Auric Air – Explorer – Issue 2

Page 1

Explorer ISSUE 2

Inflight magazine I


Superfood tree

Trekking Tanzania

A guide to mountain hiking




Explorer Inflight magazine







Tarangire National Park

Miss the crowds – enjoy the wildlife


Hot air, cool drinks and treetop luxury

12 Clove growing in the Spice Islands

5 Foreword

From Deepesh Gupta

14 Serengeti balloon safaris


Explorer News

No life of ease in scaling trees

Coolest safari in Africa is by balloon

18 Elephant gin

Now gin connoisseurs can benefit elephant charities

30 STAY: andBeyond Lake Manyara 32 EAT: Cape Town Fish Market 34 DRIVE: Lexus NX Crossover

20 Baobab tree

37 Auric Air route map

22 Buying property in Tanzania

40 Pilot’s eye view

So many reasons to love ‘superfood’ tree Put your money where your heart is

38 Travel information

24 Trekking in Tanzania

Climb every mountain or just enjoy the walk

27 Caracals

What’s new, pussy cat?



Explorer Inflight magazine

Auric Air Services Ltd Mwanza Office PO Box 336, Mwanza Cell: +255 783 233 334; 255 736 200 849 Email: Website: Explorer is published on behalf of Auric Air Services by: Land & Marine Publications Ltd

1 Kings Court, Newcomen Way Severalls Business Park, Colchester Essex CO4 9RA, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1206 752902 Email:


Sales Manager Catherine O’Callaghan Tel: +44 (0)1206 752902 Cell: +44 (0)7769 110343 (WhatsApp) Email: No part of the contents of this magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. The publisher has made every effort to arrange copyright in accordance with existing legislation. All advertisements and non-commissioned text are taken in good faith. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, or any other organisation associated with this publication

Hot air, cool drinks and treetop luxury BY GARY GIMSON, PUBLISHER


elcome to the second edition of ‘Explorer’, the quarterly in-flight magazine of Auric Air.

In this issue and for our cover story, we are up, up and over the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon and in awe of the early-morning views and the wildlife below. If you have never been, then save up your hard-earned shillings and book a balloon flight. You won’t be disappointed.


Serengeti balloons

We take a look at Tanzania’s diverse property market, assess its performance and find out what’s worth buying and for how much. We include features on Elephant Gin, the elusive caracal (it’s no pussy cat), stubby baobab trees, and out along the Zanzibar archipelago we look at the sad decline in clove production and the fast and furious sport of kitesurfing. We dine out at Dar’s new Cape Town Fish Market (we can confirm that it’s up to the standard of those in southern Africa) and stay over at andBeyond’s fabulous Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.


Tarangire National Park Enjoy the scenery without the crowds

In this issue we test drive the great-looking new Lexus NX – a big step up in so many ways from its predecessor. We like it, but we still have some minor quibbles. I hope you enjoy reading this issue of ‘Explorer’. Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below with any comments.

Superfood tree The power of the Baobab fruit

Gary Gimson Publisher Land & Marine Publications Ltd Email:

No liability can be accepted for any inaccuracies or omissions.

Buying property Has there ever been a better time to buy?

©2015 Land & Marine Publications Ltd ■



Welcome to the second issue of Explorer BY DEEPESH GUPTA, COMMERCIAL MANAGER, AURIC AIR


t gives me great pleasure to welcome passengers to the second issue of our regular in-flight magazine, ‘Explorer’.

In fact, we now fly to over 30 destinations across Tanzania and beyond, utilising our fleet of 11 Cessna Grand Caravans.

I hope that you find our magazine of interest and that it makes your flight with Auric Air more enjoyable.

I hope you enjoy your flight with Auric Air. If you have any comments to make about our in-flight magazine or our service, please write to me at the email address below.

Auric Air continues to develop as an airline as we buy additional aircraft, launch new routes and increase the frequencies of others.

Deepesh Gupta Commercial Manager Auric Air Services Ltd

Email: ■


News NEW AIRCRAFT JOINS FLEET Auric Air was proud to announce the acquisition of a new Cessna Grand Caravan EX in September. It is the 11th aircraft to join Auric’s fleet, with the 12th due to arrive in December. The Cessna Grand Caravan is well suited to destinations in Auric’s network, including bush airstrips. The aircraft can hold up to 13 passengers when operated with one pilot.

INSPIRING I CAPTIVATING I INFORMATIVE Multi-platform publishing and design services




Three reasons to visit:



A paradise for birdwatchers, with large flocks of flamingos


Famous for its tree-climbing lions


Lake Manyara

Good range of accommodation options

Reticulated giraffe


Tarangire National Park

Miss the crowds – enjoy the wildlife D

eriving its name from the river that runs through it, Tarangire National Park is spread over

2,850 sq km of grassland, flood plains and tall acacia woodland. This park has the greatest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania outside the Serengeti ecosystem, yet it is still relatively undiscovered and crowd-free in comparison with some other East African parks. Tarangire is a colourful experience for visitors. A place of lush greenery and burntcoloured earth, the park is also known for its majestic baobab trees, which dot the landscape, as well as for its large elephant population.




river and swamps, as well as flamingos and small animals such as the bat-eared

The Tarangire River is a reliable source of

fox, jackal, hyrax, varieties of mongoose,

water for wildlife throughout Tanzania. In

ground squirrel, porcupine and civet.

the dry season from June to October vast

The park is home to such rare species

herds of antelope, wildebeest, buffalo

as the greater kudu and fringed-eared

and zebra – as well as giraffe – migrate

oryx. It is also a magnet for birdwatchers,

to the park. In their turn, predators such

with over 550 recorded species including

as leopard, lion, wild dog, hyena and

the rare ashy starling.

cheetah are attracted by the quantity of prey. The dry season is when animals can be seen in greatest concentrations. However, many of them – including elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, a wide range of antelope and warthog – stay in the park all year round. Pods of resident hippo can be seen in the

