Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Kruger National Park – Best Campsites

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Kruger National Park is one of the most iconic national parks on the African continent. There are vast landscapes and amazing wildlife. You can take your family on game drives, as well as walking safaris. The Kruger is a great, accessible place to camp for the whole family. Depending on where you want to stay within the park, there are several options for camping. Most campsites in the Kruger National Park are called rest camps. Here are a few of our favorites: Berg en Dal Rest Camp One of the newest camps in the Kruger National Park, Berg en Dal is situated in the bush. Opened in 1984, the area around Berg en Dal, has a variety of grazing animals, including: white rhino, kudu, impala, giraffe, elephant, reedbuck, klipspringer, grey rhebok and warthog. You can also see leopard and wild dog in this region of Kruger National Park. Camping in the Kruger National Park typically offers more luxury than many other African campgrounds. This campsite is no different. All of the campsites here are suited for caravans and tents; each site has a power point and a braai (barbecue) stand. If you’re tired after a long day of finding game, you can also hit the restaurant and cafeteria for meals.



There is also a swimming pool if you’d like to cool off after a hot summer day. Getting to Berg en Dal is a breeze; it’s less than an hour from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. Pool pump repair is available 24 h as well. Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp If you are heading to Mozambique, the Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is a convenient place to spend the night. It is only 7.5 miles (12km) from the Mozambican border. The flat area around the rest camp offers a great view of the Crocodile River and Marula trees that scatter the banks. The area around Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is called “Southern Circle” and it is known for the various prides of lion that call this area home. It is also home to a large population of the Kruger National Park’s rhino population. You can also view San (Bushmen) paintings near the Hippo pool. These paintings are the only remaining remnants of the people who once lived and hunted in this area of Africa. Satara Camp The third biggest rest camp in the Kruger National Park, Satara offers a variety of accommodations. If you are ready for a break from camping, you will find plenty of options for guesthouses and bungalows at Satara. Traveling with a group? There are plenty of sites here for camping, with 100 campsites (all with power points); Satara can accommodate your entire group. If you need to stock up, you’ll find a well-stocked grocery store onsite. Located in the center of the Kruger National Park, Satara is a great place to see some of the world’s most famous predators: lion, leopard and cheetah all call this area home because of the fertile grazing land. This area is often called the “cat camp” because of the variety of large cats in the area. Kruger National Park is a great place to camp with the whole family.

Traveling with your cat can be very challenging at first. Many cats never leave the house so just the act of bringing them outside can cause them a lot of anxiety. Even a simple trip to the Vet can make your cat so anxious that after just a few minutes they are vomiting. Only about 1% of cats will curl up content and go to sleep when they are traveling. There are a few things that you can do to prepare for your trip to make the ride at least tolerable.

But 1st and foremost make sure you have an ID tag on your cat. Since many cats never go outdoors this is something most cat owners do not have. If you cat gets away for whatever reason you want to make sure that when he is found he is returned to you. Many cats end up in shelters simply because they had no tag on their collar to identify them.

Then you need to invest in some sort of crate, it can be plastic or fabric (although I like the extra protection the plastic ones give your cat.) I know that getting your cat into one of these will probably make a good piece for Americas Funniest Home Video's but once they are in the crate and the car or plane is moving they tend to feel safe in the confined area and just relax and go to sleep. Something you can do to get them used to the best cat crate for car travel

is to just place the crate in the house about 1 week before you will be traveling with your cat, leave the door open and put some treats in there. They will become curious and go in and out on their own.

When the day comes to put them in it to travel they will already be familiar with the space and will relax more easily. If you will be taking an especially long trip you may want do some trial runs just to make sure your cat does not experience severe motion sickness. You can tell he is sick if he is very quiet & depressed and is profusely drooling. If he does, you may want to consult your vet for some medication so your cat may be more comfortable. This will make the ride much more tolerable for you cat.

And remember never to open the crate unless you are in area where the cat can jump out. As soon as that door opens they are gone. So never open it outside, in an airport etc. On the other hand some cats will be frozen with fear and refuse to come out, in this case just leave the door open and let them come out at their own pace if this is possible.

If possible pamper your cat & bring their food and water from home, cats are very fussy and even a little different taste in his food or water is enough to make him go on a hunger strike. Also bring a leash or better yet a harness, cats are very adept at slipping out of their collars, a harness is much more secure.

And never leave your pet alone in the car! It only takes a few minutes for the internal temperature of a car to build up to 50 degrees above the outside temperature if it is parked in direct sun. If you must leave then you need to crack a window and only leave for a few minutes. Heat stroke is an emergency and if you are traveling you may not even know where the nearest Vet's office is located.

Have some toys and treats that you only bring out when you are traveling and eventually your cat will learn to love to travel!

Camping in the Serengeti

Friday, June 1st, 2012

A camping trip in the Serengeti National Park is a way to see African wildlife at its best—up close and personal.

The Serengeti National Park is located in Tanzania and covers 5700 acres. The legendary national park is home to millions of animals. If you are looking for an once-in-a-lifetime safari experience, this is the place to do it.

History of the Serengeti

The Masai people, native to Tanzania, were using this area before Europeans first visited the area in the early 20th century. Then, in 1929 it was named a national park and the Masai were relocated when the area became a national park in 1940.

Highlights of the Serengeti National Park:

• Wildebeest Migration: A million Wildebeest travel through the Serengeti each year. Joined by hundreds of thousands of zebra and Thompson’s gazelle, the wildebeest travel in groups up to 25 miles wide through crocodile infested waters for fresh grazing.
• Predators: The Serengeti is home to a variety of predators. Lions, cheetahs and leopards all roam the vast plains. In addition, all three species of African jackal call the Serengeti Park home.

Three Regions of the Serengeti National Park

• Serengeti Plains: Wildebeest graze and breed in the Serengeti Plains from December to May each year. The Serengeti Plains is also home to large concentrations of zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, and waterbuck during the rainy season.
• Western Corridor: If you come to the Serengeti from May to June hoping to see the legendary Wildebeest Migration—this is the place to see it. However, during the rainy season, many roads will be impassible. The Western Corridor is also home to Nile crocodiles, colobus monkeys and the rare martial eagle that live near the Grumeti River.
• Northern Serengeti: Running from Seronera in the south to the Mara River (also the Kenyan border), this area is a great place to find elephant, giraffe and dik dik. If you come during July, August and November—you can also see the Wildebeest Migration here.

Camping in the Serengeti National Park

Overlanding is a popular among people traveling throughout the region. Most overlanders do choose camping because of the cost-savings and the unique experience.

Camping in the Serengeti can be a challenge, it’s very basic and, depending on the time of year, actually may not be all that isolated. Many tour groups use Serengeti campsites for their camping safaris, so you may find that you are sharing facilities with more people than you counted on.

There are also campsites right outside of the park. You will find that prices are more cost effective, and it will likely be quieter. Camping outside the park is sure to be an adventure, as well. There are no fences around much of the park, so wildlife often wanders outside the park limits.

Park Entry and Camping Fees

For non-Tanzanians park entry is $50 per person, per day, plus $40 per vehicle/per day (for a total of $140 per day for two people—payable in USD only, credit cards are accepted). Campsites offer overnight options within the park. Camping starts at $30 per person, though it is very basic, you’ll need to provide everything, including your own water.

If you do plan on doing a self-drive, you’ll need a 4×4, recovery equipment and an experienced driver.

Camping in Africa 101

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Camping in Africa is an adventure for sure. After spending over 4 years living on the continent, I know first hand it can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. But, the rewards are definitely worth it—seeing African animals in their natural habitat, hearing local women singing and experiencing the unique cultures are all unforgettable experiences.

If you have camped in other parts of the world, you may be curious about how African camping compares to camping in America or Europe. This greatly depends on the countries you’re visiting, how long you plan to stay, and how adventurous you are. The truth is, there are very few areas that you can’t camp in Africa. And, generally, it is much more affordable than other parts of the world. This is especially true if you are willing to forgo some of the creature comforts and stay at locally owned campgrounds.

If you want to camp your way through Africa, here are a few tips:

African Cities

If you are traveling through big cities, you will likely find a campsite within the city limits. These campsites are often small, and may not be able to accommodate overland vehicles. Many times, hostels will offer camping in their parking lots or garden areas. Typically, campsites within cities are owned by foreigners—which make them more expensive, but you may also get amenities you are not likely to find in rural areas. You will likely find that most have hot water available (although it may be during limited hours) and electricity. They may also have on-site restaurants, which can be a nice way to take a break from cooking.

Security: You will see right away how secure your campsite will be based on how secure the property is. If it is a hostel, chances are they will have sufficient security.

Villages

In remote areas there are a few options. Many locals are capitalizing on the thousands of people that camp their way through Africa each year, and have created campsites. These locally owned and run campsites are typically basic—but are a great way to find tour guides and people that can give you insider tips on things to see in the area. If there is a local hotel, you can also ask if you can pitch your tent outside. We did this several times, once they didn’t even charge us—they just asked us to buy dinner at the local restaurant.

If no campsites are available, feel free to ask a local chief if you can camp in the village. They will likely welcome you and provide true African hospitality.

Security: If you are concerned about security, you can always pay someone to watch your tent. If you are paying to camp, likely it will include security. If you do have someone watch your vehicle/site, and there are no incidents, be sure to give a tip.

National Parks

Camping in National Parks throughout Africa can be surprisingly expensive. There are typically fees for entry and camping. Typically the entry fees apply to each day you spend in the park—in the Serengeti that can mean $50 per day per person, plus camping fees. Less popular parks will typically have lower fees.

Security: Security is likely to be very good within the National Park—keeping both animals and people away.

Bush Camping

If you are traveling through Southern and Eastern Africa, chances are you will be able to find campsites. But, if you are traveling in other areas, or if you do not make it to a campsite, you can “bush camp”. By pulling off the road, and pitching your tent you can camp in remote areas. If there is a village nearby, it’s always a good idea to ask permission.

Security: It’s good to be aware of your surroundings while bush camping. Chances are you will be left alone, but there is always the chance of wild animal sightings!