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
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
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
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.
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
The tour is organized and
conducted by Kalala Tours, Arusha, Tanzania; Robert Sikawa, Managing Director.
Find us on Facebook or
contact us by email or telephone.
Robert Sikawa (Tanzania)
+255 768100963. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry Yinger Email: email@example.com