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

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 were starting this adventure through National Parks in Tanzania and Kenia from Zanzibar, where we had the privilege to stay in a stunning place called Next Paradise that turned out to be a real secret marvel at the Indian Ocean. This hotel is lead by Stuart and his wife. Stuart is an interesting, friendly and very much caring guy actually from Italy and living here in Zanzibar for many years now.

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We, these were my friends Ute Sonnenberg from Roho Ya Chui (http://www.rohoyachui.com) South Africa and Joel Lipton from LA and me from Austria. We all had arrived the evening before and now had far too soon to leave already for our African Safari sight inspection tour over the next few days, but at least  we got to see a wonderful sunrise when first looking out of our rooms this morning.

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Our destination for this day was the wonderful Ruaha National Park in Tanzania that we could access by small airplanes typically of the type Cessna Caravan via Dar Es Salam. On our second flight the captain was Peter Fox himself, one of the directors of the local airline as well as the lodge where we would stay. We arrived at noon at the local air strip in Ruaha, where our guide Alex was already waiting for us. Our goal was to stay as long as possible in the bush and arrive at the Ruaha River Lodge as late as possible, in order to give us maximum time for doing our photography and cinematography. Now it was a big advantage to travel in a small group where all members had essentially the same interests. We started to shoot ourselves warm with some nice baobab trees that can be found especially in these areas of Africa.

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While driving deeper into the bush towards the Ruaha river, there was no shortage of all different kind of animals, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, zebras, and of course birds, well you could ask which birds, but as I am no bird specialist yet I’d rather like not to specify them the wrong way. We made a stop near by the river for lunch and  from there it was nice to watch the animals grazing in the dried parts of the riverbed.

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Our first lion of this trip was a lioness obviously enjoying the shadow nearby the river. We did not expect the lioness lying around almost unprotected and easily watchable and she was not scared at all that we took pictures and videos of her as we got close to almost 10 meters, well an experienced guide can make this possible!

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A herd of elephants was scanning the riverbed for greens and it is always amazing to watch these animals walking together and doing their thing as a group. They usually keep their babies in the middle of the group for protection, but there in the wide and quiet riverbed they all felt so safe that they obviously loosened this rule a lot. We followed this group when they came out of the riverbed to find food somewhere else while moving in the beautiful Ruaha sunset. It was time for us to drive to the lodge, where we had dinner and went to bed tired but happy after that first day of our adventure. Tomorrow would be another interesting day starting early.

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Peter Tomsu for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa