Video Blogging Tanzania’s Incredible National Parks and My Safari Experience

For this year’s extended winter trip I found a great price on airfare from Copenhagen to Dar Es Salaam.  Even though I was a bit unsure on what the weather would be like (would it be rainy? Did I need to watch out for malaria? Had I already missed the flamingos and the great migration?) I did a little added research and then decided to go for it. Initially I was torn – should I try and use one of the local budget airlines to jump down to South Africa or up to Kenya? Or should I just give it a go and stick to an extended safari and then some beach time in Zanzibar. Ultimately I opted for around 23 days in Zanzibar and Tanzania in mid-late December.

My final schedule took me CPH -> Istanbul -> Dar -> Kilimanjaro Airport. From there it was onto a local bus which continued on to Arusha where I had a quick overnight. Then I met up with Stewart from Fed Tours and Safaris, the Safari Company I had chosen to do a collaboration with based, in part, on existing recommendations by fellow photographer Mikkel Beiter.  With Stewart and our cook William I spent the next 9 days on an incredible safari experience. The safari took us from Arusha to Tarangire National Park, then from there across country and past numerous Maasai Maasai weekly markets and along the Great Rift Valley up to Lake Natron where we overnighted.  After searching for Flamingos and a spectacular sunrise which included a swim in a series of waterfalls, it was onward to the Serengeti’s small and remote North Gate. From there we spent 4 days in a campground in the very heart of the Serengeti before heading to Ngorongoro Crater to camp on the rim, looking out over the crater before spending our final morning driving Ngorongoro National Park where we looped back to Arusha. From Arusha I spent a day relaxing then caught a flight Arusha -> Stone Town in Zanzibar where I spent the remaining 11 or so days.

What you’ll find in the following videos are my raw, un-cut, un-edited vlogs taken each day in real time as I progressed through my Tanzania experience. In total there are 26 videos, most of which are less than 2 minutes which I’ve compiled in chronological order in the attached playlist. Towards the end you’ll find reflections and some added safari advice.  I’ll also be adding additional posts which will include a more polished wrap-up of the incredible sights, animals and experiences I had during the trip.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to pick a safari and safari destination, I’ve prepared this extensive write-up on must know things to do. Issues viewing or loading this video?  Jump over to YouTube for the full playlist [here].

*Disclaimer* As part of my safari preparation, I chose Fed Safaris based on their reputation for excellence. Once selected, I received compensation/sponsored rates in exchange for documenting my real, unfiltered, and completely independent experiences during the 9 day safari experience.  

Must Consider Advice for How to Choose a Safari

Start researching safari options and you will quickly discover just how massive Africa actually is. From the Great Migration on the Plains of the Serengeti to the drifting sand dunes of Namibia there are a spectacular number of parks and varied experiences to choose from.  This rapidly becomes even more complex as you then weigh your budget, seasonality, type of experience and the wildlife you want to see.  I’m freshly returned from a spectacular 9 day camping photography safari in Tanzania and am eager to share some of the lessons gleaned from this, and previous safari experiences. I’ve pulled from my own safari experiences across multiple countries, my research,  and discussions with the local company, Fed Tours and Safaris, who I partnered with for my recent Tanzanian adventure.

Picking your Safari

Perhaps you already know exactly where you want to go. For most of us though, the first step is figuring out just what type of safari we’re interested in, where we want to go, and what we want to see. So, ask yourself the following questions and then make sure to also catch ‘key questions to ask your safari provider’ which are outlined at the end of this post:

  • What animals am I most interested in seeing?
  • Which African cultures am I most interested in?
  • What landscapes do you like most?
  • What time of year will I be able to go on my safari?
  • How much safari time can I afford?
  • Why do safaris cost what they do?
  • What level of comfort do I need?
  • What is the core purpose of my safari?
  • Do I want a social experience or a private one?
  • Is quality of experience or diversity of sights a higher priority?
  • What is your level of mobility?
  • How much independence is important to you?
  • Malaria
  • Toilets
  • What are your fears?

