Mama Tembo continues to explore adventure travel beyond her beloved Tanzania. The Republic of Congo and Central African Republic gorilla safaris are fully operational. The next one departs Brazzaville October 20, 2008. The 2009 tour will be late September early October. The reservation list for eight is already open. Also open is the reservation list for a summer 2009 safari to Tanzania which explores hikes in both the south and the north. More about this safari immediately follows. Next on the agenda is Cameroon. I am fascinated by the opportunities for cultural safaris there. Look for news of Cameroon in future newsletters.
Next May/June, I am traveling to Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania to safari on foot; while in Northern Tanzania, I am going to the remote area south and east of Lake Eyasi where I have been invited to seasonal ceremonies of the Datoga people. I will take a small number of guests with me. The registration list is open.
It has been a very busy year so far. Between January and March I was in Tanzania's north to escort five safaris. A very big thank you to all my tour members who made this a special time. I couldn't have been happier to spend 57 days straight in the bush. These tours were all timed to experience the north arguably at its best - when the wildebeest migration is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and southern Serengeti. Although each program was designed to suit the unique needs of each group, they all included destinations like the Gol Mountains and Ndutu which are so fantastic at this time of the year. Because I made the rounds of the north's locations every 10 to 14 days I was able to track the migration's whereabouts. This was good fun and a big learning experience. (You can never stop learning out there.) In Ndutu I often saw and recognized the same mother cheetahs and their cubs - the same leopard even - and this was really exciting. Thanks again to all of you for sharing with me.
Arusha - Lake Natron - Lake Manyara National Park -
Ngorongoro Crater – Ndutu - Gol Mountains - Arusha
- Yoga with Stacia.
- View of Mount Lengai from Lake Natron, erupting.
- Hike to the waterfalls at Lake Natron.
- A touching elephant encounter in Lake Manyara.
- A grey heron eating a green snake in Ngorongoro Crater.
- Two cheetahs hunting in the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Rhinos in the crater.
- Old bull elephant in camp in Ndutu.
- Lions hunting in Ndutu.
- Cheetah mother and her four sub-adult cubs in Ndutu.
- Wildebeest running off a solitary cheetah male in Ndutu.
- Lioness in Gol Kopjes coaxing her three cubs down from the rocks.
- Cheetah mother and her four sub-adult cubs in the Gol Kopjes.
- Wildebeest herds in the Gol Mountains.
- Hiking the Ngorika Plateau in the Gol Mountains.
- Zebra feeding around the tents at night in the Gol Mountains.
- Gol Mountains badger sighting.
- Countless sunrises and sunsets.
- Perfect view of Mount Kilimanjaro on the way to the airport.
Arusha - Lake Natron - Gol Mountains - Serengeti National Park - Ndutu - Ngorongoro
Crater - Lake Eyasi - Lake Manyara National Park - Tarangire National Park
- View from Lake Natron of Mount Lengai erupting at dusk, spewing ash and jagged lights.
- Hikes to the waterfalls at Lake Natron.
- Sundowners on "Baboon Hill" at Lake Natron.
- Drive up the rift escarpment in an open vehicle from Lake Natron.
- The arrival of mega-herds of wildebeest in the Gol Mountains.
- Looking for wild dogs in the Gol Mountains.
- Chance invitation to a Maasai women's fertility ceremony in the Gol Mountains.
- Ostrich daycare sighting in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- "Sheila's Performing Elephant" in the Serengeti.
- Newly born hippo on its mother's back in the Central Serengeti.
- Cheetah mother and her four sub-adult offspring in Ndutu.
- Driver/guide Elisa's inspired sighting of a Serval cat sleeping under a tree in Ndutu.
- Birds of prey at Lake Masek, Ndutu.
- Last sighting of the day at Ndutu, a leopard.
- More mega-herds of wildebeest in Naabi Hill.
- The Naabai Hill lion pride.
- Birds at Lake Eyasi's Kisima Ngede Camp.
- Hunting with the Hadza at Lake Eyasi.
- The monthly market at Lake Eyasi.
- Rhino sightings in the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Our very own Battle of Kruger in the crater between a lion pride and a buffalo herd - the buffalo win!
- Night safari in Lake Manyara.
Arusha - Tarangire National Park - Ngorongoro Crater - Olmoti Crater - Empakai
Crater - Nasera Rock - Ndutu - Gol Kopjes - Lake Manyara National Park - Arusha
- Leopard sighting on eastern borders of Tarangire National Park with Maasai Steppe.
- Lions hunting buffalo in eastern Tarangire.
- The exhausted baby elephant in Tarangire, gently coaxed to its feet by mother's trunk and foot.
- The old matriarch of the elephant herd who checked us out.
- Abdul's driving skills on the Maasai Steppe.
- Cheetah mother and her three months-old cubs in the Ngorongoro Crater, the last sighting of the day.
- Hiking from Olmoti to Bulati with Karget and Shabaan
- Hiking into Empakai in the black rain from Mount Lengai eruptions.
- Camping at Nasera Rock.
- Wildebeest herd running hard by the tents during a Nasera night.
- Sunsets at Nasera.
- Full moon at Nasera.
