Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Exploring Bali, Indonesia: The Birds of the Blanco Renaissance Museum in Ubud

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Blue-and-yellow macaw (or blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and Green-winged macaw (or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

An unexpected highlight of my recent trip to Bali was a visit the the Blanco Renaissance Museum in Ubud. Located in the hill top former residence of Philippine-born painter, Don Antonio Blanco, the museum is whimsical and fascinating… and doesn’t allow photography inside.

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A gorgeous statue on the museum grounds

Like Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia, Blanco’s favorite subject to paint were nude local women. If you’re visiting and have young children, be aware it is impossible to explore the museum’s interior and avoid the vast collection Balinese nudes.

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Palm Cockatoo

The museum is well worth visiting, with lots of paintings and mid-century media collages. But the unexpected find on the grounds is the collection of exotic birds.

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White cockatoo (Cacatua alba)

Several birds add the atmosphere of the Balinese gardens, including several colorful cockatoos and a very charming wreathed hornbill. The birds are friendly and happy to pose for pictures.

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Wreathed Hornbill

The museum also has a nice cafe overlooking the the Campuhan valley, where you can take in the view below.

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Flower bedecked statue in the gardens of the Blanco museum

Strolling through the gardens and seeing the collection of birds is more than worth the entry fee of 80,00o rupiahs (about $6.03 USD).

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Green-winged macaw or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

If you’re looking for things to do in Ubud, I’d highly recommend checking out the Blanco Renaissance Museum. I had no expectations of it and found the whimsical tropical atmosphere delightful.

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Newfound feathered friend

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Blue-and-yellow macaw or blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and Green-winged macaw or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

Be sure to take a pic or two with the birds in the courtyard. They are highly Instagram-worthy subjects.

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Maks posing with a feathered friend

The Blanco Renaissance Museum 
Address: Jl. Raya Penestanan, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 975502

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Exploring Bali, Indonesia: The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud

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Getting groomed at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

If you’re looking for fun things to do in and around Ubud on the island of Bali, you’re going to hear about the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It’s not hard to find since it’s located right in the center of town on Monkey Forest Road.

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Mama and baby monkey at the Ubud Monkey Forest

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Highly photogenic primate at the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Located on a site of a Hindu temple complex in the village of Padangtegal, the Monkey Forest Sanctuary has about 700 macaques roaming freely on the grounds. These are also known as Balinese long-tailed monkeys, scientific name Macaca fascicularis.

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Lunch break for a Balinese long tail monkey

These primates wander freely through the twenty seven acres of protected, jungle-like park grounds. They are very used to being around humans and not in the least bit frightened of people.

Monkey on the stairs

There are also fruit vendors selling bananas, should you wish to feed the monkeys. I’d suggest passing on the chance to feed the monkeys. These Balinese long tail monkeys are already very comfortable with humans and can get aggressive. One jumped on my back and grabbed my hair while I was holding a banana. And we all know how virus movies start, don’t we?

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Up close with a monkey at the Sacred Monkey Forest

With an entry fee of less than two US dollars, visiting the Monkey Forest Sanctuary is definitely a worthwhile activity if you’re visiting Ubud, which is known as Bali’s cultural center.

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Super cute monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

Pro-Tip: skip the bananas. Feeding the monkeys makes them very aggressive. They have no problem opening your backpack or grabbing your iPhone

Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest Street – Padangtegal Ubud
Gianyar – Bali, 80571

+62 361 971304

info@monkeyforestubud.com

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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Londolozi: The Best Destination for a Photographic Safari in South Africa

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Thirsty leopard drinking at Londolozi

If you are a planning photographic safari and want a luxury experience, Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa might be the destination for you.

I rented this Canon is 100-400 mm IS lens at Londolozi

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Scenes from a Game Drive at Londolozi, South Africa

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Up close with African elephants at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa

Last month I returned to Londolozi Game Reserve, where I went on my first safari in 2004. The three days I spent there reminded me of why Londolozi has such a fantastic reputation and constantly winds up on lists of the best safari lodges in the world.

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Solo rhino at Londolozi

This time my husband and I stayed at Tree Camp, the newest of the camps at Londolozi and found the room far more luxurious than we needed it to be. We appreciated all the mod cons like AC and dual vanity sinks and the hot tub, but the point of safari is to go on the game drives and see the animals. Tree Camp was amazing, but I don’t think it’s necessary to get the fanciest room at Londolozi.

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A casual encounter with an African elephant at Londolozi

We also paid for a private vehicle, so that we could go at our own pace and hang out with certain sightings as long as we wanted. If I had to pick one splurge, I’d pick the private vehicle over the largest room on safari. This gives you a more customized safari experience.

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Adorable elephant at Londolozi

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Elephants on an afternoon game drive

There have been some changes at Londolozi since I first visited, and they are great. I’ll dedicate a future post to Londolozi’s photographic studio, which rents Canon and Nikon compatible lenses. This makes Londolozi a top pick for travelers who want the best photographic safari experience.

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Pride of lions feeding on a wildebeest

Game drives at Londolozi last about three hours in the morning and another three in the afternoon. If you’ve never been on safari, six hours of game drives seems like a long time to spend in a vehicle. But the time flies on a game drive when you get to see such amazing wildlife activity up close.

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Thirsty leopard

The elephants and leopards were my favorite animals to view. And I got up close with quite a few of them.

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Londolozi is famous for the leopards

One of the highlights of any safari at Londolozi is the seeing the leopards. They are beautiful and amazing.

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Following a leaping leopard on a game drive

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Leopard on the move at Londolozi

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Leopard napping in a tree

Londolozi is located within South Africa’s Greater Kruger National park on the Sand River. This is also in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

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Up close with an elephant on a game drive at Londolozi

Londolozi Game Reserve

Phone number +27 13 735 5653
Email address news@londolozi.co.za

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