Julian

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Julian last won the day on January 21 2016

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About Julian

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  1. At Namiri plains we saw 4 cubs who were 5 to 6 weeks old, one viewing with their mother, the next viewing on their own. They were on/in/and around a patch of Kopjes. The mother used to go off and leave them hidden in the kopjes, obviously she had to join the pride to hunt and feed. Our guide told us that the mother had already introduced the cubs to the rest of the pride, but because the cubs were still very young they needed to be left in the relatively more safe kopjes, ie they were still too young to be moving with the pride on the open plains. This pride were well known to the Namiri guides so this information was correct. The same pride had another litter of six cubs who were about 11 or 12 weeks old. They were also in a secluded location - a small waterhole with bushes and rocks for cover. The two female mothers and one of the pride males were with them. They had been introduced to the whole pride some weeks previously. Why only one cub? Its possible only one born alive, but most likely the others were killed by hyaenas/leopards/ buffalo. Only a small number of lions cubs reach the age of one year old - I've heard various figures quoted from from one in four to as low as 1 in 10.
  2. Only read this report today. So many amazing leopard photos, the mating leopards are a real gem. Also all the wild dog photos and some superb photos of lions. The night photos are great as well. Hope to be going to Zambia for our next safari.
  3. Only just seen this report. Read some of it and looked through most of the photos. So many really superb photos in this post, and loved all I have read so far in the report, a fantastic report. Never been to Zambia, hopefully our next safari, and although we had decided it was going to be South Luangwa and Kafue, Rachel ( my wife) has such a bad reaction to the bites that we have decided it’s almost certain that we will not go to Kafue but to Lower Zambezi instead for that part of the safari. Noted in the photos the close similarity of the landscapes in Kafue ( the seasonal plains and clusters of palm trees) to the landscape in the Paradise area of Katavi.
  4. Regarding the lion cub, what was your guide's explanation? The cub appears to me to be no more than 4 weeks old. Its at about the right age when the female would just have introduced it to the pride. Possibly both the cub and the father are curious about each other and the mother has gone off hunting with other pride members?
  5. Welcome back Amy - really looking forward to your report. I have only just managed to start posting my report!
  6. Northern Tanzania Safari 2017: 20th October – 4th November Itinerary: Fri 20 Oct 21.00: London Heathrow to Addis Ababa (06.35) – Ethiopian Airlines: Airbus A350 Sat 21 Oct 10.20: Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro (12.55) – Ethiopian Airlines: Airbus A350 Sat 21 Oct Transfer by car (45 minutes): Kilimanjaro to Arusha, Rivertrees lodge (1 night) Sun 22 Oct Transfer by car (1 hour): Rivertrees to Arusha Airport Sun 22 Oct 07.45: Coastal Aviation to Lake Manyara Airstrip (08.10) Sun 22 Oct Transfer by safari vehicle with &Beyond guide to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge Sun 22 Oct Lake Manyara Tree Lodge Mon 23 Oct Lake Manyara Tree Lodge Tues 24 Oct Lake Manyara Tree Lodge Wed 25 Oct Transfer by safari vehicle to Manyara Airstrip (11.00), handover by &Beyond guide to Asilia guide, transfer by safari vehicle to Ngorongoro Highlands Camp Wed 25 Oct Ngorongoro Highlands Camp Thu 26 Oct Ngorongoro Highlands Camp Fri 27 Oct Ngorongoro Highlands Camp Sat 28 Oct Ngorongoro Highlands Camp Sun 29 Oct Transfer by safari vehicle to Lake Manyara Airstrip Sun 29 Oct 09.45: Coastal Aviation to Serengeti, Seronera Airstrip (11.10) Sun 29 Oct Transfer by safari vehicle with Asilia guide to Namiri Plains Camp Sun 29 Oct Namiri Plains Camp Mon 30 Oct Namiri Plains Camp Tues 31 Oct Namiri Plains Camp Wed 01 Nov Namiri Plains Camp Thu 02 Nov Namiri Plains Camp Fri 03 Nov Transfer by safari vehicle to Seronera Airstrip Fri 03 Nov 10.45: Coastal Aviation to Kilimanjaro (12.30) Fri 03 Nov 17.35: Kilimanjaro to Addis Adaba (20.05) – Ethiopian Airlines: Boeing 777-200 Sat 04Nov 01.50: Addis Ababa to London Heathrow (06.35) – Ethiopian Airlines: Airbus A350 This tailor-made safari was booked with Africa Travel Resource, excluding the international flights which were arranged through Uniglobe. The total cost (excluding the international flights) was just under £9000 per person. The Ethiopian Airlines economy international return flight from Heathrow to Kilimanjaro was £719 per person, making a total holiday cost of £9700 per person. The ATR cost of the safari included the camps accommodation, all meals and snacks, game drives, laundry, all drinks, park/conservation/special campsite fees, all transfer costs including additional luggage fee on Coastal, the Ngorongoro Crater descent fees, and one night accommodation, dinner and breakfast at Rivertrees. Why we chose to book with Africa Travel Resource: We had used them for our previous safari and were very impressed with all the arrangements. For this safari we decided all the camps and length of stay at each before speaking with ATR. They were, as usual, extremely helpful, efficient, prompt and were completely at ease with all our choices and some minor alterations we made. As ATR provide a completely price itemised itinerary, we knew exactly how much we were charged for everything, which included the ‘rack rates’ at each of the camps, and a discount of a free day at Namiri Plains as Asilia offered 6th night free at any combination of their camps. ATR also gave us a further very small discount as a repeat customer. Insurance Insurance was going to be difficult to get, to include Rachel’s (my wife) pre-existing medical conditions, but we eventually found one that would cover all Rachel’s cancer circumstances: 'Allclear Insurance Services Ltd'. International Flights As we arranged this safari at short notice the availability of reasonably priced flights for the dates we wanted were obviously limited. Ethiopian Airlines was reasonable at £719, the next cheapest suitable flight by a different airline was around £1200. Why we chose Northern Tanzania, and these specific locations and camps: (I have already included more detailed information on this section in my post in the Trip Planning section of the forum, but have also posted it here as it is relevant to this post) We had planned to go to Zambia in July but Rachel needed chemo treatment during the summer. Then, unexpectedly in late August we were informed that the chemo had worked better than expected and no further treatment would be necessary, pending a further scan in three months time. It was also confirmed that Rachel would be fine to on an African safari holiday. Therefore we had three months in which to decide, book and go on a safari. The Zambia safari we had hoped to have back in July ( Rachel's 50th birthday), was not an option as we did not want to go to Zambia in mid to late October - far too hot, dusty, etc. Our last safari in 2015 was to Southern and Western Tanzania and at that time we also researched all the Northern locations as that was a consideration. Also we went to Northern Tanzania on our first safari together in January 2001, but that was a package holiday staying at Serena camps/lodges. We had always wanted to go back to Manyara and Ngorongoro, so it was an obvious easy choice for us to get the safari sorted very quickly. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: Lake Manyara NP does not seem to be rated highly by hardly anyone, but we loved it when we went there in 2001. Now at the northern end where the entrance is, it can be very busy, and we understand there is now a sizeable town and lots of traffic just outside - but that is why we chose Manyara tree lodge - right down in the south of Manyara - the only camp located in the park and almost exclusive game driving area. The rooms are also rather nicely designed. Ngorongoro Highlands Asilia Camp: We thought about the Nomad camp on the Crater rim but were really taken by the Highlands camp - not only because of the Geodysic 'tents', but more importantly, the precise location meaning they enter Ngorongoro crater via the far less busy Northern descent road. There are also walks to Olmoti and Empakaai crater available. There is always a lot of comment about how busy the crater is, but it is packed with wildlife, and for me it is just such a stunning awesome place. It is the only place I have ever been where upon seeing it for the first time (from the famous viewing point) I can truly say it was jaw-dropping. Serengeti - Namiri Plains Camp: I do not need to say much about why we chose to end our safari with five nights here - the Trip Report section on this forum already has the many fantastic photos and reports from several on here who have already had the wonderful experience of going there. We like all the wildlife, but we do really like the big cats and, judging by others opinions, we would be unlucky if we did not get good big cat viewings over five days. The Trip Report A few things to say in summary about the trip before I get down to the more interesting stuff of the day to day events with the many photos. Addis Ababa Airport Our first time here and we found it reasonable, even having to spend nearly 6 hours in the evening on our return flight. The main terminal building appears to have been expanded considerably this year, and there were no shortage of seats, plenty of shops and enough places to eat and drink. There were even quiet areas with sun-loungers so you could lie down/sleep (admittedly they were all in use). Coastal Aviation – Luggage restrictions We had three light aircraft transfers, all with Coastal. It appears they have tightened up on luggage restrictions. They weighed our luggage at Arusha – not only the two holdalls but also included my camera bag (not huge but it weighed about 7.5kg) – so our total weight of luggage they weighed was about 38kg – well over the 2 x 15kg standard allowance. Fortunately we had planned for this, as during the booking process ATR indicated the option Coastal have of booking what they call and’ XL’ seat instead of ‘standard ‘, which gives you 30kg allowance instead of 15kg. Therefore we chose to book one standard and one XL giving us a total of 45Kg allowance. It cost about 30% more per flight – for the three flights that worked out at £115 extra – not much considering we would have found it very difficult to stick to 30kg. Visas We obtained ours in advance so we got through security reasonably quickly, many at Kilimanjaro were obtaining theirs on arrival. Security at camps All the camps we stayed at had a safe in our room – appears to be becoming increasingly common. Charging Devices All the camps had charging points in the rooms – Manyara and Namiri Plains had UK electric sockets combined with USB sockets. Highlands only had USB sockets but had UK electric sockets in the lounge and dining room. Most of the vehicles are now fitted with either combined electric and USB sockets, or just USB sockets. Tsetse Flies There were Tsetse flies in Manyara (but nowhere near as bad as they apparently are in nearby Tarangire). None at Highlands camp or down in the Crater, and hardly any at Namiri. As on our previous trip, Rachel had a quite bad reaction to them, persistent lumps/ reddening of skin appearing and eventually swelling of feet/ankles. We met other guests on this trip who also have exactly the same reaction to tsetse flies. Rachel had taken antihistamines for a week before travelling and throughout the trip, but it appeared to have no effect. Camera Problems On our last trip we had problems with getting marks on the sensors, so this time we took three DSLR’s , so there would never be a need to change lenses while on a drive. Unfortunately I managed to damage one of them on the international flight out which rendered it pretty much useless ( it fell out of the overhead locker – I’ll explain later). Camera equipment we used: We ended up having to manage with two Canon EOS 1200d’s, and hardly being able to use the Canon EOS 60d. We did however still avoid changing any lenses on the drives, and being very careful avoided getting any marks on the sensors that showed on the images. Lenses: Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 IS USM (mk1) [160-640] Tamron 16-300 f3.5-6.3 [26-480] Canon EFS 10-18 [16-28] Canon EFS 17-55 [27-90] Due to these Canon cameras having a small sensor, the actual zoom range is 1.6 x the range indicated on the lens. The figures in square brackets are therefore the true approximate range.
  7. Finally getting round to starting to write the trip report - Christmas preparations and other things have been getting in the way of starting this - but I hope to start posting the report by the end of today. As with my previous report ( our southern Tanzania 2015 trip) its likely to fairly detailed with many photos, so the report will take quite a while, but I'll continue to post more of it regularly over the next few weeks.
  8. Just to add to this, the rarest species I have seen is not an African one, its the Asiatic lion - we saw seven including two 3-months old cubs in the only place in the wild you can see them - Ssasangir forest in Gujarat, India.
  9. I had not seen any of those species on the lists in this post , so all those and more would be on my list. However , four weeks ago in the Ngorongoro Crater we had an excellent siting of a caracal which walked up to and round our vehicle. It was in the early afternoon in the Crater and only us and the guests in one other vehicle were there at the time to see it. We spent two full days in the Crater and the caracal was on the second day, so that sighting alone justified the reason to spend two days in the crater .
  10. We travelled with Coastal Aviation on the same route over the Ngorongoro Crater (Manyara to Seronera) in the morning on the 29th October - and would have crossed the Crater and Highlands area at about 11.00am. We also travelled the reverse route on the 3rd November. This feels far too close, in the sense that had we travellled a couple of weeks later it would have been us.
  11. Still busy sorting through and editing photos and videos, but I will start the report on here very soon..... Hopefully... (Just posted some detailed reviews of the three camps we stayed at on tripadvisor).
  12. Some great photos there Steven. No need to apologise for taking a while to do a report, I havent started mine yet - was in Northen Tanzania in Late October- hope to start it shortly and it will probably take quite a long time to complete. it would be nice if you could post some more of your photos on here, we all really enjoy seeing others photos from their safaris.
  13. @AmyT Have a wonderful time, look out for a caracal in the Crater and, as you will be on the much quieter northern descent route , there are a pride of 27 lions in that section of the crater, so get down in the crater early. At Namiri Plains camp look out for the resident pride of lions ( you will hear them every night) - they are lead by a formidable six brothers coalition known as the killers, but are not often seen as their territory is in an area that has few road- tracks near to them, and wrap up well in Namiri- it gets very cold out on those vast plains especially if the wind gets up. Also at Namiri, when you see the camp Manager, Diana, and the asst manager, Dickson, please tell them Julian & Rachel say Hello. Looking forward to your trip report( by the time you are back I hope to have started writing our trip report) .

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