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Tanzania Safari Blog

February 12, 2015

The Cadogan guide to Tanzania

Filed under: A guide to Tanzania,An Introduction — Tanzania Odyssey @ 7:21 pm

We are justifiably proud of our expertise when it comes to the best of Tanzania and Zanzibar.

cadoganVery few tour operators have anything like as many days in-country as we do, and when out in Tanzania, we don’t just visit the good stuff. We also have a wealth of knowledge about the country’s less visited areas that do not feature on our site.  We have all contributed to this growing database over the years but we have within our ranks an expert amongst experts, our director Annabel, writer of the Cadogan guide to Tanzania. After a quick scan through her book we think you’ll agree – few people know Tanzania better than her! If you have an interest in the road less travelled, you will find it sated by her fantastic guide.

As well as information on some of Tanzania’s lesser visited areas, the guide provides a background to some of the areas we do recommend as well as a brief history. Even though we plan your trip to perfection and provide all the necessary information, it’s still nice to come with a little local knowledge – you may find it enriches your travelling experience!

For those who prefer a hard copy, you can still buy the second edition at Amazon or you can wait til we finish the 3rd edition! To see all the chapters simply click on the Guidebook category on the toolbar to the right.

November 24, 2016

The Ultimate List of Tanzania Resources

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Travelling to Tanzania? Here’s a list of resources to help you plan your trip:

Tanzania Tourist Board: The Tanzania Tourist Board provides up-to-date and accurate information for travellers interested in exploring Tanzania, including links to specific locations, travel advice, and historical and cultural background on this diverse country.

Ngorongoro Tanzania: This is the ultimate guide to the Ngorongoro Crater. Arguably the biggest tourist attraction in Tanzania, there is a lot people need to know when travelling to this brilliant destination. This site includes information ranging from where to go, when to go and how to get there.

Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a great all round travel resource site that offers some solid advice for travelling to Tanzania. In addition to the helpful tips on visas and health requirements, there are also some interesting blogs by travel writers sharing their experience.

Zanzibar.net: If you’re thinking of including the island paradise of Zanzibar in your Tanzania safari, this is a good site to visit to find out what’s on offer, as well as lots of useful, accurate and up-to-date information for travellers, including accommodation, maps and information on the weather.

World Travel Guide: This site provides a comprehensive guide to Tanzania, including information about the language, culture, history, attractions, airports and everything else you can think of.

About Travel: This is another great all round guide with a comprehensive section about travelling to Tanzania. What’s different about this site is that it includes some useful tips for avoiding common travel scams.

Helen in Wanderlust: This is a lovely travel blog by a solo female traveller, Helen. Helen describes her trip to Tanzania in detail and includes some practical budget advice for fellow travellers.

Project Visa: Everything you need to know with regards to visas and embassy information.

Female Traveller: This site addresses the specific needs of female travellers and provides advice for women abroad.

World Nomads: Travel insurance options, as well as tips and advice for your trip.

Air Tanzania: Air Tanzania is the flag carrier airline of Tanzania based in Dar es Salaam with its hub at Julius Nyerere International Airport.

Tanzania Odyssey: Of course, we saved the best for last. We are experts on all things Tanzania and can help you plan your perfect safari to this amazing country.

November 10, 2016

Tanzania’s first Treetop Walkway:

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:40 pm
Get ready for Tanzania’s first Treetop Walkway
Woohoo… after years of building, the Treetop Walkway in Manyara opens this saturday!
Unique perspective
This walkway takes you on a sky-high adventure through the beautiful forest of Lake Manyara. Walk among the treetops and experience untouched nature and wildlife from a unique perspective.

Bird’s eye view of the forest
This 370m airwalk starts with a short board-walk that gradually rises from ground level up through the canopy where you reach a height of 18m off the ground. Each of the 10 supension bridges end on a viewing deck situated around tree trunks. The treetop platforms are perfect places to stop and enjoy life in the canopy amongst butterflies, monkeys and birds. Get a unique birds-eye view of the world around you.

