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Tubli Travel Guide: All You Need To Know
Tubli is a residential and industrial area located in the Southern Governorate of Bahrain. It is situated near the coast and is known for its lively fish market and proximity to the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. While Tubli itself may not have many tourist attractions, there are several places of interest and activities you can enjoy in the surrounding areas. Here are some things to do in and near Tubli:
Tubli Bay: Take a stroll along Tubli Bay and enjoy the scenic waterfront area. You can find restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating where you can relax and enjoy views of the bay.
Fish Market: Visit the Tubli Fish Market to experience the local fishing culture and browse a wide variety of fresh seafood. It’s an interesting place to witness the lively atmosphere as fishermen bring in their catch and vendors sell a range of fish and other seafood products.
King Fahd Causeway: If you have the necessary permissions and documentation, consider taking a day trip to Saudi Arabia via the King Fahd Causeway. It’s a significant landmark and an engineering marvel, connecting Bahrain to the mainland of Saudi Arabia.
Water Sports: Tubli is located near the coast, providing opportunities for water sports and activities. You can go kayaking, paddleboarding, or jet skiing in the surrounding waters or join organized boat tours to explore the nearby islands and marine life.
Shopping and Entertainment: Tubli is in proximity to several shopping malls and entertainment centers. Visit places like the Al Danah Mall, Lulu Hypermarket, or Wahooo! Waterpark, which offer shopping, dining, and entertainment options for visitors of all ages.
Al Jazayer Beach: Head to Al Jazayer Beach, located nearby, for a day of relaxation and beach activities. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking on the sandy shores.
Bahrain International Airport: Tubli is relatively close to the Bahrain International Airport, making it convenient if you have a flight to catch or if you want to explore the airport’s facilities, including duty-free shopping and dining options.
While Tubli may not have prominent tourist attractions, it offers proximity to other areas in Bahrain that provide a range of activities and experiences. Enjoy the local culture, explore nearby attractions, and make the most of your time in the region.
Places to Visit in Tubli Tubli is primarily a residential and industrial area in Bahrain, and it may not have specific tourist attractions within its immediate vicinity. However, there are several places of interest located near Tubli that you can visit during your stay. Here are some popular places to visit near Tubli:
Tubli Bay: Take a walk along Tubli Bay and enjoy the scenic waterfront area. You can find restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating where you can relax and enjoy views of the bay.
Al Fateh Grand Mosque: Located in the nearby area of Juffair, the Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. It is open to visitors and offers guided tours that provide insight into Islamic architecture and practices.
Bahrain National Museum: Located in Manama, the Bahrain National Museum is a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts. It showcases Bahrain’s rich cultural heritage, including archaeological artifacts, traditional crafts, and exhibits on the country’s history.
Bab Al Bahrain: Situated in the heart of Manama, Bab Al Bahrain is a historic building and a significant landmark. It serves as the main entrance to the Manama Souq and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
Bahrain City Centre: Located in Manama’s Seef District, Bahrain City Centre is a large shopping mall that offers a range of retail outlets, entertainment facilities, and dining options. It’s a popular destination for shopping, leisure, and family-friendly activities.
Bahrain International Circuit: The Bahrain International Circuit, situated in Sakhir, is a world-class motorsport venue. Check the schedule for any upcoming events or consider taking a tour of the circuit to learn about its history and experience the track firsthand.
These are just a few examples of places to visit near Tubli. Bahrain is a relatively small country, and it’s easy to travel between different areas, allowing you to explore a wide range of attractions and activities during your stay.
Best Time To Visit Tubli The best time to visit Tubli, Bahrain, is during the winter months from November to March. Here are some reasons why this period is considered the best time to visit:
Mild Temperatures: Winter in Bahrain brings milder and more comfortable temperatures compared to the scorching heat of the summer months. Average daytime temperatures range from 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F), while nighttime temperatures can drop to around 12°C to 16°C (54°F to 61°F). This makes outdoor activities and exploring more enjoyable.
Pleasant Weather: Winter in Bahrain is characterized by sunny days and clear skies, with minimal rainfall. The weather is generally pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities, such as visiting attractions, exploring markets, or enjoying walks along the coast.
Water Sports: Tubli is located near the coast, and the winter months offer favorable weather conditions for water sports and activities. You can engage in activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or jet skiing in the surrounding waters.
Festive Season: Winter in Bahrain coincides with the festive season, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Bahrain celebrates these occasions with various events, decorations, and festive markets, adding to the vibrant atmosphere and offering unique experiences for visitors.
