The Great Migration, considered one of the 10 great natural wonders of the world, sees more than 1 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles trek to new grazing grounds. The brief population explosion of wildebeest produces over 8,000 calves a day before the migration begins.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website! Come check out our new design. We have a wealth of information to share, including new sample itineraries for all of our destinations(Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda), more graphics, and greater detail on our Pilates safari offerings. The only thing better is actually taking one of the safaris!
When I’ve mentioned I’m going on a Pilates safari, more than one person has asked me, so what is that? Upon first hearing, I think they’re imagining it’s a wildlife-relief trip where we bring the healing powers of Pilates to elephants, lions and wildebeest. (I’d actually love to see wildlife do some of Joseph Pilates’ animal-inspired moves, like Swan, Clam, Seal and Crab!)
But in fact, a Pilates safari is a “regular” safari with the added bonus of daily Pilates classes, taught by one of Madison, Wisconsin’s top instructors, Mona Melms.
Our group—including Americans, Canadians and a New Zealander—land at the airport near Kilimanjaro on September 24. From there, we’ll travel to some of Tanzania’s most famous game reserves, including Tarangire National Park, known as the “elephant playground”; Ngorongoro Crater, home to large herds of zebra and wildebeest as well as lions; and Serengeti National Park, where we’ll arrive just in time for the peak of the wildebeest migration. Along the way, we’ll also visit local people, including the Hadzabe, a hunting tribe, and the Ndatoga, who are herders.
So I’ve got my Out of Africa wardrobe and Pilates clothes assembled and can’t wait to go!
Mona Melms is returning to Tanzania to lead her second pilates safari this week! Mona and seven others will be staying at fabulous lodges and visiting Tarangire National Park, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar. The group will be staying fit with daily pilates mat class and Mona is spicing things up with mini resistance balls and bands.
Most of the group departs September 23rd and will be arriving the 24th to Tanzania. They depart the next morning for Tarangire.
Anne Marie O’Connor, Executive Editor of Pilates Style magazine, will be posting blogs and pictures during the trip so stay tuned!
I’ve asked the safari participants to contribute their thoughts, feelings, and reflections of the trip. I will add them as they arrive in my inbox. Here is one that was written, in part, on the trip:
Our safari so far has been absolutely amazing. We’ve seen so many animals, many I never knew existed like bat-earred fox, dik, dik, and the secretary bird. We witnessed a wildbeest giving birth, stumbling upon it out in the wild. Very pure, sacred experience. We saw a lion and cheetahs stalking zebra and wildebeest.
The African safari experience has the ability to alter your perception of the world in a good way. Culturally, everything is so different yet English is spoken and US dollars are used making transition to the culture very easy. If you come with an open mind, you can leave with a new way of looking at the world. Being among the wild animals and the native people is pure escapism.
Adding Pilates and/or Nia exercise to a Safari is ideal for people who want to continue their exercise practice while on vacation. What a great way to start the day before your game drives. Ujuzi African Travel has a high level of attention to detail so for travelers who care about that and want to be sure they’re taken care of, I highly recommend using Ujuzi African Travel to manage your African safari experience.
–Genevieve Schmitt, Montana
Greetings! Most of the group is back in the United States with Nikki and Kristin returning from their extension to Zanzibar tomorrow (March 2nd). The trip was really spectacular and I hope to post some testimonials from the rest of the group in the coming days.
I wanted to share some great video with our followers. Here is a video of the Maasai courtship dance. The higher the men can jump, the more worthy he is as a husband:
Here are children at the Maasai kindergarten singing us a song:
Here is a video of the wildebeest migration in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We were waiting on a female lion who was hiding in the tall grass to continue stalking. Other guests at our lodge said they waited for hours with no success of watching a kill. With such abundant animals, the lions must wait for their prey to practically fall in their lap!:
I did add two additional videos in a couple of the posts, as well as made some edits and added some more pictures to the other posts, so please peruse. I also uploaded about 75 new pictures to the Flickr account, which you can access by clicking on the “Photos” on the top of the right column.
The group woke up this morning at beautiful Kisima Ngeda to coffee delivered to our tents. It was divine – the coffee and the great sounds of the area adjacent to Lake Eyasi. We left at 6 a.m. for our hunting walk with the Hadzabe. They are a people that live only from hunting and gathering. We walked with them for about 2 hours (really we trailed them from a good distance) while they shot at anything that moved! Since it has been really dry here, most large game wasn’t in the vicinity, but they were able to kill two birds.
Upon our return from the hunting walk we joined the Hadzabe for a dance and some target practice (please see flickr photos in upper right column).
We then headed over for a visit to the Ndatoga, who herd goats, donkeys, and are blacksmiths. We also got to visit one of the bomas (huts) to see how they live and watch a woman grind maiz/corn with a morter and pestal for ugali.
The group then headed to Maramboi Tented Camp and Tarangire, dropping me off on the way. I’m headed back to the States tonight, but plan to add another post upon my return. I then am going to ask the safari participants to also add a post describing their experience to Tanzania!
Thanks for reading!
We’ve had an amazing time since our arrival. After leaving Ngorongoro Crater we traveled to the Ndutu area of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park. We saw SO much wildlife. I can’t even believe it. We’ve seen 16 cheetahs, about a dozen lions, a herd of elephants, and tens of thousands of zebras and wildebeest. This morning was the most spectacular because we actually saw a wildebeest give birth. Her baby calf was standing and walking in 4.5 minutes! Important for survival! Here is a picture of the new calf with its Mama.
Shortly after that we watch two male cheetahs stalking. The wildebeest created a defensive line, but the cheetah still charged anyway, scattering the wildebeest. When we left they hadn’t killed any wildebeest or zebra and the cheetah were pooped out.
We traveled back to Bougainvillea Safari Lodge and enjoyed a traditional African meal before heading out to Lake Eyasi where we are staying at a quaint, private permanent tented camp. I’ll try to post more tomorrow, but the kind owners have let me use their computer at their house, so I’ll need to be moving on. I did add some more photos to the Flickr site (upper right-hand corner of the blog) so check them out!
This shot was just taken prior to this post. Genevieve and Mona were unwinding from a long day in the car to a pilates work out by the Kisima Ngeda pool.
The group has had a marvelous time!
We Are departing Bougainvillea Safari Lodge now and heading to the Ndutu area of the Serengeti. We can expect to see large herds of wildebeest, zebras, and elephants. We’ll also hopefully giraffes, more lions, and an asundry of other animals.
Tonight and tomorrow night we are staying at Exclusive Mobile Camp, a tented camp that moves with the animals every 3 months or so. We are going to be very close to the animals – should be exciting. Due to its mobility I’m not expecting an internet connection, so come back Thursday for my next post!
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