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Found 14 results

  1. Just back yesterday from our sixth safari. Definitely the best ever - most wildlife - first lion hunts, youngest lion cubs at play, caracal close-up in the Crater, the migration arrives, and much much more..... Coming soon - the trip report...................
  2. Before I get to the photo editing over the weekend and later ..... many many Thanks to Sangeeta, Smita and the Chalo Africa team for putting together a trip for us chasing the migration up north in Kogatende. Not only did they ensure we had a smooth trip, but, also ensured that Coastal got us checked in for our international flights on time by using their fast track service in DAR. Must say very impressed by the crew at the camps at both Asilia and Sanctuary lodges ......... Simply brilliant!!!! Thanks to our guides; Ellisante and Kivoyo from Asilia and Emmanuel from Kusini Lodge (he knows the Kusini area at the back of his fingertips - amazing!!!) Camp Management was brilliant too - Thanks to Michael and Abu at Olakira; Julie at Sayari Camp and Van / Es at Kusini camp. Top notch service and warm Tanzanian hospitality at it's best!!! Here's the first batch of photos....
  3. The annual bat migration at Kasanka National Park is starting soon, and it is one of the most amazing sights in Southern Africa. While becoming more popular every year, it is still considered one of the "secrets" of the safari world. Each year towards the end of October, one of the greatest mammalian migrations in the world takes place at Kasanka National Park. This little known migration is of approximately ten million straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum). For several weeks starting around Zambia’s October 24th Independence Day, thousands of colonies of these herbivorous bats start making the park their home. More and more bats continue to come until the numbers reach their zenith towards the middle of November. It is believed that the majority of these bats come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and some also come from Uganda and elsewhere around Africa. Each night just as the sun is setting, the multitude of bats begins to take off into the night in search of food. The area around Kasanka National Park is full of indigenous and exotic fruits. In November, the main fruits that are ripe are mangoes, waterberries, and mpundu. Each night, the bats go out (up to 100 kilometers!) to feast on fruits and return in the early morning hours. During the migration, Kasanka offers special bat walks. These bat walks are an opportunity to get a little bit closer to the bats and see them while they roost. Due to the sensitive nature of the colony, this tour is only available for small groups, and you must be accompanied by a scout and a guide. There are several vantage points to see the bats take off on their nightly excursion. Near Fibwe Hide there are a few benches and a smaller hide that faces the main roost. You can also go down near the stream, but there is no seating here. Similar to the bat walk, you can hire a scout and a guide to get a little closer with two new hides located in the forest. The guides are well informed about the bats, and can answer any questions you have. The straw-coloured fruit bat is the most widely spread fruit bat species in Africa. These bats are huge, with wingspans of up to one meter, which makes them easy to see even from long distances. The average weight of these bats is usually about eight to twelve ounces and the body grows to 5.7 to 9 inches in length. They get their name from their yellowish colour. These bats serve an important role in the ecological system as both pollinators and seed dispersers. The straw-coloured fruit bats at Kasanka National Park have been the focus several international media outlets, including the BBC and National Geographic. For the video produced by the BBC, visit their website at http://www.bbc.co.uk...it_Bat#p004vb0b. This video has lots of great information about the bats, and some great video as well. Lodging is available during the bat season at both Wasa and Luwombwa Lodges. There are also two campsites within the park, as well as lodging at the Mulaushi Community, Research, and Conservation Centre. For more information on lodging at the park, visit www.kasanka.com or email wasa@kasanka.com. Kasanka National Park is also home to a number of mammals and birds. I believe the most recent tally of bird species spotted at the park is over 460. In addition, elephants, hippos, crocs, and lots of different antelope species can be spotted. Kasanka is well known for the large population of sitatunga that can usually be seen. These slightly akward antelope are swamp dwellers and can be seen at several places in the park, including the Fibwe Hide and along the Kasanka River. Other attractions near Kasanka include the David Livingstone Memorial, which marks the spot where David Livingstone died in 1873, Kundalila Falls, Lake Waka Waka, and the Bangweulu Wetlands. For more information about these other attractions and accomodation, visit nsoberoute.wordpress.com or http://www.openafric...o-Tourism-Route. To get to Kasanka National Park, continue on the Great North Road past Serenje for about forty kilometers to the Mukando Junction. There is a small worn sign for Kasanka National Park, but the best landmark for this turnoff is the giant Apple Max sign. Kasanka is another fifty-five kilometers to the north. There is a big sign on the left side of the road indicating you have reached the park. Both tarmac roads were repaved about six months ago and are still in good shape. This post has been promoted to an article
