Posts Tagged ‘tanzania’

To Track an Animal, You Need to Look For…

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Yes, we’re going there. The topic that makes everyone giggle. Take a deep breath and here we go:


You would think that such a silly subject wouldn’t be something Smithsonian scientists would bother studying, but they do. Scientists at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. keep a close eye on the animals, from the food they eat to the end result. It provides information that is vital to nutrition, reproduction efforts for animal conservation, and the overall health of the animal. Plus, when you are working with certain animals, it’s better to keep them at a distance. That’s why taking samples of their waste is the easiest way to keep an eye on our animal friends.

You can learn more about these scientists by watching SciQ: Poo on the Smithsonian Channel.


But tracking an animal in the wild is a different story. When it isn’t living in a zoo, and there’s a vast amount of land to cover, how do you even start looking for an animal? In that situation, finding a few droppings can really help narrow your search. Remember, when you are on safari in Africa, look for the poo.

Our Tanzania Family Safari is a great tour for adventure, exploration, and a lot of giggling by people of all ages.

Be honest, did this blog post make you giggle?

Little-Known Facts About Lions

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

You know what they say—”Know before you go.” Here are five interesting facts about lions, to get you ready for that Tanzanian safari  you’ve always wanted to take.

Male lions are responsible for protecting the pride from predators. Their manes darken as they age.

Male lions are responsible for protecting the pride from predators. Their manes darken as they age.

  • Young lions have spots, which fade as they mature.
  • Lions at the Smithsonian National Zoo are fed beef and horsetails once a week to keep their teeth and jaws strong.
  • As recently as 10,000 years ago, lions roamed across the world from North and South America to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Today, they live only in the southern Sahara, South Africa, and India.
  • Ancient images of lions can be found in the Lascaux caves in France.
  • Lions are highly social animals, and live in a matriarchal society. Female lions in a pride work together to hunt and care for their cubs and are known to synchronize birth cycles to make cub care easier.

Ready to see some lions up close? Join Smithsonian Journeys for a Tanzania Safari.

What’s your favorite big cat?

Travel Hit List: Tanzania

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
A leopard takes an afternoon rest. Photo: Vanessa Siemens, Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

A leopard takes an afternoon rest. Photo: Vanessa Siemens, Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

Is a Tanzanian Safari on your life list? Find out more about what a trip to Tanzania can offer you:

Read: an account from the midst of the annual wildebeest migration across the Serengeti Plain.

Hear: Music from across the continent, courtesy of Radio Africa, a partnership between the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and Smithsonian Global Sound.

Watch: Our live lioncam to see what the lions at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park are up to these days.

Eat and Drink: Learn all about how coconuts, bananas, and honey figure into a traditional Tanzanian feast, and see recipes here.

Check out: This account of a special afternoon in Tanzania, by one of our expedition leaders.

Go: Now is a great time to book a journey to Tanzania.

Join: Smithsonian Journeys is on Facebook. Become a fan today.

What’s on your life list? Share below.

A Dream Come True for a Wildlife Lover

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Amy Chelovich is Marketing Manager for Global Adrenaline, where her focus is on marketing adventures around the world. Her favorite destination is Africa, including Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. Click here to read more Amy’s bio.

A male silverback and baby Mountain Gorilla

A male silverback and baby Mountain Gorilla. Photo: Global Adrenaline

Growing up in the Midwest I satisfied my desire to see animals “in the wild” by visiting zoos and watching television programs that explored Africa and the magnificent wildlife that calls that faraway land home. But after traveling to Africa twice in the last year, I realize that absolutely nothing compares to the experience of going on safari in the great game parks of northern Tanzania, or tracking endangered mountain gorillas through the bamboo forest and dense jungle of Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda.

The Serengeti safari experience was beyond my imagination. Within a few days I watched a lone black rhino roam the Ngorongoro Crater, observed two lionesses leading 3 of their cubs across the Serengeti plains from the basket of a hot-air balloon, and witnessed the birth of a wildebeest baby. There’s no need for television here where you can fall asleep to the calls of lions, hyenas, and cape buffalo through the night. I even came across a baboon drinking out of the swimming pool one afternoon at our safari lodge!

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda was an entirely different experience. Hiking through lush green forests with expert guides and trackers earned us an hour of quality time spent with a group of 9 gorillas. We watched the dominant male silverback playing with his baby, while adult females were eating and siblings swung through the low branches of nearby trees. As we watched and listened silently in the brush, the gorillas would settle a mere few feet away and go about their daily lives unfazed. Watching this group of gorillas snack and play made me feel like I was watching a family of humans. It was truly indescribable.

Cheetah overlooking the savannah Photo: David Schachter

Cheetah overlooking the savannah. Photo: David Schachter, Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

I will always remember the endless herds of zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, and cape buffalo that grace the landscapes of Tanzania’s vastly abundant game parks, as well as the rush of excitement that surged through my body as an adult female gorilla grazed past me in pursuit of her young. For all of the animal lovers and Africa dreamers out there, this is an animal adventure not to be missed!

Click here to learn about our newly added Tanzania and Rwanda adventure.

Click here to learn more about tours to Africa.

What is your dream destination?

Girl Talk in Tanzania

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Andrea Gappell is Director of Sales for Global Adrenaline. Her focus is on developing active adventures and her favorite destinations include the Inca Trail, Mount Kilamanjaro, and of course, Tanzania. A native of Los Angeles, Andrea enjoys sailing, ethnic textiles, architecture, and volunteer work. Click here and here to see the tours that Andrea has helped to develop in Tanzania.

The thing that surprised me the most about Tanzania was how much I loved the people.

The Maasai people are indigenous to northern Tanzania and Kenya with populations in Tanzania alone approaching 500,000. Photo: Global Adrenaline

The Maasai people are indigenous to northern Tanzania and Kenya with populations in Tanzania alone approaching 500,000. Photo: Global Adrenaline

Don’t get me wrong, the safari was great and I loved seeing the “Big 5” in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, but the Tanzanians fascinated me more than the wildlife. One of our guides was a Maasai warrior who regaled us with tales from his childhood and answered all of our questions about the Maasai culture. No topics were off limits! Our drivers were super knowledgeable about the wildlife and were excellent game trackers, but again, I enjoyed getting to know more about their way of life, hearing firsthand about their families, and learning how the educational system works.

Zanzibar was a completely different experience. I loved visiting the spice plantations and learning how the different spices are grown. In Zanzibar I spent an hour getting an elaborate henna tattoo and enjoying “girl talk” with a Zanzibari henna artist.

The world becomes a smaller place once you start talking to people and realize how much we all have in common.

Click here to learn more about how Africans use textiles to express their identities.

Click here to learn more about beadmaking by African people.