Pilates Safari to Tanzania September 23-October 4

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!

Genevieve’s Testimonial

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

Thanks Genevieve!

New Video

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:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9-VWAG9W68

Here are children at the Maasai kindergarten singing us a song:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2g8T69euE0

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!:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xwAocEXM5U&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

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.

Cultural Visits

 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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

Abundant Wildlife & Beauty

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.

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Here is a video of the calf taking its first steps:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=825wn8xkzSo

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.

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The group has had a marvelous time!

To the Serengeti and Large Herds of Animals

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!

Thanks for following us!

A Beautiful Day with Amazing Animals

 

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Our drive to Ngorongoro Crater today took us through Tanzania’s 4th largest city Arusha.  A congested city, where Kristin noted that we didn’t pass one stop light or stop sign thoughout our journey through the town.  The drive continued into the Tanzanian countryside where our guide, Stephano informed us of the ways of the Maasai, a herding tribe.  A “family” lives in a boma, consisting of several huts, occupied by the man’s wives.  Yes, man is singular; wives is plural!  They are a people that practices polygymy and it is not uncommon for a man to have 3 or 4 wives.  Stephano pointed out a boma where the husband had 35 wives and over a 100 children.  Apparently the government of Tanzania built a school for him off his compound.  He is considered to be a very rich man for Maasai standards.  More wives = more cattle!

We arrived to the crater rim and then group oo-ed and ah-ed at its majesty.  Here is our group at the rim:

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We dropped into the Ngorongoro crater and the group was immediately excited to see zebras, gazelles, warthogs, and wildebeest, as well as their babies.  We then got serious and went in search of the elusive back rhino.  With only 33 in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, many groups spend days trying to see one.  We lucked out and found a big fellow about 20 yards for the road:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj9ie2WI2UI

Shortly after we found a young lion couple panting heavily and dozing under the high sun.  They were even closer – about 10 feet from the car:

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We then headed over to hippo pool picnic area for lunch and a bathroom break and were treated to some visitors for lunch: three lionesses.  They casually walked through our lunch area and we quickly got in the vehicle!

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It was time to head out but were were treated to more zebra and ostriches, beautiful birds, and some overly friendly baboons who attempted to enter our vehicle while we were parked at the headquarters.  They didn’t realize that we were still in the car!  But it woke me up!

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We headed to Bougainvillea Safari Lodge with their beautiful ground and had dinner.  We are looking forward to a pilates mat class tomorrow morning around the pool.  I will attempt to post some pictures in the morning of the lodge before we head off for the Ndutu area and the wildebeest migration!

Check out more great pictures by clicking “Photo” on in the upper right-hand column!

Off to Ngorongoro Crater

 

The group arrived last night on time!  We enjoyed a drink from the bar at Kia Lodge and then to bed.  Luckily Genevieve, Norman, Kristin, and Petra were able to sleep in this morning, while Mona, Nikki, and I enjoyed a pilates mat session with views of Mt. Kilimanjaro and sun rising.  We are off to Ngorongoro Crater now!

Pilates & Nia Safari: Feburary 19-28, 2011

Welcome to the Ujuzi African Travel blog!  The upcoming trip that the blog will be featuring is the Pilates & Nia Safari to Tanzania, Feburary 19-28, 2011.  Mona Melms will be leading the group exercise instruction, amidst game drives and visits to local tribes.  What an experience!  A group of 7 will be embarking on this trip – a first of its kind in Tanzania!

The purpose of the blog is to share this amazing experience with friends and family of the trip participants and for anyone interested in figuring out – just what is a pilates & nia safari!

Mona or I will attempt to post every day, with the exception of when we are in the bush at Exclusive Mobile Camp, which is February 22 & 23.  Also check out the “Photos” in the upper right hand column.  It will take you to a web album with A LOT more pictures that I will add as the trip progresses!

Our next post will be on February 20th, when everyone arrives at the Kilimanjaro International Airport.  The group arrives at 9:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. CST).  We will head to Kia Lodge – only about 10 minutes away from the airport for our overnight.  The next morning we will be up EARLY for a pilates mat session around the Kia pool!

We’ll then have breakfast and depart for Ngorongoro crater, a large volcanic caldera that is 2,000 ft deep and 100 sq. miles.  A population of approximately 25,000 large animals lives in the crater, including black rhinoceros, hippos, wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, ostriches, cape buffalo, and lions.  It is quite a site to see!

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