From June to October vast herds of antelope, wildebeest, buffalo and zebra – as well as giraffe – migrate to the park


The ashy starling is one of 550 recorded bird species


Explorer Inflight magazine

Are you reading this? Then potentially so are 25,000+ Auric Air Passengers. The most effective form of print advertising: in-flight magazines. E-version also available on the Auric Air website: Don't forget to book your advertisement to promote your company, brand, products or services. Generous discounts available for series bookings. To advertise please contact: Email: Tel: +44 (0)1206 752902 / whatsapp: +44 (0)7769 110343




point of view, this means animals get some

volcanic mountain ranges and unique land-

much-needed time away from human eyes

scape features. The Poachers Lookout Tree,

Some creatures are highly nervous of

and vehicles. There is plenty to see and do

an ancient baobab in the north of the park,

vehicles. Visitors can get a close-up look at

in the daytime and the park closes at 18.00.

has a small man-made entrance leading

these by going on walking safaris accompanied by armed rangers.

Guests can experience local tribal culture

into the hollow interior where, in days gone

by going on day trips to Maasai and

by, poachers would hide from patrolling

Barabaig villages where they get an insight

wardens. Disused termite mounds, created

there is nothing to beat a balloon safari – a

into the way communities live and work.

from the bright red earth, make interesting

magical experience now possible since

The ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of

column statues, while sausage trees serve as

flights began by Adventures Aloft. These

Kolo are also worth a visit.

lounging places for tree-climbing pythons.


Getting there

Night drives and bush dinners are not

In addition to the wildlife, visitors can enjoy

Tarangire can be reached in about two

permitted at Tarangire. From a conservation

the delightful scenery, with distant views of

hours from Arusha along a well-surfaced

For a ‘zoomed-out’ view across the park,

extra activities, combined with traditional game drives, provide guests with a wellrounded safari experience.

road, or via a 20-minute flight to the local airstrip. Although Tarangire is readily accessible all year round, 4x4 vehicles are necessary in the rainy season, while regular cars can be used during the rest of the year.


An abundance of animals, without the crowds



Clove growing in the Spice Islands is sadly in decline

No life of ease in scaling trees T

hey were not called the

try as a combination of factors has

Spice Islands for nothing.

significantly reduced the islands’

The Zanzibar archipelago,

commercial output of cloves and

and in particular Pemba, was once

other exotic spices such as black

the world’s leading producer of

pepper, cardamom, cinnamon,

cloves. Sadly, this is no longer so.

ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and vanilla.

Until comparatively recently,

of cloves, the archipelago now

archipelago’s economy, providing

accounts for less than five percent

small farmers with a regular annual

of global output. Annual produc-

witnessing the inexorable decline of a oncethriving local indus-

tion is way behind Indonesia (which accounts for over 70 per cent of global output) and to a lesser extent Madagascar. There is also thought to be a global overcapacity in clove production.


Unguja Zanzibar

Dar es Salaam

Mafia Island

Once the world’s leading producer

cloves were the mainstay of the

income”. Today, however, we are

Pemba Island


The archipelago was once the world’s top clove producer

But for some, there is little change and the annual clove harvest comes and goes as it did in years gone by. For those unfamiliar with the harvest, this takes place between September and November each year when the archipelago has its short rainy season. Clove trees can grow up to 15 metres in height and the cloves need to be picked by hand. For this reason, the clove growers need to be skilful climbers – a skill that is dying out among the islanders. These trees take at least five years to mature, so the payback period for farmers is comparatively long. and these days as old trees die off they are not being replaced.

Market In Tanzania, the price of cloves is set by the Zanzibar State Trading Corporation – a public-sector monopoly

The clove growers need to be skilful climbers – a skill that is dying out among the islanders

dating from the 1960s – and there is in effect no free market. Farmers argue that the ZSTC only gives farmers about half the world market price for their output. On the other hand, the corporation claims that it offers a fixed and steady price that farmers can be sure of receiving each year. Moreover, since 2011 the ZSTC has been implementing a 10-year clove development strategy designed to revitalise the archipelago’s clove sector and improve its marketing and trading activities.

Freestylerob | Wikimedia Commons | PD

But is the ZSTC swimming against the tide here? With much more money to be had working in the tourism sector, clove farmers could enjoy an easier life than shinning up trees for a living.


Cloves, spice and all things nice



Coolest safari in Africa is by balloon U

p, up and away. Yes, that’s flying high with Serengeti hot air balloon specialist Adventures Aloft.

Already well established in Tarangire National Park and

across the border in the Masai Mara National Reserve, the company is now a big player in the Serengeti. Run by Tinu Mhajan, who also heads up the Mada Hotels group, Adventures Aloft has added capacity to the Serengeti, which has long lagged behind the Mara in the availability of balloon flights. These flights provide an unforgettable extra dimension to any game-viewing UP IN THE AIR

See the beautiful Serengeti from a different angle


experience. ›



Adventures Aloft’s two Serengeti

new area for us, we had to undertake

follow herds of wildebeest and zebra

bases are located in the Togoro

several test flights to see which flight

for almost the whole year.

plains. One is sited between Mbuzi

path would allow for a scenic and

Mawe Serena Camp and Lobo

safe flight. As there is a limited road

of the most beautiful areas of the

Wildlife Lodge, just east of Four

network, a major challenge is to see

Serengeti and flights here over the

Seasons Safari Lodge; the other is in

how passengers can be retrieved

kopjes and the Mara River make it

Kogatende, on the Mara River, in the

quickly; and with the help of the

one of the best balloon flights in the

north of the reserve.

park authorities we were able to find

world,” says Tinu.

Of course, every new service has to start from somewhere. Back in

areas with suitable tracks to be able to follow a balloon.”

“In my opinion, Kogatende is one


Experience the great migration from the air

It’s fair to say that ballooning does not come cheap. Expect to pay US$

2013, Adventures Aloft launched its

So how does ballooning in the

first flight from Togoro with just two

Serengeti compare with, say, Taran-

fare-paying passengers. But numbers

gire or the Mara? Again, Tinu explains

value for money, many believe no

quickly picked up.

the difference: “Clearly, the landscape

game park visit is complete without

of the Serengeti is different from

an up-at-dawn balloon ride.

