How to Create Fresh Spring Flavors

When it comes to healthy eating, looking for nutrient-rich foods to include in your diet is one of the more important goals. However, when warmer weather is in full swing, it may be tricky to incorporate nourishing foods that are versatile enough for grilling season.

For a keto- and paleo-friendly option ideal for grilling, consider using asparagus to please your crowd. With its peak season typically running through May and June, this vegetable can provide a much-needed flare to your seasonal feasts and be eaten warm or cold in appetizers, salads, side dishes and more.

Keep in mind this multiuse food aligns with a variety of cooking methods, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board: saute 3 minutes, grill 5 minutes, steam 5 minutes or roast 15 minutes.

In addition to quick and easy preparation, asparagus also allows for loads of wholesome health benefits with its low-calorie qualities and sources of fiber, folate and vitamins. To get the most nutritional value out of your asparagus, consider buying the veggie when it’s in-season from your local area instead of purchasing imported asparagus. Grown by over 100 family farmers in the United States, Michigan asparagus can be used in a tasty, savory dish like Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus for a fresh family meal.

For more asparagus-inspired recipes and information, visit michiganasparagus.org .

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Servings: 6-8

  • 1          pound Michigan Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • 1          package uncooked bacon, thin sliced
  • balsamic glaze (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Wash asparagus and trim ends.
  2. Place asparagus on tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
  3. Wrap 2-3 spears with one slice bacon. Repeat with remaining asparagus and bacon.
  4. Heat grill to medium heat and clean grates.
  5. Place asparagus bundles on grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until bacon is crispy.
  6. During last minute of grilling, brush asparagus bunches with balsamic glaze, if desired. Avoid adding glaze too soon or it may burn.
  7. Add salt and pepper, to taste. (Family Features)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board

7 Steps to Plan a Remodel

Remodeling your home can be one of the most exciting projects to undertake. Whether you’re thinking about a bathroom update, kitchen overhaul or a new room addition, planning and setting realistic expectations are critical in ensuring your project goes as smoothly as possible.

Consider these steps from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) before you get started:

  1. Determine your goals and needs. Understand whyyou are undertaking the project, whether it’s for resale value or so you can enjoy your home more. If looking to increase resale value, consider the neighborhood and potential upgrades that can have the highest impact when going to market. If remodeling can make for a more comfortable space, create a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” then evaluate what’s feasible. Being realistic about needs and wants can help you create a budget.
  1. Get inspired. Whether watching home improvement shows or browsing the internet, finding photos of styles and looks you admire can be beneficial when sharing your vision with a remodeling contractor.
  1. Understand your budget. Setting a budget and staying within it is critical to the project’s success. Be sure to build in a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. Project expenses should factor in the cost of products, labor and project management. There are also possible additional costs such as long-term maintenance, repairs, energy use and a dining out budget if undergoing a full kitchen remodel or hotel costs sometimes necessary with large-scale projects. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to get a written estimate and scope of work once you’ve selected a contractor.
  1. Determine timing. If there is a specific event driving your remodel, work backward through the various project stages to determine a realistic timeline. Build in additional time as a buffer for unexpected delays and recognize remodeling contractors typically have long lead times and may require flexibility to deliver optimal results.
  1. Find a contractor you trust. Home remodeling can be stressful no matter how well you plan, but a dependable partner can make the process go smoother. While some of the best references may come from neighbors, friends or family members, a trade association like NARI can help with its online “Find a Remodeler” tool. Make sure any contractor you’re considering has several years of relevant experience, as well as liability insurance.
  1. Check references. When it comes to remodeling your home, you can never be too careful when choosing who to work with. Be sure to follow up on references, read reviews online and even check out the work of any remodelers you’re considering hiring, if possible.
  1. Prepare for the process. Regardless of the size of the project, there will almost surely be inconvenience, noise, dust and potential delays. Your daily routine will most likely be disrupted. Because it can be especially stressful when redoing the kitchen or an essential bathroom, you’ll probably need to consider a backup plan or other arrangements throughout the duration of the project. Remember to also declutter the work area and protect or pack away any belongings that might be in the way during the renovation.

Find more tips for planning a remodel at RemodelingDoneRight.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry

Improving Your Children’s Health

3 ways to take a proactive approach

As a sign of the times, Millennial moms continue to lean toward proactive and preventative care when it comes to the health of their babies.

A survey of more than 300 moms in the United States from Evivo baby probiotic revealed more than half approach their children’s health with a proactive mindset. They are more likely to conduct their own research before visiting their pediatrician (more than 80 percent), and also inquire about particular ways they can improve the overall health of their children, even if they are not sick.

These tips can help you advocate for and improve the overall health of your baby:

Schedule regular well-visits

Although paying close attention to your baby’s appetite, activity level and general condition can provide ample information about his or her health, it can’t rule out every possible concern. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents schedule regular wellness visits during the first six months of a child’s life and beyond. During these visits, physicians can monitor for problems that may not be readily visible and they are also an opportunity for parents to ask questions. In addition to age-appropriate visits to the pediatrician, it’s also a good idea to begin preventive eye and dental care at an early age.

Be proactive about gut health

The first six months of life are a critical time to focus on gut health. Remember to pay attention to the bacteria living in the gut as it pertains to the development of the immune system. Research from the University of California, Davis shows the critical strain B. infantis, which is known to naturally protect baby’s gut from bad bacteria, is missing in nine of 10 U.S. babies today. When the strain is not present in the infant gut, it allows potentially harmful bacteria to thrive, which are linked to higher risk of colic, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity.

“The connection between rising autoimmune conditions and early immune health is becoming stronger with research about B. infantis and its impact on the infant gut microbiome, which makes the first six months of life a critical window to be proactive about gut health and restore B. infantis,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and best-selling nutrition author.

Thirty-seven percent of moms said they give their child a probiotic to encourage good health. Parents can promote immune health with an option like Evivo, which is the only baby probiotic clinically proven to restore B. infantis to natural levels. To learn more, visit evivo.com.

Incorporate plant-based foods for optimal nutrition

Breastfeeding is a significant first step in making sure your baby is getting all the nutrients he or she needs. Once you start feeding your child solids, it’s also important to introduce a wide variety of foods with high fiber, including fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains. According to the survey, parents today are focusing on whole foods to provide nutrients, as 47 percent of moms said they’re incorporating more plant-based foods into their family’s diets and 31 percent are eating more organic. If you have a picky eater, it can get tricky to get him or her to eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains on a regular basis, but an option like smoothies can be a simple way to pack in the nutrients.

There are many actions parents can take to promote healthy lifestyles for their children, but focusing on gut health and nutrition in the early months of their lives can be a good place to start. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Evivo

Making an Environmental Impact

As part of an effort to positively impact environmental change, many consumers care about the effect their shopping decisions may have on the world around them. As a way to aid in that mission, ALDI, which has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags, is aiming to make 100 percent of its private-label product packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Find more information at ALDI.us. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
ALDI

Add Joy to Spring Cleaning

While spring cleaning can be crucial in keeping your home in tip-top shape, especially for DIYers who find inspiration in the bright season for new home decor projects, the annual ritual can also feel overwhelming.

To add color and whimsy, and make spring cleaning a more joyous event, consider these ideas from mom and designer Joy Cho, the founder and creative director of Oh Joy! – a lifestyle site focused on design, fashion, food and life’s joyful moments.

Frame homemade artwork. Once spring has arrived, you may have compiled lots of children’s artwork from time spent indoors. To keep it all organized, sift through it in the spring and frame some of your children’s hard work to put on the walls as colorful pieces of homemade decor.

Start with a fresh clean. Routinely cleaning your high-touch surfaces with disinfecting wipes and picking up common areas is a good habit to get into and should be a starting point for any spring project. When you start with a clean space, you know you won’t have to deal with dust bunnies and clutter along the way. Plus, with nearly 1 in 3 Americans (31 percent) admitting to rarely or never deep cleaning their households, according to an online Clorox survey in February 2019, regularly freshening up can help you maintain a clean space and cut down on time spent tackling big messes.

Decorate with color. Make your shared spaces as fun and unique as possible by adding pops of color. After cleaning accumulated dirt and dust off your bookshelves, add contact paper to the inside back section of the shelves and flower vases or decorative jars for temporary color and character. You can also add an unexpected spring time pop to floral bouquets by incorporating fragrant mint sprigs or colorful stems. Picking out an attractive spring print that brings you joy and updating your throw pillow shams can also provide little bursts of color.

Repurpose everyday items. Look for items around the house that can serve a secondary purpose, like the limited-edition Oh Joy! Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Designer Collection, which can serve as statement pieces while setting the stage for a happy and healthy season by removing unwanted germs and dirt that may be lurking in your home. The stylish canisters can also be rinsed and reused after the last wipe is gone to hold everything from craft supplies to kids’ toys or flowers.

“For the first-ever Clorox Designer Collection, I created four unique canister designs that are inspired by fresh blooms, spring sunshine and the feeling of a clean, new start,” Cho said. “What I love most is that they make the canisters attractive enough that you no longer need to hide them under the sink. Leaving them on the counter for cleaning up messes throughout the day is not only convenient but adds a little joy to your spring decor as well.”

Maintain your spaces. Spending a little time each day cleaning high-traffic spaces can be easier than devoting an entire day each week to getting your home back in order. Disinfecting wipes make it easy to clean up messes, wipe down surfaces and stay on top of spot cleaning, allowing you to spend less time worrying about dirt and germs and more time with your family.

Find more ways to elevate your space and add joy to spring cleaning at Clorox.com.

Photo courtesy of Lily Glass for Oh Joy! (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Clorox

Sustainable Eating Made Easy

The needs of grocery shoppers are seemingly always evolving, and now more than ever, they want to know where and how their food is produced and what impact it has on the environment. This is commonly referred to as “sustainable eating,” and its popularity is growing among shoppers.

Plant-based diets are a tenet of sustainable eating and mushrooms are often included as part of the movement. Known for their inherent umami flavor and nutrition properties, mushrooms are recognized for their unique growing process and need for minimal natural resources used during production, which makes mushrooms both healthy on the plate and gentle on the planet.

In addition, mushrooms are a versatile ingredient, and with so many fresh varieties to choose from, it’s simple to incorporate them into most meals. Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza can satisfy the entire family, while favorites like Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast may hit the spot morning, noon and night, and quick sides such as Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad can be an easy addition to dinner plates.

For more information on mushroom sustainability as well as additional recipes, visit mushroomcouncil.com .

Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4

  • 8          ounces white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          cups cooked wheat berries, warm
  • 2          green onions, sliced
  • 2          tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1          teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place mushrooms on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully stir mushrooms and bake 5 minutes until tender. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Add wheat berries, green onions and cranberries.
  4. To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk olive oil, orange juice, curry powder and salt; pour over salad. Toss to mix. Serve warm.

Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional, for drizzling
  • 1/4       cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8          ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 1/2       teaspoon fresh thyme leaves kosher salt, to taste
  • 2          ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 4          slices toasted bread
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
  1. In skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and gently incorporate with tomatoes. Add water and stir well until water evaporates and mushrooms darken and become tender, about 4 minutes. Add thyme and salt, to taste. Set aside to cool.
  2. To assemble, gently smash half of each avocado over one slice of toast. Top each slice of toast with mushroom mixture. Top each with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Servings: 4

Sauce:

  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4          garlic cloves, minced
  • 5          basil leaves, minced
  • 2          tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4       cup half-and-half
  • 2          tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3          ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3          ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 3          ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1          ounce dry white wine or chicken stock
  • 1/4       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pizza dough (14 inches)
  • olive oil
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 4          ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • shaved Parmesan, for garnish
  • basil leaves, for garnish
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat, about 425° F.
  2. To make sauce: In medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Whisk in garlic and basil; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle in flour while quickly whisking to form paste.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Slowly pour in half-and-half while continuing to whisk until there are no clumps. Increase heat slightly to bring to simmer. Stir as mixture thickens into sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; set aside.
  4. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to turn tender, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in wine or stock and continue cooking until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Stretch dough to make 14-inch pizza. Brush grill grates generously with olive oil. Place dough on grill and let cook about 3 minutes, until underside is browned and dough removes easily from grill. While removing dough from grill, flip it onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray so cooked side is up.
  6. Spread sauce over pizza and evenly cover in mushrooms. Add mozzarella cheese.
  7. Return pizza to grill, topping-side up. Close lid and let cook 3-5 minutes. Once top crust browns and cheese melts and bubbles, remove from grill. Let rest 2-3 minutes.
  8. Garnish with Parmesan and basil leaves; slice to serve.

The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics (Infographic caption) (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Mushroom Council

4 Ways Pets Make Humans Better

While pet owners are responsible for taking care of their four-legged friends, they don’t always stop to think about how their pets take care of them in return. From their unconditional love to their ability to combat loneliness and teach empathy, pets provide physical, mental and emotional benefits that can help their owners be better people.

“We know that pets make our lives better,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “They provide joy and companionship for people of all ages, help keep their owners active and can even contribute to a more dynamic social life. We created the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which advocates for fewer pets in shelters and more public places where pets are welcome, so more pets and their owners can live happier, healthier lives together.”

Consider these ways pets can make their owners’ lives better, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more about the benefits of pets and how pet owners can return the favor to their four-legged friends.

  1. Providing Companionship – Pets love unconditionally. No matter what, dogs are excited to see their owners and never try to hide their happy, wagging tails. The companionship of a pet can be especially beneficial as pet owners age. Pets can motivate their aging owners to stay mobile, help them feel needed and provide structure to their daily lives.

  1. Teaching Responsibility – Pets depend on their owners to provide food, shelter and care. Adding a dog or cat to the family can bring a sense of responsibility to its owners, especially children in the house. Every pet is special in his or her own way, so children can learn about how to be gentle with animals, respect boundaries and understand empathy and responsibility. Adopting a pet can also teach children about helping those in need and giving back.

  1. Increasing Socialization – Whether it’s on a walk or at the dog park, furry friends are almost always up for meeting new four- and two-legged friends, which can help their owners be more social as well. Pets have the ability to bring people together, and their openness and instinctive curiosity can teach pet owners to open their hearts to make lasting friendships with others. In fact, a study from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that kids that grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, enhanced social skills and are less lonely.

  1. Enjoying the Moment – When pets chase their favorite toys, they’re usually stress-free and living in the moment. People, however, can sometimes move too quickly and forget to celebrate small joyful moments. Pets are known to help reduce stress and can serve as a reminder to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally). (Family Features)

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

SOURCE:
Mars Petcare

5 Blood Clot Risk Factors

Blood clots can affect anyone and may lead to significant health problems, but some people are at higher risk for life-threatening blood clots.

One in four people worldwide die of conditions caused by blood clots, also known by the medical term “thrombosis.” In fact, thrombosis is the third leading vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

There are two types of life-threatening blood clots, also called venous thromboembolism (VTE). Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a clot in a deep vein in the leg, arm or other large veins. A pulmonary embolism, or PE, occurs when a clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, blocking some or all of the blood supply.

Although VTE can be fatal, many, if not most, cases are preventable. Talk with a health care provider to understand your risk and use this information from the American Heart Association to understand the circumstances that may lead to higher risk:

Extended travel: Traveling longer than 8 hours, whether by plane, car, bus or train, can increase risks for life-threatening blood clots. Being seated for long periods can slow blood flow, and high altitudes can activate the body’s blood-clotting system. Consider wearing compression socks or finding time to stretch or walk around when traveling to aid in proper blood flow.

Estrogen-based birth control: Estrogen-based contraceptives can increase the risks for a life-threatening blood clot. Risks are present whether the estrogen is delivered into the blood stream with pills, a patch, an injection or a vaginal ring contraceptive. The risk is highest when first starting these prescriptions as the hormonal changes can cause blood cells to bind together more readily. Taking estrogen contraceptives can increase risks if you have factors such as inherited blood-clotting disorders, a family history of blood clots, surgery, obesity or plans for prolonged travel.

Recent hospital stays: Roughly 50 percent of life-threatening blood clots happen within three months of a hospitalization, surgery or traumatic injury, though only one in four adults knows that hospitalization is a risk factor for VTE. Hospital patients at the greatest risk are those with limited ability to move, people with previous history of blood clots, patients age 60 and older, people who have abnormal blood-clotting conditions and patients who have spent time in an intensive care or coronary care unit.

Pregnancy and childbirth: Pregnant women are at four times greater risk of a life-threatening blood clot than non-pregnant women. The risk increases after delivery. Blood clots cause approximately 10 percent of all maternal deaths in the United States, with pulmonary embolism being the leading cause. The blood-clotting system is activated during pregnancy to protect the woman from fatal bleeding during labor and delivery. In addition, the growing baby presses on the veins of the pelvis, slowing blood flow. Other risk factors for a blood clot during pregnancy and childbirth include inherited blood-clotting disorders, a history of blood clots, older age at the time of pregnancy, obesity, cesarean delivery and major bleeding after delivery.

Cancer diagnosis: Cancer patients typically spend significant time in the hospital which often means they are lying still for long periods and are more likely to have surgery or receive chemotherapy, which also increases risks. Cancers in bones, ovaries, the brain or pancreas and lymph nodes are associated with the highest incidence of a life-threatening blood clot.

