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Africa Adventure

22 Nights in Africa
Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Africa

by Ian Johnson, Tangerine Travel



Ian Johnson, Tangerine's leisure and luxury advisor, started his travel career more than 3 decades ago with an international airline. Over the years, he learned the ins and outs of the industry, becoming an enthusiastic traveler in the process.


Today, Ian brings his passion for travel to Tangerine Travel, where he is an expert in luxury travel design.


Whether you are looking to coordinate a European river cruise or plan a destination wedding, Ian has the knowledge and expertise to make your travel dreams a reality. With his attention to detail and personalized approach, you can rest assured that your trip will be unforgettable. With his years of experience and dedication to excellence, you're sure to have the trip of a lifetime.

 

Immerse yourself into an African adventure told by Ian, one of Tangerine's leisure and luxury advisors.

From balloon rides over the Serengeti, to visiting a primate family at Volcanoes National Park, he takes you through the trip with stunning images which will surely spark your imagination.


Enjoy!

This trip was special for my 3 traveling companions and myself on many levels. This was not my first time on the African continent, but I had not previously traveled to Tanzania or Rwanda; both of which will now carry special memories.


Scroll down to read Ian's story or click below to read the individual sections:

 

Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania

Located in Northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is best known for its natural beauty and abundance of diverse wildlife, which makes it one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations.


Surrounded by Tanzania’s highlands, this UNESCO-listed crater is said to be the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Ngorongoro Crater offers visitors the opportunity to spot the world-renowned Big Five and offers an array of wonderful activities including visits to local Maasai villages.

Ngorongoro Crater - Entamanu Ngorongoro


Maasai

The Maasai tribe are an indigenous ethnic group in Africa of semi-nomadic people settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinct traditions, customs, dress, and their residence near the many national game parks of East Africa, the Maasai are known internationally.


Many of the camps and lodges employ Maasai as guides and staffers. It is also common for safari guests to visit Maasai villages or see them out in the savannah: men herding livestock and women carrying water or firewood.


  • Maasai society is firmly patriarchal in nature.

  • Polygyny is common. Marriage involves a substantial bride-price dowry in livestock.

  • The measure of a man's wealth is generally measured in terms of children and cattle.

Our local Massai Village visit Ngorongoro Crater


Southern Serengeti - Tanzania

Our under-canvas tented safari camp experiences in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and Tanzania’s Southern Serengeti were unforgettable.


Due to their nature, tented safari camps tend to be more experientially immersive because everything, from the accommodation to the guides and trackers, are aimed at connecting you deeply with your wild surroundings. Many of the camps are completely unfenced allowing animals to wander through the camp unhindered.


On the Serengeti, you can relax under the dark velvet night sky viewing the twinkling light of millions of shining stars above, unseen in big cities.


At night in your tent, you fall asleep listening to the African night come alive with the unique lilting howls of hyenas and guttural growls of lions. In the morning, you are awoken by the sounds of exotic birds, each with their own unique songs.

On the Serengeti, we witnessed wildebeest calves standing and running within minutes of being born. This is an adaptation to avoid predation from lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and jackals.


Balloon rides over the Serengeti are unique and thrilling experiences.


We enjoyed staying in both tented camps and more elegant accommodation while traveling in Tanzania. Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Serengeti Grumeti, for instance, was built in the style of a stately Edwardian manor house with nine private cottages.

Southern Serengeti - andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas

Singita Serengeti Grumeti - Singita Sasakwa Lodge


Volcanoes National Park – Rwanda

The main draw for tourists is the highly regulated opportunity to visit endangered mountain gorillas. Organized treks through the reserve allow visitors to spend an hour at a time with these incredible primates in their natural habitat.


Visitors gather at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters early in the morning and are allocated one of 12 Mountain Gorilla family groups to visit.


Before heading out, your group is briefed on protocols and rules for visiting the gorillas. The trek requires teamwork (including rangers, guides, trackers, and porters). It usually takes 1-3 hours to reach your gorilla family.


The time spent with the gorilla family is magical.

Volcanoes National Park - Singita Kwitonda Lodge


Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

A visit to the nearby Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund facility is very educational and worthwhile.


Volcanoes National Park became the base for the American naturalist Dian Fossey to carry out her research into the gorillas. She arrived in 1967 and set up the Karisoke Research Centre. From then on, she spent most of her time in the park, and is widely credited with saving the gorillas from extinction by bringing their plight to the attention of the international community. She was murdered by unknown assailants at her home in 1985, a crime often attributed to the poachers she had spent her life fighting against.


Fossey's life was later portrayed on the big screen in the film Gorillas in the Mist, named after her autobiography. She is buried in the park in a grave close to the research center, and amongst the gorillas which became her life.



Kigali Genocide Memorial

We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial before returning to Kigali Airport on our final day. Here, we learned more about Rwanda’s history and how it has overcome such loss and trauma.


Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Most of the dead were Tutsis - and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus.


This memorial serves to educate how the Genocide took shape and examines genocide in the 20th century.


This small African country has now left a huge mark on my heart. I am grateful to have witnessed its beauty and am in awe of this country's resilience. Murakoze cyane (thank you), Rwanda, for a trip I will never forget.



Kruger National Park South Africa

Stretching over more than 7,500 square miles, the famous Kruger National Park is one of the world’s largest game reserves and a truly remarkable destination. Owing to its exceptional size, visitors can enjoy a host of accommodation options, and view abundant wildlife including the famed Big Five.


Kruger National Park - Singita Sweni Lodge



Cape Town South Africa

Set at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans and backed by the iconic Table Mountain, the bustling city of Cape Town presents an alluring combination of drawcards. Incredible powdery white beaches, highly acclaimed wine routes, and astonishingly beautiful mountain trails surround a cosmopolitan hub.



Fun Facts Terms describing groups of animals.

  1. A group of zebras is called a dazzle of zebras.

  2. A group of giraffes is called a tower of giraffes.

  3. A group of hippos is called a bloat of hippos.

  4. A group of hyenas is called a cackle of hyenas.

  5. A group of vultures perching together is called a committee of vultures.

  6. A group of vultures feeding together at a carcass is called a wake of vultures.

  7. A group of flamingoes is called a flamboyance of flamingos.


Common Swahili words

  1. Thank you very much - Asante Sana

  2. Hello – Hujambo or Jambo

  3. You are welcome - Karibu


The Big Five animals of Africa

  1. African Elephant

  2. Cape Buffalo

  3. Black Rhinoceros

  4. African Lion,

  5. African Leopard


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