Serengeti: The great migration

Sunday, August 2, 2015 0 Permalink

Day 7 – Our last day in the Serengeti I didn't take as many pictures as I probably should have. I wanted to experience this trip with my soul and all my senses - looking a lion in the eye, smelling the lemony whiff of the freshly cut grasses made by the elephants, tasting the dust and sand during game drives, hearing the hyenas roaming about during the night and feeling the chilly air in the morning and biting heat of the Serengeti. Not behind the small frame of a viewfinder. So when I am old and my eyes becomes bad, ...

Serengeti: Big cats

Sunday, August 2, 2015 0 Permalink

Day 6 - Soaking up the views of the Last Eden We started early, just as when the sun was rising in the Serengeti. Our picnic box safely tucked away at the back of the Land Cruiser, our batteries loaded and our hearts filled with excitement for another game drive in the Serengeti. The Serengeti. I let the word flow from my mouth, like a sip of a good Amarone, many times over during the trip. The Serengeti, a place that seemed so far away, so unreachable, so impossible to visit when I was watching it on tv. The Serengeti, the last ...

Serengeti: The sad, the bad and the ugly

Saturday, July 25, 2015 2 Permalink

Day 5 – First game drive in the Serengeti (all photos by Robin Kuijs) If you are following me, The Weekend Traveller and Robin Kuijs on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen the amazing photos of the wild animals. But let me start my Serengeti diaries with the sad, the bad and the ugly. Life in the Serengeti is survival of the fittest, for the people living there but especially for the wild animals. The big cats are kings of course so are other large animals like elephants, rhinos and crocodiles. The cute and cuddly zebras, gazelles, wildebeest and even the buffalos (one of the ...

Serengeti: The Maasai

Saturday, July 25, 2015 0 Permalink

Day 5 – The Maasai tribe Known for their colourful clothes, jumping exercise and their way of life, living side by side with the wild life of northern Tanzania, the famed Maasai tribe is the biggest and strongest among the 127 tribes in the country. On our way to the Serengeti, about one hour from the main gate, we stopped by one of the Maasai villages for a fee of $50 per couple (a total of $150 for our group) to be used by the village for transporting water from 100 kilometers away. At first we found the fee ridiculous. But then again, ...

Lake Manyara: Mto wa Mbu and a boring game drive

Saturday, July 25, 2015 0 Permalink

Day 4 - Lake Manyara As a first time visitor of Tanzania, I was glad that our travel agencies, Matoke Tours and Easy Travel, incorporated cultural activities in our itinerary. And because it was a Dutch group, I think they thought we would appreciate a mountain biking trip to Lake Manyara and the villages in Mto wa Mbu. After a failed search for that elusive leopard in Tarangire, we drove to Mto wa Mbu or roughly translated as mosquito river in Ki-Swahili. No kidding, there were lots of mosquitoes and one the way back to the village, you could see a swarm of mosquito forming a ...

Tarangire: The baobab trees and Ibong Adarna

Sunday, July 19, 2015 0 Permalink

Day 3 – The baobab trees of Tarangire (photos by Robin Kuijs) Baobab trees. In the age without Internet on an island with only six towns, as a child, the only thing I knew about baobab trees was from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s well-loved book The Little Prince. During my early months in the Netherlands, when I would spend almost the entire day watching television, I finally saw what it looked like in one of the shows about meerkats in Madagascar. Entering the Tarangire National Park, one would be welcomed by a billboard that says “Tarangire: Home of the Baobab Trees”. When I saw the baobab, ...

Arusha: People and wild life

Saturday, July 18, 2015 2 Permalink

Day 1-2 Arusha (photos by Robin Kuijs) If you remove the cows and the black people with colorful clothing from the picture, the roadside scenery in Arusha looks exactly like the Philippines – car repair shops, eateries, furniture stores, grocery stores selling gas tanks, low stone and wooden houses, cellphone repair shops and sari-sari stores. As you go deeper into the villages, the landscape can fool you into believing that you're visiting just another Filipino barrio. The same plants grow in abundance everywhere - bananas, guavas, mangoes, acacia tress, bougainvillea even the same grasses and weeds. Only the miles of cornfields replace ...

The circle of life: Tanzania

Saturday, July 18, 2015 0 Permalink

As a lifestyle writer back when I was living in the Philippines, I was sent one day to cover to the launching of a jewelry line featuring tanzanite. I was so mystified by the story of this shimmering, deep blue stone, which can only be mined at the foot of the Kilimanjaro Mountain in Tanzania, that I wished one day I'd be able own one of those gems. Many years after, a classic brilliant-cut tanzanite ring is wrapped around my finger, purchased right here where it was discovered by the Maasai tribe. When I made that wish, I haven’t had the slightest ...

Michelin experience: Lunch at Joelia, Rotterdam

Technically, restaurant Joelia, two-star Michelin chef Mario Ridder's new baby in the heart of Rotterdam, still don't have a star. But the much-publicized restaurant located in the corner of Weena and Coolsingel just below Hilton Hotel, has piqued my curiosity. This little corner is always having a transformation and it was nice to finally see something that looks like it's going to stay. The menu at Joelia's is "peperduur" as we say in Dutch - very expensive. A foie gras appetizer will set you back €39 already and the main course ranges from €35-49. So as usual I tested the waters ...

In search of foie gras: review of Rodin, Rotterdam

Monday, June 29, 2015 0 Permalink

Every once in a while, I crave for a particular taste - a dish my mother used to make when I was a child, a tropical food or a delicatessen I've tasted during my travels. For the past weeks, I was craving for foie gras, thick, juicy slab of goose liver, pan seared and served with apple and alcohol syrup. The kind of foie gras that is forbidden in many countries, not the duck terrine that they like to serve in restaurants as appetizers. The last good foie gras I've had was in Sofitel, Philippines. For a make-up dinner, Robin brought ...