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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What to pack on your Safari?

The excitement of my Safari is mounting.  The say that the anticipation phase of a trip is just as exciting as the actual adventure. I agree.

fireplaceI can’t wait to sit by the fire-place in the evening enjoying the almost full moon and stars with Paul or my client Sally and go over our day.

It does get cooler during the evenings even if the day is hot. A fleece or sweater is a good idea. A more heavy one is needed during the cold months.  Last time in June, it was quite chilly during the day time so I had long pants. Paul emailed to say it will be ‘hot and beautiful in Natron’. I plan on taking shorts on this Safari. There will be lots of walking on this Safari. Closed toe shoes for sure.

I am trying to keep it to a carry-on as I will be doing a lot of local flying. I am restricted to 33 lbs of weight plus my weight limit on KLM is 26 lbs for carry-on. I am taking a soft bag [they need to squeeze bags sometimes in the luggage compartment in the small flying taxis] that I have used for years and don’t worry when it comes with extra scratches or dust.

Clothing items I plan on taking on this Safari.
– A warm sweater or fleece for evening. I love this fleece cardigan from Nordstrom.
– 2 pants and 2 shirts for the evenings time that will stay clean. Mix and match is the way to go. Ladies, sneak in a light necklace for instant glam.
– Scarfs. I have one for evenings and one light one for day time. The vehicles tend to be dusty so keeping them separate is a good idea. The scarf can be used as a mask again dust, protecting your neck from the sun and those times you need a wipe.  Putting on a clean one in the evening feels good and instantly dresses you up.
– 2 shorts and 2 hiking pants with 3-4 t-shirts for the day time.
– My closed-toe shoes. I used privo clarks to walk in Serengeti for a whole day and my feet were happy. I may just wear this on the plane as well.
–  Sandals. I have my Birkenstock which I like. A good idea to pack for the comfort in your tent or even on a game drive where there is no walking.
– Wind-jacket. Highly recommend this especially since a lot of the vehicles on Safari are open. The morning and evening wind does get chilly. And when in Serengeti, there was the unexpected rain. I was prepared.
– Sun hat of course.
– Undergarments preferable quick dry ones so you can wash overnight. In most of the lodges, they will provide soap to wash but taking a small laundry bar may be a good idea. This is a good brand as it is environment friendly.

One thing to note is that most lodges we recommend have laundry included or there is a nominal fee for laundry. Take advantage of this service.

Guys, there are a few modification you would need to make but you get the idea of what is necessary.

Personal items:
– Hand wipes. For those times when you have to eat lunch after your game drive and you need to wipe off the dust. Dispose them off properly in the camp.
– I usually take face wipes. Saves on liquid worry at the airport as well as a water savers.
– Shampoo + conditioner travel size. Though I have to say, I used the lodge provided shampoo + conditioner the past couple of Safaris and my hair and I survived. I may skip this again.
– SPF 50+ is a must on Safari.
– Hat.  We do give you a Journey To Africa baseball cap on arrival.
– Flash light. In the middle of the night, should you need to go to the enclosed rest room, this may come in handy as most tented lodges turn off lights after a certain time.
– Mosquito repellant wipes. I got this tip from Susan of the Insatiable Traveler.
– Ladies, umhh, I have used these pee directors and can vouch for them. Enough said.
– Medical first-aid kit. Take your prescriptions as carry-on. A must!! Then you have band-aid, neosporin, cortisone cream, immodium [you never know], Advil or Tylenol. This is just a sample.
– Contact wearers, there is dust on Safari. But, I prefer my contacts over recommended glasses. What to do? I always wear my big sunglasses. They usually help. But I always have my glasses as back-up. I take extra contacts in case I need to put on a fresh pair mid-day. Remember to clean your hands first.
– For those who need a little make-up to feel put together, go ahead, take a small pouch. If you feel good, you enjoy more. Keep strong perfumes/colognes at home. An insect magnet.

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My trusty hat and wind jacket

And then if you forget anything, you can always buy in Tanzania in the towns before you head on Safari [except prescriptions please], re-wear as no one is really looking or ask the lodges if they can help.

The most important packing tip – your sense of adventure! 

Camera gear next.
Looking at binoculars as well. I always use the guides but this time I am thinking I need to get one of my own especially since I am going with Paul who is an avid birder. I don’t think he will be willing to share with me.

Life worth Elogoxploring. ™
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
Fill out a simple 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

 

Maasai and Ngorongoro Crater

Walking is not allowed inside Ngorongoro Crater, unless you are a Maasai tribe member.  They are the only people currently [they were once again allowed in the 90s after restrictions] who are allowed to bring their cows [cattle] into this wildlife-dense eco-system. The number of cows a person owns displays the patriach’s wealth.  Its their currency. They depend on it for meat, milk and blood.  Yes, blood. Maasai tribe members fill their gourds with milk and blood.

Maasai have coexisted with wildlife for generations.  They used to live in the now Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation, and Masai Mara and its wider area in Kenya area until these areas were designated National Parks or conservation.

Today, in Tanzania,  they continue to live in Ngorongoro Conservation Area.  You can stop at one of the boma [homestead] for a quick visit – a tourist stop – or you can go to a private conservation in areas like Longido [east of Serengeti] such as Alamana Reserve.  Here, you can spend time understanding and learning about the unique, fascinating, and changing Maasai tribe.

Maasai tribe members walking their cows to Lake Magadi

Maasai tribe members walking their cows to Lake Magadi