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Off-the-beaten-path

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.

 

Mount Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route the most difficult and demanding route on Kilimanjaro, and the most spectacular.

kilimanjaro umbwe route Mount Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route

The Umbwe route is not a technical route, but it is a very direct, very steep, very tough, and in parts very exposed route.

The Umbwe route joins the Machame route near the Barranco Camp on the second night. On the other routes Barranco Camp is reached on the third or fourth night. Goes to show how much steeper Umbwe is…

Parts of the trail on the first day are so steep, they can only be negotiated because the tree roots provide something like steps. The tree roots also serve as handle bars to haul yourself up where needed…

The second day is also steep and uphill all the way. The exposed ridge is not for people uncomfortable at heights… And have a guess why the “Rope Rock” (Jiwe Kamba) is called “Rope Rock”…

This is the most difficult and demanding of all Kilimanjaro climb routes. Don’t even think about it unless you have experience climbing mountains.

Having said that, it is a spectacular route!

Mount Kilimanjaro Shira Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Shira Route this one catapults you to some serious altitude on the first day.

Kilimanjara Shira Route Map1 Mount Kilimanjaro Shira Route

The Shira route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west and then joins the Machame route. Hence everything that has been said about the Machame climb route also applies to the Shira route.

There are several variations to the Shira route. It can be done in six days but most operators also offer a longer version of it. (A really good operator will also time their departure and stagger their camps in a way that avoids the heaviest traffic on the Machame trail.)

  • That and the added transport cost can make Shira a more expensive option.
  • The first day on the Shira route is different to other climb routes:
  • It follows a four wheel drive route. So you either walk on the road for most of the day (not very attractive) or you opt to drive as far as possible.
  • The latter not only means you skip the first stage of the climb, the rainforest zone. It also means that you catapult your body to a height of over 3500 m/11500 ft without time for proper acclimatization.
  • If you live near sea level and you only flew into Tanzania the day before, this may hurt.

Overall, Shira has excellent success rates if the schedule involves a night at Karanga Valley (making for a short and easy day before the summit day). However, the good success rate is partly due to the operators on this route being higher level than on the more crowded routes.

Like the Machame route, the Shira route is for people who are confident in their ability to hike in difficult terrain and camp out for extended periods. It has less traffic but it is a more expensive option. You should also be confident about the way you will react to the altitude on the first day.

Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route the easiest route on Kilimanjaro

kilimanjaro map rongai route Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

The six day version of the Rongai route (via Mawenzi Tarn) is the route of choice for those looking for an easy climb with excellent success rates, but away from the crowds, with great scenery and a wilderness feel to it. It is slightly more expensive.

The Rongai route is the only climb route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north. The descent is in the south-east via the Marangu route, so you get to see both sides of the mountain.

The extra transport cost makes a Rongai route climb more expensive. It is also more expensive because there is less demand and fewer budget operators.

The Rongai route has a reputation of being less scenic, but even if there is not quite as much variety as on Machame, it is still a spectacular route, especially on the later days. The camp beneath Mawenzi Peak is one of the most scenic on the mountain.

Rongai is also one of the routes where seeing wildlife on Kilimanjaro is still possible.

The Rongai climb has the same easy, gradual climb profile as the Marangu route. It rises very steadily, there aren’t any steep climbs involved, no major ups and downs.

However, the camps are staggered a lot better than on Marangu. On your last day before the summit attempt you only ascend a few hundred metres, and you have all afternoon to rest and acclimatise.

With a good operator you have an 80 – 90% chance to make it to the crater rim, and 70 – 80% will make it to Uhuru Peak.

(If you have some trekking experience your chances to make it to the summit could be as good as 90%. (The remaining 10% come down to weather, individual preparation, individual altitude tolerance and unforeseen mishaps.)

The Rongai route has another important advantage: the northern side of Kilimanjaro is a lot drier than the other side. Your chances NOT to get soaked on the first days are excellent. Especially if you climb Kilimanjaro during one of the wetter periods of the year, using Rongai makes a lot of sense.

Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route the only Kilimanjaro climb route that offers hut accommodation.

kilimanjaro routes marangu Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route is jokingly referred to as the “Tourist Route” or “Coca-Cola Route.”

It’s called “Tourist Route” for two reasons. One reason is simply its popularity: it makes this climb route somewhat touristy.

The Marangu route is also the only climbing route that uses the same path up AND down, which contributes to it being the most crowded climb route on Kilimanjaro.

The Marangu route is a comfortable walking path with a very steady, gradual slope (at least until you reach the last camp). This gave the Marangu route a reputation as an “easy” climb route.

And that’s the other reason for the name “Tourist Route”: because it is supposed to be “easy”, the Marangu route is used by many shockingly unprepared “tourists”, rather than trekkers.

The name “Coca Cola Route” stems from the sleeping huts along the route. They sell the stuff (as well as bottled water and candy bars). The Marangu route is the only Kilimanjaro climbing route that offers hut accommodation. Camping is not allowed.

A climb on the Marangu route is comparatively cheap. You need no camping equipment (no cost for extra porters to carry the equipment) and you can do the climb in five days/four nights. Also, many cut throat budget operators run treks on this route.

But make no mistake: the Marangu route is NOT easy and it is NOT for tourists! It is a serious climb with very low success rates. Only a quarter to a third of the climbers on this route reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. The reason?

  • The “tourists” on this route are shockingly unprepared.
  • A five day climb does not allow for sufficient acclimatization, many climbers have to turn around because of altitude sickness. (You can add an optional acclimatization day.)
  • Budget operators have much lower client success rates. Equipment, food, experience level of guides, all that makes a big difference and all that costs money.
  • The last day before the summit attempt is a long one and covers 1000 m of altitude difference. There is not much time to recover or acclimatize before setting out again at midnight to climb another 1200 m. Not good.

Add to that the lack of scenic variety compared to the other routes, and you wonder why anyone would want to climb Kili on the Marangu route.

Well, even if not as scenic as other routes, it is still a spectacular experience with great views all along. There are two reasons why you may want to climb Kilimanajaro on the Marangu route:

  1. You absolutely can not, under no circumstances, imagine sleeping in a tent for five nights or more. (But don’t think those huts offer luxury accommodation or that there are any amenities. There aren’t. You get a mattress and pillow – no linen – on a bunk bed, and you get to eat in a crowded dining hall. No less and no more.)
  2. The other reason to select Marangu is if money is your main consideration, before everything else. I you don’t care about scenery, aren’t worried by big crowds, and are willing to accept a reduced chance of success, Marangu is the cheapest option you have. (But do yourself a favour and take that optional extra acclimatisation day.)
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