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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Photo of the week – Butterfly

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Butterfly

Butterflies are so beautiful. But oh so hard to capture with my 24-105 mm L Canon lens on my Tanzania Safari. They come in so many different colors, sizes, textures, shapes, etc.  And they have some lovely names like white pansy and emperor. So fun to watch these pretty little flying creatures.

On my Walking Safari in Private Serengeti, I had the chance to capture a few a shots as I had the advantage of going slow.  My guide Richard and ranger Deo all got into it with me and helped me track down butterflies. This is one of my best captures. Look at that beauty. Anyone know the name of this butterfly species?

Wildlife photographer Russell MacLaughlin recently had one of this photos on Africa Geographic Twitter feed and I commented on how I had difficultly capturing these beauties and he replied, ‘not easy at all”.  The quest to capture these beauty continues.

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

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

 

Safari Client Post – Carlos M

Journey To Africa client Carlos M wrote this lovely blog post. He loves cats! When he and I first started planning his first Safari with his son Jeff to Tanzania in 2011, he told me he has watched every NatGeo show and going on Safari is a dream. As soon as he came back, he told me he is hooked. He took 3 of his friends for his second Safari in 2013 and this time we added Kenya’s Masai Mara.  Asante Carlos for this post.

Carlo M at Oliver's Camp in Tarangire with his cuban cigar.

Carlo M at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire with his cuban cigar.

Here goes // Carlos’s top 10 //

… Mefi, it’s been less than a year since I returned from my second safari, and I have to admit, I can’t wait to go back. You going brings back so many memories. For some reason, other trips I take leave me with memories, but not great memories as safaris do. It is such a different experience from other things I have done.

I don’t know what people expect to see when they go on a safari. All safaris are different. Below I have captured my favorite memories to give others an idea of what they might experience in a safari to Tanzania and Kenya.

My top 10 Journey to Africa safari wildlife memories (in no specific order) are:

  1. While on the walking safari at Tarangire, about ½ a mile from camp, and about 15 yards in front of us, a young male lion raises his head out of the tall grass, looks at us and runs away. It was so unexpected!!!

    Young male lion.

    Young male lion.


  2. Rhinoceros are getting increasingly hard to find. Beside a dwindling number, they are very shy animals. My son and I were very fortunate to see a mother and calf within about 40 yards. We had seen rhinos in the distance, but watching them this close was special. A few weeks before, one had been poached.
  3. While staying at Olakira in the northern Serengeti, we saw 4 or 5 wildebeest Mara River crossings. There were wildebeest everywhere, running in a single file in every direction. We saved the best crossing for last. On the last game drive before heading for the air strip, we saw a great crossing. Our vehicle was right in the middle of the herd as we inched our way along. They were grunting (I can still hear them) and kicking up dust. They got to the river and stopped. They left and returned several times. By this time we had left the herd and positioned ourselves at a high point to see the crossing. All of a sudden, a lone zebra starts across. When it got to the other side, it was pandemonium. The crossing started in masses. We watched for about 40 minutes and headed for the airstrip. WOW!! What a way to end the trip.

    Wildebeest in Northern Serengeti.

    Wildebeest in Northern Serengeti.

  4. The Central Serengeti is loaded with cats. We saw more cats here than any place else. While on a game drive, we saw a very well fed lioness on a tree. We watched for a while and also noticed several lionesses beginning to congregate to our left about 50-75 yards away. They showed up one by one until there were 6. All of a sudden, the lioness in the tree climbs down, runs right in front of our vehicle, grabs one of the lioness, and they run to the left. In the meantime, we see a lone zebra coming to a nearby stream. The remaining 5 lioness get in crouch attack mode and start crawling forward. By this time, the 2 lioness circled behind the zebra. We see the zebra’s ears perk up, she starts to run, and in seconds all we see are 7 lions and 4 zebra legs sticking up in the air. It was perfectly orchestrated. It was spell binding and breathtaking. (By the way, this is my top memory)

    A young lion couple.

    A young lion couple.

  5. Late one afternoon, while in the Central Serengeti, a female leopard went on her evening hunt. We were able to watch her for about 15-20 minutes. She came within 10 feet of our vehicle. We found out that night in camp from a fellow guest that she had 2 cubs. They actually stayed near her den for 6 hours earlier that day hoping to see and photograph the cubs, and they did.
  6. Tarangire National Park is loaded with elephants. One of my favorite memories has to be watching 3 young elephants playing in the swamp. You could tell they were having a great time. The herd, consisting of several cows and babies was nearby. It was a beautiful sight. That same day, a lone bull in musk started chasing our vehicle. The guide said he probably wanted to mate with the Land Rover.

    Elephants playing at Silale Swamp near Oliver's Camp in Tarangire National Park

    Elephants playing at Silale Swamp near Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park

  7. Shortly after landing at the Masai Mara on the way to Sekenani Camp, in the span of 1 hour we saw 4 of the Big Five. WOW!! We saw a large male leopard on a tree, several lions enjoying a Cape buffalo they had killed the night before, a herd of elephants, and a herd of Cape buffalo. Does not get any better than that.
  8. While on a game drive in the Masai Mara, we came across a large pride of lions which included several cubs. After a waiting for a while, all 4 cubs finally lined up, looked at the camera, and gave me the opportunity to take one of my favorite safari pictures.
  9. On nature shows, I have seen many cheetahs climb on a vehicle to get a better observation point for prey. Actually got to see it in person. We found 2 cheetah brothers lying under a tree. There were about 10-15 vehicles nearby. All of a sudden one of the cats jumped on the hood and onto the roof of one of the vehicles. Those of us in the other vehicles had the show of a lifetime. The occupants of the vehicle could not see a thing. We all thanked them for providing us a great show. The cheetah stayed on the roof for about 15 minutes then left. He did not even look at the occupants.

    Leopard on top of a Safari vehicle in Masai Mara.

    Leopard on top of a Safari vehicle in Masai Mara.

  10. On the afternoon of the last day, our Masai guide in the Masai Mara asked us if there was anything else we wanted to see. I told him I wanted to see a male lion, a friend wanted to see a large herd of giraffe, and another friend wanted to see one last cheetah. Within 15 minutes, we were parked near a large male lion, 10 minutes after that a herd of 17 giraffe was in front of us, and on the way back to camp we had our cheetah. I don’t know if he could smell them, but he found them rather quickly!!
  11. While these are my top ten memories, the list would not be complete without #11. While parked on a low hill, whether at the Serengeti or the Masai Mara, I found myself looking at the expanse of savannah below, and seeing wildlife in every possible direction as far as the eye could see. This was absolutely breathtaking and indescribable. This scene was repeated over and over.

    Lion looking at the open savannah. What a view!

    Lion looking at the open savannah. What a view!

May God bless the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, and all its inhabitants. This is a treasure to be preserved and enjoyed

Northern Serengeti

On my research Safari to Northern Serengeti in September 2009, when flying westward from Arusha, one of the things you notice is the constant change in color on the ground. The brown dusty dry landscape when flying east out of Arusha, the green lush treetops of Ngorongoro Highland, and the brown dry landscape of Southern and Central Serengeti. After an hour and a half flight, we come upon Northern Serengeti and … lots of green and brown. Fresh grass in September which is usually the dry season is refreshing. We are in Northern Serengeti.

Once we got on the ground, our fabulous Sayari Camp guide Albert [who worked with professional guide Paul Oliver at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire in the early 2000s] told us this area has constant rain thanks to the precipitation from Lake Victoria.


We get in our open 4×4 vehicle [a perk of flying into an area] and off we go on Safari. From late June/ early July to October, this area is usually bustling with the million plus wildebeest and zebra migration. They are grazing the green grass or trying to cross the Mara River which runs from Lake Victoria all the way to Masai Mara in Kenya. During other times, you will be treated to an array of resident game – from leopard, lion, eland, jackal to large herds of elephant and much more. If you get lucky, the endangered elusive black rhino.

Advantages of heading to Northern Serengeti when on your Journey To Africa Safari ::

Off roading. You can get off the so-called main road and venture deep if you have spotted something interesting. On our Safari, Albert spotted a male lion escaping with a kill behind the tall grass. We rushed over and in a matter of seconds, the lion had pulled what looked to be a 30 + lb wildebeest behind the tall grass ready to devour his lunch.

Not many people get here especially when the migration is not in this area.  Getting to Northern Serengeti is via local flight to save time or you have to add a night or two in Central Serengeti before heading towards North Serengeti.  Northern Serengeti is definitely worth the extra flight or drive. During peak season, the few permanent camps and mobile camps fill up quickly but during other times, you can have this vast area to fewer people.

Walking Safari is currently allowed which you can not find in any other part of Serengeti National Park. From Sayari Camp or Lamai Serengeti, you have an escorted early morning or late afternoon walking Safari. Enjoy the small stuff on your escorted walk – from dung beetles, birds, lion tracks to wild flowers.

– And then as in any part of your Journey To Africa Safari, there are the views.  Amazing views. From thick bushes to open endless Serengeti. You can spend hours just enjoying the sounds, the smells, the wind and much more.

Karibu Sana Northern Serengeti. Anytime of the year!