The Art Of The Slow Safari
The Tarangire and Manyara areas of northern Tanzania can claim to be the birthplace of slow safaris, and I always pack an extra novel or two when I go there, to catch up on my holiday reading while leisurely enjoying my surrounds.
The art of the slow safari
Zambia also perfects the slow safari, quite literally when it comes to several days of walking in the wild at South Luangwa. For a shorter stint, try fly camping there, or opt for a leisurely afternoon of tiger fishing at the Lower Zambezi.
Sharing a luxury safari in Zambia and South Africa with your family will feel like a dream come true. Having exclusive use of lodges like Tanda Tula Field Camp, Thorntree River Lodge and Lekkerwater Beach Lodge lets you focus on enjoying uninterrupted quality time and incredible experiences in outstanding locations.
The next morning we decided to take a slow safari stroll. Accompanied by our guide and two warriors in purple shukas, we wandered through golden grasslands. After around twenty minutes, our guide motioned to us to crouch down at a point where the grass suddenly became shorter. Just 50m away, elegant Masai giraffe strode between palm trees, dwarfing the zebra that grazed nearby.
After brunch, I decided to try my hand at birdwatching, while my partner opted for a foot massage at the pool. Then, as the afternoon began to cool, and the shadows started to lengthen, we took our only drive of our stay here, a slow safari cruising out towards the shoreline of Lake Manyara.
A boating safari makes for a memorable way to experience your location. Enjoy a scenic sunset cruise while absorbing the tranquillity of your surroundings. You will have the opportunity to spot a variety of aquatic life and see passing pods of hippo in the shallows and crocodiles sunning themselves on sandbanks. Watch wildlife quench their thirst from the ultimate perspective before the sun sets and another magical day in Africa comes to an end.
Glide silently over the vast plains teeming with herds of wildlife below in the early morning. Typically, a balloon safari begins at the break of dawn and lasts for one to two hours. Balloon safaris give you a unique opportunity to experience the picturesque wild zones of East Africa. Your balloon safari is followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush, a fitting end to a memorable flight in the wild. If you need any more motivation, here are ourTop 10 Reasons to Book A Balloon Safari.
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Ker & Downey Africa Group has this week announced its new slowed down safari travel that is set to help travelers be more mindful abroad while also significantly lowering their carbon footprint in the process.
Given that most of us have been at home or stateside for the majority of the year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, a more mindful, slowed down approach to adventure travel comes as a great way to ease back into exploring the world without having to jump into the hustle and bustle that these epic international trips usually entail.
We climbed slowly through the forest on a steep path cut through dense ferns, wild figs, and dragon trees. Ahead of us, tiny blue duiker antelope crashed through the undergrowth; up in the canopy, weaver birds announced our arrival with shrill cries and samango monkeys followed our progress with curious, darting eyes.
Leaving the cool of the mountains, we headed south, dropping into the hot Save River Valley, where black-granite boulders are balanced in precarious formations like pyramids of giant billiard balls. We drove for hours beneath diaphanous blue skies, past isolated schools and mission stations, stopping to buy diesel from a butcher's shop in a tiny village (Zimbabwe was on the cusp of another fuel crisis, and Dean has a sixth sense for sniffing out secret supplies). It was late afternoon when we turned off in the direction of Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe's fanciest safari lodge.
The Sapi Concession is 296,526 acres of raw, untrammeled Africa bordering Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. There has been nothing here forever, save for a couple of small fishing camps. The rest was left at the mercy of poachers and trophy hunters. Then, three years ago, the concession was leased to Great Plains Conservation, the safari company set up by the wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert. All hunting ceased and two tiny seasonal camps opened for the exclusive use of small groups on photographic safaris: Sapi Explorers Camp, on the riverfront, and Sapi Springs Camp, amid red mahogany trees.
Although Zimbabwe is safe to visit, the country continues to experience severe economic difficulties, and it is essential to book with a specialist tour operator. On-the-ground experts Mavros Safaris offers a similar two-week trip from $15,000 per person, for full board, including all flights and activities; private guiding by Dean Dewdney, who takes guests by road through the Eastern Highlands, Lowveld, and Matobo; air transfers to Lake Kariba and the Zambezi Valley; a stay at Amanzi Lodge in Harare; and a tour of the studio of jewelery designer Patrick Mavros. mavrossafaris.com
Your slow travel safari starts on arrival at Cape Town International Airport. A Ker & Downey Africa representative will welcome you and accompany you to the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in a private vehicle. An oasis in the heart of Cape Town, this iconic pink hotel is set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and makes for the perfect base to explore the city at a leisurely pace. During your stay you will have the opportunity to discover the Cape Floral Kingdom on a guided sunset walk on Table Mountain, as well as a half day excursion through the Cape Winelands.
Today, your driver will accompany you to the Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. Step back in time as you board the luxurious Rovos Rail for their bespoke 4 day journey north to Zimbabwe. The ultimate slow travel experience, sit back and relax as the train ambles from Pretoria, through Warmbaths, Nylstroom and the Tropic of Capricorn before traversing Hwange National Park to your final destination, Victoria Falls. Life on board is effortless and you can enjoy the charm of a bygone era while mingling in the lounge car, watching the scenery unfold with the wind in your hair from the open-air observation deck and sipping on bubbles before a culinary experience in the dining car. In Hwange, you can enjoy an afternoon game drive at The Hide, home to herds of elephant, buffalo and following close behind, lion.
Enjoy the day unfold at a leisurely pace, soak up the ever-changing scenery from the observation car and relish in world-class culinary experiences at the dining car. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy a safari.
Your slow travel safari continues on the luxurious Zambezi Queen, a world-class floating hotel designed with all the creature comforts for the discerning traveler. Your guide will meet you at the Victoria Falls Hotel and transfer you from Kasane through to the Namibian banks of the Chobe River. Here, you will enjoy two nights on board the Zambezi Queen as it glides by wallowing hippos and elephants drinking from the shores. There are an array of water-based safari activities on offer including tiger fishing, photographic safari expeditions, water-based birding excursion and guided river safaris. After adventurous days exploring the banks of the Chobe, return to your floating hotel and relax in the spacious lounges, enjoy the pool on board and world-class dining.
Whilst this is the most common way to safari and cover the most area, at this time it is also nice to slow down the pace and get out of the car and stretch your limbs and do a slow safari. For us, slow safari means walking tours, bike tours and even horse tours through the National parks and conservation areas. It is about taking the time to enjoy the natural environment and listen to the stillness.
The elephants and zebras began their morning journey down from the protection of the trees and into the open grazing of the hot sun. The slow, deliberate movements that transcend time following instinct that only they know in the full scale of their existence.
The Franco-Swiss owners of Chem Chem are two of the most passionate-about-Tanzania people that I have come across. Apart from several awesome local conservation initiatives, they pioneered the concept of the slow safari. In a nutshell a slow safari encourages guests to experience Africa at a different pace, first-hand, without the confines of a vehicle, and with the focus on the unexpected.
We think that Chem Chem is the perfect way to end off an East Africa safari circuit in luxury and style. Especially as you would have seen all the big game on drives in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, the Chem Chem experience is more about walking, contemplating and culture. Its great for honeymooners, for unwinding before going home and is a good substitute for flying to one of the Tanzanian beach destinations. Conveniently, Chem Chem is not too far off the main roads and therefore easily accessible.
For those who want to take it even slower there is a library, various fireplaces, a viewing deck with incredible views over Lake Manyara, an outside pool to cool off in the heat of the day and the Amani Spa if you want to take relaxation to another level.
Basecalling is an essential step in nanopore sequencing analysis where the raw signals of nanopore sequencers are converted into nucleotide sequences, i.e., reads. State-of-the-art basecallers employ complex deep learning models to achieve high basecalling accuracy. This makes basecalling computationally-inefficient and memory-hungry; bottlenecking the entire genome analysis pipeline. However, for many applications, the majority of reads do no match the reference genome of interest (i.e., target reference) and thus are discarded in later steps in the genomics pipeline, wasting the basecalling computation. To overcome this issue, we propose TargetCall, the first fast and widely-applicable pre-basecalling filter to eliminate the wasted computation in basecalling. TargetCall's key idea is to discard reads that will not match the target reference (i.e., off-target reads) prior to basecalling. TargetCall consists of two main components: (1) LightCall, a lightweight neural network basecaller that produces noisy reads; and (2) Similarity Check, which labels each of these noisy reads as on-target or off-target by matching them to the target reference. TargetCall filters out all off-target reads before basecalling; and the highly-accurate but slow basecalling is performed only on the raw signals whose noisy reads are labeled as on-target. Our thorough experimental evaluations using both real and simulated data show that TargetCall 1) improves the end-to-end basecalling performance of the state-of-the-art basecaller by 3.31x while maintaining high (98.88%) sensitivity in keeping on-target reads, 2) maintains high accuracy in downstream analysis, 3) precisely filters out up to 94.71% of off-target reads, and 4) achieves better performance, sensitivity, and generality compared to prior works. We freely open-source TargetCall at -SAFARI/TargetCall.