Denmark 101 – How to Make Danish Friends – Episode 7

Perhaps THE most common question among recently arrived internationals in Denmark is, “How do I make Danish friends!?”.

In this video I delve into the topic, offer suggestions and a few comments that should ease you in the process and help you better understand why building Danish friendships can, at times, require an entirely different approach than you may be familiar with in your home culture.

 

 

Don’t miss Episode 6. where I talked more specifically about the process of meeting Danes. See it here.

Sorry about the light! Sun came out and overwhelmed the camera.

Want to start at the beginning of the series? Jump to episode 1.

Denmark and it’s residents are a fascinating group. In this video series I leverage my observations and research to share with you insights into how to get the most of your interactions with the Danes and your time in Denmark regardless of the duration of your visit. One day or ten years – my goal is to share observations I’ve made from my 5 years of living, studying, and working among the Danes.

If you’re Danish, hopefully you’ll find this series interesting, a bit informative, and not too outlandishly inaccurate. So far the feedback and input has been great and I look forward to continuing to further exploring Danish culture with you.

If you’re a foreigner coming to Denmark, I hope this helps you build upon observations and insights the rest of us had to find out the hard way.

Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, studying in Denmark, working here, traditions, key behaviors, taxes, dating and even a look at Janteloven.

Stay tuned for future updates – this is just the beginning!  Can’t wait?  Jump to YouTube and view all of the latest episodes and while there make sure to Subscribe!

The Nearly Perfect 10 Day Trip to Myanmar – Leg 2: Bagan

**Sadly, due to recent events, I’m adding this note and suspending the series before completing Part III. In October and November 2016, an increase in violence in the northern regions has led to a number of village burnings and significant loss of life. As a result, I encourage anyone considering a visit to research events and the current status before making any decisions. For the time being, it looks like many of the recent gains made are being eroded.** 
Welcome to Part II of my three part series exploring Myanmar. When we decided to visit Myanmar, we wanted to explore a country we knew very little about. You can read up on all of the misconceptions we had before going in this post. Just joining? Jump back to Part I here.

Life in Old Bagan - Myanmar

Myanmar (formerly Burma), is a wonderful country that recently started to open up again to travel. To recap my previous post, it’s; 1) safe 2) easy to get around 3 ) easy to access 4) still very affordable and, 5) already has a comfortable tourist infrastructure. For some familiar with the earthquake in August 2016, the majority of the damage was to repairs that had been made during a controversial series of repairs 10-20 years ago. In essence, it wiped the slate clean. Everything I’ve seen and read says that most of the temples and pagodas impacted are being repaired rapidly and will re-open soon, if they have not already done so.

Bagan - Myanmar

It’s also worth noting that the famous balloons over Bagan only fly seasonally. So, if you go in July like we did, you will not see them. They’re also extremely expensive. Lastly, we didn’t fly, but apparently most of the material about the internal airlines being extremely unsafe is 2+ years out of date with the Government overhauling things and replacing aged aircraft with new ones.

Navigating Bagan - Myanmar

Introducing Denmark 101: The Podcast

Hear ye’, hear me!? After creating Denmark 101 videos on youtube for the last couple of years several of you pointed out that it would be much more convenient if you could consume my Denmark 101 series in a pure-audio/podcast format. So, after sitting down and chewing on a traditional Danish licorice pipe for a bit, I realized that you were, of course, absolutely right.

From there, it was only a matter of figuring out just how to make it happen.  These days in addition to running VirtualWayfarer I also work full time with a standard 37+ hour work week and creating content is a fun passion, but also incredibly time consuming.  Just for quick reference, let’s say I’ve shot 2,500 photos during a trip like my recent jaunt to Myanmar and Thailand. I’ll cut that to 1,000 which then get edited. I can edit most shots in, let’s optimistically say, about 45 seconds a piece on average.  That means I’m looking at around 11-12 hours of pure editing time before I make the final cut and then spend an hour or two uploading, tagging, and labeling those photos. That’s not even beginning to discuss video and then writing the actual content here on the site.

