Safari Diary

  • Mt Meru - Kilimanjaro’s stunning little sister!

    Fredrick Mwange
    May 16, 2019

    Shadowed by the size of Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru, despite being an impressive 4,562m, does not get the attention it deserves.

    ROUTE TO THE TOP

    This scenic volcanic shell of a mountain, the surrounding Arusha National Park, the beautifully kept route and mountain huts are awesome!

    Starting our climb we walked, like a dream, into a grassy meadow and ambled past giraffe and cape buffalo, peacefully watching us at close quarters, bemused by our enthusiasm and sprightly pace. The back drop was the spectacular (active but dormant) volcano we were aiming to summit, bust open at its centre, with only the ash cone left as evidence of its majestic past.

     

    WATERFALL REFRESHMENT.

    The walk to Miriakamba, through giant cedar trees and olives, is truly lovely. Paths are well maintained and the climb was surprisingly pleasant with sightings of bush buck and red duiker en route. Although out of breath, we managed just fine arriving, in the sunshine, at the inviting wooden chalets that would host us for the night.

    Fuelled with steaming soup, hot porridge, pancakes and bananas we set off upwards and onwards, climbing high up out of the montane forests and into the Afroalpine heath zone. Stopping for lunch on the way, again we reached our next port of call, Saddle hut, feeling strong.

    THE ELEPHANTS BACK – A WELCOME STOP

    Well informed by our guide we ate lots and rested early and woke at midnight. Armed with torches we struck out, determined to summit. The climb is long, its challenging but my goodness its rewarding.

    TRICKY, BUT STILL SMILING

    SUMMIT OF MT MERU AT DAWN

    Reaching the top at dawn was stunning, and tripping back down the knife edge that we had climbed in the dark, with the views of the crags and caldera and its cone were breathtaking. Absolutely unbeatable

    Shadows of Africa, you surpassed our expectations with Mt Meru. Kilimanjaro bring it on!

     

     

  • The Magnificently Located New ‘Mpingo Ridge - Tarangire’, By Lemala

    Fredrick Mwange
    May 10, 2019

    A visit by our Shadows of Africa Safari Consultant Inge Olde Rikkert

    The saying ‘beautiful things don’t ask for attention’ is true of Mpingo Ridge. It’s just there in itself, understated, turning the spotlight onto its surroundings and guests.

    This new Lemala property has been placed with the views as its top priority. High up amongst the ebony of Tarangire it gives perspective to the vastness below and an insight into the significance of nature.

    MPINGO RIDGE LEMALA_VIEW OVER TARANGIRE

    Set back from the main tourist tracks of Tarangire, Mpingo Ridge is a little more interesting and a lot more peaceful. Forget the lions, buffalo, elephant, zebra and masses of antelope we had just seen, this was impressive!

    LOUNGE AREA MPINGO RIDGE

    BEDROOM TENT MPINGO RIDGE

    BUBBLE BATH WITH NATURE

    The 15 tents are modern in design, spacious and give the privacy desired to absorb the panorama around you, as well as to luxuriate in a bath or shower inside or out, under a canopy of stars. Just what I needed with the rains having started and after a muddy and adventurous game drive!

    ADVENTURE IN TARANGIRE

    Aside from the décor and the surroundings Mpingo Ridge delivered service and food beyond expectation. The picnic lunch was especially worth a mention.

    DINING AREA MPINGO RIDGE

    Thanks, Mpingo Ridge, for being so thoughtful and for making me feel beautiful too.

     

  • A Captivating Combination

    Fredrick Mwange
    May 7, 2019

    Wildlife, Community, And Culture Across A Multitude of Scenic Soda Lakes

    Wildlife in Tanzania would not exist without the communities that are an integral part and parcel of its ecosystems and landscapes; only to experience this is to comprehend. Our 9-day safari was designed especially with this in mind.

    Introduced to Africa with a day on the beguilingly beautifully forested slopes of Mt Meru volcano in Arusha National Park, and the fascinating different colors of the Momella lakes, we then headed out to the elephants and baobabs of Tarangire National Park and across to the groundwater forests and spectacular shores of Manyara National Park, witnessing a first glimpse of the vast array of wildlife that Tanzania has to offer.

    ELEPHANT_TARANGIRE

    Dropping down to the expansive views of Lake Eyasi under the shadows of the Ngorongoro Highlands we were fascinated both with the scenery and with the different cultures of the people.

    First observing the blacksmithing skills of the Datoga, we then had the most incredible encounter with the hunter-gather Hadzabe, joining them for a hunt in lands now protected for their way of life. Numbering only around 1,000, they have lived successfully with their nature in this harsh and dry environment for thousands of years.

    HUNTING_WITH_THE_HADZABE_LAKE EYASI

    Moving on just got better. Driving up into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we camped right on the rim of the crater, saw rhino in the caldera and then drove on into Serengeti National Park and spent three breathtaking days in the company of millions of wildebeest, zebra, lion, hippo, buffalo, elephant, topi, impala, and warthog.

    The finale was no less engaging. I have never taken in a landscape as alluring as Lake Natron, the Ol Donyo Lengai volcano and the Masonic mountains.

