MARK NOLTING IN EAST AFRICA - Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda

On arrival in Africa, I had the pleasure of spending the night at the House of Waine, located in the suburb or Karen outside Nairobi. Set in beautiful gardens with a large heated swimming pool, this sm all luxury hotel is now my favorite place for guests to overnight before beginning their safaris in Kenya or flying to Tanzania.

TanzaniaAfter taking an hour scheduled flight by Mt. Kilimanjaro to the airport bearing the same name, I was transferred to Ndarakwai Camp, a small, personable permanent tented camp located on a 10,000 acre private reserve set on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The owner Peter Jones, the camp guide and I took an afternoon walk through the bush and encountered many herds of eland, along with

other plains game. As the sun was going down, we walked to a Maasai Village located just outside of the reserve. The villagers were very welcoming - especially as our guide was Maasai and knew them all very well. Later we took a night drive. As night drives, walks
and quality Maasai visits are not possible in the national parks, Ndarakwai should be considered as an add -on to a traditional safari. We feature this sustainable tourism and eco -conservation property in our Signature program Serengeti Unexplored Group Safari .

 

 

I spent time in Arusha meeting up with all the guides who take our clients out on safari and where the guides of the year were announced - Omar Seif and Mohamed Rassul . I also visited Teneguru School for a formal present ation of a $5,000. 00 donation in partnership with Rotary - Fort Lauderdale

Kenya

I flew by a private charter flight to Shompole, located near Lake Natron and the Tanzanian border. The flight took me over Lake
Magaadi with views of flamingo below .
Shompole is a small, luxury lodge set on a high ridge over looking a private reserve. The units are architecturally spectacular, each with private plunge pools and surrounded by pools of water - the evaporation from which helps cool the air in this arid l and. (See our 15 Day Legends of Kenya Safari)

 

 

 

This is one of the best reserves to see lesser kudu, and we were fortunate enough to see a number of herds, along with buffalo and other plains game. The night drive was very productive, with sightin gs of African wild cat, bat -eared fox, black-backed jackal, civet, large-spotted genet, and banded mongoose. We walked through a beautiful forest, and visited a small Maasai village where we were warmly received. This and Ndarakwai are two of the best plac es for Maasai visits I have experienced in East Africa !!!

 

Ol Donyo Wuas, located between Amboseli and West Tsavo national parks, was my next stop. The camp has been totally rebuilt to a five-star status. Each unit has a private plunge pool and roofto p observation deck where some guests spend the night to view the millions of stars that seem so close you could almost touch them. During my stay the waterhole in front of camp was dominated by elephant bearing some of the largest tusks I have seen in year s.

The food, service and management of this camp are superb. Day and night game drives, quality escorted walks, and some of the best
horseback riding available on the continent are offered. This is certainly one of Africa's best camps!
Ol Donyo Wuas rec eived recognition as a finalist in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards for the wildlife and tourism partnership with the local Maasailand community. The property is featured in our 10 Day Kenya Exclusive program.

Campi Ya Kanzi, situated with a magnificent view of Mt, Kilimanjaro offer s an 'Out of Africa' experience at the beginning or end of your safari. Your hosts are Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi and their brood of children. This is a very homely style of accommodations with hands on attentio n. His partnership with the local community has also been a success ful conservation story in securing the future of the local wildlife. The property is featured in our 10 Day Kenya Exclusive program.


Rwanda

 

Next - off to Rwanda! Kigali must be the cleanest city in Africa. There was no litter to be seen at all. Plastic bags are not allowed. Even along the roadsides I saw no litter whatsoever. We visited the Genocide Museum, which was very moving. I ran out of time to visit the local market and the www.womenforwomen.org .
The 2.5 hour drive to Ruhengeri (Volcanoes National Park) was very scenic and beautiful. During the day there are always people walking along the road, riding or pushing bicycles often la den with banana or sorgum beer. We toured the market at Kinigi. There are many bicycle taxis and motorcycle taxis taking clients short distances in and near town.

On arrival at Park Headquarters trekkers fill out a form including their ages. The dr iver/guides will have a short briefing with the chief warden when they request special groups or short/medium/long hikes. Trekkers are then separated according to the gorilla groups they will be visiting and given a briefing by their guides that lasts abou t 15 minutes. Trekkers then return to their vehicles and are driven to the departure points by their guides.
Our guides have a very good relationship with national parks, and because of that, they have a better chance than any other tour company of getti ng guests assigned to gorilla groups that are the level of difficulty that the clients request. Most travelers in good condition can trek to the close groups, as the guides take many rest breaks enroute. There is no rush to find the gorillas as you will have 1 hour with them regardless. Seven gorilla groups are visited by tourists and seven groups are visited by researchers. The Parks Department always sell 56 permits; if one of the tourist groups goes to the Congo or Uganda, then one of the research groups will be substituted.

Once at the departure point, trekkers are given a walking stick and assigned a porter if you wish to choose to have one, for a $10 tip.

You hike to the stone wall marking the border of the park, which is designed to keep the buffalo and elephant in the park and to mark a clear border of the park for the people not to cross. After a gorilla etiq uette briefing, you begin trekking. When you are getting close to the gorillas you leave your hiking sticks and backpacks and bring on ly cameras.
My first trek was to the Kwitonda Group. It was a beautiful hike through cultivated fields. The guide stopped frequently to talk about the crops and other plants along the way. This gave the slower trekkers time to catch their breath and rest.

We were fortunate to encounter the group in fairly open areas with scattered sunlight. The group is made up of 17 individuals including one silverback. At one point I laid down on the forest floor and a baby approached several times within one meter. The guide said it was curious about my camera, and he kept chasing the baby gorillas away. The whole experience was exhilarating and was over in a flash.

 

 The following morning we hiked to the Sabinyo Group, composed of nine individuals including the largest silverback in the park - Guhondo. He is getting quite old and was not too active , but the rest of the group was active indeed. This trek was longer than the first one, mostly through bamboo forests that we sometimes so dense we had to crawl th rough sections. Fran cois, our guide, worked with Diane Fossey. He was very entertaining as he would demonstrate what the gorillas eat by eating it himself. I tried the bamboo, which they say can make the gorillas a bit drunk, and it was quite sweet.


I stayed at the Sabinyo Silverback lodge- a five-star property with two guest suites, five cottages and one family complex and is definitely the best lodge in the region. During my time not trekking I made site inspections of Gorilla Nest Lodge, Gorilla Mounta in View Lodge, Volcanoes Virunga Lodge and a fifth new lodge that is coming on line (name still to be advised).
There is a cultural village near Kinigi that is worth a visit to get a good idea of the history and cultures of the area. Another attraction of Volcanoes National Park and Gisyeni area is that they have no mosquito es, and I encountered no flies anywhere.
We drove for 1.5 hours to Gisenyi, set on the shores of Lake Kivu. I overnighted at the Kivu Serena Hotel, which is set right on the lake with a private sandy beach, large swimming pool and attractive common areas. This was an enjoyable ending to my stay in Africa. Our 4-Day extension to Rwanda with two gorilla treks is featured in many of our combo trips,

 

A highlight was spending time with Francois - the highest ranking conservationist at Parc d u Volcanoes!

 

 

Elephant Extravaganza -South Africa

 

I have been to South Africa several times but it is always new and special to be part of someone's first safari!


Our safari began with a full day to relax and recover at the ever elegant Saxon hotel in Johannesburg. W e approached the entrance to the hotel - concealed behind a huge wooden -door gated entrance. The door opened to reveal a beautifully landscaped space. We were greeted warmly and our bags were taken to our room quickly. The Saxon is beyond words. We enjoyed an hour at their magnificent spa. Go for the hot stone therapy back and shoulder massage - just like heaven! Lunch was great on the courtyard; the best club sandwich ever and a seafood salad with prawns, lobster and langoustines on a bed of arugala.

The Saxon

 

 The next morning we were transferred on time to the airport to board our flight to Hoedspruit. We were met by Ray, our guide from Camp Jabulani and we literally crossed the road and were in the Kapama Game Reserve. The reserve is very close to ai rport but we heard no noise from aircrafts at all.

5353 North Federal Highway, Suite 30 0 ï‚· Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 U.S.A  Tel: 800·882·9453 ï‚·

Tel: 954·491·8877  FAX 954·491·9060  email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Website: www.africanadventure.com

Camp Jabulani gets high scores for accommodation, food and service. Rudolf is the chef and his wife Lezan is the manager and together they run a fine camp. The draw to Jabulani is of course the elephant back safaris and intimate interaction. The first afternoon we enjoyed an introduction to the elephant team, touching, feeling and feeding. We saddled up and we went on a game drive/walk - we saw general plains game during the walk. The ride ended with surprise sundowners at a watering hole. After a few G&Ts and Amarula we finished with a very productive night drive.


