Saturday, 28 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 7 Mkomazi NP

Baglafecht weaver in Karatu
After a good evening meal and just as good a sleep, I woke up a lot earlier than Dru and spent the early morning birding while he slept.  The birding wasn’t bad but it was really the people that were more entertaining.  

Friday, 27 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 6 A final surprise

Cheetah and cubs
Because we had come into the Serengeti only after lunch, we knew that we would have plenty of time to have a morning game drive before heading out to the gate.  We decided to use the time to take the long way round to the gate, more or less the same way we had come in.  That way we got a nice game drive, and also avoided most of the badly corrugated road from Seronera to Naabi Hill.  

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 5 Spending time with lions

The pride on the Serengeti plains

Our last full day in the Serengeti, and we were determined to find the lions from the previous day.  Stopping only to get a few shots of the Serengeti sunrise, we headed straight to where we’d seen the lions the previous evening.  Of course, they had disappeared, so we slowly started driving in each direction to try and pick up their tracks.  We did eventually find spoor, but they weren’t nearby.  

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 4 Christmas on the plains

It's rare to see something good on your own, but we were lucky

It was an early start on Christmas day, but we were soon rewarded near the campsite by 4 male lions chilling on a rock watching the sun come up.  We decided to head to where the leopards had been sighted the previous day and were amazed to find the young leopard still there!  He was on a different tree, but only about 30 meters from where we’d seen him in the evening.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 3 A day of spotted cats

Watching us carefully

Since we had gone west the previous day, we decided to head in the opposite direction in the morning.  We were looking for the big pride that we’d seen the first day, so decided to head for Maasai Koppies.  The early morning drive didn’t find them, although we did come across a nice big male lion sitting on the side of the road.  We decided to spend our coffee break with him, and he soon got up and joined his brother, whom we hadn’t even seen hidden in the scrub sleeping. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 2 Lions & trees

Lion cub in tree

We decided to head straight to Moru Koppies in the morning, because we’d heard that there was a massive herd of wildebeest that were moving through the area chasing the rain.  Because it wasn’t on the plains, we may have better luck photographing them as they’d all be close together.  

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Serengeti Christmas - Day 1 Back to the Serengeti

Sunrise in the Serengeti

A few months before Christmas we were trying to decide where to go for the Christmas break.  We weren’t even sure how much leave we would be getting, so bounced around a few places, including Selous,Mikumi, Gombe and Kenya… we didn’t really consider Serengeti because it was the middle of the short rain season, and we’d been there quite a few times before…

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mikumi NP - A long weekend away

Elephants walking in single file
We don't like to waste a long weekend staying in Dar, so even though it was only a couple of weeks before our Serengeti trip, we packed the car and headed out to Mikumi national park, even though Dru had been sick the few days before.  We left a bit later than normal, but luckily the traffic wasn't too bad and we arrived there just at lunch time.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Mikumi NP - Mikumi delivers again

Through the lion's eye
A long weekend in Tanzania, and so we planned to pack up and head off to Mikumi.  So early Saturday morning we left and headed from Dar via Bagamoyo to Mikumi NP.  

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Selous GR - Day 4

African skimmer

Our final morning was planned to see if we could catch the hyenas again.  Unfortunately it was not to be and after hanging out and around at the den for a while, we gave up and went to check out what else was around.   

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Selous GR - Day 3

Lion and lioness

Again we were up at at the gate by opening time the next morning.  We planned to see if we could find the mating lions, so headed to where we'd seen the pride of males the evening before.  

Friday, 9 August 2013

Selous GR - Day 2


We were the first in the park the next morning, and with no paperwork to be done other than it being checked, we were straight in for our first full game drive of our trip.  Our plan was to head on the main road straight to Lake Manze to catch the lions with their buffalo kill.  

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Selous GR - Day 1

Rufiji river
We arrived at Selous around lunchtime, and had planned to spend the day relaxing and then head to the park first thing in the morning.  The national parks (of which Selous isn’t a member) don’t allow multiple entries during your 24 hour permit, so if we went in the afternoon, we’d still have to pay again for the next morning.  

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Sri Lanka

We've always said that we'd go visit Sri Lanka.  For me it would be my 1st trip to Dru's homeland.  But it took us 8 years before we finally booked our tickets.  But finally on 3rd July, I climbed on a plane from Tanzania, met up with Dru in Dubai, and then flew the remaining 3,5 hours to Colombo.

The timing of trip couldn't have been better, as Dru's brother and sister-in-law were also visiting the folks, so we decided to do a mini tour of Sri Lanka. Because Dru & I were only there for just over 2 weeks (what a pity work restricts holidays!) we weren't going to see all of the island at once (got to leave something for the next time...) so the itinerary planned was a nice mix of city, sea and mountain. 