    In this dry and thought-provoking environment, we gained yet more insight into the people of Tanzania. Learning about the Maasai, first hand, we returned to our starting point, Arusha, in awe of this country, its culture and its wildlife.

    Can’t wait to experience a safari for yourself: contact us today!

  • Copious Cats in the Serengeti

    Fredrick Mwange
    May 2, 2019

    Serengeti never ceases to impress experienced Shadows of Africa guide, Ukadi Msuya, and this time was no less incredible! What an amazing visit for his guests Guido and Mariana! Cheetah, lion, leopard and one of the most stunning of the smaller felines – a serval cat, in just two days.

    Seldom seen, serval cat are shy cats with enormous ears which they, interestingly, use them for echolocation to detect their prey. It’s a special day when you get to hang out with a serval cat.

    SERVAL CAT _ SERENGETI

    PAIR_OF_CHEETAH_SERENGETI

    Staying at the incredibly stylish Melia hotel throughout their time in Serengeti, Guido and Mariana could have been forgiven for choosing just to relax and look at the spectacular view! Electing to explore instead, they were well rewarded not only with the cat sightings but with views of the expansive migration of wildebeest and zebra as well as hippo, Nile crocodile, klipspringers, buffalo, topi and many other plains game.

    SPECTACULAR_MALE_LEOPARD_SERENGETI

    Safaris to Serengeti National Park are often combined with visits to both Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater and this was no exception. Guido and Mariana wisely complimented their amazing wildlife experiences with some of the best accommodation in northern Tanzania.

    Lucky to have Ukadi’s expert eye they spent their day in Manyara amongst elephants, lion, baboon, blue monkeys, black faced monkeys, monitor lizard, hippo, zebra and wildebeest, not to mention the birds and the stunning groundwater forest.The evening was enjoyed winding down and recollecting while looking down over Lake Manyara from the comfort and luxury of the Manyara Escarpment Lodge.

    HIPPO_LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

    Ngorongoro was no less enthralling with still more lion sightings, finally getting to see a black rhino in the wild and both golden and black backed jackals gracing their path. The Acacia Farm Lodge in Karatu always compliments a crater visit, and allowed Guido and Mariana the choice to stretch their legs around the calm of the gardens and farm or to simply sip a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet to reflect on their amazing trip!

    All photographs by: Guido Heijblok

    Can’t wait to experience a safari for yourself: contact us today!

  • How to Behave on Zanzibar During Ramadan

    Fredrick Mwange
    April 24, 2019
    As a majority Muslim region, Zanzibar observes Ramadan each year. If your visit to the island paradise occurs during Ramadan, here are a few guidelines as to how you should behave in order to be respectful of local beliefs.
  • A Weekend Safari in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

    AdminSoa
    April 17, 2019
    One of our safari experts, Inge recently paid a visit to Tarangire National Park for a weekend safari and shares her astounding pictures from the trip.
  • Snow on Kilimanjaro in October

    Bryan Fawcett
    November 23, 2017

    One of the strangest things to experience in hot humid October in Africa, is snow! The only reason for it is altitude, yet it still is strange! Coming from overseas, it is cold already and snow is normal, but for us Africans, this is not normal at all, even temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius is most parts of Africa! As seen in the pictures below the landscape of Kilimanjaro changes completely and the beauty of it does not disappoint.

    Two beautiful young ladies completed their bucket list item in the snow! Starting in the raging heat and humidity of Moshi, they started the gradual climb, first to the base of Kilimanjaro where they met the team that would help them summit the largest free-standing mountain in the world. Acquiring on the permits and park fees etc takes several hours, before you start climbing the mountain at lunchtime. Now the distance to the summit on the popular Machame route is but is takes several days to it, due to the elevation increase. Doing an average of 7km a day, the climb up the mountain is physically draining on the body. So up the mountain they climbed, slowly and steadily under the watchful eye of our guide Amir.

    Taking many stops along the way, to eat or just take shorts rests to catch your breath on the ever less oxygen availability. Hiding behind rocks and large boulders, these women re-hydrated on water and replenished their belly’s with snacks. From the stunning photos you can see the change in vegetation to the lack thereof. From the rain forest at the base and light showers, to the barren lands with harsh winds and snow; the scenery has the ability to make you hold your breath in each of these places on the way up and down the mountain.

    Close to the summit one has to climb over and around a glacier, one of the few left in Africa. Snow encompasses the entire peak of the mountain, temperatures drop well before zero. Starting in the early morning, 3 a.m. to be exact, with an all dawn trek, they get to see the sunrise right at the peak of the mountain. Stopping to take stunning shots of the landscape, that this elevation provides. The pictures below show you that this is certainly true. It takes 6 days to climb and about a day to decline. The same day you summit you are back in Moshi, stoked beyond belief. The climb down is fast, and much shorter than most. It is a long day but most likely the one you will remember for a lifetime to come!

    Climbing this mountain does require some level of fitness, when preparing to climb Kilimanjaro make sure you have it a good hiking fitness is good. At Shadows Of Africa, we make sure you are kept safe and healthy all the way up and down, our guide and porters are there to assist you with any need. If you haven’t climbed any of the mountains in East Africa yet, contact us today to get details.

     

  • 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.

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