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Planning Family Safari Adventure

Planning Family Safari Adventure

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What to Consider When Planning a Safari Adventure for your Family

Looking for ideas for your next family Adventure holiday?  Forget Disney World why not consider something fun and educational at the same time.  Take your children miles away from TV, video games and computers and get back to nature with an African Safari Adventure with natureboundafrica.com.

Not only will children will be exposed to incredible wildlife but also a vastly different culture. Imagine your children seeing a magnificent Maasai warrior for the first time or learning to make a fire from wood and stone!

What may appear to be a daunting process, planning a safari for the whole family is not as difficult as it may first appear. Here are some things to consider before booking:

Countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania have more experience in dealing with families so they should possibly be your first port of call.

The safari adventure peak season is June to Oct. If you are looking to save a few pennies and you are tied to travelling during the European school holidays (ie the peak season), consider visiting Rwanda or Uganda which are the exception – having their low season during these months.

If you are worried about long flights consider East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) where the flights are shorter (around 8 hrs from Europe).  In saying that, an overnight flight and with the time difference either 1 or 2 hours (depending on time of year) there is no jet lag to contend with.

Not all safari lodges take children or allow them onto game drives. You may need to consider a private vehicle or babysitting services. Nature Bound Africa know’s the lodges which are child friendly offering specially tailored child-centred activities which will give parents a break and provide endless hours of fun and learning for the children.

Consider which East African countries require vaccinations and malaria tablets.

Don’t plan for too long on safari, if you are away for 2 weeks combine your safari with a beach break in the likes of Zanzibar or Mombasa. Most of the resorts or hotels on the beach offer kid’s clubs, brilliant activities and water sports as well as family rooms.

Nature Bound Africa has experience in planning family holidays to East Africa in order that it is expertly organized.

 

East Africa affordable Safaris

East Africa affordable Safaris

Serengeti National Park East Africa affordable Safaris

Top 10 affordable safaris in East Africa

Affordable is a relative term when it comes to African safaris but here are 10 – across Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya – that offer great game-viewing without the super-high price tag.

These safari options do not include flights to the region, but rather suggest a range of trips that are possible once you get to east Africa. Most start from the Kenyan capital Nairobi but also from Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Operators in the region generally quote prices in US dollars, although some will accept other currencies. Many do not list details and prices of all possible itineraries on their websites but the options below have been carefully selected to maximise experience and minimise cost. Prices quoted are generally the lowest that the operator offers for that particular trip but they – and the itineraries – have been confirmed with each operator directly.

Three days super budget safari in the Maasai Mara, Kenya

With park fees, transport and accommodation, Maasai Mara safaris can quickly add up to US $350 a day. Many of the budget options are very rough and ready, but this safari sacrifices some comfort – getting there means up to five hours on the road from Nairobi in a safari-style van as opposed to a 40-minute flight.

But you still get nearly two full days in the reserve and the chance to observe wildlife including lions, elephants, cheetah, wildebeest, antelope and many other species. During the great migration (expected between July and October this year) wildebeest herds cross from the Serengeti into the Mara and make several high-risk river crossings.

The simple camp with platform tents is near one of the gates to the Mara, the food – such as sausage and beans – is no-nonsense but included in the price and plentiful, and Kenya’s famous Tusker beer can be purchased separately. Add on a night’s stay at a guesthouse in Nakuru town and a game drive in the beautiful Lake Nakuru national park, famous for its flamingos but where many other animals can be seen, for an extra $130.

Track gorillas in Uganda

Normally it’s painfully expensive to go on a gorilla safari due to the high cost of permits (usually $1,500) but during the low season (April-May and November), the Ugandan Wildlife Authority discounts the price and a local tour company has capitalised on this to offer a three-day gorilla tracking safari with a permit for a third of the usual price.

Guests stay at a lodge – owned and recently renovated by Matoke Tours – overlooking the spectacular Lake Mutanda and the volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains, where they enjoy good quality food and en suite accommodation. With the safari including two travel days, travellers will track through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest until the mountain gorillas are located, after which the group will spend one hour with the gorillas.

Ten day camping adventure in Kenya’s dramatic north

Get off the beaten track with this 10-day camping safari that takes in a wide range of Kenya’s impressive wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, including Africa’s second highest mountain (Mount Kenya) and the world’s largest desert lake (Turkana).

After travelling overland to the Ol Pejeta conservancy in the foothills of Mount Kenya, the safari stops at the semi-arid Samburu national reserve, which plays host to all three big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah –as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. Crossing volcanic terrain and the baked earth of the Chalbi desert, travellers spend two nights at Lake Turkana – a world heritage site that featured memorably in the film The Constant Gardener.

Heading south once more, an afternoon camel safari in the foothills of Mount Nyiro is followed by a stop at Lake Baringo, renowned for its birdlife, as well as hippos and crocodiles. Accommodation is basic, in dome tents, and much of the driving is off-tarmac: which means it’s not for the faint-hearted, but this safari takes in some of Kenya’s most unforgettable regions.

Explore the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania

A safari in the Serengeti is a bucket-list aspiration for many, which means that most tour packages to this game park push the definition of “affordable”. Nevertheless, the expansive savannahs and woodlands here are home to incredible wildlife spectacles, especially during the famous wildebeest migration, when up to two million animals are on the move (it is expected to take place from July onwards this year).

All of the “big five” are here, acting out their impulses with National Geographic-style theatricality, as safari van passengers stare agog. This four-day camping safari includes multiple game drives and a visit to Ngorongoro crater, the three-million-year-old extinct volcano that herds of tourists descend into to see herds of wildlife on the crater floor.

Track chimpanzees in Rwanda

The mountain gorillas in the Virungas range get all the attention but Rwanda is home to numerous rare primates, most of which can be found in the staggeringly beautiful Nyungwe Forest national park in the south-west of the country.

The forest is best known for its large troops of chimpanzees but is also prime swinging grounds for L’Hoest’s monkeys, Angola colobus, vervet monkeys, and a range of others, along with around 300 bird species. Best of all, the cost for this whole package, which includes a day of tracking chimpanzees through the mountains, a nature walk, and two nights in a comfortable forest lodge with full board, still costs less than a single ($750) gorilla tracking permit up north.

A city safari and luxurious tented camp, Nairobi, Kenya

Many travellers pass through east Africa’s bustling regional hub en route to other destinations but Nairobi national park – just a short drive from the airport – offers wildlife enthusiasts short on time a fast-track safari experience.

Thanks to the Nairobi Tented Camp, which opened in 2011, visitors can now sleep in the park – and tucked into a tree-lined valley, it’s hard to imagine that the capital’s traffic jams lie only a few miles away. The camp replicates a luxury camp deep in the bush, with spacious en suite accommodation in safari tents and evening campfires.

The park’s small area means that wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed: visitors might see zebras, giraffes, lions and leopard on a game drive. It is also an acclaimed rhino sanctuary, home to both black and white rhino. While full-board accommodation is not the cheapest on our list, a two-night excursion into the park can be affordable way to see impressive wildlife if you only can spare time for a short stay in the region or want a brief taste of luxury.

Track wolves in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains

The rusty-hued Ethiopian wolf is the world’s rarest canid, and more than half of the remaining population of this critically endangered carnivore lives in the rugged, otherworldly landscape of Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, a prime trekking destination in the south-east of the country.

Visitors hike through the stark Afro-alpine moorland of the Sanetti plateau, home to mountain nyala and spotted hyenas as well as wolves, and explore the Harenna cloud forest, where lions and leopards are occasionally seen. As you’ll be getting out of the Landcruiser to track on foot on this three-day tour, it’s best to avoid the rainy season and go between November and February or from May to July.

The drive from Addis Ababa stops at the bird and hippo watching spot, Lake Ziway, before proceeding for lunch in Shashemene, a vibrant market town that is the Rasta capital of Ethiopia.

Murchison Falls wildlife, Rhino tracking and Nile boat cruises, Uganda

Operating out of the Red Chilli Hideaway – a popular backpacker stop-off in Kampala – this safari heads to Murchison Falls national park, the country’s largest.

After a picnic overlooking the falls and a night in basic camp on the banks of the Upper Nile, the safari then takes in a morning game drive in the park’s Nile delta at Lake Albert – where you might see lion, leopard, giraffe and elephant – followed by a boat trip on the river.

The camp is simple and facilities are communal but it is one of the few budget alternatives to Murchison’s luxury getaways. After a second night at the camp, the safari moves on to the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, where guests learn to track rhinos with one of the rangers. Meals are excluded on this trip but can be purchased at the camp, which also has a fully stocked bar.

From the forests to the shore in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Doors in the island capital of Stone Town still boast brass studs for repelling war elephants – by merchants who sought to protect themselves from “combat” elephants that were historically deployed in India and Persia – but large mammals no longer dwell on the Spice Islands.

What the archipelago does have, however, is astonishing marine life, with dolphins and technicolour sea creatures galore. There’s also a healthy population of endangered red colobus monkeys and giant Aldabra tortoises. This highly affordable four-day tour package zips between land and sea, with snorkelling trips to the magnificent coral reefs of uninhabited Chumbe Island and walks through two forest reserves, one primate-laden and the other home to rare antelopes. There’s also a trip to Prison Island, where land tortoises creep along the beach, and a stop to watch bottlenose and humpback dolphins frolicking in the waves.

Elephant herds with Mount Kilimanjaro views, Kenya

If the idea of a roving herd of nearly 100 elephants appeals to you, then Amboseli national park in southern Kenya is the game park for you. The photo-ready peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania, looms over this small and manageable Rift valley park, where the roads are reasonable and the herbivore viewing is dramatic.

In addition to the impressive – and highly visible – packs of elephants, Cape buffalo, hippos, and giraffes can also be seen in abundance, although the big cats are less common. This three-day package includes van transport from Nairobi (it’s about a four-hour drive each way), and full-board accommodation in a nice tented camp with a pool, just outside the Kimana Gate, where many animals congregate during the dry season.

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.

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

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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

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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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Solo travel made safe

Solo travel made safe

image Solo travel made safe

Independent travel is a liberating experience – but it can be daunting, too. Observing a few common-sense rules of the road can keep you safe on your journey

Is 2015 the year you want to head out on the open road alone? Even if you’re looking forward to the total freedom of travelling solo, there are sure to be some doubts as you face what could be a daunting prospect. Employ a spot of Fixology, though, and you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of travelling solo, safely.

Consider your destination

There are some geopolitical hotspots, such as various destinations in the Middle East, that are currently best avoided. Be aware of any issues by checking the Foreign Office website. Beyond this, there are some countries that are easier to travel around alone; most European destinations present few issues, for example. Longer haul, consider places that travellers tend to congregate, such as Thailand, where infrastructure is good and you might meet others in the same situation. Australia and New Zealand are even easier, with no language barrier and excellent infrastructure.

Join a group

One halfway house for nervous first-timers is to join a guided group trip for “solo” travellers. Yes, you do lose a bit of your independence, but you gain the necessary backup to build confidence for your next truly solo trip. It need not be the old cliched Club 18-30 holiday (which are actually often a lot of fun for those in that age group), with a wide choice of operators today targeting different ages and tastes.

Keep your belongings safe

Minimise the potential stress of losing your passport or cash hoard and having to sort it out alone by keeping your luggage and key belongings safe. Buy a subtle travel pouch or belt to keep things tucked away out of sight and plan to carry a minimum of cash by packing bank cards and credit cards instead – but keep them separate so they can’t be lost all at once. Use a tagging service such as idtagit to ensure that if you do lose something, anyone who finds it will know how to return it.

Take care

When you are out on the road alone, use traveller common sense. Blend in by wearing what the locals do: avoid wearing your favourite sports top or any clothing that may offend local customs, such as sleeveless tops or short skirts. Be wary and remember that you don’t have the benefit of safety in numbers, so keep your belongings close and avoid attracting attention, especially at potential flashpoints like bars, clubs and transport hubs.

Keep in touch

Checking in with others is a great way to stay safe when travelling solo. Let your social media friends know how often you will be updating your status so they can keep an eye on you. It’s safer to bore them with daily photos of the Taj Mahal than disappear off the radar. Use social media, email, texts, calls and any other communications you can to let people you trust know where you will be and when, so they can watch out for you and alert someone if they are concerned.

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