Highlights of the season 2007
Well once again the year has left us gasping and wondering where it went! One looks at the bookings at the beginning of each year and thinks ‘well December is ages away and so many safaris away — so much can happen between now and then.’ And indeed so much does happen, and so fast.
Safaris are finished for the year. The rest of November will be spent chatting to old travellers and potential new travelers. Then off to the beach for December – fishing, diving and more fishing. January will be spent in the USA as usual doing the rounds visiting people who are interested in safaris. And finally …. safaris start again next February.
Janelle has been dealing with enquiries coming off the website so some of you know her through the countless e-mails that are needed to build up your safaris. We are currently working with our web designer to build the website into the most comprehensive site for all who love to travel to Africa. It is going to be filled with tons of interesting information including book reviews, blog site, chatroom, on-line albums, articles and you tube postings. There will also be links to many useful sites to help you prepare for your safaris and just to keep up to date on whats going on. For example we will have a link to camera suppliers complete with a wishlist of what we recommend you bring. You will be able to click onto local conservation organizations that are working hard to keep the wild places wild. This is really exciting for us and we hope that it will generate even more business!
The safaris this year were all successful. Perhaps the most exciting moment was when we were standing on a hill with the Dingus family and the world started to shake – literally. We stood in awe looking at each other as it continued for a minute or two. As the shaking stopped, Bill immediately reached for a satellite phone and called a friend in Houston with orders to find out what had just happened in Northern Tanzania. Ten minutes later his call was returned and we were told the epicenter was x kilometers north of Arusha, y kilometers below the earth’s surface and it had measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. So down the hill we rushed back to camp and a map. We found that the great shaking was indeed coming out of Oldonyo Lengai just north of where we were. The wonders of modern technology.
There were several more earthquakes in the next few days and the volcano has continued to smoke and belch spectacularly ever since. We fly over it regularly in our Northern Air Charters and I have managed to get quite a good selection of photos.
We also got some rain … finally! With the Thiers we somehow became very stuck in the Ngorongoro Crater. Evening approached and as a huge black storm cloud towered over us it became apparent that we were not going to be able to get the vehicle out. Finally a Wildlife Department Landrover happened along. After another hour of pushing and pulling and cajoling we abandoned our vehicle and the rangers very kindly gave us a lift out of the crater floor in the back of their open landrover in the pouring rain. By the time we reached the top our Arusha office had arranged for a vehicle from Ngorongoro Crater Lodge to come and collect us. We trundled wet and cold into the amazing luxury of Crater Lodge and great hospitality of Francis and his staff. That night six safari vehicles without access to the kind of backup support that we have slept down in the crater! Thank you to the Thiers who took this little adventure so in their stride!
As usual the forests, chimpanzees and clear waters of Lake Tanganyika continue to be a favourite. We used the second camp in Mahale this year with the Duncan family and it worked out really well. So it is good to know that we have two camps to use in this fantastic location. The fishing was good and the sushi was better. The chimps were healthy and the photos came out well.
Griff and Lisa’s honeymoon was another highlight providing us all with some magical photos in the old car on the Sabora plains. Lisa’s grasp of the Swahili language was, I’m sure Griff will agree, phenomenal.
Ker & Downey\s own concessions once again made the most special part of many trips. We used our Monduli concession in Northern Maasailand this year and it proved particularly good for walking. The wildlife is unusual and one often sees gerenuk, oryx, and lesser kudu. Maswa Game Reserve is great wild country and Ugalla was again good for walking and seeing Roan and Sable antelope. There are not many safari destinations where you can stalk up on these two species to get better pictures.
So once again thank you all for coming on safari and making the year so spectacular. I will be seeing some of you in January in the USA. And now of to the beach for three glorious weeks.
Below are a few photos from some of the year’s safaris. Pls click on images to view enlargements: