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Cultural Experience

Face to Face With Some Great Adventures

Face to Face With Some Great Adventures

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Don’t get us wrong, we love our Land Cruisers as much as our clients do.  And there is little that can surpass the adrenaline rush of clients on safari witnessing their first sighting of a male Lion standing proud in all his glory.But it gets better.  Clients no longer have to remain within the confines of the safari cruiser for the entire duration of their safari.  There are some great adventures that can be had by dedicating a few hours in the itinerary to exit the comfort of the vehicle… and go face to face with nature. 

Arusha National Park Canoeing

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Enjoy a peaceful and scenic canoeing safari following the shorelines of Momella Lake, under the shadow of Mt. Meru.  View buffaloes, bushbuck, giraffes, hippos and many water birds living in and close to the water.

 

 

Lake Manyara Cycling

An easy cycle ride down the Great Rift Valley wall; into the farming village of Mto Wa Mbu. Experience local cultures from the bike, ride through some of the Manyara ground water forest and between small herds of wildlife on the lake shore. We can include a local lunch for your guests, prepared by a lady in the village.

 Waterfalls & Elephant Caves

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On this two hour hike through the forested slopes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area you will discover a magnificent waterfall and incredible elephant caves created by elephants digging up the earth and ingesting the mineral rich soil.  You may see buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck and baboons, also attracted by the soil.

 

Walking safaris in Serengeti and Arusha National Park

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Walking is a wonderful way to get close to nature and to learn about some of the smaller species and ecosystems.  The walk is slow paced, stopping under shade to hear interesting facts from your knowledgeable guide. Walks are offered to guests aged 16 and over.

 

 

Village Walk in Mto wa Mbu / Karatu

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Visit Mto Wa Mbu village for a great cultural experience with an experienced English-speaking guide who grew up in the village! Visit local farms, schools, a kindergarten, local homes, the market and milling machines. A similar experience can be arranged in Karatu, popular for overnight stays before visiting the Ngorongoro Crater.

 

Night Game Drive in Lake Manyara / Serengeti / Tarangire

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A unique perspective on the National Parks with an opportunity for sighting nocturnal animals.  Lion sightings are more common and where lions are mostly sleeping in the day time, at night they are almost always active!  At Lake Manyara the drive is done inside the park, whereas other parks is in private concessions on the border (available from select camps).

 

Erosion Control Tree-Planting

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Hundreds of young tree saplings (predominantly native species) are grown at Gibbs Farm in Karatu, as part of an effort to help control erosion and reforest the environment. Over the last 15 years, much of the farm’s estate forests have been restored through this program. Join in on an excursion to transport young trees from the farm nursery and plant them in community schoolyards and other environments.

 

Coffee Tour in Arusha

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Offered from select hotels in and around Arusha
This tour on the foothills of Mount Meru will allow your clients to witness first hand the process of washing and drying coffee beans on the farms. The guide explains how the bean is nurtured, harvested, dried and finally roasted to produce a myriad of different blends that sate the taste of the most ardent of coffee connoisseurs.

 

Hiking Empakai Crater

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Located in northern Ngorongoro, Empakai is a mysterious crater with a lake below where flamingos can be sighted throughout the year. With no road access, exploration is on foot only for those seeking a thrilling hike in the Crater Highlands.  This can be done as a half day excursion from various Ngorongoro properties.

 

Hot Air Balloon Safaris in Serengeti and Tarangire

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Although this is a popular and well known excursion, what many are unaware of is that this excursion is available in central, south, north and western Serengeti in various seasons, as well as in Tarangire.  Regardless of where your clients are staying, this is a great way to offer them a birds eye safari!

 

 

 

 

 

Current global travel trends indicate an increased preference in soft adventure.  The above ideas offer great short experiential travel add-on’s while ensuring authentic and responsible tourism practices.

 

African Destinations To Visit

African Destinations To Visit

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Africa is blessed with amazing natural treasures and we hope you’ll find these destinations and events interesting and tempting to explore.

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda).

The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park. The park provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species.

2. Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe).

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Africa, Victoria Falls is undoubtedly amongst the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Located on the mighty Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

3. Wildebeest migration (Kenya and Tanzania).

Certainly a must see, the migration is considered one of nature’s great spectacles and sees over a million wildebeest trek north from the Serengeti (Tanzania) to the Maasai Mara (Kenya). The wildebeests are joined on this epic journey by thousands of eland, gazelle and zebra as they cross the crocodile-infested Mara River to graze on the Maasai Mara plains.

4. Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)

Is a group of six islands. Bazaruto Island is the largest in the Bazaruto Archipelago and Bazaruto National Park. The archipelago is certainly a beautiful destination which needs to be explored. The archipelago  boasts of by a wide array of marine and wildlife, azure waters and amazing beaches.

5. Ennedi Massif (Chad).
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape, which was recently named one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. This sandstone landscape is one of the world’s finest examples of rock art and carvings. Ennedi Massif has been sculpted by water and wind erosion over time into a plateau featuring canyons and valleys that present a spectacular landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches and pitons. The site is indeed a cultural treasure.
6. Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay

Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan) recently inscribed as one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. Sanganeb is a coral atoll 25km off the coast of Sudan. Sanganeb National Park is indeed a marvel. Dungonab Bay is another remarkable marine treasure, which provides a habitat for large populations of seabirds, marine mammals, fish, sharks, and turtles.

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7. National Arts Festival (South Africa)

One of the most important events on the South African cultural calendar, and undoubtedly one of the biggest arts events on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, and a children’s arts festival.

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8. Erin Ijesha Waterfalls(Nigeria)

is also known as Olumirin waterfalls. A visit to Nigeria is not complete for a tourist without a visit to Erin-Ijesa because it’s the popular and most visited tourist attraction in Nigeria. Olumirin is a seven step waterfall and each step of the waterfall has a flowing fountain that marks the mystical nature of the place. The waterfall is a stunning assemblage of seven unique levels, with each level providing a whole new outlook when compared to the previous level. The water fall exudes a therapeutic ambience which only something natural can produce.

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Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

Exploring Zanzibar Tropical Island Adventure

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Zanzibar wraps its reality around you like a lingering fairytale. This tiny archipelago of Indian Ocean islands that once lured sailors, Sultans and slavers to its far-distant shores is so charismatic that it sweeps you into its shadowy romantic past and sunlit present all at once, and finally sets you down, all sun-bronzed and laden with spices and island art, and memories of an exceptionally sparkling and colourfully abundant sea.
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The main island is small and easy to explore, with glorious white sand, palm-fringed beaches rewarding you for just a couple of hours’ drive to the North coast and the same to the East, along mainly hopeless but endlessly fascinating roads flanked by simple homesteads, roads worn more by foot or bicycle and frequented by chickens.
 
There is a time warp here, this place where the past is so responsible for the present, where mobile phones, internet connections and television are all relatively recent, and where the history and culture is so imbued that you can simply stretch out beneath the dappled shade of the coconut palms and soak it up. Welcome to Zanzibar, and a world apart.
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Sailors and traders from the first century AD came to the lands of ‘Zinj el Barr’, the Black Coast, bringing beads, porcelain and silks to trade for gold, slaves and spices, ebony, ivory, indigo and tortoiseshell. They waited for annual monsoon winds to fill their dhow sails and bear them across the Indian Ocean; today’s visitors usually arrive in a small ‘plane or ferry from Dar es Salaam.

But these still afford a measured approach, allowing a breathtaking vision of sparkling cerulean waters over sandbanks and reefs, and then into Stone Town, the ancient island capital, still more of a town than a city, a maze of winding pedestrian streets in a hotchpotch of rooftops, a mass of corrugated iron overwhelming the historic stonework beneath.

Helplessly entwined in its own history, the people of Zanzibar are the Swahili, evolving from the influx of mainly Arabian and Persian immigrants who settled on the East African coast and islands to trade and escape the political upheavals of the Gulf two thousand years ago. Their cultural history was founded in sailing dhows, similar to those that glide by its shores today, boats that brought people, language and cultures and long centuries of power wrangling.

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The Arab immigrants were overthrown by the Portuguese in the 15th century, until the Sultan of Oman finally saw them off for good in 1698 and started building the Stone Town of today; the Old Fort on the harbour was built on the remains of a Portuguese church dating back to 1600.
 
Visitors to Stone Town still encounter the grandiose vision and dominant architectural style of a confident young Sultan who transferred the seat of his sultanate from the contentious capital of Muscat to the breezier climes of Zanzibar in 1832, and then began palace building in earnest, and seeding the coconut palms and clove plantations which soon defined Zanzibar as the ‘Spice Island’.
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Driving through the island centre now, it is worth stopping to explore the spice plantations, where a guided walk for passing tourists is likely to be more lucrative than vast crops to export, but it is a fine sensual pleasure to crumble cinnamon bark straight from the tree, to breathe the scent of cloves drying in the sun, to taste and guess the spice from a handful of pods and powders.

These are well used by the chefs and kitchens in beach hotels, where fishermen daily bring the catch of the day to be grilled, baked, battered or blanched with assorted Zanzibar spice.The coast is dotted with hotels, self-contained beach hideaways that relish their privacy and provide various levels of style and comfort.

I have been to most and head north by choice, to the northernmost peninsula which is occupied by Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel. The name is a very literal Swahili translation, but it says nothing of how this beach is secluded and the coral sands are blanched very, very pale. It does not tell how the wonderfully translucent and clear the sea is here, where a coral reef surrounds the shore creating a shallow wide expanse to explore until the tide rises high and then turquoise waves crash onto the beach. It is a naturally beautiful place.

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Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs when the moon is full, and the surrounding reefs are a thriving colourful world to snorkel and dive. Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel is essentially respectful of its place, each room constructed from local wood and coral rag to create a number of thatched round houses along the beach, with lodge rooms in gardens behind.
 
Soft sand pathways link the central thatched and open-sided restaurant to the rooms, pool and dive centre, providing the comforts of a fine hotel with a rustic, beach hideaway style. This is a fine place to lie back and soak up Zanzibar, crack open a coconut, watch the dhows on the far horizon and look forward to spice-scented, star filled African night.

Africa Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

Africa’s Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

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A continent of 54 countries, 2000 languages and over 3000 tribes, Africa has a staggeringly diverse array of cultures. It’s no surprise that Africa is home to some of the best cultural festivals on the planet – everything from food and music to art and film – in some truly spectacular locations, such as isolated deserts, medieval cities, on the shores of a lake or on a tropical island.

Here’s a round up of 8 of the best cultural festivals Africa has to offer. Add these to your bucket list!

1. AfrikaBurn, South Africa

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Based on the famous US festival Burning Man, AfrikaBurn is the continent’s most alternative arts festival. Everything that happens in Tankwa Town (the temporary settlement where 10 000 festival goers gather in the Karoo desert) is up to the creativity of participants. There is no entertainment organised – instead the participants of the festival create their own art works, their own music and their own performances. You have no idea what to expect each year, but you’re guaranteed an experience that will blow your mind.

2. Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco

If you love the idea of music festivals, but aren’t into sleeping in a tent or stomping around in a muddy field, then the Fes Festival is probably your cup of tea. Each year the medieval Moroccan city puts on a festival of sacred music from around the world – expect everything from whirling dervishes from Turkey, dancers from Bali and chanting Sufi mystics from Iran – in stunning venues such as centuries-old palaces and atmospheric garden courtyards.

3. Zanzibar International Film Festival

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East Africa’s largest film, music and arts festival takes place every year on the tropical island of Zanzibar. Films from around Africa are screened in venues across the island, culminating in an awards night on the final night of the festival, while the music performances, DJ sets and dancing create a carnival atmosphere.

4. Lake of Stars, Malawi

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The Lake of Stars festival has been named one of the world’s best by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, and it’s easy to see why. The music festival takes place on the shores of beautiful Lake Malawi, with local Malawian musicians playing side by side with bands and DJs from around the world – many of whom play for free just for the chance to get involved in this feel-good event. There’s a range of music on the line up, from electro to Afro-pop, and while you’re taking a break in between checking out the acts, you can swim in the lake, laze on sandy beaches, or get involved in one of the festival’s community projects.

 
5. International Festival of the Sahara, Tunisia

You probably couldn’t think of a more exotic location for a festival than an oasis in the Sahara Desert. Douz, a place where palm trees outnumber residents, swells in population by 50 000 each year when people arrive to share in a four-day celebration the art, traditions and culture of the people of the desert. Expect to see camel marathons, displays of horse riding, a Bedouin marriage, lively dancing, music performances and a poetry competition.

6. Bushfire, Swaziland

Each year the tiny country of Swaziland draws 20 000 people for its three-day Bushfire festival – an arts event that encompasses film, theatre, poetry and visual arts performances, as well as music and dance in a beautiful valley. All of the profits from the festival are given to NGOs and charities, so just by attending you contribute to Swaziland’s development.

7. Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar

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For 10 years Zanzibar has been host of the “Sounds of Wisdom” festival – a celebration of the best music from across the African continent. Each year there’s a diverse line up of acts, covering genres such as Zimbabwean rap-rock, Senegalese reggae and Rwandan Afro-pop. In addition to music performances, during the festival you can also catch fringe shows of drumming, music documentaries and traditional dancing.

8. Gnaoua World Music Festival, Morocco

The coastal 18th century town of Essaouira rings out with the sound of music at this annual festival which sees traditional Gnaoua musicians (descendants of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa) joined by jazz, pop, blues, reggae, hip hop, Sufi, Latin and rock musicians, attracting around 500 000 people. The performances (many of which are free) take place on the town’s beaches, historic sites, public squares and beaches as Essaouira is transformed into a musical oasis.

 

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

1 1 Best Time to Visit Tanzania

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.

Quick facts
Best time to go: June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)
High Season: July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)
Low Season: April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)
Best Weather: June to October (Little to no rainfall)
Worst Weather: March and April (Peak of wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
  • June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
  • Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
  • There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
  • Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
  • Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
  • The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
  • Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
  • Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
  • Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
  • March to May is the peak of the wet season.
  • Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Best time to go to Tanzania National parks
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.
 
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