Clients Trip Reports East Africa – Jul-Sep 2016 (East Africa)
Private Safari to Tanzania, Chimp Trekking in Mahale and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Tom and I returned home yesterday after a wonderful safari. Our itinerary was perfect for Tom’s first trip with enough new experiences and old favorites to keep me interested. Of course, on safari every day brings new and unexpected experiences.
We spent our first two nights at Arusha Coffee Lodge with a full day at Arusha National Park. Highlights included flamingos, black and white colobus monkeys, a walking tour and hazy view of Kilimanjaro.
Off to Tarangire and two nights were spent at Oliver’s Camp. In addition to driving safaris we enjoyed a walking safari and night game drive. We saw many animals near the river and swamp including hunting lions.
We proceeded to Gibbs Farm via Lake Manyara. We entered the park at the south end and had fun enroute sharing balloons with children and visiting a school. We got an early start the next day and spent the morning in Ngorongoro Crater. It was a beautiful morning with many animals including the elusive rhino. In the afternoon we visited a woodcarver and enjoyed the gardens at Gibbs Farm.
The next day we took a picnic lunch and made our way to Namiri Plains with stops at Oldupai, a Maasai village and Shifting Sands as well as some game viewing on the way. The next day we enjoyed two game drives with lions, a hyena den, cheetahs and elephants. Each night at Namiri we had a lion chorus which seemed to be right outside our tent!
We then headed to the northern Serengeti with a night at Migration Camp on the way. We had a great cheetah sighting between Namiri and Seronera with a mother and three cubs and then a leopard in a tree decided to come down and parade through an open area for us.
Our last stop in the Serengeti was at Lamai Camp. What an incredible location with views north. We did not even have to leave our room to see buffalo, wildebeest and zebra. Rains have started early and we had some impressive thunder, lightning and rain in the late afternoon. Everything was turning green. We had a very exciting balloon safari with a crossing observed from the air. We saw two other small crossings from the rivers edge and more wildebeests.
We then said goodbye to our private guide Mkenda and flew to the shores of Lake Tanganyika where we then took a boat ride to our home for the next four nights at Mahale. Trekking for chimps was amazing. We reached them within an hour on the first two days. The last day we did not get to see them as they headed up the mountain to somewhere inaccessible. We enjoyed leisure afternoons and went fishing one day.
Our last three nights were spent at Kwihala at Ruaha National Park. We had morning and afternoon game dives. The park is very pretty with hills, interesting rocks, baobabs and palm trees. The highlight was a pride of lions with four cubs sunning themselves and playing in the dry riverbed.
Our trip from Ruaha to Dar was an aerial safari. We made three stops in the Selous, one stop on Mafia Island and one at Ras Kitani before landing in Dar Es Salam .
All of the places we stayed were wonderful. We enjoyed the intimacy and communal dining at Oliver’s, Namiri Plains, Lamai, Mahale and Kwihala. We met some interesting people and it was fun sharing experiences of the day. The tents were great and the rooms at Coffee Lodge, Gibbs Farm, Mahale and Lamai were beautiful and unique. Service was generally outstanding. I was happy to see an effort being made to have more women work in the camps. Although one doesn’t go on safari for the food, it was excellent and generally well prepared. It seems to be better each time. We experienced excellent guides on our trip. It was great having a personal guide/driver in the north. He was able to tell us new things each day and to modify our schedule based on our interests. We originally were not sure about cultural activities but brought some school supplies and were able to visit a school and a Maasai village. Balloons were a very well received gift and the children’s smiles were priceless. The in camp guides at Mahale and Kwihala were also great and very knowledgeable about their location. They were also great at imitating animals sounds.
In summary, it was a wonderful trip…and we’re already thinking about when we might come back.
Vikki and Tom Canfield, Sep 2016
Flying Safari to Kenya’s Maasai Mara
Thank you for your “welcome home” note. We got home last night….. and had a WONDERFUL time. It was great being with Samson (our guide) again and the people at Mara Intrepids are truly wonderful to us. We also want you to know that your ground team does a fabulous job. The team you’ve created to make our trip work is truly wonderful, helpful and is an important part of making our trip PERFECT. Thank you all…. we’re already dreaming of making this happen again!!!
