Walk on the wild side

Walk on the wild side

East Africa - a stretch of land that boasts some of the greatest natural wonders the world has to offer. Africa - an entire nation crippled due to the near-hysterical media attention over Ebola - a fatal disease sweeping through the western part of the continent this year.

Like the adage about East and West where the twain will never meet, Tanzania in East Africa is far from Ebola's Ground Zero in the west - so we were not deterred by naysayers from exploring what this magnificent country has to offer.

Sadly, many luxury travel agents in Singapore and the rest of Asia are still seeing a decline in African bookings over lingering fears. But three safari destinations later and a safe return to Singapore, we are convinced that it is impossible to ignore this heaven on earth.

Tanzania boasts one of the largest wildlife populations in the world. For the safari adventure-seeker, this is where you'll find everyone on "The Fives" list: namely the Big, Ugly, Tiny, Beautiful and much more.

While most travellers usually converge on the more established, popular safari locations, a new breed of camp that favours the "traditional" experience is appearing on the radars of more discerning travellers - those who value intimacy and connectivity to the environment over conventional hotel indulgences.

The outlying location of the national parks of southern Tanzania provides guests with an experience where the number of animals far exceeds the people, while maintaining a high level of comfort as you immerse yourself in the wild kingdom.

At certain times of the year (December to March), the Serengeti sees just 54 permanent beds, compared with the equivalent area in the Maasai Mara, which has over 9,000.

uch small, boutique camps provide stylish accommodation with the service and charm that you find in five-star hotels, with all the fun and adventure of camping in the wild.

Nomad Tanzania, a comprehensive safari outfitter created by a team of pioneers who first wandered the most remote parts of the country before establishing their safari camps, has a passion for creating such experiences.

"This is their home and we are in their place," says Mohammed, the manager of camp Chada Katavi, who adds that their priority is to respect the environment and the animals that live there, while educating visitors through knowledgeable and seasoned guides.

This unspoilt corner of Africa is not for those looking for the opulence of marble bathtubs and gold-plated taps, but rather the new breed of experiential explorers seeking out raw adventures from which to carve out life-long memories.

For the full experience, you'll need to set aside two weeks to travel from western to eastern Tanzania, following one of Nomad Tanzania's travel circuits.

Sleeping under the stars

Chada Katavi

Travelling to Katavi National Park, in the far west of Tanzania is an adventure in itself. A light propeller plane from Arusha, near Kilimanjaro will lift you eye level with an active volcano, and while you cruise through the clouds you'll enjoy aerial views of the shifting African landscape, ranging from dusty, dry earth to lush green pastures.

Our friendly guide Emmanuel welcomes us on arrival at the airstrip at Katavi, and soon after mopping our sweaty brows with frozen flannel, we are greeted by a laid-back leopard they call Dogo (meaning "the young" in Swahili) on a perch on the branches of her favourite tamarind tree.

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