Destinations

  • Eleven Days Well Spent in Tanzania

    Bryan Fawcett
    November 21, 2017

    If you want to know how to spend 11 day on an Africa safari in Tanzania, here is a great account. Arriving at Kilimanjaro Airport, they were met by their guides, Lomayani and Freddie. From there they overnighted in Kilimanjaro Lodge, unaware of the great sightings they had in store and the experiences they will have. Well, they had expectations, but they are normally nothing compared what is experienced.

    Early the following morning they headed for Manyara National Park. Here they saw basic animals like elephants, and many small antelope, Impala, Dik dik. The next day, they arrived in the Serengeti National Park. Right at the gate, they had the pleasure of seeing a small part of the migration that is in the south of the park at the moment. The main sightings in the Serengeti were the big cats – lion and cheetah, that they saw over the three days that they were there. The Serena Lodge in the Serengeti was their base for these three days. Going out after a relaxing breakfast they had the pleasure of enjoying sightings throughout different times of the day. Animals are visible at certain times of the day, waterholes early morning and late afternoon, in shady areas at lunchtime, scattered on the grasslands the rest of the time. The predators are generally around little hills so they can have a lookout to see what is there from them to capture. At the lodge they saw buffalo and dik dik. Seeing these magnificent beasts whilst relaxing in the lodge is pretty amazing!

    In the Serengeti they had the opportunity of watching a lion family on the hunt, and how the mother and father look after their cubs. As you can see by the pictures they had a kill, now the father brings it closer and in a safer place for the cubs to feed. Protected by the rocks they can safely feed on the wildebeest that had been killed for them, the parents eat as well but make sure there is enough for the little cubs to eat. Other families seen were the cheetah laying about, as you can see they had recently eaten, hence the reason why they are lazing about. On the second day in the Serengeti they had a picnic lunch at a remote picnic site, The picture below shows how they spent it, great enjoyment all around.

     

    From the Serengeti they headed out and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The next day, they went into the Ngorongoro Crater, termed as the “8th Wonder of the World”. Inside the crater they got to see the black rhino, one of the most endangered species on Earth. Thereafter, they overnighted nighted in Karatu before heading to see the native tribes of the region. Two tribes with specific industries amongst them. The Hadzabe tribe specializes in hunting and the Datoga tribe in the blacksmith trade. Here they learnt how the Hadzabe hunt and the Datoga make tools and weapons. The trade between themselves and others for survival, the group had a local lunch with the tribes. Later, they headed to Tarangire National Park, where they went on a night game drive, with Brendan, the night safari guide. During this game drive they say jackal, bush babies, zebra, buffalo and elephants. Seeing these creatures at night is very different from the day, a true feeling of Africa comes over you.

    On their last day of safari they headed to Arusha National Park, where they saw flamingos and beautiful scenery around Mt. Meru. Spending these 11 days in Africa gave the ma true and authentic experience in Africa. Come join us on a similar itinerary customized just for you.

  • A Tanzania Safari Adventure

    Bryan Fawcett
    October 26, 2017

    A ten day safari multi country safari that became an adventure of a lifetime. Our client arrived in Arusha excited to go on a journey through the African bush. Her safari would take her into the depths of Tanzania and Uganda, finding animals that are awed among all others. 10 days and 6 parks was her itinerary for her epic adventure.

    Many of us including myself are jealous of this tailor made itinerary. Her first stop was Tarangire National Park. Here she stayed in Sangaiwe Tented Lodge it is has a beautiful view from the room balcony, after the drive and game drive through the park it was a great place to relax and see wildlife still. In the morning after breakfast, she had another game drive through the park seeing various animals and particularly having a few special moments watching elephants by the river.

