Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Serengeti, the world greatest wildlife show (watch the mystery wildebeest migration).

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Serengeti National Park poster

A million wildebeest... each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life: a frenzied three-week bout of territorial conquests and mating; survival of the fittest as 40km (25 mile) long columns plunge through crocodile-infested waters on the annual exodus north; replenishing the species in a brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves daily before the 1,000 km (600 mile) pilgrimage begins again.

Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson's gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.

The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.

But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species, ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills. 

As enduring as the game-viewing is the liberating sense of space that characterises the Serengeti Plains, stretching across sunburnt savannah to a shimmering golden horizon at the end of the earth. Yet, after the rains, this golden expanse of grass is transformed into an endless green carpet flecked with wildflowers. And there are also wooded hills and towering termite mounds, rivers lined with fig trees and acacia woodland stained orange by dust.

Popular the Serengeti might be, but it remains so vast that you may be the only human audience when a pride of lions masterminds a siege, focussed unswervingly on its next meal.

About Serengeti 
Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles).
Location: 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west.

Getting there
Scheduled and charter flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara and Mwanza.
Drive from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Tarangire or Ngorongoro Crater.

What to do
Hot air balloon safaris, walking safari, picnicking, game drives, bush lunch/dinner can be arranged with hotels/tour operators.  Maasai rock paintings and musical rocks.
Visit neighbouring Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Lake Natron's flamingos.

When to go
To follow the wildebeest migration, December-July. To see predators, June-October.

Four lodges, six luxury tented camps and camp sites scattered through the park; one new lodge will be opened next season (Bilila Lodge); one luxury camp, a lodge and two tented camps just outside.

The route and timing of the wildebeest migration is unpredictable. Allow at least three days to be assured of seeing them on your visit - longer if you want to see the main predators as well.

Source: Tanapa
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Monday, September 10, 2012

How to marry in Four days in Tanzania (Bongo Marriage).

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 In general, traditional marriage customs vary by ethnic group. The practice of clan exogamy—or marriage outside of the clan or group—is typical, however, of almost all ethnic groups. Traditional customs call for marriages to be arranged by the parents of the bride and groom, although such arrangements are becoming less common, particularly in urban settings. 

In patrilineal ethnic groups (those in which descent is traced through males), traditional marriage customs often include the presentation of a dowry or bride price to the wife's family by the bridegroom. The dowry may include livestock, money, clothing, locally brewed beer, and other items. The amount of the dowry is determined through negotiations between the families of the engaged. 

Preparations for marriage may take months. For those wealthy enough to afford it, marriage may include a separate dowry ceremony and, several months later, a church wedding followed by traditional ceremonies. Although many ethnic groups and Muslims allow polygyny (having more than one wife), the practice is decreasing in popularity, in part because of the influence of Christianity and the expense of maintaining several households.
Domestic Unit. 
Foreigners must consider the following if they want to marry in Tanzania.

Read more: Culture of Tanzania - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/Tanzania.html#ixzz263iGOdBb

Bride groom and the Bride

Flower girl and escorting mate

It might be you!

The wonderful Roast Goat aka Chagga traditional Cake called  " Ndafu"

Local brew from Chagga called Mbege

We are good to go!
For more on Traditional Chagga wedding practices please become our cultural tourism guest at Machame village in Kilimanjaro Region. Your welcome.
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Mountain Kilimanjaro (The Roof of Africa).

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Kilimanjaro National Park poster
Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don't even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa.

Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet).

Kilimanjaro is one of the world's most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman's Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates. And their memories.

But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. 
Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.

Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.

About Kilimanjaro National Park
Size: 1668 sq km 641 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.

Getting there
128 km (80 miles) from Arusha.
About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport.

What to do
Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes.
Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau. Nature trails on the lower reaches.
Trout fishing.
Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.

When to go
Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September.

Huts and campsites on the mountain.
Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.

Climb slowly to increase your acclimatisation time and maximise your chances of reaching the summit.
To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more for the climb. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.

(JUNE '08)
USD 10 per day
Cooks USD 15 per day
Guides USD 20 per day



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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gombe National park, the smallest but wondeful (Meet the Chimps).

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Gombe Natinal Park

An excited whoop erupts from deep in the forest, boosted immediately by dozen other voices, rising in volume and tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. It is the famous 'pant hoot' call: a bonding ritual that allows the participants to identify each other through their individual vocal stylisations. To human listener, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream, this spine-chilling outburst is also an indicator of imminent visual contact with man's closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee.

Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika.
Its chimpanzees - habituated to human visitors - were made famous by the pioneering work of
Dr. Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three - years old when Dr. Jane Goodall first set foot in Gombe, born 1958 and died in 2004.

Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots and screams that defines the celebrities, the power brokers  and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp's eyes, assessing you in return - a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.
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