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'Kilimanjaro', the highest mountain in Africa, and a Tanzanian beer.
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Safari glossary
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A
Arusha

Provincial capital in north-eastern Tanzania. The starting point for most safaris to parks such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania.

More about Arusha

B
Balloon safari

Game viewing from a hot air balloon. Balloon safaris are available in for example Masai Mara in Kenya and Serengeti in Tanzania.

More about game viewing

Banda
A rental cottage or bungalow. The standard varies from basic to comfortable including staff.

More about lodges, camps etc

Bean bag
A bag filled with beans or rice, on which you put a camera or telescope to stabilize it.

More about bean bags

Big Five
The five mammal species:
· African elephant
· Rhinoceros
· African buffalo
· Lion
· Leopard.
These dangerous species were once (and may still be) desired trophies for big game hunters, who coined the expression The Big Five.

More about the Big Five

Bilharzia, schistosomiasis
Bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, is a parasite disease that you may catch from fresh water in lakes or slow rivers. Avoid drinking, bathing, wading or washing in water from these. It causes liver and intestinal damage, and may be fatal, although the mortality rate is low. There is no risk of bilharzia in chlorinated swimming pools, salt water or temporary water puddles.

More about health

C
Camping

Staying in a small tent, sleeping in a sleeping bag on a mattress. Hygiene facilities are communal, the standard varying between camping sites but often simple; pit toilet and cold water available. Packaged camping safaris often include a cook.

More about lodges, camps etc

Carnivore
A mammal that eats other animals. (There are a few exceptions, such as the giant panda in Asia, which is a carnivore that does not eat meat.) Lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyaenas and jackals are some of the carnivores found in East Africa. "The Carnivore" is the name of a restaurant in Nairobi, where meat from various African game animals is served.

More about carnivores

D
Dar es Salaam

City on the Tanzanian coast, not very far from Zanzibar Island. The starting point for many safaris to parks such as Mikumi and Selous in southern Tanzania.

More about Dar es Salaam

Driver guide
The safari vehicles on packaged tours are driven by a driver guide, i.e. a local driver who is also guiding the safari. Most guiding is in English, but some driver guides also speak other languages.

More about guides

E
East Africa

A collective name for the countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in eastern Africa. Some also include other countries of this region, for example Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and/or Somalia.

Endemic
A local animal or plant species that is found nowhere else.

F
Flying safari, safari by air

A safari where you fly to and between the parks, instead of travelling by road. Once in the park, the game viewing is done from a vehicle or on foot.

More about safaris by air

G
Game drive

A drive in a safari vehicle to look for and watch the wildlife.

More about game viewing

Game reserve
A type of park found in Tanzania. The rules protecting game reserves are less strict than those protecting national parks and national reserves.

More about parks in Tanzania
More about parks in Kenya

Great Rift Valley
The largest rift valley in the world, cutting straight through Kenya and Tanzania. It stretches from the Jordan Valley to Mozambique. Some parks, for example Lake Nakuru in Kenya and Lake Manyara in Tanzania, are situated in the Great Rift Valley.

H
Hakuna matata

An expression in Swahili, meaning "do not worry", "no problem, we will handle it".

Herbivore
An animal that eats grass, leaves and other plants.

J
Jambo

An informal greeting in Swahili, meaning "hello". You may answer "jambo".

Jomo Kenyatta
The name of the first president of Kenya. Also the name of the international airport (NBO/HKJK) in Nairobi.

Julius Nyerere
The name of the first president of Tanzania, locally referred to as mwalimu, "the teacher". Also the name of the international airport (DAR/HTDA) in Dar es Salaam.

K
KATO

Kenya Association of Tour Operators, a tourism trade association representing the interests of over 250 tour operators in Kenya.
Web site: www.katokenya.org

Kenya
Safari country in East Africa. Home to well-known parks such as Masai Mara and Amboseli.

More about Kenya

KES
Kenyan shilling, the local currency in Kenya.

More about money and currency

Kilimanjaro
The highest mountain in Africa, 5,895 m/19,340 ft, situated in northern Tanzania. Can be climbed by amateurs in 5–6 days. Nearby Kilimanjaro International Airport has scheduled connections with Europe. Kilimanjaro is also the name of a Tanzanian lager beer.

More about Kilimanjaro

Kiswahili
The name of the language Swahili in Swahili.

Kopje
Pronounced "copy". Also know as inselberg. A hill consisting of primary rock (gneiss and granite) rising out of the plain or savanna. A common feature in Serengeti and around Lake Victoria. Kopjes often attract vegetation and wildlife, and are good spots to look for the big cats.

KPSGA
KPSGA (Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association) is an association aiming to improve quality of the guides in the Kenyan tourist industry. It cooperates with the Kenyan park authority KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service). Members of the association carry a guide badge visibly when on duty.
Web site: www.safariguides.org

KQ
Short for the Kenyan airline Kenya Airways.

KWS
Kenya Wildlife Service. The authority that manages and protects national parks and national reserves in Kenya.
Web site: www.kws.org

L
Lamu

An island off the northern Kenyan coast, known for its calm and quiet atmosphere, and for its Arabian heritage.

Land Rover
4WD safari vehicle, carrying up to four or six safari-goers (depending on model). Has permanent four-wheel drive, differential lock and high and low gears. Most have diesel engines.

More about safari vehicles

Landcruiser
4WD safari vehicle, carrying up to four or six safari-goers (depending on model). Has two- and four-wheel drive, differential lock and high and low gears. Most have diesel engines.

More about safari vehicles

Lodge
A hotel in the bush. You stay in a room or a bungalow, which usually has a private bathroom with WC and shower or bathtub. Lodges have restaurants, and often bars, souvenir shops, and observation points, sometimes also swimming pools.

More about lodges, camps etc

Long rains
"The long rains" is the rainy season that usually comes to East Africa in April and May. A lot of rain can be expected, and it is not a good time for safaris. It is a low season in the safari industry.

More about safari seasons

M
Maasai

The Maasai tribe lives on the plains of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, herding cattle and goats. They were formerly known as fierce warriors. Easily recognized by their custom of dressing in reds.

More about the people of Kenya
More about the people of Tanzania

Malaria
A (blood parasite) disease spread by mosquitoes. Deadly if not treated.

More about malaria

Masai Mara, the Mara
A famous national reserve in south-western Kenya. The prime park of Kenya.

More about Masai Mara

Migration
The migration is the huge herds of 1–1.5 million wildebeest (the number varies, depending on how well the wildebeest are doing) and a few hundred thousand zebras in the Serengeti–Masai Mara ecosystem on the Tanzanian–Kenyan border. The herds keep moving between different grazing areas, repeating a similar route every year.

More about the migration

Minibus
2WD safari vehicle, carrying up to six safari-goers. There are also 4WD minibuses, but they are not as common.

More about safari vehicles

Mombasa
Big city and port on the Kenyan coast. The beaches south and north of the city are popular for holidays.

More about Mombasa

Moshi
Town at the foot of Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. Most climbers attempting the mountain stay one or two nights in Moshi.

Mount Kenya
The highest mountain (5,199 m/17,057 ft)in Kenya and the second highest in Africa. It is an extinct volcano, situated in central Kenya. Can be climbed by amateurs.

More about Mount Kenya

Mount Meru
The sixth highest mountain (4,566 m/14,980 ft) in Africa, situated in Arusha National Park just outside Arusha in northern Tanzania. The mountain is an extinct volcano, which can be climbed by amateurs in 2–3 days.

N
Nairobi

The capital of Kenya. The starting point for most safaris in the country.

More about Nairobi

National park and national reserve
A protected nature area. National parks and reserves are protected by stricter rules than other types of parks, such as game reserves, conservation areas and forest reserves.

More about parks in Kenya
More about parks in Tanzania

Night safari
Game viewing from a safari vehicle at night. A hand-held searchlight is usually used for spotting the animals.

More about game viewing

O
Observation point

A place for stationary game viewing, often found in lodges and camps. Some parks have good observation points, for example Observation Hill in Amboseli, from where you can see huge areas of the park.

More about game viewing

P
Park

An area where wildlife and nature is protected, for example a national park or game reserve.

More about parks in Kenya
More about parks in Tanzania

Park gate
The entrance into a park, where you pay an entrance fee (which is included in most packaged tours). The gate is guarded by park rangers, and there are often toilets, a shop and information about the park.

Pemba
An island in the Indian Ocean, off the Tanzanian mainland and just north of Zanzibar Island. The island has many good dive sites. Pemba and Zanzibar make up a state (called Zanzibar), which together with the mainland state Tanganyika is called the United Republic of Tanzania.

More about Pemba

Primate
The mammal order of apes, monkeys and prosimians (for example galagos and lemurs). The primates most seen on safaris in Kenya and Tanzania are baboons and vervet monkeys. Wild chimpanzees are found in western Tanzania.

More about primates

R
Ranger

A guard or watchman protecting a park. Rangers guard park entrances, patrol the bush in anti-poaching units, assist safari-goers in distress etc. Many rangers are armed.

S
Safari

The word "safari" derives from the Swahili word for "journey". In the tourist industry, it means a tour to or in the African bush, focusing on seeing wild animals. Safari is also the name of a Tanzanian beer.

More about safaris in Kenya and Tanzania

Safari tent
A tent for two persons, big enough for normal beds (and usually additional furniture). Safari tents in permanent tented camps have a private bathroom with toilet and shower.

More about lodges, camps etc

Savanna
The savanna ecosystem has two main components: grasses and trees. It ranges from grasslands scattered with the odd tree, to woodlands with open canopy, allowing sunlight to reach the ground to support grass. The northern and eastern savannas of East Africa are drier (250–1,000 mm/10–40 in of rain per year), the southern and western savannas moister (1,000–1,500 mm/40–60 in of rain per year).

More about savanna and other biotopes

Self-drive safari
A safari where you drive the vehicle yourself, instead of travelling as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a driver guide.

More about safaris by road

Serengeti
A famous national park in northern Tanzania. The prime park of Tanzania.

More about Serengeti

Short rains
"The short rains" is the rainy season that usually comes to East Africa in November. The rainfall is not too heavy, so safaris are possible during this season.

More about safari seasons

Soda lake
A lake where the water has a high content of soda (sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate). Most soda lakes are shallow and have inlets only, no outlets. Water containing a tiny part of soda flows into the lake, and leaves the soda there when later evaporating. The soda content in the lake gradually increases. Water with a high soda content is undrinkable, but is favoured by small crustaceans, on which flamingos feed. Many soda lakes are found in the Great Rift Valley.

Stonetown
Stonetown is the old Arabian style part of Zanzibar Town, which is the main town in Zanzibar Island.

Swahili
The most common local language in East Africa. Most East Africans have a tribal language for native language, while Swahili is usually their second language, used as a lingua franca throughout the region. Together with English, Swahili is the official language of both Tanzania and Kenya. The language originates from the coastal Swahili tribes.

More about language

T
Tanapa

Tanzania National Parks. The authority that manages and protects national parks in Tanzania.
Web site: www.tanzaniaparks.com

Tanzania
Safari country in East Africa. Home to well-known parks such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro, and to Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

More about Tanzania

Tanzanite
A (usually) blue zoisite gemstone found only in mines south-east of Arusha. In natural form it may have shades of sapphire blue, violet, and sage-green, but the ideal blue is often enhanced through a heating process. The hardness of the stone is just 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which makes it less suitable for jewellery worn all the time, such as engagement or wedding rings.

TATO
Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, a tourism trade association representing the interests of 200 tour operators in Tanzania.
Web site: www.tatotz.com

Tented camp
Similar to a lodge, but you stay in a furnished tent, mostly sized for two people. There is usually a private bathroom with WC and shower at the back, accessible from inside the tent. Meals are served in a restaurant or mess tent. Larger camps may have souvenir shops, bars, other permanent buildings, and swimming pools, and are often referred to as tented lodges.

More about lodges, camps etc

Tour leader
A safari guide on packaged tours, usually a native speaker of your own language, employed by the travel company that has arranged your tour.

More about guides

Tour operator
A local company on the safari destination that owns safari vehicles, employs driver guides, and does local hotel, lodge and flight bookings. Tour operators provide all local services and arrangements required for your safari.

More about local tour operators

Travel company or travel agent
A company in your own country that sells safari tours. It contracts a Kenyan or Tanzanian tour operator to handle all local arrangements and services.

Tusker
Nickname for an elephant that has really big tusks. Tusker is also the name of a Kenyan beer.

TZS
Tanzanian shilling, the local currency in Tanzania.

More about money and currency

U
Ugali

A stiff porridge usually made from maize or cassava, eaten with a meat, fish or vegetable sauce. A very common staple food dish in East Africa. Sometimes served on buffets in lodges and camps.

Ungulate, hoofed animal
A mammal with hoofed feet. Most East African mammals eating grass and leaves, for example zebras, giraffes and elephants, are ungulates.

More about ungulates

Z
Zanzibar

Island in the Indian Ocean, off the Tanzanian mainland. A popular destination for beach holidays. The local name of the island is Unguja, while Zanzibar (including Unguja and Pemba Islands) denotes one of the two states of the United Republic of Tanzania. The other state is Tanganyika, i.e. the mainland.

More about Zanzibar

 
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Page updated 18 February 2009