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Author: Nature Bound Africa

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

While Tanzania’s famous Northern circuit national parks, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Selous Game Reserve and of course Zanzibar, comprising of the islands of Unguja and Pemba, are well known abroad and need little explanation, has the more distant Mafia Island and its smaller neighbors always been a specialty destination for tourists.

Yet, those who ever made their way, by air or by boat, to Mafia Island, have tall tales to tell. Excellent diving grounds along the reefs surrounding the island, rewarding snorkeling trips, endless empty beaches with no beach boy pests bothering the visitors, good fishing and an intact nature rarely found today make up some of the attractions tourists enjoy and come back for.

Ruins of ancient settlements, dating back to the 11th century give an insight into the history of Mafia, which, while at one time part of the Kilwa Sultanate changed hands multiple times among major seafaring powers which ruled the world at one time or another.

Located about a hundred miles south of Dar es Salaam and only a few miles off the mainland almost opposite the Rufiji River delta, is the small archipelago of Mafia one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets. Some 50 kilometres long and at the widest point just 15 kilometres across is the island almost entirely surrounded by a massive barrier reef teeming with marine life and half of the island’s shoreline extends into a marine national park.

While an airstrip allows for daily flights to the mainland and telecommunications allow to stay in touch with the rest of the world is a trip to Mafia also a trip back into time and as such a marvel waiting to be explored.

Auric Air, one of Tanzania’s leading domestic airlines with over 30 scheduled and charter destinations, has now in conjunction with the Ras Mbisi Lodge put a package together to visit Mafia. At just 299 US Dollars, flight from and to Dar es Salaam included, is this offer one of the best values for a two night / three day trip to the island.

Full board with mineral water at meals, afternoon tea served at the pool, coffee making facilities in the room, transfers to and from the airstrip and the free use of kajaks, besides guided nature walks, are all part of the deal which no doubt will be snapped up by local expatriates over the upcoming Idd celebrations which mark the end of Ramadan next weekend.

International tourists keen to discover the small archipelago should request us to put together a package for them to include Mafia in their holiday itinerary.

Travel Etiquette Behaviors

Travel Etiquette Behaviors

Travel etiquette behaviors, gestures and customs can differ drastically from country to country. Brush up on our travel etiquette before setting off on your Holiday!

Thumbs up

It’s surprising how such a small thing can be mean so many different things. In the UK, ‘thumbs up’ may be a positive sign, but in Sardinia and Greece it means ‘screw you’. In some Middle Eastern countries, it translates as a foul insult, literally ‘up yours’, if you get
what we mean…

In Indonesia on the other hand, the thumb is often used for pointing – using fingers is often considered to be rude.

A-Okay

Similarly confusing is the good old ‘a-okay’ gesture, where your thumb connects with your index finger to form an ‘O’ shape. In parts of Australia this simply means ‘okay’, but in Brazil and Germany it is used as an insult. In Japan the same motion represents coins, in Russia it means zero, and in France it is an expression of worthlessness.

Headshake

Contrary to the UK, Bulgarians, and Iranians shake their heads for ‘yes’ and nod for ‘no’. In Greece, Lebanon and Turkey, a slight downward nod of the head means ‘yes’ whereas tilting it up means ‘no’. In India, a head waggle can mean a range of things, such as ‘I am considering what you said’.

Putting your feet up

It is best not to point the soles of your feet in anyone’s direction in Muslim countries, and in Thailand, pointing your feet towards a Buddha is a sign of disrespect. On a similar note, avoid stepping over anybody’s legs whilst in Nepal.

Personal space

In the UK, we tend to value our privacy and personal space. In contrast, other cultures are much less inhibited. In the Mediterranean, Latin America and some parts of the Middle East, people will be much more liable to stand closer and make more expressive physical contact.

Tick tock

Turning up a few minutes late for social arrangements is usually considered okay in the UK, but we aren’t as laid back as Argentina, where arriving anywhere between one and three hours late is fine. Bad time keeping is less tolerated in Germany.

Hand in hand

Men holding hands or walking arm in arm in Muslim countries, India and Africa is perfectly acceptable as a friendly gesture, whereas in Europe it suggests a more intimate relationship.

Lefty or righty

In India and parts of Africa, the left hand is considered to be unclean, so stick to eating, greeting people and gesturing with your right hand if possible.

Short shorts

In India, only boys under 11 or 12 years old wear shorts, so sometimes the locals will find it hilarious to see older men in shorts.

Best Adventure Safari Parks of Africa

Best Adventure Safari Parks of Africa

slide758 Best Adventure Safari Parks of Africa

Top 50 Best Adventure Safari Parks of Africa

Best Adventure Safari Parks of Africa analysis of 3,008 reviews to put to rest the question of which park was best for African safaris. With an overall rating of 4.89 out of 5, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania came out as the clear winner.

Rounding up the top 3 were MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa, and Okavango Delta in Botswana.

In total, 138 parks of the 8 major safari countries were in consideration for a place in the top 50. The analysis was based on 3,008 park reviews collected through the SafariBookings website. Of them, 2,234 reviews were contributed by safari tourists from 63 countries around the world.

The remaining 774 reviews were written by renowned industry experts, most of whom are guidebook authors working for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Bradt and Footprint. Read More…   https://www.safaribookings.com/blog/258

Kenya launches new Visa rules

Kenya launches new visa rules

          Kenya entry stamp Kenya launches new Visa rules                     Kenya exit stamp Kenya launches new Visa rules

 

VISA IN ADVANCE? NOW KENYA TOO START ON LINE VISA APPLICATION!

Come midnight tonight, 02nd of July 2015, do major changes in Kenya’s Visa policy come into place. Unlike in the past when many nationalities were able to get their Visa on arrival in Nairobi or Mombasa, will intending visitors now have to apply for an e-Visa in advance, with processing days taking as much as a week.

Visit the electronic visa page at www.ecitizen.go.ke

Upon vehement intervention from tourism stakeholders has a grace period been extended but only for two months, during which tourists and business travelers arriving at one of the two international airports can still get their Visa on arrival but effective 01st of September will this dual modus operandum be scrapped and only the e-Visa process be available.

The new method was only announced a short while ago and has caught many travelers and in particular tour operators and travel agencies abroad unaware. Many destinations brochures will now need re-printing as in most are European visitors told they can get their Visa on arrival at a cost of US Dollars 50, payable in cash. No more under the new rules when the payment must be made by credit or debit card.

Tourism stakeholders have sharply condemned the move, saying the week long processing period is excessive and prevents tourists taking a last minute decision to come to Kenya.

Last minute bookings, often at a significant rebate, are popular in Europe with passengers at times just turning up at the airport and in a game of potluck choosing from posters hang up by airlines or touroperators where to fly to, paying there and then and checking in for their flight.

Either did Kenyan officials not think of this segment of travelers, or perhaps rather not know about it and with the new rules basically sending out the message that last minute travelers are no longer welcome in Kenya will inevitably business be lost to more user friendly destinations for last minute bookers.

One source from Nairobi close to this ‘action’ admitted that this was aimed to keep undesirables out of Kenya, in particular to stem the potential rise in arrivals of radicals from the UK, who may wish to join terrorist organisations similar to what many have done with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

‘You must understand that the threat level from that side has gone up and up. We need those days to vet applicants and compare data base information with some of our western partners. This way we hope to catch those with links to radical groups and can deny them entry. Right now they just come, pay their Visa fee and melt away. One British was killed a few weeks ago when together with Al Shabab operatives trying to attack our barracks in Lamu. Therefore, we had to act and close that open door which existed and which we believe was used by radicals to infiltrate us. Now that you say it will keep a lot of real tourists out of Kenya, this will have to be investigated. We have to see if the process can be made faster. Anyway, people who have been here as tourists before and now arrive under new rules will be captured in our data base and when they come back in the future, their application could be as fast as a day’.

Considering that the country is still reeling from the yoke of the only recently lifted harsh anti travel advisories, it is clear that there is now a raging argument between tourism operators to let tourists in as it has been while security services will argue that even with the risk of one radical slipping through the net that one is one too many.

When Burundi a few months ago, equally at short notice, also demanded Visa in advance instead of granting them on arrival, visitor numbers into Bujumbura all but collapsed, leaving an already struggling tourism industry reeling from the fallout and being pushed to the wall due to lack of tourism numbers and revenues.

Seriously speaking though, tourism stakeholders are now urged to communicate these changes to their agents and operators abroad to avoid situation where paid up travelers will be denied boarding for their flight to Kenya, still thinking they get their Visa on arrival and yet, come September, will those doors be closed for good.

Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Tarangire NP May 2014 41 Africa Safari Adventure Seasons
Safaris are available year-round, but seasonal climate changes and other factors can affect game viewing and personal comfort. Today we’ll cover what you need to consider in choosing your ideal time to travel in the East Africa Safari destinations.

The best time for game-viewing is typically during the dry season, which varies from country to country as detailed below. During this season, temperatures are mild, animal populations are concentrated at rivers, pools and other water sources, and there is less vegetation to obstruct your view. However, the rainy season can have special draws as well, such as an influx of migrating birds.

 
Tanzania Safari Adventure Seasons 

 

tanzania mt kilimanjaro Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Tanzania has two wet seasons each year, short rains that come intermittently in November and December, and long rains that fall roughly from February to May. Generally, the dryer months of June to October are best for wildlife viewing.  Tanzania from early June is warm, sunny days and comfortable nights and ideal game viewing not only in the world-famous Serengeti National Park but throughout the country.

During rainy periods in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which boasts a terrific density of wildlife, animals congregate on the short-grass plains to have their young. At nearby Lake Manyara National Park, bird populations peak during the rainy seasons. You’ll find large numbers of flamingos, storks, herons, cormorants, pelicans and geese, among others.

Kenya Safari Adventure Seasons

kenya stunning locations 2015 11 15 07 11 54 UTC Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

 

Kenya’s best game-viewing periods are during the dry winter months of May through August and the warmer spring months of September and October.

Tanzania and Kenya share one of nature’s most amazing spectacles, the annual movement of nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebras and other animals across open savannahs in both countries, known as the great Migration .

Seasonal rains and droughts drive the migration, so the timing varies a little every year but there is a general pattern, described below. If you schedule your visit correctly, you’ll be treated to ideal weather and extraordinary wildlife viewing.

Wildebeests and zebras typically spend December to April nursing newborn calves in Tanzania. The slow-moving calves lure lions, cheetahs and hyenas, and the resulting mix of predator and prey offers prime viewing opportunities in Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

When the rains end, usually in May, the animals head north in search of food. This is the start of the Great Migration, a steady stream of animals in columns that stretch for miles, heading toward the western and northern Serengeti. June and July are the best months for witnessing the migration in Tanzania.

By August or September, the herds begin to cross into Kenya to graze amid the lush greenery of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Some naturalists claim that the Masai Mara contains the largest concentration of predators along the migratory route. The animals will stay here until October or November. Most safaris visit the area before fall brings another rainy season to the plains and the herds turn south, back to Tanzania.
For more information on the Great Migration, and to book a safari  see http://www.natureboundafrica.com

Uganda Safari Adventure Seasons

Murchison falls boat ride Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

 

Most travelers to Uganda want to trek through the jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to spend time with mountain gorillas. The best times for this are during the dry months of June through early September and late December through February. The rainy seasons are from mid-September to November and from March to May, and gorilla tracking during these times is more difficult. Daytime temperatures in most parts of the country are consistently warm all year, but it can get much cooler in the higher altitudes of Uganda’s mountains, especially at night.

Uganda’s traditional game-viewing preserves, like Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kibale National Park, also are best visited during the dry months noted above. Routes through the parks can become impassable during the rains.

Rwanda Safari Adventure Seasons

gombe steam national park e1428080662511 Africa Safari Adventure Seasons

Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda  is another key destination for gorilla encounters. Like Uganda, the best periods to track the primates are June through early September and late December through January, the region’s two dry seasons. The tiny country’s high altitude keeps temperatures relatively low here as well.

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