Notes on Africa

by John Chatfield

Elewana Afrika has opened three new luxury properties in TANZANIA: Arusha Coffee Lodge, Tarangire Treetops and Serengeti Migration Camp. These camps will remain small and intimate with an emphasis on personal attention, hospitality and fine dining.

Arusha Coffee Lodge is a boutique-style lodge with 18 individual plantation-style villas, each with a fireplace and private balcony. Room rates start at $100 per person per night, including breakfast.

Serengeti Migration Camp offers 20 luxury tents overlooking the Grumeti River. Each tent is positioned to give the best views with the utmost privacy.

Tarangire Treetops is located inside the 85,000-acre Lolkisale Conservation Area, a private reserve bordering Tarangire National Park. There are 20 furnished tree houses with a safari camp experience that includes sharing your space with owls and bush babies. Each tent has a private balcony. Guests can take advantage of guided walking safaris and night game drives.

Tarangire Treetops and Serengeti Migration Camp offer bush dining whereas Arusha Coffee Lodge offers contemporary restaurant dining. Room rates at Tarangire and Serengeti start at $335 per person per day, including all meals, drinks, laundry, local transfers and daytime game drives.

For a color brochure and information, contact Elewana Afrika, The Lyle House, 2027 South Orange Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239; call 800/806-9565 or e-mail

Over the Christmas period the Nkuringo family group of gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in UGANDA, announced the birth of twins, bringing the number in this group to 20. Twins are very rare. This group was just recently opened to visitors. Shortly after the birth, the sad news was learned that one of the twin babies had died. The mother apparently was unable to carry and look after both of them. It was curious that none of the other females offered to help.

Uganda is again having poaching problems, as several elephants were killed at the edges of Murchison Falls National Park. As is true in so many game parks, too few rangers and complacency lead to this gory practice.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has recently announced the resumption of channel tours from the Mweya peninsula in Queen Elizabeth National Park for bird and game watching from a launch. The channel was closed due to an epidemic that led to the death of about 200 hippos. It appears that this epidemic is over.

If roaming with gorillas and chimps is your cup of tea, Uganda is one of the few places to view these giants, and G.A.P. Traveller can take you there. They offer game drives in Queen Elizabeth and Mburo parks. Search for chimpanzees on foot in the Kyambura Gorge. There is also an option to white-water raft from the source of the Nile, Bujagali Falls.

This 14-day overland truck safari is operated by Guerba, a well-known British company. There are several departures in 2005. Land-only price, including all camping equipment, experienced crew, park fees and permits, is Can$2,070 (near US$1,675).

G.A.P. Traveller is a Canadian adventure travel specialist. These safaris are very affordable but somewhat rugged. I traveled with Guerba some years back and thoroughly enjoyed it.

For detailed information and a brochure, contact G.A.P. Traveller, 355 Eglinton Ave. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 1M5; call 416/977-0043 or (toll free) 866/732-5885.

EGYPT’S Bab Zuweila is once again accessible to the public. Located in the heart of Cairo, the 903-year-old Islamic monument was built in 1092 as the southern gateway of the walled city. It is a fine example of a fortified structure preceding the Crusaders, erected to resist the Ottoman Empire.

The structure stands out for its imposing 80-meter twin minarets built by the Mamluk Sultan on the top of the gate’s adjoining towers.

Nearly a millennium later, moisture, air pollution, traffic, etc., have worn away the historic building. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contributed $450,000 for repairs and restoration.

Repairs started on the site in 1998 and the restoration was completed in 2003. Roof terraces were repaired. The major face-lift also rebricked the sabil, or water fountain, on the street directly across from the Bab.

The area is a tourist mecca, as another 300 yards from the Bab Zuweila is the Islamic Museum of Cairo as well as the world-renowned Citadel.

If you enjoy moderate trekking on your African safari, ElderTreks offers an 11-day TANZANIAN safari for $3,095 land only. The safari will have a maximum of 12 travelers and includes all meals.

The highlights include game drives in Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire and Serengeti national parks. You also will visit Olduvai Gorge, site of the Leakeys’ famous discoveries. Visits will be made to Maasai and Chagga villages as well as to see the bushmen of Lake Eyasi. You will experience two nights in a luxury mobile tented camp.

ElderTreks also offers a Kilimanjaro trek of seven days, starting at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and finishing in Arusha, for $1,595. Available with the basic Tanzania trip are these extensions: Zanzibar for three days at $275 and five days’ exploring the Gombe Stream National Park in search of chimpanzees for $1,995. Flights are not included. Departures in 2005 are March 8-18 and Oct. 19-29. There is also a 2006 departure March 1-11.

Contact ElderTreks, Ellicott Station, Box 11, Buffalo, NY 14205-0011; call 800/741-7965. ITN