For the safari enthusiast with a passion for conservation, the opportunity to actively participate in field work can be the ultimate wildlife experience.
Tagging and collaring expeditions are seldom made available to the public as they are often performed without ties to commercial organisations. So, when opportunities to participate are made available, they are usually handled like gold dust and promoted to only a very select group of people – generally friends and industry colleagues.
An exciting new Asilia project, in partnership with Six Rivers Africa, will see a series of lion and elephant collaring expeditions becoming available in August and September 2023. Operating in the south-eastern reaches of Nyerere National Park, and available on an exclusive use basis to groups of 1 - 8 people, this will be no ordinary safari.
A collaring expedition
Collaring itineraries are fixed at 4 nights in order to ensure sufficient time for the completion of the full process, as well as allowing time for more traditional activities like night game drives, walking safaris, boating and fishing. Given the nature of this experience, the structure of the 4 night itinerary needs to be kept as flexible as possible, but a rough overview could look as follows:
Nyerere National Park
Based on a group of 8 people, prices start from $7,980 pp for lion collaring & $8,105 pp for elephant collaring
After a short, 70-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, you’ll land at the Kilombero Airport on the outskirts of Nyerere National Park. On arrival, a guide and vehicle from Kilombero River Camp will be on hand to welcome you to the park. There’s time for cup of coffee and a snack before embarking on the 3h30m drive through the park to the site of Kilombero River Camp, stopping for interesting game viewing along the way. Arriving at camp, there’s a chance to settle into your new surroundings before sitting down to lunch under the trees on the riverbank.
In the early afternoon, a briefing will be held to talk through the collaring process, explain the necessary safety procedures and answer any questions the group may have. If this is an elephant collaring expedition, some members of the party will join the helicopter to search for herds of elephant and suitable collaring candidates. The rest of the group will head out on a game drive to explore the surrounding area and place camera traps to leave in operation for the duration of their stay. A lion collaring expedition will also do an afternoon game drive and the placement of camera traps, however there will only be one collaring expedition in camp at a time. After bush sundowners, return to camp to enjoy drinks around the fireside while dinner is prepared on the same open fire. The veterinarian team will join for dinner to chat through further details of their work, share some stories and further explain the processes that will follow over the coming days.
- Return flights
- Park fees
- All safari and collaring related activities
- Emergency Support Cover
Kilombero River Camp
In Kilombero, in the southeast of Nyerere National Park, this process of restoration is underway. This diverse wetland wilderness was identified for its range of habitat and its important contribution to the year-round availability of water within the river systems of Nyerere.
In August 2022, Kilombero River Camp was opened, acting as a research base for initial reconnaissance being performed by the project. With just 4 tents overlooking the waters of the Kilombero River, the emphasis of this camp is firmly rooted in research.
Much like its sister research-based property in the Usangu Wetlands of Ruaha National Park, the safari experience here will incorporate a mixture of traditional activities combined with research-based elements. The immediate priority has been understanding and securing the surrounding area whilst performing a wildlife census.
A by-product of this process is additional aerial support to government officials, increased presence within the park, and opportunities to develop a base-line audit of the local environment’s biodiversity. In an effort to better understand the health of the Kilombero River and the aquatic life that resides in it, a pilot “eDNA” project has been completed which will provide important feedback on both water quality and aquatic life.
The History of Nyerere National Park
In the south of Tanzania, far removed from the bustle of the busy northern circuit, lies Nyerere National Park, formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve.
Usangu Expedition Camp
On the banks of the wetlands, just beyond the reaches of the seasonal high-water mark, Usangu Expedition Camp sits among the woodland shade offering the perfect launch pad from where to enjoy the mult…
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