Less Crowded: Winter is considered the off-peak tourist season in Bahrain, which means you can expect fewer crowds at popular tourist sites and attractions. This allows for a more relaxed and peaceful experience as you explore Tubli and nearby areas.
It’s important to note that Bahrain generally has a desert climate, and even during winter, the temperatures can still be relatively warm during the daytime. It’s advisable to bring lightweight and breathable clothing, along with sunscreen, to protect yourself from the sun.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Tubli depends on your preferences and tolerance for heat. If you prefer milder temperatures and a quieter ambiance, winter is the recommended time. However, if you don’t mind the heat and prefer a livelier atmosphere, you can consider visiting Tubli during the shoulder seasons of spring or autumn.
How to get around in Tubli
Getting around in Tubli, Bahrain, and exploring the surrounding areas can be done using various modes of transportation. Here are the common methods of transportation you can use:
Car Rental: Renting a car is a convenient option for getting around Tubli and exploring other parts of Bahrain. Several car rental agencies operate in Bahrain, and you can easily find rental services at the airport or in major cities. Having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace and explore different areas.
Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Bahrain, including in Tubli. You can either hail a taxi on the street or use ride-hailing apps like Uber or Careem to book a taxi. It’s advisable to negotiate the fare or ensure that the meter is running before starting your journey.
Public Buses: Bahrain has a public bus network operated by the Bahrain Public Transport Company (BPTC). While Tubli itself may not have many bus routes, you can catch a bus from nearby areas to explore other parts of Bahrain, including the capital city of Manama. Check the BPTC website or inquire locally for bus schedules and routes.
Walking: Tubli is a relatively small area, and if you’re staying within the immediate vicinity or exploring the town itself, you can easily get around on foot. Walking allows you to enjoy the surroundings, interact with locals, and explore at a leisurely pace.
Private Drivers and Tours: Another option is to hire a private driver or join organized tours. These services can be arranged through tour operators or transportation companies. Private drivers offer flexibility and can customize your itinerary according to your preferences.
It’s important to note that Bahrain follows right-hand traffic, and road signs are in Arabic and English. It’s advisable to have a map or GPS navigation system to assist you while driving or navigating the roads.
Consider the distances between attractions and the time of day when planning your transportation options. Rush hours in Bahrain can result in heavy traffic, so plan accordingly to avoid delays.
While Tubli itself may be a small area, you can use the various transportation methods mentioned above to explore Tubli, neighboring areas, and other attractions in Bahrain.
Where to eat in Tubli Tubli is primarily a residential and industrial area in Bahrain, and it may not have a wide range of dining options within its immediate vicinity. However, there are several restaurants and eateries located in nearby areas that you can consider for your meals. Here are some suggestions for places to eat near Tubli:
Restaurants in Juffair: Juffair, located nearby, is known for its diverse culinary scene. You can find a range of international cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, and more. Explore the restaurants in Juffair for a variety of dining options.
Seef District: Seef District, located near Tubli, is a popular area with numerous restaurants and dining options. It offers a mix of international cuisines, fast food chains, cafes, and local Bahraini eateries.
Manama Souq: Visit the Manama Souq, located in the capital city of Manama, for a unique dining experience. You can find local street food stalls, small cafes, and traditional Bahraini eateries offering authentic dishes.
Waterfront Restaurants: Tubli is situated near the coast, and there are waterfront restaurants in nearby areas where you can enjoy seafood and beautiful views. Look for restaurants in areas like Adliya, Manama, or Muharraq that offer waterfront dining experiences.
Muharraq Souq: Muharraq, located near Tubli, has its own souq where you can find small local eateries serving traditional Bahraini dishes. Explore the souq to experience the local flavors and enjoy authentic Bahraini cuisine.
While Tubli itself may not have a significant number of dining options, its proximity to other areas in Bahrain allows you to explore a wider range of culinary experiences. Enjoy the diverse flavors, savor Bahraini specialties, and discover the unique dining scene that Bahrain has to offer.
Famous street stalls in Tubli Tubli is primarily a residential and industrial area in Bahrain, and it may not have prominent street stalls or a bustling street food scene within its immediate vicinity. However, Bahrain as a whole is known for its vibrant street food culture, and you can find popular street food stalls and vendors in other parts of the country. Here are some street food options in Bahrain that you can explore:
Manama Souq: Located in the capital city of Manama, the Manama Souq is a bustling market where you can find various street food stalls. You can sample traditional Bahraini snacks like samboosas (fried pastries filled with meat or vegetables), falafel, and shawarma.
