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

How to Handle and Ostrich Encounter

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The ostrich is the world’s largest bird. They are native to the African savannah and desert lands, where they roam between watering holes eating plants along the way. Though ostriches cannot fly, their powerful legs make them extremely fast sprinters. They are capable of reaching top speeds of 43 miles per hour, and can run over long distances at 31 miles per hour. It goes without saying, but an ostrich is not an animal that you want to get into a foot race with on your African safari vacation.

At Roho Ya Chui, we want you to have a great time on your safari, while also staying safe. Due to their size and awesome abilities, ostriches are very popular animals among tourists. Seeing the world’s largest bird in its natural habitat is a true bucket list item for many. It is important to remember that these are wild animals and special care should be taken if you happen to encounter one. Though humans are not a natural prey of these birds, they have been known to injure and even kill people. Here is how to handle an ostrich encounter.

  1. Hide and Please Don’t Seek

Ostriches can deliver devastating blows with their powerful legs, wings and beaks. The best way to avoid being harmed by an ostrich is to steer clear of them all together. Of course, even the most well intended tourists can get into sticky situations with wild animals. If you encounter an ostrich, immediately look to see if there is any brush, a building or vehicle that you can easily reach nearby. Keep your eye on the animal, but quickly seek refuge in this shelter and hide. If you do not think that you can make it to shelter, do not attempt to. Lay on the ground and play dead instead. An ostrich can easily outrun an adult human and will attack from behind with enormous force.

  1. Blend In or Climb High

Ostriches are birds that have a primary diet of plants. Humans are far from the top of their list of prey, but they will chase a person if they feel threatened. As mentioned, a person has little hope of outrunning an ostrich, so the best chance is to hide. If there is no brush available, look to see if there is any object that you can use to conceal yourself, such as a boulder or tree. If you do find a tree, try and climb it. Remember that ostriches are incapable of flight, so you will only need to go nine or ten feet to be safe. The ostrich will lose interest in the chase if they believe that you have left.

  1. Fight Off the Ostrich

In extreme circumstances, when there is no cover and you are clearly being attacked by the ostrich, you may have to fight. If there is a stick near, arm yourself. Stay to the sides and rear of the ostrich, they can only attack from the front. Make yourself as large as possible by waving your arms and a stick.

Plan Your African Safari Vacation

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

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

Fun Ostrich facts for the curios safari traveler

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When most people think of African Safari animals, they think hippopotamus, lions, and all manner of monkeys. But one of the most amazing animals you will find on the Savannah is the ostrich. Many people know that the ostrich is the largest bird on the planet, but did you know its eye is almost five cm across? Many people know that this bird has long, powerful legs to propel it across the plains, but do you know how powerful those legs are? How fast this bird really is?

A Body That Works

While somewhat strange looking, the body of an ostrich is perfectly suited for life on the Savannah. The large eye allows the ostrich to spot predators at a distance, while the long legs take strides of over 15 feet. The ostrich can run over 40 miles an hour to evade those same predators. And if the ostrich cannot run away, it can use the legs as weapons. An ostrich kick could kill a lion or a human with the force behind the blow. The ostrich also uses its head in territorial disputes, slamming its head into and through an opponent’s chest, killing the weaker male.

While they have no teeth, ostriches have evolved a way to break down their food to aid in digestion. They eat pebbles and small rocks, which, in their stomachs (yes, there is more than one –three in fact) grind against each other and break down the ingested food. In fact, at any given time, an adult ostrich has more than two pounds of pebbles in its stomach.

Ostriches love water, and take frequent baths when there is water available. But, Africa having a lengthy dry season means that there is often not the water that ostriches would prefer. Given that, the ostrich has evolved to be able to survive for several days without ingesting any water. They get the water they need from the moisture in the roots and insects they eat and use up metabolic water as needed. Interestingly, ostriches are the only birds that urinate and defecate as two separate bodily functions.

Family Life

Ostriches can be loners, but more often than not, live in pairs or groups. During the winter, the groups are smaller, with ostriches ranging alone or in pairs. During the breeding season, however, ostriches will group into wandering herd of up to fifty birds. This group will be led by a “top hen” and will often travel with other pack animals to graze, typically antelope or zebra.

When the ostrich’s breed, all the hens of the tribe will lay their eggs in the top hen’s nest. This nest is almost ten feet across, and each hen knows which eggs are hers. The eggs that ostriches lay are the largest of any bird, coming in at a whopping five inches in diameter, and weighing as much as two-dozen chicken eggs.

Like seahorses and penguins, male ostriches play an active role in the incubation and care of their eggs. The hens incubate and care for the eggs during the day, using their dun colored plumage to blend in with their surroundings. The males, however, take over the job at night, with their black coloring making them almost indistinguishable from the inky black of night.

Ostriches and People

Mankind has long been inspired and awed by the ostrich. The fascination dates back over 5,000 years to Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia. One common misconception people have about ostriches, however, is the belief that they bury their heads in the sand when threatened. This is not at all true. Ostriches will lay their necks along the ground to camouflage their bodies when threatened, and this can appear that the head is buried in the sand, but that is only because the plumage of the body blends in with the sandy soil and tall grasses.

Ostriches have been sought after for a variety of reasons. They are farmed for their feathers and meat, and even their skin is used for leather shoes, bags and other products. There are some countries in Africa where ostriches are fitted with special saddles and reins are people race on ostrich-back. The intrigue abounds, even as the ostrich population dwindles. The last 200 years have seen the ostrich population diminish drastically, and most ostriches are now found in sanctuaries or on farms.

When you depart on your African safari, make sure to add the majestic ostrich to your “must-see” list, alongside the lions, elephants, and giraffes. These truly are incredible animals and are worth your time. Bon Voyage!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa