Best Safari Images of 2013

As we get toward the end of 2013, I thought I’d share with you some photographic highlights from Ujuzi safaris this year – both from my own safaris and those of my clients.

Courtesy of Ellen Wilson

Ellen Wilson of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo took this amazing photo while gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

The year got off to a great start with a trip to Tanzania and Rwanda by a group of employees and volunteers from Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana. They had an unforgettable gorilla tracking adventure. You can see more of their photos and find out more about Rwanda here.

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Lion cub

I spotted this lion cub in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

In April, I took a safari to Kenya to familiarize myself with the amazing parks and lodges there. The country is an absolute treat! It’s rich with wildlife and an astounding array of ecosystems, from arid savannah to lush riverine forest. You can can read more about Kenya and see additional photos here.

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Gazelle in a sea of grass

Photo courtesy of Tony Raab.

Siblings Tony and Becky Raab took a safari to Tanzania in spring. It was hard to pick my favorite photo from them. In addition to this gorgeous shot, they took many breathtaking panoramas and some amazing pictures from their hot air balloon safari in the Serengeti. You can read more about their trip and see video from their balloon ride here.

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Friendly elephants on the Kazinga Channel.

Photo courtesy of Cameron Hooyer

Cameron Hooyer and his family took a trip to Uganda this summer. The country holds a special place in the hearts of his family, since his grandparents lived there for many years. They explored familiar and unfamiliar places and saw amazing sites, like these elephants playing in the water at the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can read more about his trip here.

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I took this photo of wildebeest on a blustery day in Ngorongoro Crater. I also saw lots of zebras, lions, hippos, hyenas, jackals, ostriches and gazelles that morning.

In November I took my own trip to Tanzania to familiarize myself with new lodges and camps. Going from place to place, I managed to sneak a bit of wildlife viewing in! You can see more Tanzania photos and vote for your favorite here, and browse my blog entries about Tanzania here.

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I hope you enjoyed these photos! If you’d like to view more, please visit Ujuzi’s Flickr page.

Buffalo Defeats Lion

Have you seen the amazing wildlife video that’s been making the rounds of the internet the past few days? A group on an early morning game drive in Kruger National Park, South Africa, came across a pair of juvenile lions stalking a cape buffalo and watched for 45 minutes until they went in for the kill.

But just when the lions thought the capture was certain, two other cape buffalos came along and showed the young predators who’s really king of the forest. One of the bulls came up behind the lion and, using its head and horns, flipped it several feet into the air.

Startled, the lion ran away to look for dinner elsewhere, and the rescued buffalo walked off confidently with its friends in search of safer pastures.

I came across this video because I’ll be expanding Ujuzi’s tour offerings to include South Africa in the second half of 2014. But it’s a great reminder of the astounding and unexpected things we can encounter when on safari anywhere on this incredible continent!

Travel to Tanzania in 5-Star Style

On my recent tour of Tanzania, I visited dozens of lodges and tented camps in order to bring you the best of the best. This firsthand expertise allows me to create unforgettable safaris that truly match your travel goals.

While each traveler has unique needs, I’ve outlined a possible 11-day adventure safari with five-star accommodations below to give you an idea of what Tanzania has to offer. As an adventure safari, this sample itinerary hits northern Tanzania’s most famous wildlife areas and features overnights at some of the area’s finest tented camps – offering unprecedented intimacy with the East African landscape with all the comforts of five-star hospitality.

  • Day 1: Arrive Tanzania. Overnight at Lake Duluti Lodge.
    Lake Duluti Lodge is located on a 30-acre coffee farm next to a scenic crater lake on the outskirts of Arusha. Each of the 18 spacious chalets has a private deck with an amazing view of the ancient indigenous trees that provide shade to the farm’s coffee bushes.  Lake Duluti Lodge prides itself on its fine cuisine, five-star service, top-class amenities and eco-friendly architecture and operations.
  • Day 2: Arusha National Park. Overnight at Lake Duluti Lodge.
  • Day 2–4: Tarangire National Park & Manyara Ranch. Overnight at Manyara Ranch Conservancy.
    Manyara Ranch Conservancy is much more than a place to sleep; it’s a destination in and of itself. Guests have the unique opportunity to ride horseback among giraffes and zebras, go on morning safari walks, or enjoy night game drives on conservancy land. Zebras and other herd animals often wander through the camp during sundowners (cocktail hour). The six exquisitely furnished guest tents have electric lights available at all hours, and the en suite bathroom includes flush toilet and shower with hot water on demand.
  • Day 5: Lake Manyara National Park. Overnight at Lemala Ngorongoro.
    Lemala Ngorongoro is an intimate seasonal camp set in an ancient acacia forest near the rim of the crater, just a 15-minute drive from the crater floor. A small camp with nine luxury tents, the camp guarantees seclusion in a pristine forest environment. Each of the spacious standard tents has a king bed or two queen beds with duvets; gas heater; a leather couch; wood floors with rugs; 24-hour solar lighting; and an en suite bathroom with dressing area, flush toilet and a large safari shower. A family room is also available.
  • Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater. Overnight at Lemala Ngorongoro.
  • Day 7–10: Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Pioneer Camp.
    Located in the hill-dotted Moru Kopjes area of Tanzania’s south central Serengeti, Pioneer Camp offers superlative access to the annual migration and Big Five game. A large elevated lounge has sweeping views overlooking knobby granite outcroppings and the endless plains. Each of the 10 private tents pays homage to the mobile camps of the 1930s with solid wooden furniture and trunks, classic canvas chairs, throw rugs and gleaming copper wash basins.
  • Day 11: Fly back to Arusha for departure flight to U.S. or extension to Zanzibar.
Lake Duluti Lodge
Lake Duluti Lodge room
Pioneer Camp

Pioneer Camp lounge

Lemala Ngorongoro Camp

Lemala Ngorongoro Camp tented room

Manyara Ranch

Manyara Ranch tented room

Travel to Tanzania in 4-Star Style!

I recently took a whirlwind tour of Tanzania, visiting five national parks and Zanzibar to find the best accommodations for safari travelers. At each place, I visited an average of half a dozen lodges and camps. All in all, I inspected 39 properties in 9 days.

It was a lot of work, but it’s important to me that I see the properties I’m recommending to my clients in person. It’s rare in the travel business for agents to visit each country and property they work with, and that’s the difference I strive to offer: firsthand expertise that allows me to create unforgettable safaris that truly match each client’s needs.

For a short adventure safari with 4-star accommodations that hits northern Tanzania’s most famous wildlife areas, I would recommend:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Tanzania. Overnight at Arumeru River Lodge.
    Arumeru River Lodge is on 12 acres of an old coffee plantation near Arusha National Park. The property has 23 standard rooms and 6 junior suites in cottages that border an exquisitely kept garden populated by a resident family of dik-diks. Family rooms and triples are available. Arumeru River Lodge offers half-day guided hikes in the nearby rainforest for a nominal fee and free guided garden walks through its grounds.
  • Day 2/3: Tarangire National Park. Overnight at Tarangire River Camp.
    Tarangire River Camp, a 21-tent camp that includes four roomy family tents and a spacious swimming pool for refreshing dips after a long day of safari. The camp overlooks the winding Tarangire River, which attracts a variety of animals even in the dry season when little water is visible. Electricity is available 24 hours.
  • Day 4: Lake Manyara National Park. Overnight at Ngorongoro Exploreans Lodge.
    Exploreans Lodge is a 20-cabin luxury resort close to Ngorongoro Crater. The grounds are astounding, with vast well-kept vegetable, flower and herb gardens. Cabins have a living room, bedroom, en suite bathroom, and a balcony that overlooks a wildlife reserve and coffee plantation, with the Ngorongoro mountains off in the distance. On-site amenities include massage and spa services, a swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool spa. Exploreans is known for its small touches that make a stay truly great, such as a pillow menu that allows guests to choose from several different options to ensure a good night’s sleep.
  • Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater. Overnight at Ngorongoro Exploreans Lodge.
  • Day 6/7/8: Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Lake Masek Tented Camp.
    Masek Luxury Tented Camp has 20 well-appointed tents with en suite bathrooms that include a large tub, enclosed outdoor shower, two vanity sinks and a hair dryer. Each tent has a furnished veranda that overlooks Lake Masek, where hippos and Big 5 game abound all year. Electricity and hot water are available 24 hours a day.
  • Day 9: Fly back to Arusha and depart for home or extension to Zanzibar.

Keep an eye out for next week’s posting on 5-star accommodations!

Arumeru Lodge

Arumeru River Lodge

Arumeru Lodge

Arumeru River Lodge

Tarangire River Camp

Tarangire River Camp


Ngorongoro Exploreans Lodge

Lake Masek Tented Camp

Lake Masek Tented Camp

Lake Masek Tented Camp

Lake Masek Tented Camp