What you need to know if you’re on a Tanzania Safari tour with the failed travel agent.

The travel giant company,  Thomas Cook collapses after last-minute bailout plans to save the failing firm which has been running for 178-years. The tour company based in the U.K has ceased to trade with immediate effect, this is according to the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority. Thomas Cook has gone ahead to publish travel advice for tourists on holiday with the affected company at the following website thomascook.caa.co.uk.

Apart from Tanzania Safari holiday goers that have booked with Thomas Cook, many tourists around the world have also been affected by this situation either while on holiday or with long term plans of coming to Tanzania for Tanzania Safari tours with Thomas Cook. Fortunately, we can advise you what to do next and to claim a refund on your tour to Kilimanjaro if Thomas Cook goes into administration.

Atol protection for Kilimanjaro climbers

The Atol travel plan protects people who buy Tanzania tour package holidays that are all-inclusive plus a flight, through UK tour operators and agents like in the case of Thomas Cook. If you have booked a Tanzania safari or just a flight to Tanzania through the Thomas cook, Atol protection ensures you do not lose your money or be left stranded in Tanzania as Atol protection means they will be flown back home free of charge.

Clients who have already booked and actually paid for an upcoming Tanzania safari with Thomas Cook should a right to a refund as part of the Atol scheme.

Unfortunately, if you didn’t book your tour as part of a package you might not be Atol protected, but you may still be able to claim a refund of some sort through your travel insurance or credit card issuer – as per your booking terms and agreements.’ For more information about the Atol scheme and protection, read here.

What to do if you’re already in Tanzania for your safari

Now that, unfortunately, Thomas Cook has gone into administration, this is what you should do:

  1. Continue your Tanzania safari as normal.
  2. Arrive for your return flight as normal unless something changes and you receive an official update. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will try their best to get you on a return flight as close to your original departure time as possible.
  3. Your costs for returning home will be covered. Keep receipts of any additional costs you may be asked to pay as a result. Send a claim to The Civil Aviation Authority on your return home so that a refund can be arranged for all reasonable expenses.

Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

Do I have to pay for my hotel/camp/lodge during and after a safari?

Since most Tanzania safari itineraries include your hotel accommodation in Tanzania (Arusha) before and after your climb it will not be necessary to pay but if you’re experiencing any difficulties with your Atol-protected hotel, or if your hotel is requesting payment from you, you can call the CAA call centre on the following line: +44 1753 330 330. NB: It may take the Civil Aviation Authority a few days to secure new payment arrangements for your accommodation. Do not proceed to pay your accommodation unless given the green-light by the CAA team. If your trip is not covered by the Atol scheme, you are not entitled to make a claim for your extra expenses and additional nights of hotel accommodation under the Atol protection, but you may be able to claim for a refund or payment from your travel insurer as per the booking terms and conditions, bank or your credit card issuer. Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

What to do if you’re planning to travel soon for a safari in Tanzania

If you’re due to travel with Thomas Cook in the near future, here is what you should do:

From 23 September 2019, all flights and Tanzania safari tours will be cancelled.

All Thomas Cook arline flights will not operate anymore, so if you have booked on a Thomas Cook Airlines flight, please do not go to your UK airport. Please double-check with your accommodation/flight provider to check if your booking is on record. Keep all your booking information and make a record of all emails and replies. If will not continue with your safari in Tanzania, make a claim under the Atol plan to get a refund.

Here’s more information on how to make an Atol claim if you’re currently abroad. 

Why has Thomas Cook collapsed?

The troubled tour company, Thomas Cook tried to secure a £750m cash injection to see it safe for low season of winter 2019-20 when the number of bookings goes down. Thomas Cook’s chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said the company’s collapse was a ‘matter of profound regret’. Commenting as the company entered compulsory liquidation, Mr Fankhauser also had words of apology to Thomas Cook’s ‘millions of customers and thousands of employed staff’. If the company does go bust it would be the biggest-ever repatriation, with an estimated 150,000 tourists of British origin currently abroad on a variety Thomas Cook holidays that include Tanzania safari holidays. The government has 45  jets ready to bring clients back home and with 64 routes being flown today. The size of the fleet will make it UK’s fifth-largest airline. The collapse has put over 20,000 jobs at risk, including 9,000 in the United Kingdom alone.

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Below is our list of the seven most dangerous animals in Africa, based on the estimated number of human fatalities they have caused. With some of these examples, exact numbers were hard to obtain since most of the attacks and resultant fatalities happen in remote parts of Africa.

7. The Desert Locusts

It may surprise you to know that insects are also considered to be animals!  The definition of an animal, in several dictionaries, is as follows:  “a living organism characterized by voluntary movement”, so the Locust definitely fits the bill!  Although they do not kill humans directly, the devastation they cause to crops has a direct effect on humans and therefore they warrant a slot in Africa’s top 7 most dangerous animals.

The Desert Locust is one of about a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers that are known to change their behaviour when prevailing conditions are good, such as after particularly good rains when larger than average crops are expected.  They form enormous swarms of adults, or bands of hoppers (wingless nymphs) which spread over a vast area.

The last major Locust plague occurred in the summer of 2004 in West and North Africa, when swarms migrated over the continent causing mass devastation. Large parts of Mali, Niger, Sudan and Mauritania were affected, as well as Morocco and Algeria, once the swarms reached North Africa.  It was also the first time in over 50 years that Egypt, Jordan and Israel were affected.


The sheer magnitude of the swarms is staggering – one swarm in Morocco, between Tarfaya and Tan-Tan was 230km long and at least 150m wide and it is estimated that it was made up of over 69 billion individual locusts.  Although they form a major food resource for over 30 bird species, you need a lot of birds to make any in-roads on such a huge swarm and all crops as well as other vegetation (tree foliage, grass, reeds and more) in their path were totally destroyed, causing enormous challenges to food security in West Africa, and to a lesser extent in North Africa.


It is estimated that the costs of fighting this scourge could have exceeded US $400 million, and harvest losses were estimated at US $2,5 billion. Without international Aid many Africans would have died of starvation, as well as thousands of animals which were left without grazing.


Below is a short video showing swarms of locusts out on the rampage destroying vegetation in their paths


6. Lions


The most famous incident of man-eating Lions occurred during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railroad in 1898.  For reasons that have never been fully understood or explained, a pair of mane-less male Lions known as the Tsavo Man-Eaters started attacking the railway workers and killed several over a nine-month period, until they were both shot.   Lion do not normally attack humans, but occasionally something causes some animals (usually males) to start seeking out human prey.


Several studies have been conducted into this behaviour, but the causes are still under debate!  One suggestion is that old Lions who are no longer part of a hunting pack will turn to human prey when they can no longer chase faster animals; another suggestion is that a Rinderpest epidemic (cattle plague) wiped out many of the Lion’s usual prey and they were then forced to seek alternative food.  However it came about, human flesh then became an integral part of the Lions’ regular diet and was actively sought-out.


This could explain the Tanzanian incident, where over 563 people in a large village were attacked, and many were eaten by Lions over a 15 year period; a number far exceeding the earlier Tsavo incidents.


5. Crocodiles

African Crocodiles have extremely powerful jaws that clamp shut with an incredible force of 3,700 pounds per square inch, which is about 4 times the strength a Hyena can muster!  So it comes as no surprise that humans stand very little chance of surviving a crocodile attack.  The two species that are responsible for most Crocodile attacks in Africa are the Nile Crocodile and the Saltwater Crocodile, and hundreds of attacks are reported each year.  Many more probably go unreported because they occur in very remote regions, and it is difficult to get accurate data of the actual number of people killed by Crocs on an annual basis.


In 2004 a legendary 5mt Croc named Gustave terrorised villagers in Barundi, where he killed so many humans that it was feared that he was doing the killing for fun, not food…  It is now thought that he developed a taste for human flesh from the many bodies that found their way into the waterways in the strife-torn country, but Crocodile attacks on humans are common not only in Africa but also in many other countries such as India and Australia.  Crocodile attacks are fiercely vicious and very quick – generally over in a few seconds, as the prey is clamped between those incredible jaws and then dragged under water and drowned.

4. Elephants

As Africa’s largest land animal, Elephants are among the Continent’s most potentially dangerous animals.  Their huge size makes them capable of crushing and killing any other land animal, including Lions, and humans are also at risk.


Adult male Elephants go through a period of being “on musth”, which means they are sexually aroused and very aggressive – an elephant on musth is an elephant to avoid at all costs, as they can react completely out of character. A tell-tale sign to look out for is a discharge from the temporal ducts on the side of the Elephants head.


Elephant have been known to suddenly attack cars and nonchalantly roll them over or toss them aside inside game reserves; however, these are isolated incidents and usually occur because thoughtless tourists try and get too close to a bull in musth, causing the Elephant to defend his territory.  It is also extremely unwise to get too close to a herd with babies – just like Humans, Elephants will protect their young at all costs!


The saying goes that an elephant never forgets, and this may explain an incident that occurred in Africa where some young elephants attacked specific villages in what is believed to have been a revenge mission for the massive culling that took place on their herds in the 1970 -80’s.

3. Buffalo

The African or Cape Buffalo, one of the Big Five, is one of the few animals on the continent that will actively stalk and kill humans if they have been wounded.  This huge animal demands respect from nearly all the other animals in Africa, including Lion, and their only real predator is man.


Buffalo are still widely pursued by trophy hunters in many parts of Africa, and many hunters are killed or injured if they do not bring this majestic animal down with one shot; the hunter becomes the hunted, and things can get messy.  There are few statistics to show how many people get killed each year by Buffalo, but there have also been incidents where people have been injured or killed when they surprise a Buffalo in the bush, and this is no-doubt a common and unreported occurrence in remote parts of Africa.

2. Hippo

These docile-looking creatures appear to be sloppy, slow and sluggish, but do not be fooled by their appearance, as they are at number 2 on the Most Dangerous list!   Hippo can easily outrun humans and their enormous incisors are capable of biting a human in half.  Usually humans are attacked if they are perceived to be a threat to either the Hippos territory or young, but there have been occasions where Hippo have gone on the rampage and attacked people when invading farmland in remote parts of Africa.

1. Mosquito

Coming in at number one, the Mosquito is the most dangerous animal in Africa and is responsible for nearly 50% of deaths in children under the age of 5.  This miniscule insect carries the virus that causes Malaria, one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Some stunning Facts about Malaria::

  • Malaria kills more than 2,800 children a day in Africa.  According to Third World Network Features, direct and indirect costs of Malaria amounted to US $800 million in 1987 and were expected to reach US $1.8 billion annually in Africa by 1995.
  • 80 -90% of Malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa where 90% of the infected people live.
  • Malaria is not confined to Africa; in Brazil the disease kills over 8,000 people a year, more than deaths from AIDS and Cholera combined!
  • Some good news!  There is a Malaria vaccine on the horizon which should be able to reduce deaths from this disease by up to 75% in future generations – it is hoped that the vaccine will be ready to be launched in 2015.

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Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) has been alerted after an increase of cases where of hyenas have a new overgrown appetite for buffalo testicles at the Aberdare National Park in Kenya.

The hyenas, known more for their scavenger habits than hunting efforts are believed to be taking advantage of the hanging parts of the Buffaloes leading to lifetime castration or in some cases deformities of the Buffaloes at the Kenyan National Park.

According to Aberdare National Park KWS Senior Warden Lilian Ajuoga, the first reported incident was recorded in 2008 but it has become a common occurrence recently.

“The incidences of hyenas biting of testicles and tails of buffaloes are everyday occurrences in the National Park. Tens of buffaloes are partly deformed after hyenas chewed off some parts,”

Ms Ajuoga said.

She linked the incidents to lack of lions in the park, a scenario that has hampered the food chain which places hyenas in their scavenger category.

A balanced food chain is vital, the officer revealed adding that it helps animals in the ecosystem balance roles.

“In this case, hyenas are forced to hunt instead of scavenging on leftovers that have been left by other predators. This forces them to hunt on easily available things and since they lack the power to strangle, they depend on biting off hanging parts for survival,”

she said.

She noted that owing to the fact that hyenas cannot hunt, they target loose hanging parts of the animals like testicles and tails.

“Hyenas literally feast on a prey when they are still alive because they cannot kill. In the National Park, hyenas target young buffalo bulls so they can strip off the ‘loose-hanging’ parts,”

she says.

Although hyenas are known to target other small animals in the park, the officer also linked the increasing cases to lack of speed by the scavengers who sometimes lack something to feed on.

To save the buffaloes from the jaws of hyenas, Ajuoga said KWS is considering counting the number of hyenas within the National Park for purposes of management and sustainability.

“We are planning on a doing an animal count so as to establish the number of hyenas for purposes of management to avoid cases of unsustainability. This will also help in boosting survival for both hyenas and buffaloes,”

she adds.Trend

According to Ajuoga, Introduction of predators in the park will also place the scavengers at their rightful position.

“We are trying to avoid the scenario where buffaloes might not be able to sire in future with their vital organs bitten off,”

she said.

Kenya Wildlife Service Assistant Director in charge of Mountain Areas Simon Gitau said the service has also considered involving researchers to shed light on what might have prompted the hyenas to bite off testicles and tails.

“This thing has been on-going for a while but that does not mean the population of buffaloes is going down. One healthy buffalo with intact organs can still mate with 50 females and successfully sire,”

Gitau said.

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