A Family Safari in Tanzania.

I am privileged I get to return to Tanzania every year and head back on my favorite thing to do … be on a Safari. Tanzania is where I grew up.

ngorongoro_shirazLast June, we made it a family affair again. I brought my family based in Houston, Texas on Safari and it was perfect. We spent time in Tarangire,  Ngorongoro Crater and finished off in Zanzibar Island. The kids loved it and the best part is that they are still talk about their experience. Now that is priceless!

Here is a Safari itinerary to get your thoughts going. Together, we can work on the final Safari itinerary that best fits your family.

Day 1:
Karibu.
We will pick you up on arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport. Transfer to your lodge for a good night’s rest before the Safari excitement starts.
Lodge: River Trees Inn | Meru House

Day 2:
Eye opener day.
Spend a day in Arusha. Arusha is a bustling mini-city. Before you get to Arusha, you and I will have come up with a plan on what you and your family would like to do in Arusha.

Some ideas:
– Visit a local primary or secondary school. We will arrange in advance for the children to sit in a classroom and observe. Maybe spend time playing.
– Go shopping in Arusha’s central market. A very different grocery store experience.
– Visit a local primary or secondary school. When you
– Enjoy coffee and lunch at Stiggybucks, a local coffee shop run by a friend of mine.
Lodge: River Trees Inn | Meru House

Day 3 and 4:
Tarangire National Park.
This lovely park has huge elephant herds, lions, leopards, kudus and birds. Spend time watching the elephants splash themselves in the Tarangire River or Silale Swamps. Our guides will teach them about conservation as well as wildlife information.
Lodge: Tarangire Mbali Mbali | Oliver’s Camp

Day 5:
Maasai Moment.

Go to a Maasai Village and get a behind the scenes look at how these unique tribe has managed to retain its culture in modern world while embracing some of the technology yet still surrounded by wilderness. Sometimes the relationship works, and other times, there are clashes.
Lodge: Msyigiyo Tented Camp | Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge | Lemala Ngorongoro

Day 6:
Ngorongoro Crater.
This amazing 12 mile sq. radius national park has some of the highest density of wildlife within the walls. Black rhinos roams this protected areas besides resident lions, cheetahs as well as zebras, impalas and the cerval cat.
Lodge: Msyigiyo Tented Camp | Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge | Lemala Ngorongoro

Day 7 and 8 and 9:
Serengeti National Park.
This park needs no introduction. You have to enjoy a minimum of 3 nights here to fully immerse yourself in this vast national park. Beside the Big 5, you have the wildebeest and zebra migration draw … a site you must witness to believe. The location of where you stay depends on the month of your Safari. The animals are constantly moving.
Lodge: Kati Kati Tented Lodge | Dunia Camp | Olakira Camp |Ubuntu Camp | Lamai Serengeti | Alamana Wilderness | Mkombe House

Day 10:
See you again.
We will fly you from Serengeti to Arusha Airport in the morning. Lunch at the lovely Shanga River House where you will visit a for-profit organization that is helping the disabled community by giving them work. You will find some lovely souvenirs to take back home.
Rest up before you fly back home. We hope you are making plans for your return Safari to Tanzania.
Day room: River Trees Inn 

IMG_5765

On our Spice Tour in Zanzibar Island

Safari Price for your Family Safari:
Starting from $4,580 per person in a family friendly room.
Estimated for a family of 4.

This is just a start. No two Safaris are the same.
– Add two night to Lake Eyasi and visit the Hadzabe and Datoga tribe.
– Have more time to spend on Safari? We can visit two areas in Serengeti.
– Are your kids older and enjoy biking? Lake Manyara area offers this great opportunity.
– Want to finish off on the beach like we did in Zanzibar Island? You will love it.

If you can get your family to travel during the low season from April – May | November to mid-December, we can find great discounts. Children under 6 years do not pay park fees.

Together, we can plan in making unforgettable memories on your Family 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 family Safari for the memory books. Life worth Exploring. ™

Advertisements

The wildebeest and zebra migration pattern

One of the biggest draw to the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya is the wildebeest and zebra migration. The 1.5 million wildebeest and 0.5 zebra strong herbivore team, and its many herbivore and carnivore co-dependants, are constantly roaming this expansive area. The phenomenon is one of the Natural Wonders of the World. An experience that must be witnessed first hand as words alone can’t justify this wonder.

sunrise

The large herds are constantly moving this approximately 7,000 sq. miles area in search of fresh food and water.

They will feast on the nutritious mineral-rich grass of the Southern Serengeti during birthing time. With lots of calves, the cats have easy target. They sustain themselves on the long grass of Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara after rutting in Western Serengeti. And pass through Central and Eastern Serengeti / Loliondo area when heading back to Southern Serengeti. While on the move, you may be lucky and witness the Grumeti River crossing in Western Serengeti  and Mara River crossing in Northern Serengeti. That is bonus.

Quick guidelines ::

– November to December // short rain season.
Sporadic showers will not hinder your Safari. The wildebeest and zebra migration are heading to Southern Serengeti from Northern Serengeti. They are moving down via east of Serengeti in the Loliondo area and the many private concession areas. During this time, it is best to hedge your bets and stay in two regions of Serengeti.

– January to March // hot.
Birthing season for the wildebeest and zebra. The place to be is Southern Serengeti to Loliondo and the many private concessions areas. The herds will also spill over to Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
A good time to enjoy lots of hunts as cats come out to play with lots of young calves around.

– 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 this is a great time to visit and get some amazing deals on lodges. Central Serengeti to Western Serengeti is the place to be.

– 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. During this time, the herds may be crossing the Grumeti River to get to Northern Serengeti or may already be in this area. Grumeti River is home to large crocodiles. Areas outside western Serengeti are also prime viewing spots.

– August to October // cool and dry season.
The Wildebeest and Zebra population are usually in the long lush grass of Masai Mara and Northern Serengeti. They are in this region for a few month enjoying vegetation that long rains of April May brought about. The herds are going back and forth between Tanzania and Kenya and increasing the odds of seeing a lovely Mara River crossing.

sunrise_migrationPlanning a Safari to Serengeti?
The wildebeest and zebra herd of a million plus are always moving. The thing to remember is getting to the right place, right lodge at the right time.  

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 family Safari 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.

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 family Safari for the memory books. Life worth Exploring. ™

 

 

Weaver birds.

weaver_birds_selousOn my walking Safari with guide Hierbert from lovely Beho Beho in Selous Game Reserve, I had a fun time watching these black-headed weaver birds building their nests.

What I learnt was that the males do all the building of the elaborate nest. They will be buzzing and squeaking for days going back and forth picking up small branches and grass in hopes that their fancy nest production will attract the female weaver birds. Hierbert said the males will go as far as bringing a colorful leaf or flower to primp up the nest. Quite chivalrous of the male weaver bird don’t you think?

Once the female ‘approves’ of the nest, her home for the near future, she will help with the final female touches. The nest have a small entrance are usually built high up on the tree or around the water source. This hopefully will prevent predators from entering the nest.

A fun half an hour or so watching these weavers on my walking Safari with Beho Beho in Selous Game Reserve.

On a walking Safari, it’s about the little things. 

logo

 

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. ™

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.

logo

 

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.

landscape

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.

bird_x

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.

landscape_1

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.

elephant_herd

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.

lion_stare

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.

lorenzo_chris_ranger

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

giraffe

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!

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