This left me with a conundrum. How to make Denmark 101 more accessible for you, but without having to re-record 50+ episodes on top of the content I’m already committed to creating for you. Luckily, I’ve been working closely with my Dad to launch his podcast, Insights into Education [iTunes, Android], which provided me with a great excuse to flesh out my skills and learn just how Podcasting works before progressing with the Denmark 101 podcast. I also had the benefit of being able to pick Evo Terra‘s brain a bit who quite literally wrote the book on the topic and is a prolific podcaster.

The end result? The Denmark 101 podcast which is a hybrid that splices audio-pulled directly from the Denmark 101 videos, carefully edited and re-mastered, with added context and added structure.  While the Denmark 101 video series is already at Episode 50, I’ll be posting one (or more) Denmark 101 Podcast episodes per week. As this post goes live, the first 9 Episodes of Denmark 101 are already available on iTunes and Android.

 

Wait, what’s Denmark 101?

 

In recent years Scandinavia, and in particular the Danes, have been the focus of a lot of attention. The Danish approach is unusual, it’s creative, and has a wonderful mixture of traditions and novel approaches to things which the rest of the world finds absolutely fascinating.  Denmark 101 was initially launched as an effort to share my experiences and observations as a traveler, sojourner, and quasi-expat with a heavy cultural communication oriented background with new arrivals and visitors.

Over time, it’s evolved to be an exploration of Danish culture, traditions, and society that is often viewed more often by Danes curious about an outside perspective, than visitors preparing for a visit to Denmark. Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, and even a look at Janteloven.

My goal with Denmark 101 has to educate, and make observations, but to avoid the pitfalls that often plague expat narratives and commentary about their adopted cultures. I also seek to deep-dive into Danish culture far beyond the most casual and high level narrative which you’ll normally find on top 10 lists and basic guides scattered across the mediascape.

 

Ready to listen?

Sound interesting?  You can find Denmark 101 in your iPhone’s podcast app where it’s free to stream. To jump to iTunes just click here. If you like what you hear please make sure to subscribe to the podcast to ensure you’re updated when new episodes are posted.

If you’re on your Desktop, use an Android device, or any other type of podcasting device you can access the feed directly via Libsyn here.

Denmark 101 is 100% free. My only request is that if you listen to and like the podcast, that you leave a review in iTunes or consider sharing it with friends, co-workers and family. You are my best advocates and are the key for helping the podcast take off.

Copenhagen Warning: Public Museums are No Longer Free

Pick up a guide book or read a blog and it’ll probably still mention that Copenhagen’s spectacular museums are free. Tragically, due to the election of a pack of brutish neanderthals more than 8% of Denmark’s cultural budget will be cut over the next 4 years. This means Copenhagen’s public museums, including the National Museum of Denmark which is home to a lovely exhibit on Denmark’s prehistoric period, have been forced to impose hefty admission fees. The changes were implemented in April of 2016 and will remain in place for the foreseeable future or until a more intellectually focused government returns to power. For a political group that’s robustly vocal about preserving and celebrating Danish history and culture, they’ve manage to illustrate their commitment in the most peculiar of ways. These cuts have also led to the closure of the Royal Danish Navy Museum, which will be incorporated into the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum (Et tu, Brute?).

