Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tembo, Tembo, Tembo!!

How time flies when you are doing what you love to do! I am confused at how it can be September 23rd already! We had family visiting from Kenya, Dar es Salam and a friend from Canada who had a blast on his first safari. We’ve been busy, but of course that’s what keeps life interesting.

Speaking of interesting, yesterday when we arrived home from the flight we found ten elephants in our back yard. They have been making frequent visits during the last few weeks, slurping up water and chewing down the trees. I had a feeling that they would return later in the evening, to clean up the water from the bird bath. At 4:02am I woke to the sound of trees cracking, I got up to see how many where outside and quickly sat back down as there were five (one very large mama) right outside the window, one was looking right at me! I did not want to startle them and cause them to come any closer to the house, they already were a bit to close for comfort! Had I been able to open the window I could have grabbed their tails! The thoughts of how I could possibly capture a picture of these beautiful animals at work came to mind, after a bit of contemplation, I decided that it was best to just enjoy their company and this unique experience and remain with only a mental picture! The herd then moved off and made their way to the restaurant. As we headed out for the flight we saw all twenty of them heading down to the river.

Elephants (Tembo) have been my favourite animals since I can remember, even as a child I knew that I would one day spend a significant amount of time with them! I am extremely happy to announce the launch of our new website!! Our many hours learning the parks, safari towns and many products, combined with creativity, patience and inspiration from this beautiful land, has turned into something I am very grateful to share with our families and friends, their families and their friends, clients - current and future. We will be continually developing the site, adding new packages, excursions, East African wildlife videos and options for travellers to East Africa.

We invite you to check out

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


When traveling to another country it is always respectful to learn the words for basic communication in the local language.  In just over seven months I have learned quite a bit of Kiswahili.  I enjoy learning from the locals daily and always have a new word or two as my “words of the day”.  I am thankful for their patience and enjoy the fun while learning their language.  My philosophy when I teach and as I learn is to make learning fun, just like life!  Let me share with you some Kiswahili that would be great to learn before coming on Safari in East Africa! Some of my teachers are pictured below, smiling at work!

There are a few different greetings in Kiswahili, the most popular is Jambo which means hello.  When someone asks you this you can respond with msuri which means good.  Sana means much and is said following many words so you could respond with msuri sana. Habari Asubuhi is how are you this morning, again you may respond with msuri sana or a more formal way would be salama or salama sana.  Habari za mchana is good afternoon and habari za jioni means good evening.
A more casual greeting is Mambo which translates to how are you.  You would answer with poa which means cool or you could also say safi sana which is another way to say very good.  Sawa is ok. To respond with yes, ndio or no, hapana.  Here is hapa, sasa is now and semahani is excuse me.  Kidogo is a little, to say you know a bit of Kiswhaili you would say Kiswhaili kidogo.
Pole is the word for sorry, pole sana means very sorry, as in sorry for your troubles or sorry for your hard work.  Pole pole however means slowly and taratibu is slowly with care. To tell someone to have a good evening is Usiku mwayma. Many times you will hear lala salama following this phrase which means have a good sleep.
During your safari you want to be sure you have lots of maji safi, good water, or perhaps you’re looking for a fresh Tanzania kahawa, coffee.  It’s important to mention that you want your beverages baradi, which is cold.  Many Africans prefer to drink their soda and pompe (beer) moto, which means warm.   
To thank someone you will say Karibu, this means welcome.  You can also say Karibu to welcome someone into your home or you will hear it as a greeting when you arrive. If you wish to express thank you very much you say karibu sana.  Asante means thank you and is often followed with sana for thank you very much!
Moja, Mbili, Tatu, Nne, Tano, Sita, Saba, Nane, Tisa, Kumi , that’s one through ten. Eleven is kume na moja which means ten plus one, therefore twelve would be kume na (and) mbili…you get the picture! Of course on safari you will be looking for many wanyama (animals) that’s what safari is all about! I keep learning new animal names each day. 
Punda Milia (Zebra), Tembo (Elephant), Pumba (Warthog) , Simba (Lion), Twiga (Giraffe), Fisi (Hyena), Chewi ( Cheeta),  Duma (Leopard),you also will see ndege wengi sana (many birds) and if you are driving through Masai land you will see Mbuzi (goat), Kuku (chickens), Punda (donkeys) and  ng’ombe (cows).
A very common phrase used in Kenya is hakuna matata or humna shita in Tanzania -it means no worries and I love this phrase! It is used often as it expresses the way of thinking and life in East Africa. There are many people who feel that a third world country is less fortunate than a first or second world country as they may not have all the money and possessions a first world country does.  What I experience daily is that people are very happy and less stressed than those of a first world country. I hear less complaning and more gratitude here than I do when living in North America, people seem much happier here.  Many of the locals understand that money and possessions do not equal happiness and they have tremendous faith that everything works out as it is meant to.  My wish is for people to learn how hakuna matata could be helpful in having a more joyful life!   My mini Kiswahili lesson is sure to help you to communicate with locals while on safari - thanks to my many Kiswahili teachers!