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  • Posted on: January 2nd, 2018

Dear Friends,

Many of you ask what I do during the off season when my campground is closed. Well, let me tell you – I don’t like the cold, rain, snow and dreariness of BC winters so I head for the sun! Here’s a post from my lovely friend Tamara Robertson “A Broad Abroad” about our Tanzania Expeditions safari in Africa!

Tamara:

My long time friend Heather West and I had been planning on a safari for quite some time. We were both excited to try something new, see new things and do something completely out of our comfort zone. We searched and searched online for the right tour company with reasonable prices and accommodations. There were so many (around 300 just in Arusha, Tanzania to be exact) that it seemed a bit overwhelming. With all of them claiming to be the best, it’s so hard to choose. We eventually found one called Tanzania Expeditions that offered private tours, flexible dates, beautiful lodges, great food and experienced tour guides all within our budget. We wrote them an email explaining exactly what we wanted and they wrote back promptly assuring they would provide all of that plus more for the 9 days we wanted to spend on the tour. Whatever we wanted, they said, they would accommodate. The reviews online of Tanzania expeditions were excellent too and let’s be real, I don’t book anything with terrible reviews so it just seemed perfect. Just about every previous guests of theirs gave them 5 stars out of 5.

Heather met me in Nairobi, Kenya. It was sure nice to see yet another familiar face. We were ecstatic! Unfortunately though, due to a lot of political unrest in Kenya we weren’t able to venture out too far from our hotel. We made it as far as the bead market and then drank beers and chilled by the pool for a day.

Took a bus to Arusha, Tanzania the next day and along the way saw our first wild giraffes eating tree leaves. The locals on the bus got a big kick out of us because we began screaming with excitement and desperately attempting to snap photos while the bus was passing them. For locals, apparently it’s not a big deal to casually see a giraffe on the side of the road. To us, it was magical. Our bus driver kindly stopped the bus so we could jump out and take pictures. Our adventures were only just about to begin…

We stayed a night in Arusha and was met by a kind employee of Tanzania Expeditions at our hotel the night before our safari to explain exactly what we could expect for the next 9 days. The next morning our driver/tour guide, Emmanuel picked us up and off we went! He told us whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it, he’d do his best to make it happen. Poor Emmanuel didn’t know what he was getting himself into! He soon nicknamed us the “crazy Canadian girls”!

Our first stops were Tarangire conservation park and Manyara lake where we literally saw everything we thought there was to see. Elephants, giraffes, wort hogs, lions, wildebeest, zebras, ostriches, birds, impalas, you name it. We really didn’t think it could get better then that. But everyday, Heather and I turned to each other and said, “everyday keeps getting better!”

First thing in the morning while driving through lake Manyara (home of the tree climbing lions) we were just about charged by an elephant! We had driven up close to a few that were crossing into some bushes. The last elephant got spooked and turned around, flapped his ears and trumpeted while coming after us. We quickly backed up and he stomped his feet before turning back to follow the rest of the herd. Heather thought it was hilarious and exciting. I just about wet myself. Apparently though, that’s not a normal occurrence but the elephant was simply telling us to back off. Which we did. But that’s by far the most excitement I’ve had in my life. It took about an hour to ‘come down’ from the excitement. See video! thankfully our driver is super experienced and kept us safe.

Many times we were about 3 meters away from some wildlife. Close enough to almost touch them (but smart enough not to). The animals are used to seeing the trucks and the people in the trucks are like an extension of the vehicle and know we aren’t there to harm them. It’s amazing how trusting they are. One lion walked right up to our truck and once again, I panicked thinking it was going to jump onto the car. The roof of the trucks pops open and you’re able to stand up and view the wildlife without much barrier. A way better way to see animals than in a zoo. (Please don’t go to zoos!) Heather and I agree that wort hogs are totally underrated and the cutest little fat nuggets when they run. They made us giggle every time. I want one!! Remember Pumba from the Lion King? Pumba in Swahili means “stupid” or “fool” by the way.

Our lodges were lovely. Some were overlooking the parks and some even right inside the parks. A few nights we slept in “glamping” tents. They were very nice but it’s a bit nerve racking when you can hear buffalo and hyenas sniffing around your tent all night. In fact, you can’t leave your tent at night and walking to and from the restaurant area you need an escort who’s familiar with the wildlife. Again, Heather found it all hilarious and thrilling and I was wetting my pants! These lodges are super safe though and they’ve never had an incident with any of the wildlife. The tents come equipped with whistles and lamps in case of emergency. What an ultimate thrill though to sleep in the middle of the Serengeti National park!

At one lodge we stayed at, we had elephants and lions screaming their jungle calls all night, right in our backyard only protected by a wooden fence barrier. We went to bed early that night but according to other travelers, the elephants walked right through the lodges backyard! Water buck and buffalo were told to move by the giants. What a cool experience falling asleep to the sound of lions roaring.

Our favorite part of the safari was the cultural experiences we had. We woke up very early one morning and was taken far into the bush (somewhere) where our guide found us “bushmen”. A tribe of indigenous people living completely off the land. They have very little contact with the outside world. So little in fact, that they didn’t even know what matches were or how to use them. I had collected a few match packs from our hotels and gave it to them. I actually had to show them how to use the matches! They literally rub two sticks together to create a fire otherwise. They are nomadic and therefore dont stay in one place too long. Where their food moves to, they move to also. They eat only wild animals. They are very skinny as their diet consists of only wildlife meat and fruit. We went hunting with them, bows and arrows and all. Of course heather and I didn’t kill anything but the men managed to kill a few birds and shot a squirrel right through its body. We followed them around for a few hours and then watched them skin and cook their lunch. Very cool experience but can’t say I was too interested in tasting squirrel.

