African Safari Update #39 September 2017

AFRICAN SAFARI UPDATE September 2017 Kenya and Victoria Falls in one trip?  Why not? For 25 years we’ve discouraged prospective travelers to Africa from combining East and Southern Africa in one trip because of logistical issues.  No more.  With the introduction of convenient flights from Nairobi to the Victoria Falls area we can now include three or four of Africa’s top-flight safari destinations in a cost-effective and time-efficient package.   Revel in the superb game-viewing of Kenya’s Masai Mara Observe and experience Victoria Falls Venture out among Hwange’s 30,000+ elephants and lots of other big game.  Try a foot safari with a […]

Kilimanjaro or Bust

Every day of the week, Monday through Friday, a solitary figure with big boots and a backpack can be seen trundling the levees adjacent to Buffalo Bayou on Houston’s west side.  If you watch closely, you will notice a pattern.  He walks downhill to where the terrain levels out, turns right.  Walks three meters to the right, turns right again, walks uphill.  At the crest, left three meters, turns left, downhill.  Repeat.  And if you catch him coming back, downhill, left, three meters, left and up and so on. If you stop and inquire about this seemingly odd behavior, you […]

Matusadona National Park

High resolution photos available at Flickr! Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 Part 4 – Matusadona National Park Matusadona National Park which lies between the Ume River and Sanyati Gorge along the shore of Zimbabwe’s massive Lake Kariba is not one of the country’s most-visited reserves, at least not by international tourists.  It should be.  It is unquestionably beautiful with almost too many visual elements competing for attention.  A golf course-like expanse of yellow-green panicum grass  along the lake-shore.   Acres of thick jesse and mopane bush just behind that.  The shimmering surface […]

Hwange National Park

High resolution photos available at Flickr! Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 Part 3 – Hwange National Park To the casual observer or first-time visitor, Nehimba Lodge in north-central Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe seems to have been built in a non-remarkable area.  There’s not a view to speak of in any direction, a mountain in the background, no river to be seen or even much in the way of impressive vegetation.  Spend a day or two there and you will no longer have to guess why the camp is where it is. On […]

Rhodes Matopos National Park

High resolution photos available at Flickr! Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 Part 2: Rhodes Matopos National Park Just before sunset on most days of the year the late afternoon African sun lights up a group of large boulders in a remote corner of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe.  It is an awesome sight in the old-fashioned sense of the word.  In the near-horizontal golden light the boulders come alive, the vividly illuminated blue-green lichen deposits and ochre-colored iron streaks lighting up the rocks like Chinese lanterns.  Even if the place had no history […]

Zimbabwe Trip Report Part 1

High resolution photos available at Flickr! Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 Part 1 – Zimbabwe April/May 2016 Living in Houston and spending quite a bit of time in Africa every year is not exactly a hardship and we look forward to and enjoy our regular visits there.  Even so, having to cross multiple time zones several times per year makes you think long and hard about getting there and back.  We’ve done it every which way:  non-stop on South African Airways from JFK to JNB; via Dulles near Washington D.C. with […]

Why it is OK to travel to Kenya

Every few years, a country falls victim to ‘travel pariah’ syndrome.  Which means that for a variety of reasons, people don’t want to go there.  The causes are many, ranging from dread disease (SARS, Ebola, bird flu etc.) through political instability & insurrection to crime, extreme drought and terrorist or insurgent activity.  Right nowKenya is squarely in that box because of a perfect storm of events, bad timing and negative publicity. The tragedy of this situation is that this perception of danger associated with traveling to Kenya is totally out of line with the reality of the situation.  Kenya is […]

Part 3: Franschoek & the Cape winelands

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15 You don’t have to be a wine-lover to enjoy the Cape wine lands – there’s plenty of gorgeous scenery, history, culture and other things of interest to appeal to every taste. Even so, exploring a few of the wine estates in the area is definitely the thing to do.  On one of our very first trips to the area back in the early 1980’s the owner himself came to […]

Part 4: Xigera Camp, Okavango Delta

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15   Early on the morning of Fri 28 November, without the boxed breakfast lunch which the Mt. Nelson Hotel forgot to give to us, Kathy and I made the less than 20-minute drive to Cape Town Airport.  Then we dove into the travel maelstrom, swept along like tiny fish in a powerful current.   Drop off the car.  Submit to security and check in.  A cup of coffee […]

Part 5: Seba Camp, Okavango Delta

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15 By early afternoon on Nov 30 we made the short hop to Seba in a Cessna 206.  Our guide for the next two days would be Speedy.  On arrival, Speedy gave us a short introduction to the concession and the area, what was currently being seen and what was possible, told us about the various activities and provided basic facts about the camp.  All very useful information to […]

Part 6: Machaba Camp, Khwai River – Moremi

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15 Machaba is a mid-range tented camp – with some nice luxury touches – located in the Khwai region of Botswana, on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve.  Machaba makes a good first impression because of its excellent location on an elevated spot overlooking the Khwai River. There is a spacious lounge and dining room to the left and right of the entrance area.  We enjoyed a light lunch […]

Part 7: Abu Camp, Okavango Delta

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15 Abu is a beautiful, remote camp in the Okavango Delta where six habituated elephants provide the lucky guests with a thrill of a lifetime, whether it is riding, walking with or just observing these amazing giants of the animal world.Right now the star attraction is little Naledi, a little more than a year old and pretty much ruling the roost.  If you’re at all keen on elephants, make […]

Part 8: Ghoha Hills Savuti

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15 From Abu and the lush environment of the Okavango Delta, we would now venture into a very different yet equally intriguing area of Northern Botswana – the near legendary Savuti.  The Savuti Channel and Savuti Marsh – also spelled Savute – plus the adjacent Linyanti area stretching all the way to the border of Namibia – have for many decades been a popular and reliable safari destination.  The […]

Fish Eagle Safaris celebrate 25 year anniversary

Fish Eagle Safaris celebrate 25 year anniversary This year – 2015 – marks 25 years of Fish Eagle Safaris being in business!  We’re thrilled to still be around and of course it is all thanks to our many loyal clients, many of whom have travelled with us several times and have been kind enough to refer us to friends and family. Thank you. We have seen many changes in the African safari industry over the last quarter century.  It has grown exponentially from a handful of ‘classic’ camps in three or four countries to multiple choices of destinations and hundreds  […]

Travel warnings do more harm than good

And they are a waste of time. As long-time observers of and participants in the African travel trade, we have seen dozens of travel warnings issued for various African countries at one time or another over the last 25 years, ranging from Kenya (a ‘repeat offender’) to Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia (no surprise), Egypt, South Africa (there was a time when it was not the flavor of the day), Zimbabwe (can you spell Mugabe) and several others. We don’t know of anyone who has escaped disaster by changing his or her plans because of a travel advisory, but of course you […]

Greystoke Mahale Lodge on Lake Tanganyika: the chimpanzee paradise.

Travel marketing brochures are full of verbiage about enticing places that have a ‘barefoot luxury’ appeal:  glorious open beaches, drop-dead gorgeous views in every direction, pretty white sand, almost nobody else around,  gourmet meals served al fresco, and a staff intent on pampering every visitor. Very few of those places live up to the hype.  Paradise always seems to remain a day’s sailing away.  Not so at Greystoke Mahale:  it has all the barefoot luxury attributes and more:  lake water so clean and pure you can drink it, plus extraordinarily good fishing and likely the best chimpanzee viewing of any […]

Fish Eagle Safaris’ Tsetse fly protection plan

Over more than 25 years of exploring many different countries in Africa, I have had a few run-ins with tsetse flies. Most memorably on a drive along a ‘tsetse fly corridor’ to a camp in Zambia which I don’t think is even in business anymore. In Botswana, tsetse flies have been eradicated by aerial spraying so they are not an issue there; likewise not a factor in Namibia, South Africa, most of Zimbabwe, the South Luangwa region of Zambia and Kenya. If you are headed to Tanzania (Serengeti, parts of Selous GR, parts of Ruaha NP, Katavi and Mahale Mountains […]