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Found 79 results

  1. Hi SafariTalk! Monday again so here is a new Memory. This weeks picture is from 2015 and a nice gamedrive in Seronera Serengeti when I got surrounded by 26 Lions. I got it on Video as well, if somebody is interested. Have a great week! /SAFARILEGEND
  2. The Road Not Taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that, the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
  3. We recently returned from a 9 day/8 night trip to Tanzania in February 2017. We have had the pleasure and good fortune for this to be our 8th trip to the continent, starting with our honeymoon years ago. Our honeymoon was both a blessing and a curse. A curse in the sense that once we visited we found out we are like the many people who talked about how it gets into your blood, and how no trip will ever compare. When planning every subsequent vacation, we ask ourselves, will this live up to Africa?? In most cases we believe the answer is no, and we find ourselves facing the large expense to return. I can say, however, that we have never returned and thought that it wasn't worth every penny. Retirement is going to have to wait!! As many of you also know, the blessing of visiting Africa takes many forms. Starting with the obvious, the beautiful landscapes, the amazing wildlife that never fails to amazing and bewilder, exposure to new and wonderful foods. The understanding of new cultures, viewpoints, ways of life. Making new friends, experiencing the mishaps that inevitably occur and somehow surviving without your "stuff" for a few days. Learning to appreciate how lucky you are to have the things you have and how random life is that you were born where you were. Noticing the subtle and larger changes you make to your life after returning- maybe wasting less, helping more, just appreciating the natural world. But always returning home wondering how, when, and where we'll be able to get back!
  4. Between October and November we spent 10 days in the Serengeti. 5 days at Dunia Camp and another 5 at Sayari. We had a really wonderful time and had some great sightings. I was a bit worried about visiting in "shoulder season" but in the end it was a very good time to visit. We had quite a bit of rain in the Northern Serengeti but we enjoyed it a lot - quite something to see the clouds rolling in, and wet cats But most of the time it was beautiful and sunny. Here is a short video trip report by Mr Cheetah80.
  5. Safari booking tour offers include Serengeti migration to see wildebeest, Thompson gazelle, Zebra, Lions, Leopards and even Black Rhinos in Ngorongoro conservation area. Tanzania safari discount price is possible when safari consultant choose best quality safari lodges or wilderness camps on en suite tent room. Wildebeest migration is unique African safaris apart from big 5 wildlife animals watching. Giraffes and birds are more animals to see while on Tanzania safaris. Tanzania safari itineraries can be 4 days wildlife safaris, 7 days budget camping safaris, wonderful safari experience lodge safari, Kilimanjaro tours and nature trekking. New Safari properties for accommodation have added new taste to Safari goers. Ngorongoro Oldean Mountain Lodge, Kilima Moja safari Lodge Lake Manyara and Ole Serai luxury camp are modern lodges which blend culture and environment conservation. All these comes with discount tour offers for group of 4 people or more booking Tanzania safari. Cheap Tanzania safari is possible with expert research and choice of accommodation like camps and lodges. Ask for safari quotes and get cheap safaris travel deals Tanzania tour offers, safari itineraries, Kilimanjaro climbing, beach Holidays Zanzibar and price quotes
  6. Hello, I'm planning a return trip to the Serengeti, self-driving and camping again, but this time in June of 2018. I understand that the migration movement has been very erratic last year and herds arrived earlier than normal at the spots in their merry-go-around. Any predictions of what will happen when this year? I'm considering spending a night or two camping in the Ndutu area of the Serengeti, but.... Only if there is a reasonable chance of seeing wildlife. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but by June, the bulk of the migration should be in the western corridor, as per normal? Would you skip Ndutu in June and rather spend more time around Seronera? Time is not an issue, as we will be spending a total of 22 nights in Tarangire, LM, and Serengeti NPs. Hope one or more of you with experience or an opinion will write back. Thanks, KaliCA
  7. Hi All It’s took 44 years to get myself into a position to start planning my first actual Safari and although I am very excited and “buzzing”, I am also very nervous too. Nervous about making the wrong choices in regards to travel, parks and camps. Also nervous about security (safari security as opposed to Country security!). Also taking my 13 year old Autistic Son too so it is important I get this trip as perfect as possible for him too The above is the reason why I have joined this forum – to try and obtain as much guidance and advice as possible from both professionals Safari companies and independent travellers alike to enable my Son and I to have the best time possible on our first trip. After all due to health and finances, it may be my only opportunity. I may not be able to repeat this type of trip again, so I have one shot at getting this right. Therefore, any help, advice and guidance anyone can offer would be very much appreciated. So, the type of advice I am looking for is the following: · Camps – Looking for solid structure accommodation as opposed to a tent that looks like it has “been thrown into the middle of a field”. Also customer service has to be second to none. Absolutely hate staff who cannot be bothered or have a poor attitude. · Masai Mara or Serengeti? – Everything considered, which one do people prefer? I suppose on my trip the importance is the “Big 5” as not really a bird fan. · Fly or drive transfers between airport and camps? Pro’s and Cons for both? · How strict are Safari link on baggage allowance? If my bag weighed 18kg (for example), would they turn a blind eye to the extra 3kg, make me pay for the extra 3kg or insist that I reduce the weight by 3kg meaning I will have to “bin” some items? · Best to book the whole lot (flights, camps, transfers etc) with a tour operator or use separate airline and Safari companies (if so, any recommendations)? · What can I actually expect on my first Safari as opposed to public perception? · Anything you think I may need to know that I may not have thought of to make my trip enjoyable? Any help, guidance or advice would most appreciated Thanks
  8. Per the below found on ATTA's website the it may be possible at some point in the future to legally cross between the Triangle and the Serengeti. I have mixed feelings as this would be a great way to see both parks and allow access (from the Kaogatende airstrip) to other parks in Tanzania. I am however a bit concerned that it may cause an influx of min-busses from Tanzania into the Triangle during the migration period. (If they allow drivers from one country to guide in the other). I'm already planning an itinerary should the boarder ever actually be opened... - fly into Nairobi, stay in the Mara Triangle and Serengeti for a few days; flyi to Lake Manyara from Kogatende (Manyara NP and a crater visit); drive down to Arusha NP, fly from KIA back to JKIA.
  9. I'm in the middle of planning our October Safari in Tanzania and Kenya. Does anyone have any recent experience they could share with me about crossing the border between Tanzania and Kenya in Isebania and flying to/from and driving between Tarime and Migori? I'm wondering if that is just a giant waste of time and we should skip it. I requested the TA to look into it as I'd really like to avoid wasting a night in Nairobi. I may be making my trip too complicated!
  10. We have the following itinerary for this coming February 2017 Arrive Kiliminjaro Airport 8:30pm 1 night at Treetops Lodge in Arusha 3 nights Serian Kusini 4 nights Serian Kassekio (Serengeti South) Fly out 9:45pm from Kilimanjaro on the final day we have been presented with the option of driving from the southern serengeti to the Ngorogoro crater as a day trip. Has anyone done this and then continued on to Arusha? It certainly would make for a really long day given that we would fly out late that night. How long is the ride to and from the crater? One thought is we could get a day room in Arusha to shower and have dinner on the tail end of the trip before heading to the airport for our late flight. this will be our 3rd trip to east africa but we have never made it to the crater. We are very aware of the negative aspects of it (the crowds etc..) but we do have some desire to witness one of the natural wonders of the world. We very much appreciate opinions and any data on distances/times. thanks
  11. Hello everyone, I've been away from the forum for a while, missed you all. In the meantime I made a trip to Namibia and KTP last May, will start a report when I find time, but need to finish first my Madikwe and Entabeni game reserves 2015 South African TR. At the moment I am thinking of visiting the Ndutu area in NCA in mid February with the idea to try to catch the wildebeest calving, or at least the migration there. I realize that I am quite late for booking, but doesn't hurt to send queries to various safari outfitters and camps which offer also packages. Would you recommend such outfitters and/or camps that you or friends of yours have used. A am looking at the lower end (as far as there is such a term for Ndutu in February) of the market. Could use an advise regarding itinerary, as well: If there is availability and the prices are OK for me, I am thinking of something like: Feb. 14 - arriving at 03:20 in the morning at Kilimandjaro airport. Transfer to a lodge / camp in Ndutu area (Ndutu Safari Lodge or some of the mobile camps - Angata, Ndutu Wildlands, Flycatcher Lagarja etc.). We are looking for the cheapest option, which provides en-suite toilet and shower and facilities to charge our camera batteries and laptop computers. Game drive and overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 15 - full day game drive and overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 16 - full day game drive and overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 17 - full day game drive possibly to Moru Kopjies in Serengeti NP and back to NCA for overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 18 - full day game drive and overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 19 - full day game drive and overnight at Ndutu area. Feb. 20 - morning game drive in Ndutu area, then transfer to Ngorongoro crater, overnight there (en-suite toilet and shower) accommodation. Feb. 21 - early morning descent to the crater floor and full day game drive there. After that - transfer to Kilimandjaro airport to catch our flight at 02:30 in the morning (on Feb. 22). If the price is acceptable (by my standards), I am thinking of adding a couple of days somewhere in Seronera area at the beginning of the trip. I am aware that most likely the migration will be gone from there by mid-February, but perhaps it would be a good idea to change the scenery (see Moru kopjies, for example). Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Cheers and thanks in advance for your time!
  12. My wife and I are just back from 2 wonderful weeks in Zanzibar and Tanzania. The trip was as follows 20-25 December The Z hotel, Nungwi, Zanzibar 25 - 27 December Tarangire Safari Lodge 27 - 29 December Wilderness Ndutu Tented Camp (not to be confused with Wilderness Safaris in Southern Africa) 29 - 31 December Wilderness Serengeti Tented Camp 31 - 1 January Sopa Ngorongoro 1 January Day room at Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha 2 January Back to Denmark We booked Zanzibar ourselves. The safari part was booked with Base Camp Tanzania in Arusha. After having shopped around I ended up using the services of Achmed Philips at BaseCamp. He was very responsive and came up with some very good suggestions as well as very reasonable prices. We deceided to go against the flow starting in Zanzibar and finishing with the safari as one Means of avoiding the crowds. It seemed to Work but I had forgotten how much Work it is to be on safari so we were very tired by the time we returned to Denmark. We had a great time in Zanzibar. I can hihly recommend the Z hotel. Great rooms, great service and a superb restaurant where we ended up eating most nights. In Nungwi there are two Turtle sanctuaries. We visited one and had some very nice interaction with the rescued Green Turtles that later will be reintroduced in the wild. No trip to Zanzibar is complete without a trip to Jozani National Forest to look for the endemic Red Colobus Monkeys. We arrived in the afternoon and entered the forest with a very professional Ranger. It did not take long before we encountered the Red Colobus monkeys.
  13. Well, before I forget how to upload pictures from Flickr again, I thought I would post the latest trip. A little bit different trip this time. One where I accompanied 5 veterinary students on a short faculty-led study abroad trip. This is the second such trip, the first being in 2011. Prior to the trip, students spend time in the classroom reviewing various topics ranging from the culture of Tanzania, wildlife conservation, and animal and zoonotic diseases of the region. This was followed by a two week tour in Tanzania over their Christmas break. We left the US on December 31st, flying Delta to Amsterdam and on to Kilimanjaro. No surprises along the way and everyone’s luggage arrived. Yay!! We were picked up at the airport by a driver from Mvuli Hotel and taken to Mvuli Hotel in Arusha. This is a lovely, small hotel that was well within the budget of a student tour and has some of the best service I have ever experienced. Nothing was too difficult and the transport to the hotel was only $40, which is less than the usual fare charged for transport from the airport to Arusha. The rooms are very clean and the air conditioning works great. WiFi in certain parts of the hotel. I may have even had it in my room, but I can’t remember for sure. We are up early the next morning as we will be flying to Seronera (central Serengeti) with Coastal Aviation shortly after 7 am. We have breakfast and are taken to the Arusha airport for a fee of $20. We get checked in at the airport. Fortunately I had remembered to print off all of the tickets. Not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t. Luggage was weighed. The students were all extremely good about limiting what they had brought, but we did have some extra things that we would need later that Mvuli stored for us as we would be returning to the hotel. Although all of the students have traveled internationally, some to under developed countries, none of them had ever been to Africa or flown on a small plane. And they loved it!! We were the only people on the plane out of Arusha, then picked up a couple at Manyara. Before taking off from Manyara, the pilot asks the students if someone would like to be the co-pilot. One immediately jumped at the chance. Next stop Kuro airstrip (for those going to or coming from Tarangire). Then onto Seronera. The excitement grows as the students see many giraffe lined up along the airstip in Seronera. We land and the pilot announces, “your co-pilot welcomes you to Seronera”. The student co-pilot said “that was the best thing ever and that she could go home right now and her trip would have been a success”. We are met at the airstrip by George Mbwambo, the guide I have used for the previous trips, including the one with students. We load into a very nice land cruiser that George has leased for us. Normally we go in George’s land cruiser, but since there are six of us, we needed the 7-seater version. George has it well-stocked with water, snacks, and coffee for me, as he knows it is never too hot or too late in the day for my coffee break. We spend a full day game driving, eating box lunches that George has brought from Osupuko Serengeti camp where we will be spending the next 2 nights. Seronera does not to disappoint, but how could it when you are in a car full of people who have never been on an African safari. Nothing compares to the first time. Young giraffe practicing their sparring skills That evening we check into Osupuko Serengeti, which is in the Rongai Hills area. The camp is a basic mobile camp but very will set up, with really nice tents and a beautiful location. The service and food are exceptional. I have stayed at several mobile camps in the Serengeti and I think this might be one of my favorites, and it is very reasonably priced. The students really hit it off with the camp staff and a good time was had by all. Plus that added experience of the bucket shower for the uninitiated. On the second night here the students introduced George to roasting marsh mellows. This was something mentioned on a previous trip with students and George had no idea what a marsh mellow was, so we told him we would bring some. So George and the camp staff tried them, but were not impressed. Too sweet for their liking. But it was fun none the less. Tents at Osupuko Serengeti Camp Dining and Lounge Tent Day 3 arrives and we are on our way to Ndutu, taking it slow and doing a game drive on the way. George getting the car ready Leopard sightings this trip were, sadly, all quite distant A stop at the hippo pool proved especially entertaining this time. They were very active, with lots of young ones, and we were the only people there. That's it for now. Much more to come in the next few days.
  14. Well, it’s taken me longer to get this started than expected! Let’s just say that life has gotten in the way and really slowed me down, I only finished processing my photos a couple of weeks ago (4 months after returning, ugh). I obviously had expected to get to this quicker, based on my previous post a couple of days after getting back (! Thankfully, @@Atravelynn and @@africawild presented their awesome trip reports from visits they made around the same time; in fact, maybe it’s good to be delayed, given how great their reports were. For anyone who hangs around the Tanzania/Rwanda TripAdvisor forums (hi there @amybatt), I posted a lightly edited version of my travel journal on there already, mostly to give people contemplating their first safari an idea of what it’s like. This report will be for more advanced travelers. I expect it will be heavily photo focused, although my last (Australia) trip report completely morphed from what I had planned to what I actually did, so we’ll see. In any case, I know myself well enough that once I get this started I will get through it, so let’s begin. Tarangire Sunrise
  15. My wife and I (in our 60's) are planning our third trip to Africa for September 2017. This will be our second trip to Tanzania having done the northern circuit in February 2016. We are using Access 2 Tanzania as our trip planner and were very pleased with them on our last trip. Our itinerary looks like this: Fly Arusha to Seronera and spend three nights at Namiri Plains. Then fly to Kogatende and meet our guide Willy from Access (fantastic guide who was with us on our last trip) (Namiri requires you to use their guides) and we will stay three nights at Lemala Mara to few the migration and Mara area. Then we will fly to Ruaha for 4 nights private at Kichaka and then fly to Dar for the end of trip. We have a couple of questions. Our main question For those who have been to Namiri would you recommend spending the extra money for a private driver/guide or is shared vehicle ok? Any other thoughts on Namiri? Any other thoughts about our itinerary? Would of liked to stay longer at Kichaka but are sandwiched between two bookings. Would you spend some more days in Ruaha? If so Kwihala or their future camp Jabali which should be ready next summer) or the new camp Ikuka or any other suggestions. We are pretty much set but always welcome suggestions. We really like the information on this site. Thanks
  16. Hi, I'm planning on a safari trip in early December to the northern circuit. Since we are really close to December already, we urgently need to finalize our trip. However, I'm scratching my head a little bit about the Serengeti portion. We intend to stay 7 nights in the Serengeti/Ndutu area before we flight out from either central or northern Serengeti. My issue is how to properly allocate our 7 nights. I initially thought we would just do 4 days in Ndutu and 3 days Seronera since the migration will likely be down there during that time of the year. However, I then read some people saying northern Serengeti has different terrains and it's great all year around. It should not be missed regardless. I then changed our itinerary to 3 days in Ndutu, 2 days in Seronera and 2 days in northern Serengeti. Many tour operators are telling me it's not worth it to drive to northern Serengeti for an early December trip and I should stay down south/central my entire time while a couple of others are telling me northern Serengeti (where Sayari is) is great regardless. This is a very expensive and propbably a once a life time trip for us. We really want to get it right. I sincerely ask you guys who have been to northern Serengeti in early December to help me out here. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  17. We currently have a 7 night safari on hold in the southern serengeti for this coming February: itinerary is 3 nights at Serian Kusini and 4 nights at Serian Kakessio We have previously done a trip at Ngare Serian, Serian Nkorombo and Serian Serengeti North which was first rate guiding, food and lodging with the private vehicle being included being a huge plus. We have not been to this area of Tanzania yet and this should be prime migration and calving season in these locations. The other two itineraries we are considering are 4 nights Nomad's Greystoke Mahale/3 or 4 nights Ruaha (probably Nomad Kigelia camp to get any deals they might offer for longer stays) but kichaka is on my list as well 4 nights Greystoke/3 nights Chada Katavi (chada closes in November so strike this!) I think we clearly can't go wrong here but i was wondering if the super helpful crowd has any strong feelings on FEBRUARY at Greystoke, Ruaha or Chada Katavi. We will probably encounter some rain in serengeti south but that is why the migration will be there. I'm just not sure how the game viewing will be in the other locations I always appreciate the generosity of everyone on this site so thank you in advance for any thoughts
  18. Sorry for this repost. I put the original under the wrong post listing. My wife and I (in our 60's) are planning our third trip to Africa for September 2017. This will be our second trip to Tanzania having done the northern circuit in February 2016. We are using Access 2 Tanzania as our trip planner and were very pleased with them on our last trip. Our itinerary looks like this: Fly Arusha to Seronera and spend three nights at Namiri Plains. (Namiri requires use of their guides) Then fly to Kogatende and meet our guide Willy from Access (fantastic guide who was with us on our last trip) and we will stay three nights at Lemala Mara to view the migration and Mara area. Then we will fly to Ruaha for 4 nights private at Kichaka and then fly to Dar for the end of trip. We have a couple of questions: For those who have been to Namiri would you recommend spending the extra money for a private driver/guide or is shared vehicle ok? Any other thoughts on Namiri? In Ruaha we would of liked to stay longer at Kichaka but we are sandwiched between two bookings and there were only 4 nights available for when we could go. Would you spend some more days in Ruaha? If so Asilia Kwihala or their future camp Jabali (which should be ready next September) or the new camp Ikuka or any other camp suggestions? Any other thoughts about our itinerary? We are pretty much set but always welcome suggestions. We really like the information on this site. Thanks
  19. Hi All, I self-drived this route with my wife and 3 kids in a Prado last October. We camped for 4 nights in Serengeti. 1in Kogatende, then 2 in Lobo and 1 in Seronera, then back to Musoma / lake Victoria through the western corridor. Please see the attached map for the route from Masai Mara to Serengeti via Tarime and lamai gate. A very unused route for those who lokk for quietness in the Serengeti. IN addition, we had plenty of wildebeasts in the Lamai wedge, and lions hunting with a rainbow in the background. . As the copy-paste function doesn't work well here, I include a short description, but the attached map is very detailed. day 1 : from Nairobi or from Masai Mara to Tarime, via Isebania border. 1 full day. Day 2 : from Tarime, join Nyamwaga, turn right to go down the escarpment to the mara gold mine. There, stick to the main roads towards Mugumu, and after around 20 km south, find a clear T junction and turn let, heading east to a village called Gisondo. from this village turn right and reach lamai gate. 2,5 hrs from Tarime on good dirt road in great landscape. The road from the mara gold mine to lamai is not on any map that I found, but you can spot it on google earth (not on google maps). From lamai gate to kogatende, 2hrs of Superb game drive, all alone. Make sure the bridge on Mara river is not overflooded to reach Kogatende. There, you will always find a place to camp, even if the special campsites are reportedly booked, the rangers will find a place for you around their place. Day 3 : full day to Lobo Day 4 : lobo only Day 5 : Lobo to Seronera Day 6 : Seronera to Musoma, via grumeti corridor. + a flat tire in front of 2 lions... day 7 : lake Victoria on boat Day 8 : back to Nairobi. 1full day. Map - Mara to Serengeti by road.pdf
  20. I am looking into a trip to Tanzania in October of 2017. So far, my partner and I only know that we want to do a Kili trek then safari for about 9/10 days. I have been to Botswana and Namibia and am worried about the crowding and limited traversing of the parks, in comparison to my previous safari's. Does anyone have any advice to get me started on where I should go after Kili? I have contacted ATR and recommended Namiri Plains and Serian Lamai, which look nice (the recent report about one road at NP is no good, though). I like both options, but wonder if I'm missing anything by sticking to N. Tanzania. Should I consider Kenya conservancies or other parks in Tanzania? I dont want to waste time traveling around the whole time, on the other hand. Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm open to suggestions!
  21. Hey there! I am booked along with 2 other people on a Tanzanian safari, 8 days (7 nights) Its with Agama Tours and Safaris. My friend recommended me and also they have good reviews. If we get more people to join us the price can go more down. It starts June 29 morning in Arusha. Safari details: Day1 Tarangire, overgnight at Panorama Safari Camp Day2 Lake Manyara, overnight at Panorama Inn(hotel in Karatu) Day3 Hadzabe, Datoga tribe, overnight at Coffee Resthouse bordering Ngorongoro Conservation Area Day4 Coffee Plantation Resthouse, cultural day. Coffee Resthouse Day5 Serengeti, camping Day6 Serengeti, camping Day7 Serengeti, camping Day8 Ngorongoro Crater, back to Arusha If anybody's interested to join please let me know! -Tom
  22. Back from the first visit to Tarangire and Serengeti North. Another fantastic trip! Amd yes I did see many I have had my fill for a while. Firstly a quick summary of the itinerary Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro direct flights (on return a stop at Dar to pick up passengers) Overnight Moivaro Lodge Arusha 2 nights Tarangire Muwe Ninga Camp with private guide and vehicle Coastal flight Kuro via Arusha to Kogatende 4 nights Serengeti Mara Lemala Mara Camp Coastal flight Kogatende to Kilimanjaro I left a grey, cold, rainy Amsterdam and headed for the sun. As I was waiting at the gate I looked up and above the plane I saw the beginning of a rainbow. It quickly developed into a full rainbow Then for a fleeting few seconds it was a double rainbow. Surely this was a good omen for my trip. After a relatively hassle free flight I landed at Kilimanjaro. I then had to run the gauntlet of the immigration system. First to this window, then to another queue only to be told on reaching the window I was supposed to be at another. At least I am getting the hang of the first 4 fingers, then thumb and repeat with the other hand process. After a somewhat lengthy wait I had my visa and I was officially in Tanzania. A quick car journey to Arusha and I arrived at the lodge. I cannot tell you too much about the Moivaro Lodge as I arrived at approx 9pm and left the next morning at 8am. What I can say is that my dinner of green banana soup was excellent (too late for much more), the rooms clean and spacious and the breakfast would satisfy all tastes. The next morning was an 8am start to head to Tarangire. For this part of the trip I had a private vehicle. The previous evening I had discussed various options with my guide Samwel. He advised there would be enough to see especially around the waterholes and the river and I decided to head into the park and stay out until late afternoon. We would leave arriving at camp until as late as possible to maximise game viewing. We had lunch boxes, lots of water so we were ready for whatever the day would bring. On the drive to Tarangire I went past several large farms, especially those for coffee. Also small holdings which had a good mix of crops. Along the road I saw new Maasai warriors on a couple of occassions. Their faces painted with white chalk, dressed in black cloaks having completed their circumcision ceremony. We also passed by thatched Maasai houses, the idea of covering them with cow dung to keep the warm in or the cold out and it also acting as a deterrent for tsetse flies seemed like a very good idea. Even more so after a few more days experience of said tsetse flies! Open channels in the ground were an indication of the problems of building houses and growing crops in this area. The sun sucking moisture out of the ground leading to highly unstable earth which would open up into big channels. Impossible to use. It was the dry season and dotted along the road there were still a few waterholes. With cattle and goats being driven to them to get to the precious water. We soon reached the park entrance. And there was my first baobab tree. In my reading before the trip I had found out that Tarangire was known for these strange trees. There within a few seconds of my arrival was my first one. Bereft of leaves, it did look like it was upside down with its roots pointing up into the sky. The baobab trees are going to be a lasting memory of Tarangire. After completing the paperwork and paying the park fees, binoculars were placed around my neck and the big lens was afixed to my camera and the safari began.
