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Uganda Implements Online e-Visa

Uganda Implements Online e-Visa

Uganda Implements Online e-Visa & cuts single entry visa fee in half to $50
Nature Bound Africa would like to notify their valued clients and trade partners that Uganda has Implemented Online e-Visa & cuts single entry visa fee in half $50. Guests wishing to visit Uganda must now apply for their visas online by following the link – https://www.visas.immigration.go.ug/
Step 1: Choose the type of visa

Ordinary” (single entry) and East Africa Tourist Visa (valid for travel between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda) are the most common.

Step 2: Upload clear document copies of current passport

Upload clear document copies of  current passport, yellow fever certificate and a passport photo. For an East Africa Tourist visa, a travel itinerary and proof of return ticket must also be submitted.

Step 3: Submit your online application form

Once the online application form is completed and submitted, the applicant will receive a bar-coded email notification of approval. This can take 3 or more days. Once received, this bar-coded email should be printed and brought to Uganda for presentation upon arrival.

Step 5: Arrival at entry points / Boarder

Upon arrival at any border (entry point), the bar-coded email along with passport and original yellow fever certificate must be presented. The Immigration officer will scan the barcode, take fingerprints and a photograph and collect the $50 visa fee ($USD cash only, in excellent condition and dated 2006 or later). The visa will be printed and pasted into the passport.

NOTE:

The online system and obtaining visas on arrival are working CONCURRENTLY. Visas will be available on arrival until July 31, 2016. After this date, all visas must be obtained online using the E-Visa system. [Update July 27: While it has widely been reported that visas will be available on arrival only until July 31, 2016.

Nature Bound Africa, have confirmed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs that the online system & visas on arrival will work concurrently until further notice, until the E-Visa system is working flawlessly. However, we recommend your guests utilize the E-Visa system moving forward to be safe].

Here is the official statement from Uganda Immigration regarding the $50 single entry visa fee:
 
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Visiting Uganda  for business or Pleasure has never been easier. Home to the source of the world’s longest river (river Nile), the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas, vast and diverse natural wild life reserves; Blessed with tropical, all year round summer weather, a diverse cultural heritage of over 50 local tribes, snow caped mountains, natural water rafting spots, vibrant night life. A wealth of unexploited natural resources and a young educated population.

Choose Uganda The Pearl of Africa as your next holiday destination and experience true African hospitality.

Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania

Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania

Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania

Maji Moto Hot Springs Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania

Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania

Maji Moto – Water Hot, literal translation.
Hot Water, English translation
An oasis 2 hours away from Arusha

Maji Moto Hot Springs Tanzania is one of the best and memorable places to swim. The water is actually not hot, it’s a temperature that isn’t too warm or too cold. You could stay in it forever and never feel the need to get out and reheat yourself.

The water holds a beautiful sapphire color and is crystal clear to the bottom. A natural current runs through, and though there are certain parts which can be hard to swim against, the main pool is the easiest place to relax.

It’s truly a blissful spot in the middle of totally unexpected terrain, and for anyone staying in Arusha – We highly recommend a visit.

5 easy steps to planning your trip

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5 easy steps to planning your trip as an Ecotourist enkewa mara camp2 5 easy steps to planning your trip

5 easy steps to planning your trip as an Ecotourist and making informed choices before and during your trip is the single most important thing you can do to become a responsible traveler. With a little planning, you can improve the quality of your trip, while making a real difference to the people and places you visit. 

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Search the web and consult guidebooks to start your pre-trip homework. Look for information and resources on responsible travel, ecotourism, or sustainable tourism. Ecotourism Explorer, TIES’ interactive online directory, makes searching for your perfect eco-holiday easy!

Choose guidebooks with information on your destination’s environmental, social and political issues, and read before booking. Guidebooks vary in quality, even within a series, but Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Moon are among the best.

2. ASK QUESTIONS

Call or email tour operators that have firsthand knowledge of the place you are considering visiting. Check the websites of all accommodations. Let tour operators/hotels know that you are a responsible consumer. Before you book, ask about their social and environmental policies.

For instance – What is your environmental policy? What percentage of your employees are local citizens? Do you support any projects to benefit the local community?

3. SEEK QUALITY ASSURANCE

Are the businesses you’re considering certified? Do they have eco-label ratings, or have they won eco-awards? Have you heard of the AAA or 5-star rating systems? These long-standing labels judge hotel quality and services. Many certification programs have also been created in travel and tourism to rate the environmental and social impacts of tourism businesses.

Using independent auditors, these programs are important tools for distinguishing genuine ecotourism or sustainable tourism companies, products or services from those that are merely using “eco-” as a marketing tool to attract consumers. Certification programs can help travelers to make responsible choices.

A growing number of companies have earned eco-labels, and we encourage you to purchase from these businesses. TIES, together with industry partners around the world, promotes sustainable tourism certification as one of the most effective ways to mainstream sustainability in tourism.

4. OPT TO GIVE BACK

A growing number of tourism businesses are helping to financial and material support community projects and offering travelers the opportunity to get involved. Many of TIES members around the globe are leading the efforts to give back to local communities and enhance the livelihoods of local people through ecotourism. We encourage you to contribute to and participate in these projects, and support those companies that are making positive impacts on the lives of local hosts.

5. READ BETWEEN THE LINES

Don’t Be Fooled by green-washing. “Eco” is a fashionable label used widely in the tourism industry. It sounds appealing, but much of what is marketed as “eco” is simply conventional tourism with superficial changes. So it’s important to check behind the labels.

When choosing destinations, accommodations, and tour operators, consider which ones work to protect the environment and benefit local cultures and communities.

Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Africa’s Last Warrior Tribe

Meet the Masai – 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

By Bridget Halberstadt

How to locate a lost travelling companion

How to locate a lost travelling companion

If you find yourself alone in a foreign country or a strange place instead of surrounded by the friends and family you set off with, don’t panic – these tips will have you reunited in no time

When you’re on holiday, getting lost is half the fun. Wandering around a strange city and stumbling upon a picturesque little street or charming courtyard is the kind of thing that tempts us out of our cosy homes in the first place.

But if you’re part of a group, and especially if you’re part of a smallish group, getting unexpectedly separated from the rest of your gang can be an unsettling experience.

It’s especially worrying when you’re travelling with children, who may not be carrying mobile phones and can’t therefore call you to explain that they’ve just found an interesting little shop selling salty caramel waffles or something.

Good preparation can cater for most eventualities, but fate always has a way of catching you out. Here are a few tips to reunite you with your travelling companions.

Get on up

If you’re in a crowded place, a busy shopping centre or theme park, you need to get as high up as possible. Not only will you be more visible to your lost pal, but you have more chance of catching sight of them.

No handy fountain, chair or ornamental wall to stand on? Seek out the tallest person you can see and ask them for their help. Describe your lost friend or …

A picture is worth a thousand words.

You’re on holiday. Chances are your phone or digital camera has a recent picture of the person you’re looking for. Show it to your new tall friend.

If your companion has been missing for a while, or if they’re very young, then you’ll want to speak to the local police; taking along a recent picture of the person wearing the clothes they had on when they went missing would be very helpful, especially if there’s a language barrier.

Find the centre

If there’s a major landmark, some sort of Eiffel Tower for example, or a Taj Mahal perhaps, head for it. Is there a sign pointing to the Tourist Information Office?

While it might be tempting to stand still and let the person come back to you, you might be in for a long wait if they’ve had the same idea. Heading for an easily recognisable landmark is not only likely to bring you back to your pal, it will also put you near police and other sources of aid if you’re still having no luck.

Go with the flow

Young children, dogs, and easily distracted adults always follow the path of least resistance. If you’re somewhere without obvious landmarks to seek out, there’s a better-than-average chance that the wanderer went in the direction that the wind’s blowing.

As in any crisis situation, it’s hard to resist the natural temptation to panic. But keep a cool head, think about the psychology of your quarry, and you should be enjoying those salty caramel waffles together in no time.

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