Going to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage was a very special experience at the end of our trip. Meeting our foster elephants…. Jotto and Tagwa….. was touching and made our hearts melt. They do wonderful work at this orphanage and we are so very happy we finally got to visit them.
Thank you for yet another wonderful trip and to tell you that we again left a part of us in Kenya.
With warm regards,
Janis & Bill Webb, Sep 2016
African Journeys to Kenya and Tanzania
I hope this email finds you well. Dot and I have been back from our amazing safari for over a month now. It took a while to gather our thoughts and feelings about this adventure, not to mention the thousands of photos taken. I wrote a review that I hope you would share with others on your site.
Where does one start when describing the most indescribable, unbelievable, awe-inspiring, emotionally draining, trip of a lifetime? In the beginning of course.
You start with a dream and a passion for nature and such. Throw in a dash of ambition, two scoops of curiosity and don’t forget finances. Then you pick the right dreamweaver, in this case Lynne at The Africa Adventure Company. You look over their incredible trips and packages and discuss with Lynne what you want, need, must have. She does her magic and before you know it you are on a flight to Amsterdam connecting to Arusha, Tanzania.
At the airport someone is waiting for you to get your luggage to a transport to a local hotel. But this hotel is not just any hotel, it is spectacular, an oasis within a city (Lake Duluti Serena Hotel).
After the long journey you fall asleep easily even though your mind is anticipating the next two weeks. The next morning you have an early breakfast and then you meet Ephata Loitashu (our
guide for the next eight days). Ephata will be bombarded with questions for the next four days. He handles it remarkably well, seemingly having all the answers. By the fifth day we know his
favorite color and the password to his phone (just kidding, he doesn’t use a password). After the meet and greet where we go over our itinerary, we head to our first lodge, Maramboi. Did I
mention Ephata is an excellent driver? Well, he is. But I digress.
How do I describe Maramboi? On the way in, after passing the guarded gate, we passed zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, impalas, and we were giddy as schoolchildren (not realizing how accustomed we will get to watching these beautiful animals but Ephata knew, he was amused). Since the animals roam free within the Maramboi grounds you will require an escort if you want to leave your tent after dark. Trust me, you want an escort, the lions roam at night. They have a pool and overlooking the pool you watch animals coming in for the water trough set up a few meters away. I took a dip while watching giraffes, zebras, etc.
While in Maramboi we visited two parks: Tarangire and Lake Manyara. Two excellent parks with different things to offer. [I will be sharing some pearls of wisdom throughout this review so here’s the second one (the first was pick The Africa Adventure Company), get a great guide, you’ll see] With Ephata at the helm we ventured into Tarangire at the crack of dawn. The way things work at these parks is that each car/guide has a radio that they use to communicate with the others and share information. One car spots some lions and soon ten to twenty cars converge on the spot. But if you’re the first to spot something you get some alone time with the cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes, etc. We got a lot of alone time. At first we thought all guides were this good but spot after spot we start to realize how good Ephata is. We were consistently the only ones around. We started to expect it. Which leads to the next pearl (3), get up early and get out there, good stuff will happen. That magical time just after dawn is not only spectacular with the skies turning shades of orange and yellow but the animals are surprisingly quite active.
Lake Manyara was more about the birds, flamingos, pelicans, storks, herons, egrets, ibises, etc. but also hippos, elephants and giraffes among others. We did not see any lions or leopards even though the park entrance advertises their famous tree climbing lions. I guess you can’t see everything.
It was time to leave Maramboi and head to Ngorongoro Crater. We stayed at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge up at the rim of this extinct volcano. Another spectacular place with amazing sunset views. Because of the proximity of this lodge to the park entrance we didn’t have to wake up two hours before sunrise. After breakfast we drove into the park as the sun began to rise. We boxed our lunches to save time on returning for lunch at the lodge. Pearl number four, box your lunch. The more time you can spend out there the more chances you get at seeing something spectacular.
Ngorongoro may look serene and quiet from the rim but down on the ground it is teeming with life, as long as you know where to look. There will be stretches of empty grassland and then a herd of wildebeest. We had many magical moments at this park. Such a unique place that it should be on every itinerary.
On the way to Serengeti we made two stops, first at a Maasai Village where we got to see first hand how they live, where they sleep, where they teach their children in a one room school, and we were given an opportunity to donate to their school as well as purchase some art made by the tribe. Then we stopped at Oldupai Gorge. A short lecture educated us about the history of the place and its importance in our understanding of human evolution. Quite enlightening.
