Southern Tanzania Safari

Written by Andrew Muigai

Continued from page 1

The Ruaha is located 128 km west ofrepparttar central Tanzania town of Iringa. It was previously inaccessible, but there is now year round road access. From Dar, road travel is a backbreaking 10 hours while a charter flight takes 1 hours. The best time for a safari is overrepparttar 146510 dry season- May to December. Then,repparttar 146511 Ruaha River is magnetic torepparttar 146512 animals and right atrepparttar 146513 banks,repparttar 146514 drama of their daily life is on display- feeding, fighting, courting and mating. The accommodation is currently limited, but there is a luxury lodge, and a few self-catering chalets and campsites.

Selous Game Reserve isrepparttar 146515 star ofrepparttar 146516 southern safari circuit. The reserve is named afterrepparttar 146517 intrepid Fredrick Courtney Selous, a celebrated Victoria era explorer and naturalist. He met his end here in a sideshow ofrepparttar 146518 First World War. The Great War had spilled over from Europe asrepparttar 146519 Germans then ruled parts of today's Tanzania. Located 500 km torepparttar 146520 southwest of Dar,repparttar 146521 reserve occupies a staggering 55,000 sq km - larger than Switzerland- and isrepparttar 146522 largest of its kind in Africa.

The Selous was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 due torepparttar 146523 significance of both its flora and fauna. This immense wilderness has a diversity of habitats including savanna woodlands, swamps, open grasslands and forests. Over 2,100 species of tress and plants have been recorded. The mighty Rufiji River isrepparttar 146524 lifeblood ofrepparttar 146525 reserve and its numerous tributaries and oxbow lakes are ideal for boat safaris. The wildlife to see here includes buffalo, hippo, black rhino, lion and wild dog. Elephants in particular are numerous and are estimated to number over 60,000.

Other inhabitants of Selous are bush back, waterbuck, reedbuck, impala, eland, giraffe, baboon, zebra, and greater kudu. Birders will also find a trip to Selous worthwhile - over 420 species are on record. Inrepparttar 146526 very large game sanctuaries ofrepparttar 146527 south - Ruaha and Selous in particular, game is scattered and a slow pace is advised, with at least 3-4 days in each. Photographic safaris can be very rewarding here. Most visitors takerepparttar 146528 time to visit to Stiegler's Gorge, which also happens to be a spot favoured by leopards.

From Dar, you arrive after a 1- hour charter flight or by traveling for 7 hours by road. Travel by road is not advised, except forrepparttar 146529 most adventurous souls. Selous is nearrepparttar 146530 coast and is just a few hundred feet above sea level. The climate is hot and humid, particularly between October and March. Part of repparttar 146531 reserve is closed inrepparttar 146532 wet season between March and May. The best time to visit is overrepparttar 146533 dry season period of June to October. Then on safari you can walk, boat and ride a 4WD vehicle. Accommodation is limited to just a few luxury tented and no-frills camps.

The typical southern safari will usually combine Mikumi, Ruaha and Selous. Afterrepparttar 146534 safari, a stay in Zanzibar rounds off an unbeatable holiday experience. It is generally recommended you take an escorted southern Tanzania safari package that includes transport, guide, park fees and accommodation. Particularly inrepparttar 146535 large sanctuaries ofrepparttar 146536 southern circuit, tour guides bring valuable useful local knowledge - where to findrepparttar 146537 animals, and how to get where you are going.

On safari, avoid bright colours as this may get you in trouble with wild animals. If you are wise you will pack brown, beige and khaki clothing. It rarely gets really cold onrepparttar 146538 southern circuit and short sleeve shirts, shorts and trouser for men are adequate. For ladies, short sleeve blouses, slacks and skirts are ideal. But carry a jacket or sweater for possible chills inrepparttar 146539 evening and early mornings. Sunglasses will shield you fromrepparttar 146540 at times harsh tropical glare; and a hat can save you from sunstroke. Bring along a sensible pair of shoes that will allow you to walk comfortably inrepparttar 146541 bush. Binoculars will come in very handy for spotting animals.

Copyright Africa Point

Andrew Muigai is editor of AfricaPoint Insider online newsletter. It is part of the Africa travel website that has helped thousands of travelers discover Africa. You can view more info on Tanzania safari and tours at the website.

Ethiopia Tour

Written by Andrew Muigai

Continued from page 1

In 1937, duringrepparttar Italian occupation,repparttar 146509 monks of Debre Libanos annoyedrepparttar 146510 Fascist overlord who orderedrepparttar 146511 execution of 297 of them. If you are traveling by road, you can pause at Debre Markos, 305 km north of Addis to seerepparttar 146512 church of Markos with its beautiful paintings of Biblical scenes.

Bahar Dar is located onrepparttar 146513 shores of Lake Tana and is 560 km from Addis Ababa. The 3,000 sq km Lake Tana is Ethiopia's biggest and isrepparttar 146514 source ofrepparttar 146515 Blue Nile. Just 30 km after leaving Lake Tana, over a maximum width of 400m,repparttar 146516 Blue Nile drops over 45 m. The result isrepparttar 146517 phenomenon ofrepparttar 146518 Blue Nile Falls, otherwise known to locals as Tississat or "Smoke of Fire". The falls are a spectacular sight andrepparttar 146519 spray mist produces rainbows and rainforest vegetation that forms a habitat to monkeys and many colourful birds.

Lake Tana has 37 islands, some of which harbor churches and monasteries. These buildings carry beautiful murals and paintings, remains of emperors, church crosses, icons, manuscripts, crowns and other articles of historical and cultural significance. Some ofrepparttar 146520 monasteries such as Kebrane Gabriel preserve ancient customs and do not allow entry for women. You can break your historical tour by sailing onrepparttar 146521 Tana. Boats are available for hire at Bahar Dar. The lake is also a delight for bird watchers. Flights are available to Bahar Dar, and some reasonable quality hotels too.

Gondar is 748 km torepparttar 146522 northwest of Addis and rests onrepparttar 146523 foothills ofrepparttar 146524 majestic Simien Mountains. Founded by Emperor Fasilidas, it wasrepparttar 146525 17th century capital of Ethiopia. Noteworthy attractions here arerepparttar 146526 cathedrals, castles, and other imperial buildings that were built by Fasilidas and his succcessors. The architectural style combines Axumite, medieval European and Arabian influences. An Indian architect designedrepparttar 146527 most magnificent of them. For Cathedrals,repparttar 146528 most impressive isrepparttar 146529 hilltop positioned Debre Berhan Selassie (Trinity Church ofrepparttar 146530 Mountain of Light). The city declined after 1855 when Tewodros II removed his capital to Debre Tabor and was subsequently looted inrepparttar 146531 1880's.

Axum, one ofrepparttar 146532 key stops onrepparttar 146533 historical routes, dates back at least 2,000 years. The ancient city is particularly important inrepparttar 146534 history ofrepparttar 146535 Orthodox Church, as it wasrepparttar 146536 seat of King Azena when he converted to Christianity inrepparttar 146537 4th century AD. Every year,repparttar 146538 site known as Queen Sheba's bath isrepparttar 146539 focal point ofrepparttar 146540 ceremony of Epiphany. Archeologist's think thatrepparttar 146541 site and others such as Queen of Sheba Palace were merely named afterrepparttar 146542 famous queen forrepparttar 146543 city had not been founded in her lifetime.

In its heyday, Axum was a vital and sophisticated kingdom that producedrepparttar 146544 written language that survives to this day known as Ge'ez. Though Axum is mostly identified with its trademark monolithic stelae, it has other important ruins such palaces and imperial tombs. The stelae were carved from single blocks of stone as markers ofrepparttar 146545 burial places of kings. These wererepparttar 146546 biggest monolith structures ever made anywhere inrepparttar 146547 world. Out ofrepparttar 146548 11 identifiable large stelae, only one stands today at 24 m. In 1937,repparttar 146549 Italian dictator Mussolini ordered one ofrepparttar 146550 structures to be dismantled and raised again in Rome.

Axum is also known forrepparttar 146551 17th century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion. Legend has it thatrepparttar 146552 original Ark ofrepparttar 146553 Covenant is housed here. The monks jealously guard this treasure and do not allow anybody to view it. This stand has led to much speculation that this object of immeasurable historical and religious value may not actually be inrepparttar 146554 hands ofrepparttar 146555 monks of St Mary of Zion.

Lalibela is renowned for its marvelous 11 rock hewn churches built inrepparttar 146556 12th century AD. The very devout King Lalibela commissioned them, not as monuments, but really as an act of worship. The churches were each carved from a single block of stone. Some are in trenches below ground; while others are built in open quarry caves. Legend has it thatrepparttar 146557 churches were built with great speed because angels continued workingrepparttar 146558 night shift while mortals slept. The result was truly magnificent andrepparttar 146559 very learned people at UNESCO have declared Lalibela a World Heritage Site. The churches are living monuments and are still in use today. Of allrepparttar 146560 historic attractions, Lalibela isrepparttar 146561 one you should not miss.

Harar, unlike other centres onrepparttar 146562 historic route is associated with Islam. The town with its city wall, towers and narrow streets hasrepparttar 146563 feel of Arabian Nights about it. Founded in 1520,repparttar 146564 city is 523 km torepparttar 146565 east of Addis. It is an important centre of Islamic learning and has all of 99 mosques. Indeed it is believed to rank fourth inrepparttar 146566 ranking of holy cities of Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The first Muslims are said to have reached Ethiopia inrepparttar 146567 lifetime of prophet Mohamed. The city is also famous for its handicrafts, colorful woven baskets, and silverware. It was also oncerepparttar 146568 home ofrepparttar 146569 French poet Rimbaud.

Ifrepparttar 146570 evening finds you in Harar, you may witness a most bizarre spectacle courtesy ofrepparttar 146571 so-called Hyena Men. With wild howls, these fearless men summon hyenas fromrepparttar 146572 hills. They then getrepparttar 146573 ruthless scavengers to snatch pieces of meat from their hands or even their mouths!

Inrepparttar 146574 east ofrepparttar 146575 country towardsrepparttar 146576 Dankil Depression and torepparttar 146577 west near Sudan,repparttar 146578 climate is very hot and dry. The central highland region is temperate, and nights can get chilly. Rains come twice a year-repparttar 146579 rather irregular short rains from January to March andrepparttar 146580 long rains from June to September. The best time to visit Addis andrepparttar 146581 highlands region isrepparttar 146582 dry October - June period. The traveler is advised to dress very light inrepparttar 146583 lowlands and desert country. Inrepparttar 146584 highland region, temperatures average 16C and warmer clothing comes in handy at night and early morning.

Some Addis Ababa hotels are of international standard. A few other towns and locations onrepparttar 146585 Historical Route and other tourist attractions also offer reasonable accommodation. Unlike in other countries that receive many tourists,repparttar 146586 budget traveler will find accommodation rates to be very reasonable.

Copyright Africa Point

Andrew Muigai is editor of AfricaPoint Insider online newsletter. It is part of the Africa travel website that has helped thousands of travelers discover Africa. You can view more info on Tanzania safari and tours at the website.

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