Lioness Fighting.

Drama with the Lioness.
Katavi National Park.
We were having high tea - as one does on Safari - when Jairo, our Chada Katavi guide rushes to say we should get going because the camp manager Hamza has spotted a few lioness in a tense mood. We hopped in our Safari vehicle thinking we were going to see a hunt - topis were close by and on edge - instead, what we saw was Nat Geo worthy. A fight between a single lioness, who we believe was trying to hide her cubs and walked away from the den and two lionesses from the Chada pride who were trying to protect their territory.

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What we witnessed was dramatic! I was nervous because I was not prepared to see a fatality. The single lioness showed all the signs of submission - she was yawning, licking, lying really low - nothing helped. It all transpired in less than a minute and a half. Enjoy the sequence. 

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And done. The Chada pride's territory was marked with lots of rubbing the bushes and a pee here and there. They two Chada lionesses walked away after a few minutes into the bushes - we had sundowners with them. 

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One of the Chada lionesses may have bitten the mama lioness hard - see some red around her teeth - but I think everyone left intact. 

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You never know what you will see on Safari.
These are my Safari Stories from my Epic Tanzanian Safari to Katavi National Park, Mahale Mountains, and Ruaha National Park. 

Can't Thank You Enough.

When I first talked to Ravi, he said he wanted to take his Phase One Camera to Tanzania. Now I know a thing or two about how awesome Phase One cameras are because of uber photographer and my dear friend Andy Biggs. 

Keeping his photography passion in mind, the Safari had to be private all the way so that he would have one guide and one vehicle the whole time. Ravi was also keen on seeing the wildebeest migration; I suggested we make a pit stop in Central Serengeti at Kiota Camp before he carry-on to North Serengeti and Serengeti Safari Camp. Northern Serengeti was a must for their August Safari because that is when the migration is in that area

Ravi captures Tanzania beautifully. I think he will be back.

Serengeti Elephants
Leopard Tarangire

" Absolutely the finest vacation we have taken in our lives! Mefi was outstanding with her service to make our trip most enjoyable and memorable. She was responsive to us during the planning stages leading up to our trip and was always available to answer any questions we had. Given this was our very first safari trip, we didn't know what to expect when we set out to think about all this and Mefi made it very simple and practical."

wildebeest
elephants
leopard_kopjes

"The lodges she picked for us were excellent! The service in these camps were simply outstanding. The folks in each of the places were caring and helpful.

The guide we had for our 11-day trip Rowland was an experienced guide with a ton of patience. He was equally passionate about the trip each day and helped us experience the ultimate safari.

Highly recommend Journey to Africa and Mefi! Thanks Mefi!"
- Ravi and Jayanthi R.

giraffe
wildebeest sunset

It was such a pleasure working with Ravi and Jayanthi on their Safari. Jayanthi was going along with her husband but I do believe she enjoyed it just as much. Woot! And Ravi, amazing photos. Asante for sharing them. 
You ready for your ultimate Safari? Ask for details. 

'Can't wait to plan round two."

When Talia emailed us via our form Start your Journey, she mentioned she heard about us "Through a friend, who had posted recent pictures and tagged Journey to Africa".  I asked which friend? Aarthi and Prabath B. I love the #JourneyToAfricaSafariCommunity we have created. Referrals and repeats are our jam - I am grateful.

Talia and Vernon were heading to South Africa and wanted to add Tanzania as well. We spent a lot of time planning their first-anniversary Safari. We found the right dates of May/June so we could still enjoy all the luxury lodges but take advantage of some of the low season rates May offers. Mission accomplished. They stayed on the rim in beautiful Entamanu Ngorongoro and lovely Serengeti Safari Camp.  

Talia and Vernon shared their amazing Safari Stories and photographs with me over coffee in Houston.  Here are some - had a hard time narrowing them down - for you to enjoy.

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A cerval cat - not a very common sighting on Safari. 

