© 2019 by Geoffrey Clarfileld.

THE THINKING PERSON'S SAFARI TO KENYA AND TANZANIA - JUNE 17-28, 2019

‘Walking With Jane Goodall’s Chimpanzees’

Welcome to the June 2019 Thinking Person’s Safari led by anthropologist Geoffrey Clarfield.

 

This is a part of the world that not only needs to be observed but absorbed. The goal of the trip is to sample and experience in some depth, the three major ecosystems which have and continue to define this remarkable part of the Rift Valley. We will concentrate our time on the Indian Ocean, the plains of the Serengeti and one of the major water bodies of Central Africa, Lake Tanganyika, whose eastern edge lies in Tanzania and whose western shore is found in the Congo.

 

In short, we will spend time on the tropical shores of the Indian Ocean, move among the big game of the drier plains, and walk among the chimpanzees of the Central African Rainforest.

 

Given that we will be traveling during the high season, I have made sure that we get the best of East Africa and that we do not spend most of our time traveling too quickly from one place to another.

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AFRICAN EXPERIENCE

 

The more you read about Africa before you arrive or while you are there, the richer your experience will be, so I will mention a number of books throughout—from the many hundreds that I have read— as they relate specifically to our tour stops. On the final page you will find a short list of my top picks of books about the overall African experience. All are readable, interesting and sometimes entertaining. Nearly all are very inexpensive.

 

INITIAL ITINERARY - June 17-28, 2019

DAY ONE - JUNE 17, 2019

ARRIVAL IN NAIROBI, AFTERNOON OR EVENING

You will be flying into Jomo Kenyatta Airport from Europe, just outside of Nairobi. There you will be met by a driver who will take you straight to the Fairview Hotel. The Fairview was started by an expatriate family who came to Kenya before WWII. I got to know them when I lived and worked in Kenya.

 

The architecture of the hotel is an adaptation of rural country England, adjusted to the tropics. It has a fine swimming pool, health club, gardens, indoor and outdoor restaurants and a gracious staff. I first stayed there in the 1980s and I go back whenever I am in Kenya or going down to Tanzania. I was just there this past January.

 

You will have the afternoon and evening to unwind and then get a good night’s sleep. We are not strangers there.

DAY TWO - JUNE 18, 2019

FLY TO THE MARA (NORTHERN SERENGETI): OVERNIGHT AT EITHER MARA SERENA OR MARA INTREPIDS

At the Fairview Hotel, we will rise early, have breakfast and drive over to Wilson Airport (below). Wilson is the airport for internal flights in Kenya. It follows international standards, but it still has a 20th century feel about it. It is modest and quiet and once in flight you will be able to see the savannah and hills of the Rift valley as you peer out your window.

On one project, I flew in and out of Wilson every other week for two years. I never tired of seeing the beauty of the Rift Valley landscape from the air. The commentary for this experience was best written up by Beryl Markham in her remarkable book, West With The Night. The routes that she pioneered include the ones that we will take as we go to and from our destinations.

Suggested Reading:

 

West With The Night is a book you can read in a couple of evenings: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B017YC7TFA

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DAY THREE - JUNE 19, 2019

A FULL DAY IN THE SERENGETI

We will fly into a local airstrip where we will meet our driver and jeep. We will be in the Mara (northern Serengeti). We will take a leisurely drive towards our lodge. The Mara consists of plains, riverine forests and hills and is home to a wide variety of wildlife such as elephant, giraffe, lion, buffalo, cheetah, zebra and about seventy species of antelopes.

 

We will then have lunch after we settle into our camp. We can also take an afternoon game drive before the sun sets.

DAY FOUR - JUNE 20, 2019

ANOTHER FULL DAY IN THE SERENGETI

The Serengeti is home to the largest number of wild animals in any one place in the world. The pastoral Masai tribe who live around the park call it “Serengit,” which means endless plain. It is what the earth looked like when our ancestors left this rift valley country a mere fifty thousand years ago, to populate the rest of the world.  The Serengeti has changed little since then, and for that reason many visitors have nicknamed it “Pleistocene Park,” as it gives the visitor a taste of what the world was like when human beings were a mere dot on the landscape, centuries before the rise of agriculture in the ancient civilizations of the Nile valley.

We will spend most of the day watching the big game and then visit a Masai village. After experiencing another African day on the Serengeti we will have dinner and sleep at our camp. 

