Tanzania Safari Blog

April 14, 2018

Welcome to the Tanzania Odyssey Blog

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:26 am

Our blog is a collection of posts and articles written by ourselves as well as some which are sourced externally, but all of which are relevant to Tanzania and Zanzibar. Similarly, our website is a vast resource of knowledge compiled over 20 years of experience, written by ourselves; the Tanzania Experts. We really know our stuff and offer unbiased opinions on the regions of Tanzania as well as the lodges & hotels (all of which we visit on a regular basis!)

We specialise in everything from beach honeymoons to family safaris and even climbing Kilimanjaro, so you can rest assured our website is extremely well equipped to answer everyone’s queries and concerns. Please have a scan of the above button options to find your relevant page! We tailor-make all our trips but our itineraries page is also particularly useful when in the initial planning stages. The best way to get to grips with Tanzania and Zanzibar though is to give us a call so we can give you the low-down in our famous no-flowers Odyssey way.

September 25, 2019

The New Namiri Plains

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If you have been following any of our social media accounts and our blog you may have noticed a lodge called Namiri Plains being mentioned once or twice.

The reason we love it so much is because of its extremely high predator density, the intimacy and privacy that is given on game drives. It is located in the Eastern section of the Serengeti National Park and over forty-five minutes away from any other camp.

© Asilia Namiri Plains

During 2019 Asilia have been building their brand new Namiri Camp next door to the original, and we are very excited that it is now open! The new lodge has ten open and spacious tents which overlook the rolling plains of the Serengeti, whilst the bespoke design allows you to connect with nature whilst still being enveloped by luxury.  

© Asilia Namiri Plains

Each tent can be made into a twin or double room with its own ensuite bathroom. There is an indoor shower and an outdoor bathtub should you wish to bathe beneath the Serengeti sky. Extra facilities include a swimming pool and a library as well as a newly added spa that all add to this exquisite camp.

© Asilia Namiri Plains

For those who love photography, a specially designed photographic vehicle is now available to be hired so that you can get those perfect shots. It’s special features include swivel seats – one per row – drop down sides and the usual Asilia kit including 3-pin plugs and roll down covers in case of bad weather.

© Asilia Namiri Plains

No matter the time of year, Namiri is worth visiting. Although it may not be the best camp for seeing the wildebeest migration, between November and May the migration is accessible. Day trips to see the millions of migrating wildebeest and zebra can be done during these months, but the real draw of Namiri are the predators. The local populations of cheetah and lion don’t follow the migration, and through years of extensive protection and research, the cats have flourished. They feed on the resident topi, gazelle and other antelopes that are abundant throughout the year which makes for some unprecedented big cat action no matter when you visit.

As Namiri has just reopened there are some fantastic deals to be had! The price of staying is the same as the old Namiri until May 2020. That means for an extra-luxurious and brand new camp, you would pay the old camp’s prices! In April during the low season, the rates drop dramatically allowing you to get some a deal that will give you the best big cat sightings for a price that cannot be beaten!

We love talking about all things safari, so if you think Namiri Plains is the place for you, contact us now!

August 30, 2019

Lions vs Buffalo: Usurping of a King?

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 10:29 am

A few months ago our Managing Director Marc and his son embarked on an epic trip to Tanzania’s famous Serengeti. Whilst there, they visited a number of different camps including Alex Walker’s Serian, Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp and Asilia’s Namiri Plains.

The Serengeti is known for its famous wildebeest migration that sees millions of these herbivores follow the rains in search of greener pastures. The most famous part of this migration is the immense river crossings which see the wildebeest and zebra chancing their luck as they cross the Mara River. Huge crocodiles and strong currents all lead to spectacular drama and thousands of people flock every year to bear witness to this.

Chaotic Crossing © Shuttstock

Away from the drama of the migration there are plenty of side stories that people often forget about. Big cats such as cheetah and lion don’t follow the migration and therefore have to make do with what is left around them. After the ungulates have passed through their territories prey options can be quite limited. Elephants and rhino still roam the plains as do the lesser seen felines like servals and caracals, yet these aren’t the best sources of food for a lion.

On Marc’s trip it was one of these side stories that caught the eye of millions!

Now it has been well documented in Botswana and South Africa that lions love to hunt buffalo, and buffalo love to retaliate against their nemesis. On an afternoon game drive at Namiri Plains, the guide decided to follow up on lion tracks that had been spotted earlier in the morning. As they manoeuvred around the low shrubs, a scene was unfolding that kept them on the edge of their seats until dark came.

A pride of lions numbering well over ten had stumbled across a lone buffalo bull. Also known as dagga boys, these buffalo are considered to be the most dangerous animals of all the Big 5, and rightly so. Their cranky temperament has seen many people charged and plenty of lions gored and killed over the years. Weighing in at about a tonne, they are certainly not easy prey.

Dagga Boy © Sam Hankss

Being opportunistic, this pride of lions thought they would chance their luck and try and grab a meal that would sustain them for a few days.  They had surrounded this lone buffalo with the intent to kill. The bull however, had other ideas. With speed that may come as surprising to most, the buffalo manoeuvred itself numerous times to avoid more than one lion being able to get near enough to it. Using the terrain to its advantage the buffalo cleverly used the nearby shrubs to shield one side of itself from potential attacks.

Whilst this was going on Marc started to film the scene that was unfolding, little did he realise how much traction this video would gain. After uploading it to our YouTube channel Tanzania Odyssey, the video surpassed ten-million views in a matter of months.

Although the lions have numbers on their side, it is quite obvious the buffalo has the wits. It is like watching a game of chess unfold with each side taking turns to try and out-manoeuvre the other.

It is truly fascinating to see and is it possibly questioning the status of the lion as King? Take a look below and decide for yourself…

An Epic Showdown © Marc Harris

August 22, 2019

Olduvai Gorge

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 3:58 pm

Located in the North of Tanzania lies one of the most important historical places on Earth. It is here that the earliest evolutionary remains of humans walking on two feet and using tools were found. Below you will find a some of the best bits you need to know about this historical place.

What is Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is arguably the most important fossil sites in the world. Over thirty miles long and about three-hundred feet deep, the gorge is part of a World Heritage Site called the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is famous for the evolutionary discoveries of some of the earliest signs of human development.

© Shutterstock

Where is Olduvai Gorge

Located in the Great Rift Valley, Olduvai Gorge is nestled between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. For anyone going on safari that is interested in archaeology and palaeontology, this is the place to visit!

 What did the Leakey’s discover in Olduvai Gorge?

A question that fascinates those interested in the history of humans is who discovered the bones of a hominid 1.8 million years old at Olduvai Gorge? Although the Leakey name is the one that attracts the most attention when Olduvai Gorge is mentioned, the site was actually visited by a couple of German archaeologists in the early 1900’s. They came across fossils of early hominin habitation and after the First World War, the Leakeys (Louis and Mary) travelled to Berlin to see these transported fossils. They surmised that the gorge could be holding evidence of stone tools which stemmed from the fact that the fossils in Berlin were around the same age as those Louis had uncovered in Kenya’s Kariandusi prehistoric site. Here he had found evidence of hand-axes.

© Shutterstock

The Leakey’s are credited for most of the discoveries and excavations in Olduvai Gorge, it is here that they found the earliest signs of human technology. Evidence of hominids using tools makes it the earliest known evidence of the tool industry.

In the same area, evidence was also found of hominids walking on two feet. Hominid footprints that have been preserved in Volcanic Rock that date back over 3.5 million years represent some of the earliest signs of mankind walking upright.

The evidence found in the Gorge has revealed a great deal about society and the early development of human society from millions of years ago!

Visiting Olduvai Gorge

Today many of the excavation sites are still operational. Archaeologists still chip away hoping to find some more remnants of fossils from a by-gone era. Official guides can take you on a tour of the area and explain the history and importance of Olduvai Gorge whilst a small museum provides further evidence and explanatory features for you to browse through. Olduvai Gorge is a must for anyone thinking of safari in North Tanzania who wants to learn a bit about the history of our ancestors.

If this blog has got you thinking about a trip to Tanzania then make sure you contact us for free, impartial and honest advice. We would love to hear from you.

August 14, 2019

Tanzania’s Tinga Tinga Art

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:09 pm

Tinga Tinga paintings are a unique and visually stunning painting style that was developed in the second half of the 20th century in Tanzania, East Africa.

Tinga Tinga Art began as a simple idea: Use recycled, low-cost materials, like masonite squares, ceramic fragments, and bicycle paint. 

The founder of Tingatinga paintings, Edward Tingatinga was born in the settlement of Mindu, and if you looked in the road map of Tanzania this location cannot be found; in fact there is not much left of this settlement itself and the house where he was born is now completely grounded.

Mindu was with its own missionary school and dispensary, the settlement has disintegrated with the departure of young generation and is now left with very few old people. Edward attended Mindu Mission Primary School from Standard 1 to standard 4.

Tingatinga paintings tend to be striking in colour due to being made on masonite and are popular with tourists such as Europeans and Americans due to the ease of transportation.

The paintings are found all over Tanzania in different sizes and quality, but are best found in the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society, located at Morogoro Stores in Dar es Salaam, its capital city.

Why not consider buying a piece of Tinga Tinga Art as your next holiday souvenir?

There’s no doubt that buying prints and posters is fun – but there’s a lot to be said for saving up for a piece of Tinga Tinga Art.

Buying a painting supports the artist directly. Tinga Tinga painters lovingly make their work, and it can be challenging to make ends meet in such a labour-intensive and competitive field. Enrich your home and feel good knowing your purchase is helping to support a local artist by shopping at their galleries or online.

Paintings are tactile. An ordinary print surface can never live up to a gorgeous textured handmade painting. Whether done on a canvas, wood or mottled watercolour paper, Tinga Tinga paintings have a tactile quality that sets them apart from the rest.

Paintings are perfect for renters. If you rent, it can be difficult to personalise your own space when you’re not allowed to paint the walls or make other changes. Hang a painting or two and you can really make the place your own. Unlike bulky pieces of furniture, a painting can be carried with you no matter where you are and where you live.

Paintings are one of a kind. There’s something satisfying about having a completely unique piece of artwork that you cannot get anywhere else.

Paintings are handmade. Like handmade clothes or furniture, paintings show the hand of their maker so you can add a touch of personality to the home. Mass produced items cannot compete with that.

A painting can make the room. A painting begs to be the focal point of a room. Whether your artistic taste runs to the bold and graphic or to vintage landscapes, the painting you choose is bound to have a large impact on your space and give it the wow factor.

Paintings can make a house feel lie a home. Paintings you’ve owned for a while become like old friends. Simply pulling out your paintings and putting them up can make any space, no matter where you are, feel like home – you can even hand your painting down to sons, daughters, grandchildren as you get older.

Paintings inspire. Looking at a painting you love refreshes your spirit. Why not give yourself the gift of daily inspiration by saving up for a small painting you adore?

Where to buy Tinga Tinga Art?

If these reasons are enough to persuade you to buy a piece of Tinga Tinga Art, you can purchase a lovingly handmade and unique piece from the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society’s official website on TingatingaArt.com.

You can also visit the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society the next time you are in Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania. Located conspicuously along Morogoro Stores, the cooperative hosts around 100 talented artists who use art to express their creativity and talent through these colorful pieces of art. Many artists themselves still as Tingatinga’s successors, others experiment with new forms and motives. On the one hand the cooperative operates as a painting school for the Tingatinga style of art, but on the other it promotes the art sales internationally to enable its members to earn their living. The objective of the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society is to be independent of external financial and administrative help in the future, as well as to promote the lively Tanzanian culture.

Go ahead and treat yourself or a loved one! What are you waiting for?

July 22, 2019

Tarangire National Park With Asilia

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 3:05 pm

Whilst many visitors rush to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, with perhaps an afternoon in Lake Manyara as a side-note, they miss out on a hidden gem. Often forgotten and dismissed at a glance, Tarangire National Park is the secret that not many people know about. Located a short drive (or an even shorter flight) to the South-East of Lake Manyara, Tarangire is perfect for people who have the time, the budget and are wanting a private and exclusive safari with no one else around. To be the only game drive vehicle in an area is a very rare experience indeed in modern Africa and it makes Tarangire all the more special.

© Sam Hankss

Tarangire is a National Park often over-shadowed by the infamous Serengeti, yet its charm shouldn’t be overlooked. For those wanting to escape the crowds and have a wild, untamed and authentic safari then this is the perfect place. For elephant lovers, this is the place to go. With a huge annual migration which sees thousands of elephants descend upon Tarangire, you can be sure of some fantastic game viewing. We recommend visiting Tarangire between July and October for the dry season. This is when the bush is at its lowest and water is scarce. The results are huge congregations of elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and a multitude of other plains game in and around waterholes.  And of course where there’s prey, there are predators; lions are frequently sighted in Tarangire at this time of the year as are leopards, rounding off a fantastic safari experience.

When it comes to visiting Tarangire, one of our favourite companies that we work with is Asilia. They are the proud owners of two camps: Oliver’s and Little Oliver’s. With their exceptional local guides and sustainability being at the forefront of their ethos, you can be sure that you will remember your stay for a lifetime.

© Asilia – Oliver’s Camp

Oliver’s is Asilia’s main camp in Tarangire. Made up of ten luxury tented rooms which also have all the amenities you need including sun-loungers in front, your time at camp can be spent in comfort. Whilst at camp, you can also relax in the library where sinking into soft leather sofas will make time fly by as you delve into one of the paperbacks off. Alternatively you can sit, watch and listen to the comings and goings of the wild fauna in the area. There are special honeymoon and family tents allowing the camp to cater for everybody’s needs, however children under six are not permitted.

© Asilia – Oliver’s Camp

Located a mere one kilometre from Oliver’s is the smaller and private, Little Oliver’s Camp. This is generally used for larger groups and families who want exclusive use of the accommodation. It is made up of five tented rooms and is situated upon a hillside which grants you beautiful views of the bush below.  Just like its big brother, the rooms are spacious, spread out and with private decks that stretch out in front of the rooms, it is a beautiful place to spend a sundowner.

Both camps are located in a special wilderness area where walking and fly camping are offered which is something that can’t be offered at every camp in the National Park. To get a true sense of the wild, we would certainly recommend taking part in a walking safari, and if your time allows hot air balloon safaris and night drives are a perfect addition to your Tarangire safari.

The best way to find out about Tarangire is to visit our website or simply contact us. We would love to tell you more about it.

July 11, 2019

A Safari Expert’s Guide to the Characters of the Lion King

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© Copyright of Sam Hankss

The Lion King

Disney’s long line of re-makes continues. On Friday night the new Lion King airs across the world. For animal lovers like us, any movie that includes the magnificence of Africa is surely one to watch. Some cynics will argue that to remake a classic will destroy its reputation, but we hope it will inspire a new generation of children, and reignite old sparks where old flames may have died.

After working as a safari guide in the Greater Kruger for a number of years I often used Lion King anecdotes to help explain aspects of the wildlife to my guests. People’s expressions changed from attentiveness to incredulous delight as I explained how the commonly seen hornbill was actually Zazu from the Lion King. Smiles and chatter would erupt, especially if there were children on board. For many who weren’t lucky enough to live the life of a guide in Africa, it is common to draw on the Lion King for knowledge of the natural world, no matter how accurate this was. Below I am going to dispel some of the myths and explain a bit more about the main characters’ true behavior.

Hyenas – Ed, Shenzi and Banzai

I am going to start with possibly the most misunderstood creature on the open savannah of Africa. What is the first impression you have of a hyena? My guess is that your answer would be a drooling, mangy, ugly animal that scavenges on whatever morsel it can find. Why do you have that impression? I bet it’s because of the Lion King! Unfortunately hyenas have suffered a terrible reputation ever since Disney chose them to be Scar’s side-kicks.

© Copyright of Marc Harris

 This may be a surprise, but hyenas are actually one of the most enigmatic and essential characters of the bush.  They are the clean-up crew and their scavenging habits help to prevent the spread of disease and help to complete many ecological cycles in the eco-system. When scavenging opportunities aren’t available, hyenas are very competent hunters and will actively hunt for themselves. Their lop-sided running technique gives them incredible stamina and helps to maintain their speed until their prey is too exhausted to go on. They have a better hunting rate than lions!

