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List of Southern African Countries

List of Southern African Countries

%name List of Southern African Countries

Southern Africa Countries

This are the southernmost region of the African continent, comprising the countries of Angola, Botswana,Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The island nation of Madagascar is excluded because of its distinct language and cultural heritage. The interior of Southern Africa consists of a series of undulating plateaus that cover most of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana and extend into central Angola. Contiguous with this are uplands in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Coastal mountains and escarpments, flanking the high ground, are found in northern Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and along the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border. Coastal plains about the Indian Ocean in Mozambique and the Atlantic in Angola and Namibia. Below are some of the things you need to know about the Southern African countries.

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost sovereign state in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho.

South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and also the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the only country that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, ivied among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status.

South Africa is a multi ethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution’s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world.

Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994.

Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have had political representation in the country’s democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” to describe the country’s newly developing multicultural diversity in the wake of segregationist apartheid ideology.

The World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, and a newly industrialized country. Its economy is the largest in Africa and its also among the Africa’s richest countries. However, this is contrary to the fact that at least a quarter of the country’s population is unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 per day. Nevertheless, South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence. The first Africa’s solar powered airport is in South Africa named George airport.

Botswana

Officially the Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.

Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert.

Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world. Around 10 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960. Botswana is among the world’s most peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index 2016.

The country has been among the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The death rate due to AIDS or AIDS-related causes has fallen sharply (57%) from 2005 to 2013 and the number of new infections in children has also fallen. Despite the success in programmes to make treatments available to those infected, and to educate the populace in general about how to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, the number of people with AIDS rose from 290,000 in 2005 to 320,000 in 2013. Despite these reasons for hope, Botswana has the third highest prevalence rate for HIV AIDS, reported in 2014.

Lesotho

Officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is an enclaved, landlocked country in southern Africa completely surrounded by South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km(11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population slightly over two million. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sesotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.

Namibia

Officially, the Republic of Namibia is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek, and it is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by the San, Damara, and Nama peoples. Since about the 14th century, immigrating Bantu peoples arrived as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then the Bantu groups in total, known as the Ovambo people, have dominated the population of the country and since the late 19th century, have constituted a large majority.

Namibia has a population of 2.1 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the basis of its economy. The large, arid Namib Desert has resulted in Namibia being overall one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Namibia enjoys high political, economic and social stability.

Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is a sovereign state in Southern Africa. It is neighboured by Mozambique to its east and by South Africa to its north, west and south. The country and its people take their names from Mswati II, the 19th-century king under whose rule Swazi territory was expanded and unified. The Swaziland is well known for its culture “Umhlanga”, held in August/September and “incwala”, the kingship dance held in December/January, are the nation’s most important events.

The population is primarily ethnic Swazis whose language is Swati. They established their kingdom in the mid-18th century under the leadership of Ngwane III; the present boundaries were drawn up in 1881. After the Anglo-Boer War, Swaziland was a British protectorate from 1903 until 1967. It regained its independence on 6 September 1968.

The country is an absolute monarchy, currently ruled by Ngwenyama (“King”) Mswati III. He is head of state and appoints the country’s prime ministers and a number of representatives of both chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) in the country’s parliament. Elections are held every five years to determine the House of Assembly majority. The current constitution was adopted in 2005.

Swaziland is a developing country with a small economy. It’s GDP per capita of $9,714 means it is classified as a country with a lower-middle income. As a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), its main local trading partner is South Africa. Swaziland’s currency, the lilangeni, is pegged to the South African rand. Swaziland’s major overseas trading partners are the United States and the European Union. The majority of the country’s employment is provided by its agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

The Swazi population faces major health issues: HIV/AIDS and, to a lesser extent, tuberculosis are serious challenges. As of 2013, Swaziland has an estimated life expectancy of 50 years.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there’s white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.

The Republic of Zimbabwe is an ethnically diverse nation, with a population of around 13 million people. Its official languages are English, Shona, Ndebele. The nation has poor human rights record. Zimbabwe has a presidential system of government. Gold, mineral exports, agriculture and tourism are the main foreign currency earners of the country. The mining sector continues to be very lucrative.

Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

karatu Activities to Do in Karatu Tanzania

Karatu, Tanzania is a colorful  town which serves as a relaxing pause after wildlife safari. Located along the northern safari circuit, Karatu serves as gateway to the Ngorongoro Highlands and is located between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Due to its location, many safari goers end up overnight or stopping here for a quick break earning it the nickname “Safari Junction”. The busy downtown of Karatu is a mix of old and new with safari vehicles, local buses, and brightly colored  tuk-tuks riding alongside Maasai herders and ox-carts, while just outside town cultivated Iraqw farms and villages merge into the green vegetation of the Ngorongoro Forest.

