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ClickSerengeti migration safaris - 2010

 

Have you ever wished to see the Serengeti migration?

This may be your chance!

Summit Ventures, in partnership with Rove Africa - one of Africa's leading safari companies with 15 years' experience - has arranged a superb tour of the Serengeti for May this year with up-market accommodation (Serena Lodges throughout) but at ‘off season’ rates! The tour leader, who takes groups to the Serengeti every year, has had vast experience in tracking the migration, and in identifying game.

The 8-day itinerary will include three of Tanzania’s most famous wildlife locations: Lake Manyara, The Ngorongoro Highlands and The Serengeti (just in time to witness the spectacle of more than a million migrating Wildebeest!) and a night on the Island of Zanzibar.

Each safari vehicle will have window seats for five people, fitted with ‘pop up’ roof hatches for better visibility and photography. 

Dates: Tuesday, 18th May to Tuesday 25th May 2010 (8 days inclusive).

Cost: R 18 655.00 p/p sharing (exchange rate ZAR 7.82 / US$ 1.00)

The price includes: return flights, airport taxes, all transfers, transport in 4wd vehicles with an English speaking driver/guide, accommodation and meals, game drives and game park fees.

Not included: Visa to enter Tanzania (US$ 50 p/p), drinks, tips, any activities not stated in the itinerary (e.g. balloon safari US$ 490 pp), and personal expenses. (Single room supplement for the whole tour: R 785.00.)

The itinerary for this tour, fully illustrated with photographs, is available on request.

A second tour, for June 2010, is also up and running, but at a slightly higher rate (June is ‘high-season’ in Tanzania!)

Dates: Saturday, 19th June to Sunday, 27th June 2010.

Cost: R 22,059.00 p/p sharing (exchange rate ZAR 7.82 / US$ 1.00)

These tours will be repeated next year, so if you would like to be on our mailing list for 2011, kindly forward your particulars to:

Click on address to access e-mailEnquiries: summitventures@mweb.co.za

 

ClickWildebeest Wanderings

 

The Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife events. Often referred to as 'The Greatest Show on Earth' the Migration is a movement of approximately 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra throughout the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems, and is a year round event with several highlights. And, yes, if you are in one of the relevant areas at the right time you are sure to see large numbers of Wildebeest, and no, there can be no guarantee that you will see the massed herds crossing the rivers with the stragglers being eaten by crocodiles. Those filmed images often involve the camera crews camping out on the river bank for many days and often weeks in order to have a chance of being in the right place at the right time!

One of the common misconceptions regarding the Migration is that people believe that the animals work to a timetable and will be in the same place at the same time every year. It is all very well to have a diagram that shows where the animals move but, in reality, it is something that it is completely impossible to predict for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the Migration is dependant on rain and the animals move back and forth following the rains, locating the best areas to feed off the new grass whilst also being close to a good water supply.

Secondly, the water supply, be it rain for the new grass or standing water to drink is never in the same place or at the same time and is quite often spread across different areas and will determine the concentrations and size of the herds.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, they are animals and they cannot be predicted! When wildebeest number 1 thinks its best to go to the Western Corridor, half a million may follow him. Number 500001 however may well think it will be best elsewhere and take the remaining numbers with him.

What we are trying to say is that it is no good saying that we know where the animals will be. We know where they should be and, having studied their movements for the last ten years we do know roughly what to expect (although every year they surprise us).

To give you an approximate idea the Wildebeest’s travels may be summarized as follows:

In December to March the migration is in the Ndutu area in the southeast of the Serengeti- the highlight of this period is the calving season in January and February when up to half a million babies may be born.

From April to May the migration moves North into the plains of the central Serengeti ; the size and concentration of the herds will depend on the weather and grazing as above but our Serengeti safari groups have had some wonderful sightings, even as early as end May.

From June to July the herds concentrate into larger groups which then usually split into two main groups, one heading West into the Western Corridor and the other heading straight up to the North of the Serengeti. This period is probably the second busiest of the year, starting with the rutting season in June, when there is much frantic activity, and ending with the crossings of the Grumeti and Mara rivers into the Masai Mara.

From August to October the migration is in the Masai Mara in Kenya where the wildebeest numbers are swollen by the local Kenyan herds from outside the Mara. During this period there are still large groups to be seen and much action to be observed with several river crossings within the Mara itself.

The end of this period is when the herds are most dispersed and their movement back into the Serengeti is governed by the advent of the “short rains” in November. It is often the case that some groups may cross and return several times, dependant as always on the availability of grazing and water - as explained above.


Rove Africa Islands and Safaris... Roving Africa since 1995
Tel: +27 (11) 453 2790 / 454 0318
Fax: +27 (11) 453 2892
E-mail: info@roveafrica.co.za
Website: www.roveafrica.net

 

ClickNgorongoro Highlands Walking Safari 

 

The highlands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are home to some of the world’s most spectacular sights; misty forests and rolling hills, ancient craters and the red blankets of the Maasai people who inhabit this beautiful land. It is possible to trek through this lovely area in five days, ending up at Lake Natron. Prior to setting off on foot, however, we spend a day at Ngorongoro Crater, with a morning’s game drive into the crater itself. 

The trek is suitable for people of many ages and abilities, but minimum age recommended is 10 years. The daily trekking time ranges from 5-7 hours, and trekkers are only required to carry a daypack; donkeys carry the loads from camp to camp.

Accommodation is in walk-in dome tents with frame beds & mattresses. At Acacia Camp we sleep in mountain tents with ridge-rest sleeping pads. Meals are eaten in lighted mess tents with chairs and tables. Toilet tents (with sturdy metal framed proper toilet seats) are used at Empakai and Acacia camps. Shower tents are erected at Empakai Camp but not at Acacia Camp. Our cooks will prepare all the meals, and everyone can expect expertly prepared, delicious food. Bottled mineral water (3 liters per person per day) is provided for each day.

ITINERARY FOR 7 DAYS 6 NIGHTS. (EXTRA DAY FOR OL DOINYO LENGAI CLIMB OPTION).

Day 1: Arusha to Nainokanoka

After an early breakfast leave Arusha at 07h00 for the 3h30 drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and down into the Ngorongoro Crater for a half day game drive. Ngorongoro is the largest unbroken caldera (collapsed volcano) in the world; the crater floor (610 meters deep and 260 km squared) is a haven for wildlife, a microcosm of East African scenery and animals. There are many large animals within the crater itself, mostly zebra and wildebeest, but also lion and elephant. This is undoubtedly the best place to see rhino in Tanzania. Other animals may include: leopard, cheetah, hyena, warthog, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and many other antelope and smaller mammals. There are many flamingos and a variety of other water birds around the soda lake on the crater floor. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Ngoitokitok Springs  or Lerai Forest picnic sites. After lunch drive out of the crater by the northeaster ascent road and on to Nainokanoka village campsite for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Olmoti Crater 

Although not as spectacular as Ngorongoro, the extinct craters of Olmoti and Empakaai to the North-east are worth a visit for their scenic beauty and sense of solitude. Today you will be able to explore Olmoti at your leisure. It is less than an hour’s walk to the crater rim at about 3700 metres, from where eland and bushbuck can be seen grazing the shallow floor of the grassy caldera. Water collects in this natural basin and flows out of the south side as a waterfall, just below the path to the summit. This cascading sheet of water is known as the Munge Stream, named after the Maasai word given to their ceremonial anklets made from the skin of the colobus monkey. The white water falling down the dark escarpment is analogous to the black and white monkey flashing through the high forest branches. With our guide it is possible to walk around the rim and down into the shallow grassy crater. There will be lunch packs available for those who wish to make a day of this, otherwise lunch and an afternoon rest at the camp site is the order of the day. Dinner and overnight at Nainokanoka campsite.

Day 3: Nainokanoka to Bulati

This morning we meet our Maasai porters and their donkeys who will accompany us and carry our luggage for the next few days. Our trek today is across the wide expanse of the Embulbul Depression, a retreat for wildlife from the Ngorongoro Crater and on the Campsite at Bulati Village, 7h30 easy walking with lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight at Bulati campsite.

Day 4: Bulati to Empakaai 

This airy walk takes you from the grassland areas surrounding the Embulbul depression to the beautiful, partly forested slopes and rim of the Empakaai Crater. The walk provides a fine panorama of the lowlands east of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area towards Engaruka. To the north Gelai, Ol Donyo Lengai and Keremasi dominate the skyline. The walk along the crater rim is through beautiful hagenea woods and parklands similar to those on the Chogoria Route of Mt Kenya. Numerous flowers, rich birdlife and spectacular views down to the Crater Lake make this  arguably the most beautiful area in the Ngorongoro. From any point on the crater rim which rises to 3200m, there are beautiful views down onto Lake Empakaai which often takes on an emerald green colour and is home to rich birdlife including many flamingo. The slopes and rim are a botanists paradise. The recent construction of a trail to the crater floor has made the lake accessible to the average walker. It starts at the lowest point on the eastern side of the rim at 2590m and takes you down to the lake floor at about 2200m. The hike around the lake takes approximately 3-4 hours, and the total trek is from 5 to 7 hours. Dinner and Overnight at Empakaai Camp.

Day 5: Empakaai to Acacia 7h30 

Depart camp around 9am. The trek today takes us on a walking path around the edge of Empakai Crater, eventually leading down a ridge looking out over the highlands to the north. The top of Ol Donyo Lengai juts into the sky, its steep slopes piercing the horizon created by the highlands atop the Rift Valley Escarpment wall. Along the path we pass Maasai women walking to the crater rim with donkeys in search of long grass to cut for their cows and for roofing for their bomas (huts). The area is home to the Maasai people, living their traditional pastoralist lifestyle. We walk down into the small village of Nayobi, a center of trading for the local community. Continue on a cattle trail downward into scrub-woodland and groves of yellow barked Acacia (Fever Trees). The private campsite is set under huge acacia trees, with a stunning view of Lengai. Dinner and overnight at Acacia Camp. (Basic and no facilities.)  

Day 6: Acacia to Lake Natron 

After breakfast, we set off early (before 8am), downward still, though more steeply along to the edge of the escarpment wall. The trail turns sharply downward along an ancient trading route to the foot of Lengai. For centuries the Maasai on the lower plains have traded their goods with the Maasai in the highlands. Once we reach the base of the escarpment, our vehicles will meet us and we say “kwaheri” to our porters and the donkeys. Drive to Kamakia Camp close to the Ngare Sero waterfall for late lunch, afternoon at leisure dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Lake Natron  

After breakfast drive to Lake Natron to experience a multitude of pink flamingoes and for time to explore the Lake shore returning to camp for Lunch. After lunch drive to the Ngare Sero Falls where we spend an afternoon swimming or, for the more active, a scramble up the gorge to the top of the falls. Dinner and overnight at Kamakia campsite.

Day 8: Lake Natron to Arusha

Depart after breakfast for the 6 hour drive back to Arusha with a stop en route to explore the ruins at Engaruka. Engaruka is one of Tanzania's most important historic sites. Some 500 years ago, a farming community of several thousand developed an ingenious irrigation and cultivation system. The water that flowed from the Rift escarpment was chanelled into stone-built canals and led to stone-bench terraces. Measures were taken to prevent soil erosion and the fertility of the plots was increased by using the manure of stall fed cattle. For unknown reasons, the farmers left Engaruka around 1700. Now, three centuries later, the ruins still give a good impression of the highly specialised, integrated agricultural economy, very remarkable for that period of African history.Dinner and overnight at Songota Falls Lodge.

Included: Supply vehicle and staff as indicated on the itinerary, meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 8 all park fees (4 in NCA), Crater service fees, campsite fees, village fees, ranger fees, staff park & camp fees, eco-tourism fees, English-speaking Maasai trekking guide(s), services of a ranger for the Empakai Crater walk, services of our cook(s), supply driver/camp hand, Morani donkey handlers, donkeys to carry gear, tents as per itinerary, lighted dining tent, tables and backed chairs, toilet tent(s), shower tent(s), and any other government taxes or levies, Bottled mineral water (9 liters total per person).One night Dinner bed and breakfast at Songota Falls Lodge.

Not included: Emergency transport costs, tips, personal expenses, personal medical kit, travel insurance, sleeping bags and personal trekking gear/clothing.

 

Click on address to access e-mailEnquiries: summitventures@mweb.co.za

 

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