The next day we went to the Hoedspruit Cheetah Conservation Center. We met the founder, Letta and she gave a very informative ta lk and took us to the king cheetah which she raised from a cub. Jabulani's guests have free reign to enter the hold with her, touch and interact with the king cheetah. They release about 50 cheetahs a year back into the wild.

 

King cheetah

That afternoon we did a game drive to another sundowner spot. The elephant team met us and we enjoyed an elephant-back night walk - complete with our own spot light. The walk ended at the elephant enclosure where they sleep at night.
Fortunately, the elephants are o ut in the bush all day being elephants, and sleep in the corral only at night.
You will likely not see wild elephants near this camp as they are weary of the 'trained' team and tend to stay away.


We then took a very hot and bumpy charter flight to Pri vate Granite Suites at Londolozi - about 15 minutes. We were met by our tracker Like and drove to camp. On arrival we were greeted by Kerin and her team - headed up by Cry. The food was outrageously good, prepared by the chef - Eric, self trained by his father who was the chef at Singita.

 

Cry - staff village visit

Our room was unlike any I had ever seen before; living room, bedroom, dressing area, bathroom, deck, private plunge pool, outdoor shower and lounge area. I had pre arranged a private dinner in the room. I pulled Kerin aside to be sure it was going to happen. She said yes, we are doing it for everyone tonight.
After the night drive we were greeted and told to go the rooms and when we were ready for dinner, we were to dial 9. The room was dark, l it only by candle light and the table was dressed in front of the picture
window (lanterns hanging from the trees outside). Candles everywhere, rose petals on the bed, bubble bath
and a bucket of champagne. We went from room to room - amazed with what they had created.

Private Granite Suites at Londolozi

Jules was our guide and the game viewing here is spectacular - leopard and lion on every game drive, elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, hyena, eagles, giraffe, hippo, plains game (you name it, we saw it !). On the first night game drive we were lucky enough to have a male lion chasing a female, darting in front of our vehicle. They were mating and what a sight to see and hear from 5 feet away.

The next stop was one of my favorite cities in the w orld, Cape Town and we stayed at the boutique guesthouse, Kensington Place.


We spent 2 days with our guide Thomas exploring the peninsula and visiting the wine lands (Waterfront and Solms Delta estates). We enjoyed dinner at The Showroom Restaurant and Ba ia on the waterfront. Cape Town never disappoints even with dreary weather it is the most beautiful city.

 

Thomas – Cape Town guide

Lastly was Grootbos Nature Reserve. This reserve boasts some of the last milkwood forests on earth. And you can help revitalize the forest by planting a tree!


September is the peak of whale watching season and Walker Bay lived up to its reputation. The whales come to within 30 meters of the DeKelders shore. We could see whales breeching (count to 13 and they will breech again) mating groups, moms with their babies. We enjoyed a scenic flight over the bay to see the whales from the air. There must have been 20 in short the time we were over the bay en route to Cape Town to fly home.

I have visited South Africa in April, May and September. From a game viewing point of view this September safari was the best. The bush is thin and dry which makes game viewing and pursuing easier. We saw the whole range from 105 degrees in Kapama game reserve to 39 in Cape Town. A visit to the Cape is always a mixed bag. If you are asking yourself 'When should I go on vacation?' I would pick the off season in the Cape; you will hit whale/shark season June -October and capture incredible photographs of the storm clouds rising over the mountains and stretching out to sea.
South Africa is also attractive due to the current Rand to dollar exchange rate. You can eat in some of the best restaurants in Cape Town and spend $1.00 on a glass of wine and racks of lamb for $15.00 - try that in the US. Given today's economy we all trying to save a few dollars, and remember an investment in travel does not loose any value.
Traveling to Africa is naturally a passion for me. I am always impressed with the camps that accommodate so few people can change the lives of so many people in the surrounding communities; the staff village at Londolozi for instance where they have installed a computer lab to teach life skills. Our butler Cry worked
his way up and is now being promoted to management at Private Granite Suites. We must continue traveling to these reserves and parks in order to conserve the natural habitats and most importantly to ensure that we
brighten the future of other people.

 

Botswana and Victoria Falls - June/July 2008

June 26 Maun/Okavango Delta - Vumbura

Departed Maun in a very smart scheduled charter flight on a Caravan accompanied by our specialist guide, Matt Copham.

The Vumbura concession was looking superb from the a ir with delightful scenes of elephant tromping

through the delta waters. The draw of Africa happened on the first game drive into camp with sightings of a hornbill eating a puff adder, Lechwe and reedbuck simmering in the afternoon sun among the grasses , and

more breeding herds of elephant parading through their water playground.

Boisin the camp-manager greeted us with his signature grin and wave and cold drink in hand on the dock at

Little Vumbura.

A quick lunch and Matt was badgering my son Miles (14 ) and I back into the boat to take a short boat ride to a near-by island. He quickly showed off his superior guiding skills by finding a Pels fishing owl and we knew he had earned his dinner ! Our game drive continued with sightings of a big herd of buffalo throwing up dust in the sunset making for great photography with back lighting. We found two male lions from the Kubu pride who were keeping right up with the herd and into the night. The best time of the day for me is the fading light of the African day with the orchestra of calls and sounds that accompan y the traditional sundowner.

The evening meal was a traditional Boma dinner with the guides in camp including Kay, Lazarus and Rain and trainee camp manager , Tendai joining in the festivities around the jumping campfire light .

 

First day sightings at Vumbura

June 27 Vumbura

The alarm call was early morning splashing through the shallow water in front of the tents. Dark silhouettes of Lechwe antelope could be seen through the cracks in the drawn canvas blinds.

The morning sunrise was greeted with Coucal calling in the reeds . Matt got us out bright and early for a morning walk and enroute were rewarded with a sighting of a hyena dragging a lechwe that had been stolen from the resident leopard and a few families of breeding herds of elephant .

The walk started at Jackie's Pan and soon Matt was introducing us to his collection of animal names including an implausability of Wildebeest and murmation of Starlings. On the walk we were able to get a decent sighting of a breeding herd of elephants, warthog, baboon troop, a lone buffalo ambling through the thicket, starlings diving onto a mongoose and a pair of giant eagle owls .

After a late brunch we enjoyed the ambiance of Little Vumbura which has a lovely library area and bar area built in and around the resident fig trees and alike. The deck area overlooks a waterway through the delta that the mokoro rides take and often the camp will arrange this in combination with a walk to Darter Island.

The afternoon drive was a combination of more interactions with elephants, h ippos in the marsh area and finally a rewarding sighting of a male cheetah on a lechwe kill. We sat with him until dusk and enjoyed a moon-upper afterwards as we were too late for a sun -downer. A porcupine was the lone sighting on the night game drive back to the dock/camp.

 

Elephant in the distance and Matt tracking our vehicle in the delta waters


Other sightings on the game drives

June 28 Vumbura

Matt was determined and bound to go back to the cheetah sighting from the previous afternoon to see what was there. His intuition of following his guiding instincts was spot on and we shared in his obvious passion with nature and bush when the lone cheetah was still where we had left him.

We sat quietly listening to the sunrise chorus of egrets and malachite kingfisher and the sight of huge bull elephant with very large tusks standing proudly in the early light with clouds of mist and wet grass. Not for long! Splashing and calling of two hyena echoed through the delta waters and they rapidly approached to chase off the cheetah.

The cheetah made his way through the Vumbura plains for over an hour sighting, and finally poised on a tree trunk - magnificent! The morning concluded wi th tea at the pool at Vumbura Paradise with elephant, hippos and lechwe being our Bush TV documentary.

Arrived into Vumbura Plains Camp for an overnight stay and got off to flying start with afternoon tea of samoosas and chocolate brownies. DELICIOUS !

The afternoon drive to find lion on buffalo and hy ena cubs at the den did not materialize and we quietly had sundowners with curios giraffe off in the setting sunset .

The dinner setting was more formal and the managers, Rodger, Ryan and Janice gave some delightful pre- dinner chats at the minimalist bar with crazy-fun barstools. The North Camp looks over a lagoon whereas South Camp has views of the grasses of the delta. Johannes the new chef showed off some wonderful talent with his mushroom risotto!