Suggested Reading:

 

Barefoot Over the Serengeti, by the late David Read, the best writer on the Masai tribe. The book reads like a novel but is true in every detail: www.amazon.ca/dp/9987892027

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Here is a typical passage. It is written in an almost throwaway style. But upon rereading it, you realize that it could not have been expressed in any other way. It is as if his language mirrored that footloose reality that the author inhabited:

“The honey-bird directs humans by calling and jumping from tree to tree, leading them to food of any sort. This is usually honey but can often be a wild animal such as a rhinoceros or even a large snake. After the human has taken what he wants of either the honey or the kill, the honey bird will pick up what is left, such as congealed blood, bees’ wax or young, undeveloped bees in the comb. So, when following a honey-bird you have to be particularly careful as you could very easily be led into danger. The Masai have often used this bird to uncover cattle thefts when they suspect there is an olpul (feast) of stolen cattle in a certain area.” – David Read

I met and interviewed David before his recent passing and wrote about it here:

BAREFOOT OVER THE SERENGETI: A VISIT WITH DAVID READ

Suggested Reading:

 

Maasai, by Tepilit Ole Saitoti. The number of anthropological studies of the Masai are legion. They are numerous, long, detailed, technical and usually read like an engineering textbook. The best description of their life and culture surprisingly is to be found in a beautiful coffee table book, put together some years back. There is nothing like it. The author is himself a Masai. It is best to read it before you go. It is very heavy, but has beautiful photos: www.amazon.ca/dp/0810913038

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Suggested Reading:

 

Lunatic Express, by Charles Miller is a painless, quite entertaining, non-academic popular history of East Africa: www.amazon.ca/dp/B00ZUS3N7Y

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No film or book can substitute for the visceral experience of a wildlife safari in this last of the earth’s pristine wilderness environments, but the books recommended come closest.

DAY FIVE - JUNE 21

FLY OUT OF THE MARA TO MALINDI ON THE INDIAN OCEAN COAST

On the morning of the 20th we will fly to Nairobi. We will pack our lunch and eat at Wilson Airport in the suburb of Karen. We will then fly to the Indian Ocean Coast of Malindi where we will stay at Turtle Bay or Temple Point beach lodges. This is the land of the Swahili.

Along the coast, from Somalia to what is now the Mozambican coast, was the land of the Swahili. They are Bantu Africans who originated in West Africa and were converted to Islam by a small group of Indian Ocean traders who settled among them in the 8th century and after, bringing trade and literacy. In addition to their Islamic faith the Swahili are differentiated from other coastal peoples through their past creation of a maritime trading civilization. This society dominated East Africa until the coming of the British. They were republican in practice between and among themselves, yet great slave traders and owners and were only centralized forcefully by the Omanis in the eighteen hundred.

 

The Swahili were traders and middleman between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. They were bypassed economically during colonial times by the introduction of railroads and the dismemberment of their coastal empire by the British who made the coast a protectorate.

 

With the coming of independence their coastal area has become a tourist paradise for Europeans. Extensive hotels have been built there attracting labor from other parts of the country. The Swahili are becoming a minority in their own homeland also through the peaceful migration of outsiders. Islands like Zanzibar adopted British education which gave us pop stars like Freddy Mercury.

DAY SIX - JUNE 22, 2019

ANOTHER IDLE DAY UNDER THE COCONUT TREE OR...

In Malindi you can celebrate the summer solstice by sitting on the beach, taking in the sun, sitting pool side, lounging by the swimming pool or, you can take small boot and snorkel on the reef looking at tropical fish, or you can take a Jahazi, a dhow for a ride in the kind of boat that took Sinbad to India, or you can visit the nearby Bantu villages of the Mijikenda and sample their west African style of music. A visit to the deserted Swahili city of Gedi, a National Museums monument is a must.

DAY SEVEN - JUNE 23, 2019

LAST DAY IN MALINDI

Read, swim, snorkel, sail or explore the local villages and wildlife. You can shadow the cooks in the hotel, get a crash lesson in spoken Swahili, use the spa etc. The hotels provide you with a host of extra activities to get the coastal vibe. You can also visit Malindi town and do some shopping.

