Tarangire National Park, land of elephant

Tarangire National Park is a beautiful park in Northern Tanzania and is a usually more quiet than other parks because it is located a bit off the main safari routes. This park is easily ten times the size of the nearby Manyara National Park but most travellers do not visit this park that is definitely a mistake, because of its superb game watching possibilities, especially if you love to see elephants.

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We reached this wonderful destination somewhere around high noon and it was pretty hot at the park entrance although there was nice shadow from a number of trees around. Our car was one of these typical safari cars you find in Tanzania used for game drives but being optimal also for long distance rides between parks.  They are actually built on Toyota Landcruiser truck platforms that are already legendary for their robustness, reliability as well as they are of course all wheel drive equipped – a necessity for driving through the usual game watching areas.

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On top of these trucks you find passenger cabins built and mounted by local companies. These cabins have in general two to three rows and the roof can be opened in order to allow for better photographing without any obstacles. Also the windows open pretty wide, so even while seated photographing and filming is easily possible. And most of these cars have two spare wheels mounted at the backdoors, fortunately enough we never had to use them.

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Back to Tarangire, this park is often overshadowed by the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, but in fact Tarangire offers a huge concentration of animals during the peak months that are from July through October. It is also interesting that the whole atmosphere and habitats are very different from other parks.

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We already mentioned that Tarangire is a large park, which adds to the quietness of the whole game viewing environment. There are also lodges in the park like Oliver’s Camp and Swala that offer the perfect spot to get away from other visitors and travellers.

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There can be up to 3000 elephants found in this park during the peak months, but also warthogs, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, Thompson gazelles, kudu, eland, cheetah and even leopards.

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If you are lucky you also can find ostriches and they are quite spectacular especially if the are running, fast and very powerful.

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Baobab trees can be found anywhere in this park as well and they always give a nice background for photo as well as video work.

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I told you that this park is one of the more quiet ones, but during peak times even here you can find some more vehicles at one spot watching game. For this purpose the roofs are usually opened which allows for better and easier viewing when standing up in the vehicle, while at the same time providing the necessary shade – a clever invention.

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Elephants were the top attraction during our visit, there were many groups of them with usually twenty to thirty animals and amongst them always smaller ones nicely protected by the herd.

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These two males hurrying on the horizon were quite impressive, showing how fast they can run if they decide to do so because of whatever reason.

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Tarangire National Park proved to be one of these well kept secrets amongst African national parks and definitely you should try to visit during your next trip.

Learn more about safari tours including Tarangire National Park on our African Safari Tours page with a variety of sample tours.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

 

 

 

 

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

Some who have read my previous travel diary blog posts may ask why this continues with the 7th day of our adventure trip to Tanzania and Kenia and one day is missing. Well easy answer I unfortunately got sick on day 6 and was pretty much out of order and definitely not up to photograph, but the good news is that on our 7th day I had already recovered and so this post is from our last, but also one of the most beautiful days.

We meanwhile had arrived at the Sand River Mara camp that takes its name from the Sand River Masai Mara. This camp replicates very nicely the heydays of exclusive permanent tented camps that were so popular in the 1920s.

On our morning game drive we immediately found a group of vultures, that is always a sign of some kill around and then very likely to still see some lions there. This time we were not so lucky, as the lions were already gone, but this could not minimize our enthusiasm to find some great sights.

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Soon we were lucky to see a rhino that was grazing in the morning sun and started to move away as it recognized our approach. Nevertheless we got some stunning shots.

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On that same location we found a group of zebras peacefully taking their breakfast from the juicy greens of the Masai Mara.

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But then we were lucky as our guide spotted a young male lion resting in the upcoming sun and obviously cleaning his claws from his last kill. We had heard this lion roaring close at the camp last night and this sound will be unforgettable to me as it was pretty intense, just like he would stand besides me.

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Our guide gave us some brief update on how to read the age of lions and this one he estimated to be around 4 years as he still had a pink nose but already starting to get black. Male lions are fully grown up with 5 to 6 years and then they in most cases start looking for their own territory. But this one was still playful and after a while he started walking in order to find his brother that was away only a few hundred meters.  The two immediately started rubbing their heads together, that means a very warm welcome.

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These are just touching scenes, especially if you are lucky to be as close as we were. The lions were completely quiet and did feel save in our presence. Driving on we found another group of vultures around a left over kill from last night.

