Safari Diary

  • 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.

  • Adventures on Safaris this July

    Bryan Fawcett
    september 21, 2017

    The safaris in July were absolutely fantastic, our clients truly enjoyed themselves, and were left awestruck. The parks traveled to were mainly the Serengeti, Tarangire and Manyara. We had a variety of clients, from families to just single people traveling in groups or by themselves.

    Our drivers are some of the most experienced locals in the industry, because of this the guests leave not sightings species but also are able to tell stories to their families and friends back home about these beautiful creatures. Our goal is to create experiences for our guests and educate them about Africa and the beauty of it. As distances are far getting from one place to another, it is guaranteed that our drivers will make the drive pleasant filled with laughter and stories about this great continent.

    Most of our safaris have a cultural tour inserted inside which allows the guests to experience first-hand shooting bows and arrows, watch how domestic animals are skinned if you have the stomach for it that is. Otherwise, you can learn how to throw Maasai spears. In these tours, you learn about the culture of the native people in the area and how they live, their traditions and history, sources of income and food. What amazes myself and I am sure most of you, is how they have integrated their cultures etc into the modern world, yet the simplicity of their lives is outstanding. Could you live like this even for just a week?

    As this particular dry season, this year has been drier than normal, the wildlife was pretty scattered across the parks in search of water and food, having a great sighting of animals was pretty lucky. By the photos in this post, you can see that the guests made great memories and had lots of fun. If you have not been to Africa yet, or not this part of Africa we can assure you that memorable experiences will be created with us.

    The migration in July was in northern Serengeti, the river crossing sightings were spectacular! As this is the time of year that they are moving in between the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti. The Mara River is one of the best places to see the famous wildebeest river crossings. Here you will how the animals cross and how the predators take advantage of this movement of animals. In Africa, survival of the fittest and strongest is essential to life. At first, the wildebeest are shy then they literally surge across, here picking out prey is easy for the crocodiles; lions sit and wait for them, and catch them whilst they are weary or the stragglers that are hesitant to cross. Watching the circle of life take place in right in front of you is truly amazing!

    Those that visited Tarangire National Park, got the opportunity of seeing the largest mammals in Africa, the African elephant, this park holds the largest elephant population in East Africa, thereby you won’t drive far without seeing these majestic animals. You will also have seen the ground hornbill, those big black birds with red beaks. Did you know that the elephants are ruled by the Matriarch, the females are the ones who control what is going on in the herd, and the males get kicked out at times.

    If you read our reviews on TripAdvisor you will be able to read the personal stories of the guests on safaris. Join us on an adventure and tick of those items on your bucket list! You can contact us at info@shadowsofafrica.com

  • A Day Excursion in Nairobi

    Lesia
    september 21, 2017

    What is there to do in Nairobi if you have just a one day layover? When visiting Kenya, proceeding on safari to the famous Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru or even Ol Pejeta is quite common; as we know Kenya is one of the most accessible countries in East Africa. Yet, if you have just a one night transfer in Nairobi for business and don’t have lots of time for the long safari carry on reading.

    nairobi-national-park-safari

    We have a solution for you! The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, can boast an opportunity to see wild nature without even having to go out of the city. Recently, our youngest team members loved their visit to Nairobi National Park, the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center.

    The Elephant Orphanage only allows visitors strictly between 11 and 12pm. Julia and Lesia from Shadows had adopted two young elephants in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust about six months ago. It gave them an advantage to visit at 5pm when these cute creatures were getting ready for sleep. That is why they planned their day accordingly.

    david-sheldrick-wildlife-trust Wirh adoption certificates, February 2017

     

    At 8am, after a refreshing breakfast, they headed to Nairobi National Park for a short game drive and to be in time for the giraffe and elephant visits. It is quite a short drive to the park, but when it concerns Nairobi, you may need to be ready to deal with heavy traffic. Realistically, it takes around 40 minutes to get there.

    The most special thing about the Nairobi National park is the opportunity to observe wildlife right in front of the skycrapers. Just a short distance from the entrance, you can see zebras, giraffes, antelopes and African buffaloes. If you are lucky enough, you will get to see at least a couple of lions and even the endangered black rhinos. The ladies were more than surprised to observe around 7 rhinos at the same time! Elijah, from our Nairobi office, explained that in Nairobi National Park it is possibly the best place in Kenya to view these rare and endangered species. In stunning Nakuru National Park, you may only get a slim chance at seeing such a big group.

    rhinos-safari-kenya

    nairobi-rhinos-kenya

    The team also paid a visit to the Ivory Burning Site Monument, where more than 100 tons of ivory was burnt to hinder poaching.
    It was the largest ivory burn in history.