Shawarma Stalls: Shawarma is a popular street food in Bahrain, and you can find numerous stalls and small shops throughout the country. Shawarma consists of marinated meat (usually chicken or beef) that is roasted on a vertical spit, sliced, and served in a wrap with toppings and sauces.
Muharraq Souq: Muharraq, located near Tubli, has its own souq where you can find street food vendors offering traditional Bahraini dishes. You can try local specialties like fish machbous (spiced rice with fish) or grilled kebabs.
Bab Al Bahrain: Situated in the heart of Manama, Bab Al Bahrain is a historic building and a significant landmark. In the surrounding area, you can find street food stalls selling a variety of snacks such as shawarma, falafel, grilled corn, and freshly squeezed juices.
Traditional Cafeterias: Bahrain has many small traditional cafeterias and tea shops that serve local snacks and sweets. These establishments often have outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee along with items like luqaimat (sweet dumplings), kahwa (Arabic coffee), or karak tea (strong spiced tea).
While Tubli itself may not have prominent street food stalls, you can explore the wider Bahraini street food scene by visiting other areas, such as Manama or Muharraq. Enjoy the local flavors, indulge in local delicacies, and savor the street food experiences that Bahrain has to offer.
Where to stay in Tubli Luxury accommodation Tubli is primarily a residential and industrial area in Bahrain, and it may not have dedicated luxury accommodation options within its immediate vicinity. However, there are several upscale hotels and resorts located in nearby areas that you can consider for your stay. Here are some suggestions for luxury accommodation near Tubli:
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain: Located in Manama, The Ritz-Carlton is a renowned five-star hotel that offers luxurious accommodations, impeccable service, and a range of amenities. It features elegant rooms, multiple restaurants, a private beach, a spa, and recreational facilities.
The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay: Situated in Manama, The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay is a luxury waterfront hotel offering stunning views of the city skyline. It boasts spacious rooms, a selection of dining options, a spa, and a rooftop pool.
The Westin Bahrain City Centre: Located in Manama’s Seef District, The Westin Bahrain City Centre is a luxury hotel connected to City Centre Bahrain, a popular shopping mall. The hotel features well-appointed rooms, a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and various dining options.
The Merchant House: Situated in Manama’s vibrant Adliya district, The Merchant House is a boutique luxury hotel known for its stylish decor, personalized service, and spacious suites. It offers an intimate and upscale experience, with a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant.
These are just a few examples of luxury accommodation options near Tubli. It’s advisable to check availability, rates, and specific amenities of each hotel before making a reservation to ensure it meets your preferences and requirements. Keep in mind that Bahrain is a relatively small country, and it’s easy to travel between different areas, so you can consider luxury hotels in other nearby areas as well.
Where to stay in Tubli Budget accommodation While Tubli itself may not have dedicated budget accommodation options, there are several budget-friendly lodging options available in nearby areas. Here are some suggestions for finding budget accommodation near Tubli:
Manama: Manama, the capital city of Bahrain, offers a range of budget accommodation options. Areas like Juffair and Exhibition Road have a variety of budget hotels, guesthouses, and serviced apartments that cater to different price ranges.
Muharraq: Muharraq, located near Tubli, has some budget-friendly accommodation options. You can find guesthouses, budget hotels, and apartments that provide affordable lodging.
Hoora: Hoora is a district in Manama known for its budget-friendly accommodations. It’s a popular area for budget travelers due to its central location and easy access to attractions, restaurants, and shopping centers.
Budaiya Highway: Budaiya Highway, a major road passing through the area, connects several towns and cities in Bahrain. Along the highway, you may find budget hotels or guesthouses that offer affordable accommodations.
When searching for budget accommodation, it’s recommended to use online booking platforms to compare prices, read reviews from previous guests, and check the amenities offered. Consider the proximity to public transportation and the areas you plan to explore during your stay. Additionally, be aware of any additional fees or charges that may apply.
While Tubli itself may not have a significant number of budget accommodation options, its proximity to other areas in Bahrain allows you to explore a wider range of choices.
Travel Tips Tubli If you’re planning a trip to Tubli, Bahrain, here are some travel tips to make your visit more enjoyable:
Weather: Bahrain has a desert climate, which means it can get extremely hot, especially during the summer months. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing, along with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, to protect yourself from the sun. If you’re visiting in the cooler months, bring a light jacket or sweater for the evenings.
Respect Local Customs: Bahrain is a Muslim country with conservative values, so it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or public places, and be mindful of local etiquette.
