The crocodile-infested Mara River in Tanzania is not only famous for its scenic beauty but also for one of the most remarkable wildlife spectacles on Earth—the annual wildebeest migration. As thousands of wildebeest and other herbivores traverse the river, they must face the formidable Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) that lie in wait. Let’s delve into the thrilling experience of encountering Nile crocodiles during the wildebeest migration in the Mara River.

The Mara River in Tanzania is home to one of Africa’s most fearsome and iconic reptiles, the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). This majestic creature, with its powerful build and ancient lineage, has adapted perfectly to its environment and plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Let’s explore the fascinating world of Nile crocodiles in the Mara River.

The Wildebeest Migration: A Test of Survival

Every year, millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores undertake a treacherous journey across the Serengeti plains in search of fresh grazing grounds. As they reach the Mara River, a significant obstacle stands in their way—the powerful currents and lurking Nile crocodiles.

The Nile Crocodiles of the Mara River

The Nile crocodile is a formidable predator and the largest crocodile species in Africa. The Mara River provides an ideal habitat for these apex predators. Here are some fascinating facts about Nile crocodiles:

  1. Size and Strength: Nile crocodiles can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh over 1,500 pounds, making them an imposing presence in the river. Their muscular bodies and powerful jaws allow them to swiftly capture and overpower their prey.
  2. Ambush Predators: Nile crocodiles are patient hunters. They often conceal themselves underwater, with only their eyes and nostrils visible, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Their camouflaged bodies blend seamlessly with the riverbank, making them difficult to spot.
  3. Feeding Frenzy: During the wildebeest migration, the Mara River becomes a feeding ground for Nile crocodiles. As the herds of wildebeest attempt to cross the river, the crocodiles seize the opportunity to ambush and feast on the vulnerable individuals that become entangled in the strong currents.
  4. Survival of the Fittest: Crossing the Mara River is a life-or-death challenge for the wildebeest. The crocodiles employ various hunting techniques, such as lunging, biting, and dragging their prey underwater. It’s a battle between predator and prey, where only the fittest and luckiest survive.

Navigating the Crocodile-Infested Waters of the Mara River

The Mara River in Tanzania is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife. However, it is also home to a formidable predator—the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). These ancient reptiles, with their powerful jaws and impressive size, make the river a challenging and dangerous crossing point for the migrating herds of wildebeest and other herbivores. Let’s explore the reality of navigating the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River.

The Perilous Journey The wildebeest migration is a treacherous undertaking, and crossing the Mara River is one of its most dangerous obstacles. Thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores must make their way across the river, where lurking beneath the surface are the stealthy Nile crocodiles, waiting for their chance to strike.

The Formidable Nile Crocodile Nile crocodiles are apex predators and have thrived in the Mara River for centuries. Here are some key characteristics of these formidable reptiles:

  1. Size and Strength: Nile crocodiles are among the largest crocodile species in the world. Males can reach lengths of up to 20 feet and weigh over a ton. Their sheer size and powerful bodies make them highly efficient hunters.
  2. Ambush Predators: Nile crocodiles are experts at camouflage and stealth. They lie partially submerged in the water, their eyes and nostrils the only visible parts above the surface, blending seamlessly with their surroundings. This makes them almost invisible to their prey.
  3. Patient Hunters: Nile crocodiles are known for their patience. They can wait motionless for hours or even days, conserving their energy until the perfect moment to strike. Their lightning-fast reflexes and powerful jaws allow them to snatch unsuspecting animals from the water’s edge.
  4. Feeding on the Migration: The annual wildebeest migration provides a veritable feast for the crocodiles. As the herds gather on the riverbanks, the crocodiles lie in wait, detecting any signs of weakness or vulnerability among the animals attempting to cross. They strike with astonishing speed, dragging their prey underwater to drown and consume it.

Crossing the Mara River: A Perilous Challenge

For the wildebeest and other herbivores, crossing the Mara River is a life-and-death gamble. Here are some factors that influence this risky undertaking:

  1. Currents and Turbulence: The Mara River is known for its strong currents and turbulent waters, which can disorient and exhaust the animals attempting to cross. These conditions make them easy targets for the waiting crocodiles.
  2. Safety in Numbers: Wildebeest and other herd animals rely on the strength of numbers to increase their chances of survival during the crossing. They gather in large groups, hoping that the sheer volume of bodies will deter the crocodiles or make it harder for them to choose their prey.
  3. Cunning Strategies: Despite the inherent risks, the herds employ various strategies to minimize casualties. They often send scouts to test the waters and identify the safest crossing points. These scouts face the greatest danger but provide crucial information to the rest of the herd.

Witnessing the Crossing

Observing the wildebeest migration and crocodile encounters in the Mara River is a remarkable wildlife spectacle. Here are some tips for witnessing this awe-inspiring event safely:

  1. Safari Guides and Viewing Points: Engage the services of experienced safari guides who are familiar with the migration patterns and know the best vantage points for viewing the river crossings. They will prioritize your safety and ensure a memorable experience.
  2. Binoculars and Cameras: Bring binoculars or a good camera with a telephoto lens to enhance your viewing experience. This allows you to observe the action from a safe distance and capture stunning photographs.
  3. Respect Wildlife and Guidelines: While it is exciting to witness the drama of the crossing, it’s essential to respect the animals and their natural behaviors. Follow the instructions of your guide, maintain a safe distance, and never attempt to disturb or provoke the wildlife.
  4. Patience and Timing: River crossings are unpredictable, and timing plays a crucial role. Be patient and prepared to wait for hours or even days for the herds to gather and make their move. Trust the expertise of your guide, who can help you gauge the optimal time for observing the crossings.

A Reminder of Nature’s Balance

The Nile crocodiles and the wildebeest migration in the Mara River exemplify the delicate balance of nature. The crocodiles rely on the annual migration for their survival, while the wildebeest face the ultimate test of endurance and adaptation. Observing this primal struggle can evoke a sense of awe and respect for the intricacies of the natural world.

Adaptations of the Nile Crocodile:

The Nile crocodile possesses a range of remarkable adaptations that allow it to thrive in its aquatic habitat. Some of its key adaptations include:

    1. Powerful physique: Nile crocodiles are well-known for their robust bodies, with strong limbs and muscular tails that enable them to move swiftly in water and on land. Their streamlined shape makes them formidable swimmers.
    2. Jaws and teeth: The crocodile’s large, tooth-filled jaws are perfectly designed for capturing and subduing prey. Their sharp, conical teeth are ideal for gripping and tearing flesh, allowing them to feed on a variety of prey species.
    3. Eyes and nostrils: Positioned on top of the head, the crocodile’s eyes and nostrils are elevated above the waterline while the rest of the body remains submerged. This adaptation enables them to observe their surroundings without exposing their entire bodies.
    4. Camouflage: Nile crocodiles have a mottled brown coloration, blending in with their surroundings. This camouflage helps them remain hidden from both prey and potential predators.
    5. Temperature regulation: Nile crocodiles are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. They bask in the sun to warm up and seek shade or water to cool down, ensuring optimal physiological functioning.

More about the Nile Crocodile can be found here.

Experiencing the Mara River Migration Encounter

If you’re planning to witness the dramatic Nile crocodile-wildebeest interaction in the Mara River, here are some tips for an unforgettable experience:

  1. Choose the Right Time: The wildebeest migration usually occurs between July and October. Plan your visit during this period to increase your chances of witnessing the river crossings and crocodile activity.
  2. Safari Guides and Tours: Engage the services of experienced safari guides who are knowledgeable about the migration patterns and crocodile behavior. They will take you to prime viewing spots along the river and provide valuable insights during the safari.
  3. Observe from Safe Viewing Points: It’s important to maintain a safe distance from the riverbanks and follow the instructions of your guide. Crocodiles are powerful predators, and your safety should be the top priority.
  4. Patience and Perseverance: River crossings can be unpredictable, and timing is crucial. Be prepared to spend several hours at the river, patiently waiting for the herds to gather the courage to take the plunge.
  5. Respect Wildlife: Remember that you are a guest in the animals’ natural habitat. Do not disturb or provoke the wildlife, including the crocodiles. Maintain a respectful distance and allow them to carry out their natural behaviors undisturbed.

The Importance of Nile Crocodiles in the Ecosystem:

Nile crocodiles play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the Mara River ecosystem. As apex predators, they regulate the populations of herbivores and help control disease spread. Additionally, crocodile nesting sites provide nesting opportunities for various bird species, contributing to biodiversity.

Encountering Nile crocodiles in the Mara River is a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience. However, it’s crucial to remember that these

Witnessing the Nile crocodiles and the wildebeest migration in the Mara River is a truly awe-inspiring experience. It’s a testament to the raw power and intricate balance of nature, where survival and adaptation are put to the ultimate test.

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If you’re an avid birdwatcher or nature enthusiast, Tanzania offers excellent opportunities to observe the fascinating White-faced Whistling-Ducks. These beautiful waterfowl can be found in various locations across the country. Here are some places where you can spot them:
Tanzania’s diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity provide a haven for bird species like the White-faced Whistling-Duck. Whether you visit the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara, or Selous, keep your eyes and ears open to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of these remarkable waterfowl.

