Sunday, October 19, 2014

Africa 38: Read This if You Are Considering a Trip to Africa

After much research and investigation, we booked our trip with Overseas Adventure Travel. We found this company to offer the best value for us. All other tour operators we investigated charged more, often much more.
We learned, after being in Africa, that all the tour operators use the same licensed guides, drive the same types of vehicles and visit the same places.  All our trip leaders and driver guides were excellent.

More expensive tours may use slightly nicer lodges, but we found our accommodations to be first rate.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Africa 37: The Spirit of Africa is Alive and Well, cont.

I have shared a lot of photographs with you on this trip.  Maybe too many.  Still, I have only been able to convey to you a tiny portion of all the wondrous things we saw and experienced
Boyd, driver guide.

But it wasn't the things we saw that will stick with me nearly as much as it was the people we were privileged to meet.
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Africa 36: Interesting Facts About Elephants.

Even though the poaching of elephants is a huge problem in Africa, we were lucky enough to see lots of elephants on this trip.

Park police have begun arresting anyone in possession of a high powered rifle in the national parks.  This has caused poachers to change tactics.

Poachers have begun poisoning entire watering holes, killing not only elephants, but other animals who happen to drink there as well.
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Africa 35: We Happen Upon a Lion.

I've mentioned before about how competent our African guides were.  This is another example.  We were driving down the road after lunch when our guide, Abram, stopped the truck.  Lion, he said, pointing.

We looked out over the horizon and, even with binoculars, saw nothing but termite mounds.  But, sure enough, a few moments later the lion came into view.
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Africa 34:We Get Up Close and Personal with a Leopard.

Experienced guides will tell you that seeing animals on safari is a lot about luck.  It's about being in the right place at the right time.

Driving down the road in the Serengeti, one sees a lot of Acacia trees.  This one, however, was different.  In this one, a leopard happened to be sleeping. 
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Africa 33: We see the Famous Serengeti

The Sarengeti National Part abuts the Ngorongoro National Wildlife Sanctuary.

Combined, the two areas make a huge, 8,900 square mile, habitat for the animals to live and roam.

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Africa 32: Lions in the Crater

Shortly after lunch, we came upon a lioness lying in the middle of the road.

She and a companion had just made a kill.  She was clearly winded from the exertion.
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Africa 31: Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles.

We descend down into the crater via a steep, winding road.
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Africa 30: A Maasai Village Tries to Balance Tradition with Modern Realities

The Maasai are a nomadic people who live in what is called East Africa's Great Rift Valley, an area that borders Kenya and Tanzania.  Large chunks of that area are now national wildlife refuge parks.

Maasai warriors are well known for their fearlessness and ferocity, especially when it comes to protecting their precious cattle.

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Africa 29: Have You Ever Seen Where They Actually Grow Starbucks Coffee?

It turns out the area around Karatu Village has soil that is perfect for growing coffee.

Large coffee plantations, mostly owned by foreigners, dot the landscape here.
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Africa 28: We Explore Village Life in Karatu, Tanzania

We spent the night at Karatu Village in Tanzania.  Karatu Village is roughly half way between Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater.

Karatu Village has a thriving market and shopping district.
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Africa 27: Elephants Block the Road

We were driving north along the shore of Lake Manyara, looking at birds.

Literally, millions of birds, like these Flamingos.
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Africa 26: Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Amboseli National Park is quite a bit south of Lake Nakuru, near the Tanzanian border.

On our way to Amboseli National Park, we encountered others using the same back roads as us.
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Africa 25: Kenya's Nakuru National Park

We first visited Lake Nakuru National Park, where we saw our first Rhino up close in the wild.

He was grazing in a huge grassy plain, about 100 feet from the road.  Of course, we stopped.
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