Getting operations off the ground

499 per person per flight plus a $50 conservancy fee. But in terms of

– both literally and metaphori-

Tarangire. It has more open areas

cally – was not without its share of

than Tarangire and the landscape has

the first in the Serengeti. Another

Adventure Aloft’s operation is not

challenges. “You need about nine

more shrubs as opposed to baobab

operator flies in the western and

months to a year if you’re starting

trees. Tarangire is also famous for its

central areas. The Adventures Aloft

from scratch,” explains Tinu. “And it

huge elephant population, while the

takes six months from order to deliv-

Serengeti has plenty of plains game

ery of the balloon, and there is quite

and, of course, the migration.

bases are in the north central area and north (near the

a bit involved in actually setting up the bases.” Aside from creating the physi-

Mara River). So the two


operators fly

cal base and operation, Tinu’s chief

The Serengeti and Mara share many

in different

concern is always safety: “You need

similarities as they are part of the


to choose an area which allows nice

same ecosystem, but the Serengeti

landing spots; and as the Serengeti

covers a much larger area. Whereas

was a

the migration in the Mara is basically for just four months in the year, clients in the Serengeti can


areas and do not compete directly. Between them, they appear to have the Serengeti well and truly covered.

The big breakfast Those who fly with Adventures Aloft get to enjoy the company’s legendary post-flight breakfasts. In comparison with some operators outside of Tanzania, which provide some rather unappetisinglooking cheese and then ply their passengers with lashings of cheap sparkling wine, Adventures Aloft serves a delicious hot breakfast cooked on site. I’m not sure if it’s the crisp dawn Serengeti air or getting up at 5.30 am and quickly downing a cup of coffee and a biscuit before departure, but I can honestly say that bacon and eggs has never smelled this good. Not only is a balloon safari the true adventure of a lifetime, but the Adventures Aloft bush breakfast is really something else.

treated – and that is definitely the right word here – to the heartiest of early morning feasts. But first, guests are offered Buck’s Fizz or refreshing orange juice as everyone excitedly relives the morning’s flight. Meanwhile, chefs busy themselves with the bacon and eggs and a host of other goodies in the specially adapted catering truck.

After landing, a secluded and picturesque spot is chosen by the crew as the breakfast site. Following the pick-up by the support crew, balloon safari guests are

Guests are then invited to help themselves to the breakfast buffet and to sit down at a carefully arranged long table. Fuelled by several glasses of Buck’s Fizz, the conservation flows as easily as the breakfast is devoured. It’s one of the world’s truly awesome experiences. And the balloon flight isn’t bad either.

Booking Guests can book with Adventures Aloft through their tour operator, on line at Mada Hotels, or directly from their camp or lodge in the Serengeti. ■




Now gin connoisseurs can benefit elephant charities

hat’s one small sip for a man…


t sounds an improbable combina-

London, Hamburg and Africa? Well, the

buchu was used to perfume the bodies of

tion – elephants and gin, that is – but

brand’s founding trio, Robin Gerlach,

the Cape’s indigenous people such as the

the two have joined forces to create

Tessa Wienker and Henry Palmer, are

Khoikhoi (not a lot of people know that).

a fragrant and irresistible new tipple.

passionate about the continent and share

upmarket and exquisitely packaged brand

wildlife poaching and the resulting drop


that brings together a genuine concern

in elephant numbers in countries like

The ingredients also include baobab –

for animal conversation and the deep

Tanzania, where the elephant population

“that superfruit of the savanna” – as well

mysteries of the spirit-maker’s craft.

is believed to have fallen by 60 per cent in

as African wormwood, which introduces a

just five years.

sharp floral note, and lion’s tail, some-

So this is Elephant Gin, a decidedly

Judged by the branding and packaging, Elephant Gin will, for many, conjure

a very real concern about the impact of

As a result, the makers of Elephant Gin

times known as wild dagga. Then there

up sepia-tinted images of a bygone era:

are donating 15 per cent of any profits

are classic botanicals such as juniper,

oak-panelled gentlemen’s clubs, shady

to two conservation-focused charities:

cassia bark and sweet orange peel, plus

verandas overlooking manicured lawns,

the Big Life Foundation and Space for

locally sourced spring water, fresh apples

men in starched collars and the first drink

Elephants (see panel stories).

and other select ingredients designed

of the day served by a faithful bearer as the sun goes below the yardarm. Yet Elephant Gin is no homage to an

Enough of the conservation, and now to

to enhance the purity and smoothness

the technical stuff. The gin is 45 per cent

of the gin’s finish. Are you getting the

alcohol by volume (ABV) and contains

aroma? There are no artificial flavourings

earlier time. It is very much contemporary,

no fewer than 14 botanicals, including a

in the post-distillation process.

but also quirky – a true London dry gin

warmth-giving ginger and a little-known

in style, but perversely distilled in, would

herb called buchu, grown in the West-

first yields a subtle juniper aroma with an

you believe, Hamburg.

ern Cape. Buchu gives the gin a sweet,

undertone of mountain pine and other

blackcurrant-like taste. In days gone by,

herbaceous notes. The taste is complex

So what’s the connection between


The end result is a distinct nose that

ANTI-POACHING MISSION Big Life Foundation is an anti-poaching organisation that employs over 300 rangers, with about 30 outposts and 15 vehicles, to protect two million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli ecosystem straddling southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Through its innovative conservation strategies, the foundation addresses the greatest threats while also looking to the economic interests of the Maasai people in ways that improve the quality of life for the whole community.

but strikingly smooth, encompassing floral, fruity and spicy flavours which can


be enjoyed both straight and in a cocktail; or, of course, in traditional colonial style

Space for Elephants Foundation is focused on restoring the old migratory routes lost when many game reserves were fenced in, isolating elephants in ‘pockets’, breaking up extended herds and hampering biodiversity. The aim of Space for Elephants is to give freedom for a hundred thousand elephants to range freely across Africa, using centuries-old trails that were once a lifeline.

with a splash of tonic. Elephant Gin is produced using a traditional copper still. Refined in small batches of just 800 bottles, the gin is tasted regularly as it comes off the still to ensure that any impurities in the heads and tails are removed. The whole process gives the gin its purity, complexity and smoothness. Each batch is named after a great elephant (yes, they do have names) of the past or present. This gives an even more personal touch than the batch numbers normally associated with hand-crafted spirits. At around US$ 50 a bottle this spirit does not come cheap. But for those who appre-

ciate the finer things in life while wishing to make a positive contribution to wildlife conversation, it is money well spent.