Bushmen and Tamara with the mornings food!

Bushmen and Tamara with the mornings food!


We then met lots of local children at a Christian school/orphanage. These kids melted my heart in ways I can’t explain. They sang for us and jumped around so happy to see a few foreigners visit them. I gave them some candy but had to show them how to take the wrappers off and tell them that gum was not to be swallowed. Probably wasn’t the best choice of candy but it sure made them happy.

Everyday was a learning experience for us. I’m almost tempted to go back to school to study wildlife I felt so inspired. Apparently, and it’s just a rumor, but a black rhino was killed by poachers a week before we saw one. There’s only 45 left in the world. Wealthy Chinese buyers pay young, poor local boys to kill them for their horns to turn into “medicine”. Although this “medicine” has never been proven to actually have any affect on the human body, they are still a highly sought after animal. The “big five” that you may have heard of before isn’t what you think either. I assumed the big five meant the 5 largest animals in Tanzania. It actually means the most poached. Elephants, rhinos, buffalo, leopards and lions. Some really stupid and evil people in the world desire them for their horns, tusks, fur and heads. When you do these safaris, you’re not just supporting their local communities and economy but you’re helping to protect these magnificent beasts too. And they need it!

Although they’re highly poached animals we sure saw a lot of them (except for only seeing one rhino far away) which was a great relief. And let me tell you, you’ve never seen beauty and grace like a leopard. They’re rare to find and see in the wild but we found one! A mamma with her cubs high up on the rocks. She was a glorious specimen. Emmanuel really went out of his way to MAKE SURE we saw it all. Let’s put it this way, remember the lion king? That’s Tanzania. Everything about our experience reminded me of the movie. Asanti sana squash banana! Asanti sana means thank you very much in Swahili.

There’s so much to see and do that I would recommend doing a longer safari and put out a few extra bucks for the more comfortable lodges. After full days on dusty and bumpy roads in the parks, a nice bed and room coupled with fantastic meals is totally worth it. Staff were always waiting outside the lodges ready to grab our bags, offer cool towels for hands and face and a refreshing drink. We were totally spoiled and felt like royalty.

The animals, the culture, the lodges, Food, children and landscapes moved us in ways that we both agree were life changing. If you’re ever planning a safari trip I cannot recommend Tanzania Expeditions enough. They went above and beyond what we ever expected. If I could give them 6 out of 5 stars, I would. If you’re thinking about it, contact me. I’d be happy to answer any questions and can connect you with our new friends at Tanzania Expeditions.

I promise you, you wouldn’t regret it. Put this on your bucket list and do it as soon as possible. We might not always have these animals and you’re not gonna live forever ?

Asanti sana, Tanzania! And Asanti Sana to Emmanuel and the rest of the crew for changing our lives forever! An experience we will never, ever forget. ?????

  • Comments: Comments Off on Share A Sale Party Las Vegas
  • Posted on: February 4th, 2014

Super Heroes and Super Villains was the theme of the Share A Sale party in Las Vegas at Affiliate Summit West 2014.
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All attendees of ASW14 were invited and many of them showed up in costume, ready to partake in the decadent desserts, free flowing drinks and fabulous ambiance of the Chateau Nightclub at the Paris Hotel.  As you see in the above picture, the Chateau is an open air club in the Eiffel Tower! The lower floor is indoors which is a good place to warm up if the temperature is chilly, but this years weather was very comfortable. image

There was no shortage of heroes and villains dressed in superb, inventive, fun costumes, and no excuse if you didn’t dress up as there were capes, socks, sunglasses and complete costumes available at every table.

Here are a few photos of my favorites!
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  • Comments: Comments Off on Affiliate Summit West 2014 in Las Vegas
  • Posted on: January 21st, 2014
Day One of Affiliate Summit West 2014 in Las Vegas was crazy busy in the Meet Market where affiliates, vendors, advertisers, agencies, marketers, bloggers, OPM’s, networks and Hulk Hogan  interacted, creating business opportunities and networking.
At one point, the super energy generated knocked out the power in the room.  Backup lights immediately came on creating a comfortable, dim ambiance, but I had to wonder if all of Las Vegas was in the dark!  The lights in the hall were still on so we knew it was a temporary situation – phew…
I attended a session put on by John Chow, Syed Bhaki, John Rampton and Zac Johnson.  These are all 6 figure bloggers who enjoy sharing their success stories, failures, comebacks, favourite money making sites and how to start a successful blog. They all agreed there have been many failed projects in their pasts, much controversy, hate and love.  Learning to deal with the problems and move on rather than giving up was great experience, they said.
An interesting tidbit John Chow shared was that he now regrets naming his blog JohnChow.com because no one will ever want to buy it! So, keep that in mind when you’re starting your blog…
If you every wonder if blogging is profitable, I met a man who has over 350 blogs.  He outsources everything now, from the wordpress setup to writing posts and monetizing – and he only “manages” the whole production.  I’m thinking the management part would be a nightmare – lol!
I spent time in the Blogger Lounge, enjoying meeting Heather Diamani of BlendHappy, catching up with old friends and making new friends.
Day One ended with the annual Share A Sale party at the Chateau Nightclub – an indoor/outdoor venue in the Eiffel Tower.
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