A highway will cross the Serengeti park in Tanzania
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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF THE ENVIRONMENT
A highway will cross the Serengeti park in Tanzania
22 September 2010The news begins to make headlines: the President of Tanzania JakayaKikwete has decided to build a highway that will cross the Serengeti National Park for its length, from Arusha in Tanzania to Musoma on Lake Victoria.
The news is obviously going around the world above all to try to understand what are the reasons that push to affect such a delicate ecosystem, one of the most important in the world.In fact, experts say loudly that if this project is implemented, the natural balances would collapse with serious repercussions on an infinite number of animal species, many of which are already in danger of extinction such as elephants, rhinos, leopards and many others.
Already in 1980 the World Bank had rejected the request for a loan for the construction of the same road following a study on the environmental impact that such an initiative would have on the natural balance of the whole park. road construction work will start in 2012.
What leaves the world opinion speechless is that, although there is an alternative route that could be followed further south, outside the boundaries of the park with the same economic advantages, this is not taken into consideration at all. of an asphalted but unpaved road, it would damage the same enormous because the flow of traffic that would occur, connecting two such populous areas, would be enormous and the ecosystem of the Serengeti would not be able to withstand it. If the project is carried out, the annual migration path of millions of animals would be cut.
In the face of all this, it is legitimate to ask: why does President Kikwete so strenuously support the construction of this road that risks putting the ecosystem of the Serengeti and therefore also the tourism connected to it on its knees? And as ever there is no official response to the many requests for explanation? The governotace.
Kenya and Tanzania Explorer
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Tanzania: A freeway project across the Serengeti has been blocked
The government of Tanzania has blocked the project to build a 55-kilometer expressway through the Serengeti, one of the most famous natural parks in the world. A survey of the environmental impact of the project, entrusted by the Tanzanian government to a group of experts from an American university, predicted that it would block the migration routes of a million wild animals that move seasonally from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara park. in Kenya, constituting one of the major tourist attractions in the region. He also predicted that the animals would no longer have access to sufficient water, and therefore their numbers would be reduced by 85%.
The road, planned in 2010 by former president Jakaya Kikwete, had been blocked by legal charges from environmental activists. The project was dusted off a couple of weeks ago, when Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli, visiting Kenya, officially inaugurated the Nairobi Southern Bypass, another highway that sparked intense protests among environmentalists because it was partially built in the park. of the Kenyan capital, of which at least 150 acres have been destroyed.
But last week the head of the engineering department of the Tanzanian National Road Agency, Patrick Mfugale, said that: "The public tender to build a paved expressway through the Serengeti was a mistake, and the section through the park will not be. asphalted ”putting an end to the dispute, for now at least.
The 55-kilometer road through the park is part of a larger project involving the construction of 385 kilometers of a freeway that will facilitate travel around the country. The 55 kilometers that cross the park, however, will only be made accessible even during the rainy season, without being paved. But other human activities, such as oil extraction, also threaten the Serengeti. (The Star)
How to get to the Serengeti National Park
A bridge in the Serengeti Park
Serengeti National Park safaris always start from Arusha, a town that has a small airport where only domestic flights land. Therefore, the best way to reach the park is to arrive from Italy with a flight that lands at the airport of Kilimanjaro.
From there you can easily reach Arusha, the distance is about eighty kilometers, bear in mind that the roads are not excellent, so it will take you about an hour and a half to travel the distance.
In general, Serengeti National Park tours are part of a trip that includes other parks. This means that, usually, you spend the first night in Arusha, then you leave to visit the Lake Manyara Park or Tarangire. Only later is the Serengeti reached.
There is also a small one landing strip inside the park, in the Seronera area. It is owned by some of the most exclusive lodges, which organize the flight for their clients. Obviously this option is quite expensive, but it can be useful for those who have little time or are not interested in visiting other parks.
A highway among the lions
Flying over the Serengeti, Tanzania © Antonio Politano
But how is it possible? An architectural barrier in the middle of the savannah? In Mother Africa with the largest concentration of fauna on the planet?
A few days ago the news came that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (in the north-west of Tanzania) has become part of the Unesco World Heritage list - of which it was already part of a "natural asset" since 1978 - also as a “cultural asset”, thanks to the treasures of its prehistoric sites which are fundamental to reconstruct the sequence of human evolution.
A month and a half ago, however, the project - approved and made public by the Tanzanian government - came to light to build a highway in the middle of the Serengeti, perhaps the most famous nature reserve in the world, which has been on the UNESCO list since 1981.
A highway, yes. Sob. For cars and trucks. To connect the Lake Victoria area with eastern Tanzania. About sixty km, of the planned 480, would cross the north of the park longitudinally. The works would start in 2012, the feasibility study is underway. In the map below, published on the Save the Serengeti website, the planned road is in red, the one in light green is the alternative road, proposed by those who oppose the highway, which would pass just south of the park.
A petition has been launched to request the Tanzanian government to stop the project. Let's sign it, let's stop them. The impact of the highway construction on the park's ecosystem is imaginable. The Serengeti (the "boundless plain", in language but you know) is the scenario of the largest known mammal migration: during the dry season more than one million herbivores - wildebeest, zebras, antelopes (followed by their predators) - move between the Serengeti and the adjacent Masai Mara (in Kenya) in search of permanent water sources. With the highway it is estimated that the population would decline from 1.3 million to about 200 thousand specimens. And then the pollution, and the noises? Collapse for the ecosystem, as the Frankfurt Zoological Society denounces, but also for tourism. Obviously, the park is a business. Sometimes too much, for the multitudes of Land Rovers and tourists, luckily hunting for trophies, now only photographic.
To photograph animals you need time and dedication, technique and machinery, usually powerful and long-awaited telephoto lenses, more or less infinite stalking. But also style and personal expressive choices. Like that of the English photographer Nick Brandt, whose exhibition I gladly point out In Shadow Falls which opens these days at the Young Gallery in Knokke, Belgium (you can see a wide selection of Brandt's images here, as well as on his website).
The Serengeti map / © Nick Brandt, Lion Before Storm II - Sitting Profile
His is a pictorial black and white, with epic features. They are portraits of majestic animals, which seem almost posed, in a bare, solemn nature. His Africa, suspended in time, touches the danger of a certain rhetoric from an earthly paradise (perhaps destined to be lost). But it is strong, original. Yet it is, once again, of lions, zebras, elephants, hippos, giraffes, skies and savannas, seen a thousand times. But Brandt has a vision of his own, an unusual ability to enter as if in intimacy with his subjects, photographed - as he explains below - without the aid of large focal lengths, up close, like icons, objects of art.
"Few photographers have considered the photography of wild animals, as something clearly opposite to the genre of nature photography, as a form of art. The emphasis has generally been placed on capturing the spectacular nature of animals in action, on capturing the single dramatic moment, as opposed to animals simply caught in their state of being. I have always considered this as a wasted opportunity. Wild African animals lend themselves to photos that aesthetically go beyond the common 35mm color lens nature photography. And this is how, in my own way, I would like to drag the object of nature photography into the arena of art photography. Taking photos that transcend what has been a largely documentary genre. Apart from the use of certain unfamiliar photographic techniques, there is one thing I do while shooting that I think makes the difference: I get very close to these wild animals, often a few tens of centimeters from them. I don't use telephoto lenses. This is because I want to see as much of the sky and landscape as possible - to see animals in the context of their environment. In this way, the photos are as much about the atmosphere of the place as it is about the animals. Furthermore, being so close to animals, I get a feeling of intimate contact with them, with the animal in front of me. Sometimes I get the feeling that they show up for a studio portrait. Why African animals in particular? And even more particularly in East Africa? Perhaps there is something more deeply iconic, mythical, even mythological about the animals of East Africa, compared to the Arctic or South America, for example. There is also something deeply moving and moving about the African plains - the great expanses of plains dotted with graphically perfect acacia trees. My images are openly idyllic and romantic, a kind of enchanted Africa. They are my elegy to a world that is constantly, tragically, fading away ».
Written Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:56 pm in the Uncategorized category. You can follow the comments on this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. The comments and pings are disabled.
THE ANIMALS OF NORTHERN TANZANIA - TRAVEL CODE: TANZANIA
Departure on 17 September 2018
Tanzania is known for the spectacle of its safaris, perhaps the best in the entire African continent. Nature in this country manifests itself in many forms: i large mammals that occupy the plains, the colorful birds that fly over the hills, the large trees that bear witness to life along the slopes of the craters. Here is a unique, authentic tour, a journey that leaves the classic tourist route to live the unforgettable experience of the Great Migration aboard off-road vehicles to better immortalize the most beautiful scenes of natural life!
17/9/2018 - ITALY - KILIMANJARO
Departure by bus to the airport and take off with scheduled flight (not direct) to Tanzania. Meals and overnight on board.
18/9/2018 - KILIMANJARO - ARUSHA (dinner and overnight stay)
Arrival in Arusha, landing operations and meeting with the local guide. Transfer to the lodge, accommodation in the reserved rooms, dinner and overnight stay.
19/9/2018 - LAKE MANYARA - KARATU (full board with picnic lunch)
Departure for Lake Manyara National Park and game drives inside the park, described by Hemingway as the most beautiful on the continent in his famous book "The green hills of Africa". Continue to Karatu, a town surrounded by coffee plantations, at the entrance to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Accommodation in the lodge, dinner and overnight.
20/9/2018 - KARATU - NGORONGORO - OLDUVAI (full board with picnic lunch)
Entry into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to reach the top of the Crater and then make the descent into it for a game drive that will last for most of the day. A large concentration of wildlife can be found here including black rhinos. Continue to the Olduvai area and accommodation in a permanent field located in a spectacular location. Before dinner we will take a walk with the Masai until we climb one of the characteristic “Kopje” (hill) to witness a wonderful sunset.
9/21/2018 - OLDUVAI - SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK - GRUMETI RESERVE: WESTERN CORRIDORY (full board with picnic lunch)
Departure for Serengeti National Park the route will cover a large portion of the park in a south-east / west direction until it reaches the Grumeti Game Reserve, in the Western Corridory. The transfer is in fact a single exciting game drive! Accommodation in the lodge, dinner and overnight.
22/9/2018 - GRUMETI RESERVE (full board)
Day dedicated to activities in the reserve which include, among other things, the walking safari and night safari.
23/9/2018 - GRUMETI - SERENGETI - KARATU (full board with picnic lunch)
Today we will cross the Serengeti again with a long game drive, until we reach Karatu in the afternoon. Accommodation in the lodge, dinner and overnight.
24/9/2018 - KARATU - TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK (full board with picnic lunch)
After breakfast departure for Tarangire National Park. This park, full of unforgettable landscapes dotted with huge baobabs, preserves one of the most important elephant populations in the country. The journey to the camp will turn out to be a first safari to appreciate the surrounding landscapes. Accommodation in a fixed tented camp and departure for a game drive that will continue for the rest of the day. Return to the camp at sunset, dinner and overnight.
25/9/2018 - TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK - ARUSHA - ITALY (breakfast and lunch)
Breakfast departure for Arusha and shopping opportunities along the way. Lunch in a restaurant (if the flight schedule does not allow it, lunch will be with a travel basket). Transfer in time to the airport and boarding the flight to Italy. Meals and overnight on board.
9/26/2018 - ITALY - CUNEO
Upon arrival, transfer by private coach to Cuneo and the province.
THE PRICE INCLUDES : transfers to and from airports scheduled flights to / from Tanzania in economy class accommodation in excellent lodges and fixed tented camps with treatment as per program visits and excursions in 4X4 vehicles with 5/7 seats driver / guide speaking Italian for the whole tour all activities and game drives included in the program entrance fees to the Parks registration fee medical insurance / travel companion of the agency for a group of at least 14 participants.
THE FEE DOES NOT INCLUDE : drinks, meals not included airport taxes and fuel surcharge (approximately € 470.00) entry visa (approximately USD 50.00 on site) insurance for cancellation of tips and personal expenses and everything not included in the "The fee includes" item.