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A herd of wildebeest was crossing our road and this was already kind of a little migration. What I learned that there is not just one migration, but migration is an on-going thing as the animals try to follow the greens and water all the year in the Serengeti and the Masai Mara (the northern part of the Serengeti).

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We headed to our last camp later this afternoon, the Elephant Pepper Camp located in the Mara North Conservancy. The speciality about this camp is that it is designed in a way that it can be completely removed to leave a virgin site once this is desired. We had a very restful night and next morning was our day of departure via Nairobi that is a 50min flight away from this camp.

A last sunrise, well I think you can tell I love to photograph sunrises and the light is always very special in Africa!

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And a farewell photo of our small group Peter, Ute and Joel from left to right. We have had a stunning and beautiful week and were all looking forward to another experience like this as soon as possible.

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If you would like more information on planning your African safari vacation, visit our safari tours page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

Waking up this morning in this wonderful place (The Manor) was like a dream. When walking out for breakfast everything had completely changed compared to last evening, it was now a bit cooler and foggy what resulted in nice colours of all the flowers and bushes around.

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We had a delicious breakfast in the main building and it was actually very hard for me to leave with so much hospitality offered and while residing in all these beautiful rooms, reminding us of great but long gone times of the last century.

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We finally said good bye to the nice people of The Manor and jumped back into our car in order to drive up to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area – the Ngorongoro Crater.

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While driving, Ute had the idea to try to visit the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, that is normally closed for day visitors but we wanted to give it a try, because from this lodge one has quite the best view over the crater. While driving towards the lodge we passed by at the memorial place for Michael Grzimek who died here in 1957 while his plane crashed against the crater walls in fog. Michael and his father Bernhard Grzimek had spent their lives working for conservation of the Ngorongoro area.

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After a short drive we arrived a the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and were lucky, as they would let us in for sight inspection.

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The crater has an approximate diameter of 30 miles and is the caldera left from an ancient big volcano that is estimated to had a height of around 6000m. Today approximately 25000 large animals live in the crater including the black rhino, buffalos, hippopotamus, zebras, gazelles, impalas waterbucks, impalas, lions, leopards and Tanzanian cheetahs. The large lake in the southwest of the crater is Lake Magadi and gives home to flamingos.

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It is absolutely true, the lodge provides a magnificent view over the crater. But also the lodge itself is one of the most beautiful and comfortable places in whole Africa.

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We were enjoying the hospitality of Nafue, who showed us happily around and was also not shy to pose for some photos, what beautiful people the locals really are!

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Fast forward from this stunning place we visited a Masai camp outside of the crater on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We were not only seeing some original dances but were also shown the interior of one of the huts, a really interesting experience.

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Once in the Serengeti National Park we had lunch at the Serengeti Pioneer Camp where we could see the spectacle of a tropical thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain. The storm lasted for maybe one hour and drained the whole Serengeti in some very welcome water.

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Before we reached Serengeti Migration Camp, our final destination of this exhausting but also exciting day, we were lucky to find a group of lions eating their kill – a zebra. This was so special as we could see the cubs play and eat more or less at the same time.

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If you would like more information on planning your African safari vacation, visit the safari tours page or contact a representative with Roho Ya Chui today.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

Today was already our 4th day in a row on travel adventure and safari through the beautiful Tanzania. How fast time runs is hard to tell and as we had so many impressions throughout our travel time was flying even faster. After a delicious breakfast at the Arusha Coffee Lodge we were leaving around 10:00am with our new guide Semle.

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Our first destination was the Maramboi Tented Camp at lake Manyara for site inspection. But the road is the destination, as we could get already gorgeous impressions during our drive through the Masai land.

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Arriving at Maramboi we immediately went out for photographing and filming the beautiful and picturesque surroundings of the camp where one could see zebras, antelopes and wildebeest strolling between the pool and lake Manyara – you have to see this in reality in order to fully understand this beauty.

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After a delicious lunch we went out to the planes ourselves to get even a closer view of all the animals, a paradise for photographers and filmmakers.

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We were walking literally in the mid of all these animals, totally in harmony at least as was our impression – not so sure if all the animals felt exactly the same.

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Needless to say we were all more than satisfied with all the photo opportunities we got presented in such a short time. After a selfi we went back on our vehicle again to head to Tarangire National Park that is just opposite to the Maramboi Camp.

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Wildlife is also stunning here and we were able to see warthogs, the usual suspects as wildebeest and antelopes, but also ostriches. The ostrich is one of the large flightless birds native to Africa and males can reach a heigth of 2.8m and achieve maximum running speeds of up to 70km/h.

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The absolute highlight were elephants, especially two males crossing the horizon that allowed for great photographs and videos.

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Now it was time to drive up to the Ngorongoro highlands as we anted to get to the viewing point for Lake Manyara in time before sunset. Semle worked hard behind his steering wheel to bring the truck to breath taking speeds, but finally we made it in time for a wonderful sunset view over Lake Manyara.

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We could even see the animals grazing down in the juicy green banks of the lake, especially flamingos showing in a beautiful pink even far away.

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Now the sun started to disappear behind the Ngorongora crater rim and we headed to our final destination of today, the beautiful Manor Ngorongoro in the Ngorongoro Highlands. This is a rebuilt coffee planation pretty high up in the mountains and the climate was so totally different from where we came today, cool, humid and simply what you are looking for after such a day.

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Yes this place is really as gorgeous as the pictures show and as a great end of our photography day we had the chance to shoot a stunning rising moon.

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Our dinner was nothing short of being spectacular, for sure this was also because of the colonial style surrounding of this place that made us feel transferred back some 100 years in time – the best that could happen as the end of that day.

Find out more about the safari destination and accommdoations.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

As usual we started our game drive early in the morning after having a restful night at the Rufiji River Camp. Our goal today was to drive up besides the Rufiji river bed and see what animals we would be able to photograph and film. Pretty soon we could see several groups of giraffes in the morning sunlight grazing down at the river.

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We all were immediately busy to catch these wonderful moments with our cameras and soon forgot about time, this is something very usual when you are on safari and have a sighting on a beautiful place.

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While driving further down to the river we came through pretty dense forests and there were again elephants looking for fresh green. Especially one young male gave a nice performance for us, not only eating but already trying to impress us with some attacking games.

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We soon reached the river where lot of palm trees and very juicy grassland gave home to a number of animals, especially a blue heron was hunting in the wet grounds and showing us some nice poses.

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A breakfast is always welcome after these exciting sightings and Nelson our guide had prepared a delicious table for us. I love drinking my coffee out in the wild!

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Quick forward to some other parts of the game park we were lucky to see giraffes again as well as many zebras and even a leopard but she was too far away to get a decent picture from her.

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Before returning to the lodge we found a group of lions resting in the shade, yes it already had become pretty hot around 10:00am.

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At noon we had to leave this beautiful place and head to Arusha via Dar Es Salam. The flight to Dar Es Salam was pretty much packed this time and we arrived after a short flight.

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This airport is an interesting place to watch natives and we got the chance to do that over the next 2 hours or so because our connection flight to Arusha would not leave before 4:30pm. The native people are all very nice and friendly and in general good looking.

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After we were up in the air again the sun went down pretty fast and we arrived at Arusha airport after 6:00pm in almost darkness.

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A driver was already waiting for us and brought us to the nearby Coffee Lodge, which is indeed right in a coffee plantation. What a beautiful place and what kind welcome we received there! We immediately went to our rooms and got ready for dinner, where we would meet this evening with local ground handlers of Roho Ya Chui safari tours to enjoy the deilicous food of the lodge’s restaurant.

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After a nice dinner that was served in the perfect setting of this lodge and a lot of exciting conversations we went back to our rooms to prepare for the next day adventures. Being well prepared needs to become a no brainer when you have to be ready for shooting the next morning – all batteries charged, all equipment cleaned and hopefully all photos and videos taken during the day stored and backed up – well at least one tries the best.

Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Peter’s African Safari Travel Diary

We had a great night in the Ruaha River Lodge and this morning went out on our game drive already before 6:00am in order to be able to get hold of a potentially beautiful sunrise. And what a sunrise that was, we were not disappointed at all!

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This is one of the routines when you are photographing on safari to get out as early as possible in order to be able to see the sunrise, enjoy the stunning colours during this first hours of the day and of course also to see potentially as many animals and if lucky predators still eating their kill from last night. The highlight we got this morning was no predators, but instead a beautiful giant eagle owl sitting high up in a tree.

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After we had done some driving we went down to the Ruaha river in order to have breakfast. There is nothing like having breakfast in the bush, where the sun is already a bit higher and already starts warming up the air, which is a nice welcome after the usually cool nights and morning hours. Alex our guide was nicely preparing the whole breakfast setup and we started enjoying our coffee or tea, while eating the deliciously prepared breakfast.

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We had at the same time the possibility to watch the animals in the dried river bed like elephants, antelopes and even some hippos. It quickly got warmer and we had to move on to come back to the lodge in order to pack and prepare for our next hop to Selous.

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We were brought to Selous by a small airplane from Fox airlines. We were heading to the beautiful Rufiji River Camp, where we arrived at 3:00pm.

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Our tent was built underneath a high roof made from wood and we were again surprised about how beautiful and comfortable the interior looked like in this place, far away from standard civilization. Meanwhile Joel and I were already used to sharing one room or tent and as they tended to be so spacious there was absolutely no problem with that.

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At 4:00pm we started our boat cruise on the Rufiji river where we would have the opportunity to see all the animals from a totally different view as compared to the usual view out of a vehicle. We started with huge groups of pelicans who were absolutely not shy when the boat got closer.

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Next were hippos who were hiding everywhere in the water and the one group we had approached now was obviously surprised and upset because they hurried to get away from us as quickly as possible.

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Around the river you can see a multitude of birds but as you already know I am not a birder. Nevertheless one cannot help keep shooting these beautiful animals and I even got the chance to shoot a goliath heron this evening – yes I am very proud I managed to identify this beautiful bird.

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One of the highlights was to be able to get very close to crocodiles and we saw quite a few magnificent ones. They were dozing lazy on the sandbanks in the grass enjoying the evening sun before sliding slowly back into the water as soon as our boat came closer.

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Another beautiful sunset closed the day when our boat arrived at the lodge to let us enjoy our dinner and well-deserved sleep after this day of breath taking views and adventures.

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Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Find more African safari inspiration on our website.

How to Determine the Amount of Time to Spend on Your Safari

take dad on safari for fathers day

Africa is the perfect continent to visit when you are on holiday. Many people spend years planning the perfect safari vacation. There are multiple countries in Africa that offer tourists wonderful safari experiences. Of course, it is impossible to experience all of the diverse landscapes and biomes within Africa in a short trip — but holidays do not last long. It is important to pinpoint exactly what you want to see and do for your African safari vacation so that you can determine how much time you will need to commit to meeting those goals. Here are some questions to help you determine the amount of time to spend on your safari.

  1. Are You an Experienced Wildlife Fanatic?

While everyone is encouraged to take a trip to Africa so that they can truly appreciate everything that the wonderful nations within have to offer, a long safari is not recommended for all. The most common methods for traveling through the safari parks and countries is via a four wheel drive vehicle, walking, horseback or on foot. As you can imagine, a few days of traveling in this manner is exhausting for even the most avid outdoorsman. Of course, for some a week is not nearly enough time to embrace the African wildlife. If you are not an experienced with the outdoors, consider limiting your safari to a week or less.

  1. What is Your Method of Travel?

Some methods of travel allow you to see a lot of the landscape very quickly. One of the most popular is an air safari via plane. This is a very unique experience that requires little work on your part — except to keep your eyes open for any incredible animals. There are also water safaris that can be more relaxing than other traditional routes. If you are traveling using one of these methods, you will be able to complete your trip quicker, in just a few days. If you would like to stay in Africa longer, be our guest.

  1. What are Your Prefered Accommodations?

Most eco-friendly safari camps are quite primitive. You can expect bucket showers and a true camping experience. However, luxury safari camps offer a finer side for safari tourists. After a week in an eco-friendly camp, you will probably be ready for a nice hot shower and a warm bed. If you are in a luxury camp, you may be able to stick it out a bit longer.

  1. What Would You Like to See?

There is so much to do and see in Africa, it is simply impossible to cover it all in a week or even two. Narrow down your top priorities and calculate how much time it will take to travel between them. If you would like to go through multiple countries, you may want to consider extending your trip.

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

Are you ready to plan your African safari vacation? We can help. To learn more, visit our safari tours page or contact us to speak to a representative at Roho Ya Chui.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa