Client Trip ReportsEast Africa

CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST AFRICA – JUL-AUG 2017 (EAST AFRICA)

Private Tanzanian Safari to Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti

Hey Kyle, thanks!

So, first and foremost, we had an AMAZING trip! It lived up to (and sometimes exceeded) my dreams and expectations. Our guide, Omary Moudy, is absolutely terrific.  His knowledge and expertise (about the flora, fauna, history, current politics…) are both broad and deep. He was indefatigable, and ALWAYS went the extra mile (or 100 kilometers) to ensure we saw spectacular wildlife and landscapes. I recommend Moudy unreservedly – and as a special point, he was really good with the kids, always checking in with them personally to suss out their needs and wants. He was very patient and indulgent with all of us (over a whole week) and is an excellent teacher (about Tanzania as well as teaching me kiswahili on our long drives). He is fun, funny, and enthusiastic, and we always felt safe, happy, well-cared for, and excited about whatever we were about to embark on next.

A personal note on a distinction of East Africa: Tanzania has a very different feel and system than the countries I’ve visited in southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia). It’s a lot more wild and open. I found the landscape spectacular, and perhaps because of the visit to Oldupi Gorge, I felt an ancestral, dna-level draw to the countryside. In southern Africa, it’s very exciting because you see pretty much animal you want, very up close and personal. You’re mostly on private concessions and can drive off road. There are spotters who go out before the drives, and note where animals are. The guides then work very closely together and orchestrate the viewing – no more than three cars at a time, you see a magnificent creature and then move on. If you’re there for just a few days, you don’t notice how much you and the wildlife are “managed,” but over the course of a few weeks, despite the wonder and joy, it takes on an almost zoo-like quality. Not so in Tanzania. Not only did we see loads and loads of animals, including the special “marquis” ones, we also saw so much animal interaction – lionesses and leopards hunting, both successfully and unsuccessfully, hyenas assessing prey, wildebeest, gazelles, zebras, and giraffes responding to perceived threats – it was fascinating. Instead of just checking off a list, we got to observe the ecosystem, which, even without the big national geographical finales, feels wondrous and intimate…

Animal highlights: for sure, the wildebeest crossings and seeing their migration numbers on the northern banks. We were spoiled by our first: 4,000 animals over 40 minutes. We heard from another guide that a crocodile had eaten a foal, and whereas before I had seen a crossing, I believed I would have liked to see that, as it turned out, I was very happy to have missed it. You are so rooting for these animals. And, as at the end of our trip, it began raining on the Tanzania side, the herds were crossing back – we saw them going both ways at the same time which was weird, fascinating, and kind of sad. Seeing – literally!  – a million wildebeests, looking like an ant farm, as far as the eyes could see, all around the entire landscape – took all our breaths away…

Watching a lioness hunt and kill a gazelle – just like on the documentaries!

Watching seven lionesses stalk and isolate a zebra – and seeing the zebra get away. New appreciation for zebras’ intelligence and perception (not just pretty face).

Seeing a caracal, up close. Leopard and cheetah, up close, were favorites, too. Elephants at Tarangire.

Every other animal encounter – too many to enumerate. Every day was fantastic.

Details on the camps and hotels:

Swala: probably our all-around favorite. Who doesn’t love waking to the smell of elephant poo? We learned what to do when you can’t get to your tent because there are elephants on the path: clap and stamp your feet. We loved the night drive, so thanks for setting that up. All the staff – from managers down – are absolutely terrific, and the food is really really good.

Shared Serengeti Explorer Camp: so, we loved eating with Moudy (would have also liked eating with the other guests at community table, as we ended up doing at the Asilia camps). This camp had a special feel to it, the warmest and most inviting. It may have been the specific staff when we were there, but people seemed more authentically themselves than solely super gracious, as at all the camps.

Ubuntu/Sayari/Kimondo: We did really like the Asilia camps- they seemed legitimate in their environmental and community involvements.

It was, a remarkable, stellar, life-affirming vacation. For all of us. We can’t wait to return!

All our warmest wishes,

Lee, Charlie, Nora, and Lucy Dockter, Aug 2017

 

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda

 Hi Kyle,
My brother and I have returned from another one of your arranged trips and, once again, you and your people have outdone themselves.

Everything without a single hitch; every reservation done correctly; every contact on-time and well informed. I would never Africa with anyone other than the Africa Adventure Company AND best of all . . . the gorillas were so photogenic!

Larry Neff, Aug 2017

 

East African Adventure to Uganda and Tanzania

First and foremost, the trip was fantastic. We both agreed that this one was even better than the last one to Botswana/Zimbabwe in 2014, a feat we had not thought possible.  Highlights included the gorilla treks in Uganda/Rwanda, the migration river crossing in the northern Serengeti, and an amazing lion encounter on our last morning at Naboisho in Kenya (4 males, 3 females, & 7 cubs – all active and interacting with each other).  There were numerous other wonderful animal encounters, including leopard w/cubs, cheetah kills, hyena hunt, caracal, and of course the pangolin at Namiri Plains.  We also really enjoyed the cultural experiences in Uganda/Rwanda.  In Uganda in particular, driving across the country with our local guide gave us many opportunities to see how the local people live.  The proximity of Buhoma to the Gorilla Forest Lodge in Bwindi made both independent and guided tours of the village a real treat.  The guided tour of the village near Kinigi in Rwanda was also very worthwhile.

We were the only people we know of who were doing 5 gorilla treks.  Most were doing just one.  We found that each of our 5 treks was unique, and we would happily do 5 more.  A huge advantage of doing multiple treks is that you get the initial novelty worked out on the first trek, get a bit of experience as to what to expect, and can really relax and better enjoy the ones that follow.  You are also not entirely dependent on a single trek to give you a quality gorilla experience; if one turns out to be not so great, there are four more to ensure you make the most of your trip.  Many people were overly anxious to ensure they got close to the gorillas and got good pictures during their one and only chance to do so.  In the end, however, all five of our treks were unique and magical…

The chimp treks were a bit different… Thank you for recommending the Habituation Experience to us, as it was much better and we were glad we did it.  With the Habituation Experience, it was just the two of us with a guide and a trainee, we got out early in the morning when the chimps were just getting up, and we generally avoided the larger groups of people as the day went on…

Overall, we had an amazing trip, full of unique cultural and wildlife experiences.  We are grateful to you and AAC for making all of the detailed arrangements that make a trip like this so enjoyable.

Time to start planning our next trip…  any suggestions?

Thanks again,

Brad & Jennifer Rutledge, Aug 2017

 

Family Safari to Tanzania

Dear Alison and team,

Where do I start?!!  It was the trip of a lifetime, we enjoyed every minute. From the moment that Eli came to pick us up at the Duluti Lake Lodge, it was like magic. Eli was so knowledgeable and interesting, we learned so much about the animals and the parks every day. Thank you for the Field Guide, we used it every day to check off all the mammals, birds, trees, it was great!

I would like to thank you for your attention to detail, everything went very smoothly. All the accommodations were great, each with its own charm.

Some of our favorite moments:

  • Entire family of elephants with babies walking in front of our jeep at sunset in Tarangire
  • Driving over the ridge into Ngorongoro Crater in thick fog, it was exciting when we got to the crater and suddenly saw the sun and lots of animals
  • Witnessing a lioness catch a wildebeest in Ngorongoro!
  • Seeing a cheetah and her baby eating an impala in Tarangire
  • Wildlife (wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, Grant gazelles) gathered at the river in perfect harmony in the Ngorongoro Crater
  • The happy hippos in the Ngorongoro Crater
  • When Daniel and Dennis picked us up in Serengeti at the airstrip with tea and snacks
  • Special birthday/anniversary dinner in the bush at Bushtops Serengeti!!
  • Our family having a gourmet lunch by a tree in the Serengeti watching the great migration
  • Arriving at the Giraffe Manor for high tea and to feed the giraffes
  • Visiting the orphan baby elephants in Nairobi, and adopting one!!

Well, I could go on and on…

I would also like to thank you for arranging birthday/anniversary celebrations at Tarangire River Camp, Bushtops Serengeti, and the Giraffe Manor!!! We were so surprised each time, and the warmth with which they delivered is something we will never forget!

Of course, we are already thinking about our next adventure. Maasai Mara sounds amazing, as well as gorilla trekking in Uganda. We are thinking about bringing my parents on the next safari, but perhaps it would be a shorter trip.

We did take thousands of great pictures and will definitely send them to you for the contest…we need to sort through them.

Thanks again for everything!
Africa, Stefan, Sofi & Alex Apitz, July 2017

 

Best of Tanzania with Great Guides

Hi Lynne,

What a fabulous experience.  Everyone associated with the Africa Adventure Company was helpful, professional and contributed to making this a wonderful trip.

A BIG thanks to our guide, Jabshir. You were right, he is fantastic.  He was extremely knowledgeable and told us many interesting facts about the animals, birds and trees.  He knew where to take us so that we were able to see everything we wanted (including a crocodile getting a wildebeest during the Mara River crossing).  And what a fantastic spotter. While driving he would spot a cheetah in a tree that took us binoculars to see.  Because of his ability, we saw more than we could imagine.  We saw the big five, the ugly five and a couple of the small five.  What made this so special was not just spotting the animals but watching them live naturally (watching the elephants eat the trees, the lions with their kill, the male gazelles fighting for their harem, the families of warthogs running around, the giraffes walking across the savannah, and of course, the wildebeest and zebra migration and river crossing).

Also, we want to give major kudos to Lemala Kuria Hills and the managers, Tansi and Rich.  They went above and beyond in making our stay with them special.  Our accommodations here were comfortable and charming. The meals were great and the vistas from the lodge and the tents were breathtaking (especially when we did sundowners up on the rock – see attached picture).  I would highly recommend this place to everyone!

All the places we stayed were great and the staff was always really nice, helpful and personable.

  • At Oliver’s Campsite, we did a bush walk – would recommend this to all because it gets you really out into Africa.  (see picture). And we woke up one morning with elephants in this campsite – very exciting. Jen, the manager, and Christine were warm and welcoming and Michael, the bartender, kept my glass of chardonnay full.
  • Escarpment Luxury Lodge was beautiful and Eli, our butler, was so very nice.   Loved being greeted here by singers.
  • Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge was nice (even though a big hotel feel), because we were right on the edge of the crater and had easy access to the park.
  • We had a great time with at the Serengeti Shared Explorer Camp – wildebeest right at the camp in the morning and a cape buffalo outside our tent one night (though the latter is probably not a good thing :). We sat around the fire at night and looked at the night sky filled with stars. It was lovely. The Maasai, Matata, who escorted us was really nice and funny – and was always on the watch for our safety.
  • And I have already mentioned how great Lemala Kuria Hills is……if I pass that way again, I am definitely staying there! (Bosco, the bartender, remembered everyone’s drinks and was great (again, chardonnay glass never empty) and Diana, our server, was so nice …. she also teased our traveling companion which we loved). Everyone had such wonderful and sweet personalities.
  • Lake Duluti Serena Hotel was a perfect place to start and end our trip – comfortable and relaxing environment.

My tips for future African adventurers:

  • Always let the campsites know if you are celebrating something  – not only do you get an extra desert but the entertainment factor is priceless.
  • Incorporate downtime into the schedule – George and I decided to cut one day short and just hang out at Lemala Kuria Hills pool and relax – need to really enjoy the lodges as they are so nice.
  • We all had a marvelous time and hope to get back to Africa again one day.  Asante sana!

Warmest regards,

Debra & George Bergeris, July 2017

 

Multi-Generational Family Safari to Tanzania

Dear Szilvia,

We had a wonderful time. Everything went very smoothly. Our safari guides were wonderful. We all had a lot of fun while seeing an amazing amount of animals. I will write in more detail soon. We have a bit of jet lag and lots of mail to sort out.

You all did a marvelous job with all the essential details and then  some. We had great help in getting visas quickly in Tanzania. All the brochures and details you provided before are departure gave us great confidence embarking on this adventure. In the end we had 8 happy people ranging from 15 years to 83 years —not a small feat!

Thank you again,

Rose and Jack Desai, July 2017

 

Private Safari to Tanzania including two locations in the Serengeti

Hi Alison,

We can’t believe we are home almost 2 weeks already! We had an absolutely amazing trip. It was an unforgettable experience and we can’t wait to go back.

Above all, Hillary was incredible. His knowledge about the continent, the country, the culture, the people and of course all of the animals was unparalleled. We feel we have made a life-long friend and hope to go back and do the Southern Safari circuit with Hillary and perhaps at a different time of year. He had great ideas and we made slight changes to the itinerary and we were never disappointed. It was a great match for us! He is just a nice, genuine person. (And we hope he liked us just as much!)

Our Tanzania trip overall was incredible. Africa Adventure Company was great to work with and you certainly covered all the bases. Information and documentation was abundant as well as every driver or liaison assigned to us was helpful, friendly and accommodating. Before I give feedback on all the places we stayed, I’d like to recognize a few extraordinary people aside from Hillary of course! Kudos to Ali our driver that took us from Arusha coffee lodge to Kilimanjaro airport….

All of the accommodations we stayed at were clean, people were friendly and welcoming, and we were spoiled.

Lake Duluti Lodge: Room was beautiful, people friendly, food delicious. We just weren’t there long enough to really enjoy or explore the place to comment more. (Tarangire Safari Lodge lunch was also very good and a beautiful place to stop.)

Tarangire Treetops Camp: An amazing place. Loved our treetop room and the lobby with its very own bats and 1000 yr old baobab tree! Watering hole visited by the elephants. Food and people were great. Yohanna was our butler and he treated us so well and took care of everything. He just appeared at places, like the Sundowners and Boma dinner. The elephants drank from our pool and were eating from the trees off of the deck during the night. And the sounds! We loved it. We also did a Safari walk here which was good.

Manyara Ranch Conservancy: Incredible! Mubarak(sp?) the manager was so accommodating, friendly and knowledgeable. We were the only guests during our stay which was so cool! Mubarak took us on a day game drive, Sundowners, night game drive and a visit to a Maasai  home. We learned so much, we tracked the lion pride by its actual tracks and found them. We saw a bunch of nocturnal animals and met a Maasai family and toured their Boma, their huts etc. It was an unforgettable experience and we enjoyed thoroughly (think it was Sean’s and Hillary’s favorite place). Food was very good.

Serengeti Shared Explorer Camp: Very cool tented camp. We felt as though we were staying right out there with the animals! Confi and staff were amazing, he put us in a family tent so it was very spacious. Our Maasai security were so friendly and did their jobs so well. Matata and Ganini(spelling?) were a blast and we took loads of pics with them. Met a lot of people from all over the world as we sat by the fireside before dinner. Food was good.

Buffalo Luxury Camp: A great place, beautiful and so accommodating. Wayne and Alicia, Malau were all so personable. Great staff as well, Wilson was so nice and Hilton, our ranger, was sweet. Again, we were the only guests for our first night. We had our own Sundowners and Boma Dinner up on the hill just for us then off to another night game drive. In the morning before we left we had an 1 ½ hour Safari walk. We were spoiled and enjoyed this place! Food was very good. Loved that they have a gift shop where the crafts are all made by local women and all proceeds go to them. They had bios on all the women as well. Would have stayed here longer…

Animal, animals, animals!! We saw 4 of the big 5 by Tuesday and was incredible! Then at the crater we saw the rhinos at a very far distance but we saw them! We could have ‘safaried’ forever. The great migration of wildebeests and zebras was amazing as well…

We loved the experience! We loved the trip! And seriously are thinking about the Southern safari circuit in the future!

Look forward to hearing from you,

Andrea Kiernan, July 2017

 

Safari to Tanzania and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Hi Kyle and team.

We returned from our Africa adventure this week and we have to say it was truly epic! We had so many great experiences and tons of photos and stories to share with our friends.

We are so glad that we booked through AAC! We met many other safari-ers from around the world and we feel that we could not have had a better travel partner than AAC. You provided a perfect itinerary, the best guides and accommodations, attention to details. We felt that we were better prepared for our adventure than most other travelers and we benefited tremendously from your experience…

We’ll be sharing some posts on the AAC Clients Facebook page. And we might even enter the photographic competition if we ever finish sorting our 4,000+ photos and videos.

