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  • Singita Grumeti Introduces African Tasting Menu
    Singita Grumeti Introduces African Tasting Menu
    Singita Grumeti Reserves has introduced an interesting new culinary option that integrates international cuisine with the authentic traditional foods of East Africa. Chief among the epicurean influences is Swahili cuisine, featured on the new African Tasting Menu that is served at the 1920’s-styled Singita Sabora Tented Camp.

    Guests may savour tastings of local dishes that reflect a diverse range of flavours, including mtori,athick, traditional soup from the Kilimanjaro region made from onions, green bananas and a little meat. A choice of mezze style platters is served in the traditional Swahili fashion, comprising dishes such as dagaa mchuzi, a delicious serving of dried fish cooked in peanut tomato sauce; mchicha, a wild spinach grown locally – either blanched or sautéd with sunflower oil, tomato and onion; and kitandu cha nyama, a meat stew cooked with bitter local greens, which have a unique sour flavour with fragrant undertones of lemon.

    On the menu too are tasty staple foods that are ubiquitous to Africa such as ugali (known as pap to South Africans), but best described as a white ‘polenta’ made from finely ground dried corn caked into a stiff porridge; and popular pilau and wali (rice cooked in coconut milk served with meat and stew). Also featured is the ‘African red devil’ piri piri (Swahili for ‘pepper’) and nyama choma – a form of barbecued meat, traditionally the entree of choice in East Africa.

    Offering guests a tantalizing taste of local fare at its best, typical Swahili spices and local honey are also used extensively in the cuisine at each of Singita’s four lodges in the Grumeti Reserves. Manned by a team of expert chefs, each lodge boasts its own unique setting and quintessential charm, to combine the ultimate in savannah luxury with world-class service in a spectacular setting overlooking the plains along East Africa’s world-famous wildebeest migratory route. In addition to Singita Sabora Tented Camp, the Singita portfolio includes spectacular flagship Singita Sasakwa Lodge (a Relais & Châteaux property), unique and eco-friendly Singita Faru Faru Lodge, and the latest Singita product – Singita Explore, offering the ultimate mobile safari experience.

    Tilapia, a local fresh water fish is another popular item on Singita’s menus, as is chapatis, a type of roti, served with curries and coconut, and organic home grown vegetables sourced from surrounding villages as part of various community support projects run by the Singita Grumeti Fund. Rounding off the taste of indigenous culinary culture is a selection of local Tanzanian beers, among which Kilimanjaro, Tusker and Serengeti. Local Chai tea and Kilimanjaro filter coffee feature among non-alcoholic beverages, as does the famous East African vodka, lime and honey cocktail, called a dawa.
  • Horn of Africa drought
    Horn of Africa drought
    With all the recent reports in the local and international press & TV media about the severe drought situation in the Horn of Africa, we are aware that this must be causing some concern to travellers intending to travel to East Africa, and throwing some doubt on whether or not this will affect their safari.

    We wish to clarify that the drought ravaging parts of the country is very much localised and there are several regions within East Africa that have received adequate rainfall and expect a normal harvest.

    We wish to re assure guests intending to embark on a safari during this time, that neither themselves nor their safari will be affected or compromised by the drought. The key areas where most tourism activity takes place have not been affected by the drought and there is fantastic game viewing in the Parks, Reserves and Conservancies. For instance there has been a phenomenal migration this year.

    There are a large number of East Africans who depend on tourism, directly and or indirectly, as a means of livelihood. This includes communities living around Parks and Reserves and those who operate community owned conservancies as an alternative to pastoralism and it is therefore important for us to continue as usual.

    H.E. Mwai Kibaki the Kenyan President declared the drought a National disaster. Efforts have been stepped up to provide relief supplies to those affected by the drought, and reports are coming in now that aid is finally reaching the ravaged areas.
  • Kenya Visa Fees
    Kenya Visa Fees
    The Kenya Immigration Office has advised that with effect from 1st July 2011, the Kenya Visa fees have increased to US$ 50.00 per passport holder – includes all adults and children.

    British passport holders can obtain additional information regarding the Kenya visa prices and requirements from the Kenyan High Commission website where they can also download a visa application form.

  • Mark Todd Safari Special
    Mark Todd Safari Special
    African Horseback Safaris have announced that double Olympic Gold medallist eventer Mark Todd, CBE, will take a brief break from preparations for London 2012 Olympics and will be escorting rides from Macatoo Camp between 2nd and 7th December.

    Named as Rider of the 20th Century by the International Equestrian Federation, Mark took gold at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympics, won the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials on three occasions and the Burghley three-day event five times.

    As a member of New Zealand’s Eventing team he won gold medals at the World Championships in 1990 and 1998, the European Championships in 1997, plus 20 or more other international events, and numerous other international individual and team titles.

    Eight years after retiring from evening following the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Mark announced his return to the sport he has dominated for most of his career.

    Limited space is available on this escorted safari at Macatoo Camp between 2nd and 7th December 2011 (5 nights) so book now to avoid disappointment.

    Price: £ 2,280.00 per person sharing, fully inclusive of all accommodation, activities, meals and return flights from Maun to Macatoo.
  • The baobabs of Tarangire
    The baobabs of Tarangire
    Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is home to some of the oldest trees in the world; baobabs. Sometimes called the “upside-down tree” because of their unusual root-like branch formations, baobabs are extremely long-lived. They are thought by local tribes to contain mysterious powers because they can be hacked, burnt, have their bark removed and people can even move into the trunk and they keep growing. A great example is Sanctuary Swala Tented Camp whose tent number 5 is built around an old tree which, hundreds of years ago, had a love seat carved into it!

    In Tarangire at the turn of the 20th Century a group of 6 poachers lived in the trunk of a baobab for many months. They outfoxed the rangers chasing them and were only caught when they had an argument one day and a passing patrol happened to hear them!

  • Cape Town – Cablecar Closure
    Cape Town – Cablecar Closure
    The Cape Town Cableway will be closed for annual maintenance from 18th to 31st July. Weather permitting, it is set for re-opening on 1st August.

    This does not mean ‘the mountain is closed’, you could alternatively enjoy a Table Mountain hike. Table Mountain National Park has exciting trails for all levels of walkers from the super-fit to the casual stroller. There are many routes to choose from, all offering spectacular views of Cape Town, rugged mountains and deep blue seas. Most of the popular hikes such as Platteklip Gorge (north face), Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge (the latter two being accessible from Kirstenbosch) are fairly strenuous, while Silvermine, the Cape of Good Hope and the Constantiaberg offer easier options.
  • The shortest game drive ever?
    The shortest game drive ever?
    At Chada Katavi, in the Katavi National Park, Tanzania, guests were recently woken in the night by loud roaring, and hippo snorting and hooting, followed by a very loud clatter. Hippo and lion were fighting right by the mess tent in camp! Tall shelves holding wine glasses and tumblers, a tea service and two tables were knocked over by a hippo fleeing through the dining tent wall.

    As dawn was breaking the camp staff emerged to investigate, firstly to hear the classic fast heavy panting of a well-fed lion by tent four, with the rest of the pride feeding on something by the mess tent. It was too dark to see, but the sounds of their growling at each other and crunching and gnawing were plain to hear.

    At 6:30, they could finally see what was going on – one side of the tent was pulled down, and five lionesses were feeding on a smallish hippo, right against the tent. Knowing how nervous lions are at seeing people on foot, and by contrast how relaxed they are in the presence of open Landrovers, the guides collected the guests from their tents in their vehicles. Then, in what is probably the shortest game drive in the history of Chada Katavi, they drove the Landrovers 100 metres to the mess tent and sat disbelieving as they all took in the scene.

    When the chef was asked what she was planning to do for lunch she replied “Maybe room service…?”
  • Serengeti Highway
    Serengeti Highway
    A project to build a road through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park could put pay to one of the planet’s greatest natural spectacles – the annual great wildebeest migration.

    The 480-kilometre road will link Musoma on the banks of Lake Victoria to Arusha, and according to the Tanzanian government bring essential economic development to the region. Conservationists warn the road will disfigure the park and kill the migration.

    The project has attracted enormous criticism from environmental groups which fear the effects on the ecosystem will be devastating. The road will bisect the path of the great migration, when each year millions of animals migrate between the Tanzanian Serengeti and Kenyan Masai Mara in search of fresh water sources.

    Environmentalists are also concerned about the consequences of increased road kill for threatened species such as cheetah, for which even a marginal increase in mortality rates could lead to disastrous population decline, as well as increased poaching, and the spread of disease and invasive plants.

    The world travel industry and supporters of sustainable tourism everywhere are rallying to the Serengeti’s defense.

    The website below will give you information on the irreversible destruction this highway will have, with links to studies showing why.

  • New Volunteer Website
    New Volunteer Website
    The Mwabvi Wildlife and Community Trust, responsible for the development of the Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, in South Malawi’s Lower Shire Valley, now have their very own website especially for people who are interested in spending some time volunteering at Mwabvi.

    Project Director Barry Kerr, lives with his family at Chipembere Camp, which is just a few hundred metres outside the reserve gates. He has a whole list of projects for which he needs the help of enthusiastic volunteers. So whether your interests are in overseeing a road building team, researching flora or fauna in their natural habitat, or assisting the local school or the orphan care program, Barry and Adele will be very pleased to welcome you for a long or a short stay.

    All the details are on the new website at www.volunteerafrica.org.za
  • Children in the Wilderness
    Children in the Wilderness
    Children in the Wilderness is a program run by Wilderness Safaris that bridges the divide that exists between communities and wildlife, and focuses on the next generation. The programme aims to develop environmental leaders who are inspired to care for their natural heritage so that they become the custodians of these areas in the future.

    Rural children who live alongside the Parks and Reserves are hosted for periods of up to 6 days at Wilderness Safaris Camps. A well-structured curriculum is offered in a safe wilderness environment where nature becomes the teacher and the healer. Using environmental education, therapeutic recreation and old-fashioned fun, Children in the Wilderness opens up the minds of children, increases their self-esteem, builds and strengthens their capacities to cope with life’s challenges and educates them with the life skills necessary to actualise their greatest potential. Many of the children are motivated to continue with their schooling and to strive for a better life.

    In 2005 Danford Manda, a local child from the Chintheche region of Malawi, attended a Children in the Wilderness Camp. He was inspired by the Wilderness guides and the knowledge he gained from them during the camp, and his dream was that one day he’d become a Wilderness guide too.

    While attending the weekly follow-up meetings he learned more and more about conservation. In 2009 after some research in his home community he identified an ever increasing demand for wood and realised that deforestation was a major challenge in his area. He wrote a proposal to Children in the Wilderness with the intention of receiving funding and support with regards to starting a tree nursery and woodlot project for his community.

    The project is now in its first phase. A one-hectare piece of land has been donated by the local chief for the woodlot. A number of trees have already been planted along the boundary of the land and the community children will be working together with Wilderness Safari tree experts in growing seedlings for the 2011 December tree planting season. They expect that 2,500 trees will be planted on the land, bringing all the benefits of a mixed ecosystem with them.

    Danford is now working at Mvuu Camp, in Malawi as a trainee guide.

    (Images courtesy of Wilderness Safaris)
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