Enjoy a complex taste with a smooth, spicy flavour

IT’S IN THE NAME Each bottle of gin is named after a great elephant


15 per cent of all profits are donated to charity


A classic bottle with a contemporary taste



So many reasons to love ‘superfood’ tree BY KIRSTEN ALEXANDER


ailed by many in the West as a brand-new ‘superfood’, full of benefits and

flying off the shelves of health shops, the baobab fruit is nothing new to Africans. Two of the nine species of baobab trees (Adansonia) on which the fruit grows are native to mainland Africa. As well as being a distinctive feature of the African landscape, the baobab has become a part of people’s daily life, with its fruit being used for everything from beer making in Tanzania to stirring into porridge in Zimbabwe. The baobab is iconic. Even if you had never heard its name, you will have seen pictures of this strange tree, with its root-like branches starting far off the ground above a long and exceptionally thick trunk. Legend has it that the tree was plucked from the ground by the gods and turned upside down as a punishment for its arrogance. Whether you believe the legend or not, the baobab has a well deserved reputation not just for its appearance but also for its fruit.



to introduce into a variety of drinks

The term ‘superfood’ is often used

it with water to making baobab

to describe a ‘multi-benefit’ product

pancakes with baobab jam, it is

that is supposed to do all kinds

extremely versatile and easy to add

of positive things, from lowering

into daily routines.

and dishes. From simply mixing

cholesterol to giving you an energy

The taste is unique. It can best be

boost. The baobab fruit is more

described as a combination of pear,

than worthy of ‘superfood’ status,

citrus and vanilla, which might not

however, and its benefits including:

be to everyone’s taste. Pop a spoonful in a smoothie, however, and you

• More Vitamin C than an orange

won’t even know it’s there!

• High levels of antioxidants

Many companies are catching

• Twice as much calcium as in milk

onto the baobab’s superpowers and

• High in potassium and phosphorus

online and in health food shops

it is becoming more readily available

– important for nerve functions and


formation of bones respectively.

The baobab fruit is shaped a bit like

How to eat baobab

a coconut, with a slightly velvety texture. Once the exterior has been

By its nature, the fruit doesn’t need

cracked, the inside resembles a

much preparation to make it ready to

powdery white pulp. This is the

eat. But in its natural state it may not

source of all the vitamins and

taste that good. Baobab is usually


sold as a powder, making it very easy

in Europe and the United States. Large numbers of people are now recognising the health benefits of the baobab fruit. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all, however, is the positive effect of this ‘baobab boom’ on local POWER POWDER An excellent source of vitamins and goodness

communities in Africa. Families and communities can derive a regular source of income by harvesting and selling the fruit. Many of the Western companies selling baobab powder are dedicated to giving back to those


who give to them. BAOBAB

Velvety, versatile and packed full of vitamins

Camu Camu Powder

Hemp Seeds

Vanilla Beans

Flax Seeds

Baobab Powder

Wheatgrass Powder

Carob Powder

Chlorella Powder

Goji Berries ■



Buying property in Tanzania

Put your money where your heart is BY GARY GIMSON


eal estate agents will always tell you there has never been a better time

to buy – regardless of whether the market is going up, down or sideways. In the case of Tanzania, however, this old agents’ maxim may actually be true. The Tanzania property market more or less falls into three key areas: Dar es Salaam and the surrounding suburbs (especially along the coast), Zanzibar and Arusha. Mbezi Beach is a popular spot and the place to bag an oceanfront property; but, as elsewhere, you should expect to pay a premium for an uninterrupted sea view.

Indian Ocean For expatriate buyers, Oyster Bay and, a bit further up the Bagamoyo Road, the Mbezi Beach areas of Dar are popular. Set alongside the Indian Ocean and close to the centre of town without actually being part of it, these two are Dar’s swankiest addresses. So what might US$ 750,000 buy? I noticed this property for sale. A spacious multi-bedroom property consisting of two houses (the main



An affordable retreat for golf enthusiasts

house has three bedrooms with

2008 and I wondered how it would

plating retirement to take a look at

en-suite bathrooms) and a rather

take shape.

this truly delightful development.

nice swimming pool. It probably

I have not been disappointed. A

Elsewhere in the area, this particu-

needs a lick of paint to brighten up

truly lovely golf course has been

lar property in Moshono caught my

the place, but otherwise it seems

created in a delightful setting with

eye, for an asking price of just US$

good to go.

a series of spacious and well built

300,000. This is a lovely family home

houses dotting the fairways, all at

set in a delightful garden. It has four

and who love golf – although it’s

For those who seek a rural idyll

very affordable prices. In fact, where

bedrooms and three bathrooms on a

not essential – there is only one

else in the world can you buy a four-

1,500 square metre plot. Meanwhile,

bedroom house on a golf course for

US$ 450,000 would buy you this

only US$ 275,000? At Kiligolf, you can.

five-bedroom house, fully furnished,

I strongly recommend those contem-

with a large swimming pool, at


place to buy, and that’s Kiligolf in Arusha. I have followed this project closely since its inception back in

A good time to invest in Tanzanian property

Mateves, near Braeburn School and the University of St Joseph.

Where else in the world can you buy a four-bedroom house on a golf course for only US$ 275,000?

