Posts Tagged ‘Great Migration’

The Coolest Pool in Africa? Quite Possibly at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Tanzania

4v1c3049

Swim up bar… for elephants

Hotel pools are a huge draw for guests. #PoolPorn is a real thing. There are pools with lazy rivers and water slides for children. There are pools that overlook dramatic scenery. Some have swim-up bars. But the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti in Tanzania might be the most amazing hotel pool I’ve ever seen. Because it features swim-up bar for elephants and zebras instead of the human guests.

Time lapse of the watering hole at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti

The Four Seasons Safari lodge pool overlooks a watering hole which is heavily used by herds of elephants and zebras and other wildlife in the area, much to the delight of guests who can watch the action from their lounge chairs or while in the water.

4v1c3104-2

The lazy man’s safari– complete with bathrobe at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

There is separation in elevation so that guests swimming in the pool have a great vantage point but are still at a safe distance from the enormous animals.

4v1c2709

Infinity pool overlooking an elephant at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

The pool and the surrounding area, including an outdoor restaurant, make for the ultimate lazy person’s safari. Many of the hotel rooms and suites also have views of the watering hole action from their windows or balconies.

4v1c2428

A thirsty herd of elephants headed towards the watering hole

The watering hole action is busiest during the dry season, when water is more scarce in the plains of the Serengeti.

4v1c2546

Zebras and elephants sharing the watering hole

While herds of zebras and elephants would use the watering hole at the same time, they did not mix. The zebras stuck together and so did the elephants.

A fawn non-plussed by the action at the watering hole

Pool porn is a competitive thing in the luxury hotel industry, and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge has gone seriously next level with it’s watering hole next to the pool design.

4v1c2686-2

A local elephant taking a dip

The watering hole is man made, but is more popular than the natural watering hole on the ground that can only be viewed from a few high end suites.

4v1c3086-2

Infinity pool + elephants = win

The hotel’s restaurant has seating outside near the pool, so guests can enjoy the view and poolside safari action throughout their stay. The friendly waitstaff has no problem bringing a cocktail to your lounge chair if you’d like to sip on a gin & tonic while watching the wildlife. It’s the ultimate passive safari for a day you need a break from the bumpy roads of Serengeti National Park.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park,

P.O. Box 14321 Arusha  Tanzania

Lodge Reservations +255 (0) 768 982 101/2

Front Desk +255 768 981 981

Reservations Manager +255 (0) 768 982 100

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Safari in Tanzania: The Great Migration in the Serengeti

img_7009

Herds of Wildebeest on the plains of the Serengeti

There is good reason why going to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to witness the Great Migration is on virtually every shortlist of dream safaris. During the annual great migration, vast numbers of animals including herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and eland and move between Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and the adjacent Masai Mara in Kenya seeking water and grazing land.

img_6867

Sunlight on the shaggy manes of wildebeest 

The migration pattern follows the seasonal rains in East Africa, although the dates aren’t precise and can vary slightly from year to year. The sheer number of animals (estimated to be near 2 million total) makes it one of the most visually stunning wildlife events that takes place on the planet.

img_6477

A herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River

The journey isn’t always a safe one. Large crocodiles lay in wait in the Mara river, knowing it’s just a matter of time before a slow or injured wildebeest crosses their paths. Prides of lions are plentiful in the Serengeti for good reason. It’s like living in an apartment located next to a grocery store. I’ve been on a handful of safaris and I’ve never seen such well fed, satiated lions.

A herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara river during the great migration

Wildebeest (also known as gnus or wildebai) are abundant and follow a seasonal map that is generally predictable. That is one of the reasons I chose to stay at the & Beyond Under Canvas Serengeti camp.

img_6457

Magic hour skies and wildebeest

&Beyond Under Canvas Seregeti’s camp is semi-permanent and moves locations a few times through the year to follow the migration patterns of the herds and maximize wildlife viewing opportunities for guests. The excellent rangers and trackers at &Beyond Under Canvas helped me capture these amazing images of wildebeest.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Safari Photo Essay: Lions of the Serengeti, Tanzania

4v1c9447

Playful young lion in the Serengeti

My recent trip to Tanzania’s Serengeti was pretty much Lionpalooza. The big cats were so beautiful and impressive I thought they deserved their own photo essay.

4v1c9384

Pink tongue on a young lion

Visiting Serengeti National Park in Tanzania during the great migration, I knew I was going to see wildebeest. The quantity of lions was amazing.

4v1c1587

African male lion in Serengeti National Park

Also known as Panthera leo, lions are giant cats. The males can weigh up to 420 lbs. Adult females can grow to 280 lbs.

4v1c15704v1c9330

Left: Date night for African lions Right: a young lion in the Serengeti

Lions are very big, roaring cats. Everyone knows cats rule the internet.

4v1c9450

Playful pair of young African lions

During the great migration, when millions of wildebeest and other animals are moving through the Serengeti, lions are plentiful and seem well fed.
4v1c9405

Lion lounging on a rock in Serengeti National Park

4v1c99384v1c9941-3

Mama lion keeping her cub in line with swats of giant paws

img_7685

Lions lying around

4v1c9390

Love the pink tongue on this lion

Photos in this essay were taken when I was on safari with  & Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas and The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti.

4v1c1781-2

Scene from a safari in the central Serengeti

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Essay: A Visit to a Maasai Village in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania

img_7259

Portrait of a young Maasai in Tanzania

Taking great pictures of safari animals during the Great Migration was my photographic goal for my recent trip to Tanzania. Yet some of my favorite images are from a cultural visit to the Maasai (also known as Masai) village of Ndemwa, located in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area.

IMG_7250

Maasai greeting in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania

The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti offers a day trip to the Ngorogoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest unflooded calderas. Several Maasai tribes call the Ngorogoro Crater home, with small villages dotting the harshly beautiful landscape.

Welcome Dance at the Ndemwa Masai Village in the Ngorogoro Crater

Traditionally, the Maasai are herders. They live off of the meat, blood, and milk of their livestock. They herd goats, cows and sheep. It’s a difficult life and becoming tougher in modern times. Many Maasai now leave traditional village life to take jobs as safari trackers or security guards. These skills come naturally to men who were raised guarding their herds from predators like lions.

4v1c3325

Awash in color, the Maasai are hard to miss 

Like Native People in so many other countries, there are geopolitical issues at play and some want the tribes relocated. For those who stay and continue on the traditional way, additional funds are needed to buy water and supplies for the village.

4v1c3426

Maasai jewelry hanging in a traditional dung hut

In addition to allowing tourists to visit their villages for a fee, the Maasai also sell beaded jewelry they make.

4v1c3439

The Entry to the Maasai Village

The traditional Maasai live in dung huts built by the women tribe members. The huts are rebuilt every two to three years.

FullSizeRender

Portrait of a Maasai woman surrounded by jewelry

The Maasai also practice polygamy. Traditionally a man’s first wife is found by his parents from another village, since most of the villagers are related by blood.

IMG_7194

Male Maasai photographed inside a dung hut

After his first wife is chosen for him, a male Maasai is free to choose his own additional wives. Each wife lives in a separate dung hut with her children and the male splits his time between each. If he can support several wives, a Maasai man can start his own village. How does TLC not have a Sister Wives: Maasai spinoff yet?

IMG_7200

The colorful and chaotic Maasai greeting

Maasai are also resourceful. Their footwear is made from old motorcycle tires. The ultimate in upcycling style!

4v1c3472

Maasai footwear made from repurposed tires

I met several Maasai during my trip to Tanzania who did not stay in the village. Maasai work as camp and hotel guards, as well as safari trackers.

IMG_7204

Brightly dressed Maasai in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania

Some visitors to Tanzania dislike the touristic angle of Maasai village visits. Common complaints are about shakedowns for cash or overcharging for jewelry. I did not have a problem it. I understand the business angle and it’s easy to see how the traditional village way of life would require more cash flow to survive in the modern world.

IMG_7247

Adumu: the Maasai jumping ritual

The Maasai have a jumping ritual known as adumu, which is fascinating to watch. Both the men and women can catch some serious air!

IMG_7261

Maasai school in the Ngorogoro Crater

I also enjoyed visiting the school to see the one room where the village children are taught before they are old enough to herd.

IMG_7347

Portrait of a Maasai woman and child

IMG_7354

Male Maasai jumping during the Adumu jumping ritual

4v1c3527-2

Young Maasai herding goats and cattle in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

I felt it was an honor to get a brief glimpse into traditional Maasai life and very much enjoyed my visit.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook YouTubeTwitterSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSS