Sunday, September 23, 2012

Big Hemingway Safari

"We had come down to the Rift Valley by a sandy red road across a high plateau, then up and down through orchard-bushed hills, around a slope of forest to the top of the rift wall where we could look down and see the plain, the heavy forest below the wall, and the long, dried-up edged shine of Lake Manyara rose-colored at one end with a half million tiny dots that were flamingoes. From there the road dropped steeply along the face of the wall, down into the forest, on to the flatness of the valley, through cultivated patches of green corn, bananas, and trees I did not know the names of, walled thick with forest, past a Hindu's trading store and many huts, over two bridges where clear, fast-flowing streams ran, through more forest, thinning now to open glades, and into a dusty turn-off that led into a deeply rutted, dust-filed track through bushes to the shade of M'utu-Umbu camp." 
- Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa

Journey in style to the very best of Papa’s favourite East African spots: Murchison Falls, Lake Albert, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Kilimanjaro and Malindi. Meet Great Apes in the rainforests, spot the Big Five on the savannahs, and fish a Grand Slam on the coast. Witness firsthand what inspired some of his greatest works.

† 3-Week Itinerary ¢

Day 1: Arrive Entebbe Airport, Uganda, where Ernest Hemingway and his wife Mary arrived on January 25th 1954, and the New York Times reported, “He was carrying a bunch of bananas and a bottle of gin.“ Accordingly, we’ll welcome you with a basket of matoke and waragi! Transfer (1 ½ hrs) by light aircraft to Murchison Falls National Park, to view one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in East Africa, in particular on the banks of the Nile River, which are teaming with hippopotamus and crocodile. Overnight at Para Game Lodge

Day 2: Morning game drive on the northern bank of the Nile to spot elephant, lion, buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest, waterbuck, oribi, bushbuck, hyena, and on occasion shoebill and leopard. Afternoon boat cruise up the Nile to the “Devils Couldron” at the foot of the falls. View crocodile, hippo and a vast array of endemic bird species. Overnight at Para Game Lodge
Day 3: Transfer (1 hr) by road to the top of the falls, where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge. This is where in 1954 the Hemingways’ plane clipped a telegraph wire and plunged onto the Nile. They were forced to camp out near the wreckage. Hemingway told the press, "We held our breath about two hours while an elephant twelve paces away was silhouetted in the moonlight, listening to my wife's snores." In Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure he described how they “rationed their beer and whisky, but were soon rescued by a boat that was well stocked with ale. The couple then climbed into a second airplane - only to have it crash on the airstrip.” Transfer (2 hrs) by road (thankfully) to Masindi and Uganda’s oldest hotel, where the Hemingways recovered from their ordeal. Overnight at the Masindi Hotel

Day 4: Transfer (6 ½ hrs) by road to the shores of beautiful Lake Albert, with a brief stop at the once-thriving port of Butiaba where goods and produce from northern Congo and southern Sudan found their way to European markets, but which was destroyed by a flood in 1964. Then on to Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve, one of Uganda’s first protected areas. This remote habitat has been the focus of research to further understand the evolution of man, particular bipedalism. Night game drive. Overnight at the Semliki Safari Lodge

Day 5: Transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Kibale Forest National Park, the most accessible of Uganda's major rain forests and home to a remarkable thirteen primate species, including habituated chimpanzees, our closest relative in the wild. Transfer (½ hr) by road to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and see how local communities are working together to maintain this stunning wildlife reserve. Overnight at the Primate Lodge

Day 6: Morning chimpanzee trekking. Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Other primates include l’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkey, black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. Night walk to look for nocturnal primates. Overnight at the Primate Lodge 

Day 7: Transfer (4 ½ hrs) by road to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi comprises 331 square kilometers of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest, and is accessible only on foot.  The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp 

Day 8: Early morning gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest, on the steep, rain-soaked slopes of the Bufumbira Mountains. Come face to face with those who Dian Fossey regarded as, “the greatest of the Great Apes” in their lush mountain forest habitat. Afternoon walk to the Pygmy community for a rich cultural exchange with Africa’s original inhabitants. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp

Day 9: Transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Ishasha, at the southern end of Queen Elizabeth National Park., famous for its tree-climbing lions, elephant, hippos and a vast array of antelope, some only found in this remote corner of the Albertine Rift. Morning game drive, then transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Mweya Peninsula.  Evening drive and cold sundowners on the peninsula, surrounded by stunning views of the Rwenzoris (Mountains of the Moon), the Albertine Rift escarpments (eastern in Uganda, western in Congo), as well as Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 10: Late morning boat trip along the shores of the Kazinga Channel, connecting Lake George to Lake Edward, to spot buffalo, hippo and rare bird species. Afternoon game drive to spot lion, leopard and other predators, as well as elephant, warthog, kob and hartebeest. Overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 11: Transfer (6½ hrs) by road to Entebbe, on the edge of Lake Victoria. Relax by the lake, wander around town or visit the Botanical Gardens. Dinner under the light of lanterns at the romantic Jahaza Grill, located in the middle of a forest overlooking the tranquil lakeshore and surrounded by primates and birds. Overnight at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre

Day 12: Transfer (1 hr) by commercial flight to Mwanza, Tanzania, at the southern end of Lake Victoria, and then (3½ hrs) by road to Serengeti National Park, the best known wildlife sanctuary in the world. Serengeti contains the greatest and most varied collection of wildlife on earth, including buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, cheetah, African hunting dog, baboon, caracal, civet, bat-eared fox, genet, giraffe, hippo, honey badger, hyrax, mongoose, ostrich, serval, both Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, vervet monkeys, eland, hartebeest, impala, kudu, reedbuck. Roan, topi, waterbuck, dik dik, duiker and oribi. Overnight at Kirawira Camp

Day 13: Morning game drive through Tanzania’s oldest game park and world-famous for its role in the annual Great Migration, when over a million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. Evening game drive with sundowners. Overnight at Kirawira Camp

Day 14: Game drive and transfer (3 hrs), across the Serengeti and Sale plaines through a veritable graveyard of volcanoes. Lunch at Oldupai Gorge, where hominids have walked for 3.6 million years. Discover your distant human origins in the deepest levels of the gorge, and on the “living floor” where hominids camped and ate, eighteen thousand centuries ago. Transfer (1 hr) to Ngorongoro Crater stopping at Nainokanoka village along the way, to meet the ultimate conquerors of this primordial human domain: the Masai. Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Day 15:  Descend into Ngorongoro Crater, one of the great natural features of the planet, and one of the jewels in the crown of African wildlife destinations. Almost every major species of African plains wildlife can be found in this 164 square-kilometer caldera. Our game drive will explore the short-grass plains of the crater floor to spot lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, and many, many more. Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Day 16:  Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Lake Manyara National Park, stretching for 50 kilometres along the base of the 600-meter high Rift Valley escarpment. Hemingway hunted rhino and buffalo here during his 1933 safari. Afternoon game drive through the park to spot baboon, elephant, giraffe, hippo and tree-climbing lions, and explore the edges of the soda lake, teaming with flamingo and pelican. Overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge

Day 17: Transfer (2 hrs) to Tarangire National Park, famous for its great number of elephants, baobab trees and tree climbing African pythons. “The finest country I had seen,” was how Hemingway described it, while hunting the elusive Greater kudu here. Afternoon game drive to spot the abundant prides of lion. Overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge

Day 18:  Game drive through the arid Tarangire, with the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem. Hundreds of elephant herds frequent the area looking for underground streams in dried-up river beds, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. Overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge

Day 19:  Transfer (1½ hrs) by road to Arusha, then (2 hrs) by light aircraft to Malindi, Kenya, flying directly over Mt Kilimanjaro, which famously inspired one of Hemingway’s best stories. This breathtaking summit is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising 15,100 foot (4600 m) from its base on the Masai Steppe. From here, we descend to the Kenyan Coast, to a strip of idyllic tropical beaches and coral reefs situated between the small, ancient town of Malindi and the sleepy village of Watamu. Here an abundance of sea life attracts oversized predators who hunt the blue water and steep banks just off shore. Few locations in the world offer such spectacular diving and big game fishing in the same place. Dinner and gaming at the stylish Casino Malindi (a chance to win back your safari!). Overnight at Hemingway’s Resort

Day 20: Top off your Hemingway adventure in East Africa aboard Albatross - a 33 foot Black Fin Express with twin 280 horse power dieseled engines - fishing the bountiful Malindi Watamu bank, with experienced skipper JJ Nicholas. The Kenyan coast offers some of the finest big game fishing in the world, and is world-renowned for the sailfish and broadbill fishing. Black marlin, blue marlin and striped marlin occur here, along with numerous other species - offering a great variety of deep sea fishing. Kenya also offers one of the best chances to catch a ‘fantasy slam’ (5 different billfish species in one day). Ernest Hemingway fished here at the start of his 1933 safari, and some say that experience was the inspiration for his Nobel prize-winning novel The Old Man and the Sea. So, after a day of hunting the big blue for the “wonderful and strange,” where better to cook up your catch and enjoy your final meal in Africa than at Malindi’s romantic moorish bistro, the Old Man and the Sea - regarded as one of the finest seafood restaurants in Kenya. Overnight at Hemingway’s Resort

Day 21: Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Mombasa. Depart Mombasa Airport, Kenya and head for home, with the timeless memories of your safari of a lifetime.

No comments:

Post a Comment