scaredy cats

Mikumi-National-Park_jpgJust a couple of weeks before President Barack Obama lands in Africa for a week-long official visit, interesting stories about his historic visit to the continent are coming up every day. News about Obama’s cancellation of a two-hour safari to Tanzania’s southern wildlife park of Mikumi has so far, attracted the most attention. The Washington Post covered the story over the weekend, quoting a source in the White House as saying the President would require more resources to beef up his security in case he gets attacked by lions, cheetahs, or other wild animals. “The safari would have required the President’s special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions, or other animals if they became a threat,” the document made available to the Washington Post said. The preparations even included sniper teams with high-powered rifles that would shadow the first family on a safari in Tanzania, ready to kill any animal that might become a threat. Misinformed perceptions of Africa aside, it begs the question: has the First Family’s safari fallen victim to the sequester, or are they just a bunch of scaredy cats? A comment on the story as it appeared in Kenya’s Daily Nation, a leading newspaper in East Africa, summed up the local response succinctly: “You should get a Maasai to deal with that. Bow and arrows or spears are enough to protect you, Mr. Obama. We do not use rifles in Africa.”

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the road to tanzania

The road to Tanzania might sound like one of those frothy Hope & Crosby films (with Dorothy Lamour as the girl singer gone native, natch) but the reality is decidedly less buoyant. Here at the austere border crossing I couldn’t tell if the gate was designed to keep people in or out. Lest you think the little A-frame to be an easy drive around, think again: just beyond runs the Sand River, making toll dodging well-nigh impossible.

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trading continents

After months of planning it’s finally time to trade Ireland for Africa. Tonight I fly to Nairobi before heading onward to the Kenyan border with Tanzania – and the heart of the fabled Masai Mara. Adventures await.

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wishlist: singita

Consistently awarded top local and international honors, Singita Game Reserves has introduced an added value promotion that will move Africa to the top of your wish list: free nights at four of their low-impact, luxury African lodges in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The Singita Ebony and Sweni combo package offers a complimentary flight between the two lodges as well as one free night when booking two nights at each lodge. Located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, Ebony Lodge features superlative views plus suites with private swimming pools along the Sabi River. Just a short flight away, seductive Sweni Lodge is nestled within a riverine forest on a private concession in the game-rich Kruger National Park. Intimate and romantic, Sweni has dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls and private viewing decks.  Alternatively for anyone who wants to unpack and stay put for a few days, a free night offer is available at either the stylish Singita Lemombo, overlooking the N’wanetsi River, Singita Pamushana, perched high atop sandstone cliffs overlooking the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe, or Singita Grumeti Reserves, located in the vast landscape of Tanzania’s Serengeti plains. All of the lodges boast unmatched game viewing, haute cuisine, and high style – along with an uncompromising dedication to conservation and sustainability above all else. It’s enough to make me wish I had waited to book next week’s trip to Kenya. Yes, that’s right, dear readers: I’m off to Ireland next week, followed by Africa the week after. From a tent in the Masai Mara I’ll be watching the great migration of wildebeest across the plains. My postings, needless to say, might be a bit intermittent.

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