Wednesday 22 May 2019

The Chelsea Flower Show 2019

The prestigious RHS Chelsea flower show is here again. We covered last year's flower show here. The theme of this year's show is "Under the Sea". It is being held from the 21st of May, 2019 to the 25th of May, 2019. There are so many beautiful floral creations on display  in and outside the stores in Chelsea, London. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton designed " Back to Nature" garden, a woodland wilderness garden featuring a rope swing, majestic tree house and stream with waterfalls. The garden was visited by the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth and other Royal family members.

Below are some of the pictures from around the Borough.

Friday 10 May 2019

African Safari Holiday - Tanzania

An African safari is an unforgettable unique adventure where the thrills never stop.  As one tours through spectacular scenery in search of lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras and more, this continent will enthrall you. This post will focus on one country, Tanzania an eastern African country within the African Great Lakes region which has a higher percentage of its area dedicated to the conservation of wildlife than any other country in Africa.

Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa's Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. To the south lies Lake Malawi. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore. The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar's largest marine protected area. The Kalambo Falls, located on the Kalambo River at the Zambian border, is the second highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa.

Tanzania is highly biodiverse and contains a wide variety of animal habitats including white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi), zebras, giraffes [ the national animal],  about 130 amphibians and over 275 reptile species. Tanzania has 16 national parks, and a variety of game and forest reserves, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Tanzania is warm year round with two rainy seasons (November-December) and (April-May). June-October is warm and dry while January is hot and dry. The hottest months are October-February. Game viewing is usually prolific during the dry season. In the wet season, you'll be more likely to see new-born animals.

The landscape ranges from the depths of the Ngorongoro Crater to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and Island beaches of Zanzibar which rival the Maldives for their soft white sands. The wild Selous, the golden plains of the Serengeti and the dramatic Ngorongoro Crater are some of its iconic safari destinations.

Flying time from the United Kingdom to Tanzania is 10 hours to Dar es Salaam, 10.5 hours to Zanzibar via Nairobi and 9.5 hours to Arusha/Kilimanjaro via Nairobi. Flight time from New York to Dar Es Salaam  is 18 hours 37 minutes. Visas are required for U.K and USA passport holders. The local currencey is the Tanzanian shilling although US$ are widely accepted. Airlines that fly to Dar es Salaam International airport include British Airways, Qatar Airways, Swissair, KLM, Emirates, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airways.There are also plenty of cheap, reliable flights between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and Zanzibar and Mombasa. Note that luggage must be in soft bags and if you have any internal light aircraft flights the luggage should weigh a maximum of 15kg.

Families going on safari should be aware that although most safari camps and lodges welcome children of (nearly) all ages, some have a minimum age restriction.

Top highlights for your trip should include:

  • Witnessing the great migration in Serengeti. 
  • Hot-air balloon ride over the Serengeti.
  • Snorkel and sunbathe in Zanzibar.
  • Spot Lake Manyara's tree-climbing lions.
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Tour Stone Town.
  • Visit the Moru Kopjes.
  • Experience a Night Game Drive.
  • Meet the Maasai semi-nomadic tribespeople who live in northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley.
  • Boat rides on the Rufiji River in the Selous.
  • Visit the Ngorongoro Crater.


Serengeti National park is Tanzania's oldest National Park that was created to protect the path of the annual Great Migration. Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa; specifically, "Serengit" meaning "Endless Plains". 
It is home to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth, the Great Wildebeest Migration, a spectacular array of wildlife, vast golden plains dotted with thorny umbrella acacia trees, kopjes, and sausage trees, and its crocodile and hippo-filled rivers. The park sports the densest lion population in the world and is home to all members of the Big Five, approximately 70 large mammals and almost 500 bird species. 

                                                               Wildebeest migrating

Serengeti is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world. The great Migration is one of the highlights of Serengeti national park and attracts safari enthusiasts worldwide who come to see over one million wildebeest and other grazing herbivores making their annual journey to follow the rains from the Massai Mara to Serengeti from November to July. Serengeti national park gives guests a good view of animals throughout the year especially areas like Seronera, Grumeti River and Ndutu areas. The wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park happens in five regions of the park, each happening on different times of the year.

The Southern Serengeti wildebeest Migration starts late December with its climax at January before the wildebeests start coming back in March to the central part of Serengeti. The Western wildebeest migration occurs during the rainy season around April to early June.This is one of the deadliest migration in Serengeti due to high concentration of predators both on water (in Grumeti River with giant crocodiles) and on land where grazzers need to escape from the hands of these predators.

Where to stay

There are several places to stay such as the :

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Serengeti Explorer Camp

Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge

Serengeti Bushtops (Children over the age of 7 years are welcome)

The Seronera Wildlife Lodge

Discover the iconic Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands together form one of Africa's most beautiful regions. It is the largest intact caldera in the world and home to the highest density of big game in Africa. It is an extensive highland area with the famous 600 m deep Ngorongoro Crater as its focal point. The ancient caldera shelters one of the most fertile, beautiful and richest wildlife havens on earth.  Ngorongoro is justifiably one of the continent's most famous safari destinations. 

You should ideally include a visit to Ngorongoro Crater, interact with people from the Maasai tribe and can explore the forests, lakes and open grassland and hopefully spot the Big Five, cheetah, black rhino, large tusker elephants, buffalo, zebra, herds of wildebeest, jackal, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle, flamingo and bat-eared foxes,hyena as well as approximately 400 species of bird.
Ngorongoro safari is because of it's unique micro-climate, it can be enjoyed year round.

Where to stay in the Ngorongoro Crater?

The choice is whether to stay at a hotel on the Crater rim for the phenomenal view, or a little way away from the Crater in nearby Karatu is yours. Some accommodation choices include: 

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
         Situated on the eastern rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. 189 Km from Arusha.

&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Gibb’s Farm Ngorongoro

Other activities worthy of exploring include a trek up Africa's highest and most famous mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro. A visit to the Selous game reserve which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is also recommended. It offers a true wilderness experience and has African wild dogs, lions, crocodiles, black rhinos and elephants. Bush walks and boat trips on the Rufiji River are also possible. Selous is closed during the peak rainy season, usually from April to May.

To round up your Safari break a trip to the coastal city of  Zanzibar(spice island)  is recommended to recharge. You can swim with dolphins, enjoy spa treatments, snorkelling amongst colourful corals, wining and dining or just sip cocktails.

Zanzibar grows spices like cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.

It has palm-fringed beaches lapped by warm Indian Ocean waters. Nungwi and Bwejuu are among the Island's best beaches. Stone Town offers Zanzibar's main cultural sightseeing.

Where to stay in Zanzibar

Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa

Bluebay Beach Resort and Spa

The Residence Zanzibar

A room at The Residence Zanzibar

Photo Credits:
Four seasons Serengeti
The residence Zanzibar

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