Africa Geography 101

Hats off to the folks at The Safari Company for a great post on Ebola – which is surprisingly impacting tourist travel to Africa. Why surprisingly you say? Well, because where the Ebola breakout is happening, and it is a terrible disease that is having a major impact on that region, is far closer to say, Europe, than it is to the key tourist routes in Africa – primarily East Africa and Southern Africa.

London, Paris, Madrid and even, and this one actually did surprise us a bit as well, key cities in Brazil are all closer to the Ebola outbreak than say the Serengeti, Botswana or Cape Town.

Cape Town is just under 5,800 kilometers away from the outbreak while Madrid is a relatively cosy 3,600 kilometers. For all the Americans reading this, look at it this way. Cape Town is farther away from the Ebola outbreak than New York is from Los Angeles.

There are, of course, lots of flights in and out of the impacted areas but the issue with those flights won’t be internal Africa flights, it will be the hundreds of daily flights in and out of Africa from Western Europe and the United States.

There’s another part of Africa that is currently being impacted by the same relative lack of knowledge about distances – and that’s Kenya. The troubles in Kenya along the coast, which have quieted down substantially in the last two to three months, are hundreds and in some cases, thousands of miles away from many of the key safari destinations such as Naboisho. 

It’s a great time to head to Africa. Really. And it’s especially a great time to head to Africa with Travel On The Good – in case you want more information on why that’s true, read more here. 

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The Great Migration Moves North to Kenya

Right now, the Great Migration, one of the most extraordinary animal spectacles in the world, is occurring in East Africa. Over one million wildebeest, antelope, and zebra migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve in search of food and water. While there is no clear start or end to this annual 1,800 mile journey, late June through the month of July is the best time for viewing wildlife in Kenya’s Masai Mara.

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In late July, herds continue north following the rains into Kenya and the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The animals must pass two rivers: the Mbalangeti and the Grumeti in the Serengeti and the Mara River in Kenya. The waters run rapidly and crocodiles, concealed by vegetation in the waters, eagerly await their arrival (safaris do too!). The river crossing is an amazing spectacle sought out by travelers and wildlife enthusiasts. Watch a short video from National Geographic to see shots of this incredible feat.

Once in the Masai Mara, the animals are stalked and preyed by larger carnivores such as lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs. This part of Kenya has one of the densest lion populations in the world. In late October, the wildebeest move south to the Serengeti to close the circle before the migration begins again.

Check out these incredible photos from the Masai Mara and a panorama of the Great Migration.

If you want to be at the center of the action next year and see the annual migration in the Mara National Park, you can stay at the wonderful Encounter Mara camp. You’ll pay the same amount you would no matter who you booked it with, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Naboisho Conservancy and right now, their need to increase the number of rangers that are out on anti-poaching patrols.

Booking with Travel On The Good guarantees an extraordinary trip that gives back to the conservancy and its wildlife, so the animals continue to come back in droves year after year.

If you’re going to go, why not go on the good?

We’ll be posting some travel specials starting next week. Right now we are also offering people the chance to plan their own trip, just email us at james@travelonthegood.com if you are interested in learning more.

 

Africa Travel Trends – What’s Up?

Travel Pulse just posted an interesting article on the 6 hot new travel trends for Africa. We agree with them but want to add two more.

With the Baby Boomers having a safari at the top of their bucket list, and they should right? We believe that you’re also going to see people come back to Africa more in the past. Why? Well, for a large number of tourists, especially Americans, they don’t fully understand the African travel experience until they’ve been there at least once.

For example, travelers to the Mara in Kenya will have seen amazing pictures of safari goers out on foot in the bush – it’s not till they’ve been there do they realize that these pictures were taken inside private conservancies like the Naboisho Conservancy where the guides from camps like Encounter Mara will take you out for long walks on the private land.

Nor do first time visitors realize what a difference it makes to go to Uganda and see the gorillas or how far away and how amazing a place like Namibia is from say, the Mara in Kenya.

What other Africa travel trends are out there? Well, you tell us in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

 

UPDATE:

There are some last minute specials now available from Travel On The Good to go to the Mara this year for the amazing migration of animals (August and September travel.) Please email james@travelonthegood.com if you are interested.