    Exiting the park the went into the Ngorongoro region and spent the night at Country Lodge in Karatu. This is just a stopover before carrying on in the morning in the Serengeti where she headed to the central part to catch the plethora of animals there this time of year. This trek between parks is known for its “serengeti massage”, a term coined because of the continuous corregations on the dirt roads. Lomayani, our driver made this trek as pleasant as possible with colourful conversation and information to keep her happy. Once in the park, she had sightings of leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino allowing her to check of seeing the ‘Big Five’. On the game drives that day and the next two in the Serengeti she had the ability to the wildebeest migration in the Central Serengeti. Tanzania is wildly known for this great migration of animals moving in a southern to northern pattern and back again depending on the season and time of year. This specific time of year the main herd of the migration was in Northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara as the rains have hit that region before the southern and central parts. This guest had sightings of the smaller groups of animals, during her entire trip. Her stay and Serengeti Kati Kati camp was amazing they treated well and made her stay exceptional.

    Leaving the park on the third day she headed for Ngorongoro Crater. Some consider this to be the “The Eight Wonder of the World”. With the help of her driver they spotted. Overnighting at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, she had the perfect view of the crater right in front of her. In the morning, after an early breakfast they headed down into the crater to capture the beauty of this bucket list location. A few factors affect this awe inspiring crater; firstly, the scenery of how this crater has become an animal sanctuary; secondly, the diversity and plethora of wildlife; finally the combination of the previous factors has left people speechless and thankful for such amazing places on Earth. Our guest truly enjoyed herself here seeing the range of animals around.

    The next day was spent in traveling across to Uganda, where she would have a very different experience on her 10 day African safari. We will dedicate a full blog to her adventures in Uganda with the Gorillas. Send us an email if you want to know more on booking a safari with us and going on an amazing adventure.

  • How Much Does a Safari Cost? A Guide to Tanzania Safari Prices

    Chris Walker Bush
    October 25, 2017
    What does a Tanzanian safari cost? We give you a detailed breakdown of what goes into making your safari dream a reality.
  • News on Tarangire National Park

    Bryan Fawcett
    October 17, 2017

    Reports from recent safaris in Tarangire National Park, we can see the movement elephants in the region. Water is low now, due to the lack of rains in this short rainy season. A lot of the animals are migrating to where there is water still. The National Park is still relatively full of wildlife, as the region is protected from villages trying to seek water for their domestic herds of cattle, goats and sheep.

    The animals migrate in the park according to weather patterns and the access to water. The Tarangire River rarely drys up, so the elephants hang around the extent of the river depending on the vegetation in the area. Tarangire National Park is known for its large elephant population.

    At the moment the herds, are on the move and are covering large areas every day in search of food. Other animals are hanging around the swamp areas where there is more water and vegetation around. At lot of the lodges have pumped waterholes which allow for animals to stay in the areas but this is dependent on the vegetation in the area.

    From our pictures you can see that the elephants are moving in big herds relying on each other for protection and food. The lodges are getting fantastic views of elephants,  zebra, waterbuck, the odd wildebeest and a plethora of birds. It is without a doubt that you will wake up to sound of birds and a view of animals close by. You may even get an elephant close to your room in the night! Tarangire Safari Lodge, Sopa Lodge and Oliver’s Camp are excellent examples of lodges with this atmosphere around them.

    The WMA’s (wildlife management areas) next to the park have it pretty rough at the moment where domestic animals and the wild ones fight for vegetation and access to water. The areas close to the lodges in the WMA’s are a safe haven for wildlife and having waterholes close by they tend to stay. Nimali and Tarangire Treetops are prime examples of such places.

    Our guests recently have had the pleasure of seeing vast amounts of elephants and a range of other animals. Some were lucky enough to see lion, and a few other predators like hyena. This time of year the wildebeest and zebra are still here in a reasonable number, as later in the year they migrate for the calving season in February.

    I mentioned birds earlier, now let me explain them a little more. The amount of bird species in East Africa is huge, with many sub species. So for the avid birder reading here, you will immensely enjoy being in Tarangire, you just may fill up your SD card with birds! The beauty is that you don’t have to look hard, they are everywhere! Some birds you may get tired of seeing but there are certainly others that you won’t get the opportunity of seeing again! If you are counting you will be adding up your list pretty fast here.

    Keep on watching our blog and we will with delight bring you updates and news from places and events in East and Southern Africa.

  • 10 Reasons Why We Love Tulia Beach Resort, Zanzibar

    Lesia
    October 12, 2017

    Why do we think Tulia Unique Beach Resort is so special?