Whether you are looking for cultural tours, hiking and biking opportunities, a chance to enjoy a slice of peaceful rural Tanzania, or simply a break from the dusty safari game drives, we think you should consider a stop in this underrated town. Here is our list of the top 10 things to do in Karatu Tanzania based on our visit. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Karatu Tanzania

As we noted, there are few guides written on things to do in Karatu. In fact, here is Lonely Planet’s description of Karatu: “This charmless town 14km southeast of Lodoare gate makes a convenient base for visiting Ngorongoro if you want to economize on entry fees” and the popular guidebook lists practically no suggestions for things to do.

We would not say Karatu is charming exactly (not sure we’d describe any of the towns in Tanzania as “charming”), but we found Karatu to be a delightful bustling town that serves as a great stop for a bit of relaxation between game parks and an excellent place to engage in some cultural tourism.

We chose to explore the area with a local guide and specifically arranged a few different guided tours with friendly and knowledgable Richard Njuga, coordinator of the Ganako Karatu Cultural Tourism Program. Proceeds from the cultural tours are used to support local environmental, educational, and health projects through KCECHO, a non-profit organization in Karatu. Almost all the listed experiences in this article can be arranged through Ganako Karatu and your hotelier who might offer additional options as well. Below is our top 10 things to do in Karatu in no particular order.

Take a Karatu Town Tour

A great way to  spend a couple of hours is to take a stroll around the town of Karatu. Visit the marketplace where you can explore rainbow-colored stalls and small shops that sell a bit of everything from vegetables and spices to Tinga Tinga paintings and carved wooden ornaments. This is a great place to barter for souvenirs and mingle with the locals. Along the way you might want to stop at a street vendor for a local snack such as fried cassava, chapati (fried flat bread), or fried bananas.

Keep a look out for the little mobile kiosks alongside the main road which have some colorful American namesakes such as the Mrs. Obama and John Kerry gift shops (there is also a Obama Hotel in town) which were featured in the The Amazing Race. In addition to the marketplace, we’d recommend venturing to one of the local brickmaking sites as brickmaking serves as a major industry in the area and the process is interesting to watch. If you are interested in a richer exploration of the town, consider booking a guided tour which can likely be arranged from your hotel or through the Ganako Karatu Cultural Tourism Program. 

Drink the Local Coffee

Tanzanian coffee may not have the international recognition of coffee from nearby countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, but coffee has been grown in Tanzania for centuries and is one of the country’s largest exports. Karatu is an ideal growing area because of the mineral-rich volcanic soil and the altitude of the northern highlands.

There are a number of coffee plantations in the area, including the plantation at the well-known Gibb’s FarmShangri-La Estate  which produces NgoroNgoro Mountain Coffee, Blackburn Coffee Estate, and Ngila Coffee Estate. You can decide your level of interest in the local brew from simply sipping some of the local coffee at your lodge, buying a bag of beans to take back home, visiting a coffee plantation to learn the coffee production process, or actually staying on a working farm and coffee plantation such as Gibb’s Farm or the Shangri-La Estate.

Visit a Local Brewery

Travelers should try the local coffee while in Karatu; however, we also found out that Karatu has another type of brew for those wanting to be a bit more adventurous. It is probably best to visit with a guide but almost any local can also point you towards the brewery. We followed our guide Richard away from the market and through a maze of streets to the local brewery. The beer is boiled in one smoky room and stirred, fermented, bottled, and drank in another large room.

For less than a dollar, you are welcome to sample a cup of the beer. Richard asked that they give us beer that had been recently boiled to avoid any gastrointestinal issues (the safety and sanitation standards are not exactly up to par with Coors). A woman used a ladle to scoop a plastic cup full of beer from a plastic bucket of warm beer. The beer was warm and chewy as there were grains still remaining, but surprisingly it was mild and smooth in flavor. We made some quick (and tipsy) friends at the brewery before parting who seemed amused at our visit. We also walked by some other local people nearby who were grinding corn and other grains to be used for beer and spirits.

Volunteer your Time to a Worthy Project

There are a number of potential volunteer and charity opportunities in and around Karatu where you can benefit the local schools and orphanages, community centers, churches, or environment. Such opportunities can take place over the course of a day or last months depending on your interests and background. Remember that while you may want to work directly with kids, unless you can devote a significant amount of time (e.g., be a steady presence), it is less disruptive to children to help in other ways such as building school furniture, putting up a fence at the local orphanage, collecting school supplies, or painting a classroom.

It is best to commit to a project in advance so that the organizer can be prepared for your visit. Even if you don’t want to volunteer your actual time, you can still donate to a local project by donating money or supplies (e.g., school or medical supplies). Given our healthcare background, we took the time to visit the non-profit Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME) clinic and hospital founded and run by American husband-wife team Dr. Frank Artres and Susan Gustafson. Our visit here and discussion with both “Dr. Frank” and Susan was really inspiring and the clinic is an amazing example of what people can do when they dedicate their time to making a difference! Free guided visits to FAME can be arranged but must be done so in advance.

Explore the Karatu Iraqw Market

On the seventh day of each month a large market springs up in Karatu with a smaller version also taking place on the 25th of each month. This bimonthly market with local Iraqw vendors sells handicrafts, livestock, food, spices, clothing, household goods, pottery, and other items. A visit to the market is a great opportunity to pick up some unique souvenirs and stretch your legs. If your visit doesn’t correspond with the dates of the market, you can still visit the marketplace in Karatu town. 

Learn about the Iraqw culture

The Iraqw people are a Cushitic-speaking ethnic group who are well-known for their agricultural skills. The Iraqw have a large presence in the Karatu region and you can learn more about the Iraqw culture by interacting at the local markets, visiting a village, or even arranging a homestay. We took a hiking tour with Richard at Ganako-Karatu to an area studded with small Iraqw villages, farms, and homes just outside of Karatu. While many Iraqw now live in more modern housing, some Iraqw still live in traditional Iraqw houses made of mud, sticks, and straw.

Historically, the Iraqw and Maasai were warring tribes (there is still some animosity between some members of these groups) and the Iraqw devised a way to keep the Maasai from being able to steal their cattle by building their homes up against hillsides and keeping the animals inside the home. At night Maasai raiders would not be able to locate the homes or animal pens as they’d walk right along the roofs without realizing the Iraqw were dwelling inside with their goats and cattle. Along the hike we were able to see some of the traditional homes, meet some locals tending to their animals and crops, and even got to both try our hands at grinding and pounding maize.

We also visited a homestead of a lovely Iraqw woman who lives with her eight children and her mother in a traditional home. Sadly the husband/father ran out on the family several years ago, making it very difficult for the family to earn a living. We were offered seats on wooden stools and cups of hot tea. While no one in the family speaks English, we were able to converse a bit with the family with Richard serving as a translator.

Chickens, goats, and dog walk in and out of the home with a goat pen located in the center of the home and a cattle pen outside. It was very humbling to see how simply the family lives and it is clear that they sometimes struggle to be able to feed and clothe themselves. There was definitely something voyeuristic about the visit akin to slum tourism, but we learned from Richard that this family depends on the supplemental income from visits (Richard provides them with some money from each tour and they often receive tips from visitors) to be able to provide for the children. If you visit a homestead, it is appreciated if you leave a small monetary (preferably in Tanzanian shillings) or food donation to the visited family if you enjoyed their hospitality.

Search for Elephant Caves and Waterfalls in the Ngorongoro Forest Highlands

Nature lovers will want to consider a walk in the Ngorongoro Forest Highlands which is a nice compliment to a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. With a guide, you’ll learn about medicinal plants, view a number of bird species, watch waterfalls tumble down a cliff, and see the elephant caves. If you are lucky, you may also see a number of animals who live in the forest such as elephants, buffalo, baboons, and various reptiles. The so-called elephant caves are where elephants, as well as a number of other species, come to extract salt and other minerals from the soil.

We saw lots of evidence of elephants and buffalo along the paths in the form of dung, vegetation destruction, and footprints, but the only animals we spotted were baboons and birds. The entrance to the trail is located near Gibb’s Farm and while you can come here independently or with a local guide, you’ll be required to have one of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority guides with you once you pass the entry booth. The Endoro Gate Post is open from 7:30am – 4:00pm (7:30-16:00) and the hike is best done in the cooler morning hours as it requires some moderate exertion. Come prepared with sun protection, good walking shoes, and insect repellent and remember that while your chances of seeing a buffalo or elephants aren’t high these animals walk these same paths every day.

Hike or Bike in the Countryside

If you need a break from being cooped up in a safari vehicle all day, Karatu is a place where you get out and explore on your own two feet. Whether you want to bike along a dirt country road to take in pastoral scenery, hike inside the lush Ngorongoro Highland Forest, or climb a hill for some great views, you can find something that will appeal. Tours catering to specific interests such as medicinal plants or ornithology can also be arranged with a local knowledgable guide.

Also, just because you are outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area doesn’t mean the animals stick to the boundaries, and buffalo, elephants, baboons, hyena, bushback, and other animals are often spotted around the countryside of Karatu. Ask your hotelier for help in arranging for bike rentals (consider if you’ll need regular bikes or mountain bikes) and to find out about scenic walking and hiking opportunities.

Use Karatu as a Base for Day Trips

Many budget and camping safari operators use Karatu as a base for visits to the nearby Ngorongoro Crater as the town is located not far from the gate to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and a stay in Karatu may save money on entrance fees and lodging. In addition to visits to the amazing Ngorongoro Crater, Karatu can also be used as a base for day trips to Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi (where the Hadzabe Bushmen reside), Mlima Nyoka (climb “Snake Hill” for some great views), Oldean Village (a historical German settlement), and hikes along the Rift Valley. It can also be used as a base to visit Tarangire National Park, but we would not recommend it as it is a long drive. Depending on the day trip, you’ll want to take into account the extra time you might need to spend driving back and forth in relation to any cost savings or added convenience of staying in Karatu. 

Relax and Recharge 

Most travelers arriving in Karatu have been riding along dusty, bumpy roads, standing in Jeeps to observe the local wildlife, and eating lunches out of a box. Some are only a day or two into their safari while others have been at it for a week or more. Karatu is a perfect place to relax and recharge your traveler batteries. It can be the perfect place to enjoy a soft bed, a day without a full safari sightseeing schedule, and the peace of rural Tanzania. Karatu offers a range of accommodations from basic campsites to luxury lodges.

We stayed for two nights at the Karatu Simba Lodge and enjoyed having two full days to sleep in, relax by the pool, do some reading and blogging, go hiking, and take in cultural activities. If you are looking for some extra luxury, consider booking a lodge with massage and spa services such as Gibb’s Farm or Kitela Lodge. As amazing as seeing lions and elephants every day can be, sometimes you need a break to better appreciate the experience and to give your back a break from those bumpy roads!

So there are our top 10 things to do in Karatu Tanzania! We found Karatu to be a delightful bustling town that serves as a great stop for a bit of relaxation between game parks and an excellent place to engage in some cultural tourism. Those traveling through Karatu may want to spend a day or two exploring this often overlooked town.

Do you agree with Lonely Planet’s opinion or would you consider a stop here to explore this colorful town? If you’ve been, we’d love to hear about your visit and opinion on things to do in Karatu. Any questions about visiting Karatu, just ask us!

Uganda Gorilla Permits Increase

Uganda Gorilla Permits Increase

Uganda Gorilla permits Increase by Uganda Wildlife Authority

372afd3f e121 4935 a46a 77125c9bddfa Uganda Gorilla Permits Increase

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has announced an increase in the price of gorilla permits that will now cost a flat fee of 600USD in both low and high seasons for all visitors effective immediately.

This price increase will also affect tourists who had already made bookings for the low seasons of April, May and November.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) raised the price of Gorilla permits to be able to suitably compete with Rwanda whose gorilla permits had seen an increase from 750USD to 1500USD.

With that in mind, all 2018 Set Departures organized by Nature Bound Africa will require  750USD supplement to make up for the increase in price for gorilla permits.

For more information please reach us at info@natureboundafrica.com  OR call us on +255 784 737 413

Air France Return to JKIA

Air France Return to JKIA

Air France Return to JKIA – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after 18 years. 

Kenya is back on the world tourism and travel map. With this and direct flight to USA, Kenya will be a hot cake. Everyone will need to book early in 2018. Save more that 15% for early booking via – www.natureboundafrica.com

Airfrance Air France Return to JKIA

Africa Tales About Animals of African Savannah

Africa Tales About Animals of African Savannah.

Marangu Market Africa Tales About Animals of African Savannah

History shows that before the coming of colonialists in Kilimanjaro, the Chagga were well organised under small chiefdoms ruled by local ruler called Mangi or Wamangi. These chiefs ruled their subject using forces which were blessed by history, culture and traditional believes whereby the African leopard was regarded as spiritual symbol of the ruling class.

It said the pre-colonial traditional way of life in many parts of Tanzania including Kilimanjaro rain forests was a favourite home to big mammals of the savannah including African leopards which wander freely around villages in the whole area.

Different factors contributed to conservation of wild animals including the flourishing of the African leopard inside forest around Mount Kilimanjaro which was enabled by customary laws and traditional beliefs protected these big cats.

In Kilimanjaro those days, the leopards thrived in tropical rainforest which stand from 2,800 to 1,300 meters above the sea level through the Agro forest which today is found between 1,600 to 1,200 meters above the sea to the savannah forest which is on 1,600 to 700 meters above sea level.

It’s also said that due to the public support, during those days leopards of Mount Kilimanjaro were big but not dangerous although it is believed sometime they were able to break into a house to snatch a sheep or goat.

In those days the number of African Leopards grew bigger in the forest around mount Kilimanjaro because rules of pre-colonial Chagga did not allow anyone to hurt the spotted cat because it was regarded as sacred animal of the land.

In those good old days it was common to see a leopard during day time, not only that the big cat was allowed to wander into a house whenever it feels threatened by uncouth people.

From Machame, Rombo, Kibosho and Marangu it is believed that every clan had its own spiritual leopard which is believed to be responsible to protect members of the whole family at night.

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