So if you have the money and want to invest in Tanzania, there has never been a better time – or so the real estate agents keep telling us. ■

Image courtesy of

AND IN ZANZIBAR… There are plenty of vacant plots for sale in Zanzibar and the price of these naturally varies. Move a comparatively short distance away from the beach and land prices fall dramatically. So if you want to save money and don’t want to dip your toes in the ocean each morning, this can be a smart move. Chidy Darweish of Zanzibar Archipelago Properties told Explorer: “There

are definitely good beachfront plots still available. The prices are based on size, beach quality and location. On Unguja they range from $150,000 or so for a smaller plot, maybe one hectare, to over $1 million for bigger plots in well known tourist locations. On Pemba I have several beachfront properties for sale for around $100,000 or under. The highest priced ones are between $400,000 and $500,000.”



Climb every mountain or just enjoy the walk As the land of Mount Kilimanjaro, it comes as no surprise that Tanzania is a popular destination for those who want a spectacular hiking experience. Apart from the ‘iconic’ mountain, Tanzania offers an abundance of hiking trails catering for everyone from the novice to the pro. Here is Explorer’s guide to the best hiking venues in Tanzania.


Caption text in here caption here three lines if possible


Pugu Hills Forest Reserve

Usambara Mountains

Difficulty rating:

Difficulty rating: air. There are various paths throughout

The Usambara Mountains in north-eastern

Forest Reserve is perfect for those want-

the reserve. Highlights including a cave

Tanzania are part of the Eastern Arc chain

ing to escape the busy city for some fresh

sacred to the Zaramo people, popula-

and a popular place for hiking. The West

tions of bats that fly out of their caves at

Usambara Mountains form the larger of

sunset, and a colourful local cattle market.

the two areas while the East Usambara

There is a choice of trails up to 18 km in

Mountains are smaller and close to the

length to suit any ability, so it’s perfect for

coast. The mountains are dotted with

beginners, but also interesting for more

small villages where accommodation can

experienced ramblers. Local guides can

be found, so visitors can trek in this area

be requested, but they are not absolutely

without having to rough it in a tent. The

necessary. A highlight of this reserve is its

mountains offer a diverse range of scenery

fine selection of birds, animals and plants.

that includes lush hills, dense forests and

Hikers must get permission from the

glimmering waterfalls. There are several

Ministry of Tourism before commencing

bird species endemic to Usambara, includ-

their hike.

ing the eagle-owl, akalat and weaver.

Pharaoh han | Wikimedia Commons | CC-BY-SA-3.0

Close to Dar es Salaam, the Pugu Hills







Wear cotton shirts and hiking shorts or lightweight trousers (not jeans, which are heavy and don’t dry easily).

Wear waterproof hiking boots with ankle support and bring two pairs. You may need to put on extra socks.

For mountain hiking it is recommended to take thermal underwear and a rain jacket. Also a heavyduty warm jacket as temperatures on the peaks reach well below zero.

A hat should be worn at all times, even if the sky is overcast. For summit day take gloves and a fleece hat that covers your ears.

Layering is the best way to cope with warm-to-cold conditions when trekking. Details about layering can be found on travel company websites.



Mount Meru Difficulty rating:

If you’re not quite ready for Kilimanjaro, or

to hike at night to reach the summit, which

you want a slightly different but equally

can be quite challenging; but the views at

awesome hike in Tanzania, then Mount

the end of it are deemed worth the effort.

Meru is a good choice. The second-highest mountain in the country, Mount Meru is often disregarded because of its proxim-

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

ity to Kilimanjaro, but it’s still a great place

Difficulty rating:

either through a company or individually,

to hike, with wonderful views over Arusha National Park. Treks are varied and can be spread out over three or more days, depending on your personal preference. Visitors can choose to organise their climb but every climber or group must be accompanied by a ranger-porter. Most visitors opt

This Unesco World Heritage site is an exceptional example of preserved nature. It Ngorongoro Crater. This conservation

Mount Kilimanjaro

area offers exceptional walks, trails and

Difficulty rating:

covers a vast area that includes the famous

hikes as well as an impressive variety of wildlife. Suitable even for novice wanderers, the Ngorongoro area offers everything

Leaving the best and most famous until

for the faint-hearted. Having said that,

from a modest two-hour walk to more

last, Mount Kilimanjaro is no doubt synony-

you don’t need to be a top athlete to

challenging climbs that can take up a full

mous with hiking in Tanzania. The highest

complete the trek. As long as you are

day. The area is home to various large and

mountain in Africa at an impressive 5,895

fit, healthy and determined, you should

sometimes dangerous animals, so walkers

metres, Mount Kilimanjaro is every keen

be able to conquer Kilimanjaro. Trekkers

must be accompanied by an armed ranger

hiker’s dream destination. Seven official

must be accompanied by a guide, but

form the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

routes cover the mountain, with treks last-

can choose a path suited to their ability


ing from five to 10 days, so this trek is not

and preferences.


The highest point on Mount Klilimanjaro is Uhuru peak



What’s new, pussy cat?

Thanks to its graceful looks and elegant bearing the African caracal has become a popular – albeit expensive – pet in some Western households. In truth, however, this fine animal belongs in the wild, where its speed and swift reactions can be used as nature intended.


CARACAL CATS newly acquired pets. But the jury is out on whether caracals are indeed suitable pets. “There’s still too much of the wild in them for caracals to be a domestic cat,” said one US-based expert. “Caracals need outdoor enclosures and safe spaces in which to play. I think anyone would fall in love with this gorgeous cat, but they are best left to roam free on the African plains.” One problem with domestic caracals is that they tend to be ‘food aggressive’. Owners may be tempted to overfeed them, leading to obesity and the loss of those super-sleek looks. It’s advisable to feed a pet caracal in a quiet place and, if it cohabits with other felines, to separate them at feeding time.

