If you have any questions or would like further information on anything contained within this blog or some general advice on travel to Africa please call us on: 0044 1227 753181 or email info@puresafari.com

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Malawi - Quick Facts

It is recommended guests are advised to consult their doctor on suitable malaria prophylactics, as Malawi is a malaria region. Kaya Mawa tests regularly for bilharzia and results have proven clear every time.

Visas are not required for Malawi if travelling on United Kingdom, USA and most European passports. Please enquire with the nearest Consulate of Malawi or for further details view: www.malawihighcom.org.uk

Climate / Seasons
Great year round destination. Best climate can be experienced from late Apr to Nov, with June to Aug being the coolest months (20-25 degrees during the day) and the remainder of the year often experiencing higher temperatures of 30-37 degrees. The months of Dec to Apr is the rainy season, however rains often tend to fall in the evenings.

Recommended Hotels
Kaya Mawa

Please call: 01227 753180 for reservations.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Safari Special

South & North Luangwa National Parks, Zambia
Remote Africa is enjoying excellent wildlife sightings this season, including lion, leopard and wild dogs.

Guests can embark on a 7 NIGHT SAFARI SPECIAL, staying 3 nights at Tafika and 4 nights at Chikoko Trails from just $3830.00 per person. This is a small price to pay for the joy of walking in a pristine wilderness free of roads and mobile phones!

Please contact the Pure Safari experts on: 01227 753181 or info@puresafari.co.uk

Friday, 9 July 2010

Serengeti National Park - Highway Update

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
We had informed recently about the project of the Tanzania Government to build a highway through Serengeti National Park. We are all seeing the block reaction from different local and international organizations opposing this project given the threat it means to this delicate eco-system, which would damage its balance and ultimate affect tourism and the whole economy of Tanzania following the negative impact on the natural balance.

We would like hereby to forward to you the statement from TATO, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, released yesterday 8th July, for you to be aware and see what pressure TATO is also putting into opposing this road.

We think that the more people are aware of it and the devastating impact that it will have on not only the Serengeti but Ngorongoro and Maasai Mara, the better and hopefully they can all lobby against it.

As part of the industry here on the ground in Tanzania, we are keeping in communication with TATO and TTB about the status of the road, and it is our intention to keep you regularly posted on the developments.

“Dear TATO Members,

At the AGM on 17th June, 2010, the meeting appointed an ad hoc Committee to strategise about how we should tackle the PROPOSED LAKE ZONE LINK HIGHWAY THROUGH SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK in the most effective manner and to ensure that our interests are conveyed to Government . The following is the recommendation of the Committee:

The Committee recommends that TATO adopts a strongly opposing stance on the issue of the Serengeti Highway for 2 primary reasons:

* The road threatens the Serengeti eco-system. Almost all TATO members rely on the wildebeest migration as main Tanzania destination marketing . The overwhelming opinion is that this highway is likely to negatively affect the wildebeest and their annual migration. Even if the highway is initially a gravel road, in 10 years time will it be upgraded to tarmac as our country develops its infrastructure? And in 20 years might it become a 4-lane highway? (This seems to be the acceptable alternative)

* The international travel industry is extremely concerned about the development of this road and if TATO was not perceived by our markets to strongly oppose it, would they lose faith in us and take their business elsewhere?

TATO opposes the Government of Tanzania s plan to build a highway across the Serengeti National Park because a such transit road is likely to harm the wildebeest migration, from which the vast majority of TATO members, as well as a significant proportion of the working population of Northern Tanzania receive their livelihoods. TATO believes in rural and infrastructural development and strongly urges the Government to consider the alternative route to the Lake Zone south of the Serengeti Ecosystem OR construct a tunnel on the 52 km stretch as a fall back position

The Committee believes that TATO strategy should be as follows:

* Pursue the normal channels of advocacy to persuade the decision makers within our Government against the northern route through Serengeti and encourage serious consideration for the southern route.

* Give clear, well-argued and strong opinions to the project stakeholders. Ie the engineering consultants, Tanroads, potential donors.

* Motivate members to attend and speak at all public hearings that will be part of the NEMC Environmental Impact Assessment process.

* If the above fail, only then will TATO resort to media and other publicity campaigns.

* Individual members may of course pursue their own strategies of lobbying and encourage their customers to do the same.

We plan to present this position to the Government next Monday (12th July).

Tanzania Association of Tour Operators”

Monday, 5 July 2010

Tanzania – repatriation of black rhinos.

Tanzania – repatriation of black rhinos to their native habitat enhances game viewing in the Mbuzi Mawe area of Serengeti.

