Personal Encounters with the Wildlife.

Planning a 40th Birthday Safari for Joshua and Teri was a joy. They had brought in a Safari itinerary from another company that was cheaper but when we put the two together, they were not apples to apples. They would have been jumping from park to park daily causing more time on the road doing transfers instead of enjoying the park and its wildlife, no Serengeti to Arusha flying taxi flight hence a 6+ hour road transfer and staying in large 70+ rooms lodges.

We encouraged them to look at the logistics and chose smaller quality lodges that have our 3 Cs requirement – Conservation, Community and Carbon Off-setting ethos.

They were also from Houston, Texas and having a Safari Chat before they left was fantastic. They had a lot of questions for me and I could go in detail over each answer.

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“Journey to Africa was everything we needed … a great experience, from planning to execution, to our return home. Very fair pricing, and very attentive team, in particular Mefi. Our time and money were very well spent for the trip of a lifetime!

While on safari, the game drive trucks were perfect providing plenty of view and very personal encounters with the wildlife. The drivers were experts and were so knowledgeable of the wildlife, landscapes, history, and weather!

Mefi and the team supported our budget and duration goals, as well as our goals for a truly wild experience, limiting impact to the communities / outdoors, and also enabling encounters with the local community (for example, the opportunity to visit an orphanage and make a donation of lesson books to a school in Rhotia Valley).

We would not change anything, and there is zero doubt in our minds who we will call for our next trip to Africa!”

Joshua and Teri G.
April 2015 Safari
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Life worth Exploring. ™
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

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Walking in Serengeti

When you are on Safari, you spend a lot of time in our Safari vehicles.  Driving is great. You get to see the various landscapes, the scenery and wildlife.

Now try walking.

Walking heightens your senses‘, as my guide Richard of our partner company African Environments told me. And he is right.  The minute we got out of the land cruiser and touched Mother Earth in our private walking area in Serengeti, the  hairs on the back of my neck were on alert.  Let the walk begin.

Our first encounter, buffalos. Three of them. “Get behind me and walk sideways‘, instructs Richard who is carrying a loaded gun. Yes sir. I am thinking, will this large 70-300 mm L canon lens work as a weapon. I will swing hard. Luckily, I did not have to try this maneuver.  They run away. Whew.  My heart stops pounding.  What a thrill. And that is only the first 30 minutes.

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Richard on alert after the buffalos.

As we continue our morning Private Serengeti walk up and around the kopjes, we pass through lots of colorful butterflies, birds, klipspringer, hyrax and male impalas. The grass is tall from the long rains but dry. It is hot even in June. I am reminded to drink water.

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Walking through the lovely kopjes.

Good walking shoes are definitely recommended. Leg gaiters would have helped from getting the sticky seeds from poking. Tsetse flies are a bother. Keep calm and swat them away.  Wear loose clothing so they can not bite you through your shirt. Light colored clothing would have been a better choice. Lesson learned the itchy way.

After about 3 hours of walking [you decide what is comfortable for you], we stopped for a delicious barbeque lunch by the dried up river.  Chicken, beef, variety of vegetables, fruit, salad, coffee and wine – the whole works here for lunch.  Relax and enjoyed the view after a yummy feast. Hard working crew – Asante.

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Chef grilling the delicious lunch

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Under the tree for a good shade and lovely breeze.

After a good strong cup of coffee, Richard and I continue our afternoon walk. We encountered more animals in our afternoon walk. Elands, hartebeest, kudu, harem of female impalas and about 4 male bachelors, topis, and more.

The one male impala with his harem gave us a good show. When they first saw us, half of the females ran left and the other half followed the male to the right side. You could see the male trying hard to get back to his group on the left to bring them back to the rest of his females on the right. I was rooting for the left group females to run away and leave the ‘demanding’ male behind.  It did not happen. Alas, they rejoined and the group was together once again.

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Two topis towering atop the terrace.

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Eland family

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Tall grass during the walk. With Deo, the TANAPA ranger.

Richard and I were enjoying the walking when we came across a barbed snare. According to Richard, this area, east of Central Serengeti was closed off to the public for a long time by TANAPA. There were no protective eyes here. Poaching was easy until the five + hand-selected companies known for their ethical practices, one of them being our partners came into the area. This has helped with poaching.  The numbers have gone down but not completely unfortunately.

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Our ranger Deo collecting the snare. He will take it back to HQ for disposal.

And one thing you will notice when walking in Private Serengeti, the animals here are afraid of humans.  They run when they see you. When you are on a game drive in a vehicle in the main areas of Serengeti, they do not budge.

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Stunning rock formations.

Around 5:30 pm or so, we are getting close to camp, walking on a dry river bed when we hear some noise behind the bushes on top. Now Deo has been a calm ranger all this time but when I hear him cock his gun, I can hear my breathing quicken. Richard is on alert. My arm hair is stand up again. Fear is healthy. My heart is pounding. I am instructed to climb up the bank. I run. False alarm. Buffaloes lazily grazing up top the river bank.

I ask Richard, what happens if it is a lion and it is going to spring on us. He said they would shoot to kill. Luckily in the 5+ years he and his guides have not had to do that. 

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Richard with his gun, ready to fire if necessary.

We make it to our Wilderness Camp.

This is comfortable basic camping with a cot but still good food in a closed dining tent. The dome shaped tent has a comfortable cot with sheets, blankets and pillows. Toilet and bathroom are outside and the make shift walk-way is lit with solar lamps hoisted on a tree stump.

The toilet is a pit latrine – toilet paper included. You cover with dirt after you are done doing your business. An eco-friendly way to leave the land when the camp is packed up. Basic.  The shower is a bucket shower which was comfortable and the 5 gallons was enough water. Soap and shampoo in pump bottles was included.

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Dome tent with toilet tent [blue] and the shower tent.

I ended up taking a shower at 9:00 pm – adventurous!

Why you ask?
When we got there, it was around 6:00 pm. The crew at the camp had started a beautiful roaring fire and the sun was about the set. I was not about to miss this lovely setting. So I opted to wait to wash away my day.

And I am so glad I did. I was rewarded by some of the most glorious stunning sunset sitting by the cozy fire over a cold Kilimanjaro beer. Oh the colors! Brilliant.

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Magnificent colors of the sunset.

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Richard enjoying the sunset by the roaring fire.

Between enjoying the magical sunset around 6:30 pm to shower time around 9:00 pm, I enjoyed a lovely dinner in the dining tent while it rained outside. The crew again – asante for your hard work.

The rain continued to drizzle but that did not deter Richard and I from heading back out to the fire, hurdled under one large umbrella, sharing stories about the walk, our children, Safari life and more.

At around 9:00 pm, I did take the bucket shower under the dark skies and slight drizzle.

I can honestly say this was one fantastic experience I can not wait to experience again and share with you all. Happiness is being on Safari. I sure made lots of memories on my Private Serengeti Safari.

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

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

 

Wildlife Wednesday

When you are on Safari, seeing elephants is always special. But seeing an elephant mama with her babies makes it even more special. They are so precious, literally.

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Elephant mama with her babies in #Serengeti National Park in beautiful #Tanzania.

With the ever-increasing demand for elephant ivory, conservation takes priority. We need your help! You coming to see the elephants in our parks helps keep them alive. More tourism dollars spent correctly goes into education, patrolling, community partnering and more. We partners with lodges and organizations that work tirelessly to help in the efforts.

Come see our elephants so together we can keep ivory on the elephant only.  

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

Get in touch //
Email  – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288 or 713.592.6288

Safari Diary 2014 – Gibbs Farm [Lodge Review]

Our first night stop on our Tanzania Safari was the beautiful Gibbs Farm in Karatu Region close to Ngorongoro Crater gate. You pass through schools and homes of people in Karatu to get to the gate. Then you turn into Gibbs Farm and are welcomed by amazing lush vegetation. A garden with hundreds of species of plants.  Truly a green feast to your tired eyes.

You are welcomed with a rhubarb drink before you are escorted to your lovely cottage.  Each of the currently 17 cottages are beautiful decorated with soothing colors. Little touches like slippers are provided to wear inside the room. There is a fireplace in each of the rooms as Gibbs Farm is located high in the Ngorongoro Highlands and it can get cold here in the mornings and evenings. The bathroom also shares the fireplace. Each of the bathrooms have 1 indoor shower, 1 bathtub and 1 outdoor shower for the hotter days and bath shampoo + wash +lotion are provided. A change from the Safari lodges where water is scarce but at Gibbs Farm, water comes from a bore hole.

A Farm-to-Table concept.
90% of the food at Gibbs Farm comes from the farm right near the lodge. In fact, we woke up early to see the cow getting milked and the chickens laying eggs.

The lodge has a well curated art gallery where every 6 weeks they feature a new artist. Their in-house artists offers activities like making recycled paper – a fun break from Safari activities.  And they have a Maasai healer who comes to your cottage to give you a personal massage. Start slow with Lengare. He is a strong Maasai.

We will definitely recommend Gibbs Farm to you.

The lush plants and trees hidding each cottage from view.

The lush plants and trees hidding each cottage from view. A welcoming sight.

The cosy rooms each with their own fireplace.

The cozy rooms each with their own fireplace.  This was a family room but they have double rooms as well.

The bathroom with 3 options on how to clean after a Safari. Indoor shower, outdoor shower or tub. Choices!

The bathroom with 3 options on how to clean after a Safari. Indoor shower, outdoor shower [surrounded by all the greenery] or tub. Choices!

The lush view from the room. Enjoy your morning coffee from here.

The lush view from the room. Enjoy your morning coffee from here.

The morning mist from the main lounge area. The coffee plantation is hidden in the mist.

The morning mist from the main lounge area. The coffee plantation is hidden in the mist.

Art Gallery in the main lounge area. They offer shipping to your home.

Art Gallery in the main lounge area. They offer shipping to your home.

The cow heading to the barn after getting milked. A morning activity to enjoy.

The cow heading to the barn after getting milked. A morning activity to enjoy.

An assortment of breakfast jams. Majority made at Gibbs Farm from their own produce.

An assortment of breakfast jams. Majority made at Gibbs Farm from their own produce.

The dining room with large windows  and beautiful fireplace.

The dining room with large windows and beautiful fireplace.

Make memories on Safari with Journey To Africa.
Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us – 1.877.558.6288

Photo of the week

Photo from our June 2014 Safari in Serengeti //

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Leopard hanging out on a limp on the way to Dunia Camp in Moru Kopjes. June 2014 Safari.

A beautiful leopard was spotted on my way to Dunia Camp near Moru Kopjes on our Safari right before the heavy rainfall.

Leopard are usually solitary animals. They tend to hunt alone and are known to drag their prey on a tree limp to keep it away from other scavengers.  They are also maternal and will care for their young until they are ready to hunt on their own.

I was happy to spot a leopard in South Central Serengeti. My guide Reuben at Olakira Camp told me his colleage Baraka spotted a coupling leopard pair with an offspring close by in Northern Serengeti.  I missed it by a couple of hours – Reuben was on his way to Kogatende airstrip to come pick me up from Arusha.

There is always next time!

Come see these beautiful cats on Safari with Journey To Africa.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288

Our Guides

One of the biggest reason we have many repeat clients and clients sending referrals is our guides. Our guides will always make your Safari special. They will help you fall in love with Tanzania and Kenya and get you hooked on being on Safari.

We had a fantastic time. It all started with Ayoub. He was a fantastic guide. He was very articulate and spoke multiple languages. Kate Bartell had told me to request him. We got him by accident. He made the days truly memorable and outstanding. I made him an honorary Texan. If I ever do this again, I want him, and I would highly recommend him to your future clients.”
Carlos Mata – July 2011 and June 2013

Carlos went on Safari both times with Ayoub. He has made a friend in Ayoub for life.

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Carlos M. and John L. with guide Ayoub on their second Journey To Africa Safari

Our guide, Luke, in Kenya was very good.  Our guide, Elissa was outstanding.  We enjoyed the company of both men and they made us very comfortable during our safari excursions.  Elissa was always on time and always explained things to us in detail.  We also felt very safe with him.  He also has a great sense of humor.”
– Gayle Thomas – July 2013

Gayle is mother to Alisa Thomas who has been on 5 Safari with Journey To Africa. She and her mother had a mother + daughter Safari to Southern Africa in 2008 and went back to Tanzania + Kenya in July 2013. 

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Maria J. with guide Jackson having lunch at Ngorongoro Crater picnic site.

Our guides have to work hard to keep working as guides. During off-season, they have to go through intense training not only in wildlife and plant knowledge but human phycology, astronomy, vehicle maintenance, first-aid, and much more. Trained by renowned guides like Lewis Mangaba, head guide at our favorite Oliver’s Camp, who recently won the Wanderlust Magazine best guide award to fantastic teachers like Richard Knocker, Ethan Kinsey and our friend Paul Oliver.

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Receiving their training certificate from Lewis Mangaba [in shorts]

Asante Sana [thank you] to all the hard-working guys on Safari.

Life worth Exploring! Capture memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288