New luxury safari camp opens on the Serengeti

A new luxury safari camp on the SerengetiAfrican travel company Nomad Tanzania opened a new safari camp earlier this week, offering travelers a unique experience in a small group, luxury setting. The camp, which is located in a remote region of the northern Serengeti, sits not far from the border between Kenya and Tanzania, offering visitors spectacular views of the Mara River and the wildlife that inhabits the endless African plains.

The accommodations at the new site features just 12 tents divided between two camps. Eight of the tents are in the main camp, while four others occupy a smaller, private camp, nearby. Each of the camps has its own private bar, dining hall, library with adjoining map room, and natural rock swimming area. The tents feature spacious, private verandas, 24 hour power, hot and cold running water, flush toilets, and indoor baths, along with outdoor showers. In short, this journey into the bush isn’t exactly roughing it.

When visitors venture away from camp, they’ll find plenty to enjoy as well. Daily game drives will give them the opportunity to witness the beauty and wonder of the Serengeti, which includes the annual Great Migration of animals across the countryside. Guided walks allow travelers to explore the region on foot and bush picnics make for a sublime way to spend an afternoon.

Prices begin at $4200 per person per week (Remember, I did say luxury!) which includes accommodations in a private tent, all food and drink, plus game drives and other activities.

This looks like a completely different Serengeti experience from the one I had a few years back. I camped in a two-person dome tent that was anything but “luxury.” Despite that however, the African plains remain one of my favorite destinations ever, with amazing wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and a true sense of adventure. A stay at this new camp looks like it would be a perfect (and romantic!) way to visit Tanzania.

Study says Serengeti Highway will impact migration

A proposed Serengeti Highway could mean big problems for the Great MigrationThe annual migration of hundreds of thousands of animals across the Serengeti plains of East Africa is amongst the most spectacular natural wonders in the entire world. Each year, giant herds of wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, elephants, and more make a pilgrimage across those open landscapes in search of food and water. But a new study finds that a proposed highway through the region could have dire consequences for the Serengeti ecosystem and the animals that call it home.

The study, which was conducted by a team of biology and ecology professors from the U.S. and Canada, appeared recently in the scholarly journal PLoS ONE and predicts a dramatic impact on the Serengeti environment. The researchers came to the conclusion that wildebeest herds alone could be reduced by as much as 35%, with a similar impact possible for the other species in the region as well. Those predictions only take into account the increased traffic on the movements of the wildebeest herds and doesn’t factor in such other issues as car accidents and the potential for increased poaching.

One of the scientists who took part in the study, John Fryxell of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, has studied migration patterns for more than 30 years. He says that the proposed highway, which would cross a northern section of the Serengeti National Park, has the potential to completely transform the region. He cites the importance of the wildebeest migration to the entire ecosystem for his belief, saying “The wildebeest migration plays an important role in a number of key ecological processes, so this finding has important ramifications for ecosystem biodiversity, structure and function.”

We at Gadling have been closely following the developments of this highway for sometime, first sharing the story when the road was proposed last summer and then again when an alternate route was suggested this past fall. It seems that nearly everyone outside of the Tanzanian government believes this road is a bad idea, and yet it is still moving ahead with the plan none the less. We could be watching one of the last great, unspoiled places on the planet altered before our vary eyes, and it seems there is little we can do about it.

Scientists recommend alternate route for proposed Serengeti Highway

Back in July we posted a story about how the Tanzanian government had approved the construction of a new highway that would cut directly through the Serengeti National Park, which is home to a spectacular array of animal life. Officials explained how the new road was necessary in order to facilitate trade and continue economic development in the region, and that they expected the highway to have little impact on the Serengeti ecosystem. Unfortunately, the 290 scientists, from 32 different countries, who signed a recent petition, disagree with that sentiment.

Those scientists, who represent more than 50 different universities worldwide, are recommending that Tanzania find an alternate route around the Serengeti or face severe, negative, and irreversible damage to the environment there. Of most concern is how the increased traffic would impact the annual migration that takes place on the Serengeti plains during which time, millions of wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, and other animals travel across the region, playing an important role in helping the ecosystem to not only survive, but thrive. The fear is that if the migration is disrupted, it could lead to a complete collapse of that ecosystem.

The petition includes a survey of those same scientists in which they give their thoughts on a variety of topics in regards to the road. For instance, 85% of those surveyed said that they felt that it was either inevitable or very likely that the new highway would become a disruption or obstruction of the migration. Furthermore, 91% answered the same way when asked if they thought it would introduce invasive plants, animals, and diseases to the region.

The scientists join conservationists, international organizations, and the travel industry in condemning the plans to build the road. While all parties involved respect Tanzania’s desire to expand its economy, they also recognize that the Serengeti is a natural resource that is fragile and could easily be altered beyond repair.

While the local government is planning to move ahead with construction plans, the Save the Serengeti organization is still hoping to find an alternative solution. Personally, I hope they can too.

Save the Serengeti from a new highway

One of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Serengeti is under threat from a new source after the Tanzanian government approved construction of a highway that would pass through the iconic African plains. The new highway would be built directly through the Serengeti National Park, and could have devastating consequences to the delicate ecosystem there, but fortunately there is already a movement afoot to try to save the Serengeti before it is too late.

The Serengeti was named a World Heritage Site back in 1981 thanks to the amazingly diverse wildlife that exists there, not to mention the annual migration of millions of zebras, wildebeests, and other wild animals, across hundreds of miles of open plains. That migration is one of the most spectacular sights in all of nature, and visitors come from the world over to witness the event. The construction of this new highway could potentially disrupt the migration and alter the ecosystem of the Serengeti forever.

In response to this threat, a coalition of organizations with a shared concern over the future of the African plains has created the Save the Serengeti initiative. The website allows other organizations to join the fight against the new highway, and gives individuals the chance to sign the petition as well, letting Tanzanian officials know about our concern for the health of the natural environment there.

I visited the Serengeti a few years back, and found it to be a magical place. Watching the wildlife in the their natural habitat, was simply enthralling, and it remains one of the most beautiful and memorable places I have ever visited. The thought of a highway running through that pristine wilderness is something I can’t even imagine, and I hope that there is some way that they can find an alternative route. Needless to say, I already signed the petition, and urge you to do the same.