Suggested Reading:

 

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, by Robert Kaplan. For those of you who are persuaded that you are visiting a beautiful backwater from the past (partially true) have your eyes opened by this very readable book on the future of the Indian Ocean by Robert Kaplan of the Atlantic Monthly:

www.amazon.com/dp/B003EY7JGC/

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DAY EIGHT - JUNE 24, 2019

FLY TO KILIMANJARO IN TANZANIA

We will fly from the Indian Ocean Coast to Nairobi, Kenya. From there we will catch a plane to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Northern Tanzania, where we will drive to River Trees Resort for the night (it belonged to the Austrian family made famous by The Sound of Music!).

DAY NINE - JUNE 25, 2019

DR. LIVINGSTONE I PRESUME?

The next morning, we will fly over the slave route to the Congo and arrive in Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika where Stanley once met Livingston. It is a large lake in Central Africa that is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the second deepest, in both cases after Lake Baikal in Siberia. It is also the world's longest freshwater lake and one of the world's oldest lakes, having been formed around twenty million years ago.

Located at the southern end of the Western Rift Valley, Lake Tanganyika is divided among four countries—Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, and Zambia. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.


During the slave trading period, it was a major trans-shipment route for slavers. The old Arab slave-trading town of Ujiji, on the eastern shore of the lake, is where Henry Morton Stanley greeted David Livingstone with the words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"


Lake Tanganyika is situated within the Western Rift of the Great Rift Valley that runs from Lebanon to Mozambique and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. It is the largest rift lake in Africa and the second largest lake by surface area on the continent. It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water. It extends for 410 miles (673 km) in a general north-south direction and averages 50 km in width. Much of the lake's coastline is high escarpment, falling directly into the lake.


Since the surface of the lake lies 2,515 feet above sea level and it is 4,710 feet (1,470 m) deep, the lake bottom is 2,195 feet below sea level.

Suggested Reading:

Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. This is an ideal place to reread that controversial classic about the exploration of the Congo that was the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War movie, Apocalypse Now: www.amazon.com/dp/B008TVG8A8/

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DAY TEN - JUNE 26, 2019

BOAT SAFARI TO GOMBE: WALKING WITH JANE GOODALL'S CHIMPS

We rise early, take boat to Gombe and walk with the Chimps. No one described the meaning of spending time with chimps better than Jane Goodall:

 

“I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all. But I was far too busy learning about the chimpanzees' lives to worry about the meaning of my own. I had gone to Gombe to accomplish a specific goal, not to pursue my early preoccupation with philosophy and religion. Nevertheless, those months at Gombe helped to shape the person I am today - I would have been insensitive indeed if the wonder and the endless fascination of my new world had not had a major impact on my thinking. All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.” –Jane Goodall

DAY ELEVEN - JUNE 27, 2019

ANOTHER DAY AT GOMBE OR CONTEMPLATION ON A BEACH IN LAKE TANGANYIKA

Choice of another day at Gombe visiting the Chimps or, watching the vervet monkeys cavort on the sands of the local each on Lake Tanganyika. Bring a bathing suit.

DAY TWELVE - JUNE 28, 2019

WE FLY TO ARUSHA AND BACK TO NAIROBI

When I fly home at the end of a Safari, I inevitably recall these words from Beryl Markham, Kenyan, feminist, adventurer and master of the skies:

 

“There are as many Africas as there are books about Africa -- and as many books about it as you could read in a leisurely lifetime. Whoever writes a new one can afford a certain complacency in the knowledge that his is a new picture agreeing with no one else's, but likely to be haughtily disagreed with by all those who believed in some other Africa. ... Being thus all things to all authors, it follows, I suppose, that Africa must be all things to all readers…Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer's paradise, a hunter's Valhalla, an escapist's Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one.” –Beryl Markham

 

At this point you will be on your way…“Out of Africa.”

 

 

Dear Friends…

I spent many years in Africa working as an anthropologist, being awed and infatuated with her incomparable beauty,  and people. I will be honoured to help you make memories that will last a lifetime as have mine.history

 

Geoffrey Clarfield

 

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR AFRICAN EXPERIENCE

Definitive, Well Written and Easy to Read Histories of the Continent

The more you read about Africa before you arrive or while you are there, the richer your experience will be, so I will mention a number of books, from the many hundreds that I have read, which are readable, interesting and sometimes entertaining. There are many books on the history of Africa, but the best two are written by non-academics. You may want to choose one of these:

Africa, a Biography of the Continent, by John Reader, an American explorer who has spent years traveling, taking pictures, making documentaries and trying to tell the story of Africa in a way that combines history and ecology.

 

His book is long, but some people say it reads like a novel: 

www.amazon.com/dp/067973869X

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The Fortunes of Africa, by Martin Meredith, a British journalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of Africa who has reported from almost every country on the continent.

 

His book is shorter than John Reader’s tome. Once you have read it you will think differently about the continent, our relation to it and its people, from ancient Egypt of the Pharaohs to today’s developing democracies: www.amazon.com/dp/1610396359

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The Shadow of the Sun, by the late Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapucsinski, master of travel writers on Africa.

 

His very short and readable book is an insightful evocation of the entire continent. If you are to read only one of the three books mentioned here, read this one. It is a painless, joyful read; as if Kafka was exploring Africa: www.amazon.com/dp/0679779078

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NET PACKAGE COST: $9,700 USD

 

OFFER INCLUDES:

  • All accommodations and meals

  • Game drives as per itinerary in 4x4WD Safari vehicles on exclusive use

  • 6 pax maximum per vehicle with guaranteed window seat for game viewing

  • Park and Conservancy entrance fees

  • Private Charter flights

  • Airport and Airstrip transfers with meet and assist services as per itinerary

  • International Escort

NOT INCLUDED

  • International Flights and Visa entry charges to Kenya and Tanzania

  • All items of personal use i.e. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, gratuities/tips to driver guides and hotel staff, personal travel insurances, etc.

VISA AND HEALTH

Why the eVisa
Most governments the world over are moving towards digitization of their operations. Online application now makes it possible for visitors to get their visa in advance hence removing the anxiety of whether one will be able will get it or not at the point of entry.

The Online Application is NOT complicated
The application procedure has now been modified and simplified in a user friendly mode that takes three simple steps. The E-Visa portal now has its dedicated website: www.evisa.go.ke. Visa approval is done real-time.

 

Yellow fever certificate required

 

*Please note, the ban on plastic bags in Kenya took effect on Monday 28 August 2017. Please do not bring or carry any plastic bags during your visit to Kenya. Opt for bags made of biodegradable materials that include canvas, polypropylene and cloth.

WHAT TO BRING

Space will be at a premium on your international flight, light aircraft transfers and safari vehicle so with that in mind, the safari packing list below will help you to pack only the necessary and correct items.

 

It may look long at first glance, but depending on your personal circumstances and the type of trip you are going on, some of the items won't be applicable to you and you can safely ignore them.

 

SAFARI GEAR

 

  • There are specific clothing mistakes that many people often make when they go on safari. Find out how to avoid them...

  • Safari hats must do three things well to be effective.

  • Clothing in neutral colours: khaki, light brown/green, tan. Avoid bright colours & white for improved game viewing, especially when on foot. Not as important in a vehicle.

  • A safari jacket is a very handy accessory to take with on your trip.

  • Comfortable short- and long sleeved safari shirts (2 or 3 of each)

  • Comfortable shorts and long trousers (2 or 3 of each)

  • About 5 sets of underwear

  • Pyjamas

  • Swimming costume

  • Flip-flops or sport sandals (public showers, airing feet)

  • Comfortable safari hiking/walking shoes (not white). These are very important on a walking safari.

  • About 5 pairs of socks

  • Extra shoelaces

  • Do not forget a warm coat, better a light ski jacket for highland Mount Nyiru at night.

 

SAFARI SUPPLIES

 

Some of these supplies might be available in the first aid kit that every safari company should carry, but make sure before leaving them off your safari packing list.

 

  • Insect repellent/Mosquito Coil (do not use coils in a tent)

  • Mosquito netting - Your safari company might supply these so find out from them first

  • Sunblock and after sun lotion

  • A travel towel is light and takes very little space

  • Skin cream

  • Malaria tablets (very important) - speak to your travel doctor

  • Citronella or other body soap/shower gel

  • Sunglasses - make sure they have polarized lenses.

  • Biological Water Filtration Bottle or you can stick to the bottled water

  • Wet wipes/hand sanitizer or no-water/antibacterial soap - very handy in the safari vehicle.

  • Pocket Knife (Swiss/Leatherman type)

  • Small scissors, if not on your Leatherman/Swiss knife

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss

  • 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner

  • Tweezers

  • Lip balm

  • Q-tips & cotton balls

  • Razor & shaving cream/gel

  • For younger women-birth control medication (enough to last your trip)

  • Sanitary requirements (shops are sometimes few and far between, and very basic)

  • Contact lens solution & extra set of disposable lenses

  • Band aids & moleskin

  • Vitamins

  • Painkillers

  • Antiseptic cream

  • Motion sickness tablets

  • Heartburn remedy

  • Anti-diarrhea medicine

  • Re-hydration salts

  • Pen/pencil

  • Small unbreakable mirror

  • Plastic bags (wet washing/muddy shoes/organize clothes in suitcase)

  • Small compass

  • Deck of cards/travel size game

  • Books to read between game viewing and other leisure time-see list at GeoffreysJourneys web site

  • String/rope (washing line, tying sleeping bag, multitude of uses!!)

