Safari Holidays in Africa

There’s no doubt that an African safari can be quite costly, when one takes into account flights, accommodation and spending money. However, for a once in a lifetime experience, a safari in Africa is certainly a worthy investment. Here we look at some of the best locations for a trip like this.

Masai Mara and Selous Game Reserves:
Masai Mara Game Reserve, located in Kenya, derives its title from the Masai tribe that still resides there. This park, known as simply ‘the Mara’ to the locals, is a good option for those looking into a Kenya safari holidays, as it is famed for being home to the ‘big five’ – elephants, rhinos, buffalos, leopards and lions. However, you’re also likely to spot zebras, hippos, giraffes, cheetahs and antelope during a stay here. Together, these creatures inhabit the reserve, against the backdrop of savannah, scrub and trees. The easiest way to ensure that a trip to Mara is affordable is by opting for camping and travelling here during the off-season.

Selous Game Reserve is located in the south of Tanzania and was declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage site thirty years ago. Neither permanent buildings nor permanent human habitation are permitted within the limits of the reserve. The animals that the park is most well known for include crocodiles, cape buffalos, African wild dogs, hippos and elephants. Visitors can take a boat safari here along the river Rufiji, where they can see storks, the famous Goliath Heron and African skimmers.

Okavango Delta and Hlane National Park:

The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the entire world. An incredibly peaceful place, this is great for visitors who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a week or two. The wildlife in the delta can be found amongst the savannah landscape and the wetlands. Some of the animals to look out for include the Red Lechwe, sables and kudus. In the waters, you’ll see crocodiles, hippos and waterbucks.

Hlane Royal National Park, given its named by King Sobhuza III, stretches over 30,000 hectares and is home to white rhinos, elephants and lions, who roam the land freely. The terrain is mostly flat, with little vegetation. Visitors who enjoy birdwatching will love this park, as it is home to a diverse range of exotic birds.

When it comes to planning your safari days out, it’s worth mapping out a route before you set off. However, be realistic and don’t attempt to cover too much ground in one day. Remember than an African safari holiday isn’t about trying to drive or walk over as much land as possible, it’s about seeing animals living in their natural habitats. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the scenery.

It’s best to wake up early (around 5am) if you wish to see nocturnal animals before they go to sleep. At this time, you’ll also get to see other animals as they wake up. If you’re having difficulty spotting animals on your own, there are always plenty of guides available in African reserves. It’s best to book a day or two with a guide in advance, as their schedules tend to be packed during the high season.

Shannen Doherty writes regularly on Kenya Safari holidays for a wide selection of travel blogs and websites. As a frequent traveller herself, Shannen is an expert on African safari holiday adventures.

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Elephant Facts You’ll Never Forget…

There’s something about elephants that we humans love. Ask any zoo or safari park to produce a list of their most popular animals and these gentle beasts from Africa and Asia are sure to feature more often than not.

Some of you may know a lot about elephants already, but here’s a selection of lesser known facts that are sure to amaze even the biggest of fans. Let’s start with the trunk.

The Trunk

Elephants are most famous for their trunks. If you ask someone to do an impression of the animal I guarantee they’ll get their arm and wave it around as if it’s attached to their face. Elephant trunks are undoubtedly cool, but they’re not just for show.

There are more than 40,000 different muscles in an elephant’s trunk, and they can grow as long as 8 feet. They use it to feed, drink and defend themselves, and that’s just the start of it.

They can use their trunk as a snorkel when in water, and often wave them around in the air so they can get a better smell of their surroundings. And young elephant calves have even been seen sucking their trunks for comfort, just like a human child does with their thumb.

Tusks

Elephants primarily use their tusks as a form of defence, a fact that is widely known. But not many know that just as humans have a favourite hand elephants have a preferred tusk.

Elephant tusks are actually just teeth that grow continuously. Both African and Asian elephant tusks can grow to around 10 feet long, but female Asian elephants either have no tusks or very short ones.

