Kalala Tours & Safaris.

"Serve nature through tour"

Sansevierias plants safari

Tanzania Flora and Fauna Safaris, Spring 2019

These safaris are organized by Kalala Tours; led by Robert Sikawa with the assistance of Albert Mushi and Barry Yinger. Limit of five guests per tour.

There will be two safaris scheduled for Spring 2019: one in February, 2019, and the second in April, 2019. We chose spring because that is the green season in much of Tanzania, when seasonal rains turn the landscape from brown to green, and most trees and wildflowers bloom. The first tour will be early in the green season, when rains freshen the landscape and the early flowers of spring come into bloom. The second will be at the end of the rainy season when the landscape is still green and the late season flowers are in full bloom. Most tourists visit Tanzania in other seasons so you will have a much more relaxing safari experience. With the arrival of the rains, the animals are more relaxed, and as it is the birthing season for many animals, you can see babies as well as adults.

This 14-day safari covers some of the most interesting areas for seeing plants and animals in Tanzania. It is focused on wildlife and nature; you will have ample opportunities to see birds, other animals (including the African mega-faun), and plants. Most of the areas visited on this tour are not part of the conventional wildlife tours organized for tourists. In some of the remote areas you have a glimpse of African life as it has been for hundreds of years.

One of several unusual features of these safaris is the opportunity for spontaneous interaction with local people that will give you the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of Tanzanian people and their lives. We will not take you to tourist villages; we will meet and talk with local people as we find them on our journey. Local people are very generous with their knowledge; their observations about the plants, animals, and the environment will enrich our understanding. In some cases, we will ask to be allowed to have our box lunches in the houses of local people. Also, if you like African music you will have a chance to enjoy it as African people do.

Two Safaris, Two Seasons of Experiences

February 10 (Sunday) to 23 (Saturday), 2019: This safari is not long after the end of the long dry season. Many flowering trees will be in bloom, and ephemeral flowers will be at their peak, especially bulbs that are dormant in the dry season. You will see many representatives of the lily and amaryllis families flaunting their showy flowers. The itinerary is the same for both tours.

April 4 (Thursday) to 17 (Wednesday) 2019: This safari is near the end of the green season when the rains are mostly finished and ephemeral flowers are going dormant again, but the fields and open forests are a riot of color from late season blooms, including genera familiar to temperate zone gardeners, such as Bidens, Clematis, Vernonia and more, as well as completely unfamiliar species. The itinerary is the same for both tours.


Day 1: Arrival at (JRO) Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport for transfer to Mt. Meru Hotel in Arusha, the finest hotel in the region. Dinner is at the hotel.

Day 2: Breakfast at hotel. Depart for Arusha National Park at 8:00 AM for a tour of the entire park. You will see many famous African animals including giraffe, buffalo, zebra, impala, baboons and many more in an unusual wet climate setting. A box lunch will be provided to be enjoyed at the picnic site in the park. After returning to the Mt. Meru Hotel in the afternoon, you have the option of a city market tour, or you may relax at the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Early departure for Mafinga in the southern highlands region. It is a long drive, but we will break the driving by stopping to investigate the many beautiful natural sights and wildflowers that we will see along the way. In the town of Mafinga, we will stay at the Merin Hotel, where we will have dinner.

Day 4: After breakfast at the hotel, we leave Mafinga for a leisurely drive through the African countryside. Along the way we will pick up local guides who will accompany us as we hike to see strange termite mound plant communities near Ikungwe, including the newly named and dramatically beautiful Sansevieriabhitalae. We will also hike through the forest at Makombe to see other very different plant communities. We end the day at Chogela, with dinner at Chogela Lodge, where we will stay the night.

Day 5: We will have a morning hike from the lodge to see the newly described Sansevieriatrifasciata ssp. sikawae and other plants in the forest. After lunch at the lodge, we will take an afternoon drive to see more of the very rich flora of the region. Elements of the South African fynbos extend into the mountains here; the plants seen in this example of fire ecology are very different from the plants in nearby forests.

Day 6: Early morning breakfast and departure from Chogela Lodge to Ruaha National Park, a remote and seldom-visited park teaming with animals and 542 species of birds. This is the largest park in Tanzania, larger than Denmark, and one of the largest parks in Africa. There is no better place to see wildlife. The Ruaha River that flows through the park provides an opportunity to see animals and birds that live in or near the water, such as crocodiles and hippos. We will spend the whole day driving the park where we will see a great variety of birds and animals, plus interesting plant life. We will have a box lunch at a picnic site inside the park. We will have dinner and stay overnight at cottages within the park.

Day 7: We get up early to be able to see the many animals that are more active at that time of day, leaving Ruaha National Park for an interesting drive north through a region with beautiful scenery, via the small town of Itigi, continuing on to the town of Singida. This is a remote area rich in plants and flowers in what is normally dry bush, although much of it will be green in April. We can stop as we wish to have a closer look at interesting sights along the way. Box lunch on the road. We will stay at the Regency Hotel in Singida, where we will have dinner.

Day 8: Early departure from Singida, to Shinyanga, where you can see magnificent rock outcroppings called kopjes or inselbergs, with their distinctive communities of plants and animals. This region has many interesting populations of Sansevieria. We can stop to have a closer look at some of these unique sights. We will have a box lunch along the way. At Shinyanga we will stay at the Vidimark Hotel, where we have dinner.

Day 9: Drive from Shinyanga to Bunda, another scenic drive with opportunities to stop and examine the flora along the way. Box lunch on the road. In Bunda, we stay at the Landmaster Hotel. This is the western gateway to the great Serengeti National Park, a World Heritage Site that is probably the most impressive park in the world to see savannah wildlife.

Day 10: After breakfast at the hotel, we will enter the Serengeti National Park in early morning, driving through the park, seeing all sorts of savannah wildlife along the way. All five of the famous African predators are represented here: lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, and wild dog, as well as countless herbivores such as impala and wildebeest. We will have a box lunch inside the park, after which we drive through the rest of the park to Ngorongoro Crater, one of the largest active calderas in the world. We will descend to the bottom of the crater where a thriving population of rhinoceros is living. If we are lucky we might be able to catch a glimpse of these very shy and elusive beasts. We end our day at Lake Manyara, at the Twiga Lodge, where we will have dinner.

Day 11: We drive along the Rift Valley Wall to Lake Natron, the home of a famous enormous population of flamingoes. We will also see the active volcano called the “mountain of God” (OlDonyo-Lengai) by the Maasai people. Our local Maasai guide will take us on a tour of the lake where unusual and unique plants such as Adenium (desert rose) can be seen. We will have dinner and sleep at the Lengai Hotel within the park.

Day 12: In the morning we will hike to the waterfall and then depart the park after our box lunch around noon, for our drive to Tarangire. At the end of the day we retire to Usupuko Lodge, a quiet sanctuary with a great view of the bush.

Day 13: After breakfast at the hotel, we go to Tarangire National Park for a different view of African fauna in a savannah environment with iconic acacia and baobab trees. You will see many unusual and beautiful plants and a full range of African wildlife up close and personally. Box lunch is in the park at the picnic site. At the end of the day we return to Arusha and Mt Meru Hotel.

Day 14: If your flight is leaving late in the day, you can join a city tour to see some of the sights and markets, and buy some souvenirs. Lunch is at the hotel. Then we will arrange your transfer to the airport for your flight.

The safari will start in the city of Arusha, the gateway for most tourists visiting the country. The airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). This is a small airport but it does handle a number of international flights. Coming from the US, your easiest trip is probably getting a nonstop from the US to Amsterdam, and then a nonstop from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro on KLM. That will be only one easy transfer at a good airport. I don’t know of any other non-stops from major European airports but you might want to check. It is best not to make a second transfer at an African airport between Europe and Kilimanjaro if you can avoid it; it adds a lot of time to your travel, and some of the African airports can be less than user friendly.

The tour price is an all-inclusive land package. It covers everything except alcohol and personal items you might want to buy.

For our safari we will use two heavy duty 8-passenger Toyota Land Cruisers for travel, one for the driver/animal and plant spotter extraordinaire Albert Mushi, tour leader Robert Sikawa, flora consultant Barry Yinger, and up to five guests. The second car will have a driver, and also carry a cook, as well as any local guides we pick up on the trip; it will also carry luggage, food and water. The roof of the Land Cruiser can be raised so that you have a clear, secure view of wildlife. There is an inverter in the Land Cruiser so you will be able to charge most any device on the road.

Safety: Tanzania is one of the safest destinations in Africa for tourists. It is a calm and peaceful country with no wars or insurrections, much safer than some other countries popular for safaris.

Health: We will have our own cook, with food supplies that we arrange ourselves. Bring Immodium just in case of stomach upset, and bug spray for the occasional insect hot spot. Mosquitoes are not a major problem in most of the places we visit, and most hotels have nets over the beds. Sometimes when we are near game or cattle there will be a lot of flies so repellent is useful. We will be at high altitude near the equator so sunscreen is a good idea. Ticks that feed on humans are not a problem in Tanzania. Be sure that you are up to date on routine injections such as tetanus and hepatitis.

Hotels: At every stop we will use the best hotel/lodge available at that location. In remote areas electricity and hot water might occasionally fail us, but in general you will have normal comforts of hotel life.

Connectivity: We will provide personal WiFi hotspots that will work in most areas; in remote areas you might not have any telephone or internet contact.

Weather: Daytime temperatures will usually be very pleasant, not extremely hot or cold. There will be occasional rain showers. Nights can be chilly. Overall the climate in Tanzania is comfortable.

Clothing: Long pants are best for all occasions and loose cotton for most everything. A sun hat is good to have. Bring a light weight raincoat. Comfortable casual shoes that can be rinsed to remove mud, and broken-in hiking boots are the best footwear. Bring a pair of flipflops for the shower.

Visa: You will need a tourist visa in a passport that is valid for at least six months past your visit. I would do this at least two months before your trip. It can take several weeks to get a visa.

Souvenirs: Local coffee, wild honey, and Maasai bead work jewelry and other items are unique souvenirs. There is also wacky stuff like sandals made from used automobile tires.

The price of the land package is $8900.00 single occupancy. There are only five places for guests, so please let us know right away if you want to be included. A $1000 deposit will hold your place until payment for the tour is due. The balance of the cost is due August 10, 2018 for the February safari, and October 4, 2018 for the April safari. This is not refundable unless we can fill your space on the tour, which we will do our best to manage if we have a waiting list. Trip insurance is recommended to cover you in case of emergencies that force you to change your plans.

The tour is organized and conducted by Kalala Tours, Arusha, Tanzania; Robert Sikawa, Managing Director. www.kalalatours.com

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Robert Sikawa (Tanzania) +255 768100963. Email: sikawakitoto73@gmail.com

Barry Yinger Email: barryyinger@gmail.com