Nature lovers & adventure seekers
This walkway is one of the longest treetop walkways in Africa and a great outdoor activity for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Families, couples, individuals and groups are all welcome.

Experience nature like never before!

A perfect opportunity for you guests to experience this airwalk while the guide sorts out all the park fee payments.
Opening: 12th November 2016
Location: ‘old gate’ in the beginning of Lake Manyara
Opening hours: 6:30 am – 5 pm
Duration: about 1 hour
Price: RACK $47 per person ( (incl. Tanapa fee $17,70 and 18% VAT)

November 2, 2016

Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild – Moli and Noelle, Ruaha, Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:56 am

Reposted from Radio Times

by David Butcher
The best tip in Fogle’s adventure this week involves a bag of ash. Ben’s host in a remote corner of Tanzania is veteran guide Andrew “Moli” Molinari, who walks through the bush with a little pouch of ash wrapped in cloth.

Fogle assumes this is to mask their scent, but it turns out to be simpler: a tiny shake of the bag releases a fine ash that drifts in the slightest breeze and shows which way it’s blowing – vital for staying downwind of elephants.

It’s a nice piece of bushcraft, but it doesn’t stop them having a very close encounter with an angry-looking tusker. Full marks to the camera crew for holding their ground…

Adventurer Ben travels to Tanzania to meet Yorkshire-born Andrew Molinaro and his Californian wife Noelle, a couple who decided to leave city life behind and set up their own business as safari guides. Living side by side with some of the planet’s most fearsome animals, Ben learns more about their nomadic lifestyle as they head out on expeditions to chart areas of the Ruaha National Park.

October 26, 2016

10 Fascinating Facts about Tanzania

10 Weird Facts about Tanzania
Known for its exotic wildlife, rich culture and ancient cities, Tanzania has become a popular destination for travellers.

However, while the Great Migration, Mount Kilimanjaro and the island paradise of Zanzibar may be its most popular attractions, there are tons of interesting facts about Tanzania that most people are completely unaware of.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about Tanzania that you probably didn’t know:

1. Tanzania plays a vital role in helping us understand our own evolution as the earliest human skull in the world, dating back 2 million years, was discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by the famous East Africa archaeologist, Dr. Leakey.

2. Tanzania is the home to the largest crab in the world, the coconut crab. It is also apparently one of the tastiest crabs in the world.

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3. Freddie Mercury, the famous late songwriter and vocalist for the rock band ‘Queen’ was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

4. Almost every type of ecological system can be found on Mount Kilimanjaro. This includes cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.

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5. The shortest war in history was fought in 1896 in Tanzania between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar. It lasted only 45 minutes.

6. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of the oldest ecosystems on the planet and little has changed in the park in over 1 million years. It boasts a diversity of flora and fauna that is unavailable anywhere else in the world.

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7. The Serengeti is home to the the Ol Doinyo Lengai; the only volcano on the planet that is currently erupting carbonatite lava. This mineral rich carbonate lava is washed down to the plains where it fertilizes the land.

8. Lake Manyara National Park, in Tanzania, was the first park to become famous for being home to tree-climbing lions.

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9. Tanzania is one of the last remaining places when the possibility of discovering a new species still exists. In 2003, a new monkey, the kipunji, was discovered and is extremely rare with a population of only about one thousand animals.

10. Zanzibar has its own leopard population. Known as the Zanzibar Leopard (Panthera pardus adersi), they are endemic to the island and are assumed by some authorities to be extinct or very nearly so.

There you have it! 10 extra reasons to travel to the fascinating, diverse and unique country of Tanzania.

September 30, 2016

Alien Igloos, Lions and Leopards

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 12:53 pm

Shake, shake, bang. The car jerks down another dip on the dirt track; fine volcanic dust swirls up in our wake. As it clears, moon-white faces appear brightly in the distance. They move closer, revealing three young girls with spirals and geometric patterns painted thickly onto their skin in chalk.

I’m in North Tanzania, on my way to stay at a new lodge tucked up in its highlands, well away from the tourist hullabaloo that concentrates around the country’s famous Ngorongoro Crater. Here, 22km north-east of one of Africa’s biggest tourist attractions, there are no other lodges; just wide, open land where the Maasai roam, their lives seemingly little changed.

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A view over the Highlands camp near Ngorongoro Crater (Asilia Africa)

As we pull up at the camp, after a three-hour drive from Lake Manyara Airport, the air is notably cooler – we’re now 2,670 metres above sea level. Overgrown grassy paths, flanked with swathes of wild flowers, lead us to a scattering of almond-coloured, bulbous domes peeking over the vegetation. There are eight of these unusual, alien-looking tented pods spread across the hillside. It’s like I came looking for a safari, but found a sci-fi set instead.

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Inside the main lounge of The Highlands camp (Asilia Africa)

The camp is within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a Unesco World Heritage Site and multiple land use area, where protected wildlife wanders freely among the Maasai, who number 50,000 here. While it’s Ngorongoro Crater that draws crowds for the incredible concentration of wildlife within, there’s also a wealth of under-explored riches outside its rim.

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The Empakai Crater is a quieter spot for enjoying the wildlife (Asilia Africa)

“Our guests visit the Ngorongoro Crater but also Empakai and Olmoti, two less well-known craters we’re close to,” Victor, the lodge’s manager, explains. “We call them the silent craters because no visitors go there.” This is a volatile and restless land where tectonic plates shifted more than two million years ago, ripping apart Earth’s crust. Volcanoes lifted their fiery heads, before some collapsed to create the peppering of calderas that now surround us.

One morning, after looking out at glorious uninterrupted mountain views over a big breakfast on the lodge’s terrace, we head off to explore Empakai Crater. We go with an armed ranger (it’s compulsory) as well as our Maasai guide, Lenganasa, because unlike in the Ngorongoro Crater, where you are vehicle-bound, we can be footloose and fancy-free. As footloose as you can be with unpredictable buffalo around, anyhow.  Looking down into the crater from the top, it resembles a big washing basin with a lake as its centrepiece, fringed with shimmering white salt. We clamber down through the forest cloaking the crater’s steep walls. At the bottom, flamingos lift their wings, flashing salmon-pink feathers. Decorated morans (young Maasai warriors) sit among herds of cows.

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Flamingos, zebras and wildebeest in Tanzania’s northern highlands (Asilia Africa)

After the one-hour climb back up we return to camp by car. Outside, hills sweep down into wide plains sprinkled with clusters of Maasai bomas (livestock enclosures). Buttercup-gold light bathes zeals of zebras and the open land accentuates kori bustards, yellow-billed kites and golden-winged sunbirds. Herds of cattle are dwarfed by the expanse. Each herd circles around a burst of colour: the Maasai’s red checkered shukas (traditional garments) jolt the landscape.

Back at the lodge nights are cosy. Although the days are warm, temperatures at night can drop as low as -1C. Early evening one of the housekeepers – a large percentage of the lodge’s staff are Maasai – lights fires in the wood burners (each dome has its own) and the enormous beds are warmed with soft, faux-fur-covered hot water bottles.

The lodge is the latest from the well-respected South Africa-based safari company Asilia, and it ushers in a new species of safari camp. While in the beginning I found the “alien igloos” a little too at odds with the ancient land rising up around them, once I get used to the contemporary design there is much to love.

After a delicious supper of grilled beef we are escorted back to our tent by one of the camp’s friendly night-duty guards. “There’s a leopard often seen in the camp,” Victor explains. Solar lights, which hang from shepherd hooks, trail up the hill, lighting the way.

Inside the pods, animal skins cover the floor and photographs of Maasai life adorn the walls. The fronts of the tents are made of strong clear plastic, so in the mornings you can admire the sweeping views stretching out before you without leaving the bed.

