Kenya is at the top of everyone’s safari hit list,and the Masai Mara is hard to beat especially when it comes to the annual migration.Admittedly, this is when most people will choose to travel to the wildlife capital’s best-loved game reserve, but there’s more than one reason to visit, and as a year-round destination you can expect a sensational safari at any point
in the calendar. Travel out of season and you’ll save money on
your return flight, plus benefit from lower priced tour costs. And, while the Mara is one of Africa’s most sought after safari destinations, you’ll also find fewer 4X4s in the reserve. This factor can really add to the quality of the game viewing experience, as offroading is not permitted in East Africa. Travel from March through May, and in November.
Not all of the animals migrate in the Mara so you can still expect great Big Five game viewing throughout the year – leopards,
cheetahs, lions, hyena’s and bat eared foxes are regularly sighted in the reserve.
December to March is a great time to go as this is outside of the rainy season when some of the roads might leave your vehicle trudging in the
mud. Meet & greet the Masai Tribe. Any trip to the Mara will leave you an understanding of this untouched civilization, the tribe sharing their culture with travellers the world over Traditional dancing, village visits
and a chance to marvel at the local handicrafts make this a
once in a lifetime experience.
From October through April, the Mara is a birders paradise. More than 400 species have been recorded to date, ostriches, raptors, long crested eagles and the stunning lilac breasted
roller featuring on the list.
There’s more than one way to safari in the Mara and an optional balloon flight over the
plains is a great way to get a birds eye view of the stunning landscape and its residents.
Usually an hour in length, the ride kicks off in the early hours allowing you to spy the magnificent sunrise while the wildlife stir beneath you. Ending with a champagne breakfast it’s the ultimate way to see the
reserve in all its glory.
Yes you can travel independently, but head off with a dedicated safari guide and even a slight flicker in the bush might turn up a magical
safari moment or two – especially when it comes to the more elusive leopard and cheetah. Experienced guides have a keen eye for spotting the reserve’s animals and a great deal of knowledge to impart as you’re driving across the plains.
Via Leanne Haigh
Kenya is undoubtedly the Hollywood of safaris, and if you can stomach the paparazzi (in the form of legions of camera-wielding tourists), you’re in for a mind-blowing show. Besides the fact that safari is a Swahili word, here are 10 reasons you should go on safari in this spectacular country.
1. The endless plains
The quintessential open savannahs mean that, for much of the year, you can see for miles, which makes it easier to spot animals and affords excellent opportunities to watch not only the huge ungulate herds, but to witness the predators hunting them.
Kenya is a birder’s mecca, hosting over 1100 species of birds. That’s more than there are in the entire North American continent!
3. Flamingo flocks
Of these birds, special mention must be made of the tens of thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that gather in the alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley and turn them from blue to pink. Best places to see this breathtaking spectacle would be Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria but, since the flocks move, make sure you get good local updates before you go.
The mystical forests of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares National Park provide a hauntingly beautiful setting for animals like elephant, buffalo and leopard,and are well worth a visit for those wanting something different on their safari itinerary. You might see a giant forest hog (that can weigh just under 300kg), the guereza colobus (one of the most beautiful monkeys in the world) and, if you’rereally lucky, the rarely seen bongo.
There’s a reason why the BBC chose Kenya’s Masai Mara as the location for their television series “Big Cat Diaries”. This is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to watch the big felines in action. And some of the small ones too: it is not uncommon to find the majestic serval hunting the Mara’s grasslands.
6. Big Tuskers
There are very few elephants alive that carry the ivory of the giants of the past. But if you wish to see, arguably, Africa’s most magnificent bulls, Tsavo National Park should be on your itinerary 7.The Samburu District
This part of the country is not only incredibly scenic, with strong flowing rivers lined with palm trees carving through the semi-arid landscape, but it is full of special creatures you mightnot see elsewhere, like Beisa oryx, the striking reticulated giraffe, the bizarre gerenuk, and even a striped hyena.
8. Underwater safaris
Kenya has some excellent diving. At Watamu Marine National Park, green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Nearby Moray Reef is excellent for octopus and whale shark. Kisite Mpunguti Marine Reserve boasts giant manta rays, while Mombasa harbours beautiful coral reefs, and abundant marine life.