Ridiculed as being stupid throughout the film, hyenas are extremely intelligent. Their clans follow a very complex matriarchal system made up of an alpha female and her subordinates. These clans have learnt to actually follow other predators such as wild dogs or leopards in the search for food. Once the other predator has made its kill, the hyena clan will descend and force its competition to abandon the kill. To do this takes highly intelligent teamwork which involves maneuvering and attacking at specific times to ensure they get their prize.

Lions – Simba, Mfuasa and Scar

When you think of a lion, you probably think of a regal and magnificent, an animal that can do no wrong. The Lion King also follows this thought with its portrayal of Mfuasa and Simba, who are the noble Kings of the savannah, but in truth most male lions are like Scar. With a constant instinct to take over new territories and to usurp other males from the vicinity, male lions are normally power hungry and will do anything they can do claim their reward. Unfortunately for members of their new pride, these male lions will then kill any cubs. This act means the females come into heat and are ready to mate again. The males therefore sire their own offspring and ensure their genetics are passed on.

© Copyright of Marc Harris

As discussed in the previous paragraph, hyenas have a bad reputation for scavenging yet their counterparts are no better. Lions are often found scavenging and stealing kills hard won by other predators. Their size and weight advantage means that leopards and cheetahs are no match for them and kills are often abandoned with a lion in the vicinity.

Warthogs and Meerkats – Timone and Pumba

Everyone’s favourite duo, what would the Lion King be without Timone and Pumba? These two fun-loving, bug-munching creatures spend the movie making jokes and providing some light entertainment to a movie that has some serious undertones. It may sadden you to learn that although these two seem inseparable during the movie, in real life they would never have met. The reason for this is their habitat differences. Whilst warthogs are found in most savannah and wooded areas, but meerkats have a certain niche. They are localized to the Kalahari regions of South Africa and Botswana where warthogs aren’t present. Whist observing warthogs you may however encounter them with other creatures that can be mistaken for meerkats. These are in fact mongoose, and they have a symbiotic relationship with the tusked pigs. You may see mongoose and warthogs sharing the same meal or even the mongoose grooming the warthogs for tics!

© Copyright of Shutterstock

In terms of their individual behavior, Disney is rather accurate when portraying the warthog and meerkat. Quick to run away from danger and a pig that will eat anything is the perfect way to encapsulate the characteristics of a warthog and whilst meerkats are also very sociable creatures, (although Timone is seen away from his family), he still wants to be around others. Meerkats are also very alert and always aware of their surroundings.

© Copyright of Shutterstock

An additional fact worth knowing is that although meerkats and warthogs are unable to sing ‘Hakuna Matata’, the true translation is ‘no worries’!

Wildebeest

Not featured as heavily in the Lion King as other animals but playing a crucial role in the plot, wildebeests are seldom looked at with much attention. Being classed as part of the ‘Ugly 5’, the wildebeest is said to have been made up of all the remaining parts left over when the animals came to be. In the film we see the wildebeest spooking easily and forming a stampede (spoilers I will not divulge). This is particularly true of real-life wildebeest during the Great Migration. After approaching the great Mara River tentatively, it only takes one individual to spook before the whole herd starts stampeding, either across the river or back into the grassy plains.

© Copyright of Tanzania Odyssey

 If you have been inspired by the new Lion King, take a look at our blog about where to find characters of the Lion King on safari and do not forget to contact us should you wish for more information about the holiday of a lifetime.

July 5, 2019

‘Serengeti’ – A Look into BBC’s New Documentary

©Copyright of Shutterstock. A male lion with the red glow of a sunset behind him in the heart of the Serengeti.

For those who tuned into BBC1 at 8pm last Thursday, you will have witnessed the start of a series that transports you from your armchair to the rolling plains of the Serengeti. There you will witness the battle that the Serengeti’s best known animals face. Each day is a struggle between life and death and although it is great to watch these events unfold on television, there is nothing better than seeing these spectacles first hand. Whether it is the lions, the elephants or the wild dogs that spark an interest for you to go on safari or a love of wildlife, it doesn’t matter. After organising luxury safaris for over twenty years, we know the best places for you visit! Read below for our honest advice about where the best places are to see these magnificent animals.  

The Wildebeest Migration

The world-renowned Great Migration is a year-round event that occurs within the Serengeti National Park. Each year millions of wildebeest and zebra follow the rains in a clock-wise motion clocking up about two-hundred and fifty kilometres each. From crossing the Mara River in the North to giving birth on the Ndutu plains in the South, drama is never far away when watching these ungulates. If you’re particularly interested in keeping up with the migration, then we would whole-heartedly recommend a mobile camp. These are tented camps that follow the migration all year, moving from site to site meaning that they have the best spots for the action. Do not fear though, luxury isn’t compromised. All your amenities (and more) are certainly apparent.

©Copyright of Shutterstock. One of the greatest wildlife spectacles on Earth – The Great Wildebeest Migration

Lions

The majestic King of the Jungle is probably the most sought after animal people want to see when they go on safari. Luckily, lions are everywhere in the Serengeti and unlike the wildebeest, they stick to their territories. Whilst the migration may pass through areas at different times of the year, no matter where you stay there will be plenty of resident game in the lion territories to keep them fed whilst the wildebeest are away. If you are after a great value safari, it is worth seeking the ‘off season’ camps as they will still have great opportunities to see lions and great prices!

A beautiful lionness in the morning light. Picture taken by Africa specialist Sam whilst in the Serengeti.

Cheetahs

Small, lithe and the only cat that can’t roar, you are often left feeling sorry for the cheetah. Often bullied by hyenas and the other cats, being a cheetah mother is probably one of the toughest jobs in the Serengeti. Even with the honey-badger disguise, cheetah cubs unfortunately have a very high mortality rate. But for all their bad luck, there is one place in the Serengeti that we hold close to our hearts. Recently reopened and what used to be a cheetah research area, Namiri Plains in the Eastern section of the Serengeti is a place like no other. As well as being home to numerous caracals, servals and other big cats, the cheetah population has thrived here for years and sightings are daily and wonderful. For the best cheetah sightings and photographic opportunities we couldn’t recommend Asilia’s Namiri Plains Camp high enough. If you don’t believe it yet, check out our Instagram to see our first-hand sightings from our trips there!

Two cheetah brothers photographed by Managing Director Marc on his stay at Namiri Plains.

Elephants

The most intelligent of all savannah animals, with communication systems that humans haven’t been able to apprehend and emotions that no other animals seem to have, the elephant is a magnificent creature. The biggest member of the Big 5, yet also the most gentle, one would be mistaken that they are big fumbling, bumbling balls of grey, yet an insight into their behaviour shows just how gentle and nimble they can be. That’s not to say they aren’t destructive because they certainly can be when the mood strikes. With the Serengeti being such an open and vast landscape, elephants are not normally found in such open areas, that’s why it is important to be in a camp that is placed perfectly for both habitats. A great area for elephant sightings is in the often-forgotten Serengeti forests. Here the vegetation is denser and riverine thickets are the perfect habitat for elephant families who need plenty of food, water and shelter to provide safety for the herd.  We absolutely love Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp, a mobile camp which moves throughout the year depending on where the migration is, yet their location also takes into consideration the movement of the mega fauna like the elephants. Their new position by the Moru kopjes in central Serengeti provides the perfect setting for great sightings.

The often forgotten forests of the Serengeti photographed by Africa specialist Sam whilst staying in the Moru region.

Whilst I hope you will enjoy the rest of the series, I know I plan to, if you want to experience the Serengeti with your own eyes then there is only one thing for you to do: contact us! We would love help you book the trip of a lifetime.

April 26, 2019

Cheetah Jumps on Safari Vehicle

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 11:01 am

Cheetah Jumps on Safari Vehicle

How close have you ever been to a wild cheetah? It isn’t an everyday question, however at Namiri Plains in the Serengeti you can get up close, and at times, very personal to these spotted felines.

The Eastern section of the Serengeti was closed for a number of years to visitors to try and help rehabilitate the dwindling cheetah population, but now after years of successful research the realisation that sustainable tourism is the best option to save these animals, Asilia have been chosen to run the only camp in the area.

On a recent trip to Tanzania, Marc was lucky enough to encounter plenty of cheetah sightings whilst staying at Namiri Plains. Seeing a kill on safari is a very rare thing and especially from start to end, yet Mar was lucky enough to witness an unprecedented amount of five kills in three days.

On top of that he also had a very curious cheetah inspect the safari vehicle. Check out the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hSeG6Ehos4

The cheetah sightings were certainly in abundance and beautiful scenes of cheetah cubs with their mother was also a special highlight.

Namiri Plains

Apart from the thriving cheetah population, the safety provided by the years of research has meant other predator populations have also started to boom. Lion and spotted hyena concentrations are very high in the region.  Marc also saw a lion pride attempt to hunt a lone buffalo bull whilst the safari villain stole the show (and the cheetah’s food) with its courageous and cocky manner.

Although April is seen as low season for the Serengeti, Marc has proved our motto that there is never a bad time for a safari. The fact that is was low season meant that the Serengeti had fewer visitors than would normally be expected and although it is generally known as being in the rainy season, not one drop fell!

If this has tickled your tastebuds for an adrenaline fuelled, predator bonanza on safari then contact us now and one of our Tanzania experts will be more than happy to help plan your perfect safari.

  

April 2, 2019

10 Great Facts about The Great Wildebeest Migration

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 2:57 pm
wildebeest migration

©Copyright of Shutterstock

The Great Migration is the joint longest mammal migration on Earth. Contrary to popular belief, the wildebeest migration has a competitor for duration. The length of the migration is also mirrored by the lesser known zebra migration in Botswana which sees the striped horses of Africa migrate from the floodplains of Chobe to Nxai Pan. And back again. Both migrations have a journey length of roughly 500km which is no short distance.

It is not just wildebeest that migrate in the Serengeti. The Great Migration contains over 2 million animals, including 300,000 zebras and a whole assortment of antelope such as impala, eland and Thompson’s gazelles. The migration sees the animals move in a general clockwise direction through the Serengeti National Park, following the rains.

Zebra

©Copyright of Shutterstock

The migration is ALWAYS in Tanzania. No matter what time of year it is, the migration remains in Tanzania all year long. Parts of the migratory herds do move into the Masai Mara in Kenya from July until October; however the large majority of the herds at this time are still in the Northern part of the Serengeti.

The famous river crossing that provides ‘documentary worthy’ footage is across the Mara River. The misconception is that this river crossing is from Tanzania into Kenya or vice versa. In fact the crossings that take place are in both the Serengeti and The Masai Mara, however if the wildebeests are crossing, they will finish in the same country they started. There is also a smaller river crossing across the Grumeti River in the Western corridor of the Serengeti. This is nowhere near as spectacular in terms of size and scale; yet drama including huge crocodiles is still very apparent.

Wildebeest river crossing

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A symbiotic relationship exists between the zebras and wildebeest of the Serengeti. Put simply, without the zebras, the wildebeest wouldn’t be able to survive. Wildebeest are fussy eaters, they are selective grazers and only feed upon the shorter parts of the grass, but luckily for them, zebras are bulk grazers meaning they aren’t nearly as picky over their grass choice. As the zebras graze they essentially act as a lawnmower, cropping the grass and making it palatable for the wildebeest to consume.

Crocodiles can wait a year for their meal. The crocodiles of the Mara River are known to be some of the biggest Nile Crocodiles in Africa and you would expect them to eat regularly. Without going into too much scientific detail, crocodiles can control their metabolism and their heart rate to essentially “shut down” whilst the migratory herds are not in the area meaning they don’t have to feed too often. They go into a state of near-hibernation and their biological system is so sophisticated that it means that the biggest of the bunch may only need to feed once or twice a year.

Wildebeest faces up Crocodile

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There is only one type of wildebeest in the Serengeti. The wildebeest in Tanzania are the blue wildebeest. They are referred to as blue because in the sunshine, their glossy coats glisten a shade of blue. The wildebeest may also be named “gnu” by people. This is an interchangeable name and is an onomatopoeic derision of the sound they make. The Serengeti is only home to Blue wildebeest (the brindled gnu) but South Africa is home to another type, the black wildebeest, also known as the white tailed gnu. This type of wildebeest has heavier set horns and is slightly smaller. If you were to visit a breeding farm in South Africa you may even be lucky enough to see a golden wildebeest. A very rare specimen.

The herd isn’t always together. Although the migration is referred to as the mass movement of thousands of animals, the herds don’t all stick together all the time. When there is an abundance of food, the wildebeest can break off into splinter herds and go in search of their own food. The wildebeest also don’t cross the Mara River all at once. You get herds of varying sizes crossing the rivers all at different times from July until October. Even though the movements of herds are the same, it is unlikely that all the wildebeest will be congregated in one particular spot at the same time. There is one time though…

The only time that you will see almost every wildebeest of the migration together is in the months of January and February. This time of year is the calving season and where half a million wildebeest are born in the South Eastern corner of the Serengeti and North Western area of the Ngorongoro Crater. Over a few weeks thousands of new bleating calves enter the world, but this is also a prime opportunity for predators who also thrive at this time of year. The calves that are born are precocial meaning they can stand and are not entirely reliant on their parents within minutes, a vital survival technique that helps them keep up with the herd.

Cheetah stalking Wildebeest

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The herds are always monitored and you can check online where the migration is. Guides and pilots send in their information as they see it, about the herd’s locations and movement directions which are then transferred to a website So, if you’re raring to go on a trip or you’re longing to be back after your holiday with us, you can find out what is happening wherever you are in the world!

March 1, 2019

A list of the best honeymoon activities and accommodation in Tanzania

Filed under: Tanzania Odyssey News — Tags: , , , — Tanzania Odyssey @ 5:51 pm

When you are looking at booking a honeymoon, no stone must go unturned to ensure you get the absolute best and most special trip possible, and for the best price possible… Especially when paying for weddings are also involved! At Tanzania Odyssey we really do know our stuff and can guide you to the most romantic lodges, experiences and special offers the country has to offer both on safari and on the beach.

Let’s kick things off with the most romantic honeymoon experiences Tanzania has to offer.

Hot air ballooning in The Serengeti and most recently, Ruaha National Park

Now make note that this is not a cheap experience. It is definitely for those who have ample budget, and want to splash out on an extremely different safari experience. You start early (very early, even by safari terms!) and drive out from camp to the hot air balloon site where you will ride for around an hour over the vast Serengeti plains, and time of year dependant, you could even be lucky enough to catch the thousands of grazers involved in the Great Wildebeest Migration below. To have a chance of being on your balloon ride over the Migration, you must be in The Serengeti from July – October, as the herds are generally in the north at this time of year, and northern Serengeti is the only area of the park that allows balloon rides. Price-wise, you are looking at around $550 per person…

In the Serengeti, the best honeymoon hideaway is Serengeti Safari Camp for a truly authentic, tented yet absolutely and utterly romantic safari experience…

In Ruaha, you can’t get much more luxurious or much more wow factor than Jabali Ridge… We absolutely love this lodge.

Sleeping under the stars in the Selous Game Reserve

There is nothing quite like looking up and seeing the milky way in all it’s glory. What set’s this experience apart from any other is that in The Selous you are surrounded by pure African wilderness and all the stirring of the night which goes with it. Just you, your partner and a guide – it is an extraordinary experience and will probably be the most memorable evening you share with your new spouse.

Stay at Sand Rivers for unrivalled barefoot luxury either side of a sleep out under the stars…

Dinner at Emersons on Hurumzi in Stone Town

A little hidden gem in Zanzibar’s Stone Town can transform a nice evening wondering around it’s cobbled streets into a really special one. Book in advance for the Emersons rooftop dinner experience as it tends to get booked up pretty far in advance. You can either sit at a table or on the floor on the Zanzibari cushions… Wherever you sit though, the unmistakably atmosphere of Stone Town is all around.

Where else to stay in Zanzibar for your honeymon than at the beautiful Xanadu Villas… You may not make it to Emersons though, as it will be difficult to pull yourself away from their ex-Michelin star chef…

Happy planning!

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