  • Cold/flu tablets

  • Allergy remedy

  • Some people take a basic antibiotic in case

  • Prescribed medicine (enough to last your trip) - keep packed in your hand luggage in case of baggage delays

 

 

SAFARI LUGGAGE

 

The thing to remember when choosing safari luggage is mobility. You will probably be moving between several different modes of transport (airplanes, cars, light aircraft, trucks, boats) so plan accordingly. Suitcases with wheels don't work very well in the African bush but they are adequate if you don't mind carrying them. (Our safari company will probably have someone on hand to carry your luggage for you). A daypack is very handy to transport the items you need while driving around in the safari vehicle or walking through the bush.

 

SAFARI EQUIPMENT

 

  • Safari Binoculars. Essential for a successful trip. No safari packing list is complete without them.

  • Flashlight or headlamp

  • Camera, memory cards, extra batteries, battery charger and lens cleaner

  • Read the free "Better Safari Photography" ebook for information on the best safari cameras and lenses to take with.

  • Small bean bag to substitute a tripod

  • Travel pillow, or you can use your polar fleece/windbreaker

  • Small calculator (or if you're taking your mobile phone) for currency calculations

  • Money belt

  • Washing powder/travel soap for laundry

  • Plug adaptors - generally in Africa its 3-prong round or square

  • Lighter/waterproof matches

  • Travel alarm clock

  • Mini combination locks (keys get lost)

  • Mini sewing kit

 

DOCUMENTS

 

  • Passport & correct visas

  • Emergency phone numbers

  • Africa travel insurance policy

  • Travel diary book - to write your journal and record the wildlife you see. Also includes a hard copy safari packing list

  • Guide book(s) covering the area you're visiting - it should include animals/birds pages for easy identification-you can get them at the shop at the Fairview but it is better to bring them with you

  • Your itinerary

  • Addresses and mobile numbers (postcards/e-mails/texts)

  • Any vaccinations certificates

  • International Youth Hostel card (depending on your type of trip and accommodation)

  • Phone card and international access numbers

  • Extra passport photos

  • Copy of your passport, kept in a separate place than your passport

  • Medical history

  • Copies of prescriptions

  • Small stickers to label your used films, if you still use film

 

 

Follow this safari packing list and you will never have to worry about the frustration of leaving something behind or taking something that you won't need on your African safari.

 

Print the safari packing list out and tick the items off as you go along to make sure you don't miss anything.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

CANCELLATION

In case of cancellation, the following charges will apply on the entire tour price:

  • Between 90 - 30 days 25%

  • Between 30 - 15 days 50%

  • Between 15-7 days 75%

  • Within 7 days 100%

 

COMPLAINTS

Should a problem occur, please advise both ourselves and the supplier of the service in question immediately as most problems are resolved most easily on the spot. Should you remain dissatisfied, please write to us setting out the complaint in detail within 28 days of the end of our services under the contract. We cannot accept responsibility for any complaints which are not notified entirely in accordance with this clause.

 

FORCE MAJEURE

"Force Majeure" means those circumstances where the performance of our contract with you is prevented or affected by reasons of war, threat of war, civil strife, industrial dispute, terrorist activity, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, governmental actions and all similar events beyond our control. In these circumstances, we shall not be liable to pay any compensation or otherwise be responsible for any expenses or losses you might incur where we are forced as a result to cancel, delay, curtail or change your arrangement in any way or where the performance or prompt performance of our contractual obligations is prevented or affected.

BOOKING

In order to make a down payment to reserve your place on this trip, or, for any other logistical, trip-related questions, please contact:

 

Debbie Vandermaas, Senior Corporate Travel Consultant

Travel Professionals International
DIRECT TOLL-FREE: 1.866.448.0362

DIRECT: 506.734.3133
DIRECT FAX: 1.844.770.6293

debbie@debbiedoestravel.ca
www.DebbieDoesTravel.ca


 

'We carry with us the wonders we seek without us; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us.'