You need: Passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of entry into Tanzania with at least 2 free pages. A visa is required to be requested before departure
No compulsory vaccination. We recommend antimalarial prophylaxis and contact your doctor
A highway will cross the Serengeti park in Tanzania
If you ask me which is the most beautiful trip I have ever done, I will answer you instantly, without hesitation: my trip to the parks of northern Tanzania, in 2007. Simply wonderful.
Wonderful is this country, immense and wild, with an incredible nature and poignant landscapes, which excite you and stay inside you. Forever. If - like me - you love nature, animals and the great outdoors, go there. If you have never been to Africa, Tanzania is the perfect place for your "first time" in Africa.
My trip to northern Tanzania starts from Arusha and its small airport. My first contact with Africa takes place here: the air is clear and clear, the sun is hot but the heat is dry and bearable. At that moment I have the feeling of being in the right place: my dimension is here. Even though I am more than 6,000 km from home, on the other side of the world, on my first major intercontinental journey, I feel as calm as ever.
The time to retrieve the luggage that is already waiting for us outside our guide and our driver who will accompany us for the whole week.
We start immediately. In a short time we leave the paved roads and enter the Tarangire park.
It is almost sunset time, a few hours have passed since our arrival and we already see the first animals: impalas, ostriches and a group of baboons (who seem to sit in a circle to admire the sunset). This is also the park with the greatest concentration of baobabs, which we do not fail to photograph. Here we see elephants, giraffes, baboons and colorful birds.
Leaving the Tarangire we move towards the area of Lake Manyara, right at the foot of the Rift Valley escarpment, not far from Mto wa Mbu. The lake and the surrounding area make up the protected area of Lake Manyara National Park. From our lodge we see the lake from above: a wonderful sight.
We pass from the savannah to the lake vegetation, to then find ourselves crossing a forest, between groups of baboons that are combing in groups and elephants that block our way. This is also a lover's paradise birdwatching: how is it possible that these birds are so colorful (and our always gray?).
One of the many baobabs in the Tarangire park In the Park of Lake Manyara
In his novel Green hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway tells about his safari in the park of Lake Manyara which describes how "the most beautiful lake in all of Africa". I don't have a hard time believing it.
A long jeep ride takes us to the entrance to the most famous of Tanzanian parks, the park of Serengeti. We seem to have covered a very long distance, but looking at our position on the map we seem to have moved very little: in reality it is Tanzania that is very vast and the distances enormous.
Space and time are expanded to the nth degree. There, in the middle of the savannah, outside civilization, you have the clear perception that time does not exist (from that moment on I stopped wearing the watch). The wide horizon, as it appears at the equator, opens up almost to infinity above the savannah. Here and there, in the middle of nowhere, rocky reliefs emerge - the inselberg- which appear to have been placed there by someone. All of this is incredibly beautiful.
Inselberg in the Serengeti Park
It is in the Serengeti that we have the long-awaited meeting, the one with the lions. But also with zebras, wildebeest, buffaloes, jackals, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas. They are all there. A group of vultures nibbles at the remains of a poor buffalo, a herd of elephants crosses the road walking diligently in line, a family of warthogs looks at us with curiosity.
Lion in the Serengeti Park
And the sky? Do we want to talk about the sky? The sky is blue and spotted with clouds that seem like milk, unreal, almost to seem fake. The red earth, the yellow and green of the savannah, the blue of the sky: how can you not fall in love with it?
Inside the Serengeti there is also a very suggestive area, the archaeological site of Gorges of Olduvai. Here, in this valley sculpted by water and wind, some of the oldest hominid fossils have been found. All of a sudden you understand: the first men left here before expanding into the world, it is not surprising that returning there you can feel "at home". It all comes back.
Our safari is a growth of emotions: the last days of safari take us to the Ngorongoro Nature Reserve, an ancient volcanic crater that houses an extraordinary habitat.
The concentration of animals found here is truly exceptional: enclosed between the steep slopes of the crater, many species live here in almost total isolation from the surrounding area. So we have to turn off the engine and wait for zebras and wildebeests, who graze blissfully together, decide to move. Here, at dawn, we witness the lion mating. We see the rare white rhino, elephants, zebras, hippos ...
There are few such places in the world. Ngorongoro is like Noah's Ark, which protects and contains extraordinary species. A place so beautiful and exciting to move.