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Tanzania

Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa

Tanzania Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa

1. Angama Mara, Kenya

If the epic views from Angama Mara provoke a sense of déjà vu, it might be because you have seen them before on the silver screen. Taking its name from the Swahili for “suspended in mid-air”, the mesmerising vista of the remote Mara Triangle is the same as the one depicted in the 1985 film Out of Africa starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. This new camp, which opened last year on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment, is the culmination of the work of safari lodge veterans Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald, who have many years of African hospitality between them. There are two camps of 15 tents created by one of the continent’s finest tent-makers with a contemporary, minimalist chic look that incorporates 33ft-wide, floor-to-ceiling windows. The lodge is also committed to the local community; among other features, there is an in-house artisan workshop where Maasai women create beaded jewellery.

Angama Mara, Maasai Mara, Kenya . Doubles from $825 (£570) per person, full-board.

 Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa
 

2. Ruckomechi Camp, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is back on the safari map. Peeping out from the shade of acacia and mahogany trees, right on the banks of the Zambezi river, the 10 rooms of Wilderness Safaris’ Ruckomechi Camp reopen later this month with a new look. It is set in the Mana Pools National Park; this part of the country is known for its large numbers of elephant, buffalo, hippo and eland, which can be seen on wildlife drives, walks or afternoon boat trips on the river. In July a new, smaller satellite camp, Little Ruckomechi, will open further downstream, with just three tented rooms.

Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. Doubles from $702 per person, full board.

 Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa
 

3. Makanyi Lodge, South Africa

One of the newest arrivals on South Africa’s safari scene is this seven-suite lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve on the edge of the country’s vast Kruger Park. The Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – proliferate here and there are game drives as well as bush walks, birdwatching, painting, guided stargazing and photographic safaris. Each of the rooms is designed in rustic yet slick safari style with a main lodge and an infinity pool, which proves the ideal place to lounge after a dusty drive.

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Makanyi Private Game Lodge, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kruger Park, South Africa. Doubles from R8,000 per person, full board including game drives.  

 
 Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa
 

4. Limalimo Lodge, Ethiopia

The jagged, gasp-worthy peaks of Ethiopia’s Unesco-listed Simien Mountains National Park are one of the country’s natural highlights. So too are the large colonies of Gelada monkey that populate it. Opened in January, the Limalimo Lodge is its newest place to stay, with just 12 guestrooms constructed in the vernacular style using rammed earth, wood and thatch. Guests can spend their days exploring the vastness of the surrounding landscape with its walia ibex, leopards and Ethiopian wolves.

Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountains National Park, Debark, North Gondar, Ethiopia. Doubles from $200, full-board.

 Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa
 

5. The Highlands, Tanzania

Tanzania’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most spectacular and richest wildlife spotting areas on the continent. Both the Big Five and countless other species live and visit this vast caldera that formed two to three million years ago.To escape the crowds fully, check into Asilia Africa’s newest camp, the appropriately named The Highlands, set on the slope of the Olmoti volcano. When it opens on 5 June – in good time for the spectacular annual wildebeest migration between July and October – it will become the highest of all the camps fringing Ngorongoro. There will be just eight futuristic looking, luxuriously decked-out domed canvas tents. You can be down on the crater floor for dawn safaris, enjoy bush picnics and just revel in the isolated tranquillity of the setting, when the sun begins to set over the African wilderness.

 Luxurious Safari Lodges in Africa
 

The Highlands, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Doubles from $710 per person, full-board.

 

SUPERMOON Extraordinary Sight

SUPERMOON Extraordinary Sight
 
The supermoon will look especially big because it’s so close to Earth at the moment it reaches its fullest point. Share this sight with someone special, because we won’t see a supermoon this close until 2034.
 
About the Supermoon-From NASA
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supermoon

NASA/Bill Ingalls
 
The moon is a familiar sight in our sky, brightening dark nights and reminding us of space exploration, past and present. But the upcoming supermoon—on Monday, Nov. 14—will be especially ‘super’ since it’s the closest full moon to Earth since 1948. We won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034.
 
The moon’s orbit around the Earth is slightly elliptical, so sometimes the moon is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree—the point at which the moon is closest to Earth—the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and 30 percent brighter.
 
The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn.

Arusha Day Trips

Arusha Day Trips

Arriving into Tanzania from anywhere that requires many lines of latitude to be crossed, or several plane changes, an intelligent strategy is to allow a day or two’s leisure in Arusha prior to your climb. The reasons for this are:

  • Around 1 in 7 people have their luggage delayed. Most delayed luggage arrives 24 hours after it’s supposed to
  • Prolonged airline travel tends to dehydrate and tire people. Having a day at leisure allows rehydration / revitalisation
  • A day getting used to Arusha’s elevation (around 1,450m) and the dry air, helps with adaptation to Kilimanjaro
  • Those who do not have time to go on safari after their climb often appreciate the opportunity to see a little of the local (non-alpine) environment and culture

Other than safaris, there are several day-trip options available to be enjoyed from Arusha. We briefly summarise the seven most popular options for Arusha day trips below.

Arusha Town Tour

This is a popular day trip, requiring only some three hours and little or no transport. Those interested to see the main features of Arusha will begin somewhere around the Clock Tower, on foot, with one of our guides and will usually begin walking northwards in an anti-clockwise direction, taking in such sites at the Natural History Museum, various monuments celebrating independence, the local market, and some craft shops. A town tour typically takes some 2-3 hours and covers around 4km.

Tours are completed on foot with one of our guides. The cost is USD 20 per group, regardless of how many people are in the group. However, it is customary for each person to tip the guide, with the amount being purely at the climber’s discretion, but generally being around USD 10 per climber for small groups, and some USD 5 per climber for large groups.

Hot Springs

This is probably the best place to swim. Emanating from within the earth, the geo-thermally warmed water is constantly renewed and is therefore very fresh, clear and clean. It’s a very pleasant place to spend a couple of hours with family, or to relax before or after a climb.

The distance from Arusha to the hot springs is 69km and the journey normally takes around 1 hour 20, so one should allow at least 5 hours for this excursion.

Costs for visiting the hot springs include lunch and transport:

  • USD 189 per person when solo
  • USD 114 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 89 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 88 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 87 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 86 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 75 per person when 8 subscribe

Meru Waterfall

This is a beautiful little waterfall, with its principal advantage being its proximity to Arusha. The journey from Arusha is just 7km and takes only 15 minutes. Having parked, there is a short walk that involves some steep ground and some clambering, but is quite manageable, even for young children.

Once we reach the waterfall, it is usual to enjoy the environment with a picnic, included in the price. Costs include transport:

  • USD 114 per person when solo
  • USD 74 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 60 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 59 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 54 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 8 subscribe

Cave Falls

This option is suitable for those who want to spend more time walking as, following a 30 minute / 13km vehicle transfer to the area, access to the waterfall requires a 2km walk along a river bed. The walk to the falls takes a little under an hour and some 40 minutes to get back to the vehicle, if completing a circuit. Bear in mind that to get back to the car requires a height gain of 60 metres, so while not strenuous, one should be prepared for this.

  • USD 104 per person when solo
  • USD 69 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 56 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 55 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 50 per person when 8 subscribe

Lake Duluti

Two options are possible on this excursion: either one may walk around the lake or canoe across it. Depending on which hotel we start from, the drive is around 15-20 minutes to reach the lake. The walk around the lake covers some 3.5km, however, we normally have a picnic along the way and may stop regularly if we encounter birds, monkeys or monitor lizards.

Costs for the lakeside walk include the government conservation fee walk and are as follows.

  • USD 121 per person when solo
  • USD 91 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 81 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 80 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 78 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 76 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 8 subscribe

Please note that use of canoes is extra with hire fees being payable direct to the local government office.

Maasai Crater

This is a dramatic topographical feature with steep falls that fall away into a lush green crater. The attraction of this walk is threefold: the exercise, the awesome views, and the opportunity to meet authentic Maasai villagers. If walking around the crater rim, we cover around 4.2km, however, climbers will often want to descend to the crater floor, which may add another 3km or thereabouts. Bear in mind that if descending to the crater floor, the return to the rim requires an ascent of 257 metres, which will normally take somewhere between 30-50 minutes and is quite strenuous, dusty and exposed to direct sunlight with virtually no shade.

The following costs include transport, lunch, local entrance fees and a small gift to Moita village.

  • USD 134 per person when solo
  • USD 89 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 73 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 72 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 71 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 67 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 65 per person when 8 subscribe

ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

eclipse ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

1st of September of 2016 tourists will be lucky to witness one of the rarest astronomical phenomenon,Annular solar Eclipse in Tanzania.

The most rewarding thing is the fact that, this year the eclipse viewers will have an opportunity to experience this in the middle of African Savanna of Tanzania National Parks!

Seeing a solar eclipse is sometimes described as a-once-in-a lifetime experience and this become even more entertaining when observers get a unique opportunity to experience the eclipse alongside stunning nature and wildlife in the Parks.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun thereby totally or partially blocking the image of the sun for viewers on the earth.

An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the Sun’s center, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a ‘’ring of fire’’ or annulus around the moon.

At an annular solar eclipse the moon is too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk and this is due to its average distance from the earth. With over 97% of the Sun’s diameter covered by the moon only a very thin ring of the Sun will be visible to an observer in the middle of the eclipse’s path.

An annular solar eclipse is quite stunning to view, and requires one to be within the path of annularity to see the main effect of a ‘’ring of fire’’. Solar filters must be used for viewing throughout- even during (eclipse) annularity.

The path of eclipse (annularity) for this year as can be seen from the NASA map starts in the South Atlantic Ocean, crossing central Africa countries of Gabon, Congo then Tanzania and Mozambique before passing to Madagascar and Islands of Reunion, ending in Indian Ocean.

map1 ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

According to NASA interactive map extracted from their website (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov), the best viewing site is the point of Greatest Eclipse located southern Tanzania, giving annularity duration (eclipse) of 3 minutes and 6 seconds.

Famous Katavi and Mahale National Parks in Tanzania are positioned nicely for viewing the eclipse on 1st,September 2016 !

map2 ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Some companies and agencies have organized the eclipse- viewing tour to Katavi and Mahale National Parks and other areas of Tanzania where eclipse will be best observed this September!

You are not late, plan early ,plan now for the solar eclipse viewing tour to Katavi and Mahale in September 2016. Don’t miss this opportunity-a once in a life time chance in the middle of Africa’s best wildlife parks.

In Katavi National Park it is predicted that annular eclipse will start at 6.50 a.m. and reaches its maximum at 8.38 a.m.

This experience will be the best, as the viewers will experience it amidst nature and wildlife in this pristine park. Having watched and probably photographed the annular eclipse, tourists will have chance to continue with the game drives which can add to their experience.

Katavi National Park that is located in the western Part of the country is one of the most untouched areas of Tanzania. It is the third largest National Park, which offers among the best wildlife viewing opportunities.

Mahale National Park, located also on the western part of Tanzania along the shore of the lake Tanganyika is a best refuge for the largest populations of Chimpanzee in the world. This September’s annular eclipsepath will be over the lake Tanganyika so viewers will get a chance to witness it while in the park.

Clear skies and amazing wildlife-rich parks during an excellent month of September will offer best annular solar eclipse viewing in Tanzania.

giraffe ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Arusha National Park

monkey ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Mahale National Park

Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

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If you are planning a visit to Africa it is useful and practical to have a little knowledge about the local people you will be meeting.  A visit to Kenya and Tanzania means you will have the privilege of meeting the Masai (aka Maasai) people, who are the most famous and easily recognized indigenous tribe in these two countries.  Most people have heard of the Masai – their rich culture and particularly distinctive clothes make them stand out on the Continent, and they are known for their exceptional courage as warriors.

A Little History

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The Masai are one of the many tribes (125 altogether!) found in Southern Kenya and the Northern part of Tanzania.  They are thought to have originated in the Sudan, and their own oral history relates how they migrated through the Nile River into Kenya and then Tanzania, around the 15th century, either forcibly displacing the previous inhabitants and raiding their cattle, or assimilating some of them into their own culture.  The Masai have always been a pastoral people – they practice cattle rearing and are always on the move to newer greener pastures.   The size of their territory was at its largest in the 19th century, however a huge percentage of the tribe was wiped out in the 1890’s by the effects of three cataclysmic events – a Smallpox epidemic ravaged the people, a Rinderpest epidemic killed over 90% of their herds and the final blow came when the rains failed completely for more than two years, resulting in thousands of deaths from starvation.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of their problems!  The recovering tribe were faced with more hardship in the decades to come – two treaties in 1904 and 1911 saw them forced to give up over 60% of their land to the British to make room for settler ranches.  Later, in the 1940’s, even more land was confiscated by the Kenyan government to create the many Wildlife Reserves and National Parks that Kenya and Tanzania are famous for today. Amboseli, Nairobi, the Masai Mara Reserve, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo National Parks in Kenya and Manyara, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania all stand on land that was once Masai territory.

The Masai Today

Masai Today Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Despite the influences of education and western culture, the Masai people have largely resisted change and most of them remain nomadic pastoralists, albeit in a greatly reduced area.  They principally live along the borders of the aforementioned National Parks in the Kajiado and Narok districts and in several areas their territory overlaps the National Parks and they still graze their cattle inside the protected areas – in some instances this has led to episodes of human/wildlife conflict when cattle are attacked by Lion and other predators.

Many members of the tribe have been absorbed into the Safari industry (“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning journey) where they showcase their extensive knowledge and impress the tourists with their remarkable talents as wilderness guides. The tourism industry creates many employment opportunities and has been directly or indirectly responsible for several co-operative schemes which have benefited the local communities and helped provide schooling for the children.  In addition, there are educational programs aimed at educating the tribes about the importance of conservation of natural resources and all wildlife, including Lions, which were often hunted and killed in retaliation for cattle losses, or to demonstrate a young Warrior’s courage.

The Masai Culture – Who Does What

The Masai are probably the last of the world’s great warrior cultures and the bravery of the Masai warriors is still a source of pride to the tribe.  Young boys are given the responsibility of herding and guarding the cattle from a very young age, while the girls learn to clean and milk the cows.  Rites of Passage are very important and all young boys learn about the responsibilities they will require as men.  Eunoto is an elaborate ceremony when boys and girls come of age and graduate to be warriors and wives.  Young warriors must face painful circumcision without flinching if they wish to emerge as full-blown warriors with the respect of their elders and tribe.

Girls still have very few choices and no voice – no place here for Woman’s Lib!   They will be married off by their elders into traditionally polygamous marriages and are responsible for all household chores including the building of their temporary houses, using mud, grass, wood and cow dung as well as cooking, beading and child care.  The warriors, of course, build fences and bomas to protect the cattle and fearlessly defend them from attack by wild animals.

Dress and Ornamentation

Masai colour full dresscord Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Most Masai people dress in the well-known red “shuka”- a sheet of red fabric which is wrapped around the body and adorned by elaborate beadwork around the neck, arms and ears.  Both sexes dress alike and both sexes practice ear piercing and stretching of the earlobes – greatly stretched earlobes are regarded as very beautiful.  Masai beadwork is very intricate and beautiful and is a very sought-after souvenir for many tourists.

Cattle in the Masai Culture

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The importance of cattle to the Masai cannot be over-emphasized and borders on a sacred relationship, where they believe that they have a God-given role as the custodians of all cattle.  They measure their wealth by the number of cattle they own and the number of children they have produced – you need to have many of each to be considered wealthy!  Cattle and other livestock (they also raise some sheep and goats) provide almost all their food, in the form of meat, milk and even blood, while the skins and hides are used for bedding and the dung is used as a type of plaster to water-proof their houses.  If you have no cattle you have no food, no shelter and no standing, which is why the warriors are so fiercely protective of their herds.  One of the most common Masai greetings translates as “I hope your cattle are well”!

Song and Dance

masai dance Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

A distinctive feature of Masai music is the lack of instruments and the amazing harmony of their vocals.  Most songs consist of a responsive pattern, where the women sing one part and the men respond with the second part, while the only musical accompaniment to the singing is the jingling sound of all the beads worn by both the singers and the dancers.   Head and neck movements are an important part of singing and form a kind of rhythmical “bobbing”.

Although the Masai jumping dances “adumu” are the most popularly performed, there are also other types of very structured dances for various special occasions.  In the jumping dances the men all stand in a circle and each has a chance to jump as high as he can while the others encourage him in song – as the voices get higher the jumping increases – this is a sight you should not miss!

The Importance of Respectful Greetings

African culture is composed of many myths, legends and taboos that have been passed down from one generation to the next – having at least an inkling of how to interact in a respectful and dignified manner is just good manners, and will go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with your hosts. As the adage goes, when in Rome, do like the Romans!   Many practices that most visitors take for granted back home could be regarded as the height of bad manners in Africa…for instance, you should never just walk up to a local and ask for directions or a service without at least a few sentences in greeting and general “small talk”.  Knowing when and with whom you should shake hands is also important (see below) and memorizing a few phrases of greeting and thanks in the local language will win you a large measure of respect.

Handshaking is a very popular form of greeting, practiced by just about everyone. As a sign of respect, most Masai shake hands with their right hand while holding their right elbow with the left hand. Sometimes the right hand is covered by the left hand in a form of double handshake, but you need not worry about getting it right – a normal one-handed shake will do the job!   You should never try to shake hands with your left hand if your right hand is otherwise occupied – this is considered very rude – rather do not shake at all!  Men should not attempt to shake hands with female Masai, unless the lady makes the first move; usually she will just nod in greeting.  If a young Masai child leans their head towards you while greeting then you should tap them lightly on the head – this is considered the polite greeting for children.

Experiencing Masai Culture at First Hand

experience masai culture Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

One of the very best ways to experience some of the mystery and legend that is interwoven into the Masai culture is to go on a Walking Safari with one of the excellent Masai guides, who will be only too happy to share his extensive knowledge of his country with you.  You can also arrange to visit real Masai homes on a Cultural Excursion and be entertained with a traditional song and dance show.  Cultural visits are offered by most of the Camps and Lodges in the National Parks.

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