Tanzania’s diverse ecosystems and protected areas provide excellent opportunities to observe the White-faced Whistling-Ducks in their natural habitats. Whether you visit the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara, Selous, Ruaha, Arusha, or the Mahale Mountains, the beauty of these waterfowl and the surrounding wildlife will leave you in awe.

1. Serengeti National Park

The iconic Serengeti National Park is not only renowned for its wildebeest migration but also for its diverse birdlife. Within the park’s vast grasslands and wetland areas, including rivers and marshes, you have a good chance of encountering White-faced Whistling-Ducks. Keep an eye out for them near water bodies or grazing in the grassy plains.

2. Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with its unique ecosystem and the famous Ngorongoro Crater, is another fantastic destination for birdwatching. The crater’s floor, along with its surrounding grasslands, provides an ideal habitat for a variety of bird species, including the White-faced Whistling-Duck. Take a leisurely game drive or explore the lakes and wetlands within the conservation area for a chance to spot these ducks.

3. Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is renowned for its abundant wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, and a rich bird population. The park’s numerous water sources, such as the Tarangire River and swamps, attract a wide array of bird species, including the White-faced Whistling-Duck. Embark on a safari or take a guided birdwatching tour to explore the park’s diverse habitats and spot these elegant waterfowl.

4. Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 400 bird species recorded within its boundaries. The park’s centerpiece, Lake Manyara, is a magnet for water-dependent birds, including the White-faced Whistling-Duck. As you navigate through the park’s lush vegetation and along the lakeshore, keep your binoculars ready for sightings of these graceful ducks.

5. Selous Game Reserve

The expansive Selous Game Reserve, one of Tanzania’s largest protected areas, offers a unique opportunity to witness wildlife in a remote and pristine setting. Along with its diverse animal population, the reserve is home to numerous bird species, including the White-faced Whistling-Duck. Take a boat safari along the Rufiji River or explore the reserve’s lakes and wetlands to spot these beautiful waterfowl.

6. Ruaha National Park:

Located in central Tanzania, Ruaha National Park is known for its rugged landscapes and diverse wildlife. Look for White-faced Whistling-Ducks near the park’s rivers and waterholes, especially during the dry season.

7. Arusha National Park:

Situated near the town of Arusha, this park is a hidden gem for bird enthusiasts. Search for White-faced Whistling-Ducks around Momella Lakes and the park’s wetland areas.

8. Mahale Mountains National Park:

If you’re up for an adventure, head to Mahale Mountains National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. While primarily known for its chimpanzees, the park also offers opportunities to spot White-faced Whistling-Ducks near the lake.

Remember to be patient and observant while birdwatching, as these ducks may be found near water bodies, feeding on aquatic vegetation or grazing on land. Hiring an experienced bird guide or joining a birdwatching tour can enhance your chances of spotting these birds and gaining insights into their behavior and habitat preferences.

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The Kopjes of the Serengeti stand out on the vast and endless plain of this magnificent park in Northern Tanzania. They are massive rocks that rise from the savannah terrain creating a dramatic scenery among the acacia trees and the grassland vegetation that span across the plains, into the horizon, and as far as your eyes can see. You have probably been fascinated by these kopjes while on safari game drives in Tanzania.  Welcome to our guide on the Kopjes of Serengeti! Here, we’ll take you on a journey to explore the fascinating geological formations that dot the Serengeti landscape. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the kopjes, their formation, and their significance to the Serengeti ecosystem.

What are the Kopjes?

The kopjes are rocky outcroppings that rise up from the Serengeti plains. These formations are made up of granite, which was formed from the cooling of magma deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Over time, erosion has weathered away the softer rock, leaving behind the more resistant granite.

The kopjes vary in size, from small, isolated formations to large clusters that cover several acres. They can be found throughout the Serengeti, but are most abundant in the central and northern regions of the park.

How were they formed?

The kopjes are the result of millions of years of geological activity. The granite that makes up the Kopjes was formed around 500 million years ago, during a period of intense volcanic activity in the region. As the magma cooled and solidified, it formed a large granite pluton beneath the Earth’s surface.

Over time, the overlying rock was eroded away, exposing the granite pluton. As the exposed granite was further weathered by wind and rain, it was gradually broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. The resulting debris was then transported away by streams and rivers, leaving behind the larger, more resistant rocks that we see today as the kopjes.

Why are they important?

The kopjes are an integral part of the Serengeti ecosystem. They provide a unique habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the park.

The rocky crevices and outcroppings of the kopjes provide shelter and protection for a number of species, including hyraxes, snakes, and birds. The hyraxes, in particular, are an important food source for predators such as leopards and lions.

In addition to their ecological significance, the kopjes also have cultural and historical importance. The Maasai people, who have lived in the region for centuries, consider the kopjes to be sacred and use them in their traditional ceremonies and rituals.


In conclusion, the kopjes of Serengeti are a unique and important feature of the park’s landscape. Their geological origins, ecological significance, and cultural importance make them a fascinating subject for study and exploration. We hope that this guide has provided you with a better understanding of the kopjes and their role in the Serengeti ecosystem.

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As we delve into the fascinating world of prehistoric Africa, one of the most intriguing discoveries of the past century is the Laetoli footprints in Tanzania. These 3.6 million-year-old tracks belong to early human ancestors who once roamed the vast plains of East Africa, and they provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of our distant relatives.

The Laetoli footprints are a remarkable example of how scientific discoveries can provide insights into our shared human heritage. These ancient footprints have helped us understand the evolution of bipedalism, the morphology of early hominins, and the daily lives of our distant ancestors. If you have the opportunity to visit Laetoli, you will be able to stand in the footsteps of history and witness one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the modern era. However, even if you are unable to visit the site in person, the Laetoli footprints continue to capture the imagination of people around the world and provide a unique window into our shared evolutionary past.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the Laetoli footprints, the scientific discoveries and implications, and how you can visit this historic site for yourself.

History of the Laetoli Footprints

In 1974, a team of archaeologists led by Mary Leakey discovered a series of fossilized footprints in the Laetoli region of Tanzania, approximately 45 kilometers south of Olduvai Gorge. The prints were preserved in volcanic ash, and they represented the earliest known evidence of bipedalism – the ability to walk on two legs – in our evolutionary history. The footprints were dated to around 3.6 million years ago, which meant they were made by Australopithecus afarensis, a species of early hominins that are believed to be the direct ancestors of modern humans.

The Laetoli footprints were made by three individuals – two adults and a child – who walked across the ash-covered landscape. The footprints were remarkably well-preserved, with clear outlines of the toes, heels, and arches. Analysis of the prints revealed that the individuals walked upright, with a gait similar to that of modern humans. They also showed that the individuals had a small body size and a unique foot shape that was adapted to walking on two legs.

Scientific Discoveries and Implications

The Laetoli footprints have provided scientists with a wealth of information about early hominin behavior and morphology. The fact that the footprints were made by individuals who walked upright suggests that bipedalism was an important evolutionary development that helped our ancestors survive and thrive in their environment. The footprints also shed light on the gait, body size, and foot shape of early hominins, which can be used to reconstruct their anatomy and movement patterns.

In addition to their scientific significance, the Laetoli footprints have captured the public imagination and inspired generations of people to learn more about human evolution. They have been featured in countless books, documentaries, and museum exhibits, and they continue to be a source of fascination for scientists and laypeople alike.

Visiting Laetoli

If you are interested in seeing the Laetoli footprints for yourself, there are a few things you should know. The site is located in a remote area of Tanzania, and access is restricted to protect the fragile fossilized footprints. Visitors must obtain a permit from the Tanzanian government and be accompanied by a licensed guide. The site itself is a flat, open plain, with no shade or amenities, so visitors should come prepared with sunscreen, water, and appropriate clothing.

Despite the challenges of visiting Laetoli, seeing the footprints in person is an unforgettable experience that brings us closer to our evolutionary origins. Standing in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors, we can feel a connection to the distant past and gain a deeper appreciation for the journey that has led us to where we are today.

Further Research on Laetoli

Since their discovery, the Laetoli footprints have continued to be the subject of extensive research and scientific inquiry. In recent years, new technologies such as 3D scanning and photogrammetry have allowed scientists to create highly detailed digital models of the footprints, which can be used to study their structure and movement in greater detail than ever before.

Researchers have also used the footprints to gain insights into early hominin social behavior. For example, in 2016, a team of scientists published a study in the journal Scientific Reports that analyzed the footprints for evidence of group behavior. They found that the footprints were made by individuals who were walking together, suggesting that early hominins may have lived in social groups similar to those of modern humans.

The Laetoli footprints have also played a key role in debates about the origins of bipedalism. While it is generally agreed that bipedalism was a crucial evolutionary development, there is still much debate about why it emerged and how it evolved. The Laetoli footprints, along with other fossil evidence, provide important clues about the evolution of bipedalism and the factors that drove its emergence.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the Laetoli footprints are a remarkable testament to our shared evolutionary history. They provide a rare glimpse into the lives of our distant ancestors, and they continue to inspire scientific research and public fascination more than 40 years after their discovery. Whether you are a scientist studying early human evolution or a curious traveler seeking to learn more about the world around us, the Laetoli footprints are a fascinating and important destination that should not be missed.