 

Fabulous cheetah sighting - we followed him for half the morning !

Little Vumbura setting - only takes 12 guests and has a family unit

Mom and Miles have one on one time on safari

Vumbura Plains - North camp - perfect spot for sunrise sightings

 

June 29 Vumbura - Mombo

Freezing morning so 'nice Matt' let us sleep in until 6:30am.

As a specialist guide Matt can walk all over Botswana and he arranged our final morning to be a walk in an easterly direction hoping to pick up the recent sightings of the pack of wild dog. We did see their tracks and followed them for some distance but eventually had to turn back as we knew there was a flight to catch to the next camp. Matt got us nice and close to giraffe with his weaving bushman walk which h also took us through lovely vistas under forests and around several pans.

Back for brunch which was a n OUTSTANDING DISPLAY . However, more outstanding, was the quality time that my son Miles and I had shared with Matt and to be surrounded by his superio r tracking skills, incredible photographic experience, encyclopedic knowledge of nature and the bush, a keen sense of humor - and we learnt why he is called the Silverback of the Okavango!

 

What an education for children - spending time with bush happy g uides. Matt Copham is happily known as the Silverback of the Okavango .

 

Met many familiar faces on the charter flights from Vumbura to Mombo including the Russel Friedman family and the specialist guide Dave Luck. On arrival at Little Mombo there was a lovely scribbled postcard from Garth Thompson, a fellow Zimbabwean who has guided for over 30 years in Africa .

The welcome at Mombo was 'like home -coming' with a lovely staff of smiling faces. Our guide Cisco introduced himself and he is pedigree of note as he has brothers and uncles are all over Botswana in camps. His private vehicle 'Tonto', which we nicknamed in c onfusion with the two shows Cisco the Kid and The Lone Ranger, delivered well and our first 24 hours of gameviewing at Mombo was incredib le.

 

Miles and I had missed the morning baby giraffe and lion interaction which we heard was amazing, but thankfully we had an equally exciting time ourselves starting in the afternoon and turning into the best game-viewing on all my Africa trips. First fo llowed the lion and they were hunting a herd of buffalo - magic sighting of male lion running forward with mane flying back - Bob Marley as he has big dreads! Ran into 3 wild dog and whoopee followed them for a good hour as they ran towards Chiefs - came into open

area and they chased down lechwe until the water got too deep. Continued following them and they found a small impala which we missed seeing. Ran into a cheetah male who was sauntering through and Cisco picked up a caracal in the background in the fading sunset. Fabulous sighting! Enroute home ran into Legodima female leopard and her two cubs drinking near camp!

Natalie met us back in camp and Tsile and Cisco joined us around the campfire before dinner. Early to bed as early to rise was happen ing!

The lion hunt

The three wild dogs were such a treat to see

 

Late afternoon light and the continuing Mombo mini -documentary with sightings of a cheetah and caracal

 

June 30 Mombo

Found Legodima in the early morning light sitting under a tree quite near camp. T hen Cisco picked up another male leopard in a tree with a kill. As we watched him a 3 rd male leopard camp into the picture who he thought was the father of the two cubs. We got a few nice pictures of him before we looked for the cubs

- a female and male and what a treat to view them. Can you believe we saw 5 leopard s within an hour all in a very small area? We spent a delightful few hours working our way around the various sightings.

Legodima and her two cubs - a female and male

 

Poster (the Save the Rhino guy) came on the radio - he had found two rhino so headed on a long drive north. Got our Big Six sighting- both a black female and a white male rhino together - very rare!!

The black rhino in the background I s a browser, the white rhino in front is the grazer

 

Finished up with picturesque lunch spread at the hippo hide and felt incredibly lucky to be viewing at Mombo

- the place of plenty. Hooked up with Legodima on the way back to camp but she was laying up I n a shade. What a morning!

This afternoon Cisco wanted to find us the resident Maparota pride - 20+ with two lions and about 4 cubs. Picked up the tracks and he followed them until light ran out. It was a different kind of drive as Cisco was using his skills as a guide to find us wildlife and it is incredibly exciting to have him point out what he is finding in the patchwork quilt of the African veld.

Back in camp it was 'Boma night' so had the wonderful 'braii brashness' from Simon the chef with about 10 selections sitting in traditional black pots over warm glowing coals. Tsile was overseeing dinner and then herded us upstairs as Poster and his Mombo choir was the after dinner entertainment . Lizzy, one of the Managers of Main Mombo had a spirited voice along with being very sassy and getting guests to dance the African way. A fun, fun evening and I was eager to make a purchase of their CD in the shop on our last morning.

July 01 Mombo

Up early as Cisco wanted to continue the tracking of the lion so headed over the to the rhino boma where he had picked up the tracks yesterday. Drove for 7 hours tracking '¦ to Lechwe Heaven and traversed along an entire river line. Saw many, many lion tracks of all sizes, hungry vultures in trees, zebra grazing peacefully, kudu grazing peacefully, lechwe grazing peacefully - and no sign of lion. With the sun high in the sky we headed home tired but having enjoyed a morning of tracking. There was a reward as we found the two males of the pride lying up as we headed back to camp. Nat our tireless manager had late brunch waiting and new visitor, Grant Woodrow who heads up the whole Botswana Wilderness operation.

 

 

Early morning sighting leaving camp        The lion and the culprit of all those tracks!

 

The afternoon we kept on with the lion tracking but still no fresh-fresh signs so Cisco knew that a sighting of the two leopard cubs would keep us happy. He searched and found them in the late evening light having a bit of playground fun on a branch.

Poster did an excellent pre-dinner presentation on the Mombo, rhino mixing in his humor along with the seriousness of the re-introduction of rhino into the Delta.

Our final evening in Botswana ended with conversation s around the campfire. The background hippo splashing through the delta waters kept us serenaded.

 

July 02 Mombo - Livingstone - Toka Leya

 

Cisco was eager as the first day , for the final game drive. Found the two lion cubs playing at their tree and Cisco picked up a hyena coming along who had a wiff of their scent, our hearts pounding, we could only hope that the cubs saw him. Rejoice they did and were up in the tree in a flash'¦Ye ah! Dare I say it'¦.more lion tracking and gave up with still no fresh tracks.

 

There was just enough time left to find Legadima who had another kill only to find that the same male had snuck in and got it from her. We watched hyena and baboon trying very hard to scare the male out of his place of hiding.

Taps (from Zim and the GM of Mombo camps) joined us for brunch and a lovely 'laid-back' ambassador for Mombo and the Wilderness Botswana Camps in general. Our private vehicle (Tonto) was the hit of the trip at Mombo as it gave us the perfect schedule to be game -viewing at all hours of the day! The rooms are perfectly under-stated and yet have all the refinements of a Premier Camp. We thought Little Mombo had the most idyllic setting overlooking the floodplain in front .

 

Our guide Cisco and faithful Tont o       Little Mombo setting

***********************************

 

 

Our scheduled charter went via Chobe airstrip (Savuti, Dumatau and Kings Pool) where we saw the new

Zibjianja location in Selinda and also the flood waters making their way up the Savuti channel. Picked up more clients at Kasane and continue onto Livingstone. Paid US$275.00 at immigration for our 2 visas, and proceeded to Toka Leya. Gavin McCabe was with a group of happy Wilderness safariers including 3 of our AAC clients.

Toka Leya has a great feel and the setting on the upper Zambezi River is magnificent . The rooms are large and all beautifully situated along the river ecosystem. George and Chipo the new managers are running a good show. Stayed in camp for sunset and enjoyed sundowners on the deck. First international reception on the cell phone!

 

 

July 03 Livingstone - Victoria Falls

 

Had an 8:00am sunrise cruise with Donald (ex Tongabezi) who showed us ele phants on the islands, hippo still on the island bea ches and the first migrant skimmers arriving as the water levels were dropping on the Zambezi river. Lots of microlights flying overhead! Would highly recommend going in the morning as no other boats around and had the mighty river and all its glory to our selves.

 

Time to cross over the border into Zimbabwe , with no hassle change of vehicles and paid our 2 visas of only

$100.00 total. Yvonne was at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge to meet us which was a perfect sign that things were normal after the elections. After a delicious lunch overlooking the waterhole, Yvonne organized an

afternoon of canoeing on the upper Zambezi.

Picked up by Shearwater vehicle and Menguzo was the guide who gave a good safety talk and took us through quite a few sma ll rapids before Raymond was there to take us out. Saw waterbuck, baboons and some buffalo.

We thoroughly enjoyed dinner at the Boma with lots of game meat and some great drumming. They also have a CD out giving the Mombo choir competition !

 

Afternoon and evening fun in Victoria Falls

 

 Wonderful to see my two friends and mentors - Yvonne and Esther

 

July 04 Victoria Falls

Met Yvonne at 9:00am and our resident Vic Falls ambassador Esther was there too - these two wonderful ladies have been mentors for me for many years . Alex was our wonderful driver and visited the two schools that we sponsor. First was Chamabonda Primary School in Victoria Falls. And then Chinotimba which is the oldest school in the Falls. Ver y interesting as the second election results (June 2008) were posted up

outside the classrooms as it had been a voting station , and all the precincts in Vic Falls were won by the opposition even though he was not standing in the election.

 

 A week after the elections and the local kids were happily attending school at Chamabonda

Had tea at the home of Esther and her husband, Stanley. Picked up some Tanganda tea at the local supermarket and had quite a billionaire rush seeing all the zeros after the Z W$dollar sign! After lunch went to have a quick inspection of the Victoria Falls Hotel before we walked over to the train station to hop on board the cocktail ride onto the bridge.

Leaving with happy memories

Had our final dinner in Africa at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and was very thankful that Victoria Falls and

Zimbabwe had pulled through this last round of elections .

 

Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008 - Report

 

Although I have had the opportunity to visit southern Africa on many occasions over the past 18 years, somehow I had never traveled to Tanzania, so it was with great excitement that I set off on the long journey from Fort Lauderdale to Arusha.

I had a comfortable sleep at Arusha Coffee Lodge and set off with my drive/guide, Seif, the next morning to Tarangire National Park. Seif was a fabulous guide. His knowledge of animal behavior opened my eyes to see beyond t he obvious, and he often re -positioned our vehicle for better photo shots. As we drove out of Arusha Seif explained the different tribes and their lifestyles, the cultivation and farming and how the development of tourism was having a beneficial impact on the local communities. The scenery was stunning, and we saw lots of elephant on the way to Tarangire Treetops - 20 tree rooms (1mile from end to end) each with views over the park. Wooden spiral

stairs and hatch lead onto a platform access to your room. We took a sundowner drive to a hill with great views and enjoyed a display of Maasai dancing, followed by a night drive back to camp .

 

 

The next day we stopped at Eunoto for lunch after an interesting journey through many Ma asai villages. We continued on to Lake Manyara National Park, where I was very lucky to see the famous tree-climbing lions on the way to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge which is located at the far end of the park. The lake is filled with lots of flamingoes and throughout the park the re is a lot of good game viewing - elephant, baboon, monkeys, hippo, lion.

 

 

From Lake Manyara we continued to the Ngorongoro Crater stopping at Mto Wa Mbu Village on the way. I popped in to see Gibb's Farm - lovely!

The drive up to the crater rim takes about 30 minutes from the entrance gate, and then the view below is stunning! I stayed at Crater Lodge - Wow! Chandeliers, butlers, views! The rooms are huge, with sitting area and fireplace, king -bed, huge bathroom with claw -foot bath and separate shower. Dinner was beautifully presented, and very tasty!

In the morning we headed down into the Crater for some great game viewing!

After lunch, our journey continued into the Serengeti, and a drive down '˜lion alley' which lived up to its name. The next four days were spent visiting several lodges in the Serengeti, and seeing some fabulous animals as well! My night at the AAC shared semi permanent Camp on the edge of the Orangi River was a delightful experience, especially sharing game viewing stories with the other guests and guides.

 

One of my favorite camps was Migration Camp - 20 tented rooms are all luxurious. There is a super sundowner deck, nice pool and inside or outside dining, weather depending. Best meal of the tr ip!

Tanzania was everything I expected and much more. The people are so friendly, accommodating and very happy! Although some roads are quite torturous, overall they were better than I expected. The tarred road from Lake Manyara to Ngorongor o is terrific and road improvements are being continuously made.

All the tented camps were great, and the general standard of food was very good, with the highlight being dinner at Migration Camp. Every visitor I met and chatted with (some first time others many time visitors) had only positive comments to make about the level of service, accommodation and game VIeWing.