    After the game drive, the ladies visited the Giraffe Center, which is open from 9am up to 5pm. The center allows visitors to touch the giraffes and even feed them; but you need to be careful, these proud animals can hit you with their heads.

    giraffe-center-nairobi-kenya Julia in the Giraffe Center

     

    Finally, the most exciting part of the trip for Julia and Lesia was the visit to their adopted elephants Jotto and Malkia. They were saved by the David Shelrick Wildlife Trust and will be re-introduced back into the wild at the mere age of three. Any visitor of the orphanage can choose an elephant to sponsor. The minimum donation per year is just $50! This helps the foundation to supply babies with milk, food and to save more animals all around the Kenyan National Parks.

    elephants-orphanage-nairobi In hurry to get some milk

     

    The Trust is not just hosting elephants, but as well as warthogs, rhino and a giraffe. This is a great chance for you to be a part of rescuing and saving african species from extinction. Some of the guests adopted more than 5 babies and come regularly to visit them. There is even an opportunity to adopt elephants online; this means that you can make an appointment to visit your baby at 5pm, when there are not that many tourists around. Thereafter, they spent a fanstic evening enjoying the restaurants of Nairobi.

    Nairobi is definitely a city of contrasts. Here you will find everything - skyscrapers and slums, wildlife and traffic, a mix of nationalities and cultures. It is one of the most modern African cities with its own atmosphere.

  • Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Manyara Safaris

    Lesia
    juni 14, 2017

    Our customers from Norway, Olga and Edvard had an amazing safari with Shadows of Africa's guide Alex.

    After a relaxing overnight in Moivaro Lodge, they headed to Ngorongoro Crater to start their search for the Big 5. They were lucky enough to see a black rhino there and spot some prides of lions as well.

    It is not easy to spot the shy black rhinoceros as they are usually spotted too far away from the roads. You definitely need to use binoculars to watch them. This time it was much closer and Alex was even able to take a picture from his phone.

    Of course, some elephants showed up during their game drive in Ngorongoro.

    While our travellers were heading to have a picnic lunch, this couple of lions had a rest near the lake. Probably, they were lucky and had their lunch much earlier.

    Olga and Edvard had a chance to compare warthogs with Pumba from the "Lion King". Though some people include these wild pigs as part of'The Ugly Five", we still think they are very cute.

    After enjoying beautiful views from the NgorongoroSopa Lodge, the travellers continued the trip with a game drive in Serengeti National Park. They explored both the Central Serengeti and the Western Corridor, - the area where wildebeests are moving to the Grumeti River during the migration.

    It's not every day that you can see even one cheetah, but a couple of them at the same time is very lucky. Olga and Edward were able to observe them upclose and personal.

    Of course, some lions were crossing the road on the way to the migration.

    But finally, travellers could see for themselves the famous Great Wildebeest Migration. Wildebeests and zebras were heading though the Western Corridor to the North of the Serengeti.

    Edward and Olga were especially lucky in their drive, as they also got to see a regal leopard in the wild!In the end of the itinerary, Olga and Edward travelled to Lake Manyara National Park. This place is famous for its tree-climbing lions and beautiful flamingos.

    Anil and Basak from Turkey also had a successful safari this May. Both the Big Five and the Wildebeest Migration were on their list and they saw both!

    What makes a safari so memorable is that you never know what else you can see!

    Just as Edward and Olga did, Anil and Basak had three parks in their itinerary: Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Lake Manyara. They travelled with our guide, Bashiru who shared some pictures from their safari.

    The travellers and Bashiru enjoyed witnessing a small part of the Wildebeest Migration on the plains of the Serengeti.

    They were surprised with the amount of lions in the Serengeti. This pride of young predators would be happy to catch some wildebeests for their lunch.

    Cheetahs were hunting for food too.

    And zebras had plenty of food in Ngorongoro Crater.

    Some elephants in Lake Manyara and buffaloes on the way made The Big 5 complete.

    Anil and Basak were happy to go for a safari with one of our best guides. You should join us next time!

     

  • Wildebeest Migration in Seronera! Two more successful safaris!

    Lesia
    juni 9, 2017

    The Wildebeest migration is beginning to capture the imaginations of travelers from around the world at this time of year.

    Our guide, Musa has just shared his experience with his client, Benjamin.

    First, they had a wonderful trip to Lake Manyara National Park where they saw lots of elephants, hippos, zebras, and impalas. After an overnight in a wonderful Serena Lodge, they headed to the famous Serengeti National Park where they observed the movements of wildebeests and zebras.

    After the calving and green seasons have finished, the animals are slowly moving to the north of the Serengeti to cross the Mara River into Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Before that, they still need to cross one more obstacle– the Grumeti River.

    Besides wildebeests, Benjamin and Musa were lucky enough to spot lions, buffalo, antelopes, giraffes, and even leopards in the Serengeti. They also spotted rhinos, baboons, and some more hippos in Ngorongoro. In the end, they saw all of the Big 5 and more!

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    Our clients from Slovenia, Anja, Miha, Ester, and David had a full six days of safari and it was incredibly exciting.

    Our driver, Alex shared some pictures from their trip so we can prove it! They started in Tarangire and it was a perfect park to see herds of elephants. Tarangire is most famous for its huge population of these African giants.

    The Serengeti treated our travelers even better because they had a chance to meet lots of predators including lions, cheetahs, and a gorgeous leopard in an acacia tree.

