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Safari Travel / Africa Travel / Off-Season Travel / Southern Africa / Safaris / In Search of Perfect Weather / → All Tags
A female lion lounges on an overcast afternoon in Kenya's Masai Mara
The calendar is ready to turn over to April, which means that safari season will officially kick off in many parts of Africa as the wet, rainy summer season ends and we enter the dry, winter months (Africa seasons are the opposite of North America).
Things have been up and running for a couple months now in Eastern Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, where two rainy seasons break up the safari season. But since rain falls from November to December and between April and June, the best times to go are January through March and then again June through October.
But as Eastern Africa prepares for a quick break in the action, Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi) is just getting started. In most parts of this region, the rainy season runs from November to March, with the dry season lasting the entire summer, beginning at the start of April.
Travel Movie Tuesday / Movies / Travel Movies / Movie Travel / Out of Africa / Africa Travel / Safari Travel / → All Tags
From Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck falling in love in Rome to Julia Roberts circling the globe to find herself, film has played an important role in shaping both the golden years and current day of travel. Thus, we present our newest series, Travel Movie Tuesday, where we detail the most inspiring travel films.
Early in the 20th century, two young Danes decide to get married and head to Africa to open up a dairy farm in British East Africa. Sounds like a perfect dream escape for the adventurous pair as they start a new ex-patriot life in the colonial continent of 1913, but of course it doesn't come easy. Enter "Out of Africa."
Volunteer Travel / Zimbabwe Travel / Africa Travel / Animals / Dog Travel / Safari Travel / → All Tags
Right now the safari high season is well underway along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.
From May to October Mana Pools National Park becomes on of the most popular destinations in the country for viewing elephants, hippos, waterbucks, wild dogs, lions and leopards by canoe, vehicles and walking tours.
South Africa's Phinda Game Reserve is giving adults the chance to take a Gap Year of their own.
Over the past twenty years, the Phinda Game Reserve's growth has made it possible to hire a full time researcher who leads a team of research assistants. These volunteer helpers are actively involved in studying the biodiversity of the entire game reserve.
Safari Travel / Africa Travel / Kenya Travel / Great Migration / Drinking Travel / Monday Five Thirty / → All Tags
With all the unfortunate things happening in the area, lost in the shuffle is the fact that one of nature’s most spectacular events, the Great Migration, is taking place at the moment, with millions of wildebeest crossing over between Tanzania and Kenya.
If going on a safari is on your bucketlist, then seeing the Great Migration should be in parenthesis. A few months ago, we discussed what the best time of year to go on a safari was, noting that with the Great Migration comes loads and loads of crowds. That’s why this travel writer feels Africa deserves two “trips of a lifetime,” one to see the savannas at peace and the another to experience the Great Migration.
Mom and cub lounging in the savanna of the Masai Mara
The situation in Kenya has certainly not improved since our visit a few months ago in April, when we explored one of the world's top safari regions and feasted on game meat. At the time, we penned our thoughts on whether it's safe to visit Kenya, concluding that the safari regions were as removed from the threats in Nairobi and Mombasa as Upstate New York is from New York City.
Things have definitely not stabilized since, and, to be honest, it doesn't sound like the situation is under control or getting better by any stretch of the imagination. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has scrambled to ensure tourists that the attacks are not near or directed at at foreign facilities or tourist zones, but that reassurance has convinced few as many would-be visitors cancel their trips and tourism numbers continue to suffer. We can't blame those who cancel at this point, especially given this statement by the Somalia-based Al Shabab militant group that once again declared Kenya a "war zone" and warned foreigners that they were not safe:
Safari Travel / Kenya Travel / Africa Travel / Masai Mara Travel / Laikipia Travel / Nairobi National Park / → All Tags
The savannas of the Masai Mara
Last week, this writer visited a few of the safari regions in Kenya, including the Masai Mara, Laikipia, and Nairobi National Park. As you will see in the descriptions below, all were unique in their own ways, each offering a different experience in terms of scenery and game. Nairobi National Park was impressive because of its proximity to the city, Laikipia provided a safari/cultural combo, and the Masai Mara flexed its muscles and showed why it is one of Africa’s premier safari destinations.
There are two types of safaris to be had in Kenya: One that occurs during the Great Migration, and one that does not.
The Great Migration starts in July and is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Over a million wildebeests cross the plains and savannas of Eastern Africa, providing visitors with what would seem on the surface to be endless opportunities of interaction. But while it's true that animal activity in the region might be at its peak, it’s not necessarily true that you will get the most intimate interaction. The reality is that along with the abundance of animals comes thousands of tourists.
Africa Travel / Mailbag / Kenya Travel / Nairobi Travel / Masai Mara / Safari Travel / Laikipia Travel / Travel Safety / → All Tags
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Those who have been following the news are aware that Kenya has been the target of Somali terrorist groups and, obviously, the attacks have been incredibly heartbreaking. Considering we are covering so much of the good coming out of Kenya, this writer doesn't think it's fair to leave that elephant completely out of the conversation. Admittedly, before deciding to make the journey from my home in Denver, I too wondered if it was safe to visit Kenya.
On my trip it was confirmed that, in terms of taking a safari, the answer is absolutely yes it is safe. The risk of danger in the national reserve areas like the Masai Mara and Laikipia are no greater than encountering a problem in any of America's national parks. Like here in the States, terrorism in Kenya has thus far been limited to populated places like Nairobi and Mombasa.
We have many tales to tell about our trek through the safari camps of Kenya, but what better way to start than to show you the final product right off the bat. A trip to the game reserves of Africa is, after all, all about the interaction and insight you get with one of the world's most dramatic ecosystems.
The photos below were all taken in the Masai Mara, Kenya's most infamous and iconic national reserve. This week, we'll highlight it in more detail and compare it to other regions throughout the country, giving you the rundown on how they differ in terms of landscape, culture, wildlife, and appeal. For now, enjoy these photos we took on our game drive last weekgetting up close and personal with lions, elephants, buffalo, and giraffeand look for more within the stories to come.
Wish You Were Here / Kenya Travel / Nairobi Travel / Safari Travel / Adventure Travel / Africa Travel / Masai Mara Travel / Laikipia Trave / Mombasa Travel / → All Tags
This week, we've been hopping around Kenya, bouncing between safari camps and reserve regions to discover one of the most dramatic ecosystems in the world. We started in Nairobi, then circled through Laikipia, Masai Mara, and now the town of Watamu outside Mombasa. You can find Nairobi easily on the map above, and we've circled the three other areas to give you a sense of where our whereabouts.
Next week, we'll begin our coverage of the county, including how to get around, what to expect from the safari experiences and natural landscapes in the different regions, the food, culture and people, and some thoughts on the state of tourism in the country on a whole. Below, we provide a preview shot of the scenery.
The reasons we could give for making a trip out to Tanzania are almost too many to count: the staggering beauty of the landscape, the vastness of the sky, the richness of the wildlife, and the friendliness of the people are just a few.
Given the country’s size, if you’re planning on covering major distances in a short space of time, or wanting to see different parts of the country (the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Selous, Zanzibar), you’ll have to resort to flying to get from A to B at one point or another.
Rather than a practical necessity you have to deal with, we’d almost urge you to find a way to fit one leg by air into your itinerary, as it’s bound to be from dirt strip to dirt strip by small Cessna aircraft, like the Cessna C208B Grand Caravan above; a totally different – and pretty cool – flight experience.