9. Kilimanjaro backdrop
Although the roof of Africa resides across the border in Tanzania, Kenya’s Amboseli National Reserve is the best place to try and get a herd of elephant and Kili’s snow-capped peaks in the same frame.
10. The greatest show on earth
1.6 million wildebeest, 250 000 zebra (and 450 000 gazelle) partake annually in this powerful movement of animals between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. But the Mara River must surely be the most dramatic of all their obstacles. Witnessing the intensity of the herds plunging themselves into the crocodile infested waters should be on every safari lover’s bucket list.
Travel tip shared by
Located in the heart of Murchison Falls National park in Uganda, this hidden gem is one of the best of what Uganda has to offer. Its ideal location enables one to sample flora and fauna in its natural setting accompanied with the sounds of river Nile and its magnificent rapids.
One can enjoy several fun activities at the lodge from bush breakfasts, swimming (if you are daring enough, in the river Nile itself, the management will not be liable for your drowning though:-p) in the huge pool that has the Nile as its back drop, safari drives, bird watching, fishing for the lovers of fish, nature walks through the various nature trails in the Murchison national park, visiting the breathtaking Murchison Falls among other memorable escapades that the place has to offer not to mention that it also houses a gym and spa.
In accommodation, the needs of everyone are taken care of from tents, to rooms and cottages.
One has a variety of options; standard room, luxury & deluxe tents, presidential cottages and the amazing Florence Baker House for those who like their privacy and exclusiveness.
Check out the pictures of several places in the lodge and you will agree with me it’s worth your visit
Contact us if you would like great deal to visit the lodge.
Compile By Caesar Wandwasi (@Czaer_)
Im not sure if this is what you were looking for btw cause its not really an adventure but more like information. When my friends from Germany (where i go to school) began planning our trip to Thailand, they had one requirement: that we attend a Full Moon Party. I’ve been to some pretty crazy parties here in Kenya (Earthdance, Diani on New Years) but these guys have been all over and apparently this party even ranks waaay up there with Tomorrowland. They didn’t know a lot about the party but they had heard so much about it they knew they to go.
But what is this party? How did it come about? Why is it so popular? And most importantly – how can you get there yourself!?
What is the Full Moon Party? (this part I had to google lol)
Legend has it that in 1987 (or maybe 86? or 88?) a group of backpackers threw a birthday party for their friend on the night of the full moon. They had such a good time that they came back the following year to do it again and then the following month and then the month after that. Word got out and more people started coming each month.
At first, it was like a small house party on the beach – a few hippies and backpackers playing guitars, smoking weed, and having a few beers. But as word spread and more people showed up, it changed. The 1990s brought the rave scene and all the drugs that went along with it. By 2000, this party was squarely on the travel map and hordes of young people inspired by the movie “The Beach” flocked to Ko Phangan (where the party is held) and, since then, the Full Moon Party has only gotten bigger.
Now, the Full Moon Party is a giant festival-like party with a lot of drinking, dancing and a general good time. Each bar has their own sound system so you’ll hear different music loudly blasting onto the beach every few feet. The beach itself is lined with people selling alcohol, fire dancers putting on shows, and little booths selling glow-in-the-dark face paint. By the end of the night, you’ll see people passed out on the beach and lost flip-flops littering the beach looking for new owners.
Despite the party’s obvious commercialization, it is still a lot of fun and people come here looking for nothing but a good time. It’s rare to see any of the problems (i.e fights) you might normally associate with 40,000 young, drunk people. People here are just looking for a good time and the energy is very positive.
When is it?
As the name would suggest, the party is on the night of the full moon. It you miss it, there’s always the half-moon party, quarter moon party, and black moon party. Really, every night is a party on Ko Phangan its like this particular group of South East Asians are looking for any excuse to party.
There’s accommodation all over the island but you’ll want to stay in Haad Rin (where the actual party is) so you can be close to the action. If you want to find accommodation, you’ll need to come here at least FOUR days before the party in order to find a cheap (and nice) place to stay. The closer you get to the actual night of the party, the more you’ll need a miracle to find something – at any price range. I’ll never understand travellers who just show up the day of or the night before and think they’ll find a place to. They never do. I at a restaurant and watched the same people wander up and down the street many times in a fruitless attempt to find something. Its just like going to Mombasa or the Mara during peak season only an idiot would try that (no offence to those who’ve tried :))
How much does a room cost?
