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Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi Kenya Little Italy

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Malindi Kenya Little Italy

Malindi is a small town located in coastal Kenya. It acquired the name ‘Little Italy’ because of the growing Italian population in the area, which is more than 3,000 at present. It is also estimated that Italians own more than 2,500 properties there.

Three decades ago, the scene was not the same. The first batch of Italian tourists flew into the scenic coastal town in 1978 to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. The number of flights has been increasing ever since.

Smooth cultural integration between the locals and tourists has been a major factor facilitating the transaction. Locals in Malindi have grown fond of the Italians to an extent that their relationship crosses commercial boundaries.

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Malindi Kenya

You’ll definitely be forgiven for mistaking that you’re in Rome when in Malindi. The billboards are filled with Italian advertisements. Interestingly, locals from all walks of life in the quiet town are eloquent in the language as well.

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Malindi. The billboards

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.

 

How not to look like a tourist

How not to look like a tourist

How not to look like a tourist How not to look like a tourist

Looking like a tourist means making yourself a target for thieves, but you can make yourself less conspicuous by following these tips.

Don’t wear a bumbag

The latest fetching bumbag may mark you out as a professional wheeler and dealer down at your local car boot sale, but it can land you in hot water abroad. Your bulging cash sack instantly proclaims you’re a tourist and bumbags are a notorious favourite with knife-wielding moped-riding criminals.

Never unfurl your map in public

Nothing screams “I’m a tourist” more than extravagantly unfurling a humungous map at the top of the Spanish Steps and publicly planning your own Grand Tour of Rome. Opt instead for a more discreet map, or a map app on your smartphone, and check it somewhere more private, like in a cafe or at a bus stop en route.

Don’t stroll around in your favorite football top

Doing your Wayne Rooney impression might be all the rage in your local pub – and indeed in many British pubs abroad – but it instantly singles you out as a foreigner on the street. It also hones in on your country of origin – not always a good idea.

Don’t dawdle

Even if you’re not sure of exactly where you’re going, it is usually safer to stride with purpose, rather than dawdle awkwardly around on a street corner looking like a penguin in urgent need of the toilet. If you look like you don’t know where you are going, people will quickly pick up on the fact you’re not a local.

Avoid showing off your souvenirs

You may be very proud of your Kiss Me Quick hat or that giant wooden Zulu drum you snared after a hard haggle at an African market, but proudly displaying them in public will quickly single you out, so keep the presents and souvenirs hidden away until you get back home

Nothing says “tourist” quite like the incessant clicking of a camera. Photograph: Spiderstock/Getty Images

Never flash your camera

Having an expensive camera draped around your neck with a telephoto lens hanging to your belly button is going to give the game away. Restrict your David Bailey urges to the safer tourist areas. Your smartphone will do for quick snaps.

Avoid counting coins in public

Take time before you go, or at the airport, to get everyone familiar with the local currency. Having the locals muttering under their breath at the delay as you struggle to accumulate a euro in a painful collage of cent coins is bad enough, but you will instantly flag up your visitor status too.

Never leave anything in the hire car

We’re not talking just valuables, here – car hire leaflets, flight ticket stubs and maps are all clear indicators of your tourist status. In some countries, savvy car hire companies will help you stay incognito by hiring out unbranded cars without window stickers – don’t ruin it by giving the game away.

Don’t stare or point

You may well be spellbound by the diminutive old lady across the road walking noticeably faster than you – despite heaving a dozen copper pots on her head – but don’t drop everything to point it out to the rest of your party.

Don’t shun the local lingo

It is sometimes tempting to just muddle through by using loudly spoken English words and an extravagance of hand gestures to communicate. Learn a couple of basic words and phrases, though, and you might be able to mumble your way out of trouble – or at least make it sound like you are a more experienced expat

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.

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

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

Mafia Island No relations to THE MAFIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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