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Shannon's Notes from Tanzania

Administrator's Note - this post is from Shannon and describes her recent trip to Tanzania.

Meeting with Mariam and Eva

I had the fantastic opportunity this past June to meet our team in Arusha, Tanzania: Deo and his son Fadhil, who not only guide the majority of our Tanzania clients but also run The Wild Source business on ground, along with Mariam and Eva who handle the office. I also had the great pleasure of hosting eight wonderful travelers on safari. My time began with Deo picking me up and taking me to The Wild Source office he recently set up. I spent the afternoon with Mariam and Eva talking about our systems, giving them company shirts, and drinking lots of coffee. They were incredibly welcoming and engaging. They also graciously guided me and part of my group to a native goods market near our hotel. We spent lots of time there.

As our group of eight clients came together and we set off with Deo and Fadhil on safari, a vast journey of the senses began. Indeed, the massive number of elephants in Tarangire was quite the kick off. Oh and the Black Mamba in strike position as our vehicle approached with apparent threat was a real eye opener too. What I love about time on safari is the profound moments; the moment when the vehicle takes a tight turn up a little hill only to come right upon a baby elephant nursing. Mama and babe don’t even flinch and we just stop; humbled by the intimate beauty we get to witness. On safari one seems to give more credence to fully appreciating a moment in time. Perhaps this is the drive for travel. To me it seems travel; especially safari travel is a very intentional journey which requires patience, keen attention and in my opinion, humility. I loved my moments with zebra especially on this trip and surprising sightings of rhino were significant too but most of all I was in awe of the human experience especially when sugared with music; music sweet music!

Deo playing a marimba

As our group of eight clients came together and we set off with Deo and Fadhil on safari, a vast At one point along our journey, our group of travelers had the shopper’s bug so Deo and Fadhil took us to a market a bit off the path which lent to a much more calm market experience than most. I wasn’t too into shopping so I wandered outside and found a huge number of antique marimba; each a slightly different size and sound from the other. I started thumbing around with the them, Deo did too, the shop owner joined in. Deo and I are sitting on the ground playing music. Well I thought I was playing music until Deo politely asked me to listen to what he was playing. He was actually playing music; really lovely music! So lovely his playing, Claudia, a local who was selling art prints nearby, came over and we danced. What a delight. One of my travel mates Barbara came out of the market and took over my dancing spot. By this time our whole group was outside reveling in the fun. I treasure this moment, this nugget of happiness I get to take with me wherever I go.

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Safari Deals - July 2013 Edition

Safari Deals and News

Botswana Green Season Specials

Special deals for the wonderful green season in Botswana from mid-November through March. Prime space at the Kwando Camps has been going fast and we expect that Wilderness Safaris will soon release their specials as well.

Manyara Ranch Stay/Pay Deal

Manyara Ranch is offering a pay 2, stay 3 deal for November. This is one of our favorite Tanzania camps because it is a fantastic area for walking and night drives.

Offbeat Safaris Upgrades

We had a nice visit this month with Piers Winkworth, one of the owners of Offbeat Safaris in Kenya. They have purchased beautiful new tents for their Offbeat Mara Camp which will be a huge upgrade. The tents will be installed late in the 2013 season and in full effect for 2014.

Two of the tents will be special two bedroom family tents. They are also adding family accommodation to Offbeat Meru and Sosian Lodge which will make an Offbeat Safari Circuit ideal for families.

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Selinda Canoe Trail Review

Admin Note: Jeremy Waldron of The Wild Source wrote this blog post chronicling his adventures along the Selinda Canoe Trail.

The Selinda Canoe Trail has to be one of the most unique safari experiences I have ever been a part of. The journey is a 4-day, 3-night voyage along the Selinda Spillway linking two of Botswana’s best wildlife areas – the Okavango Delta and Linyanti and Kwando water systems – and is perfect for those who love both remote wilderness settings and a bit of adventure.

