Take a Break from Game Driving … do some Walking.

A memorable experience to add to your game driving Safari / wildlife viewing adventure, is to do a walking Safari in the wild. The feeling of being out in the wildlife’s own territory brings about many emotions.

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Sally and I with our guide Ernest from Sand River Selous spotting an elephant herd. Pure Joy!

You have your hair raising experiences from healthy fear to pure joy to what you are witnessing.

Sally and I were walking in Selous when we spotted a pair of lions [yup, about 20 ft. away], a herd of elephants, or a lone hippo waddling outside the pond. In wild Ruaha, the tall grass always kept us on our toes. Healthy fear. There was a moment when we all experienced rainbows in the sky. A moment that I couldn’t capture on camera but will always remember.

Why go on a walking Safari?
Introduction to details.

  • Holding the plant and flowers and getting a lesson on its many uses by both humans and animals.
  • The little bugs, we are talking ants and dung beetles, that have a huge impact to the large environment. Watch out for siafu.
  • The animal and bird footprints that you get to identify and maybe follow.
  • The carcasses that leave behind a story.
  • Topography of the land! You get to walk on the ancient rocks or splash in the water dating hundreds of thousands years old.

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There are two types of walking Safari in Tanzania awaiting you.

A few hours of walking.
There are lodges + tented camps where you can go out for a few hours in the morning or afternoon. You will have a ranger and the walking guide, who may also be your main guide depending on their weapon skills. When on your walks, depending on the weather and the lodge + tented camp, you may come back to the lodge for breakfast or get surprised and find breakfast in the middle of nowhere.

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It does feel good to stretch your legs after spending time in the Safari vehicle. And who know, there may be a few hair raising moments on your walk.

Two to three days.
Time to get away from the main areas. There are a few places where we can accommodate this adventure. I have done a walking Safari inside Serengeti and truly enjoyed my time with Richard, my fantastic guide. Our partners on the ground have a special walking area designated for this adventure. You will not see a vehicle.

Tarangire and Selous have the fly camping option within the national park. Then we have areas around the parks, in our private concession areas. Our Alamana Camp in Loliondo area offers this great opportunity of truly being private, in both game driving as well as walking.

wilderness_tent_messYou start out from your main lodge and head out with a small crew who will cater to your delicious meals, set up your light wilderness tents with a cot, pillows and blankets, have shower tents close-by, bring your drinks while you are around the campfire, stoke your roaring fire … you know, basics.

The advantage of doing this. It’s Just You.  

Come on a walking Safari with us and immerse yourself with 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. ™

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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. ™

Kwihala Camp in Ruaha.

I can see you spending many nights in Kwihala Camp, a luxury tented lodge in wild Ruaha National Park. Many nights you say? First, you need at least 3 days to explore this stunning National Park.  Trust me, you will thank me. Then, you have this lovely little camp where you can completely unwind after not only game driving but also daily walking Safaris and night game drives. So yes, many nights!

As common with most Asilia Africa Lodges, on arrival you have the host welcoming you at the entrance with a refreshing drink and cold towel to wipe off the dust. My host for Kwihala was Sandy who is originally from Zimbabwe.

lounge_teaNext stop, the lounge area where I met up with my client Sally. Sally had been on two previous Safari and she joined my on her third Safari. After the many phone calls and emails we had exchanged, it was great sitting down with her face to face, sipping Tanzanian tea and enjoying freshly baked cookies. dining

I felt privileged to be in vast Ruaha National Park, with Sally, a client who trusts me in planning her many Safaris to Tanzania, about to head out on an evening Safari in amazing Africa.

sally_lorenzo_leverdIn comes professional guide Lorenzo Rossi. I was really excited to meet him as I had been following his work. He is one of the training experts in Tanzania as well as a skilled photographer. I also learnt he does not like to wear shoes. Well then. Leverd was learning the ropes of guiding.

Kwihala Camp has some of the best guides in the Safari business. From Pietro Luraschi, who has been published by Africa Geographic to Tony Reumerman. Guiding at it’s finest. 

tentThere are currently 8 rooms at Kwihala Camp.  The distance between the tents are well spaced out to give you bush privacy. Far away where you can’t hear the person snoring but close enough where a scream will not go unheard. Umh, try to keep in mind that geckos are your constant companions.

room_with_bathroomPower for charging your electronics is generated by solar panels. An electric fan is there to keep you cool during the hot months of October to February March. Walkie-talkie for the emergency calls which we hope never has to be used. Flashlight for the walks back and forth. If you need anything extra, just ask Sandy or any of the staff members and they will help.

bathroomThe beaded styled bathroom has all the amenities to make this a comfortable stay. Flush toilets, running sink water though conservation is always appreciated, bucket shower with enough water, soap, shampoo and conditioner and a cozy bathrobe to snuggle.

Evenings have to be by the campfire. That is where Sally and I were the first night with Lorenzo. Stories shared, wine had, owl call followed and spotted under the African skies.

dining_candlelight_1The second night after our afternoon walking Safari and night game drive, a delicious lantern-lite dinner await us on arrival. Banana stew [mtori], bbq ribs, rice pillau [rice with lots of spices], grilled fish, roast potatoes and more. Pure delight.

I look forward to returning to Kwihala Camp in wild Ruaha.

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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 family Safari 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.

impala_ladies

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.

red-Billed_ruaha_hornbill

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.

butterfly

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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Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

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Back from my Safari.

I am back from my Safari in Tanzania. Sigh. The thing about going on a Safari is that as soon as you come back, you want to start planning your next Safari. I LoVe being on Safari.

Quick re-cap on my Safari where I had a few extra perks. I spent two days with professional guide Paul Oliver in the hot temperature ‘belly of the Earth’, from Lake Natron Tented Camp. The landscape here was stunning.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the Rift Valley, the birds and their incredible long and perilous journey, general in-depth happenings in this Maasai region, details about other National Parks – I have a lot more to see in Tanzania – and so much more.

And there is a Safari brewing with Paul as the lead guide. Details coming up.

Sunset with Ol Doinyo Lengai in the background from Lake Natron Tented Camp, my first stop on my Safari.

In Ruaha, my client Sally was waiting for me. Oh what fun we had exploring this dense because of green season, cooler in temperature, full of wild flowers stunning Ruaha. Our guides Lorenzo and Leverd from Kwihala Camp were super fun as there was not much ‘visible’ game. We just ‘heard’ the hundreds of cats. More on green season Ruaha coming up.

Lorenzo with our ranger Chris took us on a walking Safari through the tall grasses and lush bushes – adrenaline pumping experience. We witnessed a rainbow in the clouds here – one for the memory books. Can not wait to come back and explore Ruaha in the dry season.

Sally Mefi

Sally and I in Selous on our walking Safari. Can you spot the wild animal?

I finished off with Selous Game Reserve. Green season again meant patience when going on game drives but Sally and I got to witness two male lions on our walking Safari. Heart beating.

I was looking forward to experiencing boating and it did not disappoint. Sally and I enjoyed the many birds and baboons – yes, baboons are so entertaining if you watch them closely for a long time – on the way to lovely Stiegler’s Gorge from Sand River Selous. I also got to spend time in Lake Tagalala and the hot springs before I was spoilt at stunning Beho Beho Camp.

I am in the middle of editing over 2000 pictures. Digital photography does make it easy to go click-crazy especially when I had my 70-300 mm f4-5.6L on my Canon camera body.

Dreaming of being back on Safari ….. soon.

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My Safari 2015

My 2015 intentions were to enjoy more adventures.  Well, I am heading back to Tanzania and expanding my knowledge base. There is still so much to explore in lovely Tanzania. My Safari adventure will never stop.

On this Safari, I head first to my base in Northern Tanzania before I venture to Southern Tanzania.

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Lake Natron

My first Safari stop will be Lake Natron.  I have passed through Lake Natron so many times when flying to Serengeti. I am excited to be on the ground in this remote landscape. I am heading here with elite guide Paul Oliver.

I have known Paul for 14 + years. He has given me lots of advise over the years with Journey To Africa. I also started using Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire when it was run by him and Tati back in the early 2000. When it was run by Paul, it was a rustic little camp but having Paul and Tati share stories  by the campfire in the evening was priceless.

Being with Paul to wild Lake Natron should be an adventure. The rough roads, the dry, hot and humid conditions for walking, flamingo filled soda ash lake, off the beaten path encounters with the Maasai tribe, the amazing views of Ol Doinyo Lengai … I hope to come back with wild stories to share.

I will be spending two nights at Lake Natron Camp, an eco-friendly camp run by Ake Lindstrom, a Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing expert who has been on the mountain around 50 times.

Ruaha-National-Park-Guide-Walking-Safari-Elephants-Paul-Joynson-Hicks-MR

Walking in Ruaha

Then off to Ruaha National Park, the largest National Park in Tanzania. Ruaha has been everywhere in the travel news lately. Conde Nest, National Geographic to CN Traveller and more. Why I think? Daily flights, more luxury camps within the park boundaries and expert guiding both by vehicle and on foot is a major draw to this park.

I really enjoyed my Serengeti walking Safari and I am excited to be trying it out in Ruaha. I hope to see large buffalo herds, elephants, lots of cats and because I am going in March, birds should be plentiful. In March, the park is going to be lush, the green season, as opposed to yellow season which is from July to October.

I am also excited to explore Ruaha with my client Sally. Sally has been on two Safaris to Northern Tanzania with Journey To Africa. She is taking a group for an amazing Safari to Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha, Mahale Mountains and stunning Greystoke Camp, Tarangire and Serengeti in 2016. I know!

When I told her I am going to explore Ruaha and Selous, she jumped on board to come on a quick get-away. To say she loves being on Safari in Tanzania is an understatement.

sand river

Sand River Selous

Sally and I will head to Selous Game Reserve, my final stop on this Safari. I have waited 10 + years to get to this game reserve. It has a lot of elements that would be a perfect combination to Northern Tanzania. Boating on the Rufiji River and it’s tributaries and the many lakes, fishing on the boat or the shores, lots more walking Safari and generally a slower pace of Safari.

From what my colleagues tell me, being in Selous means relaxing by the river and casual game drives as it is not all about the wildlife concentration of Northern Tanzania. A good extension to Northern Tanzania maybe or for the seasoned Tanzania Safari goer. I shall find out.

In Selous, I will be heading to Sand River Selous and then to Beho Beho Camp. Sand River Selous is a sister camp to Lamai Serengeti, one of my favorite camps in Northern Serengeti. Beho Beho Camp is by a lake and is known for its great walking guides and treehouse.

Want to see what I see? Follow me on Instagram. I will post Safari pictures from Tanzania whenever I have access. 

Next up, preparations for my Safari. What to pack on Safari? I am doing only carry-on. What camera and lens to take? I have some suggestions coming up. Leave a comment if you have any.

Want to join me next time? We can plan ahead for a Safari in 2016.

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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