Time for a summer break?

It’s time for a summer break and an African safari beckons.  But why now?  Well from June to October it’s the dry season and the best time for seeing the big game. So which country appeals?

Tanzania comes to mind as it is the largest country in East Africa and over 35% of its land is allocated to national parks, big game and forest reserves.  And, what’s more, to date it is relatively unspoilt.

But does Oman Air fly there?  Yes, easy. Oman Air has flights from Muscat four times a week (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday) to Julius Nyerere airport in Dar es Salaam, and the flying time is 5 hours 30 minutes.  From Dar es Salaam road transport is frequent, or if funds allow you could charter a small plane!

OK, so is there a choice of safaris?  Yes, park names like Arusha , Lake Eyasi, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Tarangire spring to mind.  If you want to see the big game Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is the place to go in June.

Tarangire National Park is named after the river that carves through it.  It is situated about 120 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha and covers an area of 2900sq.km (1100 square miles).  The landscape is gently rolling with a scattering of baobab trees and abandoned termite mounds.    During the dry season nearly all the usual water sources have dried up thus forcing the animals to congregate around the remaining available rivers, marshes and swamps.

There is ample wildlife in Tarangire year round with a particular abundance of elephants as this national park is now used as a refuge for these once over-hunted and poached animals.  Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons.  In addition, its swamps attract some 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.

Some tips:

  • Visa can be obtained on arrival: cost between US $ 13 to US $ 60 (depending upon nationality)
  • Credit cards:  Use mainly limited to the large towns. Best to take cash too in a money belt
  • Binoculars for the safari:  – 7×21 compact will be OK, but bird watchers will find a large magnification useful.
  • Photography:  Ideally a 300mm lens or larger for the wildlife, but when taking pictures of people remember that they’ll ask you to give a donation.  Tempting as it may be: don’t try to sneak a picture of the Maasai.
  • Vaccinations and malaria:  Check with your Doctor, and start taking malaria pills well before the start of your visit.  Oh, and don’t forget to take insect repellant with you.
  • Communications:  Internet access is almost non-existent in the game reserves and national parks, so best to tell the folks back at home to sms or telephone instead
  • Hello:   Say ‘jambo’ or ‘habari’ (a courteous Swahili greeting)

Keen to go?  Why not have a look at http://Holidays.OmanAir.com , particularly if you are a 4 or 5-star traveller.  They’re great value!