In an effort to increase rhino populations in the Serengeti National Park and consequently enhance the game park’s status as one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife reserves conservationists, in conjunction with the Tanzanian government, have trans located the first 5 of 32 East African black rhinos from South Africa back to their native habitat.

Up to date news inform that the new arrivals received a jubilant welcome, not only from the Tanzanian public, but also from the staff and guests of Serena Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp who, thanks to the camp’s ideal location, will now have the advantage of easily spotting the rare rhino species.

The critically endangered animals were bred from a group that was rescued from the Serengeti and relocated to South Africa to prevent their total extinction as a result of rampant poaching in the 60’s and 70’s which saw their population dwindle from over 1,000 to just 70. The return of the rhinos is a significant landmark for nature conservation in Tanzania as it will not only help restore one of the Serengeti’s principal big game species but also maintain northern Tanzania as a tourist destination where all of Tanzania’s native flora and fauna can be viewed.

If you would like to see these magnificent beasts in the wild please view our sample Northern Tanzania itinerary or contact us.

The Wa-Hadzabe tribe of Lake Eyasi: Tanzania's last hunter-gatherers


The Hadza people (or Hadzabe'e) are an ethnic group in Tanzania living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza number just around 1,000, with a worrying decrease. Like the Bushmen of southern Africa, the Hadzabe are hunter gatherers.

Their ancestral homelands originally covered large parts of northern Tanzania and included the world famous Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plain. Now, the Hadzabe exploit a far smaller territory to the south of Ngorongoro, in the escarpments of the Rift Valley and the valleys around Lake Eyasi. The area is home to a wide array of wildlife, and to a range of flora that includes the magnificent baobab trees of Africa - home in turn to the bees from which the Hadzabe collect wild honey. But despite this environmental diversity with its rich resources, the Hadzabe are facing severe pressures on their traditional way of life.

The Hadza are not closely related to any other people. While traditionally considered an East African branch of the Khoisan peoples, primarily because their language has clicks, modern genetic research suggests that they may be more closely related to the Pygmies. The Hadza language appears to be an isolate, unrelated to any other. These nomadic hunter-gatherers live as all humans once lived during the Stone Age: wandering the plains with the changing seasons, killing game for survival, constantly avoiding aggressive wild beasts.

There are four traditional areas of Hadza dry-season habitation in Tanzania: West of the southern end of Lake Eyasi, between Lake Eyasi and the Yaeda Valley swamp to the east, east of the Yaeda Valley in the Mbulu Highlands, and north of the valley around the town of Mang'ola. During the wet season the Hadza camp outside and between these areas, and readily travel between them during the dry season as well.

The Hadzabe survive using the most ancient subsistence practice and technology known to human beings. They hunt animals with bows and arrows and gather wild fruit and plants. The Hadzabe hunt all manner of game from small animals such as dik dik, bush pig and antelope, to large creatures such as wildebeest and giraffe, using arrows with poisoned tips.

The Hadza have traditionally foraged outside these areas, in the Yaeda Valley, on the slopes of Mount Oldeani north of Mang'ola, and up onto the Serengeti Plains. Such foraging is done for hunting, berry collecting, and for honey. Although hunting is illegal in the Serengeti, the Tanzanian authorities recognize that the Hadza are a special case and do not enforce the regulations with them, just as the Hadza are the only people in Tanzania not taxed locally or by the national government.

Hadza men usually forage individually, and during the course of day usually feed themselves while foraging, and also bring home some honey, fruit, or wild game when available. Women forage in larger parties, and usually bring home berries, baobab fruit, and tubers, depending on availability. Men and women also forage cooperatively for honey and fruit, and at least one adult male will usually accompany a group of foraging women. During the wet season, the diet is composed mostly of honey, some fruit, tubers, and occasional meat. The contribution of meat to the diet increases in the dry season, when game becomes concentrated around sources of water. During this time, men often hunt in pairs, and spend entire nights lying in wait by waterholes, hoping to shoot animals that approach for a night-time drink, with bows and arrows treated with poison.

The Hadza are highly skilled, selective, and opportunistic foragers, and adjust their diet according to season and circumstance. Depending on local availability, some groups might rely more heavily on tubers, others on berries, others on meat. This variability is the result of their opportunism and adjustment to prevailing conditions. Traditionally, the Hadza do not make use of hunting dogs, although this custom has been recently borrowed from neighboring tribes to some degree. Most men (80%+) do not use dogs when foraging. Women's foraging technology includes the digging stick, large fabric or skin pouch for carrying items, knife, shoes, other clothing, and various small items held in a pouch around the neck. Men carry axes, bows, poisoned and non-poisoned arrows, knives, small honey pots, fire drills, shoes and apparel, and various small items. While men specialize in procuring meat, honey, and baobab fruit, women specialize in tubers, berries, and greens. This division of labor is rather apparent, but women will occasionally gather a small animal or egg, or gather honey, and men will occasionally bring a tuber or some berries back to camp.

There exists a mutualistic relationship between honeyguide and mammals: in order to obtain wax, the bird guides people and honey-badgers to the nests of wild bees. The Hadza whistle "dialogs" with the honey-guide that mimic the bird's song. The role of the honey-guide is reflected also in Hadza mythology, both in naturalistic and personified forms. The Hadza move camp for a number of reasons. Conflict is resolved primarily by leaving camp; camps frequently split for this reason. Camps are abandoned when someone falls ill and dies, as illness is associated with the place they fell ill. There is also seasonal migration between dry-season refuges, better hunting grounds while water is more abundant, and areas with large numbers of tubers or berry trees when they are in season. If a man kills a particularly large animal such as a giraffe far from home, a camp will temporarily relocate to the kill site. (Smaller animals are brought back to the camp). Shelters can be built in a few hours, and most of the possessions owned by an individual can be carried on their backs.

The Hadza, like many predominantly hunter-gatherer societies, are predominantly monogamous, though there is no social enforcement of monogamy. “In a world that is changing as rapidly as ours, it is painful to think of the massive numbers of people left impoverished by such changes. How much harder then to imagine those people around the globe who not only do not only do not have access to the financial and technological prizes of modern living, but who do not actually want them, preferring instead to maintain their traditional practices of subsistence and land use, medicine, myth and ritual”. We would like to make ours these words by Kate Prendergast, as they perfectly illustrate the case of the Wa- Hadzabe and the complex and usually conflicting realities of contemporary Africa, living simultaneously modernity and tradition, and showing that tradition is not only a remaining of the past, but maintaining traditions is a choice and an option in a world that pretends to be not only global, but homogeneous. With conflicts and crashing interests, African societies show their flexibility by adapting themselves to changing times and by adapting elements of tradition and modernity to live the present.

Threats to Hadzabe´s style of life include the encroachment of both livestock and agriculture into their traditional hunting grounds. As the local area becomes increasingly taken over by neighbouring pastoralist tribes such as the Barabaig and the Maasai - who themselves have problems in securing land for their herds - water supplies traditionally used by the Hadzabe become contaminated by livestock, while at the same time wild game is driven away by the overweening presence of cattle. Moreover, the vital land corridor that links the Eyasi region to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti is being eaten into by small-scale agriculture, which acts to cut off Hadzabe territories from the annual migration routes of the massive herds of wild animals such as wildebeest and water buffalo that range across the Serengeti. These problems in turn are transversely affected by tourism. Because the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti are now wildlife parks - the jewels in the crown of Tanzania's burgeoning tourist industry and a source of much needed foreign cash for the country's fragile economy - the Hadzabe are effectively excluded from hunting in these areas. As a result, many Hadzabe face the problem of devising new and innovative ways to survive as their ancient hunting and gathering territories become ever more denuded.

Included among such strategies are attempts at building small-scale economies. The Tanzanian government attempted - and failed - to resettle the Hadzabe on permanent small-scale agricultural settlements in the 1960s and 70s. For, as long as the government supplied free food, the Hadzabe stayed, but as soon as the food supply dried up, the Hadzabe moved back into the bush. However, given the harsh environmental conditions they now find themselves in, some experiments have been made growing maize to supplement their hunting and gathering practices. The Hadzabe's relationship with tourism in the region is also an active - if complex - one. Some tour companies offer the option of visiting a Hadzabe village and experiencing the unique lifestyle of an African hunter gatherer community. When these schemes directly employ and pay Hadzabe to act as tour guides, they can have benefits for the community. Cultural tourism programs and such visits when designed genuinely and with respect, benefit both these communities and the image of Tanzania as a destination not only with natural interest, but also highlights its cultural wealth. However, some companies are less than scrupulous in their treatment of the Hadzabe, and some are even known to bring commercial hunting trips into their territory, directly threatening Hadzabe security and livelihood in the process.

The larger and more long term strategy the Hadzabe are engaged in is to win back rights to hunt and gather in a far bigger territory than is currently available to them. Such demands involve complex negotiations with their pastoralist and agricultural neighbours, and with local and national government officials. While the Tanzanian government is not overtly hostile to the Hadzabe way of life - unlike the Botswana government who are currently evicting Bushmen off their ancestral lands en masse - the politics of land in Africa are often fraught, and with many competing claims, full restoration in the region of Hadzabe hunting rights looks a long way off.

by LLA

If you would like to visit a Hadzabe village and see traditional life first hand, please contact us.