March 30, 2010
Tanzania is home to an abundance of stunning birds. Many of our guests return with a new-found appreciation for birds after observing their beauty and behaviors on safari.
One of our favorite feathered friends is the Masked Weaver. Theses songbirds measure about 5” in length and have a black face (or a mask). Their bright yellow body contrasts vividly against the green of the woodlands where they make their home.
Weavers have a fascinating mating ritual; in fact the female weavers exhibit what we might call diva behavior! As part of the ritual, male weavers construct (or weave) an elaborate nest made from grasses and twigs suspended from tree branches. The nests include a single entrance towards the bottom of the structure to limit predator’s access to the interior.
Once they are completed, the nests are presented to the females, who thoroughly inspect the craftsmanship to determine its durability and security. The females are a difficult lot to impress – often times, they reject the nest, which forces the males to abandon their work and start a new structure.
Once a nest is approved, the female lines the inside the interior with feathers and lays her eggs. The male weaver goes on to build more nests to attract his next mate.
Masked weaver builds his nest. Thanks to Thomson Safaris guests for providing this footage.
Videographer: Linda Fosseen / Editor: John Fosseen
March 22, 2010
It’s been a big month for documentaries featuring Thomson Safaris trips! Filmmaker and Thomson guest, Shaun Donahue, shot a documentary about his daughter’s pen-pal experience on a Thomson Family Safari in 2007. The film, My Pen Pal: An African Adventure, was selected for screening at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood last weekend and was awarded as a finalist in the documentary category. Congratulations to Shaun and his daughter, Megan!
Arranging Tanzanian pen-pals for children on our family safaris has proved to be a rich cultural learning experience for all involved. See Megan Donahue’s experience in the trailer for My Pen Pal: An African Adventure below.
March 15, 2010
Did you watch MTV’s Summit on the Summit: Kilimanjaro last night? If so, you might have caught a few glimpses of a familiar Thomson Gazelle logo during the hour and half documentary. The film featured a celebrity Mt. Kilimanjaro trek, led by Thomson Safaris, which raised awareness for the global clean water crisis. The trek team included celebrities and activists such as Kenna, Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch and Alexandra Cousteau, to name a few. Despite some challenging weather conditions, every single person made it to the summit – which is quite an accomplishment.
Melissa Arnot, famed Everest mountaineer and trekker/leader for this climb, said, “This is the largest group I’ve ever seen have 100% success on the summit of any mountain.”
We are proud to have been part of such an important and successful trek.
Watch the full documentary here.
Katie, our Kilimanjaro Program Manager was also on this trek.
Read about her experiences here.
March 2, 2010
For some climbers, just touching the famous sign at Kilimanjaro’s summit is difficult enough. Not for Thomson trekker, Michael Ellis! He left his mark at 19,340′ with an exuberant (and surprisingly skillful) hula hoop routine, see the video below. Congrats on your summit, Michael!