Watching an Elephant Chomp.

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

eating_elephant

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.

logo

 

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. ™

Advertisements

April Showers, May Flowers

“I bless the rain’s down in Africa” – Toto.ngorongoro_crater We do love it when it rains in our National Parks. The animals and birds depend on the rain to fill up the water sources layers deep. The grass, bushes and the trees flourish during the rains providing food for countless wildlife. From the lakes, the rivers and its many tributaries, to the swamps and water holes, life depends on the rains to swell these life-lines come the brutal dry season which is usually from July to September.

wildebeest

Migration in Central Serengeti in April

April and May are usually the rainy season in Tanzania and Kenya. This year we have had some good rains in the National Parks. From wild Ruaha to Masai Mara, the parks have had some good downpour. In fact, some areas in the parks are still experiencing rainfall. That is nature for you. Awesome yet unpredictable!

So, why are we talking about April showers and May flowers in July?
These two months are a great time for heading out on a Safari and now is the time to start your Safari Planning.

Here are 5 reasons to consider an April + May Safari :

  • Low number of people on Safari.
  • Great rates on luxury Safari lodges and tented camps.
  • Wildflowers galore.
  • Dreamy sky for great photography.
  • Wildlife is always there!

My friend and specialist guide Paul Oliver says this is the best time to be on Safari in Serengeti. Hardly any people on Safari. The rains tend to scare people but if you are up for an adventure, as in sometimes wearing a poncho on Safari or sliding around during your game drive, this time is amazing.

Seeing only a few other vehicles in your own private park. Sure Tarangire and Ruaha will have long grass but if you are patient, the sightings are going to be that much rewarding.

Most of our preferred lodges offer great rates around this time. Take advantage and escape right after school closes [in the US which is usually end of May] for a Family Safari.

elephant_baby_leading

Tarangire elephants in April.

Green green grass with lots of wildflowers and blue grey skies. My photographer clients love this time as they say the background for their subjects tend to be dreamy. The harsh sun can be tamed and the whole day can be a photoshoot. And the subjects are always spectacular and sometimes freshly cleaned.

Come explore Tanzania in April and May. We can help Safari Plan.

logo

 

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. ™

Birds of Serengeti.

On Safari, most people are so excited to see the Big 5 or the larger walking wildlife that they may forget to look up. Look up you say? Yes, look up for the lovely birds. They are fantastic to watch. Oh, and let’s not forget the ground dwellers as well.

There are so many lovely birds out there. Some that are resident birds and some that fly all the way from Europe and Americas. Those birds that have flown from other places come here to Tanzania and other East and Southern African countries at the risk of being netted. A lot of countries on their route will poach and illegally trap them. Just unbelievable!

But there is hope.

Organizations around the world who love birds are spreading the word to people like you and me who were not aware of such activities. Paul Oliver was the one who opened my eyes when we were birding in Lake Natron. He told me about the plight of the wadders we spotted on the shores.

I leave you with some lovely birds captured around Central Serengeti.

Croaking Cisticola

Croaking Cisticola

secretary_bird

Secretary Bird

Egyptian_Geese_family

Egyptian geese family near the Hippo Pool

buffalo_weaver

A shy white headed buffalo weaver

lilac_breasted_roller_wet

The ever beautiful lilac breasted roller

magpie feeding

A magpie shrike feeding the young.

ploover

Common Stilt.

logo

 

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. ™

Safari Staple.

One Safari essential I have been happy to have with me on Safari for the past few years.

My Wind Jacket.

selfie_carhatt_jacketDid you know that during the cooler months it can be around 50s-60s during the early morning and evening times. Ngorongoro Crater can go down to 40s. The cooler months on Safari in Tanzania are usually from April/May to September/October.

It has been a life saver for those cold early morning game drives as well as the evening sundowners. Layering is so necessary on Safari. Even during the cold months of June, during the day, it can warm up hence having an easy zipper jacket to remove is quite convenient. Open vehicles add to the cold factor but oh so fun.

Keep it Nylon. I have a Carhartt jacket that I ordered from Zappos. It has worked well for me but there are so many options for you to consider.

Why I like a nylon wind-jacket?
– It folds into a small bundle. When opened, it does not wrinkle.
– It is very light weight but packs a warm punch. I only carried a carry-on during my last 10-day Safari in Feb/March 2015. Weight was important in my packing.
– Easy to clean. Your favorite drink spills during the bumpy ride, no worries, wipe it off.
– Acts as a rain coat. I was caught in a down pour during my June 2014 Safari in Serengeti. I was dry and so was my Canon T3i once tucked inside my jacket.

Do you have any favorite jacket that would work for your Safari?

logo

 

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. ™

 

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!

logo
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

Lake Natron Camp.

My first stop on my Safari back to Tanzania was Lake Natron Camp in middle of the Great East African Rift Valley.

welcomeAfter a beautiful drive through this stunning landscape with Paul, we arrive at the crunchy dried soda ash entrance to the Maasai ladies coming to welcome us.  The sun setting behind us was spreading the golden hour rays making Ol Doinyo Lengai and the stunning hills around the camp look lovely.

IMG_0611Cold refreshments were served in the dining + lounge tent while the manager checked us into the camp. For those interested, wi-fi is available here. Paul, who knows Ake Lindstrom, the owner of the camp, mentioned that Ake is very keen on supporting the local Maasai community. Most of the staff here are from close by Engare Sero village. Kudos!

tents_oldoinyo

Spring water in front of most of the tents.

roomAfter our long drive, we wanted to freshen up so we were escorted to our tents. Not many dangerous wildlife here so walking on your own back to the dining camp does not require an escort.

Each of the 10 tented rooms are under a protective layer of black tarp to keep the inside cooler from the blistering heat of the Great East African Rift Valley especially during the hot months [December to March]. I am glad they had that layer as it was hot especially during our mid-afternoon siesta, part of the Safari Life. The poor old fan tried to help. You just have to give in and embrace the heat. In the evenings, with the fan on, it was more comfortable.

To leave minimal footprints in this region, the rooms are powered with solar. Sun is not a problem here.

bathroomThe bathroom has compost toilets which works fine for this harsh environment. There was enough water for a nice bucket shower. Additional lighting would make the bathroom comfortable especially in the shower area so you could find the bucket shower string.

diningThe dining and lounge area during my February stay could use an update. More lighting was needed at night around the whole dining + lounge tent. The chef serving area was in the dark side of the tent. Our table was outside the main area and did not feel like it was part of the dining area. The bar was not well stocked yet and seems detached from the main area.

I have seen reports of improvements since then. The food served by the chef was delicious and appropriate. From warm meals in the evening to the cool lunches during the heat of the day.

stunning_landscapeThe deal sealer here is the access to Lake Natron and its many splendors. Early morning walks to capture the sunrise over Ol Doinyo Lengai, the many hills and mirror-like Lake Natron. Golden hour moments in the evenings and finishing off with a glorious dip in the fresh water spring while enjoying sundowner [snacks and drinks before your evening meal] and maybe a tickle tilapia pedicure. Your feet and ‘soul’ will thank you.

sundowner_spotI look forward to returning back to Lake Natron Camp, located in the vast Rift Valley, the belly of the Earth.

logo

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

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.

logoLife 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