Here’s what you can expect to pay for your bed:
Dorm room (there are a lot of dorms here, something that wasn’t the case a few years ago): 300 Baht per night
Regular room with A/C and hot water: 500-800 Baht per night
Really nice room: 1000 – 1500 baht
Basic bungalow: 800 Baht per night
Really nice bungalow: 2,000 – 3,800 Baht per night
(btw 1 Bhat is like 3 bob in kenya or 1usd is 30 Bhat)
The closer you get to the Full Moon the more the prices go up. The day of or the day before the party, any accommodation left is going to be double the price listed. And if you go there for New Years, you can expect the price to triple, with many places also including an expensive holiday dinner that is mandatory. (Just another way to get more money from you!)
My friends and I arrived 5 days before the full moon and found a lot of cheap accommodation still available. We settled on a room we would all share for 1,500 baht. A few days later, the cheap accommodation was gone and all that was left were the high-end rooms that cost more money than a night at the The Stanley but with River Road quality.
Lesson: Come early, get a room, enjoy the party, and say no to stress.
Should you book online in advance?
No, not even if you are going there for New Years. The accommodation you’ll find online will be the most expensive on the island and require long minimum stays (sometimes as many as 10 nights). There is a lot of accommodation in Haad Rin and most aren’t on online booking services like Hotels.com or Agoda. You will only find them by showing up. Just go early and you will have no problem finding a room.
A good alternative to Haad Rin is Ban Tai beach. It’s the beach over from Haad Rin and where a lot of people stay when rooms start to fill up. It’s a short and inexpensive taxi from Haad Rin. If you stay on the northern part of the island, you will be very, very far away from the party and, though boat taxis and normal taxis run frequently, they are expensive.
How to Get There
There’s no airport on the island so everyone goes by ferry. You can go via Surat Thani on the mainland, or from the nearby island of Ko Samui. From Surat Thani, roundtrip tickets cost 600 Baht and drop you off at the main pier in Thong Sala. From there it is a 100 Baht taxi ride to Haad Rin. From Ko Samui, boat tickets cost 200 baht and leave from Big Buddha Pier or Maenam beach. The Samui ferry will drop you off at the main dock of Thong Sala or Haad Rin depending on time of day and ferry company. During the Full Moon Party, boats go from Ko Samui to Haad Rin every hour.
A lot of companies run overnight buses from Bangkok to Ko Phangan for 450 – 600 Baht. This price also includes the ferry. You’ll take an overnight bus to Surat Thani, sit at the ferry terminal for a few hours, and then take the ferry to the island. It is a long, long night/day but it’s much cheaper than flying. Also im pretty sure as students we’d look for the cheaper option.
If you decide to fly, flights from Surat Thani generally cost around 2,000 baht (with taxes and fees) from Bangkok on Air Asia. Flights from Ko Samui are at least 3,200 Baht since Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways keep a monopoly on the airport and see no reason to lower prices with demand so high (remind you of Kenya Power). During the high season and around New Year’s Eve, ticket prices can get as high as 5,000 Baht.
The Full Moon Party Itself
The party begins days before as people trickle onto the island. On the day of the party, you see people from the neighboring Ko Samui and Ko Tao and from other parts of the island adding to the crowd. You’ll see people start drinking in the afternoon and most people begin to head to the beach around 9pm with the crowd peaking around midnight to 2am. On New Year’s Eve, the beach will be full by 8pm.
Here’s what stuff costs on Haad Rin:
Average Thai meal: 120 Baht
Average western meal: 200 Baht
Banana Pancakes: 30 Baht
Cheap food sold on the beach: 40-50 Baht
Beer: 80-100 Baht (30 in 7-11)
Cigarettes: 80 Baht
Buckets: 200 -300 baht, depending on what kind of alcohol. They can be up to 400 baht on New Year’s Eve.
Toilets: 5 – 10 Baht
Money Saving Tips
Alcohol – Buy your beer at the 7-11 or buy buckets away from the beach, where they are as cheap as 180 baht.
Food – Food is expensive in Haad Rin but there are some good budget choices. Paprika, the Israeli restaurant, had an amazing a falafel sandwich and fruit shake combo for 100 Baht. In the center of town there’s a parking lot and if you walk down the street behind it, you’ll find small Thai restaurants that offer 50-60 Baht meals, about half the price of most other restaurants. Moreover, across from “Planet Hollywood” (just a restaurant that ripped off the name) is another good and inexpensive Thai place. Thai food is great but sometimes really strange, i had scorpions and squid with my noodles so I’d suggest you ask exactly what they’re putting in before you buy.
What the F$%^$ is a bucket?
Remember when you were a kid and you built a sand castle using a little bucket? Now, picture that bucket filled with a can of Coke, Thai redbull, and 375 ml of alcohol — and you now have a Thai bucket. A few of these and you’ll be having a really interesting night.
Party Survival Tips
Drugs: There are a lot of drugs here, especially during the full moon. All drugs are illegal in Thailand and punishable by time in some pretty bad prisons. Undercover police will try to sell you drugs only to arrest you. Locals will snitch on you for a reward. Thais love to crack down on foreigners who are dumb enough to be doing drugs in the open. And besides drugs are just stupid
Skip the jump rope: Picture this. We’re at bar. I turn to you and say “Hey friend, let’s go outside. I’m going to soak a rope in gasoline, light it on fire, and then you and some drunk strangers are going to skip rope.” You would look at me like I was crazy and tell me to get lost. But people on this island do exactly that – they jump over a rope of fire. It’s stupid. You may be the world’s best jump roper but the drunk guy who decides to join you might not be. At my full moon party I saw a lot of people get burned, and the rope wrapped around one guy’s arm and burn all the skin off. He had to be rushed to the hospital. It was not a pretty scene. It’s not how you want to remember your holiday.
Buckets: They’re deadly! One, two, three, passed out on the beach! I saw people having these things before the sun had even gone down. Im told they’re the same people I saw passed out on the beach by midnight. A few buckets will get you very, very drunk so I had a hard and fast rule that I followed: no buckets before midnight. If you want to actually see the sunrise, I’d follow it too. (Note: The Red Bull sold in Asia contains ephedra. This substance is like speed. It also negates the effect of the alcohol quickly, keeping you from feeling drunk. Be careful and watch your consumption of both liquids.)
Hydrate: You are going to be drinking a lot and, even though it is night time, the weather is still hot and humid. Drink a lot of water before and during the event! It will also help your hangover the next day.
Stay out of the ocean: It may seem like a good idea to play in the ocean but it’s not. Not only do you risk drowning (there can be strong waves), but everyone uses the ocean as their personal toilet during the party. There’s a reason the water is warm — and it’s not because you are in Thailand. Stay sanitary and don’t go in.
Wear footwear: Partying on the beach without footwear may seem like a good idea but as the night goes on, broken beer bottles and other sharp objects litter the beach. I had a friends slice open her feet after stepping on a bottle. You are drunk, it’s dark, and you aren’t always looking where you are going. Avoid a foot injury and just wear something on your feet!
Personal belongings: Theft is rife during the party. Bring as little as possible. Bring enough money for drinks and your room key. You don’t really need anything else. The pictures here aren’t even mine 😦 lost my bag and camera there but its just the same as any party in Nairobi, watch your stuff!
The Full Moon Party is one of the biggest and most well-known parties in the world. The vast majority of travellers in Southeast Asia attend at some point and I have saw people of all ages and nationalities (as well as a few families) here. The party is definitely a unique and interesting time but if not done right, it can also be expensive and dangerous.
So party — but party smart.
There are many reasons why people travel. Some want to see famous sights or learn a little bit of history. Others want to do something adventurous. Others want to experience the local culture and witness things that could never be seen in their hometown. Cape Town, South Africa offers all of these things and a visit to Cape Town is not complete without a little bit of everything.
The first day I arrived in Cape Town I visited Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and many other prisoners were once held captive. A former prisoner guided our tour and I was shocked at how accepting he seemed of how he was treated there.
Nelson Mandela’s jail cell:
That night, my friends and I visited Long Street, known for its crazy night life. We went to a restaurant called Mama Africa, which is famous for its live music and strange items on the menu. I shared a platter with a friend which consisted of crocodile, ostrich, kudu, springbok, and a kudu/springbok sausage mixture.
The next day, my friend and I took a helicopter ride over the city. I had never been in a helicopter before, and the views were beautiful.
After that, we took a bus tour of the city. The bus cost about 1000 kes and there were many stops along the way where passengers could get off and other buses would come by every 20 minutes to pick them up. We only had about two hours so we just took the whole bus ride without getting off. It was still a great, cheap way to see the city and it also included headphones so people could listen to narration about everything they were going past.
That night, seven of us took a cab to eat dinner at Camps Bay, an area the two of us had seen on the tour earlier. Camps Bay is a pretty waterfront area with a lot of restaurants.
The next day, my friend and I went cage diving with great white sharks. When we signed up for the trip, we didn’t realize February is the worst month for shark diving, but we still got a shark or two to stay around our cage long enough for everyone to get in the water with them twice. I didn’t realize what a science leading shark diving trips can be. I assumed you just threw some chum in the water and waited, but there was actually a lot more to it than that.
When we got back from shark diving, we ate at the harbor in Cape Town where our ship was docked. The harbor is beautiful and has a lot of shops and restaurants.
On the third day, I took a trip with Abseil Africa to hike up table mountain and rappel down it. Table Mountain is pretty famous and for those who don’t want to hike, there is a cable car that goes up and down it. The abseil is touted as the “world’s highest commercial abseil,” so I was a little nervous that this would be my first time abseiling. The hike up was actually A LOT harder than I expected but the rappelling was amazing. It was the strangest feeling and there were definitely times where I felt like I was going to fall but that is part of what made it so exciting. When we first hiked to the top, it was really foggy.
But, by the time we abseiled down the fog had cleared and we could see the entire town below us.
Abseil Africa was a great company and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to do a similar trip. Some friends and I ate at a restaurant in the harbor again and I went to bed kind of early – I was exhausted from that hike!
On the last day, I visited Khayelitsha township. Everything I saw there was shocking. It was the first country where the living conditions appalled me. In Morocco, I saw people living in mud huts and other conditions I could never imagine. But, while a majority of those people were probably poor, there was still an element of culture which seemed to be present in what I saw there. In South Africa, many houses were partially made out of trash; it was an entirely different situation and it made me so sad to see. It was even worse than our own Kibera!
Despite the conditions in Khayelitsha, I met some of the most inspiring people there. We met two women who owned bed and breakfasts in the area. It was amazing that they were not in the business for business reasons; they genuinely wanted to better their community. Vicky, who owns Vicky’s Bed and Breakfast, has started several programs for the children of Khayelitsha. She feeds all of the children twice a week before school. She said if she tried to feed them every day, there wouldn’t be enough food. She also started a Christmas program so each child can receive at least one gift, even if it is very small. Thope, the owner of Kopanong Bed and Breakfast, tries to employ other community members as cooks, cleaning services, etc. She said even though she could probably do a lot of the work herself, she wants to give other people the chance to earn money.
Both women spoke extensively about trying to encourage other women to start similar businesses. It was refreshing having grown up in the USA (before i came back to kenya) where capitalism and individual gain reign supreme, to see people who use their businesses as something to benefit the entire community.
I left Cape Town a little bit overwhelmed. I had crammed history, adventure, night life, and culture into five days. Finding each of those things to do in Cape Town had been pretty easy – you can’t walk down a street near the harbor without seeing advertisements for all of the types of tours I took. I had planned Robben Island, Table Mountain, and Khayelitsha ahead of time but I easily could have done any of those things last minute. The bus tour, helicopter tour, and shark diving were things my friend and I decided to do on the spot.
Cape Town makes taking part in a variety of activities very easy, but I think it is important to seek out similar opportunities in areas where they may not be so out in the open. I think often times we get so caught up in “having fun” in a place that we miss out on key aspects of an area’s culture, like Khayelitsha. Likewise, if all we ever focus on is culture, we could miss out on fun things we literally could not do anywhere else, such as the “highest commercial abseil in the world.” If you seek things out, any area can offer a little bit of everything like Cape Town does. It is up to us to be good, responsible travelers and make sure we get a good balance of all of the things which make traveling enjoyable.