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You can enjoy sunrise without leaving your bed (Asilia Africa)

Next morning, Olmoti Crater entails another beautiful walk and has a waterfall tumbling down its sheer sides. Climbing back up, we are excited to pass fresh lion prints. Chameleons clamber in the grasses and old man’s beard hangs from the trees. At the top we lie in the sunshine, and steppe eagles soar so close I can see their markings. We watch cows tramping down the hills like large armies. They head to the spring water which flows along the crater bottom, their steady advance relaxing to watch.

Despite my preference for safaris without crowds, we spend one day in the Ngorongoro Crater. There’s a reason why more than 400,000 people visit per year. It’s one of the world’s largest unbroken calderas, and its walls form a natural enclosure for one of the biggest concentrations of wild animals on earth. “The problem is there’s no limit on the number of vehicles that can enter,” Lenganasa explains. But fortunately our lodge is closest to the Lemala entrance, quieter than the alternative Lodoare gate on the crater’s opposite (and busier) side.

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Lions are prevalent in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Asilia Africa)

We see zebra stallions fighting and ostriches streaking past rhino. Lions are everywhere; we watch them mate (the male roaring right by us after he rolls over), a lioness stealthily stalking a wildebeest, and a huge pride sleeping soundly, all stretched out by a stream. We count 27 spotted hyenas, their humped backs dramatic against the big sky, mingling with grey crowned cranes, jazzy with their red throats and golden mohicans. One corner of the grassland is forested, full of beautiful yellow-barked acacia trees and herds of elephants.

Our last day is spent strolling among the hills near the lodge and experiencing slivers of Maasai life up close. In other parts of Tanzania, meeting Maasai has become limited to fake encounters at a tourist boma – something The Highlands is thankfully determined not to replicate. Instead they organise for us to visit a family in their village.

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The semi-nomadic Maasai people live among the wildlife in the conservation area (Asilia Africa)

As we arrive Loosidan, a Maasai man with stretched ear lobes and a dagger at his waist, finishes placing his goats inside a kraal. Women wear striking necklaces, the colour of tropical birds, around their necks and have silver beaded chains sparkling from their ears. Loosidan ushers us inside his home – made from mud, cow dung and sticks. We sit chatting with him and his wife, while their children run around and my eyes adjust to the dark, smoky interior.

Suddenly we hear a truck pull up. Several morans jump out, their silver headpieces glinting, and one carries a blackened cooking pot. “They’ve just returned from spending a week in the forest,” Lenganasa says. “A group of them go to eat meat and medicinal roots. This tradition, called orpul, makes us strong.”

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Zebras are a common sight around the camp (Asilia Africa)

The majesty of these highlands is made all the more beautiful by this distinct and colourful culture. As we leave I take one last look back: the shukas and the setting sun all blaze red.

Travel essentials

Getting there

Kate Eshelby travelled with KLM (klm.com) from Heathrow to Kilimanjaro International Airport via Amsterdam. Connecting flights with Coastal Aviation (coastal.co.tz) take you on to Lake Manyara.

British passport holders require a visa to visit Tanzania, available at the airport (US$50).

Staying there

Kate Eshelby was hosted by Tanzania Odyssey 0208 704 1216 www.tanzaniaodyssey.com). Accommodation at The Highlands camp starts at US$760 per person per night, including full-board with house drinks and all activities. This excludes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area fees which are $70 per person for 24 hours and the crater descent fee which is $295 per vehicle. The Highlands camp only accepts children from the age of five. Children aged five to 18 are charged 50 per cent of the adult rate.

September 9, 2016

3 Reasons to Visit Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:53 am

“I love Tanzania because of the light, colours and life in almost every scene. Especially at dawn: the rising sun floods the cool grasslands with gold, school children walk along the roadsides and vendors set out their wares. And when nature surrounds you, there is exuberance everywhere: the largest of animals mingle with the most minute; birds of every size and colour soar and sing; trees and plants burst with flowers; landscapes are colourful and diverse. Mostly, though, it’s because of the equanimity, charm, dignity and welcome offered by so many Tanzanians.”
– Mary Fitzpatrick, Writer

There are countless reasons to visit a country as unique and beautiful as Tanzania, but if we had to narrow it down to three, our reasons would be: safari, beach and city:

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Safari:
Tanzania has 17 diverse National Parks including Sealous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest protected area, and the Serengeti National Park, which comes to life each year with the annual wildebeest migration. The Ngorongoro Crater is a must-see for its unbelievable geology, and abundance of wildlife. Then there’s Tarangire, Katavi, Ruaha and Arusha – all iconic African parks.

Beach:
From magical Pemba in the North, to the famous island of Zanzibar, Tanzania’s beaches are paradise on earth. The glorious Swahili coastline caters to every whim and snorkelling or scuba diving in these clear waters opens doors to a whole new world beneath the waves.

City:
Tanzania is unique and multi-cultural with many fascinating cities worth visiting. Dar es Salaam is the second largest trading port in East Africa and a trip there offers an interesting insight into the commercial hub of the country. For a more cultural experience, we recommend visiting Stone Town in the heart of Zanzibar.
Quite simply put, Tanzania has something for everybody to enjoy.

August 17, 2016

Touring Tanzania on Foot

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“In a country crowned by the tallest free-standing volcano in the world and almost bisected by chains of ancient mountain ranges, hiking takes on a high profile. Stunning scenery and rugged terrain combine with a fascinating cultural backdrop to create several challenging and adventurous routes.” – Lonely Planet

The hustle and bustle of travelling can be exhausting at times. Whisking off from one place to another means that sometimes there is barely enough time to enjoy every experience to the full and that’s a downright shame! The whole point of travelling is to encounter new things and immerse yourself in different experiences. In doing so, you learn about the country’s unique culture and traditions, as well as visiting places completely unique to your own homeland.

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Tanzania has so many exquisite things on offer and we believe that one of the best ways to explore some of this country’s highlights is on foot. Walking allows travellers the time to develop a deeper connection and understanding of their surroundings. It forces you to be completely involved and aware and travellers will often discover and learn about things that they never would have even noticed before.

Here are a few of our favourite places for taking a walk in Tanzania:

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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Famous for being one of Tanzania’s premier wildlife destinations and home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area offers rugged and scenic guided walking opportunities. There are no set routes, which makes for many possibilities, and guests are often treated to thrilling up-close wildlife encounters. Walking is less invasive than driving in game vehicles and therefore provides a more eco-friendly and authentic safari experience.

Stone Town

© Helen Suk

© Helen Suk

Stone Town is the oldest part of Zanzibar and also the cultural heart of the city. As the world’s oldest functioning Swahili city, many of the landmarks in Stone Town have been restored to their former glory. Walking down the narrow streets of the city, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back in time as you take in the grand old Arabian homes lining the winding alleys.

Lake Victoria

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Bordered by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest freshwater lake and yet is one of the least visited regions of Tanzania. This remote and scenic area is a birdwatcher’s paradise and perfect for nature walks. There are also a few villages in the area which can be visited, including Musoma and Bukoba, which have a quiet waterside charm.

Gombe Stream National Park

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Gombe Stream National Park is the smallest national park in Tanzania. The park is home to many species of primates and mammals but is most famous for its chimpanzee population. Guided walks take visitors into the forest to observe chimps in the wild – a true bucket list activity!

In other words, if you’re planning a trip to Tanzania, make sure to pack a comfy pair of walking shoes. You’ll be needing them a lot!

July 26, 2016

The Cycle of Life in the Serengeti

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News,The Great Migration — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:24 am

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When the wildebeest migration arrives on the plains of the Serengeti, a time of plenty begins for the predators. It’s basically a big moving ‘all you can eat’ buffet and the drama that unfolds during this time makes for some of the best wildlife sightings. It’s no wonder that this spectacle is on so many safari enthusiasts bucket lists!

