Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Flying into one of the dirt landing strips in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is unforgettable, especially when the great wildebeest migration is there. As the aircraft banks around on it's final descent you can see great long strings of black shapes meandering towards the distant grey rainclouds and the promise of fresh green pasture. These herds, often in single file stretch for miles across the landscape, separating, joining up and then fanning out again like a river delta. There are forested areas, water holes, rounded hills and rocky kopjes amid the great grass plain. In the distance you'll most likely see the high mountains surrounding the famed Ngorongoro Crater. Clouds often cling to the peaks, lending it a mysterious, lost world appearance.

As the plane sinks towards the ground the pilot keeps a sharp lookout for vultures and you peer through the wind shield to try and pick out the runway. It's there. As the aircraft makes one final turn you see it. A tan gravel scar cut in the grass, the same colour as a lion. It seems so short, but the pilot knows what he's doing after a thousand bush strip landings and there's just a slight bump as you touch down you pull up in plenty of time before taxiing back to where your lodges transfer vehicle is waiting for you. Meanwhile in the trees nearby half a dozen giraffes are delicately nibbling at the upper branches and close to where the vehicle are parked there's a family of spotted hyenas lounging around outside their den. They take little notice as you disembark the plane and stride towards your vehicle with a cool breeze tugging at your hair. The air is thin and crisp, you're over five thousand feet above sea level. The empty sky is a milky blue and you've just been deposited on a vast plain filled with wild animals. Every moment here is special.

Flying out of the Serengeti is just as unforgettable. In a few days you've become familiar with the landmarks and the animals who inhabit this special place. Your lodge transfer vehicle does a quick sweep up the runway to make sure that it is clear of wildlife. There's a large male warthog at one end, he erects his tail and trots off into the trees. The only other animals around are the hyena family, still lolling in the dust outside their den. You wait with your driver, then you hear the drone of a distant aircraft. It's yours - a small, dark spot in the distance. It grows in size until it is recognisable. At last it touches down in a cloud of dust, thrown up by the wheels and it trundles over to where you wait. Ten minutes later you're rocketing down the airstrip, praying that an elephant doesn't decide to charge out of the trees. Then you're free of the earth again, above the Serengeti, and still the rivers of wildebeests are flowing slowly towards the distant rain.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Join Me In Kenya & Tanzania In 2012

I've had a great deal of interest in a small group tour of Kenya & Tanzania that I've been working on. The group will consist of only 8 people including myself and my stunning (So she tells me.) wife Jacky.
We will be travelling in our own 4WD vehicle and our own driver/guide. In Kenya we'll be staying in 4 star lodges and hotels. Whilst we're in Northern Tanzania we will also have our own 4WD vehicle and driver/guide.

Here we will be camping in private camp sites in large walk-in ensuite tents which will be set up prior to our arrival by a crew of support staff who will be driving ahead of us in another vehicle carrying the equipment.
Each tent will contain either a double bed or two single beds complete with linen. No sleeping bags and uncomfortable thin foam mattresses on the floor for us thank you very much. All the cooking is done by the camp staff - and you'll be amazed at the quality of food.

In Southern Tanzania we will be staying in 4 star hotels and two of Fox's Safari's most stunning wilderness lodges. These lodges are beautifully located, supremely comfortable, and once again the food is excellent.
At Fox's Safari Lodges we will be treated to two game drives per day. In Kenya we will also be having two game drives per day and the same applies to Northern Tanzania. So as you can see, we'll have plenty of time to get up close and personal with East Africa's amazing wildlife. Both Kenya and Tanzania are scenically stunning too. You are going to love this trip of a lifetime.

So here's the final itinerary.

19 September 2012
Met on arrival and transferred to Southern Sun Mayfair Hotel, Nairobi for 2 nights accommodation.

20 September 2012
At 10am after breakfast we will have a day tour visiting Daphne Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage, The Giraffe Centre, The Karen Blixen Museum including lunch at Carnivore Restaurant.

21 September 2012
After breakfast we depart for Amboseli National Park for 2 nights at the Amboseli Sopa Lodge. Lunch here and then an afternoon game drive.

22 September 2012
Morning and afternoon game drives in Amboseli National Park. Wonderful views of Mount Kilimanjaro. (Weather permitting.)

23 September 2012
After breakfast we drive to central Kenya and stay one night at the Serena Mountain Lodge in the shadow of spectacular Mount Kenya. Here we'll have the afternoon at leisure to view the wildlife as it comes to the waterhole in front of the lodge.

24 September 2012
Today we drive on to Samburu National Reserve for 2 nights at Samburu Sopa Lodge. This scenic reserve has four of the big five (No rhinos.) and some species that are found in very few other places. Gerenuk, grevy's zebra and vulturine guinea fowl to name three. We'll arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive.

25 September 2012
Morning and afternoon game drives in the reserve.

26 September 2012
After breakfast we drive to Lake Nakuru National Park. After lunch we have an afternoon game drive. Here there are many animals in a small, very scenic area. Great game viewing. We overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge.

27 September 2012
Today we depart for the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve with lunch being served en-route. We arrive in the early evening and will stay for 2 nights at Mara Ashnil Lodge. (See link below.)

28 September
Morning and afternoon game viewing. We will be seeking the vast herds of wildebeest and zebra that are present in the reserve at this time of year. An awesome and moving spectacle.

29 September
Transfer to the airstrip after breakfast. Today we fly to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania via Wilson Airport in Nairobi. We arrive early in the afternoon and will be transferred to the town of Arusha. (About an hour.) We'll spend the night in the very comfortable Arusha Hotel.

30 September
Nice relaxed morning, and then after lunch we drive to Lake Manyara and enjoy a short game drive in Tarangire National Park. We camp at a private campsite at Lake Manyara.

01 October
After breakfast we have a game drive in lake Manyara National Park where we will seek the famous tree climbing lions. other inhabitants include hippos, monkeys, flamingos and a wide variety of other birds and mammals.

02 October
Today we drive to the Serengeti, eating lunch en-route. This is one big game drive. We camp once again in a private campsite.

03 October/04 Oc tober
Two full days of the most amazing game viewing on the planet in spectacular surrounds. Both nights are spent in a private campsite. The Serengeti is a real highlight.

05 October
Drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area via Olduvai Gorge - the sight of some of the earliest discoveries of the remains of man's ancestors. This is a truly fascinating experience. We the continue to the Conservation Area for dinner. Again we camp in a private campsite. This time near the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.

06 October
We descend 2000 feet to the crater floor for a half day tour. We'll explore the forests and lakes and search the open savanna area for predators. You will love the crater. we'll have a picnic lunch within the crater itself before returning to our private campsite for the night.

07 October
Today we return to Arusha where will will have lunch at the Impala hotel before being transferred to Kilimanjaro airport for our flight to Dar Es Salaam. In Dar Es Salaam we will be transferred to The Southern Sun Hotel for one night's accommodation.

08 October
Today you can choose to partake of your own further travel arrangements, you may fly back to your home city or you can join those of us who have chosen to explore Southern Tanzania. Those guests who choose to accompany me will be transferred to Dar Es Salaam airport. From here we will fly by light aircraft to Ruaha National Park. This is a scenic wilderness wonderland of wildlife experiences. We will stay for 4 nights at the amazing River Lodge. This will be our base while we explore the National Park with morning and afternoon games drives. Relax during your down time in front of your own personal hippo pool.
This is a special place indeed. Check out this link.

12 October
Transfer to the airstrip for the short flight to Selous Game Reserve for the last three nights of our trip together. I'll let this link speak for itself.

15 October
Transfer to the airstrip for the flight back to Dar Es Salaam. Once again, everyone can either extend their trip or fly home from here. It's all over. Wow! What a fabulous experience.

Now then. What does all this cost?
If you invest in the entire trip - that's all 26 nights the cost is $10,680 per person twin share.
Or, you can partake in the first 18 nights only for $6840 per person twin share. In which case your final arrangement would be the transfer to Kilimanjaro airport on 07 October.

Almost all meals are included in the above price. 18 or 26 nights accommodation, all required transfers and internal flights. Professional guides are with us the whole except when we're flying obviously, and I will be there to iron out any wrinkles. (No, that doesn't mean I'm going to do your ironing for you.)

Not included are international flights from Australia, travel insurance and visas. Kenya visas are best obtained on arrival, but Tanzania visas must be obtained before departure from Australia. There are a few ways to get to East Africa. Fares for 2012 are not available yet, but I don't expect them to be much different from this year. I recommend Emirates as the best way to go. This September their economy class return fare to Nairobi/Dar Es Salaam is $2589. The other other alternatives such as Qantas/South African Airlines via Johannesburg or a combination of Thai Airways and Kenya Airlines through Bangkok.

Malaria tablets should be considered. Speak to your GP about that. Yellow Fever inoculations are compulsory, as is travel insurance.

To make further enquiries or to book please call Ucango Travel on 1300 822 646. Or, better still call me - Peter Emery direct on 0449 689 447. Remember. There are only 6 spots available.

To sum up, this is the chance of a lifetime to visit these famous wilderness areas and to do so in comfort.
It is a must for lovers of wildlife and wild vistas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Safari Side Trip

Oh Boy! I'm so excited I have to walk around with my legs crossed. Not easy, you try it. Why are you so excited Peter? I hear you ask. Well, in October Jacky and I are taking a little side trip from Dubai to Kenya on the way home from Britain. It's easy enough to do, and not outrageously expensive. Less than AU$700 return per person. So, if you're on the way to Europe, or on the way back from Europe with Emirates, why not zip across to Nairobi instead of staying in Dubai. There are lots of wonderful adventures to be had there. Even if you only have 5 days to spare you can reach the Masai Mara in half a day's drive or an hour's flight. Plenty of time for a really good safari, and there are so many options, from budget camping to the most amazing five star lodges you can possible imagine. Of course you'll be going there for the wildlife. Time it right and you'll see the massed herds of wildebeest and zebras that migrate there every year from the Serengeti. If you're really super duper fortunate you might even get to see them as they cross the Mara River. I warn you though, this is not for the faint hearted.

If you only have a couple of days to spare you could instead visit Lake Nakuru which is even closer to Nairobi. I love Lake Nakuru. It has loads of wildlife crammed into quite a small area. You can't help but see some of the best fauna that Kenya has to offer. It's very scenic too, steep sided hills rolling down to a soda lake more often than not teeming with flamingos and pelicans. Here too there is a wide variety of accommodation. It is very easy to combine the two, both the Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru. If you have five nights, spend three in the Mara and two at the Lake.

Jacky and I will be heading north to Samburu National Reserve. This is probably my favourite reserve in Kenya. It's scenically stunning, has four of the "Big Five" (Rhino's are absent due to poaching unfortunately.), and also has some unusual species of animal that are seen in very few other places. The gerenuk, the grevy's zebra and the vulturine guinea fowl to name three. But, what's making me even more excited is that we are having a private safari. Just the two of us and our driver guide. This means that we don't have to stick to a set itinerary and if we want to stick around to watch animals in a certain situation we can do so without upsetting other passengers who might get bored, or want to do something else. We're looking forward to five wonderful days of animal and bird observation - pure bliss. We'll be staying at the Sopa Serena Lodge - a good quality three star lodge with thirty rooms.

The only down side of a visit to Samburu is that it can take six hours to drive there on somewhat indifferent roads. It's a scenic drive however as the road threads between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains and there's always plenty of other things to see besides. If you don't like the sound of six hours on dodgy roads you can always fly or stop half way in one or both directions. I can thoroughly recommend a night at Sweetwaters Tented Camp near the town of Nanyuki or perhaps The Serena Mountain Lodge which is tucked under Mount Kenya itself. We'll be staying at The Serena on the way back to Nairobi where there's always the chance of interesting wildlife sightings at the waterhole. We can do all this and still be back in Nairobi in time to catch our Emirates flight back to Dubai without having to spend another night there. It's brilliant.

So next time you decide to fly to Europe with Emirates, consider a side trip to Kenya instead of spending so much time in Dubai flitting from one air-conditioned building to another to avoid the 45 degree heat, or in my case avoiding the shopping malls. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Life Changing Experience

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog called "The Wildlife Adventure of a Lifetime". Since then I've had a lot of interest in the East African part of the trip, and very little in the Southern Africa part. I'm here to please, so here is what I suggest.

My gorgeous wife Jacky and I will accompany six guests on the following itinerary. We will fly from Australia with Emirates via Dubai to Nairobi in October 2012. We'll spend two nights here and visit the wonderful Giraffe Centre and the Karen Blixen Museum. Lunch at the famous Carnivore restaurant is also on the cards. Then we'll hit the road in our own comfortable 4WD vehicle with our own professional driver/guide for some serious game viewing. We'll visit Samburu National Reserve, The Ark in the Aberdare mountains, Lake Nakuru, The Masai Mara to witness the great herds of the migration and Amboseli in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. For this part of the adventure we will stay in comfortable 4 star lodges.

Then it's back to Nairobi for a flight to Arusha/Kilimanjaro. We'll spend one night at the Arusha Hotel before departing on our luxury ensuite camping adventure, again in our own 4WD vehicle and again with our own professional driver guide. He'll take us to Lake Manyara to see the famous tree climbing lions, the stunning Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge - The Cradle of Mankind and the unique Serengeti. On this part of the journey we will be followed by a service vehicle and staff who will set up camp in private camp sites and who will cook our meals for us. Each tent has either a proper double bed a single bed or two singles. There is also an ensuite shower and toilet.

Finally we'll fly from Arusha to Dar Es Salaam where we will spend one night before setting off on an incredible 6 night adventure with Foxes Safaris. Firstly we fly by light aircraft to remote Katavi National Park. After two nights there it's onto Ruaha National Park and then finally 2 nights at Selous - a very special wildlife wonderland. Southern Tanzania is less developed and wilder than the north. There are fewer tourists and Foxes Safari Lodges are superbly located, have excellent guides and great food. You'll love every moment. After Selous it's back to Dar Es Salaam and the end of the trip - unless of course you'd like to extend for a few days to unwind on the white beaches of Zanzibar.

If you find this blog interesting and want to learn more please call Ucango Travel on 1300 822 646 and ask for me - Peter Emery, or simply email me direct at This is a unique opportunity and a life changing experience.  Join me.