  23. After reading pault's great report on his recent trip it reminded me i am very behind on posting a trip report from our most recent safari. My wife and i celebrated our honeymoon 5 years ago in Kenya and Tanzania and after fully catching the safari bug we have done subsequent trips to zimbabwe, botswana, south africa and Zambia. Each trip has been amazing and different but we both were excited about the prospect of returning to Kenya and Tanzania. We had some extra time for this vacation so we decided to add Rwanda and gorilla trekking to the end since it was a major bucket list item for both of us. After doing a ton of research and with the help of trip advisor and the generous folks on this site we decided on 3 Serian camps. From our limited experience we have come to prioritize top notch guiding, the ability to do some off roading and night drives, and being in the right areas at the hopefully the right time of year. And to be honest the value proposition of a private vehicle for every guest with an extremely strong reputation for guiding at Serian camps sealed the deal. We booked the trip directly with one of Serians agents based in england (billy jones) and she was patient with my many many questions and very responsive despite the time difference. Final Itinerary Arrive JKIA Nairobi, Kenya. Transfer to Giraffe Manor. Overnight Giraffe Manor, Nairobi. Visit Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre. PM fly to Masai Mara. Overnight Ngare Serian, Mara North Conservancy. Overnight Ngare Serian. Overnight Ngare Serian. Transfer by road to Nkorombo Mobile Camp. Overnight Nkorombo Mobile Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve. Overnight Nkorombo Mobile Camp. Overnight Nkorombo Mobile Camp. AM fly to Northern Serengeti, Tanzania. Overnight Alex Walker’s Lamai Camp, Northern Serengeti. Overnight Lamai Camp. Overnight Lamai Camp. Overnight Lamai Camp. PM fly to Kigali, Rwanda.
  24. There´ve been several trip reports of almost the same trip as we´ve made this January/February with similar sightings, but nonetheless, I will add another one. Schedule: 23.01.2013 KLM flight Cologne-Amsterdam-Arusha, overnight KIA Lodge at Arusha airport 24.01.2013 - 25.01.2013 Ngorongoro Crater, one night at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge 25.01.2013 - 31.01.2013 Ndutu, 6 nights Ndutu Safari Lodge 31.01.2013 – 04.02.2013 Serengeti Seronera, 4 nights Kati Kati mobile camp then 6 nights Zanzibar We´ve booked this trip with 4x4 adventures, the tanzanian sister company of an Austrian/Kenyan safari company. Normally it´s only the two of us, my wife and me, on a trip, this time my brother with his girlfriend is joining us. They´ve already been to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater before, but that was on a camping trip in one of these Overland Safari trucks, I like to call Safari jails. Might be fun, travelling with them. 23.01.2013 We are welcomed by Saimon, our driver/guide for the 11 day safari trip, who quickly took us to the KIA Lodge just 2 minutes away from the airport, which was fine as our flight arrived on schedule 8.50pm and we were tired. The best you can say about the lodge is, that it is so close to the airport, the outside bar is nice and the Kili view might be spectacular, if there are no clouds. 24.01.2013 Saimon picks us up early and we do some shopping (beers and wine;) ). We hit the road to get the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge in time for our afternoon game drive. We will have two game drives, one in the afternoon and the other one the next morning. After lunch at the Lodge we drive into the Crater. My expectations are, that there will be huge numbers of vehicle surrounging the sightings, but I am positively surprised: the huge numbers only appear, when there´s a cat sighting. All other sightings you share, if at all, only with a few cars. On approaching the crater bottom, I realize, that Saimon is not stopping at all, unless there´s a cat or you tell him. Okay, no problem, I know the word: „Stop“. There are some lions far in the distance on the slopes, as well as Elephants and Zebras. In the open we see a sleeping Black Rhino, which should appear to be our only sighting of that species on the whole trip. I must admit, that I did not think, that I´d like the crater that much. The slopes of the crater make a beautiful background for photographs. We see good numbers of Buffalos, Zebras, Elephants, Warthogs, Wildebeests, Crowned Cranes, a Kori Bustard and a nice Hyena family. At last we visit a hippo pool with lots of hippos inside. My brother says, that hippos used to be his favorite animal, but after seeing what they are pooing in their water, he´s rethinking his choice. You have to be out of the crater by 6 pm, which means a short afternoon game drive, as you also have to go up the slopes to the gate. So, if you only have one drive, I think it´s better to go in the morning, you might have more time. We enjoy the last lights in the Sopa Lodge. We will leave tomorrow early and have already to carry our stuff with us. 25.01.2013 We leave by 6.30, taking our breakfast with us. We are one of the first cars in the crater, so we have the sighting of a small pride of lions just on us, before the sleep-out tourists arrive. As we prcede I stop Saimon for some Buffalos, who make for nice photographs. Later we see a beautiful, relaxed Martial Eagle. Although I miss the exclusivity of a Botswanan Safari, I must admit, that the animals here are much more used to cars and so more relaxed, which makes for good photo opps. We drive all around Lake Magadi with all its Flamingos. This place is paradise! There are so many animals around, lovely! After our breakfast stop we again drive around Lake Magadi slowly back to the gate. But there´s one more stop. More than 20 cars can not be wrong. A pride of lions is relaxing in the sun, but a herd of Buffalo is not happy withthem being around. They chase the big cats. The lions, most of them still youngsters, run away from them, but they don´t look really scared. It appears more like a game for them. Unfortunately the sun is already very high, so the pics are not good. They seek shadow and hide using the numerous cars. While watching them, getting watched (one lady in another car called it a „Russian Stand-off“, which caused big laughs), flocks of Crowned Cranes fly over the crater. After a while we leave. First we have to go down to the main gate, then we go up again to the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, where we have lunch. After lunch we procede to Ndutu. Saimon shows us a hill called Matiti, which looks like big boobs. This seems to be the mountain, they use as an orientation. It comes to a kind of running gag, when Saimon frequently asks: „Where is Matiti now?“. We arrive at the Ndutu Safari Lodge in the afternoon. As we have 6 days here, we decide to call it a day. The huts are nice, it´s a good place, just like it should be. At night we were always joined by up to 5 genets for dinner, they are not shy, but as they are still wild animals, they don´t like to get touched (I didn´t, I swear!).
  25. It starts off as usual. I go to Tanzania. We’re back a couple of days and I think, “I wonder what the air fare might be in __________ (fill in the month)”. Then instead of being productive I start looking. What! A promotional fare on Qatar from Philadelphia? Then I look to see how many American miles it would cost us to get a round trip to Phili. Only 25,000 each. It was meant to be. Now I just need to email the guide and see if he is available. Chances are yes, since it would be in May. And that’s how it happens. We have never flown Qatar Airways but it sounds fun and exotic. Air fare from Philadelphia was $1150 and the connections were awesome. (Notice I say were.) The flight arrives at KIA at 3:20 in the afternoon which is kind of nice. We will drive to Karatu the same day and stay overnight. Excellent. Or not. Then you get the email that says there has been a change to your schedule. I tend not to get too worked up because it is usually a flight number schedule or just 5 minutes here or there. And such was the case until about 4 weeks before I left when there was another email. Fortunately I don’t ignore this, as this time my transit time in Doha on the outbound trip is down from an hour and 40 minutes to just 55 minutes and on the way back the transit time is now 10 minutes. Uh oh. The email reads “please contact us”. Yes, I should think so. There are not any real good options that don’t result in 8 hours plus in the Doha airport. So I leave the outbound the same. On the trip back, it would involve more than a 12 hour stay. I then ask if they could fly us directly to Chicago or Dallas. And indeed they can. Still an 8 hour wait but better and this means we only have 1 flight on American to get home instead of 2. Switching the American flight was very easy. The other down side to Qatar is the luggage restriction for those of us in the economy section. So that means a checked bag. But I have learned my lesson (see Mara River trip report) and will put appropriate clothing in my bag with the cameras. The day finally arrives. George’s shoes are packed. If you are wondering what this is about see my Mara River trip 2014 report, post #21 ( We are flying out early to Philadelphia, having dinner with friends, and are staying overnight near the airport. We fly first to Chicago, then Phili and arrive at 1 in the afternoon or so we thought. We get into Chicago and immediately get a text which says the flight to PHL is cancelled. So off to the desk. Problem. Lots of flights to PHL cancelled. No other American flights. US airways has a flight that leaves at 11 but we will be on standby. So I ask about Delta. Yes. You will fly first to Minneapolis then to PHL. Good grief. But at least we can get seats. So we book this and get into PHL around 5 pm. A 12 hour day. My ‘fun and exotic’ plans for Qatar Airways aren’t looking so hot right now. We leave the next morning on Qatar Airways and the flight, I must say, was excellent. Great service even though a very full aircraft. The 55 minute transfer time in Doha was a bit stressful. You get off the plane onto a little shuttle bus that takes you to an entrance and then you go to the transfer area where you have to go through security. We now have only 30 minutes (flight is already boarding) and the security lines are frighteningly long. We show our boarding passes to personnel and they direct us through the first class passenger line which is very short. Then to the gate. Security again and we’re on. Flight is not full. Leaves on time. Service okay. Not as good as the previous flight but certainly acceptable. The flight stops in Dar first then on to Kilimanjaro. One big advantage is that almost everyone gets off in Dar. So when you arrive at Kilimanjaro, there are very few people (only a couple of dozen or so) going through immigration. We don’t need new visas so it took us all of 10 minutes. And low and behold, despite the very short transfer in Doha, our checked bags are here!! As is George Mbwambo, our guide, and we are on our way to Karatu. We arrive in Karatu around 7 pm at the Bourgainvillea Lodge, which we have used several times in the past and really liked, although our stays this time maybe not as much. We have previously stayed in the older rooms around the pool area and they are a bit larger and much quieter than the newer rooms which border a busy area near a petrol station. The dinner was excellent. Service was good. Rooms are lovely, very clean and very reasonably priced. We give George his shoes before we part for the night and he is genuinely delighted. Up and out the next morning. Breakfast is great at this lodge. It’s been long enough now that I can’t remember anything of any significance on the way to the Serengeti except at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area gate. George is busy taking care of the paper work. We walk around a bit, then I go back to the car and I open the front passenger seat so I can get in and unlock the door to our seat. Then I get out and open the back door, but leave the front door open a bit. There is a bus full of school children parked fairly close to us. I sort of remember hearing them talk about the baboons. There are always a lot of them here and you have to make sure you don’t leave windows open. Then all of a sudden in absolute unison the bus full of children shout “Close the door. Baboon is coming” And sure enough, there is a large male baboon stealthily making his way to the open front door. I close it quick and bang on the side of the car. He responds by running up and giving the side mirror on the door a good hard whack. The students are all laughing and I go over to thank them and ask where they are going. They are on a school trip to Olduvai. No other adventures. We eat lunch at Naabi gate and proceed on. We are barely past the gate and see two immature male lions, and then a cheetah at a fair distance from the road consuming a young wildebeest. We spent three days in the central Serengeti and about 3 days in Ndutu. In Seronera, we stayed at one of the Kati Kati camps run by Tanganyika Wilderness. I believe it was one in the Makoma campsite area. Basic but very well-run camp with great service and good to very good food. Seronera was not busy, being May, but actually busier than we expected. Of course, there are the May disadvantages. Very tall grass so a bit of work to see lions but I have never seen so many lions in trees. There were thousands of wildebeest still here and in Ndutu. We saw several leopards with cubs, one of which started to hunt some wildebeest that were passing by, only to have it ruined by vehicles that cut her off in their attempts to jockey for position. George was very annoyed. Something we don’t see often, and he said to one of the other drivers, “everyone needs to back off and wait and all of our clients will get to see something special”. That worked for about 3 minutes, then the melee ensued again. We left with the leopard having a trail of cars after her. We saw the leopard again that afternoon in the same tree she started from with her cubs, but no food. The next morning, however, there was an impala hanging from the tree. Okay, enough talk. On to some pictures from Seronera. George pronounced a count of 14 lions in this tree and after several recounts we finally agreed. There are only 13 visible in the picture and one you have to imagine way up in the foliage. Crested Lark Grey-backed Fiscal Shrike White-browed Coucal Bearded Woodpecker This cub and one other really wanted to be up in the tree but were kept away by the self-appointed 'guardian of the tree' seen in the next photo Success at last! As we are driving out on the day we are going to Ndutu, we are stopped and George is pointing out some bird to us, I can’t remember what now, and we are looking out the driver’s side of the vehicle. Then all of a sudden I sense there is something in the car with us and let out an embarrassingly girly squeal and George looks over to see a monkey stealing our cashews. George swats at it with some papers and it takes off with the bag of cashews. We start laughing uncontrollably, as do the people in the car behind us, and outside of the car a ruckus ensues over the bounty. As we are leaving the Serengeti, we find another leopard with cubs in a tree. The light is not good and they are a fair distance away, but the cubs are very “busy” and we spend a lot of time watching them torture their poor mother and climbing in and out of the tree. There are several other cars that come and go, but they are all very quiet and the time spent here was quite enjoyable. More later. I need to post this before I do something silly and hit the wrong button and delete everything. This is taking me longer than I remembered!

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