    1. Great Location

    Tulia Unique Beach Resort is located on one of the most picturesque coasts of the Zanzibar archipelago, Pongwe Beach.

    Pongwe is famous for its white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. In addition to its natural beauty, it is also one of the most peaceful areas of Unguja, the biggest island of Zanzibar. You will not find crowds of people walking along the coast here, so you will be able to enjoy your rest and privacy in full.

    tulia-garden-beauty

    2. Design

    What we cannot miss when describing Tulia is the beautiful, modern African design of both its interior and exterior. It has sixteen beautiful spacious rooms with huge beds and bathtubs. Its style connects traditional African motifs with modern facilities. Each of the resorts oceanfront villas has its own spectacular Indian Ocean view from atop ocean cliffs. The remaining villas are surrounded by tropical gardens with more than 400 different local plants.

    bedroom-tulia

    3.Food

    Tulia offers guests an à la carte, all-inclusive dining experience, which means you get to select each of your meals in advance. This means thatyou will get everything you like carefully prepared by the hotel’s chef. The menu is mostly international cuisine with traditional flavours added by locally sourced ingredients and spices. Your all-inclusive package offers you both local and international beers, wines, and spirits excepting some elite alcohol. Our Shadows of Africa team can confirm that food in Tulia is delicious.

    4. Pool

    A lot of hotels can boast having their own pool, but Tulia’s pool looks like a piece of art.

    It blends beauty, design, and that all-important relaxing atmosphere flawlessly. The pool feels as if it is a part of the hotel’s luscious tropical garden, which gives you a feeling as if you are swimming in an exotic lagoon rather than a manmade pool. For the young and the young at heart, Tulia is also the only resort on Zanzibar with its own waterslides.

    tulia_beaty-pool

    5. Decorations

    It is nice to stay in a luxurious and well-designed villa with  nice and inspired decor.

    Our team recently visited and had the opportunity to stay in one of the oceanfront villas.They were more than happy to enter the room fully decorated with flowers for the special birthday occasion. The “Happy Birthday” sign was written with flowers on the sand beside the villa’s terrace. Even small details in the room were embellished with colorful fresh flowers.

    birthday-tulia

    6. Staff

    You cannot feel comfortable at the hotel if you do not feel sincerely welcomed there. When it’s about Tulia, you will enjoy your stay from the first step. Everyone is greeting and smiling at you.

    Upon arrival, you will be met by the management to agree all your preferences and requirements. The general manager of the resort, Lukas Sinogl will personally check if your stay is pleasant. Tulia is a unique place where you will get luxury treatment, but will feel like you’re at home.

    tulia-dinner

    7. Service

    Behind great reviews there is always a lot of work. To get service perfection, Tulia takes care of clients with a great level of attention. You will not leave the dining table if you are not full or delighted, the barmen will take care of preparing your favorite drinks, and housekeeping will keep your villa clean and tidy. Once you arrive, your complimentary bottle of wine will await you in your room and your free massage included to the package will be arranged at your earliest convenience.

    birthday-tulia-bottle

    8. Activities

    If you don’t like to stay on the beach or near the pool all the time, you can add some activities to your time at Tulia. The resort offers free bike hire, as well as complimentary snorkeling and kayaking equipment.

    Other watersports activities can be arranged on  request. To make your time even more relaxing, you can visit the spa for massage and beauty treatments.

    slides-tulia

    9. Atmosphere and entertainment

    Everything in Tulia is carefully designed to ensure that you have a good rest. Even the word “tulia” in Swahili means “to relax”. Its picturesque and colorful garden with tropical birds will definitely become one of your favorite spots on the island!

    But “relaxing” doesn’t have to mean “boring”. The hotel occasionally invites local bands to perform during dinner to lend the resort a more vibrant atmosphere. On Fridays, you can even ask to arrange a transfer to local festivities. Tulia can offer the perfect experience for any taste.

    tulia-hammak

    10. Perfection

    Not big, not pompous, but elegant and comfortable, Tulia will leave you with an aftertaste of perfection. You will remember the great customized service, beauty, and smiles all around, all set against the backdrop of Zanzibar’s stunning natural beauty. It is a great option for honeymooners, families, and good friends. Our team will not hesitate to recommend it for you!

    tulia-tanzania

  • An Extraordinary African Safari

    Bryan Fawcett
    October 11, 2017

    Before we get to the actual story, I have to restate the heading. A wild dog sighting in the Serengeti National Park! To see these amazing creatures is truly amazing, there are not many packs left in the wild throughout Africa today, there are an estimated number of 6,600 left in the wild, and they have been endangered for more than 20 years. A pack can cover a range of 900 square miles, so getting a chance to see them is awesome! I have lived in Africa all my life and have only seen them in the wild twice; hopefully, I’ll get to see them again soon! So these guests of ours were truly lucky! Most areas where they exist now have programs that monitor and protect them.

     

    These guests had the beauty of seeing a few endangered species on their safari, with different settings to admire these magnificent creatures. So they saw the wild dog and the vulture, two of Africa’s endangered animals. They had the opportunity to see the wild dogs playing about in the shade and the vultures at a zebra kill. Both sightings are really good the photos will show you that. Yet, as mentioned earlier, the wild dog is by far one of the rarest sightings you will have in the Serengeti.

    The guests were overjoyed in seeing these beautiful animals! Our driver, did a great job in finding these animals. The wild dogs are a playful bunch always looking for fun and games. They are such great creatures.

    The guests were able to watch vultures and lion squabble over a zebra kill. Vultures are also amongst the endangered species that exist in the savannah plains. Sitting and watching these animals you realize that survival of the fittest is at play here, there is no mommy to look after you in the African bush.

    The strongest only survive here and from these pictures you can see that! Even among the same species you have to fight, survive and be better than the one next to you. You can learn a lot about life from watching wildlife whilst on an African safari.

    Here is a picture of a cheetah on an anthill, from this picture you can see he is on it to get a view of his surroundings so that he can locate his prey. On examination of this picture you can see that this anthill is used for many things, it’s a den from hyena or warthog sometimes both. Fun fact, termites which built this anthill are regarded keystone creatures in the circle of life, as they provide shelter for themselves and also for other animals.

    Lion prides are common because of the plethora of animals around. Our guests got to see a few prides in different settings, from lazing in the shade to defending a kill. It is always good to see cubs about this shows that the lion population is maintaining itself in the region.

    Our guests were extremely lucky to see a vast range of animals on safari and especially to see some of Africa’s most endangered animals.

  • andBeyond Mnemba Private Island

    Lesia
    October 4, 2017

    andBeyond Mnemba island is a private island paradise considered to be one of the most unique, luxurious and expensive hotel you can find on the Zanzibar archipelago.

    Intrigued, the Shadows of Africa team was wondering whether the property lives up to its hype and its hefty price tag and decided to check it out for themselves. Julia and Lesia from our Ukrainian office had a short stay in the lodge and were blown away by their experience.

    mnemba island

    Location

    andBeyond Mnemba Island is a private island located not far from Unguja, the largest island of Zanzibar.

    It takes around twenty minutes to get to Mnemba by boat from Muyuni Beach. During the trip you will enjoy the view of Mnemba, traditional dhow boats and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

    The resort is an exclusive one and you’reonly allowed to set foot on the island only if you have booked a room in the resort.

    rooms-mnemba

    bathroom-mnemba

    Rooms

    When the ladies arrived on Mnemba, they were met by the management and got a short briefing regarding their stay. The chef came out to greet them and to double-check all their dietary preferences. After welcome drinks, they were escorted to their luxurious room.

    AndBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge has ten beachfront bandas with no windows or doors. This gives guests a truly exclusive feel to their vacation, with approximately 20 guests can stay on the island at any onetime. Each of the bandas sit apart from one another, promising you  maximum privacy.

    Each of the bandas is surrounded by tropical forest and has a spacious veranda with easy access to the pristine beach. Guests get their own lounge zone and traditional Zanzibari sunbeds. A covered walkway will bring you to a shuttered bathroom with a huge shower. Basically, in the bandas you will find everything that you would expect to find in a luxuryhotel, all while maintaining that feeling of connection with nature. Julia and Lesia felt that they got a truly decadent Robinson Crusoe experience.

    mnemba-food

    view-mnemba-tanzania

    Food

    The chef took care of a tasty lunch with a choice of different starters and main courses. The food was so good that the ladies even broke their rule and ordered dessert. The sorbet with cardamom and pineapple looked too attractive to refuse!

    If you have any special dietary requirements, the hotel will take care of it in advance.

    Dinner in Mnemba is usually served on the beach. You will get a beautiful set up surrounded with lights. You’llbe served by your own butler. After a delicious meal,the staff of the hotel did a birthday surprise for Lesia - a beautiful cake decorated with fruits and candy!

    Breakfast on the island is served with a variety of fruits, seeds, and natural jams.The chef and your butler will follow all your preferences. The guests dine in the main restaurant admiring the view of the ocean. Though, you can always request it be served in your villa and enjoy some privacy.

    dinner-mnemba

    Activities

    Sleeping in Mnemba is a very unique experience. Your bed faces the ocean and the absence of a door lets the gentle crash of the waves lull you to sleep. You’ll rest safe and sound beneath a mosquito net in your huge, comfortable bed and wake to the sound of birds singing their dawn greetings.

    In the morning, the ladies decided to explore the island. Mnemba Island is surrounded by a coral atoll which has been declared as a Marine Conservation area. It is a great spot for divers and snorkelers.. As it’s a house reef, you don’t even need a boat! Just walk into the water and explore the marine life. If you have a PADI certification two dives per day are even included in the package!

    You can also go kayaking, wind-surfing or go for a sunset dhow-cruise. There are three dolphin species around the island, whale sharks, and around 600 species of coral reef fish. If you are lucky, you might even spot humpback whales! The beach of the island is also a nesting place for Green Sea Turtles, which you can see from February to September.

    Besides the stunning beach, the island can boast a tropical forest with some rare antelope and bird species. Here you can meet the suni antelope and even the highly endangered Ader’s duiker.

    mnemba-villa

    Privacy

    Julia and Lesia experienced privacy in full in Mnemba. Guests of the island might meet each other sometimes during lunch or walking around the beach, but you will definitely get a feeling this island is just for you!

    andBeyond Mnemba Island is not a place for party people, who like to interact with other guests, enjoy shows, and participate in extreme activities. It is perfect for that travelers who would like to get some relaxation and time for themselves, who wants to forget about the work and their problems, connect with a nature and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is also for that once who appreciates great service and barefoot luxury experience.

  • Climbers Experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Bryan Fawcett
    September 30, 2017

    We all get told climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is amazing, that it is one of the seven great peaks to climb on your bucket list; here is some great stories of guests who climbed it recently. First, before I relate these stories to you, let me give you an overview of the largest mountain in Africa. For it has a few facts that most people get confused with. Mt. Kilimanjaro is located in the Republic of Tanzania, in East Africa, most people think it in Kenya as well just like they think the Serengeti is in Kenya too; but they are not, Tanzania is the place for these great features.

    Our latest brochure is about Mount Kilimanjaro and it explains to you what we offer and what is needed for this bucket list adventure of climbing this mountain. There are a few routes, but we mainly take our guests up the Marangu route or the Machame routes. The number of days needed to climb and get back down vary per route and per group! So when booking, make sure you know these important details, because these details will make your Kilimanjaro trek far more satisfactory and enjoyable. Below is a story from one of our guests recently.

    For the Mt Meru trek, our group of 3 were led by Amir and his team of support staff (1 cook, 1 waiter/head porter and 5 other porters). We were grouped together with 3 other companies totaling 9 clients. This was because visitors to Arusha National Park are required to be accompanied by one of their armed rangers which there are a limited number of. Shadows of Africa was noticeably more professional than the other companies I saw. During the trip briefing, Amir made sure that we all had the necessary clothing and equipment by actually checking what we brought over. Our heart rates and oxygen levels were monitored and recorded at the end of every day during the trek (something I’ve never had to do elsewhere — nice touch!). We were talking to our other fellows trekkers with other companies, and almost none of them were as well briefed as us. Some were quite unprepared clothing wise and their guides lacked professionalism (more on that below). The porter to client ratio is apparently set to 2:1 and they each have a weight limit restriction as the government is trying to dissuade operators from overloading their porters. So it’s not surprising if the number of support staff is quite large relative to the group size. My recommendation would be to do the 3D/2N option instead and ask your operator beforehand if they can arrange a car to pick you up from Miriakamba Hut and drive directly back down to the park gates.