Territory Like servals and other wild feline species, both male and female caracals use ‘scent marking’ to define their territory. Caracals also have a


tendency to void on fluffy surfaces f I had to choose my favourite

such as down quilts, pillows and

African big cat, it wouldn’t be

clothing left on the floor.

a lion, a leopard or even the

Caracals purr, but very softly. A

sleek lines of a cheetah. My choice

contented caracal emits a bird-like

of feline is smaller, rarer and alto-

trill that conveys a happy greeting.

gether more handsome, I think.

Strangely enough, caracals respond

The caracal may lack the distinc-

eagerly to a human imitation of this

tive markings of a cheetah, the regal


presence of a lion or the solitary

Caracals are more predatory than

hunting skills of a leopard. Yet this mid-sized cat has sublime grace and power as well as the fluffiest of

the similar-sized serval. And they and the serval. Adult males can weigh up to 20

have evolved to hunt larger prey HANDSOME

Graceful, powerful and smaller than most other big cats

such as dik-dik and other small ante-

tufted ears. With those distinctive

kg, so this is no domestic pussy cat.

‘Mr Spock’ ears, the caracal (mean-

Yet caracals, like cheetahs, can be

ing ‘black ear’ in Turkish) is not unlike

semi-domesticated. They will not kill

these skills to hunt birds – and it is

a lynx or bobcat to look at and has

or seriously harm people, although

here, in addition to its fondness for

been nicknamed the desert lynx. But

they can be dangerous to small chil-

dik-dik, that the caracal has created a

it belongs to a different branch of the

dren. In the United States, caracals

niche for itself in the food chain.

cat family and is more closely related

fetch US$ 2,500 or more and you can

genetically to the African golden cat

find specialist breeder websites with

expert Chris McBride, owner of

(found in Central and West Africa)

images of proud owners with their

McBrides’ Camp in Zambia’s Kafue


lope. Caracals are excellent jumpers and have swift reactions. They use

This niche is important. Big cat

not likely on average to meet the others. Different cats have different niches.” It’s the same with their quarry, says Chris: “With a bit of a head start, most antelope can outrun a lion or a leopard. Cheetah can outrun their prey, but only in fairly short bursts. WILD CATS

Jury is out on whether caracals make suitable pets

At the same time, most antelope cannot run fast for long and have little stamina. Wild dogs exploit this lack of staying power by running them down in relays. So this is their niche. “To understand why caracal are successful in some locations and serval in others, we just have to find out the niches of the two cats and

What is the niche of the caracal and what characteristics enable it to live in any one location? the characteristics that enable them to fill those niches. It could be that here in Kafue the serval comes out top, for whatever reason, and maybe National Park and author of three

Maybe serval occupy a niche here [in

books on lions, told ‘Explorer’: “All

Kafue] that in their absence caracal

animals and plants have a niche or

could – or something like that. So we

cat behaviourists is not quite sure,

place in the ecosystem within which

need to ask, what is the niche for the

then what hope is there for the rest

they live, and have characteristics

caracal and what the niche for the

of us?

which enable them and not anything

serval? Have the latter outcompeted

else to live there – although there

the former here, or has something

its own in Africa and perhaps we

can be an overlap.”

else outcompeted them, or is it

should just be thankful for that –


even if some misguided people want


hunters and cannot operate in bush

Noting the almost total absence

which is too dense as they cannot

of caracal in Kafue and the park’s

see one another. Leopards hunt

comparatively large serval popula-

in thicker bush as they are mostly

tion, Chris asks: “What is the niche of

solitary. Both are mainly noctur-

the caracal and what characteristics

nal, probably due to temperature,

enable it to live in any one location?

whereas cheetah are diurnal, so are

“For example, lion are co-operative

the answer is climate.” If one of the world’s leading big

But at least the caracal is holding

this cat as a pet.


A tough-looking cat with a soft and contented purr


STAY: LAKE MANYARA A luxury treehouse to satisfy your inner child and delight your grown-up tastes

A high point of anyone’s holiday… BY KIRSTEN ALEXANDER

Manyara Tree Lodge. As the only permanent lodge in the park, it carries a social


responsibility to minimise the impact it has hile it may seem that some

on its surroundings. The 10 tree houses are

safari parks are overrun with

built from local timber and makuti palm,

permanent lodges, camps,

which is not only kind to the environment

and even hotels, Lake Manyara National

but offers a charming rustic feel with a

Park in north-eastern Tanzania has only

splash of romance. This is not just a place

one – but that one is something quite

for honeymoon couples, however. Children


are welcome at the lodge, which has triple

With 10 luxury treehouse suites suspended on stilts above the mahogany

rooms suitable for under-16s with childminding services also available.

forest floor, andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge offers a level of luxury and exclusiveness that other lodges across the continent


can only dream about. It has all the ameni-

Apart from the delightful accom-

ties of the best retreat ever, without making

modation and intimate ambience,

guests feel isolated from the world – unless

one of the highlights of staying

they want to, of course.

at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree

The andBeyond group is a key player in

Lodge is the exceptional wildlife

You may be lucky enough to receive a personal visit from one of the park’s inquisitive creatures

luxury safari accommodation, with lodgings

and birdlife. An estimated 600

in some of the best landscapes of eastern

species of birds have their home in

and southern Africa: Masai Mara National

the surrounding area, which also features a

Reserve (andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented

soda lake with beautiful pink flamingos.

Camp), Okavango Delta (andBeyond

Most owners of safari lodges will tell you

Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge), Zanzibar

they have access to some of the best wild-

(andBeyond Mnemba Island) and a total

life in the region, but how many can claim

of 11 beautiful sites across South Africa. In

to have tree-climbing lions? We’re guessing

addition, andBeyond offer bespoke tours in

none, except this one. The lions of Lake

India, Butan and Sri Lanka with Nepal, Chile

Manyara have developed the unusual habit

and Argentina becoming the latest coun-

of climbing trees to escape the insects on

tries to feature in their impressive portfolio.

the ground. This unusual and endearing

The company is ever mindful of environ-

activity is a highlight of their visit for many

mental conservation, and all its sites are

guests staying at the lodge.

designed to create a partnership between luxury and environmental responsibility. This is especially true of andBeyond Lake


Getting up close to Africa’s magnificent wildlife doesn’t always require a game drive, however, because, thanks to the

STAY: LAKE MANYARA open-plan design of the lodge, you may be lucky enough to receive a personal visit from one of the park’s inquisitive creatures, including vervet monkeys. The lodge is unfenced, allowing animals to roam freely around the site, so guests can enjoy the ultimate wildlife viewing experience. Dining at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge takes place in an open-air boma that is as welcoming a setting for a hearty bush breakfast as it is for a moonlit Images courtesy of andBeyond

dinner for two. The interactive kitchen allows guests to watch the skilled chefs preparing the delicious meals.

Habitat Twice-daily game drives are included in the rates, but guests can also choose to go on night drives and truly catch a glimpse of the animals in their natural habitat. In the daytime, there are Maasai cultural visits, offering a chance to explore the local communities, as well as cycle rides by Lake Manyara. The lodge itself has a swimming pool, a safari shop, a massage sala and exercise equipment if required. All in all, andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is a haven for safari lovers, offering unique opportunities in a superb national park. The andBeyond name certainly lives up to its excellent reputation for providing responsible yet intimate and classic accommodation throughout Africa.

INFORMATION For more information about andBeyond and a full list of the accommodation and tours that they offer, head to their website: â–




Restaurant images courtesy of Cape Town Fish Market

Cape Town Fish Market specialises in seafood and sushi



An ocean voyage for the taste buds BY SAKINA NANABHAI


“Our suppliers make sure to send us the

African and Continental flavours, so every

freshest catch of the day that we use to

bite was full of delicious surprises.

prepare an array of seafood meals.” ith its upmarket location in

Describing the wide range of food varie-

No sooner had we indulged ourselves with this generous serving of top quality

Msasani Bay, overlooking

ties on offer, he said: “We cook a number

seafood than Riziki came along to get our

the deep-blue ocean, Cape

of dishes, from seafood to sushi to poultry

reviews and to announce that the desserts

Town Fish Market is perfectly placed

and meat. Our menu is pretty extensive,

were on their way. In a few minutes, we

to fulfil its claim to serve the best and

to make sure there is something for every

were presented with a chocolate volcano

freshest of the catch.

visitor that comes to dine, but our speciality

cake and a dense chocolate brownie, both

is seafood and sushi. We even offer mussels

served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

July 2012 and is now one of the top five

Cape Town Fish Market opened in

and fresh salmon in our menus, imported

I told Riziki: “Sorry, Chef, we might not be

restaurants in Dar es Salaam for dining and

all the way from South Africa

socialising according to TripAdvisor, and

– something you would not

recently earned the travel website’s prestig-

find anywhere else in the

ious award for Service in Excellence.


‘Quality is our utmost priority. Our suppliers make sure to send us the freshest catch of the day ‘

As its name suggests, Cape Town Fish

Speaking about the

Market brings South African seafood cuisine

restaurant’s popularity on

right to the heart of Dar es Salaam. As a

TripAdvisor and the recent

haven for some of the best seafood you can

award, Riziki said: “This award

eat, Dar was an ideal choice of location for

only came to us because of

the first and only franchise of the restaurant

our dedication and the team’s

outside South Africa.

persistent efforts to provide the best

able to complete this.” He smiled: “Don’t

and most authentic seafood to its diners.

worry – just take a bite.” Both desserts were,

down with sous-chef Riziki Maisala to hear a

We had to face a lot of challenges in the

to say the least, delicious and we actually

little about its history and about what goes

beginning, from the frequent power cuts

did finish them.

on in the kitchen.

to the suppliers letting us down at the last

On our visit to the restaurant, we sat

“Quality is our utmost priority,” said Riziki.

We thanked Riziki and the restaurant

minute. Yet we managed to secure our

management for the delicious meal and

position thanks to the ‘can do’ attitude

received the friendly reply: “Karibu tena”

of our team and the motivation from our

(“You are welcome again”).

team heads.” After our chat, Riziki headed for the kitchen and it was time to taste the restaurant’s specialities. As the chef had promised, our meal was served in just 10 minutes. It turned out to be a huge platter displaying the restaurant’s best seafood varieties, including mussels, grilled prawns, baby squid in robata sauce, deep-fried calamari strips and two fish fillets with a side order of French fries and fresh salad. It was probably the first time I had sat down to eat so much seafood in one go – and I couldn’t wait to dig in. The food was cooked to perfection and seasoned with a unique blend of South

OUR VERDICT Atmosphere: Service: Food: Cape Town Fish Market 180 Msasani Bay Msasani Peninsula Dar es Salaam Reservations: +255 758 555 366 Email: ■



A fine-looking beast but

still no raging bull BY GARY GIMSON


have never been overly

This was especially true of Lexus’

impressed with Lexus’ limited

unloved RX, its previous stab at creat-

efforts in the 4x4 sector – or,

ing a 4x4. Far from beautiful, oddly

until recently, with its overall

misshapen and generally useless in

range of high-end cars.

terms of serious bundu bashing, this

I can see that parent Toyota

was an SUV for softies – incapable of

wants to mix it with Europe’s luxury

tackling anything more daring than

marques and needs a distinct brand

the daily school run.

such as Lexus in order to do so. But

Let’s face it, not every 4x4 buyer wants to participate in the Rhino Charge

So meet the new Lexus NX Crosso-

edgier customer. And using to promote the car is no doubt part

Toyota never seemed to get it quite

ver, a car that dispels much (but not

right with Lexus; offering extremely

all) of Lexus’ ‘softy’ image. Not before

worthy, well built and reliable

time, here is a car with a much more

Lexus has got this model exactly

machines that were as dreary as a

aggressive-looking profile; one that

right. And is the car up to the rough

grey July morning in Nairobi.

will finally appeal to a younger and

and tumble of East Africa, both in


of this process. Yet doubts remain as to whether


and out of town? I suspect not. There

version, which comes with 18-inch

is still a hint that this is a car for urban

alloy rims (as does the Luxury

cruisers – confirmed, perhaps, by

model) and mixes a feeling of high

the entry-level 2x4 NX versions for

performance with exquisite levels of

those who don’t want venture too far

luxury and refinement. I have to say

beyond the city limits.

the interiors of other variants in the

On the other hand, I love the look of the NX (and, let’s face it, not every 4x4 buyer wants to participate in

range are not quite so exciting or immediately compelling. In terms of engines, there are two

the Rhino Charge). And I appreciate

from which to choose: hybrid and

its comfort and build quality, even

petrol. For the time being, I suspect

if the cabin space is a bit cramped. I

that East African buyers will be wary

especially like the impressively well

of the NX 300h hybrid, which uses

equipped interior of the F Sport

Lexus’ proven 2.5 litre Atkinson›


DRIVE: LEXUS NX CROSSOVER cycle engine, generator, motor and

cally controlled S-CVT/multi-drive

battery. Special features include

sequential-shift transmission.

sprung-weight damping control to

Overall this is a well equipped and

increase ride comfort and handling

visually appealing car and one that

stability by reducing the amount of

will attract interest. It’s not cheap

pitching on uneven road surfaces.

(especially the F Sport) and SUV buyers have plenty of other options.

Integrated A new six-speed automatic transmis-

But at least it’s a step in the right direction for Lexus. Popular in the United States, the

sion has been adopted to match

Lexus brand has failed to make a big

the new engine. It features new

impact in Europe and there it must

torque-demand control logic, which

compete head-on with German auto

calculates required engine torque

makers Mercedes, BMW and Audi,

to maximise the exhilaration of

and with Land Rover in the SUV

quick acceleration response and fuel


efficiency. In terms of the petrol option, the


The Lexus NX makes a good impression with great features

So when it finally arrives in East Africa, it will be interesting to see if

Lexus Valvematic system provides

this new Lexus NX is any more

high torque through an expanded

popular than its RX predecessor.

valve opening angle and VVT operation range in a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine. This is linked to a newly developed and electroni■




Buboka Masai Mara




Arusha Kahama





Lake Manyara










Ruaha Iringa Sumbawanga







VISA INFORMATION Most people will require a visa to enter Tanzania. Usually a tourist visa is issued, unless you are travelling on business, in which case you require a different visa. Any traveller into Tanzania who is from a non-Commonwealth country – unless there is an agreement between the traveller’s country and Tanzania, in which case the visa is waived – will require a valid visa to gain entry. Citizens from the following Commonwealth countries will, however, require a visa to enter Tanzania: United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia. Tanzania visas can be obtained from the following: › Entry points into the United Republic of

Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam International Airport and Zanzibar Airport.

› The office of the Director of Immigration

Services, Dar es Salaam, and the office of the Principal Immigration Officer, Zanzibar.

› Tanzania High Commissions or embassies


KENYAN VISAS All visitors entering Kenya – except those who are citizens of Ethiopia, San Marino, Turkey and Uruguay – require a visa. From September 1st 2015, all visas must be purchased online in advance of travel to Kenya from E-visas are valid for 90 days. A single entry visa costs US$ 51, which includes a US$ 1 service charge.



BAGGAGE Every passenger travelling with Auric Air gets a free baggage allowance as follows: › Adults and children: Checked

baggage of 15 kg, hand baggage of 5 kg

› Infants: Combined checked

CHILDREN Children are welcome on board Auric Air after their 11th birthday. Unfortunately, before this age, we cannot accept unaccompanied minors. Infants under the age of two weeks will also not be accepted for travel.

baggage and hand baggage of 3 kg.

Excess baggage will be charged per kilogram. Owing to the size and weight restrictions of the aircraft, we cannot guarantee to transport excess baggage on the same flight. Because of the nature of the aircraft, your baggage must consist of small, soft bags. Metal suitcases with sharp, pointed edges are prohibited.


ANIMALS Animals and pets may travel on our aircraft, subject to criteria such as size and quantity. For more information, please contact our call centre on +255 783 233334. Auric Air’s Call Centre is open 09:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00 daily.

TRAVEL TIPS To ensure you have the smoothest possible flight, here are some of our top tips for a top trip. Make sure you arrive in good time, as the check-in desks close 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Passengers arriving after this time may not be accepted for travel, and liable for a no-show fee. Auric Air does not provide alcohol on its aircraft, and passengers are not allowed to bring their own – or any food items – on board. Please bear this in mind before boarding. All flights are also non-smoking. Electronic equipment is allowed on board, including mobile telephones, laptops, radios, CD players and handheld games consoles, however for safety reasons, the use of these items may be limited, or forbidden during flying.


Auric Air Services Ltd PO Box 336, Mwanza Cell: +255 783 233 334; 255 736 200 849 Email:;


Auric Air Services Ltd T-14, First Floor, Haidery Plaza Upanga/Kisutu Street, Dar es Salaam Tel: (Dar Airport) +255 (0)688 937 165 Tel: (Town Office) +255 (0)688 937 166 Email:

GET CONNECTED You can keep in contact with Auric across social media at:


Auric Air Services Ltd TFA Arusha Shopping Centre (Nakumatt) Opp. Kilombero Market Office No 19, West Wing, Arusha Cell: +255 (0)688 723 274 Email:

MORE INFORMATION Head to General/terms for more information on travelling with Auric Air. ■


PILOT’S EYE VIEW BEAUTIFUL SERENGETI View over Serengeti National Park







Arusha Buboka Dar es Salaam Dodoma Iringa Kahama Katavi Kigoma Lake Manyara Mahale Morogoro Mpanda Mwanza Ruaha Rubondo Serengeti Shinyanga Songea Sumbawanga Tabora Tanga



+255 783 233334

Pemba Mafia Zanzibar

UGANDA Entebbe

KENYA Masai Mara