Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ultimate Tanzania & Ethiopia Safari 2015

Did you know that far from being a land of drought and famine, Ethiopia is a watershed for many countries in Africa - in fact, well over half of the water that flows into the Nile comes from Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands. Ethiopia is also home to nine world heritage sites - equal with Morocco as the most of any country in Africa and two more than Egypt. A close second to Ethiopia, Tanzania has seven world heritage listed sites   and is home to two of the worlds premier wildlife viewing destinations - the Ngorongoro Crater & Serengeti National Park...

Aside from this extraordinary Christian heritage that dates back to the 1st Century AD, Ethiopia is also regarded as the best birding destination in Africa and is home to some of the continents most unique wildlife including the worlds rarest canid (dog) and Africa's only species of wolf! Ethiopia also has some of the highest and most spectacular mountain ranges in Africa! Combined with the unrivaled wildlife experiences of the world renowned Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, a safari that incorporates both Tanzania and Ethiopia is arguably the ultimate safari experience imaginable.

In the space of just a couple of weeks, experience the marvel of the worlds largest migration of mammals; descend into the world renowned Ngorongoro Crater to track Africa's Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo & rhino); witness the colorful Ethiopian Christian celebration of Epiphany (Timkat); walk through rock hewn churches and castles from the 14th century; track the endemic Ethiopian Wolf, Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex and Mountain Nyala through some of the most stunning mountain range scenery in the world - and if that's not enough, you can try your hand at fly fishing in arguably the worlds least known and one of Africa's finest wild trout fisheries.

Zoom Photo Safaris is excited to announce this ultimate East African safari for the first time in January 2015 led by award winning photographer and guide, Dominyk Lever. There is limited space available on this truly once in a lifetime safari so don't miss out - click on this link to get more information and a quote.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lions & Tigers & Bears!

As a child growing up in Australia, I remember a very catchy advertisement on TV promoting an animal park in Sydney that went a little something like this - "It's the African Lion Safari, with lions and tigers and bears! It's the African Lion Safari, it's scary but nobody cares!" In addition to the scare factor, it appears nobody cared that the only tigers and bears in Africa are in zoos and that in fact the "Indian Lion Safari" would have been a more accurate name for the park!

Ok, no lions or bears this time around, but with the chance of seeing all three, along with blue eyed leopards, India is fast turning into a viable alternative safari destination to Africa! For this reccy, my wife and I decided to concentrate on two of India's premier tiger reserves - Kanha and Bandavgarh NP's in the central state of Madhya Pradesh...

For now, I'm posting some of my favorite images from both parks with a more detailed description of our seven day safari to come...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Model Leopard Cubs

Rarely do animals cooperate when it comes to having their photos taken. Anyone whose been on safari will have their fair share of backside images which apart from the odd zebra behind will end up in the trash.

Occasionally however you get a sighting where the subject/s could not be more cooperative and at times even appear stage managed. One such sighting occurred on my last safari close to the Mara River in the northern Serengeti...

After spending an hour with two leopard cubs on a morning drive, we returned to the same spot late in the afternoon in the hope of capturing the 3 month old siblings playing in the soft afternoon light.

For the next 2 hours we were lucky enough to capture some of the most extraordinary images and video of the model cubs as they posed together and alone in amongst their rocky home while their mother entertained a friend on the other side of the valley - blog post to follow shortly!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

CSI Scorpions

Horatio has been using UV light to great effect over the years to bring Miami's bad guys to justice. Now it's been discovered that scorpions also react to black lights due to fluorescing properties of their exoskeletons when exposed to light of this wavelength.

With small hand held UV devices easily available online, anyone traveling on safari can equip themselves with a scorpion detecting device. Whether you're an arachnaphobe or arachnaphile, these hitherto invisible nocturnal critters will spring to life on your next trip into the bush.

Parabuthus sp. under UV light near Tarangire NP, Tanzania

Friday, April 20, 2012

Extraordinary Ethiopia

Another memorable trip to one of the most underrated countries not only in Africa but on earth! Far from being the country beset by famine and unrest as is the common misconception, Ethiopia offers an extraordinary variety of cultural and natural wonders. There's no doubt traveling in Ethiopia has its challenges - this time around, burst tire on takeoff from Arba Minch, in southern Ethiopia, resulted in a two delay for me and my group.

Challenges aside and from what you will see from the videos below, the shear abundance of amazing sites and experiences make Ethiopia an obvious choice for the traveler wanting to experience more than the standard cultural and historic experience as is the case with north African countries like Morocco and Egypt or the safari circuit that defines east and southern Africa.

Ethiopia is the only country in Africa where it is possible to do both - see for yourself!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Out of Africa

Another great opportunity to lead a trip "Out of Africa" to the Galapagos Islands with friends from a previous safari to Tanzania. Ten days aboard the luxurious MV Eclipse cruising the archipelago followed by two nights at the beautiful Finch Bay Eco Resort on the island of Santa Cruz. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Do not feed the Hyenas - from your mouth!

The old adage - Don't Feed the Animals! - takes on a whole new meaning on the outskirts of the city of Harar, in eastern Ethiopia. Not only do the animals get fed - in this case, wild Spotted Hyenas - they are often fed from a stick clenched firmly between the teeth of so called "Hyena Men".

Each night, these brave souls take up their positions at the outskirts of the city with their basket of camel meat offcuts. Appearing out of the shadows, the surprisingly well behaved hyenas gather in close proximity to one and other in order to receive their nightly fill.

This practice is said to have started over a century ago during a time of great famine, when it was decided that feeding hyenas was a good alternative to the hungry carnivores satisfying their appetite for human flesh.

Today it could be argued that the practice serves a less macabre purpose - that is, to keep livestock and not humans safe at night. Another perhaps more plausible explanation is that its just good business as the practice has a proved a big draw card for tourists - some of which are stupid enough to try it for themselves!