Opening with the high rains and floodwaters that were a result of the 2009 annual flood, the spillway filled to its full capacity for the first time in nearly three decades. Mother Nature has blessed the region with ample flood waters the following years, ensuring the Selinda Canoe Trail adventure continues.

Photo of Selinda Canoe Trail Canoes
Our Canoes are Waiting for Us Along the Selinda Spillway

The Selinda Canoe Trail

The Trail begins approximately 45 kilometers upstream from Selinda Camp and is a fairly easy and relaxing journey. Casually paddling with the light current as you meander your way along the Selinda Reserve, the trail finishes near Selinda Camp (depending on the water levels) where you will then be transferred to the airstrip in time for your connecting bush flight transfer, or better yet stay on at Selinda Camp for a couple days.

The Trail involves relatively easy paddling, though the headwinds can be strong and your paddling may need to be a bit more focused at times. With two full days and two half days spent paddling and taking to foot on walking safaris, prior experience is not needed and all fitness levels will enjoy the adventure. It was quite relaxing to escape the game drive vehicles’ purring engines and hear only a mixture of birds and canoes carving through the clear waters.

Selinda Canoe Trail Accommodations

On each of our three nights on the trail a new camp was set, they were never pre-arranged but were carefully picked by the camp manager and his staff. We slept in large fly tents staked and arranged by camp staff. Even though we carried our sleeping mats in our canoes, the staff still took the liberty to set up our sleeping tent, including the mattresses, as well as pack everything up in the morning. It was truly a hands-off experience.

Photo of Selinda Canoe Trail Tents
Typical camp setup along the Selinda Canoe Trail

Dining Along the Selinda Canoe Trail

Each morning we congregated around the campfire for tea, coffee and breakfast. The breakfast included porridge, fresh fruits, yogurt, muesli and toast. Once everyone was fed, we boarded our canoes and began our journey.

Despite only having a cooking fire, the food was phenomenal. It was perhaps the best food I had in all the camps I visited. Having a mixture of greens, vegetables, freshly baked breads, pickled fish, lamb chops and a whole lot more, it was impossible to go hungry and not be consistently amazed at the dedication of the chef. Absolutely brilliant!

Photo of Selinda Canoe Trail Dining
Food was as good if not better than most safari camps I stayed in

Paddling for about an hour, we stopped in an interesting looking area for a good ol’ bush walk, looking for tracks and signs of local game. This was the time to really delve into the small aspects of the greater ecosystem surrounding us. After an hour of walking – sometimes less than a kilometer so we could learn about an area in greater depth – we again boarded our canoes and began paddling before stopping for lunch.

The camp staff in the meantime had already broken camp, paddled ahead and had lunch prepared and ready for our arrival. Lunch was followed by a siesta to avoid the midday heat, a swim or general relaxation before continuing through the afternoon, arriving at the campsite before dark where again, everything was already setup, including hot showers and sundowner drinks.

The Selinda Canoe Trail ends near Selinda Camp mid morning on the 4th day, where you will then be transferred to the Selinda Reserve airstrip in time for your connecting bush flight.

The Selinda Canoe Tail requires a 2 person minimum departure with an 8 person maximum.

Selinda Canoe Trail Wildlife

Josh, the expert resident guide was fabulous. He is clearly an expert on the water, having paddled many of Africa’s great lakes and waterways. His knowledge of the area and the many different species of birds and wildlife is wonderful. When we approached hippo or elephant, he ensured our safe positioning while also in view of the animals.

Photo of Selinda Canoe Trail Elephants
Elephant Encounter along the Selinda Spillway

It was a pleasure to have added something different than the standard game drives I had been doing for the week prior to hitting the water. I was ready to move my body and nothing was better than noticing the absence of a vehicle’s engine. The walking and paddling provided the activity I was looking for – nothing too strenuous, but enough to feel like I wasn’t just sitting there, as is often too common of a theme on game drives.