Currency: The currency in Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD). It’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments, as not all places may accept credit cards. ATMs are widely available in major cities.
Language: Arabic is the official language in Bahrain, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants. You should be able to communicate comfortably in English.
Transportation: Tubli is well-connected to other parts of Bahrain by public transportation, taxis, and ride-hailing services. Consider using these modes of transportation to explore nearby areas and attractions. If you plan to drive, familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and regulations.
Local Cuisine: Bahrain offers a diverse culinary scene, and Tubli is no exception. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local Bahraini dishes such as machbous (spiced rice with meat), grilled fish, or traditional Arabic mezze. You can find local restaurants and street food stalls in nearby areas.
Safety: Bahrain is generally a safe country, but it’s always a good idea to take standard travel precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid isolated areas at night, and follow any local safety advisories or guidelines.
Local Customs and Traditions: Immerse yourself in Bahraini culture by learning about local customs and traditions. Visit the local souqs (markets), interact with locals, and try traditional customs like drinking Arabic coffee and attending cultural events.
COVID-19 Guidelines: Stay informed about the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in Bahrain. Check travel advisories, follow local health regulations, and be prepared for any testing or quarantine requirements that may be in place during your visit.
Explore Nearby Areas: Tubli is conveniently located near other attractions and areas in Bahrain. Take the opportunity to explore nearby places like Manama, Muharraq, or Juffair, which offer a range of cultural, historical, and entertainment options.
By keeping these travel tips in mind, you can have a more enjoyable and rewarding experience during your visit to Tubli, Bahrain.
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Upon the merger which was completed in 2011, Orange Travel Group Ltd became both a holding company as well as a wholesale tour operator for the Maltese market.
In Malta, the subsidiary SMSMondial Ltd took the role of retail arm which with its three extremely centrally-located branches give the agency an unparalleled distribution network that is completely unmatched by its competitors.
Successful operations in four different countries, technically make Orange an international company. A tiny business by global standards, Orange can still pride itself of being the top-selling outfit for selling cruises in the entire South East Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.
Orange is backed by the SMS Group - since the 1860s run by the same Mifsud family. This offers consistency and reliability, both in Malta where SMS is a household name, and abroad where the company is the world’s second largest cruise passenger handler.
Directly involved in travel agency business as from 1947, Orange has unparalleled experience which coupled with longstanding partnerships in Malta and abroad give it a unique advantage. The Group employs a dynamic, multi-national team of people that enable it to constantly stay ahead of its competition in all the market segments it operates in.
To strengthen their mutual international position and open new opportunities for growth, in 2011 Malta-based SMS Group Ltd and Mondial Investments Ltd merged their main outbound travel interests thus forming Orange Travel Group Ltd. “Orange” was chosen because this name would make it easier to grow the brand abroad since the word is common the various vocabularies of many languages. On the other hand it was decided to brand Orange’s Malta retail business as “SMSMondial” since both names are extremely well-known locally.
Orazio Mifsud establishes firm (then known as Fratelli Mifsud) at East Street premises in Valletta.
Anthony Degiorgio and his son Charles establish Mondial Travel Agency
Chev. Silvio Mifsud (Orazio’s grandson) established S. Mifsud & Sons (better known as SMS)
Malta becomes independent
Malta becomes a republic
Mondial starts first ever outbound charter flight operation by Maltese agency, with flights to Istanbul
Mondial first ever Maltese travel agency to singlehandedly start chartering small cruise ships
Malta joins European Union
Cruises International Ltd (later becomes Orange Travel Group Ltd) established as JV by SMS & Mondial
Sam Mifsud of SMS appointed Chairman (and later Executive Chairman) of Malta Tourism Authority
Mondial opens its first ever overseas operation in Cyprus through a JV with Amathus Travel
Mondial opens subsidiary in Turkey – first company in Group to be named “Orange”
SMS & Mondial charter entire cruise ship – Costa Allegra for 3-week operation out of Valletta
Merger completed: Orange Travel Group is born. Karmenu Vella (currently EU Commissioner) appointed Chairman
Orange establishes operation in Tunisia
Joe Cappello, former Air Malta CEO appointed to Orange’s Board of Directors
smsmondial’s flagship office reopens with new corporate design and inaugurated by Minister for Tourism
Orange Travel Group posts record sales and profits
Orange scoops top Costa Awards
Orange Travel Group was once again awarded Norwegian Cruise Line’s “More Than A Million Award” for their outstanding performance and continued commitment to...
Valletta, Wednesday 3rd April, The Costa Fascinosa was the venue for the launch of weekly cruises on board Costa Pacifica in 2020. 32 departures will be operated from late...
