Discovering the Secrets of the Empakaai Crater, Ngorongoro, Tanzania

One of the most unique aspects about the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is that the local Maasai tribe live in harmony with wildlife, something that is facilitated by a law demarcating Ngorongoro as a Conservation area, rather than as a National Park.  Unknown to many, are the variety of experiences that can be enjoyed within the greater Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

A scenic drive through the Ngorongoro highlands, passing through various volcanic peaks and mostly uninhabited areas, with the exception of the occasional Maasai village.  A mixture of cattle along with zebra and impala can be spotted on the open grassland as you drive from the Ngorongoro Crater for about 80 km towards Empakaai.  When you arrive at the rim of the Empakaai Crater, the views are magnificent and you will realize that the famous Ngorongoro Crater is not the only intact volcanic caldera in this region.  The large alkaline lake covering three quarters of the crater’s floor dominates the landscape.  From the crater rim, the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano near Lake Natron is clearly visible in the distance.

As you begin to hike, you will be accompanied by local Maasai guide expert as well as an armed ranger, qualified to lead walking safaris in this area.  Potential wildlife sightings include buffalo, bushbuck, blue monkey and a variety of birdlife including barred tailed trogon, eagle, greater and lesser flamingo.

The easy hike down to the bottom of the crater goes through the lush forest and provides scenic views of the crater and lake beneath.  Upon arriving on the crater floor, flamingos are in clear sight, though they maintained a comfortable distance. Being able to experience the serenity and tranquillity on the crater floor is a definite highlight, especially since it is only accessible on foot, unlike the Ngorongoro Crater, which at times can feel overcrowded with vehicles.

After a 30 minute break admiring the views and enjoying the scenery, the challenge of hiking uphill to the top of the crater is upon you.  During this uphill climb you begin to feel the altitude.  However, hiking at a leisurely pace will make it more enjoyable, with the added incentive of having a picnic lunch waiting for you at the top.  Though the ascent and descent trail passes through the same route, the breath-taking scenery more than makes up for it.

Hiking the Empakaai Crater can be combined with an additional hike at Olmoti Crater or a visit to an authentic local Maasai Village to make a full day active and cultural itinerary. The Maasai in this area are far away from the tourist trail and therefore the experience interacting with them is less commercial, allowing you to get a true understanding of the tribe and their daily life.

 

Ol Pejeta Conservancy Horse riding activity – starts on 19th June 2017

Take a morning or an evening ride within the 600 acre Endangered Species Enclosure, accompanied by knowledgeable staff on Ol Pejeta’s safari horses.  These rides will take you on a journey through a predator free area set aside by Ol Pejeta for the recovery of the northern white rhinoceros. As well as meeting the last three remaining northern white rhinos on the planet, you will ride through herds of the highly endangered Grevy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest.  You will also encounter many other species including southern white rhinos and a myriad of plains game. Morning and evening rides will conclude with tea and cake at the nearby Morani’s Restaurant.

The rides will only be open to experienced riders and some proof of riding ability will be required at point of booking.

Ol Pejeta will supply all tack and riding hat. You will be responsible for your own attire. Legs and arms should be covered.

Rides for up to 4 riders will be available daily at 10:00 and 15:00 and will last approximately one hour.

Price per person: USD 90. Inclusive of meeting the northern white Rhino, riding and coffee/tea & cake.

 

Serena Mountain Lodge – Kids Club

Serena Mountain Lodge has introduced the Serena Kids Club, a kid-friendly hangout space where little tots can play, learn and explore. The kids club has all the games, crafts, and happenings your little one could hope for. It is also in a fully supervised atmosphere with friendly, well-trained staff dedicated to spending time with your children so you have some quality time to relax and unwind.

The room can comfortably accommodate up to 10 children at a time. The décor is fun and colorful animal decals on the walls whilst still maintaining its unique tree hotel style. It also features a big strong glass window that allows the children to have unobstructed views of the wildlife as they come to the waterhole.

The room is equipped with a crafts table, a game of mini golf, a mini basketball hoop, a magnetic darts board, puzzles, toys, chalkboards, a hip hop mixer and a television with DVD for screening children’s movies and programs.

Masai Mara – new beginnings, new life, fresh season

From April to June, the rains in Masai Mara will transform the vast plains into a green paradise from which the Green Season takes its name. During this period, guests can enjoy the alluring shades of emerald, brightly colored flowers, and clouds that provide an amazing canvas for each morning sunrise and evening sunset.

Animals ranging from hyenas, giraffes to elephants and zebras will be bringing new life into the world, filling the vast plains with young ones. Predator sightings also become quite frequent as they make regular appearances taking full advantage of the abundance of inexperienced younger prey.

Aside from all the much needed new vegetation that sustains the wildlife in the Mara, the Green Season is a wildlife photographers dream! The green vegetation contrasts brilliantly with the contented animals, and the feeling of rejuvenation is hard to miss. With so much rain around, there is a myriad of bird, plant and animal life which seems more vibrant than usual.

Even though Green Season is often thought to be not a great time to travel, it is, in fact, a wonderful time to be on safari. You also stand to benefit from excellent low season rates.

Serena Hotels

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp and Serena Mountain lodge are now allowing children 3 yrs and above at the camp.

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp uniquely situated on the shoreline of sapphire-blue Lake Elmenteita where hundreds of thousands of birds congregate.

Serena Mountain lodge champagne-clear mountain air, sweeping views across the tree-canopy, sparkling trout streams, and gentle forest walks. Located at 2,134 metres above sea level, on the lower slopes of the mountain, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum game-sightings.

Hub Zero – City Walk, Dubai

Hub Zero - City Walk, DubaiHub Zero is a unique, futuristic, and immersive park that features a variety of Interactive Dark Rides, Thrill Based Attractions and Challenging Action Zones in addition to the largest LAN gaming zone in the UAE, karaoke and party rooms, a pool hall and a retro arcade.

Aided by cutting-edge virtual experiences that bring video games to life through advanced, innovative technologies, Hub Zero is the ultimate destination for thrill seekers to engage in games and rides based on world-renowned intellectual properties.

You will find rides from games like Resident Evil, Plants vs. Zombies, Dragon Age, and many more that it’s not yet ready to talk about. the hub also features region’s first wireless VR-based first-person shooter, Time Zombies, which made its debut at this year’s Middle East Film & Comic Con. It also has exclusive attractions like the Hyper Drive driving simulator, the Double Agent double laser maze, Tiny Track Racers children’s karting simulators, a massive LAN gaming zone, a 4D cinema, a large indoor adventure climbing zone, pool and billiard tables, private karaoke rooms, and an extensive range of retro arcade machines with games like Pac Man, Space Invaders and more.