Three escorted, prearranged itineraries for 2007 of the Northern, Southern and Western Tanzania safari circuits
are available for immediate booking. SOLD OUT! (edited: Feb. 19, 2007)
A complimentary 22 minute DVD is now available which details Mama Tembo's destinations in Northern Tanzania through photos and music. A similar DVD on Southern Tanzania will be available soon. Please fill out an enquiry form with your name and mailing address if you are interested in receiving the DVD. Karibu!
Travel in Tanzania, at least in the north, is expected to become more expensive next year. Safari-goers face higher park and vehicle entry permits and accommodation costs - concession fees set by the government may rise substantially for lodges and tented camps. I hope to honor my price for the June and July 2007 tours, but in the meantime I must add the disclaimer that their final cost may be more than what I have posted.
Other possible changes in the pipeline for the Serengeti National Park are its division into "use" zones, the reclassification of its accommodation, and the opening of additional private camp sites, which I'm happy about because many of my favorite (and arguably the best) camp sites have been leased long term to large safari companies. Walking safari are also being considered as well as expanded areas for off-road driving.
It is said that new accommodations are planned too, which will help ease the room crunch and continue to raise standards. Serena's tented camp Mbuzi Mawe (situated one hour's drive north of the central Serengeti) and Mbalageti Camp (located in the western Serengeti) have been the most recent and welcome additions to the Serengeti's accommodations.
When I am away from Tanzania too long, I listen to Sounds of the Jungle, Plain and Bush - my dogs love the bit when the lions roar. Other CDs of African music that I recommend are:
En Mana Kuoyo by Kenyan Ayub Ogada.
Exile and Beat the Border by Ugandan Geoffrey Oryema. Geoffrey was in his early twenties when his father was assassinated by Idi Amin's government and he narrowly escaped with his life across the border into Kenya.
Muhazi by Rwandan Mighty Popo. I heard the Mighty Popo for the first time at the Vancouver Folk Festival in July of this year. I thought him the star of the festival's finale.
African Voices, a collection compiled by Narada which includes Ayub Ogada.
Wonders of the African World, the soundtrack of PBS' documentary, written and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Africa, the soundtrack from the National Geographic television series. It includes songs by Ogada and Oryema.
A peaceful end (or beginning) to a Kili climb or rugged safari is a "yoga safari". Stacey Leach, second generation proprietor of 100-year-old Ngare Sero Lodge near Arusha, sent me this e-mail:
"We offer yoga safari on a yoga platform at the lodge and at our Lake Natron camp. I am a yoga instructor myself but many international teachers come for their own retreats."
I would love it if anyone wants to incorporate a few nights at Ngare Sero. (Yoga is optional.) More about the lodge below from Ngare Sero's literature:
"The Lodge, on the slopes of Mount Meru , is set in lush gardens amid forest and crystal clear waters fed by the Ngare Sero springs. Ngare Sero means dappled water in Maa (the language spoken by the Maasai peoples). The snows of Kilimanjaro form a splendid backdrop and a sun-downer on the veranda while watching the changing colors of the glaciers is an unforgettable experience. The lodge was created from a farmhouse built at the turn of the last century. It has just ten rooms and provides personal service to Lodge residents only. The gardens contain a profusion of trees and flowers, two hundred species of birds have been recorded. Troupes of Sykes and Colobus monkeys inhabit the forest and grounds. The keen angler can try his hand at still-water fly-fishing for specimen rainbow trout. Arusha National Park is close, Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha town are just half an hour away."
The Leaches are dedicated to the conservation of the forest reserve and protection of the vital springs. They are currently undertaking a project to pump water to the village and to the new school located just above the forest. And they are collaborating with the village and other neighbors in tree planting to enhance the riverine forest which is important to water conservation.Please visit their website www.Ngare-Sero-Lodge.com
I'm often asked about guidebook recommendations. East Africa guidebooks published by Lonely Planet, Footprint, Fodor, and Bradt are due for updating, but they will do for their nuts and bolts information. Carry the one which bests suits your budget and traveling style. I also recommend bringing along on a northern safari Peter Matthiessen's 1972 classic The Tree Where Man Was Born. You will be surprised how you will keep referring to it. If your destination is Southern Tanzania, read Matthiessen's 1981 Sand Rivers.
For Northern Tanzania, don't leave home without another classic: Jeanette Hanby and David Bygott's 1999 Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Everything you need to know about the NCA is in this small book. You can order it from Amazon.