Monday, December 14, 2015

Circle of Life

Today we had a beautiful balloon flight over the Serengeti National Park. Our first animal sighting was the beautiful Bohor Reedbuck. It's not often that you see these beauties from the safari vehicle as they like to hide in the long grass. Floating above the land in the hot air balloon is the best way to spot the reedbuck. 




Next we saw a large family of elephants




Followed by hippos in and out of the water!



A cute family of Egyptian Geese...



As we floated along the river we noticed a few tan spots in the long grass, with binoculars (or my 300mm zoom lens) we were able to determine it was a small pride of lions on a kill. 




The closer we got it was easy to see that a giraffe had been taken down, by two male lions and two females. The males had already eaten (they always eat first) and were moving away for a rest, the two lionesses were enjoying their capture. 




As we approached the "kill" the winds slowed down, almost to a full stop (this rarely happens) and we were able to hover over the lions as they finished their breakfast. 



When "times are tough' lions will attempt to take down whatever they can to feed their families. Normally, lions do not attempt to kill a giraffe as one massive kick can kill a lion. Typically, when taking down a giraffe the males will help with the hunt, as a rule it is the females who do the hunting. 

As giraffes are bending way down (normally for a drink of water) this is when lions will try to take down the giraffe. In my four years of being in the "bush" I have not witnessed lions eating a giraffe. It was very magical to experience the circle of life at its best, and this rare sighting from the balloon. 


After the wonderful bush breakfast we came across more lions (17 in total), very close to our home! Lazing about on the soccer field. 






Take a ride with Serengeti Balloon Safaris

Contact me to start planning your trip to East Africa.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Baby Giraffe

Today on our game drive we had the pleasure to see a newborn giraffe. It still had it's umbilical cord attached! 




The gestation period for a giraffe is around fifteen months. 

Giraffes give birth standing and are known to return to the same place they were born (known as a "calving ground") to have their baby.


When the calf drops out (yes, it drops about 5 feet to the ground) it weighs about 150 pounds and stands up to 6 feet tall. 


After a few hours from being born the baby giraffe is able to stand and run with the rest of their family.




Before heading home we came across another mama with her babies, hiding in the shade of an acacia tree.




Contact Amanda to learn about the best parks in East Africa and when it is best to visit. It is never to early to start planning your Africa Safari Adventure. 

Karibu Sana! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Back in the Serengeti

It's nice to be back in the Serengeti. The short rains are falling which has turned the grass and trees to their beautiful green colours. The wildebeest are moving south from the Maasai Mara, making their way through Central Serengeti. The numbers are increasing daily. 

The rain stopped just in time for the balloon fight this morning and the winds were in a very nice direction. It was a beautiful flight in the Seronera region. Here are a few shots from this mornings flight. 



Young croc...


They're back!


Reflections.


Showing us who's boss!



 Marabou Stork enjoying a little fishing...



Early morning squabble... 


With all the large water puddles the hippos are enjoying their space!


Civet cat on the move, not something you see everyday from the balloon!


Hippos making their way to the river for the day... 



Contact Amanda to start planing your ultimate African adventure! 

Visit www.TemboTours.com to learn more about the amazing parks and reserves in East Africa. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Great flight today!

If you have a weak stomach I do not recommend reading this blog! 

Today we saw a hyena kill from the balloon, it was very exciting!! The hyena was running behind a group of Thompson Gazelle and singled out the target for his breakfast. 




The gazelle was keeping a good distance for a while and then took a wrong turn and the hyena caught up to him. The chase continued for a few minutes as we floated closer and closer to the action.


Almost got it!!





But not quite yet!!




TAKE DOWN!




The circle of life at its best! Everyone has to eat!



Contact Amanda to start planning your safari in East Africa. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Great prices with KLM to Tanzania

While checking prices for two clients looking to travel from Toronto to Kilimanjaro in October or November I discovered great rates with KLM.  Airfare prices starting as low as $1098 per person, taxes included. Prices are based on availability and are subject to change until time of booking. 

If you have been thinking about a safari now is a great time to book for this fall! Share this great price with your friends and family!  

Contact me to get started on the plans for your ultimate Africa adventure. 

Below is a sample itinerary for those looking for a mixture of wildlife and cultural experiences.

Day 1 - Arrival: Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport and transfer to Arusha for overnight. 

Day 2 - Free day: Free day at leisure in Arusha (B)  - additional excursions or visit to a local school to volunteer your time can be arranged.

Day 3 - Arusha to Tarangire National Park
Depart at 9am for Tarangire National Park. The drive to Tarangire is approximately 2 hours from Arusha. After reaching the park gate, game drive for the rest of the day, departing the park at 6pm  (B, L, D)

Day 4 - Tarangire National Park - Full day of game drives in Tarangire National Park with lunch at Tarangire Safari Lodge. Return to lodge for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)


Day 5 - Tarangire National Park to Lake Eyasi
After breakfast, depart the Tarangire area for Lake Eyasi. The drive is approximately 2 hours. Receive a cultural tour briefing in Lake Eyasi. Hot lunch at your camp. Visit the Datoga Tribe in the afternoon. (B, L, D)

Day 6  - Lake Eyasi to Karatu
Early in the morning, visit with the Hadzabe Tribe and learn of their customs. Visit their temporary homes and experience their way of life. After the cultural tour, return to camp for a hot lunch. Proceed to your camp or lodge for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 7  - Ngorongoro Crater - Today you can enjoy a bit of a sleep in! Go on a 6 hour game drive in Ngorongoro Crater, proceeding to your lodge or camp for dinner and overnight after the game drive. (B, L, D)


Day 8 - Ngorongoro to Serengeti National Park
After breakfast proceed to Serengeti National Park. Stop at Olduvai Gorge on the way to Serengeti National Park. After reaching the Serengeti, game drive for the rest of the day. Dinner and overnight at Kiota Camp Serengeti. 
(B, L, D) 6:30pm - Meet with Serengeti Balloon Safari Rep for briefing and check in for the Hot Air Balloon Safari the following morning. 

Day 9  - Serengeti National Park
Early morning wake up for your Hot Air Balloon Safari with Serengeti Balloon Safaris. Game drive on the way to the launch site. Balloon will launch around 6:30am Return to Seronera Visitor Centre for 10am where you will meet with your Duma Explorer guide for game drive in Serengeti National Park with a picnic lunch. Overnight at Kiota Camp. (B, L, D)

Day 10 -  Serengeti National Park
Full day of game drives in Serengeti National Park with a picnic lunch. Overnight at Kiota Camp. (B, L, D)


Day 11-  Serengeti to Arusha, stop for late lunch at Riverhouse & Shanga. Transfer to airport for international flight home.  OR  add an extension trip to Zanzibar for 4 nights, or more! 

Zanzibar is the best way to unwind after your African Safari! 

The options are endless and I am keen to learn your needs and wants in order to create an itinerary that works best for you and your group. 

Send me an email today at astrowbridge@tpi.ca


Kiota Camp Serengeti

If you are planning a safari to Tanzania you likely want to visit Serengeti National Park. In central Serengeti you will now find the new Kiota Camp Serengeti. It is a wonderful tented camp experience for families, couples and large groups. Offering a very eco-friendly, private and luxury tented experience in the bush. 

Having visited this camp a few weeks ago I was able to meet the staff (who are wonderful and will make your stay the most memorable) as well we enjoyed a lovely dinner and sun downer.  Meet the team at Kiota Camp. 

The sister camp to Kiota Camp is Chaka Camp, a migrational camp that moves along with the "Great Migration" of wildebeest and zebra, something the Serengeti is most known for.  If you wish to have the full Serengeti experience and have 4-6 days to spend in the park I recommend booking a combination package with both Kiota Camp and Chaka Camp. 





Planning a safari to East Africa is easy, contact me and I'll make it a hassle free process for you!

Visit www.tembotours.com to learn more about travel in East Africa. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kenya Visa - Changes & New Rules

In the past, travellers to Kenya were able to purchase the tourist visa (which is required for entry) upon arrival into Nairobi or Mombassa airports. As of July 2nd, 2015 the rules have changed. Travellers to Kenya are now required to have an eVisa before arriving. 

Travellers entering Kenya, especially for those who book last minute holidays, will want to know that the processing time for the new eVisa can take up to one week. 

Q. Do I need a visa to visit Kenya? 

A. Visit e-Citizen to confirm

Q. Where do I go to issue a visa for my upcoming trip to Kenya?  

A. Visit www.ecitizen.go.ke 

Q. What happens if I do not get my visa before I travel?

A. Immigration officers can decline your entry to the county without the proper eVisa. Travel insurance is always recommended.


Q. How do I apply for the new eVisa for Kenya?

A. Follow these steps;

1. Visit www.ecitizen.go.ke
2. Select EVisa Tab then Create a New Account for first time visitors (or sign in if you already have an account) 
3. Once logged in to eCitizen Dashboard, Select Department of Immigration services - Get Service Now!
4. Select "make an application"
5. Select Kenyan Visa
6. Select the type of Visa (normally Single Entry Visa) and read the instructions carefully
7. Fill in the application form
8. Pay using Visa Card, MasterCard and other debit cards
9. Await approval via email, then download and print the eVisa from your eCitizen account
10. Present your printed eVisa to the immigration office at the port of entry.


REQUIREMENTS FOR SINGLE JOURNEY VISA

  • Valid travel document not less than six months.
  • Complete visa application form.
  • At least One Blank page in the holders passport.
  • Return ticket.
  • Fee
Need to know information

  • Visa processing fee is non-refundable.
  • All Visa Applications attract a $1 Service Charge.
  • A visa to Kenya once approved and issued is valid for travel within 3 months.
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.
  • The possession of a visa is not the final authority to enter the Republic of Kenya.
  • Engaging in any form of business or employment without a requisite permit or pass is an offence.
  • Please note that a visa is required prior to entry into Kenya.
  • Please Note Children sixteen(16) year and Below are exempted from visa payment and are not expected to make visa application.
  • In the event of lapse during payment please do not re-apply, contact the administrator on dis@immigration.go.ke.
  • HOLDERS OF TRAVEL DOCUMENTS(NOT A NATIONAL PASSPORT) SHOULD NOT MAKE EVISA APPLICATIONS, THEY SHOULD APPLY TO THE DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION SERVICES THROUGH THE NEAREST KENYA MISSION.


Read More about this topic at JamboNewspot

Thinking about booking a trip to East Africa, contact Amanda to start planning.