The iconic Serengeti National Park is immense, the endless fields of golden grass, koppie, trees, water holes, hills, it has everything. The trick is finding it. A great spotter such as Ephata makes it look easy. He found two eagle-owls, perched in a tree, from a distance that they looked no different than any other branch. The leopard he saw was invisible to the rest of us even when he pointed it to us. Time for another pearl (5), bring binoculars or a good zoom lens (maybe both). It will make you a better spotter as well as give you an up-close view.
We stayed at the Mbuzi Mawe tented camp. Situated at the edge of the park around a koppie we were again instructed to call for an escort after dark. After hear the lion roar on the first night we didn’t dare venture out alone. One night we had an orchestra of animal sounds from lions to elephants to sounds we couldn’t even tell what animal it was. The baboons entertained us as they attempted to steal food from the dining room. It seems they also have discovered how to get into tents, so zip up.
It finally arrived, our last day at Serengeti, time to take a flight to the border and cross over to Kenya and on to the Maasai Mara. It also meant saying goodbye to Ephata. We took the obligatory group photo and bid him a sad farewell.
Crossing the border was an experience all to itself given the surrounding towns and their living conditions. After dispensing with the visas and paperwork we were driven and escorted every step of the way. We stayed at The Mara Intrepids, another lovely camp with permanent tents. We met our guide, Michael, and informed him of his impossible task of showing us something we haven’t seen yet. We wanted to witness a kill and watch a crossing. He delivered on the crossing on our second day and while we didn’t see a kill we did see a couple of occasions the immediate aftermath. Perhaps in retrospect it was for the best.
The Mara had spectacular sunrises and sunsets as well as the puffiest of clouds. Looking further down the fields looked like a National Geographic special, oh wait, these ARE the very grounds National Geographic filmed, surreal. More cheetahs, lions, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest (lots of wildebeest). We did a hot-air balloon ride at the crack of dawn with a champagne breakfast in the bush overlooking a herd of wildebeest. It still doesn’t feel real as I’m writing about it. During that breakfast a baby giraffe appeared followed by its mother. This baby giraffe decided to chase a passing car, mother wasn’t amused. You just don’t know what you will see at any given moment. We counted over 140 different kinds of animals throughout our two weeks in Africa, including the big five.
The accommodations were perfect. The food was great. Staff superb. Even the transfer to Nairobi, our-day room at Ole Sereni Hotel and ultimate hand-off at the gate at the airport were handled flawlessly. Every step of the way, everything was planned and executed to a tee. The sequence of parks, the guides, the lodges, it was all a jigsaw puzzle that by the last day has been completed except for one piece. That one piece that will make you want to go back again. It’s that part of you that you leave behind and the new you that comes out of there. It’s hard not to wax poetic or philosophize but this place does that to you.
I hope this review inspires you to make your own dream a reality.
Gabriel and Dorothy Taub, Aug 2016
Safari to Kenya, Tanzania and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
We really enjoyed our first trip to Africa & felt that the itinerary was perfect for what we wanted to see. Each location was better than the one before it. Kyle, you must have planned it that way. I think that we saw six Mara River crossings!
We found that our favorite experience was at Naboisho Conservancy (Kenya). We enjoyed our “tent”, central living & dining areas, the Maasai guiding, the communal meals (lunches were a highlight), & the genuine warmth of the staff especially Clea & Moses. The quantity of animal sightings was less than the other locations so we took advantage of their Night Game Drive & their Walking Tour with Roelof. Both were highlights of the trip. We really appreciated Roelof’s extensive knowledge.
We also liked Legendary Lodge, Lemala Ngorongoro Camp, Angama Mara, & Virunga Lodge in Rwanda.
Angama Mara was exquisite but a little too much like a hotel for our taste. The service & food were excellent. And our guide, Titus, was the best of our entire trip. Having their own airstrip was also a plus.
Tarangire National Park was a real surprise. We saw four of the Big Five right away. Everyone that we met in our travels raved about the quality & quantity of animals there. Tarangire Safari Lodge was a little disappointing but the location was great. The food & accommodations were mediocre.
We also loved the luncheon stop at Gibbs Farm.
Virunga Lodge was beautiful even though it was a long drive from Volcanoes National Park. Their communal meals were some of the best of the trip. We had lots of interesting conversations with the other guests.
After the first eight days we wondered what could possibly be left to see. We were so wrong. Each day was better than the last one. This trip just jumped the queue to our #1 favorite of all time beating out Antarctica & Patagonia.
Irene Ball, Aug 2016
Private safari to Tanzania and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
Our trip was great! Our guide in Tanzania was outstanding. Martin was able to spot wildlife no matter how far away. He anticipated what the animals were going to do and positioned the car so we consistently had the best viewing spots. All of the accommodations in Tanzania were good. Our favorite camp was the last mobile camp in the northern Serengeti, Ubuntu. The camp manager and staff were outstanding.
The gorillas in Rwanda were simply amazing!
Lorraine Kelley, Aug 2016
Private Safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti
Hi Mark, Kollin, and the Africa Adventure team –
We had an absolutely incredible trip that was beyond my imagination. Having Mkenda as our guide was incredible. He is so knowledgeable. On a drive through the Tarangire, he spotted a leopard in a tree. How he spotted the leopard, I have no idea, but there it was. Mkenda explained so much to us about the animals, the terrain, the country.
The places were stayed at were amazing. For some reason, we were the only guests at Manyara Ranch. It’s too bad since it is a wonderful property…The other lodges were incredible. My favorites were Lemala Kuria Hills and Gibb’s Farm. The staff at all the lodges were wonderful.
I don’t know if it was you or Mkenda or both, but the birthday celebrations at the lodges were an extra special touch. From sundown champagne to personal birthday cakes – it was very special.
The timing of the trip was perfect as well. I think any shorter of a trip and we wouldn’t have had an opportunity to see all we did in the Serengeti (on our last drive there we saw 2 rhino, and 3 lions; in addition, we saw the wildebeest crossing each day of our time there). Any longer of a trip, may have been too much as we were tiring toward the end of the trip…
This trip certainly is among our top 3 trips ever (ranking right there with China and Morocco).
Many, many thanks for all the meticulous planning, guidance, lists, etc. etc. All made for a simply spectacular trip.
Alisa Wilson, Aug 2016
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit safari and Zanzibar Extension
Hello Kyle –
First – I will certainly recommend The Africa Adventure Company to others. We had a wonderful trip…
Our safari guide Jabshir was as good as they come – simply outstanding in every way. He made the trip a wonderful experience and he was a true joy to be with. (And he had to put up with hours of endless jokes!!) We cannot recommend him highly enough, and that comes from previous experience on another safari.
Our accommodations were fine and we really enjoyed the Serengeti Shared Explorer Camp.
I was so pleased to experience the good will that the people of Tanzania had for Americans. I really didn’t know what to expect. They are a wonderful, welcoming country. This is something that many of our own countrymen don’t realize or appreciate. With all of the crazy things happening in the world, Tanzania was a tranquil, beautiful and joyful country to visit.
David Brickley, July 2016
Primate and Plains Safari to Uganda and Rwanda
This primate tour has been on my bucket list the longest, and was probably the most expensive trip I’ve taken – and it was totally worth it!!!
Throughout it our guide, Male was extremely prompt, very helpful and informative, handled the varying roads well, got us through all the security checks and took very good care of us. Even when he was sometimes told he didn’t have to come back to check on us after dinner, or pick me up after a theatre performance within walking distance of the lodge, or wait around for us to do something or just drop me at the airport, he always showed up and insisted on this personal “door to door” service!
My flight from Entebbe to Kasese left awfully early and I avoided a really long drive, got to spend some time with the host of the Ndali Lodge on the transfer and had time for a lovely walk around their Crater lake.
Ndali Lodge was a cute, scenic lodge, with daily happy hour & a variety of other guests and expat friends of the hosts who seemed to be around a lot. There were lots of opportunities for good conversations.
The meals here were superb, and they paid attention to our food preferences. They also packed the best box lunch I’ve ever had!! They seem very supportive and interested in their community and are to be commended on their plan to start an International school, with lots of scholarship local students expected to attend.
Queen Elizabeth National Park was an opportunity to have the more traditional game drives, and it was fun to see what wildlife you might encounter as you drove around, even to and from the lodges. Mweya Lodge had a great setting above the Channel, a nice outdoor dining deck, banded mongoose wandering around in the morning. The Kazinga Channel boat trip was amazing – so much wildlife to see, and such great close-up viewing. The bonus was our private boat so we had every angle covered on all sides – a very nice touch!
Ishasha Wilderness Camp was a more rustic, natural experience…During our later afternoon game drive, we had a wonderful encounter by the river of a huge group off hippos & baboons – definitely my highlight that day. We’d not seen the tree climbing lions on our previous drives, but our last morning, with little expectations cause they “didn’t climb” in the early morning, we went over to take photos of the “lion trees” and to our amazement found a few on 2 different trees so felt majorly lucky. Seemed like our wildlife viewing was super successful
Gorilla Forest Camp came with high expectations on my part, having seen a Sanctuary Lodges presentation at a travel show before. It met those, and I loved having 3 days here. It was not busy, so we had very personalized service, lots of chats with the staff who seemed interested in our excitement after our gorilla trek and looked at more photos we shared.
I think we really lucked out on especially our 2 gorilla treks. I’m sure it helped that Male passed on our wishes to visit the closest group, with the easiest trek expected, but considering they continually move, it was fortuitous that they didn’t stray too far. In addition, both groups ended up in nice open areas that made viewing very easy, relaxed & incredibly close for photos. Even the morning rain in Rwanda didn’t spoil things &made their hair fluffy. Bwindi was definitely more difficult trekking, but not the super challenging, long struggle it could have been, for which we were very grateful.
I certainly wanted you to know how much I enjoyed these experiences.
Jane Craig, July 2016
North and South Flying Safari to Serengeti, Ruaha and the Selous and Visit to Zanzibar
Hi Szilvia and the Africa Adventure Company team,
Mary Ellen and I wanted to thank you for another incredible adventure in Africa. We thoroughly enjoyed our safari in northern and southern Tanzania, not to mention the streets of Stone Town and the beaches of Zanzibar. As usual, the entire trip was perfectly organized from beginning to end. All of the ground arrangements were in place, without a single hitch. All of the camps were outstanding, and as this was our fourth safari trip, we are happy to know that in Africa there is always more to do and experience.
We especially enjoyed the Olakira Camp in the northern Serengeti. Our guide, Emmanuel, was excellent and we had an immediate rapport with him, which added to the experience, not to mention passing the time waiting for a crossing. Given that one of our goals was to witness the great migration, we were fortunate enough to see two crossings, as well as many lions, cheetah and one leopard. Olakira was a great way to begin our safari.
After the northern Serengeti, Ruaha and Selous were a lovely contrast. Mwagusi Camp in Ruaha was very enjoyable: our guide Geoffrey was outstanding. We had an unexpected wild dog experience, a fine leopard, the lion who came to our bush breakfast, repeated visits to a very active hyena den, and an amazing lion pride enjoying their own dinner. Breakfast with Chris Fox on our last morning at Mwagusi was an added pleasure.
Last but not least, Siwandu Camp in Selous was fantastic. George and Emma were fine hosts, our guide Kim was exceptional, and Matthew who made all of our meals a joy, including ugali – the traditional way and our bush breakfast after a walking safari. Boating on the lake also made for a very different experience, with plenty of crocodiles and hippos added to the usual mix.
All three camps were perfect in their own way.Finally, Zanzibar was extraordinary. We loved Stone Town. The Serena Hotel was relaxing and our room with a balcony view of the sea was just right. As for The Palms, what can we say: just this side of paradise; everything was perfect: the villas, the personal service, the fine dining, and evening entertainment — a fantastic way to finish a safari in Tanzania.
Thanks again for a wonderful safari!
Peter and Mary Ellen Cvek, July 2016
Flying Safari to Kenya’s Lewa Downs and Samburu and Tanzania’s Serengeti
Send all your clients to Namiri Plains. Mother lion on a rock kopje nursing 4 tiny cubs. Six male lions on a bluff next to camp overlooking a herd of buffalo which they plunder whenever hungry. We saw 19 cheetah in 2 days. Mostly mothers with cubs. Saruni Samburu was also quite good. Lepie (sp?) was one of the best guides we have ever had.
Bill Harker, July 2016
Rwanda Explorer Safari to Nyungwe and Cyamudongwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park
We had a wonderful trip and everything went very well. Our plane into Kigali was delayed but Sam, our guide, was there waiting to pick us up. We liked the Hotel des Mille Collines. Their pool and dining area is very nice and the food (dinner and especially breakfast) was very good. We liked that the hotel was in a quiet and safe area. The rooms were clean; the beds comfortable. On the second day, we drove to Nyungwe Forest. On the way, we visited the Genocide Museum which was excellent and the National Ethnographic Museum, also excellent.
The cottages at Nyungwe Top View Lodge were very nice, with fireplace and warm water bottles for the night, which were much appreciated…The treks were all good (chimps and black/white colobus).
…We really liked the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. The rooms were good (the shower is a bit odd but ok) and we appreciated the fireplace and warm water bottles. The service was excellent and we loved the food. Although buffet style, they made individual stir fry for dinner, which was fantastic. So was the selection of fruits, tarts, etc. Really all meals were excellent. Tea or coffee was available all the time, which was wonderful. The golden monkey and gorilla treks were amazing. Not anything we will ever forget. In fact I am still dreaming about the gorillas every night.
Our guide Sam was very pleasant and knowledgeable and always on time.
So all in all, we loved the safari and Rwanda. I call it the Switzerland of Africa. Quite a difference from rural and urban Tanzania, where we have now spent 4 summers working with our students providing veterinary care.
Thanks for making this trip so easy for us. We now look forward to seeing Namibia in December.
Margarethe Hoenig, July 2016
Chimp and Gorilla Safari to Uganda and Rwanda
I am writing to thank you for a fabulous trip. We had a wonderful time!
I first want to mention our driver Joe Rutayisire. He was great! He truly took care of us – from beginning to end. He was kind, funny, and thank heaven, patient. The first few days home I missed seeing his smiling face.
The gorillas and chimpanzees were amazing! All the guides, trackers and porters were very informative and friendly.
As for your planning our trip. Well done! All the information you provided was very helpful. We couldn’t have done it without it!
We also enjoyed all the places we stayed. Again the staff at each was very accommodating and friendly.
Eddie and I want to thank you for planning such a fantastic “Africa Adventure”!
We will NEVER forget it! AND we will definitely recommend you.
Elizabeth Magee & Eddie Matthews, July 2016
Adventure to Kenya’s Ol Pejeta, Tanzania’s Serengeti and Victoria Falls
I cannot thank you enough for the phenomenal trip we had to Africa. The trip was flawless. The ground operators you use in Africa were just amazing, the guides we had were outstanding and the places we stayed will be forever in our memories.
I know when we first spoke I said this was a one off trip so that is why we wanted to see so much and go for so long, I am sure you have heard that before and you just nod and think , lets talk when you return !! Within 3 days of being in Cape Town we were saying , ok we will have to bring the kids back when Maddie is 15 and go to the Gorillas. And by the time we left Victoria Falls we were thinking ok we will be back in 2/3 summers!! I now understand how that amazing country can truly get under your skin and you can just want to visit it again and again so make sure you keep our file as I will definitely be in touch again within a few years. A lot of people were waiting to see how it all went when we got back so it would not surprise me if you don’t get some calls over the next year or so of families from this area ! I will recommend AAC to everyone! I plan on writing a lot of comments of Trip Advisor and some of the other travel sites all will be completely favorable and for all the companies that we used within Africa, it may take me a month or so to get them all done but they will get there!
Anyway I just wanted to touch base and Thank you and your team for an amazing job on planning this trip. We may be in touch with your Down Under division as we are thinking we need to show the kids some of their own country!!
Thank you so much
Katrina McIntyre, July 2016
Privately Guided Plains of Tanzania
Hi Lynne –
Our daughter Dessa starts 5th grade in a week. She has always loved school so we were caught off guard yesterday with her response to the casual question about whether she was looking forward to the start of the school year. She said “No….I’d rather be in Africa.”
We were a bit skeptical when you told us that “the dust of Africa would get in our skin”. We now know what you mean. And you were right. Every day and every part of our trip was terrific. We’d like to share a few highlights.
On arrival in Arusha we really appreciated having the chance to meet Anita, the head of your Tanzanian ground team. She came to meet us at the hotel our first morning. She was gracious with her time, provided additional information that we referred to later on, and just made us feel very comfortable about the week ahead of us.
