Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cyber safari news

 By Jules Knocker and Ali Kea

Smart phones have changed the way we view safaris. Some changes are good and some changes are not so welcome.
- Many people use the phone as their camera (by the way, not recommended - while phone cameras are good quality, they cannot replicate the majesty and the size of animals. Most end up looking small and a bit dull and not your best safari momento)
- you can share your day with friends and family back home, when you are at a lodge with Internet
- and we can hear about your safari from the guide as you go along and see the pictures, which we love

But it can become addictive, so much so that people forget to appreciate what they see first hand and concentrate on enjoying it second hand, via their phone - missing out on the full experience. So we really recommend that people 'switch off' during their game drives and at the lodge round the fire place, relax and enjoy!

19 Jan 06:12 - Alikea: Hi Sara !! Was good start yesterday, pick them up from Manyara we went in Manyara park and first thing was baboon, elephant very close to the road, giraffe , hippos , warthog and many water bird...
19 Jan 06:12 - Alikea: IMG-20150119-WA0004.jpg (file attached)
19 Jan 06:14 - Alikea: I mean very close to the road

19 Jan 17:30 - Alikea: Hi Sara! We had a nice morning, we left Sopa lodge at around 6:30 am with picnic b/fast and we went down in crater. We saw a pride of lions at Munge river. Was six of them next to a big group of Buffalo all looking to each other, big bull elephant, lots of nyumbu and zebra, gazelles, one rhino from distance. Then we had b/ fast at table mountain after that we found a pair of meting lion very close to road. A few meters away was another big male with a black main, close to them, around 2:30 client ask to come back to lodge for late lunch and rest..that is all about today...
19 Jan 17:31 - Alikea: IMG-20150119-WA0006.jpg (file attached)

19 Jan 19:48 - Sara May Ashby: Great stuff keep them coming

Safari myths and tall stories

By Kennedy John  

It is 1400 and too hot, so we decide to drive to our Lodge. We are staying at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. On the way, we make jokes about the famous tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara National Park, which, in my experience, you rarely see, despite the fact I have visited the park many, many times.
Some guides and guide books claim you can only see lions up trees in Lake Manyara and nowhere else. Of course, this is not true. Lions, like all cats, can climb trees and the younger ones often do.

Imagine my surprise when we round a corner and about a kilometer before the lodges, we saw five of them: 3 females and 2 young males, sitting in the branches of a kigelia (sausage) tree

Big is beautiful

Trips with a big group can be daunting - and not just from the organisation point of view and the logistics of moving so many people around but also making sure everyone gets the best possible experience and no-one is left out. 
We recently ran a trip for 42 people in the Serengeti and Zanzibar. The trip was a great success for all - not just the safari visitors but for our guides as well. It is not often that they get to do trips together and have fun, relaxing with their friends. As well as the jokes, there was plenty of time to learn from others, to help each other out. Here goes with a few comments from our guides.....

And if you think the thrill of having a fully grown lion near you dims with repetition - it does not. Look at Rem's face!

- our mission was hippopotamus today, at Retima. It was fabulous, crocodiles as usual and hippos piled up. Don't forget soooooo many different types of birds. and the evening was something unique. Mating lions before sundowners and accompanied by traditional maasai dancing. To be honest, from my side, the safari was excellent. (Rem)

- the first late afternoon drive was adrenalin laced, when we spotted a lone cheetah stalking some gazelles. The deed was done in the thickets! And an imposing memory of the African elephant sauntering across the plains in the midst of the wildebeest and zebra migration was a highlight of my safari. (Masaa)

- it was a great safari with knowledgeable guides. Full of a variety of animals, birds and trees.  It was terrific (Ali Kea)

First impressions are always important. Here goes with an impressive fan of our vehicles, all spic and span, ready for anything.
Safari duties are not always about spotting game and driving across the bush. Here, our intrepid guide team rigged up some parafin lights to help the celebrations along

Is a safari ever long enough?

By Chediel Mnzava  

Our safari started at the Namanga, the border post between Tanzania and Kenya and we drove all the way to the Ngorongoro Highlands via Arusha, Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the largest free standing mountain in the world. and before it erupted many centuries ago, Mt Meru was even higher. The mountains were in our view but not for long, as they soon got covered in cloud. Best viewing times for the mountains are early morning and late afternoon.

Our first game drive was in Ngorongoro Crater and we had a very early morning start. It was worth waking up early today, as we saw a lot in the Crater, without most of the crowds. Ngorongoro has become very popular over the last decade. We saw wildebeest and zebras, elephants, lots of gazelles then we met up with some some lions and one lioness had three cubs. Cheetah and of flamingos on the lake. You could not beat that as a first day to introduce people to the joys of the wild. It was a good day.

Our next destination was Moru in the Serengeti National Park as that is where our mobile camp was. The great thing about transfer days is they often are glorified game drives and you see plenty along the way.
As we went across to Naabi hill, we started seeing some small herds of wildebeest. As we were got close to Moru, we noticed the Migration was getting thicker and thicker. By the time we got to Moru it was full of wildebeests and zebra. The sheer number of animals was astounding.

Yet along with the wildebeest, we saw plenty of other game from big cats down to small beetles; from colourful birds to colourful flowers. Each day brought something new or a different way of looking at animals. Eight days just was not enough

Predators and Prey in the Serengeti - March April

Predators and Prey in Serengeti by Halifa Suleiman

Good news......... in the Southern  Serengeti, the hunting dogs are around ! An early morning start will give you a good chance of enjoy the  dogs hunting.  The cheetah cubs plays under the shade of the acacia tree.

 The wildebeest are lactating, while the hyena rests in their den.  At the same time, some warthog wanted to get down the same den ( burrow) and the hyena were pushed out ! An elephant  family walks towards a water hole. It's hot for calf but they have to keep walking.

The Highlights of the Green

The Highlights of the Green - by Kennedy John
March 2013

Sexual shenanigans in Mahale! The present Alpha male chimp (Primus) behaves very badly by trying to rape his sister! This same behaviour led to Pimu, the previous Alpha, getting deposed and killed just last year. He needs to watch out as the Chimp group will not put up with that kind of bullying.

Ndutu southern short grass plains. Day 1 was shocking - no wildebeest. Then it rained and the masses started pouring into the area we were in and hence, the fun started. The climax? A mother cheetah with her 4 cubs killing a tommy and then the beests started dropping calves left right and centre (that's Ndutu at its best!).

Ngorongoro Crater,being there at first light was rewarding. The sight of a huge black-maned lion surrounded by a pack of hyenas enjoying his breakfast of the wildebeest he had just caught, with the most fantastic sunrise over the crater highlands..