    Our guide, Amir was an excellent guide given his experience in leading treks up to the much higher, Mount Kilimanjaro. My friend felt weak from stomach problems before the trek even started, and he provided attentive care throughout the entire trek. On the morning of the third day when we were summiting, one of the other trekkers started feeling unwell with blurred vision likely due to the effects of high altitude. As we were at the front of the group, we didn’t find out about her condition until well into the summiting trek. It’s to my understanding that her own guide (who was also the park ranger overlooking all of us) had her keep going up and barely addressed her concerns. Amir had to step in and lead her hand-in-hand safely back down. I’m quite disappointed on how the guides from the other companies handled the situation as they barely provided any help. Even though the girl wasn’t their own client, they somehow didn’t find it in them to even provide words of comfort. They just stood off to the side. I’ve been on many treks before where the guide doesn’t really play an important role but after this incident, I now realize how important it is to have an experienced guide. Amir saved the day! I highly recommend requesting for him for trekking tours with Shadows of Africa.

  • Traveling to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

    Bryan Fawcett
    September 28, 2017

    Recently, some of our team had the pleasure of exploring Zimbabwe and its great sights and National parks. Present was Jake and Stacy from the USA office and Bryan from the Zimbabwean office. Exploring a country like this is truly a delight that must be on one's bucket list. Arriving at the new Victoria Falls International Airport was a welcoming moment, as you walk out men dressed in traditional animal cloth, sung welcoming songs for us in Shona and Indebele. It takes roughly 20 mins from the airport to the town, Victoria Falls, itself. The town is quaint, much smaller than you would imagine. Victoria Falls is the tourism hub of Zimbabwe, the majority of the people visiting here will pass through this little town.

    Now on this particular visit, we crossed the border and stayed at two hotels on the Zambian side, the Avani Hotel and the Royal Livingstone. Crossing the border these days as a tourist has become one of the easiest things possible, mainly due to the existence of the Kaza Visa – a visa that allows for unhindered travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia. A detailed blog post will follow explaining all the details regarding this visa. Over the next few days, they travelled frequently across the border without any hassle.

     

    The Avani Hotel and the Royal Livingstone though owned by the same company are very different and cater for very different people. From medium to super luxury you certainly will get catered for with comfort! These two great hotels are located along the Zambezi River, you can have sundowners right on the edge whilst watching the sunset in the mist of Victoria Falls! It takes just a few minutes walk before you are at the edge of the falls, we highly recommend the walk early in the morning as you will get to see the sunrise over the falls! You will definitely tick off some of your greatest memories ever made! Further up the River, there is Thorntree Lodge, a medium to luxury lodge, that will blow away your mind. It is also located right along the river so you can sit in your room or private pool and admire the river life right before you.

    Bryan had previously been to Victoria Falls in 2016, and his excursions there will tell you that this is the adrenaline capital of Africa! The activities here are rated in the top 5 in the world, you will not leave disappointed. From bungee jumping and gorge swinging above the Zambezi, white-water rafting on the Zambezi to the flight of angels above the falls; you cannot go wrong coming here. Other activities like the lion encounter, games drives in Zambezi National Park, boma dinners, the devil’s pool, sunset cruises and dinners, the elephant encounter, will keep you occupied from dawn till dusk every day that you are here.

    Great hotels and lodges on the Zimbabwean side like the Explorers Village, The Victoria Falls Hotel, Vic Falls River Lodge, Vic Falls Safari Lodge, and many others will keep you satisfied during your stay in this great little town.

    Watch our website for information about all these activities and accommodations in this region, email us if you have any questions.

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