It’s a Wild, Wild World!
Posted by FOOTPRINT HOLIDAYS on December 7, 2018
Great game – check; exquisite terrain – check; luxury lodges – check; fascinating Masai culture –
check; Welcome to Tanzania! The land of unspoilt wild reserves, private concessions and pristine
beaches, Tanzania sweeps you up and offers one of the best wildlife experiences and animal encounters
in the world.
Mr Mani Chacko’s family getaway to Tanzania was curated meticulously as with all wildlife holidays we
design – right from the flight logistics and gaming experiences to handpicking luxury resorts. A family of
four, with two children aged16 & 13, they are vivid wildlife enthusiasts, with a keen interest in birding and
wanted to dapple in local culture as well, all in the 12 days they had. Beginning with a pit stop at Dar es
Salaam, they spent their time between the Ngorongoro Concession including the Ngorongoro crater area
& Lake Manyara and moved on to Mahale and Katavi in western Tanzania bordering Congo and Zambia.
Situated uniquely off the beaten track on the wild side of the iconic Ngorongoro Crater rim, Entamanu
Ngorongoro, (meaning ‘circle' in Maa) offers splendid views into both the Crater and the Serengeti.
Mr Chacko and his family were treated tospectacular game drives into the Ngorongoro Crater, guided
walks around the camp, bush picnics and sundowners, together with genuine Masai cultural experiences.
Exploring the crater area was an exhilarating experience for the family. Perched on the edge of the world’s
largest unbroken caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s most iconic wildlife destination, is an inactive
volcanic caldera; the floor of the Crater covers close to 100 square miles and is mostly covered by
grasslands with few woods and Lake Magadi or Lake Makat in the centre of the crater. These grasslands
and the river together makes for an excellent ecosystem making the big 5 sighting quite easy.
Meeting the locals, the members of the Masai tribe at their Boma, was an experience like no other. A
traditional boma consists of a variety of “houses” which are in essence small huts made of mud and cow
dung. Both humbling and enriching, it gave the Chackos an insightful peek into a Zen-like lifestyle of the
With diverse vegetation, ranging from Savannah to marsh to evergreen forest, tree climbing lions, giraffes,
zebras, wildebeests, impalas, as well as huge herds of baboons, welcomed the family at Lake Manyara
National Park; while the spoonbills, egrets, herons, stalks and other waders converged around the edges
and water meadows, not to mention the famed pink flamingoes!
Manyara – flamingoes
Could it get any better after that? Apparently, yes! More game came along their way as they moved on to
Katavi National Park at the Nomad Katavi Camp. Hippo in their thousands cram the remaining pools,
crocodiles retire to caves in the mud walls of the river banks, buffalo and elephant are drawn to the rivers
to drink – that’s Katavi – pure and unbridled! The lion, hyenas and other predators know this too as they
get out hunting! Few places offer such a raw and wild experience as Katavi!
The Chackos took short walks, game drives, hopped on to the vehicle and drove around
the property encountering elephants who are frequent visitors to the camp, and vast herds of buffalo that
graze on the abundant floodplains. All the while, catching those lazy siestas after lunch, taking bird walks
around the camp environs before winding down with drinks and supper around the fire.
Put up at the luxurious jungle lodge Greystoke Mahale perched on a pristine, white sandy beach
overlooking the gin-clear turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika at Mahale National Park, the Chackos’ next
an encounter was with the chimpanzees.
They walked up the narrow mountain trails to follow the chimpanzees whilst they did their own thing –
eating, foraging, playing, squabbling and grooming themselves. Being only aware of the sounds the
chimps make ahead of them to lead them along, it was a thrilling experience tracking them. They were in
awe of the organized societal hierarchy – alpha males donning their captain hat; bonds and friendships
that have been forged across ages; camaraderie on display, subtleties of different relationships, all
indicated merely through gesture, sound and expression – it was quite an eye-opener!
Most days end with catch up sessions on the day's stories around the bar with fellow travellers, sharing
experiences watching the sun dip below the horizon. ‘The air is scented with jasmine, the forest-rich, the
water of the lake gin-clear and lightly chilled. And if I dare to put an imprint on this paradise I had better
get it right," commented Roland Purcell, who discovered the barefoot paradise of Mahale in the 1980s
whilst on a long walkabout around East Africa. How incredibly true that rings even today!
A gentle walk in the bush that turns into a high octane chase to find the pride of lions and cubs; coming
across a herd of zebra, gazelles and wildebeest grazing; catching the bird’s call and scurrying up
towards their flock; witnessing a cat prowl sneakily by the grasslands in wait for an ambush; spotting
the occasional visit from a buffalo or rhino; saying hello to the Masai folk… well, we have tried to
encapsulate the excitement of our clients here, but there is no replication of the hair-raising moments
they actually had in the wild up there!
Best Time – June to September
Wildlife Experiences – Big 5, Chimpanzee tracking, Birding
Luxury Accommodation – Nomad Safaris
Cultural Spectrum –Interactions with the native Masai tribe