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A wild party . . . literally !

A wild party . . . literally !

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This feeding frenzy was the first wild sighting we were presented with on our recent visit to the North of the Serengeti in Kogatende Area.

As we drove off the airstrip where our guide Tito had just picked us up, we took notice in the blue skies above us just how many vultures were moving towards and circling a certain area.  Without any hesitation, we followed and let the vultures lead the way. As we approached the area, we noticed a few vultures sitting on surrounding trees.

We kept making our way towards the scene when a potent odour hit us like a train! Turning up on flat area next to a swamp, a carpet of vultures was sitting on the ground and right next to them, sure enough, the rotting smell was coming from a deceased wildebeest. This was a sighting none of us had ever experienced before and it left us in complete awe. Around this time every year the wildebeest migration is moving up north of the Serengeti as millions of migratory ungulates try to make it across the Mara river on their way to the Maasai Mara in Kenya.

We quickly made our way closer and positioned ourselves as we watched this spectacular scene play on.

By the look of things (and as we later confirmed) the dead beast was a kill by a pride of nursing lionesses within the vicinity. We stared in amusement at the vultures aggressively hissed, grunted, and chattered as they fought to gouge away at the rotting carcass.

Among the species of vultures present at the scene, I was particularly drawn to one specific species.

The Rüppell’s vultures (also referred to as the Rüppell’s griffon vulture, Rüppell’s griffon, Rüppell’s griffin vulture), named after a German zoologist and explorer Eduard Rüppell, is a big vulture ranging across a good part of central and eastern Africa. Being social birds, they nest in colonies of about 100 pairs in a mountainous habitat. They are scavengers, eating only carcasses and the remains of other dead animals.

Rüppell’s vultures have several adaptations to their diet and are specialized feeders even among the Old-World vultures of Africa. They have an especially powerful build and backward-pointing spikes on the tongue to help remove meat from the bone. An astounding sense of smell and incredible binocular eyesight are key senses in spotting food from miles away. Large wings spanning out to 8 ft / 2.5 m make the birds great flyers. They often fly at great altitudes, using strong winds or thermals for more efficient soaring. In fact the Ruppel’s vulture holds the world record as the highest flying bird at a swooping record of 37,000 ft / 11.28km above sea level, higher than Mt Everest’s highest peak by 7,971 ft / 2.43 km.

Despite all these great adaptations the Rüppell’s vulture population has been on steep decline over the years. Reasons for this include the impact of agriculture on their habitat, persecution and large-scale incidental poisoning. In West Africa, these birds have been greatly used in black magic practices.

Though oblvious to most, these birds are key keepers of our biosphere. Vultures, also known as nature’s clean-up crew, do the dirty work of cleaning up after death, helping to keep ecosystems healthy as they act as natural carcass recyclers. Vultures provide cultural and spiritual services dating back thousands of years, as well as recreational services in the form of ecotourism, particularly for bird-watchers and photographers. Conserving vultures also means aiding in conervation of other wildlife that co-exist in same bio systems as these majestic birds.

We highly advocate for conservation efforts towards these birds and the ecosystems they inhabit for the well-being of our planet. You can donatetowards this worthy cause by partnering with Vulture Conservation foundation (VCF).

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COVID – 19: Nisimulie Africa SOP’s

In light of the world opening up slowly amidst the current pandemic, we have been preparing to welcome tourists back to Tanzania by making changes to the way we provide our services. New SOPs are in place for every touch point and guest experience that characterizes your stay with us as your esteemed hosts. Our SOPs will be updated in line with the Government of Tanzania’s instructions to the tourism and hospitality industry. Our priority is to ensure that we provide the safest possible environment for our guests while providing top-notch safari experiences.

 

Standard Operating Procedures

1.     To keep social distancing, safari vehicles with 6-window seats will be redesigned to take only 4 people in the passenger cabin. Safari vehicles with 6-window seats will still be available for families wishing to travel together in one vehicle

2.   The driver-guide will be at hand to oversee guests observe the recommended physical distancing at park entry gates, museums, picnic sites, and while checking in at accommodation facilities.

3.   City transfer and safari vehicles will be regularly disinfected before picking up clients, especially the high-touch surfaces and seats

4.   Sanitizers (anti-microbial agents) will be provided in the vehicle for guests' use

5.   The driver-guide will take necessary personal protection precautions at all times. Guests are encouraged to come with their own masks; packaged masks will be available at an extra cost.

6.   Health condition of driver-guides will be monitored for not less than a week before being assigned to take clients on safari, including measuring body oxygen level (recommended 95% and above) and body temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees centigrade.

7.   There will be three health centers dedicated to COVID-19 rapid response and support network; one center will be in Arusha town (Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre), one in Karatu near Ngorongoro, and the third in central Serengeti at Seronera. Ambulances will be on standby.

8.   For clients needing more medical attention, Nisimulie Africa Tours and Travel will arrange evacuation by Flying Doctors. The Flying Doctors package covers evacuation to a hospital in Nairobi. We can also arrange evacuation to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a fine facility with high rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients. The evacuation to Dar es Salaam will involve some extra charges to be met by the patient. Clients are required to have medical insurance to cover hospitalization expenses. 

9.   The welcome briefing to guests will include details of our safety and hygiene measures in place and what is required of guests during their stay (including the use of masks and gloves and keeping safe distances from other guests).

10. Not limiting these procedures to ourselves, we work with other third-party suppliers who ensure and adhere to the set international standards of travel as defined by the Ministry of Tourism and WHO.

 

Game drives 

·      A maximum of four people will be permitted per vehicle with the exception of groups that   are travelling together.

·      Guides will wear face masks and gloves on arrival at the airstrip, when in the main area of the airstrip and when handling guests’ luggage.

·      Guests must also wear facemasks at the airstrip; however, this is optional while on the game drive.

·      Once the group has left the airstrip, the guide will remove the face mask and gloves to speak with guests, as the safety risk is greatly reduced outside of the airstrip.

·      Game drives will take place in safari vehicles, as usual, which will be disinfected after each game drive.

·      Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and guides and is to be used on arrival at the airstrip, on boarding the vehicle and throughout the game drive.

·      Guests are asked to sensibly practice social distancing throughout the game drive and if meals are served.

 

Communal Areas:

·      Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the camps and soap and individual hand towels will always be available in public bathrooms.

·      At the Bar: The barmen will wear facemask and gloves to handle drinks and snacks and serve on a tray. 

·      A staff member is assigned to regular sanitization duties of surfaces (including door handles, metallic surfaces, counters, etc).

·      Social distancing rules apply, and seating will be arranged to ensure at least one-meter distance between guests.

·      Dining:  All surfaces will be disinfected after each meal.

·      Pool water (where available) will be monitored to maintain a chlorine level between 1 to 3 parts per million and a pH level between 6.8 and 7.4 in order to provide a virus free experience.

·      In sitting areas and on sofas:

·      Guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Around campfire: guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Disposable towels and bins will be placed in strategic areas.

·      In harmony with our vision, our team has had a lot of fun working hard together to put our SOPs in place to ensure the safety of our guests. We are now ready to warmly welcome our guests back to Tanzania.

 

“Nature took a rest from the usual and is now more exquisite”

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