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Migrating wildebeest, idyllic palm-fringed beaches, and snow-capped mountains ... these could be YOUR Tanzania holiday memories!

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African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

Botswana In The Green Season

PaulCampbell - April 20, 2017

Conventional wisdom is that the best time to visit Botswana is in the dry season which runs from May to October.  The logic is that less rain means that wildlife concentrates around permanent waterholes and rivers  and it is easier to see the animals as trees and bushes lose their leaves and the grasses die back.  At the same time flood waters from Angola cover much of the Okavango Delta forcing wildlife to concentrate on higher land such as Chief’s Island, again making it easier to find the animals.

The downsides of travelling in the dry season are that the prices are higher, and many camps and lodges will be completely full as much of the dry season coincides with the European and North American summer holidays.

So given this….is it worth visiting Botswana in the Green Season?  In order to check this out for ourselves, we headed out to Botswana for 10 days to include Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, and this is what we found:

  • The whole north of the country is green and beautiful, meaning there are stunning landscapes to enjoy.
  • There are still plentiful birds and lots of wildlife…although you may have to look harder to find them than in the dry season.  The quality of the sightings was very good as well, including lion cubs, lions hunting buffalo and impala, elephants playing in the water and charging, wild dogs playing, a leopard up a tree (others visiting at the same time saw a leopard with her cub), and countless other memorable sightings.  The one thing that we did not see is the very large herds of elephants that visitors in the dry season would expect to see regularly, however we did see a lot of elephants in family groups, and on one occasion a much larger herd of 50+ elephants on the banks of the Chobe River at sunset.
  • Most antelope give birth in the green season to ensure there is plenty of food for the newborns, so there are lots of cute young animals around.
  • There are fewer overseas tourists – most camps were about half full, even in the very popular Moremi Game Reserve area of the Delta.
  • The majority of lodges are significantly less expensive than in the dry season.
  • If you travel in April or November you will avoid the wettest months – there had been substantial rain in Botswana before we arrived, however we only had a single two-hour storm during our whole stay at the end of March.
  • You will probably not be able to do water based activities in the Delta as the flood waters from Angola do not arrive until May/June (although if there has been a lot of rain you may get lucky here and be able to do some water based activities from mid-March as happened this year at some camps).
  • In Chobe consider a houseboat such as the Zambezi Queen or Chobe Princess. There are a number of houseboats that cruise the Chobe River, and these can be a great option in the Green Season as game viewing on land can be affected by the dense bush that covers much of the park.  Note that these boats are actually registered in Namibia, and the cruise along the river by day and moor on the Namibian side overnight.  You cannot land in the Chobe National Park from these boats, however game viewing along the riverfront is good all year round and the houseboats do offer smaller game viewing launches that can get you closer to the animals.

To put the game viewing into context we saw lions, elephants, leopards, rhino, buffalo, wild dog, hyena, giraffe, zebra, hippo, countless antelope and baboons,  spectacular birds and much more.  The scenery was stunning, especially in the early mornings and around sunset, and below are a handful of pictures from our trip.

So in summary…is it worth visiting Botswana in the Green Season?  Absolutely Yes!

Chobe National Park In The Green Season (March 2017)

Elephants On Chobe Riverfront

Boat Based Game Viewing

Chobe River Houserboat Aty Sunset

Elephants at Sunset, Chobe

Elephant, Chobe

The Okavango Delta In The Green Season (March 2017)

Wild Dog, Okavango Delta

Morning Coffee, Okavango Delta

Sunset On The Okavango Delta

Lion Cub In Okavango Dleta

Lilac-Brested Roller

Vultures, Okavango Delta

Lioness & Game Vehicle, Okavango Delta

Lion Up A Tree, Okavango Delta

Thornybush drops fence to Greater Kruger Park

PaulCampbell - March 8, 2017

We are delighted to hear that Thornybush Private Nature Reserve has begun removing its eastern boundary fence with the Timbavati, a process that should be complete by early May and will mean that Thornybush will become fully open to the Greater Kruger Park.

Hame Drive In Thornybush

We think this is great news, as whilst the lodges in Thornybush have always offered and excellent guest experience and good game viewing, there can be no doubt that dropping the fences to Kruger will  mean increased freedom of movement for animals and a richer game-viewing experience for guests.