  4. The scene of thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara river is literally quite breathtaking, but. It is not always a beautiful sight. The first time we witnessed this wildlife spectacle, it was exciting, but tinged with sadness in every aspect, and one we would never forget. The crossing point was about one mile from Mara Serena lodge where we were staying and a regular crossing point for the wildebeest, though we do not know why as you will find out later. The build up of wildebeest all along the Mara river was increasing daily and on this particular morning we found an extremely large gathering, about 5,000 wildebeest, spread out over about a quarter of a mile section across the river from us, and with many down on a flat sand bank area by the river itself. We decided to wait and see if a crossing was going to happen as the herd seemed to be pressing towards this one area of open sand bank. As the numbers grew the wildebeest on the bank above were being forced down towards the river, which made the wildebeest already there very nervous. Those at the front who after they had drank tried to move back, but could only do so when other wildebeest pushed through to drink themselves. Occasionally something would spook them and en-mass they would turn in unison and storm back up the embankment. Within ten minutes or so they would settle and that force of nature that lies deep within them would draw them back to the river. We had been here now for around two hours and had to make a decision on whether to stay and forgo breakfast or go back and have a quick breakfast and come straight back? We decided on the later as the lodge was not too far away. We were back at the river by ten O-clock, and were so pleased to see they had not started crossing, though there were definitely more wildebeest than when we left. Another hour went by, and apart from a few false starts and an increase in Vulture activity we realised it was going to be a long morning, but one we were enjoying to the full. Another hour passed and the word was out about a huge crossing that might take place as we were now joined by about ten other vehicles. By this time we had been waiting four hours and I could not help thinking, if they cross now all these other people will have waited only a very short time, and it seemed unfair, but that is safari. There was now some noticeable activity at the front of the herd which we reckon was now numbering about 7,000. The Zebra were always braver than the wildebeest and had pushed their way to the front and were standing several meters into the river. This seemed to galvanise the wildebeest into action as a section to the right suddenly surged forward and pushed on out into the river. Within seconds the whole mass moved as one and the crossing was began in earnest. It always strikes me as strange that no matter how wide the gathered herd maybe, they still only cross from the point where the first wildebeest entered the river. So with thousands of wildebeest funnelling down from the bank throwing up vast clouds of dust the whole scene became surreal. The crossing was in full flow but there was a problem, a big problem, there was No easy exit. From our view point we could see it would be tricky as there were masses of large rocks between the river and the only two exit points we could see. The wildebeest were now starting to back up as the lead animals fought frantically to find an easy path through the rocks towards the two openings we could see. With the Wildebeest being held up some of them were now swiming down stream to try and find another way out. Some of the wildebeest had now found the exits and the others followed. The Wildebeest who were caught up in the throng which had built up behind those who were caught on the rocks, were now literally treading water which was tiring them, and several had succumbed and drowned. There was no let up as the wildebeest kept coming causing many to turn back in panic not being able to exit the river easily. The situation now was, we had two flows of wildebeest moving in both directions and there was a steady flow of corpse starting to drift down stream. The body count was building steadily and now the wildebeest had to contend not only the rocks, but with the bodies of those who had gone before, before they could find their way out of this nightmare. They treated both the same, climbing over the bodies onto the rocks then finding a way through exhausted onto the plains of the Mara triangle.Some of the dead bodies were turning white as their skin was being shredded by the sharp edges of the hooves of the clambering wildebeest, disclosing the white flesh below. An hour had passed and our first crossing was slowly turning from excitement and expectation into a state of despair and distress. The scene before us now was not the beautiful image of nature at it's best, but one of carnage and mayhem. The body count was going up and the flow of bodies floating down stream was making life easy for the crocodiles down river. Over the next hour thousands more wildebeest made it onto the plains of the Mara triangle, sadly many with broken limbs, and many being orphaned calves. It was a sad sight as the calves instinctively gathered together in a form of a crèche, their mournful bleats resounding in the still morning air that we feared would alert the predators waiting for the wildebeest's arrival. The Vultures had already started feeding on the eyes of the dead wildebeest, they would have to wait for a larger raptor to open the carcasses properly. The wildebeest kept coming and we estimated there must have been about 5,000 who had crossed safely with probably about 2-3,000 more to come. A rough estimate of those who drowned was about 500, and one of the saddest sights was of wildebeest who were still alive but trapped within the mass of dead bodies, with just their heads showing, weakly trying to free themselves. Half way through I had stopped filming & taking photos, there really did not seem to be any point. We were exhausted after three hours of what we had hoped to be the spectacular event we had looked forward to for so many years, and it was, but for all the wrong reason's. As we mad our way back to the lodge the vast herds of wildebeest were moving towards the Tanzanian border, and their monotone grunting had a more mournful tone to it now. There were no Lions in the direct vicinity, but they would not be far away, and the wildebeest in their injured & exhausted state would be an easy meal. We checked the crossing site later in the afternoon, it was all quite, apart from the sound of squabbling Vultures, and a pair of Tawney eagles who were trying to open up one of the bodies. The scene before us was an extremely sad one and a heavy smell of death lay in the air as the bodies started to decay in the intense heat of the sun. We have seen many crossings since this one, and thankfully none of them like this one. No, they were all spectacular and the only casualties were au-natural by crocodiles.
  5. http://www.discoverafrica.com/herdtracker/ Per Heard Tracker - "The first herds have arrived at the Sand River border last night. A herd of about 300 wildebeest could be seen at the adjacent hill to Sand River Mara Camp" They seem to be a bit ahead of "schedule". I wish that was there right now..perhaps the crowds are a bit less than in July, August and September!
  6. Here is an interesting video about the job done by the US since decades to ensure migration corridors for wild animals: http://blog.nature.org/science/2014/11/26/video-wyomings-great-migration/ http://migrationinitiative.org
  7. I am so happy to be delivering this news to the safaritalk.net community! For a while now I have been wokring on opening my OWN safari in the heart of the serengeti and its finally coming true! We got the greenlight from the Tanzanian government and our brand is established and legal! Here's our story: Symbi Safari was founded with a reverent spirit and a revolutionary objective: to create an entirely new breed of African adventure accessible to a new generation of socially conscious adventure seekers. Our goal is to balance the interests of all parties involved; feeding the safari goer’s adventurous spirit, protecting the wildlife, and empowering our Tanzanian employees with the benefits they’ve been denied for too long – fair pay, comprehensive health care and quality education for their children. It will be the first owner operated, solar run, employee empowering, socially connected, mobile safari camp in Tanzania! 
We have created the worlds very first SYMBIOTIC SAFARI! I would love to hear the gangs feedback on how I can make this the best safari ever. You can find the website here: www.symbisafari.com You can also take a look at our indiegogo campiagn here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/symbi-safari-a-new-vision-for-safari This is just one of the many ways we intend to raise money so dont worry, we're gonna make it! Looking forward to everyones support and feedback, and keep your eyes peeled for updates and news regarding Symbi Safari!
  8. Hi all, Inspired by some of your trip reports to Northern Serengeti, we are planning our first safari in this area. We are keen to get your views on timing. We are looking at September or August. From the trip reports I recall August looks like it would be well timed for this location, including the migration. For factors other than safari we may need to go in September. We would be staying on the Kogatende side and would also be hoping to cross into Lamai wedge. Can anyone comment on Northern Serengeti in September - and specifically likelihood of the migration being around. Thanks, Andy
  9. http://nyti.ms/1psS4ph Its a newly discovered annual migration of several thousand zebra in Botswana and Namibia, one of the longest animal journeys in Africa.
  10. Good Morning Safari-Talkers! We haven't been very good about posting news and updates on Mara Naboisho Conservancy here on SafarTalk. We did, however, want to give you a quick update about the Loita Migration. There are at least 70,000 Loita wildebeest Loitering (couldn't help that one) in Naboisho at the moment. About a 2 weeks ago, they were just entering the very Northern end of the conservancy from Ol Kinyei and Maji Moto areas. They are now slowly moving further South and West, filling the high plains in front of Encounter Mara. Yesterday evening we witnessed a double line of wildebeest on the move at least 2km long! We've just reopened the camp after having been closed throughout April. Most of the other camps in the conservancy are still closed, so we've got the wildlife to ourselves! We're already having great sightings, with plenty of elephants and lions around, the usual high numbers of giraffe, and Striped Hyena tracks right through the middle of camp!! May and June are FANTASTIC times to be in the Mara. Wildlife numbers are high, but tourist numbers and rates are low. Come pay us a visit before the end of June to catch some of our special offers. Email us on info@encountermara.com to find out more! Kind regards, The Encounter Mara Team PS: A parting shot from 2 evenings ago - A very playful cub from the Core Pride along the Enoolera stream. She settled down just long enough for us to snap the photo after her brother jumped off the tree stump.
  11. Despite the hordes of vehicles adding to the already confused behavior of the wildebeest and zebra... witnessing the Great Migration up close is an experience that ranks higher than anything else I've seen in Africa! Words can't express the the magnitude of the spectacle, so I'll kick off this brief trip report with a selection of video highlights that document the four separate crossings of the Mara river that we experienced during our stay at Rekero Camp, in the Masai Mara National Reserve. The convenience and quality of Rekero Camp was truly outstanding, and the indoor plumbing we're used to back home can't really compete with the efficiency and enjoyment provided by the bucket showers there! A few afternoon rain showers kept things nice an cool during our visit, and also seemed to spur the constant (and unpredictable) movement of the wildebeest through the area. The crocs were already stuffed from the multiple feedings they've had this year, so it was mostly smooth sailing for the herds to cross the river. The unregulated and chaotic movements of the wildebeest were eclipsed only by the unregulated and chaotic movements of the humans scrambling to get as close as possible to the crossing points. It was quite a photographic challenge to keep them out of my shots! The manager at Rekero told us the all-time record is 124 vehicles crammed around a single sighting! Never once did we see any evidence of a park ranger or other wildlife authority to rein in the unruly humans. The predators were even more beset upon by the crush of vehicles in the reserve. We saw several beautiful cheetahs hunting, keeping our distance, to let the drama unfold without interference. But trucks and vans packed with noisy customers could not resist encroaching, driving wildly off road, startling the prey, and making the hunts far more difficult for the already challenged cats. Our next stop was Mara Plains Camp... in the Olare Orok Concervancy... where the cats had a bit more freedom to stalk their prey. This newly rebuilt camp is beyond belief -- tucked artfully into a lush grove of trees next to a small riverbed, you'd hardly know it was there from the outside. Like Rekero, the standards of guiding and camp management at Mara Plains are extremely high. A unique benefit offered by the camp is a complete photo/binocular kit provided for each tent. The Canon 7D camera with 100-400 lens was a joy to use! I will post a few photos later.
  12. WEATHER REPORT ACCOMPANYING ITINERARY Cheetahs playing in Ndutu
  13. Those of you who remember my Green Season On The Mara TR (http://safaritalk.net/topic/9071-green-season-on-the-masai-mara-may-2012/) from last year might remember that my preference for photo safaris in East Africa is during the Green Season--from better lighting and backgrounds to fewer safari vehicles. Not to mention cost. In late March/early April of this year I enjoyed another such experience, but this time on the Serengeti, which only served to reinforce my preference. And it helps when you share your experience with a few hundred thousand furry friends (wildebeest, not tourists!). Here's the link: http://martinwgrosnick.com/Tanzania13TR.html Feel free to ask questions! Martin
  14. Almost finished planning my trip for 2013. Tsavo East Amboseli Ol Pejeta Lake Nakuru and The Mara Besides my obsession with Elephants, I want to try to attempt to see some of The Great Migration. I know it is never a guarantee to see the migration and river crossing. What are your thoughts? My choices are third week in August 2013 or third week in September 2013? Would appreciate any guidance!

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