Our Guide Wilson was exceptional. We cannot heap enough praise upon him. Yes. He is a knowledgeable professional. But it was little things that were really special. He was immensely kind and patient and generous with our daughter and went out of his way to support her effort to document every last mammal, bird, and reptile we saw. His passion and respect for the animals, the landscape and the country itself was infectious and our daughter caught it! He had an eye for detail. We know that what we saw was open to chance. But he made decisions that enhanced the opportunities. He knew when the pride would get up and follow the others; when the cheetah would leave the kill and go to the rock; when it was time to scoot so the elephant wouldn’t charge. He gave us great leads on where to buy local products – and helped with some negotiation – and also kept us moving! He gave us space but finally acquiesced when we asked him to join us for dinner to talk about Tanzanian politics and culture.
Nasikia Tarangire Tented Camp – Msangi and the team went out of their way to make it memorable. Our first night we got settled in and had a terrific dinner. And then came the magic. The entire team and Wilson came into the dining area singing, dancing and delivering to Dessa the most magnificent birthday cake and presentation ever. This is hard for Marc – the family birthday cake maker – to admit! We will never forget this night.
We absolutely loved this cultural immersion at the Maasai village.
Kitela Lodge – Wow! We had just grown accustomed to the bucket shower, two flushes a night, and elephants outside our tent and here we were in the plush accommodations of Kitela Lodge. It was the perfect stop in the middle of the tented camps. Simply divine.
Asanja Africa – Despite being avid outdoors people who appreciate roughing it, admittedly once we had been spoiled with showers and pools and such we were reticent about returning to a camp. Asanja was perfect. Here again the people were absolutely fabulous. We settled in a bit early one day and just lounged and chatted and got to know the team a little bit more. And here again we found special appreciation for the kindness shown our daughter. A special thanks to Barik who made extra time to talk with Dessa and taught her how to play Bao. Of course we had to buy the game at the Kilimanjaro Airport and have been playing ever since.
Oh – The Animals! All of the references above are about the people and such. But we went for animals. And animals we did see. As I mentioned earlier, we were able to see so much up close. Words do not do justice to describe the soul stirring impact of seeing these animals in their natural habitat. To learn more about each species. To know how they interact with each other and their environment. To understand even more fully just how much is at stake. We are so fortunate that the Tanzanians, other African countries and many in the global community are dedicating so much time, energy and resources to their preservation.
We appreciate all you and the African Adventure Company did to facilitate such a wonderful trip. We are most grateful. And we will be sure to make referrals whenever opportunities present themselves.
Kathy and Marc Patoff, July 2016
Private Adventurer Safari to Tanzania and Rwanda
Thanks for arranging an incredible trip for the 4 of us to Africa. Eric, Hillary and Freddy our 3 guides were excellent. Our accommodations ranged from very comfortable to luxurious.
Rwanda our initial stop is a remarkable country. We were surprised by just how far the country has come since the genocide. Our visit to the Genocide Memorial was very moving. Of course the highlight of the trip was our time with the gorillas. They said it was an easy hike and maybe that was true for the others in our group that were significantly younger that the 4 of us. Our first encounter with the Agashya family yielded a group that was rather lethargic so our guide decided we needed to continue our trek up the mountain. Once we encountered the next group we followed them up the mountain.
Our safaris in Tanzania were wonderful. From the moment our guide, Hillary picked us at the airport until Freddy dropped us off at the airstrip to fly to Zanzibar everything was perfect. The Escarpment Lodge was amazing- we never wanted to leave. We had a birthday celebration for Maggie here which I suspect was because I mentioned it to Hillary.
Our animal sightings especially in the in Ngorongoro Crater exceptional. We did not see the actual kills but we did come across two immediately after they had happened. Although it was not his actual birthday, the Sopa Lodge celebrated Joe’s birthday. We were not expecting it as his birthday was not until the 26th and it was only the 15th. The Lemala Mara Camp experience was another highlight. The staff, service and food was exceptional especially considering the location and the facilities. They too celebrated Joe’s birthday this time with a bottle of champagne and again we were shocked as it was still not the actual day and there were 2 couples there on their honeymoon.
We did see 2 crossings but we also got to see a rhino and a leopard in tree which completed our big 5.
Zanzibar was a nice change of pace. We enjoyed Stone Town and relaxing at the Blue Bay resort.
Thank you for an amazing adventure!!!!
Delores & Joe Terry, Jul 2016