I have enjoyed some terrific games drives in Thornybush whilst it has been a fenced reserve, however I have always been aware that the fence meant that there were only a fixed number of lions, elephants etc that it would be possible to find.  Dropping the fence changes this and opens up the reserve to the vast animal populations on the Greater Kruger.

I am sure this move will see this lovely reserve go from strength to strength over the coming years, and I cannot wait to go back there myself and see how things have changed.

Travel Butlers Wins Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award

PaulCampbell - February 16, 2017

Excuse us if this seems a little like we are blowing our own trumpet, however we are delighted to hear that we have just won a Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award based on independent reviews by our customers on Feefo.com.

As a company we always strive to offer the best possible service, advice, and support to our clients, and it is always a real highlight of the week whenever we receive positive feedback from a client…so you can imagine how much this award based on all our reviews over the last year means to us.

Our heartfelt thanks to all the clients that have given us such lovely reviews on Feefo, and also to the outstanding safari lodges, hotels, guest houses and transport companies who deliver such exceptional experiences to our clients and are always there to work with us in the event that something goes awry.

I think I’d better stop here before I start sobbing like a Hollywood A-Lister and thanking my mum and cat…

 

 

 

2017 South Africa Special Offer – Deposits from only £100 per person

PaulCampbell - December 30, 2016

Regular readers of our blog will know that we are huge fans of South Africa as a holiday destination, and we believe it offers amazing variety and great value for money.  From the bustling heart of cosmopolitan Cape Town (regularly voted one of the most beautiful and characterful cities in the world)  through to the amazing wildlife of the vast Kruger Park area, there is so much to see and do, with safaris, accommodation and transport options to meet all tastes and budgets.

To give you an example of the range of properties available, in the Kruger area there are lodges such as Shindzela that offer a safari including game drives, accommodation and all meals for little over £100 per person per night, however if you have the budget and nothing but the best will do, the beautiful and recently refurbished Lion Sands Ivory Lodge will set you back over £1000 per person per night. Incidentally, we have stayed at both and this they are both great, although  it is unlikely that they will appeal to the same potential guests!

South Africa Holidays With Deposits From Only £100ppTo make this wonderful and diverse country even more appealing, Travel Butlers is running a special offer with deposits starting from only £100 per person on new bookings for accommodation and road transport in South Africa.

This offer will automatically be applied to qualifying bookings, and you can get some inspiration for your own trip on our South Africa holiday pages.

 

The offer is valid for new bookings confirmed before 28 February 2017, and the balance will be due 60 days before travel as per our usual terms and conditions.

The £100 deposit per person (or equivalent amount in USD, EUR or ZAR) will secure your safari lodge, hotel bookings and road transport in South Africa. There will be a few exceptions for larger group bookings and particular properties that require a larger deposit, and if you would like to book international or other scheduled flights with us, we’ll need to confirm the prices and payment terms for these at the time of booking as these are set by the airlines

The land that inspired the Lion King… Reasons to start planning a trip to Tanzania

PaulCampbell - October 3, 2016

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-portrait-cute-little-lion-cub-looking-you-photo-collection-month-old-male-very-creature-image32620936There are many reasons why a trip to Tanzania should be on your bucket list.  Here are six of the best.

The East African country of Tanzania is one of Africa’s top safari destinations, and it’s easy to see why. Home to wildlife-filled game parks including the famous Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater with those iconic vast open plains, Tanzania is the stuff nature documentaries are made of. In addition to amazing wilderness areas, Tanzania also boasts Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, which is a listing on many an adventure traveller’s bucket list. Off the coast is the beautiful tropical island of Zanzibar, which lures visitors with its white-sand beaches, clear warm water full of fish and exotic culture – offering a relaxing beach break as a perfect complement to game viewing and mountain climbing.

Thinking about planning a trip to Tanzania? Here are our top five reasons to go on safari in Tanzania to give you a big shot of East African inspiration.

A little place called Zanzibar

After your wildlife safari or Kilimanjaro trek, there’s a good chance you’ll need some beach time. Zanzibar Island is not only a beach gem surrounded by warm Indian Ocean waters. It’s also a fascinating cultural melting pot. European, Asian and African traders have used it as a travel hub for centuries. There are thousands of nice beaches in the world, but the quirks of Zanzibar add the right amount of spice to this one.