If you have concerns about your risk for blood clots, especially if you have multiple risk factors, consult with your health care provider about how to lower the risk. Learn more at heart.org/bloodclotrisk. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

American Heart Association

Save Your Way to Lower Home Insurance

If your homeowner insurance rates are creeping up even though you haven’t filed any claims, it may be time to take a look at how you can bring those prices back down.

Research, smart shopping and even some home upgrades can make a noticeable difference in your insurance premiums. Explore the cost-savings potential with these tips from the experts at CertainTeed, a leading manufacturer of exterior and interior building products:

Shop for the best rates. It’s easy to be complacent when you’ve used the same insurance company for years, but if getting the best rate is your objective, it’s a good idea to shop around. To do effective comparison shopping, have a copy of your current policy ready and contact a handful of competitors. Provide them the exact same coverage details so you can compare like rates, but also be ready to listen to information about additional coverage options that may suit your needs.

Combine homeowner insurance with other policies. Most insurance carriers offer multiple policy discounts, which they apply when you insure more than one item. For example, if your homeowner insurance carrier also insures your cars, you’re likely to save money on the rates for protecting both your home and automobiles.

Update your home’s first line of defense. Many homeowners focus on aesthetics when it’s time to make upgrades, but there are some important functional improvements that can make a difference when it comes to your insurance premiums. For example, as extreme weather becomes more commonplace, the first line of defense is often the type of roofing material chosen. Many insurance companies even offer discounts for using impact-resistant shingles. Check with your insurance provider before making a final selection, but in general, look for products that include “impact-resistant” in their name and specs, and “Class IV Impact Resistance,” the highest rating available for roofing materials.

For example, NorthGate Class IV impact-resistant shingles from CertainTeed are engineered to have a higher probability of resisting hail. These shingles are made using rubber-like polymers that offer flexibility and impact resistance, as well as crack and shrink resistance, even in cold weather. So when severe weather strikes, your home can be protected and stay looking good.

Install a home security system. An intruder alarm can provide more than peace of mind. Insurance companies often reward homeowners who take steps to minimize the chances of burglary or vandalism. After all, a well-protected home is less likely to result in a claim for losses. Some companies offer varying degrees of discounts on insurance rates depending on the type of system you install, so be sure to thoroughly research the options. For example, a system that simply emits a loud noise when triggered may generate one level of discount, while a system that dispatches emergency personnel when activated can lead to an even better rate.

Insurance rates are one place to save money on your home costs. Learn more about impact-resistant shingles and how they can save your home and wallet at certainteed.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
CertainTeed

Duma Explorer Offers New Off-The-Beaten-Path Journey

5% of Tanzania Legends bookings to help support Mozambique cyclone relief efforts

Photography courtesy of Duman Explorer.

Tanzania is known for its many superlatives and is home to some of Africa’s top destinations including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro National Park. In addition to these world-famous parks, there are many other destinations that a first-time visitor misses. Since many travelers choose to visit more than once, Duma Explorer has created a new off-the-beaten-path itinerary called Tanzania Legends tailored to those who value new experiences combined with the legendary Serengeti National Park – perhaps the greatest wildlife park Africa has to offer. Duma Explorer is donating 5% of all bookings of the Tanzania Legends tour to help support the Mozambique cyclone relief efforts.

As part of this new itinerary, travelers visit Hatari Lodge, a historical property with an interesting Hollywood pedigree near Arusha National Park. View resident wildlife at close range with Tanzania’s highest peaks in the background. During the stay at Hatari, enjoy game drives through Mount Meru’s old growth forest and around the flamingo-filled Momella Lakes. A gentle hike through Meru’s rainforest with a picnic lunch at Majo Waterfall is a half day activity for those wanting to enjoy time outside the vehicle.

Continue on to West Kilimanjaro to learn from the Maasai and enjoy the remote Kilimanjaro ecosystem. Drive through Maasailand and enjoy a picnic at 3,600 meters before arriving at Shu’mata Camp. Situated on a hilltop beneath Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak, Shu’mata offers breathtaking views of Maasailand below and Mount Kilimanjaro above. Designed to inspire conservation, Shu’mata treads lightly on this fragile ecosystem and works hand in hand with the Maasai to restore harmony between migrating herds and local communities. While at Shu’mata, enjoy walking safaris, Maasai cultural experiences and game drives in the Kilimanjaro/Amboseli ecosystem.