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - The Museum

As of this post’s publication a day’s admission ticket to the National Museum costs 75 DKK for adults, the Open Air Museum costs 65 DKK, The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum costs 65 DKK, while the National Gallery costs 110 DKK.  Other exhibits/museums within the network will also have admissions prices imposed. So, instead of serving as a refuge with knowledge and a budget friendly alternative to sitting in the rain, visitors to Copenhagen who encounter harsh weather should be prepared to shell out or ship out. Presumably the only group that’s actually happy about this change is the team behind the Copenhagen Card which may finally actually be worth purchasing.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - The Museum

There are also several changes at one of Copenhagen’s other most prominent and famous museums: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.  While the museum has always charged, and currently charges 95 DKK for admission the free day has been moved to Tuesdays. Due to increased demand I’ve had reports that they’ve implemented a cue and ticket system, which makes walk-ins significantly more difficult on Tuesdays. They’ve also implemented a new charge (an additional 110 DKK) for the special exhibits which include a significant chunk of the museum including some of their primary art/painting collections.

Danish National Museum

So, if you’re planning a visit to Copenhagen, make sure you come prepared.

The Danish museums are, and remain, fantastic museums which are well worth the time and cost, so I still highly suggest you make an effort to go, or at the very least, to prioritize one or two if you’re on a tight budget.  Keep your fingers crossed, and on this end we’ll continue to advocate for a restoration of the funding initiatives that made art, culture and history more accessible to everyone.

Don’t Fear A Visit To Myanmar

**Sadly, due to recent events, I’m adding this note and suspending the series before completing Part III. In October and November 2016, an increase in violence in the northern regions has led to a number of village burnings and significant loss of life. As a result, I encourage anyone considering a visit to research events and the current status before making any decisions. For the time being, it looks like many of the recent gains made are being eroded.**

Despite hearing glowing stories about visits to Myanmar (formerly called Burma) from friends, it was with some trepidation and a significant sense of adventure that I booked the ticket for my brother and I from Copenhagen to Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon (formerly Rangoon). Most articles about Myanmar right now either focus on the drug trade/Golden Triangle, armed conflict in several of the remote regions, or gush about the importance of, “visiting Myanmar before it’s ruined”.

Frankly, we didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be dangerous? Was it going to be massively under-developed? Was there any tourist infrastructure at all? Would the visa process be a nightmare? Would we need armed guards to guide us around the country or military minders ala North Korea? Were food poisoning and feces stained walls surrounding filthy squattypotties lurking around every corner?

Inle Lake - Myanmar - Alex Berger

As usual, it was ignorant pigswill.

Myanmar is spectacular and the sooner you can visit the better.  The people are wonderful. The tourist circle; Yangon to Bagan to Mandalay to Inle Lake and back to Yangon could not be safer. The food is decent. The culture is vibrant. The tourist infrastructure is rapidly evolving (perhaps too rapidly). Getting around isn’t difficult.  It’s relatively affordable. The historical, natural and cultural beauty is spectacular.

Denmark 101 – The Secret to Meeting Danes – Episode 6

Perhaps THE most common question among recently arrived internationals in Denmark is, “How do I meet Danes?”.

In this video I delve into the topic, offer suggestions and a few comments that should ease you in the process and help you better understand why building Danish friendships can, at times, require an entirely different approach than you may be familiar with in your home culture.

Don’t miss Episode 7 which builds on this video with specific advice on how to make Danish friends. See it here.

Sorry about the light! Sun came out and overwhelmed the camera.

Want to start at the beginning of the series? Jump to episode 1.

Denmark and it’s residents are a fascinating group. In this video series I leverage my observations and research to share with you insights into how to get the most of your interactions with the Danes and your time in Denmark regardless of the duration of your visit. One day or ten years – my goal is to share observations I’ve made from my 5 years of living, studying, and working among the Danes.

If you’re Danish, hopefully you’ll find this series interesting, a bit informative, and not too outlandishly inaccurate. So far the feedback and input has been great and I look forward to continuing to further exploring Danish culture with you.

If you’re a foreigner coming to Denmark, I hope this helps you build upon observations and insights the rest of us had to find out the hard way.

Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, studying in Denmark, working here, traditions, key behaviors, taxes, dating and even a look at Janteloven.

Stay tuned for future updates – this is just the beginning!  Can’t wait?  Jump to YouTube and view all of the latest episodes and while there make sure to Subscribe!