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giraffe and mama

An older baby hyena still feeding from it's mother. Another not so common sighting.

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A baby elephant with other elephants in mourning.
They said they were driving when they heard elephants trumpeting. They thought it was a gathering but on getting closer, they realized there was a dead elephant on the ground and the other elephants were actually mourning. Sad sight to see. 

mourning baby elephant

Still one of my favorite birds and so glad they got to see this on Safari.

lilac breasted roller

Some amazing big cat photographs.
For the curious, before they went on Safari, we talked about photography. They wanted to buy a camera and lens so I suggested they buy a Canon T6i as it is a good camera to have but borrow my favorite lens, the Canon 70-300 mm L.  They got some amazing shots. 

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mama and lion cub

Part of the migration crew. They never take a bad picture. 

And this ... the majestic African sunset with one of the most beautiful animal. 

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"Going on safari exceeded all expectations we had. From the camps to the amazing staff, our fantastic guides, the food, the wonderful people we met, and of course, being able to see all the stunning animals in their natural habit was simply amazing. We had always wanted this “once in a lifetime experience”, but we already can’t wait to start planning round two!

We can’t thank you enough, Mefi!"

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Cheers Talia and Vernon.
You can call yourselves pro-photographers. 

Swahili.

When you landing in Tanzania or Kenya, the first thing you will hear is Jambo!
Jambo means hello in Swahili.  Don’t worry, the customs official, your Safari guide and most people you will pass on your Safari will speak English, but saying Jambo to them will let them know you are happy to be in Tanzania or Kenya.

Safari

Want to know a few more words so you can really flex your Swahili.

– Habari gani? – How are you?
– Asante – Thank you.
- Asante sana - Thank you very much.
- Tafadhali - Please.
– Karibu – Welcome.
- Sawa - okay.
– Lala Salama – Sleep well.
– Habari za asubuhi? – Good morning.
– Chai – Tea.
– Kahawa – Coffee.
- Ndiyo - Yes.
- Hapana - No.

To really impresss a local.
– Shagala Bagala – ‘this is messed up’ in a fun sense.
– Poa – I am chilling.
- Twende - Let's go.

Want to know any specific word? Email or call me and we can chat in Swahili. Now let's get you on Safari so you can practice your Swahili. 

Father's Day.

Dear Father, 
We know Mother's Day seems to have more buzz, but you are loved just as much. 

Here's why we think you should be given a gift of an amazing Safari. 

  • Making memories on your Safari. 
    Our father's always come back and say, the experience of being in stunning nature, seeing a range of wildlife in some of the world's most amazing settings, spending time with the people you love equals Safari stories to last a lifetime. We make sure we create this experience for each of our fathers using our personal knowledge.
     
  • Deeper connection. 
    One of the best things you can give the father in your family is the gift of quality time. The hours relaxing during your drives in search of the wildlife, the calm evenings by the campfire under the African skies to the lovely ambiance created by your lodges and tented camps - you will be given the gift of slowing down and more time to have a deeper connection with yourself, your family and friends. We are happy to create this magic for you on your Journey To Africa Safari.  
     
  • Shoot with a camera. 
    For the father who likes to tinker with his camera or is a pro photographer, being on Safari is pure bliss. From the range of wildlife and birds to the stunning landscapes and warm people, there is never a dull day on Safari. 
Father's Day Safari

From my client Carlos Mata who took his son Jeff on a Safari.
" Probably my best memory with Jeff was breakfast in the Serengeti. We rarely ate in camp, but had them pack a breakfast which we ate in the bush. Our guide would set up our breakfast table overlooking a wide expanse of grazing wildebeests and zebra, and we would sit there sipping that rich Tanzania coffee at sunrise. We would wonder if a big lion would come out of nowhere and spook the heard. "

Go ahead. Let's put together a great Safari itinerary and surprise the beloved father in your life.

Birds on Safari.

