On the trail
Tarangire buffalo herd
Another perfect acacia campfire
Cold beer after a long walk
Encounters on foot
Lions... What a season! One of the most sought after safari experiences is seeing a lion while on foot. This year we had some unbelievable sightings of Panthera leo. Both Gian and I on foot in Serengeti had some wonderful walk-ins. On one walk with the Haase group, we spotted lion 3 times on one 2 kilometre stretch of river. Gian also spotted 3 lionesses with cubs in the same area on another safari. And what could be a better way to finish a 10 day walk, than to leave camp in the cool early morning and see a huge big-maned lion sitting in the open getting the morning’s sun on his mane. We also saw an incredible night-hunt on one of Gian’s safaris in Maasailand, where 17 lions came near camp in the night and killed a bull buffalo! A week later I saw the same pride eating a giraffe.
Buffalo... The bad old men of the bush some call them. But we always enjoy seeing these huge fellas on our walks. It is always special to spot the 'curl of a horn' lingering in a bush as we walk and carefully sidestep our way around. In Serengeti in particular we had some wonderful close sightings from safe vantage points, like perched on the top of a rock spying on a sleeping bull just below us.
Elephant & eland... Some usual classic 'ele' encounters were a must and in Tarangire we saw at least 1000 elephant convened in the Silale floodplains. On our walks we had some nice sightings and had a brilliant walk-in on a massive old bull who was relaxed and dug for water not 20 yards away as we watched (safely from the other side of a river!). Eland – the largest antelope weighing about a ton – are always special to see, but it is not common to get very close to them either on foot or in a vehicle, as they are very shy. On our last walk in Serengeti, however, we spotted two in a narrow dry riverbed and we snuck up to within 15 metres and watched them for about 20 minutes before they noticed us.
Walking in Southern Tanzania – Ruaha, Katavi, Selous & Mahale's chimps
For some of you wanting to do something unique and different, there are some brilliant options now for the southern part of the country. Bushflights now have very good circuits we can use and we have explored some great new areas for extended walking safaris in massive areas which are brilliant for truly getting away from it all and for seeing different wildlife and landscapes than we do in northern Tanzania. It also combines Ruaha, Selous and Katavi National Park with Mahale Mountains for tracking chimps. There are options for Luxury Camps and now, more recently, for classic camps at a lower price, which makes it all more accessible.
For trekking, we now have some great walks on offer for Ruaha and Selous. I truly cannot think of a better safari than to combine a bushtrek in Serengeti and Tarangire with one down in Selous or Ruaha. It would have incredibly varied environments and phenomenal game viewing.
Economic Blues? – Talk to us!
The sagging global economy has left many with slower business and less income. We were very fortunate to have an equally good 2009 season as we did in 2008, despite many safari companies and camps going out of business or at least suffering large setbacks. We also have designed some trips for those with limited budgets and have had some incredible trips where the focus was still on seeing the great wildlife and the best wilderness areas and spending some time on foot, but without the costs and frills of luxury camps. So we utilized some very good classic camps and made our walking camps lightweight and were thus able to offer people lower prices, but with the same quality of guides, vehicles, and wilderness areas. The key is to get a group of about 4 people, so the costs can be split amongst more travellers to reduce the per person costs. Talk to us and we’ll make a plan!