Thursday, May 15, 2014

What is a Safari?

Depending on your upbringing, the word "Safari" will bring up a number of different images.  For Swahili speakers, the world simply means "journey".  Here in Tanzania, when you meet someone how has been travelling, you greet them with a friendly "Habari za safari?" (How was your trip?).   So the word is a much broader term than just the typical wildlife watching journey that it is famous for.

 Safaris have come a long way in the last hundred years.  In times of old, it was big trophy hunters that sparked the industry.  Typically well off "Men's men", taking to the bush for weeks at a time, in pursuit of the Big Five were the customers.   The hunting industry still exists in Tanzania, but has taken a back seat to the more earth-loving Photographic WildlifeSafari.  These days the country has a multitude of products and services ready to get you safely and comfortably into the best wildlife viewing areas in the world.

Certain standards have arisen in the industry, creating strong and dependable products that are easily recognized.  The ultimate example of this is the Safari Vehicle.  While alternatives exist, the custom extended pop-top 4 x 4 Land Cruiser is the industry standard that makes up over 90% of safari touring vehicles.  These strong, dependable cars can carry up to 8 passengers and take them to the most remote locations in the country.  For comfort's sake, 6 passengers allow for a more comfortable ride with plenty of moving around space for the photographers inside.

The "Tented Camp" is another product that has popped up to serve the throngs of wildlife enthusiasts that enter the wild areas of East Africa armed with only a camera and sunscreen.  These camps are, of course, of varying quality but the design does not differ much from camp to camp.  Large tents, the smallest being 4mx6m and sometimes as large as 12m x 12m, act as hotel-room like cabins dotted around a secluded location.  Most have their own flushing toilets, showers and real hotel quality beds.  Outside, they are a dull brown or green canvas, concealing the luxury within.  The insides of the more luxurious tented camps are not unlike boutique hotels, missing perhaps only a television and telephone.  Nighttime at the tented camps bring your senses back to reality.  With no visual stimuli, the sounds of wilderness literally surround you.... a passing herd of buffalo, snorting at the ground; a male lion, roaring in the distance; a young giraffe munching on a nearby acacia tree.  The wind moves the canvas walls at night, reminding you of the thin cloth separating you from some of the largest and most remarkable creatures that before your safari, you only saw in National Geographic.

A wildlife Safari in Africa is on bucket lists around the world.  It is a highly specialized tour unlike any other.  Even well-seasoned travelers find themselves dumb founded in the planning of a safari with a multitude of options available and even more "unknowns".  Wildlife, no matter how much you try, will never fit your intended schedule.  Safaris are one of the few tourism activities where the challenge and the charm are the same thing.  If you want to go out and really experience nature, you may just bump up against your own human nature - it can be quite an awakening to realize  that you have no control over your environment.  If you are not ready for that, maybe the Discovery Channel will have to do for now.  If you are, get in touch with a professional and get ready for an experience of a lifetime.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Big Easter Savings Resident Safari

  Safari Care Introduces.......
Four Day Camping Safari - 
Easter Weekend Resident Special - 
only $140 per person per day.

Visit Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi with the Hadzabe Tribe and Ngorongoro Crater

April 18th - 21st (Friday through Monday)

Safari Care prides itself on offering the very best products and services to its clients.  From our driver guides to our vehicles, we have ensured that each and every aspect of your safari is top-notch.  Our vehicles are 4x4 Land Cruisers with pop-up roofs kept in good condition.  

We typically focus on customized, luxury safaris but as a low season special we have made an exception and are offering our spectacular product at a highly discounted rate.  This will be a shared camping safari, anyone is welcome.

To get the resident rate, one should be carrying his/her passport and residence permit to show at the entrance to the national parks.
The rate for non-residents is $155 per person per day.  
The rate for Tanzania Citizens is $110 per person per day.

Contact us at +255 759 314 748 or for more information
Book early to ensure a seat!

Easter Weekend Four Day Camping Safari Special

April 18, 2014 - Meet at Shoprite at 8:00am. Start the Journey to Tarangire National Park. Game drive in Tarangire, have a picnic lunch, in the evening make your way to camp in Mto wa Mbu.
April 19, 2014 - Make the sort drive to Lake Manyara for a full day game drive. Late afternoon you will leave the park to go make camp at Lake Eyasi.
April 20, 2014 - Spend the day Hunting and Hanging with the Hadzabe Bushman Tribe. Leave late afternoon for camping.
April 21, 2014 - Spend the day in Ngorongoro Crater, the eighth wonder of the world. Leave in the late afternoon to make your way back to Arusha.
WhenFri, April 11, 08:00 – Mon, April 14, 18:00 GMT+03:00
WhereTarangire, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater
Safari Care

Price includes:
- full board during safari
- 1.5 Litres of bottled water per person per day
- Professional Driver Guide and Cook
- Camping Fees, Park Fees and Taxes
- Camping equipment including tents, mattresses, pillows and sleeping bags

Price does not include: 
- Gratuities

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Safaris - 5 Big Reasons Why You Should Choose to Pay More

Luxury Safari Bed
Slightly more comfortable than a fly tent...
When you first get a quote for a wildlife safari, you will typically choose whether you prefer a budget, camping safari or a safari which includes permanent tented camps and lodges.  At first, I always went for the budget safaris.  It seemed to make more sense.  If my goal is to view wildlife, I should put my money into viewing wildlife, not into where I was sleeping.  For the price of a five day "mid-range" safari, I could go "budget camping" for nine or ten days!  I did six safaris that way and always thought it best.  After all, we all see the same animals.  The safari cars are pretty much all the same (as long as it is a reputable company). I used to even feel proud when watching the other tourists, thinking, "Hah! We are both getting the same pictures and I paid half as much for the experience than you did!"
Now, of course there is a time in one's life that comfort and luxury are valued over adventure, but at the ripe old age of 34, I still love to rough it.  I just don't think that wildlife safaris is the time to do it.  Here's why:
1. Surroundings
Permanent/Mobile Tented Camps and Lodges are premium sights for wildlife viewing.  The sights are even called "special" by the National Parks Association.  They are chosen by the companies that run them for their beautiful surroundings, excellent views and proximity to wildlife.  The public campsites where the budget campers go are chosen for their ease of accessibility - good roads, access to water, close to the park headquarters, etc.
2. Safety
Safety in the public campsites when there are animals crossing through is in the form of staying quiet in your tent and hoping the buffalo don't trample you (something that happened to my co-campers on my last budget safari) or running to the mess hall.  Private camps or lodges make you feel so much more comfortable.  When you do have an opportunity to see animals after your game drives, it is from a well placed restaurant or tent on stilts (you can actually watch animals walk UNDER your tent!  I'm not saying that many people get hurt on budget safaris, I'm just pointing out that the psychological comfort of feeling safe can enhance the entire experience.
3. Viewing Time
As I mentioned, the private camps are located in the more prime locations.  Therefore, when you leave accommodations, your wildlife viewing begins immediately. Coming from a public campsite typically ads 25-100km of transfer time (distance) each day to get to the game drives area.  These times (early morning and dusk) can be the best viewing times, especially for watching predators because they tend to relax mid-day
4. A Good Night's Rest
Refreshing your body refreshes your mind.  Eye candy is not as delicious when you are distracted by that knot in your shoulder from sleeping on a camping mattress.  Even the lower end private camps ensure comfortable beds and hot showers.  I find that when I know I will sleep comfortably that evening, I am able to relax and enjoy my game viewing more.  Even my pictures are better, as I am more patient and focused when I feel like I am on vacation.
5. Your Guide
This, for me, is the make or break element of any safari.  A clever, well rested and happy guide will be more willing to (literally) go the extra mile to get you the best sights.  Guides have a simpler accommodation at the private camps and lodges than the guests, but it still beats public camping for them.  Without the stress of making camp on their mind, they can relax and enjoy themselves.  Their evenings will be spent socializing with other guides and the lodge staff who will have invaluable information about recent sights, where the herds / prides are, and in which direction to start off tomorrow.
Most people go on an African wildlife safari once in their lives.  I am lucky enough to go a few times a year.  If you only go once, make it count and bring back the best memories possible.
I saw an episode of "Orange is the New Black" last night where a sarcastic, no-nonsense woman described "adventure" as "hardship with an inflated sense of self".  A bit nihilistic for my taste, but the statement is not without its sharpened point.  A little less "adventure" can make the whole experience, including your pictures and memories much better.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Visit Ngorongoro Crater for a One-Day, Wildlife-Packed Safari

Ngorongoro Crater --Low Season Day Trip--
           With Safari Care Ltd.

Call or Email for dates of our next departure
PRICE : $280 per person

WHO: Safari Care, you, and 2-4 others
WHAT: A one day safari to the famous Ngorongoro Crater, A UNESCO heritage site
WHEN: Nov. 26th - 6:30am - evening
WHERE: Pickup and drop off in Arusha, Shoprite Complex. The safari vehicle will be a 4 x 4 Land Cruiser with a pop up roof for optimal viewing
WHY: Because you are in Tanzania, and you may as well enjoy what the country has to offer at the very best value available.
HOW: Come by our office near shoprite, email us ( or 
call (+255) 0754 314748
Safari Care Ltd, a locally owned and operated tour operator, is committed to creating quality wildlife viewing experiences for tourists and residents alike.
Terms and Conditions apply. Please email for additional information.

Visit our website:
Visit our  FACEBOOK PAGE  -  TWITTER ACCOUNT  to keep up to date!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Great Migration

Sometimes I wonder if "The Great Migration" refers to the animals (wildebeest and their entourage) or the people coming to see them.  Granted, the people aren't really migrating, per se, as they are just coming for a one off vacation and then going back. However a great number of them (including myself) seem to get the idea of Tanzania stuck somewhere in the brain - then, over time, the craving grows and refuses to relieve itself until another ticket is booked.

Not only do a number of visitors, Mount Kilimanjaro Climbers, Serengeti Safari goers and volunteers come back to Tanzania again and again, some of us get stuck here permanently!  So what is it about Tanzania that calls people back again and again?  Well, there's the obvious tourism - combined tours including Wildlife Safaris, Mountain Climbing and the Island of Zanzibar are a richness that most countries can't even approach.  Then there's the volunteers.  The young, wide-eyed optimists that are ready to kick ass and change the world any way they can.  Tanzania is rich in resources and poor in everything else.  Its a no-brainer for people who want to volunteer their time and skills in a developing country that this is an appropriate venue for their efforts. There is something else though....

If you believe in all of the scientific history of the world, try wrapping your mind around one fairly recent discovery.  Humanoid remains in Ngorongoro Conservation Area date back 3 million years.  Not only the beginnings of our species, but the beginnings of human migration - from what we know from DNA evidence, Adam and Eve were born in East Africa.

So the Great Migration of humans started here, which seems to fits with the funny feeling some foreigners get of "coming home" when they visit for the first time.  There is something peaceful in the idea.  Of course science still continues to make discoveries to explain our migration and maybe one day we will figure out that we actually came from another planet called "Eden".  For now, I sit in wonder in the cradle of humanity and feel good about selling safaris to travelers coming to do the same.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Elephant Walk 2013

Who would walk for 30 days from Arusha to Dar?  People who are concerned about the poaching of elephants in Tanzania, that's who.  Today the "Elephant Walk 2013" started in Arusha, parade style, with masses of citizens, officials, students, soldiers, volunteers and tourism stakeholders carrying the message that the destruction of our elephants (estimated at one death every 15 minutes!) is the destruction of our livelihoods and ultimately our country.

Life in downtown Arusha ground to a halt today while hoards of elephant fans marched down Sokoine Rd. in hopes of bringing awareness to this serious issue.  The question on my mind is: What will come out of this jumbo-sized effort?  Let's hope it leads to some real change where it matters: in the bush.  With the lucrative trade of ivory, poachers seem to be willing to risk death to get their product.  How do you convince people who are that serious about their trade to stop?

From an economics perspective, reducing the demand will reduce the supply, if there is not a big cash prize at the end, no one would be in the business.  So, is it easier to convince humans to stop coveting rare and historically treasured commodities? Or to govern the Tanzanian parks?  I'd say the challenge is about equal.

My respect to those who are trying.
Elephant Safari