Real Life Adventure Travel

Conservation Archives

Visit With Lynne Leakey

We had the wonderful opportunity and honor to meet and speak with Lynne Leakey last night at the Northern California APTA meeting.  She discussed what a change she has seen over the years in the safari industry, from hunting safaris to photographic safaris to now philanthropic safaris that are making a difference in the world.

She also touched on the immediate and dire need to put an end to rhino and elephant poaching.  We are loosing so many of these majestic and precious animals at an alarming rate that if the if the slaughter continues as it has in 2012 and the short few months of 2013 that these animals will be gone in less than 20 years.

Something must be done or we will loose 2 of the big five that draw people to our continent and countries.  We can’t image not seeing the iconic picture of large herds of elephant against the backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Iconic Elephants and Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background

The good news is that our people are starting to fight back and protect our heritage and national treasures. Here are just a few examples of things that are being done:

  • Kenya Airways is partnering with Born Free to put information packets on their flights to benefit Kenya Wildlife Services
  • Several marches and demonstrations have taken place.  In the Maasai Mara, some 300 strong marched and the Maasai have been engaged to help in the battle against poaching
  • “Elephant Man” Jim Nyamu walked 500 km from Mombasa to Nairobi.  His journey ended at the UNEP Headquarters where he received honors.

It is important for all of us to get involved to help protect our national heritage and treasures.  Here are just a few ways to help and to become more educated:

Elephant Neighbors Center

International Fund for Animal Welfare

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

A Voice for Elephants – National Geographic

WildlifeDirect.org

Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Big Life Foundation

Save the Elephants

Elephant Voices

Born Free

Time Running Out to Save Elephants from Ivory Trade – Ian Douglas Hamilton

WWF

Kenya Wildlife Service

Tanzanian Riding Safari…encounters of a lifetime!

September 15, 2011 by  

 

Riding safari at Manyara Ranch Conservancy in Tanzania

A Safari in Tanzania is about exploring the world renowned wildlife, landscape and rich cultures of the numerous tribes that inhabit the country.  It’s the breath taking herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles for as far as the eye can see, the graceful giraffes and mighty elephant herds.  It’s the elusive leopard, the sleek and swift cheetah and the magnificent lion.  The colorful and fierce Maasai or the quiet Hadzabe bushmen still living as they have throughout their long history.  All in the shadow of the majestic snow capped Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Now imagine doing your safari on horseback…galloping in the middle of herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle.  Close enough to hear their snorts and thundering hooves.  Or extremely close encounters with elephants, lions or other big game because the animals are not as afraid of a horse as they are a safari vehicle.

Tanzanian horseback riding safaris offer adventurers the opportunity to explore in a more intimate way getting closer to the wildlife and interacting with the people of Tanzania in a more basic, down to nature way.

Exploring Singita Grumeti on horseback

The trips can range from day rides returning to camp each evening to multi-day trips camping out in the bush or riding from tented camp to tented camp.  Riders can explore parts of the Serengeti, the lesser known West Kilimanjaro area which is part of the Amboseli / Ngasurai Basin eco-system and offers spectacular landscapes with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, Ol Doinyo Longido and Ol Doinyo Orok, or other migratory areas that are home to some of the best wildlife conservations in the country.  Trips can also be designed so that non-riders can tag along in a typical safari vehicle and meet up with the riders in camp.

What do you need to participate?  A great sense of adventure. Good riding ability is important.  Participants should be comfortable at the walk trot and canter. Be able to gallop and react quickly and safely. Should be fit enough to ride between 4 and 6 hours a day. The weight limit is 210 lbs or 95 kgs.

Contact us to find out about our riding safari adventures in East Africa.

What is the Serengeti Highway?

Located in the heart of beautiful Tanzania, the Serengeti is perhaps one of the best examples of natural wilderness on earth. Extending for 30,000 km, the region is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and welcomes some 90,000 tourist visits each year. The Serengeti’s ecosystem is as old as the land and hills within it, and its vegetation, climate and wildlife have remained virtually unchanged over the past million years. It is also the site of incredible and ancient migration patterns. Each year over a million wildebeest and nearly 200,000 zebras instinctively make their way across the hills and plains.

Unfortunately, this precious natural habitat is in danger of being destroyed. The Tanzanian government has recently approved the proposed construction of a major commercial highway that will run directly through the unblemished landscape of the Serengeti National Park. Not only will this highway trample through some of the most beautiful natural environment on the planet, but it will also travel directly through the animal migration paths, disrupting the instinctive journeys that have been carried out for millions of years.

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Choosing a Sustainable Travel Operator in Africa

Years ago the term ‘sustainability’ was virtually unheard of and most people didn’t know the incredible impact their actions and behaviors had on the future of our environment. In today’s world it’s everybody’s responsibility to take measures towards conservation. This includes making sure that when we travel the companies we choose to do business with are responsible, both in terms of the environment and how they conduct business. Here are a few tips to help you choose a sustainable travel operator in Africa.

First you’ll want to research potential travel operators to be sure that they truly respect the environment and take actual measures to be more “green” in their day to day activities. For instance, climbing companies base their entire business on the beauty of nature and therefore should show a particular interest in conservation efforts. Simple measures such as helping to clean up the mountain by having guides and crew pick up trash and deposit it properly can have a huge impact on the environment.

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Reasons to Visit Mt. Meru

The second highest mountain in beautiful Tanzania, Mt. Meru stands proudly at an altitude of 4,566 meters high. It is by far one of the area’s most incredible volcanoes, with a steep ascent that covers a variety of terrain, from parkland to streams, to dense forests, to moorland and lovely fields of heather. It’s a challenging climb, but the views make it worth every difficult step. The mountain’s location is ideal, in the heart of Arusha National Park, which is an attraction in and of itself. Here are five reasons why a visit to Mt. Meru should be on your travel to-do list.

The Views
Along the climb, mountain scenery is abundant and breathtaking but the real treasure is realized toward the peak, where you can experience incredible views of the ash cone, located thousands of feet below the crater. You may have climbed a mountain or two in your life, but how many have provided a stunning view like this? What’s more, on a clear day you can see the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro to the West. The scenes you will behold are sure to take your breath away.

The Wildlife
Mt. Meru happens to be very fertile land, and as such, supports lush jungle and forest which is home to diverse local wildlife. Along the way, you may see anything from monkeys to leopards and certainly a few of the nearly 400 species of birds that call the mountain home. It’s an incredible reminder of just how alive this mountain truly is.

The Challenge
While the climb may not be as technical as some others, trekking up Mt. Meru is still a challenging feat. Its height makes it only the second highest in Tanzania and the fifth highest in all of Africa. Yet altitude sickness and sub-freezing temperatures are less of a problem, making the ascent more enjoyable than those of its taller counterparts. After an arduous hike up the steep mountainside, you will reach the summit where you can enjoy your victory alongside a metal flag of Tanzania found there. It’s a photo op you won’t want to miss!

The Landscape

Not many places on Earth let you experience as diverse a landscape as that found on Mt. Meru. Lush rainforest teeming with indigenous wildlife gives way to dense forest, peaceful mountain streams, expansive moorland, semi-deserts and bewitching fields of heather, swaying in the crisp, clean mountain air. As the terrain shifts from fertile to barren toward the top, the spectacular volcanic crater ridge is an absolutely incredible sight. The landscape along Mt. Meru is unique and fascinating.

The Safaris Below
Those who prefer to stand at the foot of Mt. Meru rather than tackle its steep ascent will still have plenty to see and do in the Arusha National Park, where the mountain is situated. The park offers the unique opportunity to participate in walking safaris which provide the amazing chance to get up close and personal with indigenous wildlife in ways that can’t be accomplished from inside a vehicle. Stand alongside a herd of peaceful giraffes as they feast on the park’s abundant Acacia trees or watch an impressive African buffalo as it grazes on the lush plains. It is truly an experience unlike any other.

Despite its massive size, Mt. Meru is less known and often forgotten in the shadow of its larger counterpart, Kilimanjaro. But this incredible mountain offers just as much adventure, beauty and inspiration, if not more. From varying terrain to exhilarating climbs, from interesting wildlife to breathtaking views, Mt. Meru is truly one of Tanzania’s hidden gems. These are just five of the countless reasons you should add this incredible destination to your travel plans.

5 Things to Know About Katavi National Park

Located in beautiful western Tanzania, the Katavi National Park is a remote, virtually untouched area that offers an incredible and unique experience of the raw, natural African environment. The reserve is situated around large grassland and is said to have the largest bio density of any African park. It provides year-round support to a huge variety of indigenous wild life, including several endangered species. Visitors here can experience incredible game watching, natural wonders and the African landscape at its purest.

Here are five interesting things about the Katavi National Park.

Amazing wildlife

The unique terrain of the Katavi, which goes from lush, marshy swampland during the rainy season to a valuable source of water reserves during the dry season. This balance of resources provides the perfect environment for a large number of different animals, including:

• Zebras
• Buffalo
• Impala
• Topis
• Giraffe
• Warhogs
• Roan
• Bohor
• Southern reedbuck
• Hartebeest
• Waterbuck
• Eland
• Duikers
• Antelopes
• Sable
• Greater kudus
• Lion
• Leopard
• Spotted hyena
• Cheetah
• Wild dog
• Crocodiles
• Wild cat varieties

In addition to this extensive list, Katavi is also home to a large population of elephants and hippos, which travel in herds and converge on the rich landscape and ample resources of the area. The lakes and swamps that swell during the rainy season also attract a good variety of water birds. In all, the park is home to some 50 species of mammals. If you’re going to experience the wildlife of Africa, Katavi’s the place to do it.

Diverse landscape

Katavi is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world, hosting grassy hills and plains, marshy swamps, hot springs and even waterfalls. Beautifully colorful vegetation and flora, from a variety of herbs and flowers to shrubs and some 226 different tree species, make the landscapes nothing short of spectacular to experience. In addition, the differing types of water sources, such as seasonal lakes and swamps provide a unique environment for vegetation and breathe ample life into the surrounding plains.

Third largest yet least visited
Covering nearly 4,500 square kilometers, Katavi is Tanzania’s third largest national park. It encompasses the seasonal Lakes Chada and Katavi as well as the Katum River. Despite its size, however, the area remains incredibly untouched by humans. In fact, we’re told that the Katavi receives the same number of visitors in a year as the Serengeti does in one day! There is little human habitation on the grounds of the park, with only a few permanent camps, each with the limited capacity of about a dozen people each. In terms of size versus human population, the contrast is amazing. It provides the unique opportunity to experience the true African bush like no other area can.

Long, rich history
There is evidence throughout the Katavi area that suggests a history dating back to the stone and iron ages. In fact, just north of Sitalike stands an ancient iron kiln. Tribes that inhabit the park’s surrounding areas are known to have lived there as early as the 19th century, including the people of the Konongo, Gongwe, Bende, Fipa and Pimbwe tribes. To this day places of worship and sacred sites still exist within the park. It’s a fascinating testament to the rich, ancient history of the area and an incredible encounter for those lucky enough to experience it.

It’s much more accessible now

One of the reasons that Katavi has remained so infrequently visited by humans is its incredibly remote location. Just look at a map of the area and you’ll be struck by how rural and natural the landscape truly is. In years past the park was only accessible by long, difficult road travel, or by expensive air charter. The good news is, with increased and less expensive access options, the park is no longer as difficult to reach. Visitors can now easily include this amazing location in their travel itineraries and experience the very best of the true, raw nature that Tanzania has to offer.

If untouched wilderness is what you seek, then the Katavi National Park is something not to be missed. From breathtaking and diverse landscapes to fascinating indigenous wildlife, flourishing in its own natural environment, a trip to Katavi offers a rare opportunity to explore Tanzania like never before and is certain to leave visitors with amazing memories to last a lifetime.

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