If you are interested in visiting Laetoli or learning more about the footprints and their scientific significance, there are many resources available online and in print. Whether you are an experienced scientist or a curious layperson, the Laetoli footprints are a testament to the enduring power of human curiosity and the importance of understanding our shared evolutionary history.

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Even amid the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, going on a safari in Tanzania is a major decision that many people make once in a lifetime especially when new variants like Delta and Omicron are evolving every now and then. Tranquil Journeys is dedicated to ensuring that your journey is as safe and pleasurable as possible. While we have always considered that our visitors’ safety is vital in allowing them to fully enjoy and make the most of their safari experiences, we have taken a number of new precautions to ensure the safety of our clients and employees during these unpredictable times.

We can assist you in finding answers to your inquiries or contacting the appropriate authorities on your behalf.

Tanzania Covid-19 Restrictions

Upon arrival in Tanzania, all passengers must provide a COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is negative. Within 96 hours of arriving in Tanzania, you must take the test. An online Traveller’s Surveillance Form is required for all travelers traveling to Tanzania. This form must be filed at least 24 hours prior to your arrival.

How much do PCR tests and Rapid testing cost?

All passengers entering Tanzania will undergo enhanced COVID-19 screening, which will include a mandatory rapid test. Rapid testing costs 10 USD per traveller for mainland Tanzania arrivals and 25 USD for Zanzibar arrivals. The charge can be paid in cash on arrival or online through the Traveller Surveillance Form.

Do children also require PCR tests to travel to Tanzania?

Children under the age of five are exempt from both pre-departure PCR tests and fast arrival tests.

Temperature scanning is also being implemented by the Tanzanian government for all international travelers arriving in the country.

Airports in Tanzania that conduct PCR tests

Below are the airports that provide PCR testing services.

Julius Nyerere International Airport (Dar es Salaam)
+255 22 284 2402/3

Kilimanjaro International Airport
+255 27 255 4252

You can read more about Kilimanjaro International Airport here.

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (Zanzibar)
+255 24 223 3674

Where to get PCR tests in Tanzania

We are only acting as a middleman to assist travelers who have booked a safari with us in passing the COVID-19 exam. Because all testing is done by third parties with no relation or affiliation with us, we are not liable or responsible for any defects, delays, or problems encountered during the testing process, or for the performance or non-performance of the testing facilities. Please follow the guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Health and the airlines.

Please note that the information provided has been well investigated. We cannot, however, guarantee accuracy because information and details change frequently. Always double-check travel restrictions before booking and leaving, both in your home country and in the country you’re visiting.

Arusha: PCR Testing is done at Selian Hospital and Mount Meru Hospital. Cost: USD 90 per person. Open daily 08:00 to 15:00.

Rapid test that is required by KLM is done at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Cost: USD 25 per person. Guests must arrive 6 hours before their flight to do the test. We suggest booking a day room at Airport Planet Lodge for the guests to use whilst waiting for their test results.

Moshi: PCR Testing is done at KMCM Hospital. Cost: USD 90 per person. Open daily 08:00 to 15:00.

Karatu: PCR Testing is done at Family Clinic. Cost: USD 90 per person. Open daily 08:00 to 15:00.

Dar es Salaam: PCR Testing is conducted at Aga Khan Hospital and IST Clinic. Cost: USD 100 per person to be paid at the center via credit card. Hospital facilitation fee: 50 USD per person. Transport fee: will be advised at time of booking. Cash or Card accepted. Open daily 08:00 to 15:00.

A PCR rapid test that is required by KLM is done at Dar es Salaam International Airport. Cost: USD 25 per person. Guests must arrive 6 hours before their flight to do the test. Due to the high traffic levels in Dar es Salaam guests will have to wait at the airport until their flight departure.

Zanzibar:  PCR and RAT Testing is done at Migombani COVID-19 Centre. Cost: A PCR test costs USD 80 while RAT test costs USD 25 per person to be paid online via credit card at the time of booking the test. Transport fee: will be advised at time of booking.  Open daily 08:00 to 15:00.

The rapid test required by KLM is conducted at the Migombani COVID-19 Centre. Cost: USD 25 per person. Guests must arrive 6 hours before their flight to do the test. We suggest booking a day room in Stone Town for the guests to use whilst waiting for their test results.

Quarantine regulations

If you test positive for COVID-19 when you arrive in Tanzania, you may be required to quarantine in a government-designated hotel at your own expense. You will be required to self-isolate for 14 days if you are a returning resident.

You must follow any additional screening procedures imposed by the authorities.

Data Collection

Tanzania’s government is compiling information on all overseas travellers coming into the country.

Tanzania Entry Requirements


Tanzania requires a tourist or business visa for all American and British passport holders. Tanzania has implemented an e-visa system, in which applications can be submitted and approved online prior to travel. The Tanzanian High Commission in London is no longer able to issue visas.

It is also feasible to obtain a single-entry tourist or business visa upon arrival at Tanzania’s principal ports of entry, provided that all immigration conditions are met. It’s possible that you’ll be required to show documentation of your return trip. On arrival, you will not be able to obtain a multiple entry visa.

Visit the Tanzanian Immigration website for further information about visas.

If you want to work or volunteer in Tanzania, you’ll need a legal work permit, which you can apply for online through Tanzania’s immigration website. This should be arranged by your employment or volunteer organization prior to your departure.

You can be arrested, detained, and fined before being deported if you overstay the validity of your visa or permit. Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) British passport holders have reported to the British High Commission that they are subjected to increased levels of harassment from immigration officials. In these circumstances, you should remain cool and request that the British High Commission’s Consular Section be notified immediately.

Passport Validity

From the date of your arrival in Tanzania, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.

Emergency Travel Documents for the United Kingdom & USA

For entry, airside transit, and exit from Tanzania, USA, and UK Emergency Travel Documents with a minimum validity of six months are acceptable.

Requirements for yellow fever certificates

Visit the CDC, TravelHealthPro website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre to see if you require a yellow fever certificate.

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An Austrian man, attempting to smuggle 74 protected chameleons from Africa’s Usambara Mountains in Tanzania into Austria was intercepted at the airport and stopped.

The 56-year-old man, whose identity has not been revealed to the public is believed to have the intention of selling the chameleons and lizards in the Czech Republic and other countries.
Upon x-raying his luggage, they discovered that he had stuffed some of the chameleons in socks and empty ice cream boxes.
The said man was caught by customs officials at Vienna Airport, coming from Tanzania via Ethiopia.

smuggled chameleons

The chameleons are now under the care of the Austrian capital’s Schoenbrunn Zoo, which said that unfortunately three of the animals did not make it alive. The Chameleons and lizards were illegally acquired from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from one week old to adult animals.

chameleon hidden

The black market value of the reptiles would fetch about 37,000 euros (£32,860), officials said.

The Austrian man who smuggled the animals into Austria from Tanzania has now to settle a fine of up to 6,000 euros, the Austrian finance ministry said in a statement.

The Tanzanian highlands are popular for being home to a rare and a newly discovered species of chameleons known as Kinyongia msuyae, a small, elongated chameleon (about 16 cm long), lacking distinctive colours or pattern.

Kinyongia Msuyae Chameleon

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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

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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Hollywood actor Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith are in Tanzania for the second time after touring Tanzania about 2 years ago. The actor was spotted in the Serengeti National Park as he posed pictures with park rangers. Mr. Smith then went on to enjoy his African Safari experience at the Serengeti National Park.

will smith in Serengeti, TanzaniaSerengeti is the most popular national park amongst 16 National Parks that Tanzania has, not counting the new national parks created just recently including the Burigi-Chato National Park. Tanzania is the best safari country in Africa as voted by travellers and writers around the world according to a survey conducted by a popular safari portal called This beautiful country offers a splendid vacation for anyone seeking to create lifetime memories and those kodak moments.

Will Smith’s show “Welcome to Earth” features an episode Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park

“Welcome to Earth,” Will Smith’s crazy new nature series, follows the actor as he travels the outer reaches of the globe with his characteristic zeal.
In the most recent episode, for example, the Hollywood legend uses never-before-seen equipment to follow wildebeest herd movements in the Serengeti at night.

The series (now available on Disney+) follows the 53-year-old as he ventures into isolated parts of the natural world with his signature jokes, excitement, and adventurous spirit to uncover and explore hidden locations that the normal person can’t access.

Smith travels to the Serengeti in Tanzania’s neighboring country to observe lions and wildebeest herd movements in the dead of night in the episode “Mind of the Swarm.”
Executive producer Jane Root informed media that the show employed military-grade drones that had never been deployed in “civilian conditions” previously to acquire clear photos of them.

“I borrowed that from the army in order to photograph those things in complete darkness.” As a result, a great deal of innovation is required.

“Sometimes you’re taking technology from another location and applying it to this reality, and that’s what gets you the outcomes you want,” Root explained.

The Serengeti is Tanzania’s most popular national park, one of 16 in the country.

Read more about the Serengeti National Park


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A few days ago, Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith posted a picture on Instagram showing the two at an airport probably headed for Tanzania.

It is evident Mr Smith the “Fresh Prince of Bel-air” star was accompanied by his wife Jada Pinkett Smith on a safari holiday to Tanzania as she shared a post on her Instagram page while on safari.Will Smith in Tanzania

The Smith family seems to have a special liking for Tanzania as two years ago, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith toured the country together.

During their previous trip, the Hollywood couple was seen at a luxury tropical island off the shores of Zanzibar islands in Tanzania bordering the Indian Ocean.

During their visit, Will also interacted with excited fans after his arrival at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).


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More Celebrities visiting Tanzania for Safari Holidays

Will Smith is just one of the many few Hollywood celebrities that have visited Tanzania. below is a list of celebrities that have visited Tanzania.

  1. Yao Ming, Chinese, former NBA player
  2. Oprah
  3. Justin Timberlake
  4. Jessica Biel
  5. GeorgeClooney
  6. TomCruise
  7. Bill Gates
  8. Naomi Campbell
  9. Kristen bell
  10. Amal Clooney
  11. George Bush
  12. Barrack Obama
  13. Bill Clinton
  14. David Beckham
  15. Wayne Rooney
  16. Mamadou Sakho
  17. The Everton football team

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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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An African safari – it sounds so romantic! The mind conjures up images of wonderful African sunsets, nights around the campfire and, of course, exciting close encounters with Africa’s wildlife. You may have it all pictured in your mind, but until you have actually been on Safari for the first time you will probably be wondering how you will be spending your time each day.

Before we go any further, I must just say that there is actually no such thing as a “typical” day on Safari, so our heading is a little misleading. Every time you step out of your tent or suite you will be embarking on a brand new adventure; every single excursion into the wilds holds the promise of a new and unique magical moment in Nature; every Lodge or Campsite has a different atmosphere and stunning location, making each and every Safari day different and special. Having said all that, there is a certain comforting routine to your days on safari, so for the benefit of all the first-timers, I will try to give you an idea of what to expect from your Game Drives and your Camps or Lodges.

Game Drives – What Exactly Is a Game Drive

For the uninitiated, I should perhaps explain what a “game drive” is! You will be taken out into the bush in a 4X4 game-viewing vehicle. Depending on whether you are on a group or private safari, this could be a large “truck” with 3 or 4 rows of seats, accommodating up to 10 people or you could be in a much smaller van for up to 6 people. (On some specialized photographic safaris the number of people per vehicle is limited to 1 person per row of seats, to provide optimum photographic opportunities).

safari game drive

A “typical” game drive will last about 2-3 hours, depending on what you come across along the way. At some destinations, you may be offered a full day game drive, which can take up to 8 hours. Your driver will be an experienced game ranger who knows the area exceptionally well and has a good idea of the best places to take you for good sightings.


Your open-sided or “pop-up” game viewing vehicle is not air-conditioned and there can be considerable differences in temperature during your drive, so dressing in layers is recommended. Don’t forget to bring your camera, binoculars, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat. Drinking water will be available on the game drive, but you can bring some munchies if you like.


An African Safari is all about the wildlife; every aspect of your safari is geared towards giving you the very best experience possible, and that means that your regular schedule will have to adjust to the rhythms of Africa and her creatures. Your Safari day will be divided into roughly four segments:


Sunrise – Early Morning Game Drive

As the first tendrils of red start to appear on the horizon, you will get your wake-up call. In summer this could be as early as 5 am; in winter it will be around 6 am – the morning game drive gets underway as soon as the Park gates open at 6 or 6.30 am. This is a wonderful time of the day; you can listen to the dawn chorus of birds as you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a snack before leaving. The sun will just be crawling over the horizon and many animals are on the move! It could be quite cool at this time of day and you need to bring a warm jacket with you.

Tanzania safari sunrise

Mid-Morning – Mid Afternoon

When it starts warming up around 10.00 – 10.30 am you will generally return to your camp for a hearty breakfast, brunch or lunch. (This varies from Camp to Camp, and some of the luxury camps will offer to serve your lunch on your private deck if you prefer.) This is the best time for you to relax and enjoy the amenities offered by your Camp or Lodge – lounge around the pool, review your photos, read a book or enjoy a Spa treatment (if your Lodge offers this facility), or have a nap.


Many Camps offer bush walks with an armed guide – in Kenya your guide will usually be one of the local Masai tribesmen who knows the region like the back of his hand! This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the local culture from your guide, who will be happy to share his extensive knowledge of the flora of the region with you. You can also do some bird watching and see some interesting insects and smaller animals that you would miss on a game drive. At around 3pm everyone assembles again to enjoy tea or coffee and cake or biscuits before the highlight of the day – the evening game drive.


Late Afternoon and Evening Game Drive

The evening game drive is everyone’s favourite! Anticipation runs high – this is the time that the predators will be setting off to hunt, and you never know what lies around the next bend in the road! After an hour or two, you will usually stop for sun-downers; your ranger will choose a great vantage point for you to stretch your legs and watch the sun paint the sky a myriad of colours as it drops below the horizon. Raise your glasses and drink a toast to Africa the Beautiful!


Once the sun has set you will either head back to Camp or be treated to a Night Drive. Many of the government-run National Parks have strict rules about getting back to your camp before dark, but if you are on a private concession you will continue driving through the bush for another hour or two, using a strong spotlight to glimpse some of the shy nocturnal animals. It is also probably the best time to come upon a Lion or Leopard on the hunt, so choosing a Safari which includes Night Game Drives is an important consideration. If you do come upon a hunt or kill, supper may be delayed!


Campfire Time

Depending on what you see along the way there will usually be time for a refreshing shower before pre-dinner drinks, followed by a sumptuous dinner and excellent wine. In some instances, your Camp may surprise you by arranging a Bush Dinner in a location under the stars…very romantic! Then it is time to gather around the campfire to share stories of your days’ sightings with fellow guests before retiring. Most people are pretty tired by this time and go to bed early, mindful of that dawn wake-up call, which will herald the start of another “not so typical” African safari day.

Safari campfire

Demystifying Some Common Safari Jargon

National Parks versus Game Reserves

National Parks are Government-run and controlled conservation areas which are open to the public for game viewing. There are strict rules and regulations in these National Parks aimed at protection of the environment and the animals who live there, and no off-road driving or night drives are allowed. Visitor numbers are usually not restricted here and there can be many vehicles lining up to view a good sighting. There will generally be both budget and more up-market accommodation.

Game Reserves

Game Reserves are usually run and maintained by local authorities and are also established for the conservation of animals and plants. Some Game Reserves allow a limited amount of hunting (culling) to benefit the local communities that live around the reserves.


Conservancies are private, non-profit community programs to conserve land, wildlife and habitats for the benefit of all. Many of these are also open to the public for game viewing, and offer various types of accommodation.

Private Concessions

Private Concessions are privately owned conservation areas which usually border the larger National Parks; often fences have been removed to allow free movement of game across the boundaries from the National Parks into the private concessions and vice versa. These Private Concessions often offer a markedly superior safari experience because they can relax the regulations that are in place in the National Parks. For example, off-road driving, Night Drives, and walking safaris are common in all the Private Concessions, but often not allowed in National Parks or Game Reserves. Private Lodges are generally very luxurious.

Tented Camps

No need to worry, your accommodation will be a lot more comfortable than it sounds! Tented Camps feature individual spacious and comfortable en-suite rooms with canvas sides, usually erected on a raised platform – your own private deck. You have real beds, elegant Safari-style furniture and great decor. Some have blissful private outdoor showers or baths.

Luxury Lodges

These game lodges often feature in the “best African Hotels” lists and are the last word in luxury, African-style. Your accommodation may be under canvas at some of these establishments, but it will be the smartest “tent” you can imagine! The Luxury Lodges are all situated in outstandingly beautiful settings, often with views over a river or water hole that is regularly frequented by wildlife. Many offer private plunge pools or Jacuzzi’s, impeccable service and food and many other little luxuries.

Wet Safari

If you are visiting the Okavango Delta you may be a little confused to read about “wet safaris”. This is simply a term to describe game watching activities from the water; instead of using a safari vehicle which would get stuck in the wet conditions, you will travel along the rivers and waterways by boat – a unique game viewing experience. Depending on the season, regular game drives are also available in the Okavango.

Moving Camp

This is a great chance to see something different each day! You pack up and set off on a game drive or hike each day, and your campsite is moved and set up in a new spot every evening. In some instances, you will simply be moving to a new “permanent” campsite each night. This type of moving-camp safari is very popular in the Serengeti during the Great Migration.


Many of the safari camps you visit will have a Boma (pronounced bow-ma), which is an enclosure in the bush where you can dine alfresco under the brilliant African starlit skies. There is usually a big campfire in the center to keep you warm on chilly nights and to add atmosphere!

Night Drives

A night drive is usually an extended late-afternoon game drive which returns to camp after dark. A strong spotlight allows you to see many nocturnal animals that sleep during the day, in particular, the fabulous Leopard who likes to hunt after dark. Some Private Lodges offer after-dinner game drives to dedicated night owls or serious photographers.

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