Monday, September 18, 2017

Active East Africa



Albatros East Africa has noticed an increase in clients wishing to get out of the vehicle and do something more active on their safaris. There are many short excursions that can be done on a safari such as visiting a school, a cultural village walk, as well as many properties providing their own activities such as horseback rides, bicycle trips and bush walks. Here are some activities for those looking for something a little more strenuous and adventurous than just a short excursion.

KENYA

Walking Safaris: In Laikipia there are many options and varying terrain for a walking safari. There are treks that last from 2 to 8 days which will take your clients across the Laikipia Plateau teeming with game, along rivers and onto rocky pinnacles and into the forests along the various hillsides. In the Mara, there are also spectacular walks into the Loita Hills, with beautiful forests, streams, open savanna and cultural encounters with the Maasai. Again 3 to 8 day safaris can be arranged. Have a look at itinerary KL12, which combines these two areas.

Horse Riding Safaris: There are many places that offer half day riding trips, but come and experience a 5 to 10 day riding safari, for a true adventure. There are a number of ways of doing this, such riding from one luxury lodge to the next with a day in each place to explore the surrounding, the best place for this would be in Laikipia. Another option is to gallop with the herds of migrating wildebeest in the Masai Mara. Here your camp will move with you as you explore this area teeming with game. Galloping with wildebeest, zebra and giraffe is a life-changing experience.

Rhino Tracking: This is a unique opportunity to join the game rangers and a guide on a walking safari to track the endangered black rhino in the area. Not only is it a uniquely thrilling adventure, but it also allows guests to actively contribute to the protection of this species. The two places that do this best is at Saruni Rhino on Sera Community Conservancy and Borana lodge on the Borana Conservancy.



Fly Fishing on Mount Kenya: There are many great fishing experiences in East Africa, from the giant Nile Perch in Lake Victoria, to the powerful bill fish in the Indian Ocean, to Tiger fish in the Rufiji River. However, when you talk of the equator, trout fishing doesn’t seem to belong in the same sentence. Yet, despite being less than a degree from the center of the Earth’s circumference, the glacial catchment of this extinct volcano delivers a constant flow of cool water in which both the brown and rainbow species thrive. The Ragati river was originally stocked with rainbow trout in the 1930’s and they have changed considerably over time. They call them the Ragati Reds. They have also carried out regular stocking for the past 2 years and it is quickly becoming one of the best trout fishing destinations in East Africa. Over 8km of pristine and wild river to fish! We are also excited with the completion of their 4-bedroom log cabin in the forest, that is a stone’s throw away from the river. An idyllic place to spend a few days.

Wild Dog Tracking in Laikipia: Another truly unique experience to be found at Laikipia Wilderness Camp. They are lucky to have the fastest-growing population of wild dogs in Africa here in Laikipia. Going out tracking for these engaging animals by vehicle, and on occasion by foot, is a truly special experience and visitors can end up with some of the best wild dog sightings ever. Laikipia Wilderness camp is lucky in that although the territories of the wild dogs are huge, there are 2 packs within a relatively small area near where their camp is located.

White Water Rafting: Yes, we have all heard of the grade 5 rapids of the Zambezi and the Nile, and yes, they are truly amazing and adrenaline-fueled experiences. Here in Kenya we also have our 1 day adrenaline-fueled rafting experience on the Tana River. Or why not venture on a 3 to 4 day adventure down the Athi River that borders Tsavo National Park, perfect for viewing elephants, giraffe, plains game as well as crocodile and hippo. The bird life is also fantastic and rafters will traverse rapids between grade 2 to 4. Spend the evening in a camp located on the sand banks of the river. Another active adventure not to be missed.

Mount Kenya Climbs: Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa. Although long overshadowed by Kilimanjaro, trekkers are starting to take notice of this beautiful glacial peak. It is an ancient dormant volcano whose flanks have been shaped and molded to dramatic effect by glaciation. On your climb you will pass through dense bamboo and rain forest on its lower slopes, and rare Afro-Alpine moorland and plant life at higher elevations. Trekkers do need to be fit to climb Mt Kenya and altitude is also a factor, it is however a very scenic and rewarding climb.

TANZANIA

Walking Safaris: There are a number of walking options available in Tanzania, especially in the Selous and Ruaha, where your clients can walk among big game. Few people realize you can also walk in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania, where you will see dramatic scenery, have cultural interactions with the Maasai, and have great wildlife experiences. The walk takes your clients from Ngorongoro Crater, past Empakai Crater and then down the escarpment to the shores of Lake Natron, with an optional ascent of the active Volcano of Oldonyo Lengai. Have a look at itinerary T13.

Bicycle Safari: Kilimanjaro to Natron: For those interested to covering the ground quicker than on foot, consider taking a trip on a mountain bike. Albatros has designed a trip that takes your clients around Mt Kilimanjaro to Mt Meru, then traverses the savannah plains to Mt Longido with a final descent to Lake Natron. The trip takes 8 days and can be combined with a 4 day cycle trip of Zanzibar.



Quad Biking Safaris: From Arusha or Karatu, visitors can take full day rides on these 4-wheel drive bikes. From Arusha, your clients can explore the foothills of Mt Meru or the coffee farms in the surrounding area. From Karatu, Albatros' favorite trip is to Lake Eyasi and enjoy an experience with the Hadzabe, a hunter gatherer tribe, followed by lunch on the shores of Lake Eyasi, before returning to Karatu.



Lake Shore Lodge: On the crystal waters of Lake Tanganyika lies a hidden gem. Lake Shore Lodge is owner run and has many activities on offer. Visitors can take a trip to the Mahale Mountains on their dhow, camping on route, before arriving at Mahale to trek for chimps. There is also amazing diving and snorkeling from the lodge, and for those who really want to explore the lake, they can get into a kayak and set off on an adventure, camping on remote beaches along the way.


Hadzabe Tribe: The Hadzabe are the last hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, survivors of the Stone Age, who still live in the Eyasi basin, scattered along the Eastern side of the lake. The Hadzabe speak a click-language, vaguely like the bushmen of southern Africa but not closely resembling any other known language. They have a simple way of life that is well integrated with their environment; gathering roots, tubers, wild fruits and honey, and hunting game with their bows and arrows. Visitors have the privileged opportunity to meet with the Wahadzabe tribe and observe and learn at hunting and gathering techniques that have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years. Learn to hunt with a bow and arrow and start a fire or join the women gathering roots, tubers and wild fruit and preparing food. Exploring a way of life vastly different to our own is an unforgettable experience.

Chimp Trekking: Gombe and Mahale offer outstanding chimp trekking in Tanzania. Chimp trekking is quite unlike any of the more traditional forms of safari. Here guests are on their feet throughout and in awe-inspiring forest that bares no resemblance to anything they have encountered elsewhere in the country. When trekkers find the chimps, they are often in close proximity to them (sometimes they pass within a few feet) and because they’re habituated, they more or less ignore humans. The steady climb through the quiet of the forest to find them leaves time for the mind to wander and idly contemplate the streams, waterfalls and massive forest trees. Occasionally the canopy parts and Lake Tanganyika, turquoise, cool and alluring, is visible several thousand feet below. See itinerary T15.

Diving off Pemba: There are many great places to dive along the East African coast, but an Albatros favorite is off Pemba Island, north of Zanzibar. There are many reasons for this, one of them being that the diving is world class, but another important reason is due to the fact that there are fewer people that dive here as there are very few properties on the island. Albatros' preferred place to stay and dive from is The Manta Resort. There are only 16 rooms at the property with one of the most pristine and private beaches on the island. There is a Marine Reserve just in front of the property and for those looking for something unique, you should spend a night in the underwater room. Have a look at itinerary T12 that incorporates this property.

Kilimanjaro Climbs: It's the highest mountain in Africa, and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It has five distinct ecological zones, making it one of the most beautiful and varied peaks on Earth. And of course, it is one of the seven most sought-after peaks on each continent. Kilimanjaro probably needs no introduction. It is however a very special climb and Albatros offers weekly set departures (see itinerary T16), or for those looking for a private climb, then please feel free to request a custom quote.

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