After a few days in Colombo, we hired a minivan and headed to Yala National Park for a few days, so famed for its leopards.  Then we visited Arugambay and checked out the beach which is so popular with tourists nowadays.

After the beach, we drove to Nuwara Eliya. At about 6000 ft, it was some of the highest areas in Sri Lanka, with its famous tea plantations.  Then it was down to about 2500 ft to Matale where we relaxed for a few days before heading back to Colombo and home to Tanzania.

The whole trip was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The main photos were just snapshots of family and friends, but I've added a couple of posts from our trip around Sri Lanka:

Yala National Park
Nuwara Eliya

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sri Lanka - Matale

The best braai spot in the world!
It was a long and winding trip down from Nuwara Eliya to Matale, with plenty of hairpin bends to make me slightly car sick ;) Finally, it was a VERY narrow road up a steep hill before we got to the house in Matale.  

Monday, 15 July 2013

Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya

At 6000ft, conditions are perfect for growing tea - plantations are everywhere
From the beaches of Arugambay, it was a steep and winding climb on narrow mountain roads to Nuwara Eliya.  

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sri Lanka - Arugambay

The long stretches of beach at Arugambay

From the wilds of Yala National Park, we headed to the relative peace of Arugambay.  Near the town of Potuvil, Arumgambay is a coastal town on the east coast of Sri Lanka.  Formerly behind enemy lines, nowadays it is a popular tourist destination for surfers from all over the world. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sri Lanka - Yala National Park

Famed for leopards, Yala produced plenty for us!
It was early in the morning that we headed out to Yala National Park from Colombo.  The drive itself is long, not in terms on kms, but the fact that you need to wind around mountains on small roads pretty slowly.  

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sri Lanka - Colombo

The main religion in Sri Lanka is Buddhism and can be seen everywhere
We had a few days in the biggest city of Sri Lanka, Colombo. (Unknown to most, the captial is actually Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, a bit of a mouthful!)  

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Mikumi NP - A serval surprise

The coalition of 3
Less than a month after our Easter trip to Mikumi, we decided to give it a go again, since it was a long weekend.  We'd considered other places, but quite frankly with all the rain around, Mikumi would be the best option.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Mikumi NP Easter 2013

A dazzle of zebra in Mikumi NP
Easter in Mukumi is always crowded with local tourists like us, giving it a zoo like feeling at times, especially around sightings and water holes. The onset of the rains gives the park a green dressing with fresh growth making it a beautiful time to be in the park and the rain brings low cloud adding to the beauty of the park. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part7: Back to Dar via Lushoto

Shopping on route Leshoto.
Next destination is the cooler hills of Lushoto. The drive from Moshi is an easy cruise to the town of Mombo where you turn right and climb up the hills to Soni. The climate cools down and the vegetation changes with every foot of the climb it seems. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 6: Into the Serengeti

Photo's don't do justice to the migration.
Moving from Ndutu to the Serengeti  presents another irritating ‘rule’. With fees valid for 24 hours, you need to check in to the Serengeti 2 hours before you actually get there! The drive to the Serengeti however, makes up the for irritating rules. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 5: Ndutu and the migration

Flat featureless plains packed with migrating wildebeest. 
Ndutu was our next destination, still within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and calving grounds of the annual wildebeest migrating. Once a year with the rains, Ndutu comes to life when the migrating herds stop to calve and feed on the nutrient rich grasses. Nudutu features a alkaline and fresh water lake, but the main attraction is the open plains packed with game. 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 4: The Ngorongoro Crater amazes

Crater floor from the rim

Back in Moshi the next day to hook up with Makasa, (tour operator and very reliable local company), to check out the highlight of the trip. First stop was the Ngorongoro crater for lunch and a half day drive. Nothing can really compare to the view of the crater which is a fully intact caldera. From the crater rim, with a set of bins, you can pick out game on the crater floor.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 3: Arusha and surrounds

Feeding time
We had a couple of days planning and getting logistics ready for the road trip up north. The first part of the road trip would be on our own checking out some of the more accessible parks on the Northern circuit followed by a guided safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater and finally a couple of days in the hills of Lushoto.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tanzania Dreaming - Part 2: Zanzibar

Zanzibar door - Indian trader
Couple of days later we were off to Zanzibar for a couple of days staying at Stone Town. Even for an experienced traveler Zanzibar offers something unique. Stone Town is a maze of narrow alleys with a variety of shops selling just about anything but one of the interesting aspects is the locals going about their everyday activities in this place like no other.  

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tanzania dreaming - Part 1: Arriving in Dar es Salaam

Essential planing tools

Tanzania offers a wide range of attractions from wildlife to beaches to fishing and diving and mountain climbing. Amongst the many choices to explore, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater, Mount Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar are a must do for first time visitors.