There is a very good chance to encounter a variety of wildlife along the trail. This area is well known for elephant, buffalo, sable, roan, kudu as well as a variety of predators. However, it should be noted not to expect to have too many close encounter sightings as you experience on game drives.

The bird life is prolific and a great joy to appreciate the smaller species. On my journey, we came across buffalo, kudu, reedbuck, red lechwe, hippo and a huge breeding herd of 50+ elephant drinking from the shore. It’s a very humbling experience to feel so vulnerable when paddling next to hippo and elephant.

Selinda Canoe Trail: What to Pack

What to bring on your Selinda Canoe Trail Adventure:

  • Sunscreen
  • Swimming suit
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Binoculars
  • Photographers should have their own small waterproof duffel to have their camera easily accessible for quick shots

*Large waterproof duffel bags are provided in which to store your luggage. Mattresses, blankets and linen are also provided.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 nights on the trail. I would be keen to see an option for a 4-6 night trip added to the program. This is one of the most eco-friendly safaris available and that also is very much appreciated when looking to conserve the ecosystem for generations to come.

Jeremy Waldron, African Safari Planner at The Wild Source, joined the Selinda Canoe Trail in May 16-19 2013.

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Safari Guide Update and Tanzania Operation News

Fadhil on Film

Fadhil: Live to You from the Serengeti
During Jeremy’s March visit to Tanzania he was able to film a quick off the cuff video with Fadhil in the Serengeti. Fadhil did a great job of introducing The Wild Source style. Please enjoy.

Tanzania Operation Grows

In addition to our new camp we have just added another stretch 5 seater Land Cruiser to our fleet.

We are also welcoming two new outstanding guides to our operation during the 2013 season, George and Victor. Both have past connections to our principals and are highly skilled. Most importantly they share The Wild Source philosophies on the safari experience. We will feature more on these guides in the future.

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Featured Safari: Cats, Dogs & Migration Calving Season

This small group departure is led by Predator Biologist, Bill Given & in the Mara and features legendary Guide and Big Cat Diaries Presenter, Jackson Looseyia.

Only 2 Spots Remain

This safari is designed to provide the Classic Kenya safari experience rich with Samburu and Maasai culture; combined with open plains teeming with animals in amazing quantities.

In the Mara we are hosted and guided by Jackson Looseyia, famed as a presenter on the Big Cat Diaries and a guide for filmmakers of Disney’s African Cats. Jackson operates a private mobile camp which will be set in a little known location to take advantage of a huge gathering of 250,000 wildebeest of the Loita Migration which will be on their calving grounds at this time. This concentrated prey base leads to outstanding predator viewing featuring all of the big cat species.

Photo of a Leopard in a Tree
Leopard in the Mara

Next we fly on to Laikipia Wilderness Camp, timed to coincide with when African wild dog packs in Laikipia typically become active with their new puppies. Two packs in the area have a member radio-collared. We will track these endangered predators to try and observe their fascinating family life.

The Laikipia area is vast and exclusive allowing us a full wilderness to explore on our own. We will have a variety of activities including game drives, night drives, radio-tracking endangered African wild dogs, bush walking, and in-depth cultural visits.

Full details can be downloaded at this link.

Connect and Interact with The Wild Source!

Be a Facebook Fan!

The Roar!

The Wild Source Videos

Promote Your Page Too

Sign Up Now!

The Wild Source's monthly newsletter gives you the latest news on wildlife, camps, itineraries, and safari specials each month!

See Our Videos!

The Wild Source's Africa Video Channel - safari videos taken by The Wild Source founder Bill Given

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Human/wildlife conflict over livestock is the biggest factor in declining African predator populations. Bill has been conducting research on African lions and their conflict over cattle. The Wild Source through direct cash contributions and the in-kind labor of Bill Given has contributed more than $100,000 to the project since 2003.

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The Wild Source specializes in custom itineraries crafted to best fit the desires and dreams of each individual client, thus we do not offer set itineraries but rather work with you to design your ideal safari.

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