    As if trying to one up the Serengeti, in Ngorongoro a pride of male lions was so close to the car that they didn’t need to use any binoculars! While not as close, they also saw the rarest animal from the Big Five – the endangered black rhino. Completed with buffaloes along the way, our travelers had the Big Five done.

    Their trip continued to surprise, as they were extremely lucky to see the famous tree climbing lions in Lake Manyara National Park.

    Just look at the pictures how they are relaxing on acacia tree!

    This rare behavior you can see only in only two world famous parks – Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.

    Though from our driver’s experience, we can say that sometimes you can spot them in some other Northern Parks of Tanzania and this is even rarer and unique! Tanzania can always surprise guests with its stunning and unpredictable wildlife.

  • Seven Day Ngorongoro Highlands Trekking Adventure

    Lesia
    juni 2, 2017

    Our clients from Australia, Peta and Karen had a very special adventure in Tanzania. They decided to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world – the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.Their goal was to see it not just from a comfortable safari jeep, but also to see local villages, trek to Empaakai crater, and to explore off the beaten path places within the Ngorongoro Region.

    For people who prefer to explore everything on their own two feet, we have a beautiful Seven Day Ngorongoro Highlands Trekking Adventure.

    The program starts with a game drive in Ngorongoro Crater.

    It is a home to the Big Five and is also the best place in Tanzania for spotting rhinos. Our clients enjoyed watching lions, buffaloes, wildebeests, and hyenas there.

    After a bit of a game drive, Peta and Karen continued on to their trekking venture. They had a hike through the Embulimnuli Depression, where on the way they could see Maasai cattle trails. In the evening, they settled the camp in Kamnana village.

    On the third day, they had the breathtaking experience of hiking to the famous Empakai Crater. It is a real green paradise offering an amazing view of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai – an active volcano of Tanzania.

    After observing unforgettable landscapes, they had a picnic and finally relaxed in camp.

    On the next day, Peta and Karen didn’t miss a chance to visit Naiyobi – a village of the Maasai. There they had a chance to meet some of the local people to see how they are living and what they are eating.They even got to visit a local school.

    The Australian ladies continued their trip with some more trekking to get closer to OlDoinyoLengai – an active and very unique volcano that emits sodium carbonate and potassium. Climbing OlDoinyoLengai is an incredible experience and can promise you some beautiful views of Lake Natron and the surrounding lands.

    At the end of the itinerary, travelers had a game drive around Lake Natron, famous for its flamingoes, beautiful landscapes and some wildlife.

    What do you think of this itinerary? If you are an active person who likes trekking and beautiful landscapes, you should definitely try this one. You will camp in one of the most impressive areas of East Africa! This is a real adventure!

  • Gorillas, Golden Monkeys and the Big Five

    Lesia
    april 3, 2017

    If you are planning for your African trip, there is no better option than cross-country itinerary. Our clients Eric and Michael chose to combine gorilla trekking in Rwanda with the classic safari in Tanzania. Eric kindly shared with us his amazing photo works and we are truly admiring his talent.

    Lees verder

  • Big Five and The Hadzabe tribe

    Lesia
    maart 5, 2017

    Our clients Riho, Monika, Raivo, and Karin left snowy Estonia to start a new African adventure. Though they are experienced travelers, they seemed very excited when we met them at the airport in Arusha. Our driver Musa sent us some pictures from their safari and they are really impressive!

    One of the most unique things about Tanzania is the world-famous Wildebeest Migration which takes place throughout almost the entire year. Our travelers were lucky to come at the time of the calving season and see lots of wildebeest moving in the Seronera region of the Serengeti. This is the time when predators are chasing them and their newborn kids.

    Aside from the migration, our Estonian tourists also spotted the Big Five including small elephants and big prides of lions. They even saw a rhino in Ngorongoro in the company of some hulking buffaloes.

    After experiencing Tanzania’s wildlife, Riho and his companions woke up early in the morning to experience hunting with the Hadzabe tribe which lives close to Lake Eyasi. Meeting this tribe is another unique experience as they have been leaving out of the civilized world for hundreds of years.

    At the end of the trip, our clients met the Datoga people – a tribe of farmers and craftsmen. They are neighbors with the Hadzabe and even sell them some metal tools like knives and arrowheads.

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  • The Calving Season Safari

    Lesia
    maart 4, 2017

    Our clients Bradley, Risa, Alejandro, and Giovanna decided to go for a safari during the calving season. They had a six day safari with a night in Arusha in order to explore Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, and Lake Manyara National Park. In their itinerary, our travelers combined lodges with luxury tented camps. It is the best way to be close to wild nature, but still enjoy a comfortable stay.

    But of course, the main point of the trip was to see the most famous African animals, and they were lucky enough to spot all of the Big 5, including a rhino in Ngorongoro Crater.

    They also saw four cheetahs, as well as a lot of zebras, giraffes, wildebeests and antelopes. Our guide Musa shared some pictures from their trip!

    Tanzania is one of the best destinations for a safari and every trip of our customers prove it!

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