On Safari, most people are so excited to see the Big 5 or the larger walking wildlife. But I am going to add, keep a look out for birds. There are so many lovely birds you will get to spot on Safari. From the common but oh so beautiful lilac breasted roller to the lifers. You know what I am talking about if you are a birder?

Into birding, do let us know before you head out on Safari. We will let our guide know so he can bring all the birding books for you and him to pour into on your game drive. 
If not, just enjoy them with your binoculars.

You will find hundreds of resident birds and many that fly all the way from Europe and Americas. Those birds that have flown from other places come here to Tanzania and other East and Southern African countries at the risk of being netted. A lot of countries on their route will poach and illegally trap them. 

But there is hope.

Organizations around the world who love birds are spreading the word to people like you and me who were not aware of such activities. Paul Oliver was the one who opened my eyes when we were birding in Lake Natron. He told me about the plight of the wadders, who are being netted by the thousands when flying over the Mediterranean countries.

I leave you with some lovely birds captured on my Safaris. Every time I go on Safari, I learn to love them more and more. Your turn? Come shoot them, with your camera.  

birds on safari
birds on safari
red billed hornbill ruaha
red and yellow barbet
hoopoe on safari

Keep Calm and Swat Away.

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This is Richard, my guide on my exhilarating Walking Safari in our private area in Serengeti. He has company – Tsetse flies. I had their company as well - I was right behind him.

When on Safari, there are areas in the parks and conservation areas where you just can not avoid these pesky flies.  Don't worry, they are not going to bother you all the time; they come only in certain areas. 

A few things to help yourself.

Wear light-colored clothing.
These buggers are attracted to dark colors. If you can avoid dark blue and black clothing on Safari. You will notice clothes with this color hanging from trees in various areas, put there by the park officials, in hopes that these flies will be hanging out on those clothes instead of on you. 

Try loose clothing.
Create a barrier between the fly and your skin. This is the best protection. And will keep you cool when hot. Win-Win.

Bug Spray.
This brand of spray has worked on me. At least kept a lot of them at bay, even when wearing black. Yup, I do wear that color on Safari as it is hard to get away from black clothing. 

Anti-itch cream.
Relief for when those pesky flies do get in your vehicle. Put some anti-itch cream right away; it will help with the itch. And try to avoid scratching the sweet itch. 

The silver lining here is that these flies keep the cows and humans away from the wildlife zones. They don’t seem to bother wildlife which means more areas for the wildlife to roam and the slow down of human encroachment. We are talking about tribes like the Maasai who live on the periphery of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation with their cows or the farmers with plantations close to Tarangire or Ruaha. Stay back, we need to give wildlife their space.

Keep Calm and Swat Away.  Don't let them stop you from going on a Safari. 

Lost in Translation.

On Safari, you are going to be spending a lot of time with your guide, your new friend. This person comes from a different culture, different background, does not know you, your personality yet he will work hard to show you a great time. That is his goal and our repeat clients are a testament to how hard they work to make it happen.

Be open and patient with things that can get lost in translation.

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My guide Makubi from Dunia Camp in Central Serengeti was telling me his Wakuria tribe culture was not to look in the eye when talking. That is a sign of aggression. He would never do that in his village with his elders or peers. In our western culture, if you don’t look in the eye when talking, you are rude. The dilemma. He adapted.

Reuben is a Maasai. A proud warrior whose Maasai blanket [his tribal clothing] would peek from his sleeve. He said wearing the clothing reminded him of his heritage. He would sit with us for dinner and share some good stories of his people, wildlife, Tanzania, etc. When we were served polenta with our lamp chop, he would be polite and have small bites but I have a feeling after our meal, he would head to the kitchen and prepare his own local food.

They go through lots of training so they can understand our western sensibility and adapt for our comfort. To be fair, be open to a different culture. Don’t get offended with what may not translate to our culture.  Talk. You will learn from your new friend when on Safari.

Isn’t that part of the adventure of traveling to another place?