Zanzibar is an archipelago of historic Indian Ocean islands, awash with atmosphere, intrigue, and idyllic beach experiences. Zanzibar has a wide range of accommodation choices and plenty to see, do and discover. It is the perfect place to relax after an exhilarating safari or climbing Kilimanjaro. It is also a glorious paradise for honeymooners or a romantic holiday getaway. As the site of Sultans’ palaces and renowned for its spice plantations, the little island republic of Zanzibar is a must-see for any visitor to Tanzania.

While Tanzania is amazing for big game safaris, it is also a popular beach safari destination, with the archipelago of Zanzibar, which is less than 60 kilometres off the coast from the mainland in the warm Indian Ocean. Two large islands, Unguja (normally referred to as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba, as well as several smaller islands make up the archipelago. On budget-friendly Zanzibar, there are plenty of gorgeous palm-fringed beaches on which to kick back and relax, amazing snorkelling spots on coral reefs, and sailing trips on traditional dhows.

Ngorogoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is another of the most pristine wildernesses on earth, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to being the world’s largest intact crater. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains – all a haven for wildlife, including the largest predator population in Africa. The Big Five even call this volcanic crater home, and it is one of the last wild refuges for the black rhino.

The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded and unbroken crater in the world, the site of a massive once-active volcano. Three hundred square kilometres in area, the crater is home to some of the densest population of wildlife found anywhere on the planet, particularly lions and predators. On every game drive you do in this wildlife haven, you’re guaranteed to encounter loads of species of animals, from lions and elephant to giraffe and hyena. Apart from the amazing wildlife, the crater is a breathtaking visual spectacle making it a photographer’s paradise. The best views are when you’re on the edge looking down into the lush emerald-green caldera, topped by a deep blue cloud-studded sky.

Kilimanjaro

If you think trekking to the summit of the world’s second highest mountain is out of the realm of possibility, think again.  Summiting Kilimanjaro is one of the few surprisingly do-able real adventures left in the world.

See the “Roof of Africa” when you climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s most famous and tallest peak at nearly 6000 metres above sea level. The dormant volcanic mountain draws climbers from all around the world to ascend its summit, an adventurous multi-day trek that takes in strenuous hiking as well as spectacular scenery. The great thing about climbing Kili, one of Africa’s best adventure activities, is that you don’t need specialised climbing gear or years of climbing experience – just a professional guide, warm hiking clothes and a good level of fitness!

The Serengeti

The Serengeti offers the quintessential African safari experience. Picture rolling savanna and grasslands teeming with game – especially during the migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra, one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. The best time to see the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is in June and July, but if you don’t manage to visit the park during these months, don’t worry! The Serengeti is amazing year round, and you’ll still get a chance to see the Big Five.

The Great Migration

The great wildebeest migration has also recently been proclaimed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. This annual event is when visitors can bear witness to some six million hooves pounding across the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeests’ trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers some of the most scintillating game viewing in Africa.

Much of the annual migration cycle takes place in Tanzania, from the frenzied crossing of the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti in August and September, to a two-month bout of birthing in February and March on the Ndutu Plains, before the 1,000km pilgrimage begins again.

The people

tanzania 2012 1277There are a few different tribes who make their lives in the bush, but the most well-known is the colorfully dressed Maasai. While in country, one should 100% take a day to visit a Maasai village, browse its hand crafted wares, meet its hunters, and see its children.

The ancient nomadic stewards of much of the Rift Valley region are the iconic Maasai. They are among the most well known local tribes due to living in traditional Maasai villages near the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. They are most recognised by their distinctive customs and dress; their stunning bright robes, beaded jewellery and remarkable height have fascinated visitors for decades.

And there is so much more!

In addition to these stunning, world famous attractions, Tanzania has countless other fantastic destinations and experiences that may be less well known, but  are no less wonderful.  From the chimps of the Mahale Mountains in the west of the country, to the vast Ruaha and Selous national parks and secluded getaways on Pemba Island there are countless options for getting off the beaten track…

Does Tanzania sound like your kind of place?  If so, why not chat to our friendly and knowledgeable team about planning your ultimate Tanzania adventure?

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