Orange Cruises, Turkey ended the year with a bang during a Prize Award Ceremony held at the Atasehir Mey on December 27th. During the event, top and promising agents were...
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About Orange Travels
Total Number of Buses Offered by Orange Travels : 90+
Started Operating in : 2011
Head Office : Hyderabad, Telangana.
Types of Bus Services Offered : AC Sleeper (2+1), AC Semi Sleeper (2+1), AC Seater (2+1), etc.
Popular routes served : Hyderabad to Bangalore, Vijayawada to Hyderabad, Ernakulam to Bangalore, Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad, etc.
Amenities offered : Snacks, water bottle, pillow, charging port, emergency exit, reading light, luggage compartment, adjustable seats, etc.
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Orange Travels Bus Ticket Booking
Orange Travels is a well-known bus operator in South India that offers excellent road bus connectivity across major routes and cities. Based outside of Hyderabad, Orange Tours and Travels has a good number of buses that run day and night. Orange Travels began its operations in 2011 and today has expanded its coverage to over 94 routes.
Orange Travels is a trusted bus operator among the people of South India. Orange Travels provide secure and comfortable travel to its passengers. Customer safety and on-time services are at the forefront of Orange Tours and Travels operations. They have well-experienced drivers who have in-depth knowledge of different routes. Their cooperative staff makes sure that travelers’ journey becomes memorable with Orange Travels. Because of this, Orange Travels has won many awards and recognition such as SKOCH Gold Award 2019, Best Operator in Passenger First Initiative Award, India's Best Bus Service Award, and Times Retail Icon Award 2016.
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Orange Travels runs on approximately 5964 routes every day. The major routes covered by Orange Tours and Travels are:
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Orange Tours and Travels takes your safety very seriously. For the current pandemic situation, Orange Travels has taken extra precautionary measures to ensure the safety of passengers from the coronavirus infection. By traveling through Orange Tours and Travels, passengers remain assured of the following:
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By booking Orange Travels through redBus you get guaranteed good and convenient travel experience. redBus prides itself on its fast, secure, and comfortable online bus booking and reservation service.
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Orange Tours And Travels has a good frequency of buses that run all throughout the day promoting safety and comfort of passengers. Orange Tours And Travels staff are known for assisting passengers consistently. Travellers prefer Orange Tours And Travels due to its convenient and on time bus services across various city routes.
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The various types of buses run by Orange Tours And Travels are:
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How to Book Orange Travels Bus Ticket Online
- From the top of this page, enter your source, destination, and date of journey. Click on 'Search Buses'.
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Travel | Travel: Tanzania’s epic Great Migration is a…
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Travel | travel: tanzania’s epic great migration is a wild time.
Far deep in the African bush, gleeful tribesmen of a pot-smoking hunting clan plunked a crown of hairy baboon skin atop my head. Evidently they were monkeying around. The friendly Hadza people spoke in a unique indigenous language of loud tongue clicks and popping noises and nicely motioned for me to sit in a chair, which was a stack of jumbo spiral-horned kudu antelope skulls on the dirt ground. All the male members were draped in furs of animals shot for food with handmade bows and sometimes poison-dipped arrows, just like their ancestors over 10,000 years ago.
More about the Hadza later, but if that experience sounds astoundingly educational, wait until the next morning. Inside the world’s biggest intact volcanic caldera, I watched a strapping shaggy-maned lion and his lioness girlfriend have sex (and yes, I felt a little voyeuristic).
This all occurred during my extraordinary Tanzanian safari where I also embedded with the main event: the epic Great Migration, an annual, year-round spectacle of 1.5 million wildebeest and a half-million zebra and gazelles trudging 1,200 miles across predator-lurking plains in search of grass to munch and water to drink.
Children of the Datoga tribe entertain themselves by writing with chalk on the exterior of a rustic home. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Close-up encounters with handsome amber-eyed beasts are a highlight of game drives in Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti national parks. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Flappy-eared juveniles stay close to their mother while eating vegetation in Tarangire National Park. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
A vibrant rainbow appears over the Serengeti savanna after brief showers in the afternoon. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Two male lion buddies relax in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is full of wildlife. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
At least one wildebeest takes note of a skulking hyena on the edge of tasty migrating herds. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Elephant tusks are actually huge teeth and help the herbivore pachyderms — like this one in Tarangire National Park — tear up plants and defend themselves. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Graceful giraffes, such as these in Tarangire National Park, are the planet’s tallest living land mammals. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
A tree-climbing lion cub follows his mom and sibling up into branches for a rest in Tarangire National Park. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
A pair of baboons care for a little one in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Giraffes share a lush meadow in Tarangire National Park, with warthogs reminiscent of Pumbaa. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
A smoking Hadza hunter is surrounded by different arrows designed for killing edible prey ranging from sparrows to Cape buffalos. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
It appears that Dad lion didn’t finish his “honey-do” list. The feline family was in Serengeti National Park. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
A young puppy-like hyena in the Serengeti looks very cute but even at this age, the carnivorous cubs can be ferocious. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
Cheetahs, such as this mom in the Serengeti, are the fastest land animals and teach their youngsters to hunt by example. (Photo by Norma Meyer)
In famed Serengeti National Park, our off-roading Land Cruiser parted hoofed throngs like the Red Sea; imagine being surrounded 360 degrees by gigantic herds of the planet’s largest mass pilgrimage of land animals spread so far they resembled solid walls of pebbles on the distant horizon. I started saying “hello” to zillions of zebras who locked eyes with me. (Really, it didn’t seem weird at the time.)
One afternoon at our mobile Camp Dulana, a sudden boisterous parade of wildebeest galloped behind my isolated canvas tent to places unknown. During the middle of that night, I awoke to the bellowing, nonstop moooo-grunts of the hefty, endearingly ugly ungulates trampling through our secluded camp. By morning, the bearded beasts had vanished. But at lunch — as I savored a flower-shaped eggplant entree and Serengeti-label beer— a contingent re-appeared to graze with black-and-white striped comrades in front of our camp.
Of course, this all makes sense because along with six American vacationers, I was on a 13-day “Tanzania: The Great Migration Safari” run by Wilderness Travel, a Berkeley-based, family-owned, 45-year-old tour company sporting impressive reviews (one Chicago couple on our trip had previously taken 24 different Wilderness Travel journeys). We’d spend eight wondrous nights in two remote glamping camps that were solely for our Wilderness Travel troop and partly staffed by kind, local Maasai men wrapped in traditional red-checked shuka robes and sharing how they traded cattle for wives. Let me emphasize how much I looked forward to my daily, pre-ordered 4 p.m. shower, when a worker hoisted a five-gallon bucket of wood-heated water on a pulley outside my tent and inside the sprinkler head delightfully trickled over me.
Most importantly, humongous high fives for our Big Five scouts. During our entire January adventure, our easygoing, Superman-visioned, mega-intuitive Tanzanian guides Naiman Mungure and Arnold Swai enlightened and ferried us in two 4WD jeeps over 650 action-packed miles from the city of Arusha to animal-aplenty Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti national parks.
Also, take note: The Great Migration isn’t just the heavily touristed, intense, dramatic river crossings sensationally captured in documentaries, and featuring stampeding wildebeest attacked by crocodiles and jumping from cliffs. That is generally between July and September when herds are entering Kenya before returning to Tanzania. Wilderness Travel also offers Great Migration safaris ( wildernesstravel.com , from $10,195) throughout the year. In late January, we were often the only vehicles on the vast green savannas. (The migration, however, is influenced by weather patterns, so there’s no guarantees you’ll see super herds.)
Understand we had added thrills. No, not the 14 spotted hyenas crunching bones of their grisly wildebeest dinner (the youngest hyena proudly pranced around with the victim’s antlered face in its mouth). Or the muscular, zigzagging lion quartet who casually escorted our slow-creeping vehicle for more than 15 breathtaking minutes in an apparent quest to find a drier lair (or to ditch camera-pointing anthropoids). Deadly El Niño downpours have pummeled Tanzania, and rugged roads — when they existed — had become flooded and slippery traps of sinking mud. “Rock ’n’ roll safari! Hold tight!” Naiman warned, as he deftly navigated like a Formula One driver through rushing streams and swampy marshes, while we jounced and swayed. In pachyderm-populated Tarangire, my two fellow passengers and I were smacking stinging tsetse flies with cow tails attached to handles when Naiman brilliantly traversed a slimy treacherous corner only to encounter a behemoth trumpeting bull elephant head-on in our path. The tusked pedestrian got the right-of-way.
Thunderous storms sporadically hit overnight, but most days were clear and good viewing for game drives. Now, about those lusting lions: it turns out mating is serious business and pairs copulate up to an exhausting 3,000 times during the one week a female is in heat. Neither partner eats during that phase. The cat couple we saw in the Ngorongoro Crater was first asleep, but Arnold explained their resting intervals last about 20 minutes. We waited and soon the male lion stood up and gently licked the rear of his lady friend, who like other breeding lionesses decides when sex will happen again. She lifted her head and snarled and swatted at her suitor several times. Awhile later, they both ambled across the road and did the deed.
