EcoBlog Tembo Kijani

EcoBlog about Beach, Safari, Nature and Life in the African Bush

Tag: Wildlife

Two weeks ago we had such a beautiful surprise – just after breakfast our housekeeping lady called us that there were some babies on the beach – didn’t really make sense to us. So I went just to check that everything was alright – oh, well… what I saw was more then alright – more than fifty tiny seaturtles that just hatched were trying to make their way to the ocean, but didn’t see that that the big holes that we dug to plant new coconut palms inside. So all except a handful fell into that hole, stepping on each other trying to climb out again. First we chased away the crabs from the turtles that were on the beach already and after they were safe in the water, we flattened the edge of the hole and gave their siblings a safe passage out of the sand right into the waters of the Indian Ocean. Did you know that the green sea turtle is an endangered species? They are found around the globe. It takes them at least twenty years to reach maturity with only an estimated 1 out of 100 to 1000 (you read different things about it and it probably depends a whole lot on where they hatch) green sea turtle hatchlings reaching maturity at all to then come back to the same beach to lay her own eggs. So what a privilege to witness this little miracle of nature here.

Do you want to see some of nature’s miracles here in Tanzania? Come, spend vacation with us and you’ll surely see how wonderful nature is.

Birds, birds, birds in Tanzania

African Paradise FlycatcherOnce you’ve been on safari several times and you’ve seen the big and small mammals, chance is you start to get interested in birds. Surely you would have seen by now eagles and vultures on your trips, you might have spotted a Kori Bustard and a secretary bird as well. But don’t you wonder once in a while what all those small birds are – sitting on the giraffes, buffalos and hippos? Yes, those are oxpeckers. What are the birds that steam up from the grass? Oh, that could be many different ones. What is that bird that is so bright blue from underneath when you see it flying? It’s the lilac-breasted roller, whose voice just doesn’t fit to its splendid appearance. I guess once you start to get interested in birds, it’s more of a sport to catch them on camera and identify them (try to identify nightjars – haven’t managed that yet). It’s fun to sneak up on them and try really hard not to scare them away or to find the right spots where birds just like to spend some more time than just a few seconds without flying off. And then birding can actually be really rewarding, you’ll compete with yourself on the best picture you can get of a certain bird – try some sunbirds that are just tiny and just love to move around. But surely once you are into birding, your safaris will get another dimension to it and you’ll remember them because of that special bird that you’d never seen before. Here in Tembo Kijani we counted well more than 100 different bird species and the list keeps growing. So if you love birds and love “chasing” them, a vacation at Tembo Kijani might be just the right choice for you – we’re just as excited about it as you will be and will love to help you identifying them as well. So Karibu Tembo Kijani !

Why Saadani is a Gem of a National Park…

We’ve been to some of the national parks in the so-called northern circuit of Tanzania in the last month, and honestly? We prefer Saadani. We went to Ngorongoro crater with the expectation of hundreds of other cars, but it was quite empty, so this was not something that disturbed us. Still, it has the touch of a zoo with the crater walls as the fence. It felt as if the animals were presented on a silver platter to you, no searching for the wildlife in hide, and the animals were really too used to the cars driving around the roads; sometimes we’d even had to honk to get the zebras out of our way, they wouldn’t care to move until the car would be less than half a meter from their behind. The lions were just laying under a tree and wouldn’t even bother to look up to check who stopped. We found it a very unnatural behavior and just not really wild anymore.

With this said, I think that Saadani has really a lot to offer, especially for those who do not just want to make marks on their checklist of wildlife seen, but to really get an African experience. Let me give you some points – and I will not mention the typical slogan of “where bush meets beach”:

  • Saadani has a big variety of wildlife to offer: giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, crocodiles, hartebeests, waterbucks, reedbucks, buffaloes, wildebeests, bushbucks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, black- and white colobus monkeys and other more difficult to spot species such as eland, zebras, leopards, hyenas, the rare Roosevelt’s sable antelope, porcupines and aardvarks.
  • Saadani is one of the few places in Tanzania where you can do a boating safari on a river to see hippos and crocodiles really next to you (and not standing next to a smelly pool).
  • With more than 300 bird species spotted and identified in the park, ranging from water birds to eagles and vultures to tiny sunbirds, Saadani makes a good spot for bird lovers as well.
  • The landscapes are stunning – Saadani has about everything from candelabra trees to thick forests, acacias and savannas to mangrove systems, Marula trees, open savannas, high grass, flat salt pans and then the view to the Indian ocean on some hills.
  • This park is not on the standard itinerary, so you’ll meet very few visitors during your game drives – if you love to watch the animals all by yourself, you’ll love it.
  • Because of its mostly thick vegetation, there are hardly any open savannas where you’d need binoculars to see whether you just spotted a buffalo or an elephant. The animals will be really close to you and they’ll always check if you are not a danger to them. You’ll see animals behaving naturally and right next to you.
  • If you like to be active on your safari as well, then this is the right place: it’s not only sitting around in the car, but it’s an adventure to find the animals – track their footprints and droppings, check in which waterholes is still some water left, listen to the noises and smell the scents – sometimes the herd of buffalos is just behind the next scrubs.

Saadani is definitely not a “zoo” experience, but rather a reminder of safari 50 years ago. If you love adventure, seclusion and totally wild nature, this place is for you.

Here is why what we loved especially about last year – Enjoy!

 

Wildlife at the lodge–conservation or endangering?

Here in Tembo Kijani we have quite a lot of different animals, which call this place their home – dik-diks, red duikers, vervet monkeys, syke’s monkeys, nile monitors, genet cat, civet cat, sometimes a serval cat, mongoose, squirrels, rabbits, yellow baboons, bush babies, lots of birds, amongst them palm-nut vultures and fish eagles, sun birds and more. We love watching them and seeing that they are feeling at home here at the premises, but of course it’s not always easy to spot them; those who have been here already, know what I am talking about. But of course we would love to show also our guests the wildlife in Tembo Kijani, because it is quite amazing to experience them live and enjoy the monkeys right next to you.

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Not every guest is lucky to see them, some of them have a close encounter with the bush babies at night, some see a grey kestrel sitting in front of their mirror in the morning, some find hermit crabs in their foot bath and some have a few small sun birds flying through their rooms. Not every guest is happy with this, but that’s part of nature and being on vacation in an ecolodge. Well, of course that’s not usually the case and we are really tempted to do everything to get wildlife and guests closer to each other. In many cases people do the mistake and are tempted into feeding wildlife, not from bad intentions, but good ones. And surely this “temptation” also exists here, just wandering around with a banana, seeing the monkey and wanting to throw a piece for him to get more used to us. But that’s not the way one should behave, especially we, as a lodge that is concerned about wildlife and conservation. From this feeding, the animals develop a sense that humans are harmless, which probably in most cases is true. But one shouldn’t forget that a lot of the wildlife here is still hunted, either for meat or simply because they are ruining the crops of the farmers. So the harmless intention of simply seeing wildlife and feeding it, can endanger them more than conserving them.

So, being eco, being environmentally responsible, is not only not to destroy the environment, but also not to interfere or disturb –  this also applies to the behavior of wildlife that is encountered. So here at Tembo Kijani wildlife is still wild and with a bit of luck and patience, you will manage to see some of the animals here anyway.

Every-day Wildlife

We love wildlife – and we enjoy to see it again and again, discover new animals and watching their behavior. Luckily we don’t always have to go to safari in Saadani National Park for this, but just being at Tembo Kijani, we really see a lot.

It’s not only the crabs at the beach or the birds and butterflies whirling around, but also with a bit open eyes and ears that you can spot monkeys and gazelles. Usually we have some vervet monkeys playing around between the Bandas and a pack of Sykes monkeys jumping from tree to tree next to a big Cashewnut tree. Walking a bit outside the lodge you will encounter yellow baboons.

In the afternoons an African Fish Eagle couple passes by and rests on one of the dead coconut trees; also a Palmnut Vulture flies by quite frequently and lands on the beach to annoy the crabs.

Of course all sorts of other birds can be seen as well – usually you hear them very clear, but spotting them in the green of the trees can be a bit difficult.

But most of all it’s fun when you walk through the lodge, hear some noises in the bush, wait a little bit and then see a dik-dik or a red duiker coming out. If you stand really still, they won’t really notice you and just go about their business as usual.

We are in the middle of adding some small waterholes on the plot in the middle of the bush, so that for the next dry season there will be plenty of water and maybe then we’ll have some new four-legged visitors as well.

Now finally the rain season is almost over, only some showers here and there and mostly in the night. But the last two months were good for the land (and our wells) and hence really bad for the roads in Tanzania, especially the black cotton soil in Saadani. You might get in, but you’ll never get out!

So, the rain is the reason why we haven’t been in the park for quite some time now,  and because we missed it so much, we watched the short clips that we have filmed during the last years. With some editing, lots of laughing and finding the right music, we finally managed to organize them and upload them to YouTube as short clips and to share them with you, our guests from the past and the future. But mostly we made them, I guess, for ourselves to watch during the rain season.

We hope you enjoy them as well Lions in Saadani