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

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Congratulations to you both! - Another Pure Zanzibar Engagement!!

Having both travelled extensively around the world, it surprised me that neither myself nor my Dutch girlfriend had ever been to Africa. One call to Pure Zanzibar later and we were set for a luxury holiday, at a price which was lower than you would expect, if the hotels descriptions were to be believed.

So it was with a mixture of excitement and slight trepidation that we boarded the plane on our journey into unchartered territory. After landing at Dar El Salaam, we transferred to the small plane that would hop us on to Zanzibar. With just a soft holdall each and the very basic domestic air terminal (and ‘bus stop’ would give a better description than the rather grand use of the word terminal) where they wrote out our Passport numbers by hand, it became very clear that we were leaving behind a lot of the ridiculous gadgetry clutter and self importance of the world that we usually inhabited and heading for somewhere simpler and friendlier.

In Zanzibar our transfer was seamless, in fact the only hold ups on the entire trip were the M25 and Heathrow in equal measure... so much for ‘progress’...
Furthermore everyone we met was eager to help and smiling, even when they didn’t need to be.

Stonetown was a fascinating haphazard maze of old houses and shops and schools and small businesses – in fact it was often difficult to tell the difference. Every tourist gets lost in the unnamed unsigned streets but any local will happily point you in the right direction or walk with you and chatter away. We felt safe and relaxed. Yes a few budding entrepreneurs did try to sell us stuff but at no point was anybody too pushy. We walked to the sea front on our own at night, and in the day drank crushed sugar cane under the giant Banyan tree chatting to locals who stopped by. Our hotel was right in the heart of Stonetown and there could be no better way to soak up the atmosphere. I think day trippers might feel uneasy about suddenly being confronted by the rabbit warren like streets – but they need not worry, maybe you need to be there for a bit longer to realise how friendly and vibrant the area is.

We moved onto the Baraza Resort for a blissful and tranquil week on the beach. The calm that we felt as we walked into the reception area, the smiles and welcome of Jemima our villa hostess, the views of the ocean, the gentle breeze... I am sure these images will stay with us forever. The ocean front villa was not only pure luxury, but beautifully designed with day beds for reading and relaxing and plunge pool to cool down. Within a few paces we were on the white sandy beach and every afternoon when the tide came in we swam in the sea, which was like stepping into a warm bath! In the mornings when the tide went out we watched the fishermen casting their nets in the shallows. They would feed their families with their catch and bring back the empty shells to sell. They were also always happy to talk about their lives and their work. In the evenings we would eat expertly prepared unhurried meals in the cool and comfortable restaurant, or out under the stars, always with attentive and smiley service. All of the waiting staff well trained and perfectly polite – but no sense of stuffiness that can make you feel uncomfortable. This is the sort of relaxing that we didn’t want to end.

I mentioned earlier that we had travelled extensively, so it was very interesting to compare our Zanzibar experience. Obviously when you stay in Luxury Resorts and hotels the staff are usually very nice. Of course they are. But what we found in Zanzibar, and Jemima was a perfect example, were staff who loved their job and loved where they lived. It is often arrogantly assumed in the UK that people from less wealthy countries would all like to flock to our shores for our better way of life. This was the opposite of what we found in Zanzibar. People seemed genuinely content with their lot, proud of the islands friendliness and often went over and above what they needed to provide in the way of service. I’m sure lots of holiday resorts will claim this... but here it is actually true. And it makes all the difference.

We got engaged whilst on Zanzibar – it was that romantic and relaxed. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to have this memory.

Many thanks to Tarquin and Susie and the staff at Pure Zanzibar for making this happen. And the most often repeated quote that I read in the Baraza Guestbook I will repeat here, ‘We will be back. Thank you.’

Jerry & Marjolein

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mana Canoe Trails Update

August in the Zambezi Valley is well renowned for being the windy month, this August was no exception. Two out of the six trips had winds too high for safe canoeing on the last day. So this meant these days were spent walking and driving in Mana Pools National Park and Nyamatusi Wilderness Area giving a different dimension to the trail journey. High winds can be a challenge for canoeists as it causes the water to become extremely choppy. We look forward to the tamer September/October conditions and some more incredible days on the water!

The winds at times have added a slight breeze to the hot afternoons and the temperature is starting to rise as we make our way towards spring and summer. With the August winds all but a few of the Winter Thorn Acacia (Acacia Albida) pods have fallen providing a vital food source for many different species that have made there way onto the floodplain to feed on this colourful and nutritious pod. Frequent sightings of most plains game including Impala, Waterbuck, Zebra and Warthog as well as the bigger game such as Hippo, Crocodile, Buffalo and Elephant. Birding has also been of good quality as it always is along the Zambezi with a rare sighting of a Pied Avocet and it is also good to see the Carmine Bee Eaters coming back to the area as well as the African Skimmer as these birds are normally summer migrants and so it is interesting to see them back so early in the year. August was filled with some incredible sightings. A bull elephant standing on his hind legs reaching for branches that would be otherwise out of reach was seen on numerous occasions while walking in Mana Pools National Park. Many guests had the adrenalin pumping privilege of seeing numerous prides of Lions while on foot both close up and from a distance including a massive male Lion on a Buffalo kill who showed his displeasure at our presence by growling constantly and loudly, sending shivers down everyone’s spine. Yet another great sighting was a very relaxed pack of Wild Dog with 3 pups which we managed to approach on foot.

In conclusion, it has been another good month at Mana Canoe Trails with good sightings and beautiful evenings around the campfire. With another busy month coming up we can’t wait to see what the mighty Zambezi has in store for us.

For more information on Zanzibar or Safari Holidays please follow the links or call. 01227 753181

Monday, 8 October 2012

Rhino wars update – Arrests and convictions.

Rhinos killed in South Africa, Kenya & India - Arrests and convictions in Germany and USA
There is no let up from poachers, smugglers and others that continue to massacre rhino populations around the world, and especially in Africa. As of 3rd September South Africa had recorded 373 (Increased to 381, 18 Sep, rhinos as being poached so far in 2012, with the large majority, 229 (236 now), having been killed on the Kruger. But several; incidents from around the world illustrate that it is not just a problem for South Africa, and that until demand can be reduced, the problem will continue to escalate.

A rhino was killed on the Lewa conservancy in Northern Kenya. Lewa is one of the most important sites for rhino conservation in Kenya, protecting both white and black rhinos.

A male and a female rhino have been killed in India's Kaziranga National Park in separate incidents, the 11th rhinos killed in the park in 2012.

Two British men were sentenced for 2-3 years in prison after being found guilty of a series of thefts of rhino horns from German museums.

Five people pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking in black rhinoceros horns for the illicit Asian folk-medicine market. The two ringleaders, a father and son, will lose $2.5 million in smuggling profits, and will also be liable for amounts of unpaid tax.

Please follow the links or call: 0044 1227 753180 for more info on Zanzibar Holidays or Safari Holidays

Friday, 5 October 2012

Client Feedback - Zanzibar

HI Bruce
We had a wonderful time thanks and I've been meaning to email you to let you know just that. I've done a review for Trip advisor so you can see it on there, and I've given you a mention!
We wished we had paid more and done the safari but that's for another year!!

Loved the place, the food was terrific as were the people, and the weather was great just a few downpours that's all, we both said wished we had done 14 nights! Loved the Josani forest trip and enjoyed Stone Town with the sunset cruise although shame it went out of an industrial area, the views were marred by that but the sunset was very lovely indeed.

All the connecting travel arrangements were spot on and on time which was good too.
Thanks again for your help and patience. I know we will return to Zanzibar and with a safari (not next year as we have a Boston trip planned and hoping to go to Croatia) but will definitely be back in touch and I've recommended you to everyone we have told about the holiday!
Thanks again we loved it! 

Tracey Schoales
Group Head of Quality 

Please follow the links or call: 0044 1227 753180 for more info on Zanzibar Holidays or Safari Holidays.