Elsewhere, in a more homey scene, a tranquil lioness nursed her three cutesy cubs in the Serengeti while Dad snoozed next to them. We must’ve seen nearly 40 lions during our safari, some close enough to scratch their chin hairs. (Although I’d pass on the blood-soaked chin of the fierce feline disemboweling a freshly killed zebra).
Trust me, there’s nothing like a front row seat to untamed nature. Zebra moms nursed spindly-legged foals; baboon moms nursed teeny spidery babies and intricately groomed companions; elegant towering giraffes and their long-lashed offspring chewed acacia trees side by side; matriarch-led elephants massaged their itching bodies against worn trees and hovered over miniature Dumbos; a bunch of wildebeest protectively enveloped a precious newborn calf walking on wobbly feet.
A one-ton Cape buffalo enjoyably rolled in a mud bath, vigorously digging his thick flared horns into the slop supposedly to make them look bulkier and more manly. And a red rose wasn’t at stake but a half-dozen “bachelor” impalas (seriously that’s what they’re called) cautiously approached a “harem” of female impalas for a possible takeover by one lucky buck. The harem’s alpha male individually chased each competitor off.
Besides animal behavior, the humans in Tanzania — there are some 125 ethnic tribes — truly enthrall.
“Ye-auck! Ye-auck! Ta-ta-ta-ta, kow!” a 20-ish Hadza tribesman swiveled his hips and animatedly yelled, imitating for us various hunting gestures and sounds of arrow-stricken wildlife. His name was Ia Ia (pronounced E-ya, E-ya) and he was a tremendously energetic, comedic storyteller who fist-bumped me as a greeting. “He is saying, ‘Welcome to our home. Be free,’” our interpreter, Halfan, translated the clicking language. The Hazda are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes on Earth, surviving on prey ranging from porcupines to infrequently a giraffe, along with foraged tubers, berries and baobab fruit. Baboons are high on the menu, and Ia Ia’s primate pelt, with claws and tail, dangled over his bare chest and fringed Western-style knee-length jeans. Halfan had earlier told us that Hadza baby boys used to be cut twice with a sharp blade on their cheek to deter them from crying; saltwater tears in the wound stung. Ia Ia had those two scars.
Soon after we arrived at the Hadza camp, hunters ripped off the golden feathers of a small weaver bird and roasted it over a fire for a snack. Many of the Hadza men smoked tobacco or cannabis; a weathered elder, cloaked in a jackal’s furry remains, sat near two marijuana bushes and displayed his crudely crafted stone pipe. During our happy afternoon, the young male adults showed us their tiny round thatched huts, demonstrated their proficiency at target practice, and sang and danced as they would after a successful hunt.
Earlier, we visited the ancient livestock-raising Datoga tribe, and observed how their blacksmiths melted scrap metal to create arrowheads and knives for the Hadza, who traded honey and skins in exchange. Bushka, a sweet Datoga grandma, wore an elaborately beaded traditional goat skin skirt of tanned, thin strips and invited us into a rudimentary low-slung house built from cow dung and acacia tree limbs and sprouting aloe vera for medicinal use on the roof. Inside it was nearly pitch black. Hanging calabash gourds held rotting milk for making butter.
Our 13-day journey never stopped teaching — even the little things. At our first Wilderness Travel camp, Osunyai Lamarkau in Tarangire, the initial lesson was never leave shoes outside your tent because hyenas had a quirky fetish for them. Who knew? My hiking boots were inside the night that would-be footwear thieves left tracks up to my zip-up entry. Throughout our trip, I drifted asleep in my tents’ comfy beds listening to the cackling whoops of hyenas and the guttural, vibrating roars of lions. It was awesome.
We had so many memorable sidelights: a climb up the Maasai sacred “shifting sands” dune where tribal women unable to conceive bury jewelry in the magnetic volcanic ash as offerings: a chance to gawk at a 1.8-million-year-old cranium of a skinny human-ish female christened “Twiggy” on display at Louis and Mary Leakey’s legendary archeological site; our guides’ heroic rescue of strangers’ mud-entrapped vehicles on three separate occasions (I swear an entire village cheered when we towed out a stuck jeep blocking their yellow supply truck painted with Jesus’ likeness); our Champagne sundowners in the meditatively beautiful wild; our outdoor picnic breakfasts directly alongside the magnificent migration. (Hello zebras!)
As our guide Arnold often and so perfectly said: “Everything is in harmony.”
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Orange County’s plan to fund affordable housing with tourist taxes is dead – for now
O range County appears to have lost a legislative fight to pay for affordable housing projects with its lucrative stream of tourist-tax money — a largesse that an opposing Central Florida lawmaker called “a convenient pot of gold.”
But future battles to loosen spending restrictions on the money are likely ahead.
Some advocates envision better outcomes on a tax plan that could have raised $56 million a year for affordable housing locally.
“Other counties are realizing flexibility would allow them to better serve their communities in ways we haven’t been able to do before,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, who offered a tax-bill amendment to let counties levy a 1% “tourist impact” surcharge on hotel-room rentals if voters approved. “Though it wasn’t successful in this first attempt, over time, I’m hoping, we can win over some people on this issue and have the Legislature provide that option for Orange County voters.”
An Orlando Democrat, Eskamani introduced the proposed rule change, which was recommended last summer by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings’ citizen-led, tourist-tax advisory board over objections of hoteliers.
It was among the county’s top legislative priorities in this session, which began Jan. 9 and ends March 8.
But the amendment was scuttled Feb. 14 by a voice vote in the GOP-dominated House Ways and Means Committee.
Still, the measure provided impetus for committee chair Stan McClain, R-Ocala, to hold an “educational” session Tuesday about the history and purposes for locally levied tourist development taxes, known as TDT.
“We had several bills filed this session and last session that dealt with specific parts of TDT and how people want to change it,” McClain said. “Not saying they don’t have merit…But I don’t think that’s the best way for us to set public policy.”
Orange County TDT task force members offer other spending ideas
He said the tax proceeds were intended to fund convention centers, promote tourism and build stadiums.
Among a handful of pending bills proposing other uses for TDT is a measure filed by State Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, to let counties divert some proceeds to fund incentives for film and television productions in their jurisdictions.
Tourist taxes are levied in all but five of Florida’s 67 counties. Osceola County levied the very first in 1977.
Orange County’s record-high $359 million in collections led the way last year.
Total TDT revenues in the state have nearly tripled over the past decade — from $660 million 10 years ago to a projected $1.8 billion this fiscal year, according to an overview by Kimberly Berg, the committee’s deputy staff director.
She pointed out that none of the TDT levies in Florida has an expiration date, which HB 7073, the Ways and Means tax bill, proposes to change. It would require tourist-tax levies to be renewed by voters every six years unless the proceeds are already committed to paying off a construction debt.
A Florida Senate version of the bill doesn’t require the levies to be regularly renewed.
Demings, who personally lobbied the county’s legislative delegation and the Florida Association of Counties for support, said he was concerned about the perception that the county is flush with money from TDT.
He worried that the state might look to take some.
While acknowledging funding challenges for creating affordable housing, improving infrastructure and addressing transportation needs, Rep. David Smith, R-Winter Springs, urged caution about expanding TDT uses.
“I think in the Legislature sometimes we’re standing in the breach between people who want to reach out and grab that convenient pot of gold because they have a general revenue shortfall in their county,” the lawmaker said. “They can then talk themselves into why TDT should be spent on something it was not originally intended for.”
During his first term as Orange County mayor, Demings created a “Housing For All” task force and a pledge to put at least $10 million a year into a local trust fund to spur affordable housing projects in the tourism hub.
County leaders have steered $67.7 million in public money into the fund in five years, budget director Kurt Petersen said. About $3 million has been spent and about $39 million is committed to projects in planning stages.
Jane Healy, a former managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel and co-chair of the TDT tax force, said she was disappointed but not surprised the impact-tax did not garner more support this session, its first time in front of lawmakers.
“The industry was against it,” she said.
Eskamani said housing challenges differ here from other communities because of tourism’s dominance.
Central Florida’s “service economy creates an environment where a lot of our best and brightest workers who deliver the most magical experiences struggle to have a roof over their heads and food on their tables,” she said.
Eric Gray, executive director of the Christian Service Center which serves people in need, appealed to Ways and Means Committee members to address tourism’s “strain on our community’s infrastructure.”
He said Orlando draws 75 million visitors a year, twice as many as visit Paris.
“That’s a big deal and we should all be benefitting. We should all be basking in the gloriousness of that,” said Gray, also a member of the county’s TDT task force. “I think we have the opportunity to do that if we just look at reimagining how we manage the tourist development tax.”
Tourism lobby tries to steamroll Orange County hotel tax group | Commentary
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