“The survival tactics, the perfectly timed executions and the unexpected escapes are bound to leave any wildlife lover enthralled. However, a certain degree of empathy is also stirred from observing wild animals in their quest for survival, and the raw simplicity of life in the bush is an alluring aspect for many visitors. There are also many lessons to be learnt from the animal kingdom – from trusting instincts and embracing strengths, to working as a team and adapting in the face of adversity.”Africa Geographic describes the migration in a gallery titled ‘Life and Death in the Serengeti’ featuring a series of powerful images captured by wildlife photographer, Björn Persson.

Here are a few on the photographs that were featured:

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Entering the world as baby wildebeest, odds for survival aren’t great. With predators around every corner, a weak little wildebeest is an easy target. Getting on their feet and walking as soon as possible is their only chance of survival.

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When the calving season arrives, the big cats feast in the Serengeti! During this time, it is vital that they gain weight and store energy for the future when easy meals might not be as abundant.

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Built for speed, cheetahs have the option of targeting prey that would be more difficult for the other predators to catch. Once they have caught their prey, cheetahs need time to rest but they also have to eat their meal relatively quickly as larger predators often chase the cheetahs off their kill and steal it for themselves.

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Unlike cheetahs, lions cannot rely on their speed to make a kill and need to carefully stalk their prey until it’s the right time to pounce. Often taking advantage of the cover of darkness, lions usually hunt in groups to increase their chances of success.

Click here to see the rest of the gallery.

If this sounds like your kind of safari experience, then get in touch with us! We consider ourselves to be somewhat ‘experts’ on the topic and can help you plan the best safari possible in the heart of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

July 21, 2016

Scholarships

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tanzania Odyssey @ 1:13 pm

At Tanzania Odyssey we are always looking out for  talented people who have a passion for Africa and are looking to start a career in luxury travel.

The ideal scholarship candidate would be a recent graduate with good grades, attention to detail, the ability to work with urgency and accuracy and a passion for Africa.  The role would include work on all aspects of the business, including website, advertising, PR, administration and accounts as well as learning about the booking process and tailor-making trips to Africa.

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To apply please send your CV and covering letter to Ted Archdale at [email protected]

This scholarship is run on an annual basis

Award amount: $500

Selection process:  after consideration of the various CVs we will award the scholarship to the candidate most suited to the post

Disclaimers: Any information collected will be used expressly for the awarding of the scholarship and not marketing purposes.

For more info about us please see Tanzania Odyssey and for what we do see Tanzania Safaris
PS you may also be interested in our sister companies Africa Odyssey, Asia Odyssey and South America Odyssey

February 26, 2016

Bye bye, Bird

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:10 am

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As many of you will already be aware, last weekend we lost our crazy, characterful, avian member of the Nomad family, Big Bird. He is missed by all of us, particularly the Greystoke team who have cared for him for the last three years. Judging by the pictures and memories that you’ve shared with us, we won’t be the only ones to miss him. Hopefully he’s found somewhere just as idyllic as Greystoke Mahale in the next life. He’s certainly made a splash with a lot of people in this one, among them Jean Campbell, who shared this with us, and we take pleasure in sharing it with you.

15 Life Lessons (in no particular order) – As Reminded To Me By A Pelican
1. You can fit way more in your beak than you think you can ( or should I say your gular pouch?).
2. Beauty and inspiration comes in many shapes and forms.
3. Persistence pays off.
4. It’s okay to bite someone’s head as long as you don’t press too hard.
5. Embrace your own unique waddle, it’s all you need.
6. Just because you’re born a pelican doesn’t mean you’re JUST a pelican.
7. Be ready and present. You never know when life will throw you a fish.
8. Sometimes you have to push yourself right into the middle of things. No one should go unnoticed.
9. Changing your perspective can change everything.
10. Family is not limited to relatives.
11. A little love, affection, and a good wing scratching goes a long way to making the world a better place.
12. Stormy days can yield unexpected silver linings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still hurt.
13. Some days it’s okay to stay on the roof with your head tucked under your wing for longer than usual.
14. A friend is someone who’ll run alongside you, flapping their arms as a way of encouraging you to fly, even though they know they themselves never can.
15. It really isn’t about how long you’re on this earth. It’s all about the impact you make while you’re here.

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