- The wildebeest migration in the Angata Kiti.
- Nasera's resident leopard which we never saw.
- Hike through Ol Karien Gorge.
- Ostrich daycare sighting (again) in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Arusha - Lake Eyasi - Gol Mountains - Central Serengeti - Ndutu - Ngorongoro
Crater - Lake Manyara National Park - Tarangire National Park - Arusha.
- Tour members were old and dear friends of mine.
- Hunting with the Hadza in Lake Eyasi.
- Creating new jewellery designs with Datoga blacksmith in Lake Eyasi.
- Hiking in the Gol Mountains.
- Looking for wild dogs in the Gol Mountains.
- Leopard sightings in the Central Serengeti.
- Magnificent young lion king on Simba Kopjes.
- Cheetah mother and her three young cubs in Ndutu.
- The migrating wildebeest at Ndutu.
- My friends in their fly nets at Ndutu.
- Very close rhino sighting in the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Fighting giraffes in Lake Manyara National Park.
- Driver/guide Jackson's inspired sighting of a leopard in a tree at Lake Manyara, with enormous paws.
- Seeing lion on the Lake Manyara night safari.
- Ostrich daycare sighting in Tarangire National Park.
- Cheetah and her three sub-adult young in Tarangire.
- Eagle owls talking to each other in Tarangire.
Arusha - Ngorongoro Crater - Olmoti Crater - Two days hiking, one night camping along
Ngorongoro Crater Rim - Mount Lemagarut - Ol Karien Gorge - Ndutu - Arusha
- An all camping and hiking tour.
- Rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater.
- The elephant near camp on the Ngorongoro Crater rim.
- The hailstorm on Ngorongoro Crater rim.
- The tearful reunion with Maasai guide and friend Sumet at Il Misigiyo.
- J. playing hackey sac with the Il Misigiyo Maasai.
- MJ's book of photos from home.(See Useful Safari Tips Below).
- Solitary cheetah sighting in the Gol Mountains.
- Green rocks and vulture feathers in Ol Karien Gorge.
- Celebrating S's 60th birthday at Ol Karien Gorge Camp.
- Views of Mount Lengai erupting from Ol Karien Gorge.
- Exploring Sanjan Gorge.
- Meeting Malambo Maasai.
- Cheetah mother and four sub-adult cubs at Ndutu.
- Solitary cheetah male posing at sunset in Ndutu, in favourable light for a change.
- Wildebeest herds in Ndutu.
- Driver/guide Abdul's inspired sighting of a leopard at dusk.
- Welcoming BBC wildlife filmmakers Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett for our last dinner at Ndutu campsite. (See more about Owen and Amanda in the article below "Harassing Leopards and Cheetahs".)
May 31 to June 12, 2008
This tour focused on seeing the only two habituated groups of western lowland gorillas in the world, one in the ROC's Nouabale-Ndoki National Park and the other in CAR's Dzanga-Ndoki National Park; as well as on forest elephant, densities of which are some of the world's highest in the Central African Republic. Dzanga-Ndoki has been open to visitors longer than Congo's Nouabale-Ndoki - all names of rivers by the way - but suffice it to say that the few hundred visitors a year which have made it thus far to the parks, primarily Europeans and South Africans, don't change their status much as the newest and most adventurous wildlife experience in Africa. If you come, you could definitely count yourself as among the first.
I have long followed the Central African exploits of J Michael Fay in the National Geographic Magazine beginning in the early 90s with his transects of the rainforests with Ba'aka (pygmie) guides and other local trackers. NGM's latest article on Nouabale was in January of this year on Kingo, the patriarch of the habituated gorilla family we trek to see at Mondika Camp. Kingo's habituation process took over seven years. As kingpin of the family, he was essential to the process; without his cooperation, his females wouldn't allow researchers to approach. In gorilla habituation, there is always the risk that the silverback will be toppled by a new and distrusting male who would then vanish into the forest with the women and children. Kingo, therefore, now benefits from the constant presence of researchers and visitors. A wild male will stay away out of fear of man's proximity. The researchers following Makumba and his family in CAR's Dzanga-Ndoki NP believe that their gorillas may be taking advantage of their protection by an increased pregnancy rate. (When a silverback is overthrown, the new male will kill babies sired by his predecessor.) An interesting observation in Makumba's group too is that one of their youngsters who was born under scientific scrutiny likes to walk upright. It is believed that he is copying us!
Please join me for this unique wildlife experience. For more information please request by email the document Information Congo Central African Republic Tour.
Please also see two new photo shows under Gallery on the website highlighting photos taken in Nouabale-Ndoki and Dzanga Bai National Parks: Dzanga Bai Elephants and Mbeli Basi Gorillas. www.mamatembotours.com/gallery.html
Small Book of Personal Photos:
MJ travels the world with some photos of home which she says is an excellent ice-breaker when she meets local people. It certainly worked for the Maasai who crowded round to see pictures of her house, city, children and pet.
A zebra's stripes are thought to confuse tsetse flies, thus protecting the animal from bites. My driver/guide Abdul figures the same principal applies to his black and white patterned shirt he often wears on safari. It's an idea well worth trying.