc.  I usually get the envious, how many time have you been on Safari?. Plenty but many more to come.

Just a good way to end a day on Safari. Oh, and the food is delicious as well.

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The stunning view of Serengeti from Lamai Serengeti.

Eight.
Private Serengeti!
What a thrilling experience this was for me. No vehicles, seeing animals on foot, adrenaline pumping moments and you being able to hear your breath as you try to be still when a buffalo is 30 ft away from you. I would jump at a chance to be out there again. I ended my day sitting with a cold Kilimanjaro beer on a kopje, watching one of the most memorable sunsets in Serengeti.

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Golden Hour! Roaring fire, cold beer, stunning sunset while sitting on top of a kopje in Serengeti. Happiness.

Serengeti never fails to take your breath away.  An adventure awaits all day, any time, all year-round. Karibu [welcome] Serengeti!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288 / 713.592.6228 [outside US]
Form – Request Information

World Elephant Day

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Everyone needs a good scratching post.  No need to ‘hide’.
#WorldElephantDay

Witness elephants in person, in the wild, in their natural element, on your Safari.
Being on Safari is taking part in conservation.  More funding will go into national parks, private conservancy, lodges +camps, and organizations that help with our elephants survival. Elephants need all our help. 

We support David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Big Life Foundation [in Amboseli Area] which teamed up with Honeyguide Foundation in Tanzania who patrol the Serengeti and West Kilimanjaro area.

Say NO to ivory.
Tell your friends. Spread the world. Make your own elephant memories.

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Get in touch via email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us at 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6228.

Together, we can plan your Safari to Tanzania for the memory books.
Life worth Exploring. ™