The 13-day itinerary then takes travelers to Serengeti National Park, the world’s most iconic safari park, flying over the Ngorongoro Highlands and arriving in Central Serengeti in the early afternoon. Spend the next two days viewing wildlife around the Seronera River Valley, Retina Hippo Pool and various rock outcrops in the area. Your base for the next two nights is Kiota Camp, an intimate tented camp with breathtaking views located just twenty minutes from the Seronera River Valley.

Fly from Central Serengeti to Ndutu or Northern Serengeti and spend the next two days at Chaka Camp, a mobile tented camp designed to be lightweight enough to move seasonally. Chaka Camp follows the wildebeest migration, covering hundreds of kilometers as it moves seasonally around the Serengeti. In the Northern Serengeti, the migration crosses back and forth across the Mara River as the herds search for fresh grass. Witness a spectacular river crossing in the north and perhaps even a crocodile taking down an unlucky individual. In Ndutu, the herds gather in groups of several thousand as visitors eagerly await calving season, when the wildebeest give birth to up to 8,000 babies each day.

This epic journey ends with an optional beach excursion on Tanzania’s seldom-visited coast. Spend four nights luxuriating on a stretch of untouched beach south of Pangani on the Swahili Coast. Take a boat trip to Maziwe Marine Park to explore the nearby reefs and enjoy a picnic on the island of sand. Explore the mangrove forest and river estuary behind the hotel and finish with a sundowner overlooking the vast salt-plains.

Rates for the 13-day journey start at $7450USD per person based on double occupancy during peak season (December 21 – February 29; June 16 – October 31) and $6345USD off-season (March 1 – June 15; November 1 – December 20). Price includes all meals, accommodations, park fees, activities as indicated and internal flights. International flights are not included. Duma Explorer will allocate 5% of all bookings of the new Tanzania Legends tour booked by December 31, 2019 will go towards the Mozambique cyclone relief efforts. For reservations, visit info@dumaexplorer.com or www.dumaexplorer.com.

For travelers looking for a specific type of itinerary, Duma Explorer can put together experiences for almost every type of traveler. From the adventurist to multi-generational families, here are just a few.

Extreme Adventures

Duma Explorer started as a Kilimanjaro trekking company back in 2004 and now runs approximately 30 Kilimanjaro climbs per year. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the largest free-standing mountain in the world. At 19,341 feet above sea level, a trek to Kilimanjaro’s summit is a multi-day affair and not for the faint of heart. Though not a technical climb, most trekkers experience varying levels of altitude sickness and the summit success rate is approximately 70%. Duma Explorer recommends 7, 8 or 9 day climbs to increase chances of summit success. Other climbing adventures in Tanzania include Mount Meru, Oldonyo Lengai, and Ngorongoro Highlands trekking.

Families

Safaris are a wonderful experience for families. The magic of seeing wildlife in its natural environment is an experience that can be enjoyed over and over again by adults and children alike. Every safari is unique, and many travelers return as families for repeat trips. Duma Explorer recommends safaris for children ages 7 and older and most lodges and camps offer a 50% discount for children ages 12 and under. Safaris are also a great way for families to bond and are the ideal trip for multi-generational families.

Honeymooners

Often thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, safaris are perfect for honeymooners looking for a truly memorable experience. There are many small boutique camps and hotels that provide an intimate, romantic getaway for honeymooners. Add-on romantic experiences include a Serengeti balloon safari, private dinners under the African stars, bush breakfasts, and sundowners in the wild. Chaka Camps operates three boutique luxury lodges that are a wonderful choice for honeymooners.

Eco-Conscious

A safari is a perfect adventure for travelers interested in the environment. It is a chance to witness wildlife in its natural environment, uninhibited by the development of humans. The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the only remaining ecosystems in the world large enough to support the wildlife populations in it, making it a perfect destination for eco-conscious travelers. Staying at properties within the national parks gives an inside look at what it is like to operate ‘off-the-grid’. Chaka Camps operate on solar, collect rainwater, recycle all plastic and steel and more.

About Duma Explorer

Founded in 2004, Duma Explorer is an adventure travel company offering safari and trekking packages to beautiful Tanzania. With decades of Tanzania tourism experience, Duma Explorer prides themselves on their long-standing reputation for providing high quality travel experiences to their guests. As one of Tanzania’s only Travelife-certified tour operators and a founding partner of Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, Duma Explorer continually demonstrates their commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability. www.dumaexplorer.com.