Elephants can live for up to 80 years and can get through seven sets of teeth in their lifetime, compared to humans who have just two. If an Elephant is living on its own it will normally starve to death when it’s last set of teeth has worn out. But in a herd the younger elephants will help the older ones to feed, a remarkable display of compassion that helps the animals live on.

Intelligence

Elephants are considered to be one of the world’s most intelligent animal species, which is hardly surprising when you consider that their brains weigh more than 5 kilograms.

They have a very high level of emotional intelligence, and often show signs of compassion, grief, humour and a love of play.

Many that are in captivity have been taught to do some quite remarkable things. Ruby, and Asian elephant who used to reside at Phoenix Zoo was quite an artist, and one of her paintings sold for 25,000 dollars. Others have been known to unlock doors, respond to complex demands and count better than humans.

Death

Elephants are the only animal other than humans to practice a death ritual. If one of the herd becomes sick the others will bring them food and water, and will carry on trying to revive the animal even after it has passed way.

When an elephant dies the herd falls silent, as if they are in a state of mournful respect. They usually dig a shallow hole for their fallen friend and use a mixture of leaves and dirt to cover the body.

It’s not uncommon for an elephant to show signs of depression after witnessing the passing of one of their own. Scientists frequently debate the extent of an elephant’s ability to show emotion, but they can’t deny that these gentle giants are truly special animals.

When he’s not thinking about elephants Alexander Jones contributes to Find Me A Gift, where you’ll find a great selection of gifts for men and women.

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5 Vacation Options for Adrenaline Junkies

Lazy holidays today seem to be the norm. For most people, getting away is all about the sun, the sand and the chance to put all your cares aside and just relax for a week or two. But that’s not the only way you can spend your time off! There’s a whole world out there with some incredible thrills to be had if you’re just willing to go looking for them. So, if you’re the kind of person who’d rather spend their hard earned holidays jumping out of planes than mooching around near the hotel bar, read on for some great ways to get that much-needed fix of adrenaline.

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Face True Fear: Confront a Great White


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If you like nature and danger, why not go diving with sharks. All of your adrenaline and nerves will be put to the test as you stare right into the mouth of nature’s most finely-tuned and powerful predators in the waters of South Africa. The Great White Shark is the most feared of all the sharks and this experience invites you to get as close as possible without having your limbs bitten clean off. Of course you will be in a cage during this time and it is an ordeal you will never forget.

Over the Edge: Jump off a Bridge

Having to face off with one of the deep’s most formidable predators might not be to every thrill seeker’s taste so how about a nice bungee jump off the suspension bridge at the Bhoti Kosi River gorge in Nepal. This is one of the longest free falls in the world. Your pulse will be racing as you step towards the edge before hurtling 160 metres to the ground below.


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Beyond the Clouds: Dramatically Exit a Plane


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What’s wrong, is a heart-stopping 160 metre free-fall not enough for you? Need more? In that case, look no further than a sky diving holiday. Rather than the Bhoti Kosi River Gorge’s measly jump, skydiving will take you up into the atmosphere and throw you back at the ground at frightening speeds with nothing but a piece of cloth standing between you and total pulverisation. Skydiving experiences are available for everyone, with tandem jumps available for newbies. There are likely to be some physical restrictions though, so check before you book!

Splashdown: Navigate Roaring Rapids


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Coming back down to earth is no less exhilarating as a trip to Guatemala will keep the fire burning in your belly. Experience the thrill of white water rafting whilst taking in Mayan Archaeology and the other wonderful sights of this Central American country. The rivers are free flowing and eventually end up in the Pacific Ocean. This is also a country which happens to have the most active volcanoes on the planet. This is a thrill waiting to happen!

Keep it Conventional: Visit a Theme Park


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If all of the above are just a little too natural, then the only option is to head for a white knuckle ride adventure. Of course, we know that theme parks aren’t the most adventurous of places, but they are the best locations in the world for great thrills in a controlled, affordable and accessible environment. Wherever you are in the world, you’re not far from a great park, so check out the options in your local area.

These travel suggestions were brought to you by the bloggers at Vroomvroomvroom, providing cheap car rental in Liverpool, Manchester, London and around the UK.

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