Lamai Serengeti

If you were to visit only one place in the Serengeti, it should be here.

The story of a rock kopje in the northern Serengeti, and daily life in the Serengeti's best new camp hidden within it.

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Mon, Sep 10, 2018

Hamerkop heaven

How lucky we are to have a Hamerkop pair building a nest right in camp! It’s been so much fun watching this pair collet material for their nest each day, and I’ll tell you what, they are very hard workers. 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hamerkops, they are a medium sized wading bird, who are known to build the largest nests in the world, relative to their size. 

(in Afrikaans, it was given the name “Hammerhead” due the shape of its head, with the long bill to the front and the crest at the back)

(This nest has grown so much in just 10 days!!!!!!)

(For hours a day they can be seen flying to different parts of the lodge, collecting grass, mud and sticks for their nest)

(Both the male and female will help build the nest)

(Hamerkops can build 4 nests a year)

Hopefully we get to see some Hammerkop young in the not too distant future.

Thu, Aug 23, 2018

Tanzania Pride

It is said that flags were introduced in time of war, where they were used to assist with military co-ordination on the battle field. Whether it be signaling an attack or a retreat, as well as organizing troops and military positions on a battle field. Flags have been found from the 3rd millennium BC, and found in all shapes, sizes, and made out of different materials, such as bronze and paper.

Over time, flags have carried more meaning. They aren’t just used for signaling, but are also used for advertising, as well as to symbolize different organizations or countries. Every country in the world has a flag that symbolizes them, and in some countries, you may find certain states within that carry their own flag – like Catalonia in Spain. Flags from around the world all hold special meaning to each country, and designs have been chosen specifically to symbolize what the country stands for. Some flags may stand for Freedom and Democracy, while other flags may depict historical events, and others may have religious meaning.

What I love about the Tanzanian flag, is that it stands for none of the above, but rather stands for the people and the natural resources (land and water). After all, that is what makes up the country, and I feel, is the most respectful and beautiful way of symbolizing a country.

(The current flag of Tanzania which was made in 1964 after the merging of Zanzibar and the Republic of Tanganyika)

The green triangle in the top left stands for the agriculturally rich farms in Tanzania (Agriculture being about 24% of the GPD), as well as standing for all of the protected land set aside for wildlife. About one third of the land in Tanzania is protected in one way or another (and some may argue that the number is higher). Tanzania is the largest East African Country, and the 35 largest in the world, so to set aside that much land for wildlife, is simply amazing. Tanzania has 16 National Parks; whose combined area is larger than countries like the Netherlands and Denmark. Tanzania also has 17 Game Reserves, the biggest being the Selous Game Reserve, and is the largest protected game reserve in Africa, single handedly larger than Switzerland alone. 

(The great plains of Northern Serengeti)

The blue triangle on the bottom right stands for the Indian Ocean and all of the bodies of water in Tanzania (Rivers and Lakes). The three largest lakes on the African continent all make up the western border of Tanzania and play a pivotal role in day to day life. Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater body in Africa (second largest in the world), Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world (2nd largest in the world by volume, 2nd deepest in the world and the 2nd oldest lake in the world), and finally Lake Nyassa, which is the second deepest lake in Africa (9th largest in the world). Tanzania also has a large number of rivers that feature in the top 10 longest in Africa, most notably known is the Rufiji River which is uniquely Tanzania. It flows from southwest Tanzania and drains into the Indian Ocean.

(Flying into the Selous Game Reserve)

(Boating on the mighty Rufiji River)

The thick, diagonal, black line in the middle relates to the strong cultural identity of Tanzania. There are over 120 different distinct ethnic groups and tribes in Tanzania, each which their own language. Most Tanzanians would speak a minimum of three languages, whilst other may speak four or five. All of the tribes are spread all across Tanzania and are generally built up of famers, hunter gatherers or pastoralists, although many are working in the tourism sector as many have a huge passion for wildlife and conservation.

(At Lamai, our staff come from over 10 different tribes and they are the happiest people I have ever met).

Lastly, you have 2, golden diagonal lines, one on each side of the black band, that symbolizes the mineral wealth that Tanzania has. Home to the only knows site of Tanzanite (named after Tanzania), this gem is 1,000 times rarer than diamonds and can only be found in one place on earth – Merrerani hills in Northern Tanzania. Tanzania is also home to many other precious and semi-precious gems and metals such as Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, gold as well as having its own natural gasses.

Tanzania is a vast country, filled with such diversity in culture, wildlife and geography, we are lucky to call it home. It surprised us every day, teaches us every day and makes us stronger each day. I hope you were able to learn a little bit about this amazing country, and who would have thought you could learn all of this by learning about the flag?

How well do you know your flag?

Wed, Aug 15, 2018

Through the lens

Tanzania has over 1 million tourists visit each year, and people flock here at different times of the year to witness many of the wildlife, cultural and geographical spectacles that Tanzania has to offer. From Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, to the blue waters of the Zanzibar Islands, to the warm, friendly people of Tanzania, there is always something new to see.

One of the biggest attractions, is the Serengeti National Park and its yearly Wildebeest migration. Drawing in huge numbers of visitors, Tanzania has become a top destination in Africa and has become synonymous with the word “Safari”. Interestingly, the Swahili word “Safari” comes from the Arabic word “Safar” meaning “journey”.

We recently hosted a lovely couple, who journeyed here all the way from California to witness the migration in Northern Serengeti. They are amazing photographers and all of the images below were taken by them. A big thank you to Brad and Holly for sharing their experiences with us and we wish you all the best in the future!

(Holly gazes out into the distance, watching the approaching herds of Wildebeest).

(Wildebeest as far as the eye can see)

(A morning game drive is not complete without breakfast in the bush and a nice hot coffee. Jairo pours the best cup of coffee in the Serengeti).

(The Mara river has generous populations of Hippo, and is the main focus of the migration during this time of they year)

(Lunch with a view)

(A Leopard enjoying his meal)

(The struggle to cross the Mara River each year is very real. Even for the older, more experienced Wildebeest, it is a life or death journey. The river is full of Crocodiles and predators wait on the other side).

(A young Lion seizes the opportunity to catch a Wildebeest after it has crossed).

(The face of success).

It has been an amazing journey for Brad and Holly and I know they will be back one day. We hope to keep sharing amazing images like these with you.

Tue, Jul 24, 2018

Things that go bump in the night

We have been very happy with the incredible sightings that guests have been having recently. The migration has reached Northern Serengeti and there is a lot of action around every corner. So, I thought this was the perfect time to share with you some images captured on our remote camera from around camp. Plenty of animals pass by camp but are never seen. Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks and months.

(So beautiful, africa’s next top model?)

Since the Wildebeest have moved into the area, we have been hearing Hyena calling every night. It will get more interesting over the next couple of weeks and I am sure we will see a few walking through camp.

(Much smaller but maybe more elegant?)

(Hoping to capture a better image of this Leopard soon)

This Leopard lives in front of the lodge and has been found out by the resident herd of Elephants on multiple occasions. They keep trumpeting and pushing him higher into the Kopje’s before retreating away.

(It is always a joy to see our resident band of Dwarf Mongoose)

The lovely animals are the smallest carnivore on the African continent and we are lucky enough to see them every day. They more around our 3 properties each day, generally stopping by our office in the AM to say good morning.

One of my favourite nocturnal animals; the Genet. Always graceful, very quiet and incredibly beautiful.

(Posing for the camera)

I was so excited to see that we had finally photographed a Porcupine, and equally disappointed that it had rained at night and the water drops on the lens had distorted all of the images!!

The remote camera is out every night, and stay posted in the days and weeks ahead to see what we find. What are you hoping we capture?

Fri, Jul 13, 2018

Schools out for the day!!!

We have been very privileged and honored to have hosted 2 school trips over the last couple of weeks. The first was a group of 6 students from the Merenga school and the second was 6 lovely, young girls from the Hope for Girls and Women Center in Mugumu.

Nomad, and in particular the Nomad Trust, is currently working with both of these lovely organizations to better understand how to help. The Hope for Girls and Women Center is one of our newest partnerships, as the project was only started a year ago, and it helps protect young girls who are fleeing female genital mutilation; something that is illegal in Tanzania, but very hard to inforce.

The aim of the trips was to show the youth of Tanzania, particularly those who live in close proximity to a National Park, the benefits of tourism and long term conservation. None of the students that visited us had any family members who worked in tourism, and none had ever stepped into a National Park, so to have them all here and show them what is involved with running a lodge was absolutely amazing. 

(both groups started with a talk about the overview of the lodge and day to day operations)

(It was amazing to see how interested these groups were about everything, their eyes were flying all over the lodge as there was so many new experiences)

After the briefing, we took both groups to one of the rooms where one of the housekeepers spoke about what it was like working in a lodge, and what the job entailed.

(On the way there, we were lucky enough too see a Klippspringer)

(They loved the rooms, especially the two-way coffee cupboards built into the wall… that’s my favorite part too!)

It is amazing how much a trip like this can change someone’s life and open their world and eyes to something new. Last year, this little girl was lucky enough to visit Denmark through the Hope for girls and women center and you can already see she is viewing the world from a different angle. 

We then went to the kitchen, where all of the students got to speak to our chefs and find out about cooking. 

(A quick lesson in how to identify a Hyena footprint)

After the tour of the lodge, one of our young trainees, Vicky, spoke to the girls about a life in tourism and her personal experiences in the field. 

(Maybe a future Nomad Guide?)

It would personally like to thank all of the teachers and the students for being so amazing. I truly believe that these students’ lives will never be the same after these trips. It only takes one small moment, one thought, one experience to change someone’s life forever and set them on a course they had never previously imagined embarking on.

One of our cooks at Lamai started his career in a similar way. Emanuel lives in Katavi, and when he was a young boy, he got the chance to meet Roland Purcell and visit Greystoke in the Mahale Mountains. From that day, he knew what he wanted to do in life, and today, he is an amazing member of our team at Lamai Serengeti. 


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