Thanks again for arranging the best safari!

Dave & Kristi Nelson, July 2017

 

Group Explorer Safari to Kenya and Tanzania

Attn: Lynn and Jessica:

I would have written sooner but my arm is so very sore.. Oh.. you ask?  Yes the left arm where I received the Africa Adventure Company Logo tattoo on the entire deltoid region.  Yes, we love you that much.

Good news, Karen and I will be released from the Safari Exhaustion Ward on Friday.  To the point. You at AAC have a very well oiled machine. It is my plan after attending to the business of paying bills and mowing lawns to submit our reflections on this adventure.

The entire trip was seamless. Our party, Karen, Julie and myself felt the marriage of the other three persons with us was paramount. The 16 year old daughter of this lovely Irish couple told us that she “Prayed they would be matched up with Americans”. The chemistry was superb – Colin, the father was an ardent “Birder” sharing his knowledge and we our patience as he connected with yet another feathery friend. he claimed to have added ~30  that he didn’t expect. This activity united us…as did the local beers.

The added cement is this journey came in the form of the two VERY knowable Drivers who provided the ideal orientation… telling us what where about to see and … then … introducing us to it. Both offered the basics, but were also able to delve into the depths of flora and fauna…

Our day tour of the city, and the other 3 attractions were well planned. We gained important insights, enjoyed a wonderful luncheon and as hoped for gave ample time for Julie and (now her parents) to spend quality time with our adopted elephants.

Karen and I are seen as a “fun couple” who have passed those genes on to our adventuresome children. One could envision that we – world travelers – could become jaded and bored but in the instant case I was totally captivated with attaining my goals over one 17 hour period of seeing two secretary birds, the Southern Cross and that the clouds had rolled back from Mt. Kilimanjaro just as we went to a six am breakfast. I was almost too excited to eat – a trait I’m not known for.

I don’t know who choreographed the special amenities at the Sopa lodges but our 36th Anniversary was celebrated on four different occasions with a very nice cake presented by the entire kitchen staff en parade. Karen (since guys don’t normally get flowers) was thrilled with a presentation vase of two dozen roses at Ngorongoro and another cake at Serena Lodge, again with colorful songs and fanfare.

Synopsis: We loved it, the list(s) of what to take and what not to – were spot on. The food was wonderful and varied, the bar service was on their toes – the prices as I was informed by Lynn were shockingly reasonable. We used the laundry service 3 times. It was returned in perfect condition.   The tipping guidelines as well as the distribution plan (daily envelopes) was golden.

Karen has informed me that the generators are turned off at 7 pm here in Virginia and the hot water for my shower will be depleted only moments later. I can only hope she remembers to fill my hot water bottle.

Thank you.

Bob Roubik, July 2017

 

Private Family Safari to Tanzania

Lynne,

Our family including my wife’s parents had a wonderful experience in Tanzania.

Our guide, Daniel Nyamoga, was a pleasure. Courteous, well spoken, and enlightening (well versed on local flora and fauna), he was great with our twins. Kristen and Tyler liked him immediately, and enjoyed his entertaining safari stories and pop quizzes on animal trivia. Daniel had us waking up at the crack of dawn so as not to miss any potential wildlife sightings. He had the patience for local wildlife to show themselves clearly and made the experience more complete, where other guides just cut and ran to the next animal sighting. We had the opportunity to see rare African wild dogs in Tarangire National Park, scores of lions up close at all the parks, and even saw the wildebeest crossing the Mara River, one of the highlights of our trip.

Kisima Ngeda Camp was an oasis after a long drive from Tarangire with lovely fixed tent accommodations. The owners were always present, making sure our stay was pleasurable. My twins enjoyed the interaction with Hadzabe bushmen with their morning hunt, fire making skills and bow & arrow lessons. We enjoyed the climb to local cliff above the camp to enjoy the sunset with drinks.

My kids liked Kitela Lodge from the start with the warm welcome with drinks, snacks and impressive open layout of the main lodge.  We especially enjoyed the special lodge with connected family rooms: the accommodations were exceptional.

Serengeti Shared Explorer Camp was a great experience. Our family tent was comfortable and had amenities that we could not fathom with traditional camping, including plush bedding, warm showers and flush toilet. The Maasai guards were a pleasure to talk to. No wifi but we had quality family time without technology over campfire and dinner. I wished we spent an extra night there to enjoy more camp activities…

Warmest regards,

Louis Jan and Linda Wang, July 2017

 

Private Safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti

Dear Mr. Nolting, Mr. Rivard and Ms. Hegyi,

Jambo.. and habari asubuhi!  Cindy and I had a wonderful adventure in Tanzania.  Our Senior Safari Consultant, Szilvia Hegyi was instrumental in answering all our questions and customizing our safari to be an amazing experience.  The two of us enjoyed the company of our guide, Martin Mallya, throughout our safari.  At each of the locations and mobile camps, Cindy and I had close and extraordinary interaction with wildlife and nature, with the abundant animals, spectacular birds of all colors, enormous reptiles, and Tanzania’s plains, grasslands, acacia trees, kopjes, savannas and rivers.

We would like to thank the staff who paired us with Martin Mallya, who, while our guide, became our friend by the end of the safari.  Martin was, without doubt, the very best person to show us Tanzania, and MADE this the once in a lifetime trip.  Martin was superb; he “knew” everything and explained or provided descriptions, calls, lifestyles, breeding, dominance in groups (males and females), tracking, prey and foods, habitats, and so much more to us throughout our safari in Tanzania.  He repeatedly stopped to show and explain animals, birds, plants, habitats, and more.  He has phenomenal eyesight and spotted animals and birds way beyond what we could see.  Martin demonstrated respect for the animals, and was always courteous to Cindy and me (and he routinely helped with our learning of Swahili phrases).  Martin knew the routes and habits of the animals, showed us why patience, when needed, always resulted in appearances of spectacular animals, including lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, gazelles, leopards, impalas, wildebeests, on and on.   Cindy and I also had delightful, amiable conversations with Martin in the land rover and during lunches and dinners, getting to know about his family (wife and two children in Arusha), experience as a guide in Tanzania and his background.  At our request, Martin took us to visit a kindergarten school which was not in the normal “tourist” areas.  We so enjoyed meeting the children and the teachers, who were all so engaged and enthusiastic.  Cindy and I are now setting up a way to support this specific school from our church in Maryland.  Cindy and I extend our input to your company to put Martin up as your next Tanzania Guide of the Year!  He so very well represents all the values, regard and commitments of the Africa Adventure Company and to your guests, and demonstrated enormous respect for the ecology of Tanzania.

The track our safari took worked very well for us, staring at Tarangire in the south, and working northerly through Lake Manyara, then the Ngorogoro Crater up to the Serengeti.  We chose to visit Tanzania in the early August dry season to be able to see the wildebeest and zebra migration over the Mara River in the Serengeti.

Tarangire National Park was an excellent location to begin, seeing so much diverse wildlife and fascinating animals (including many lions, and a female cheetah and her cub), multicolored birds, and the sweeping, vast Tanzania savanna ecology.  We saw a simultaneous crossing of a dry river by multiple elephants and giraffes.  At Lake Manyara during a game drive, Cindy and I saw a large number of animals and amazing numerous exotic birds on and around the water.  Also, one teenaged elephant came very close to the front of our land rover and “challenged” us for a while for control of the roadway (eventually he went away peacefully…).

The Serengeti was magnificent, spectacular and the highlight of our safari.  We so enjoyed staying in both tented camps (Shared Explorer and Olakira), right along with all the wildlife around our camps.  Cindy and I were able to see four crossings through the Mara River of wildebeests and zebra (with one lasting over 30 minutes!) during their migration toward the Masai Mara.  During two of the crossings, we saw a wildebeest taken by a crocodile (huge and intimidating).   We also watched an extremely long crossing over a dry river bed by wildebeest as well as another by multiple giraffes and elephants.  The calls of the lions, hyenas and wildebeests were heard at dinner which were out under the stars (stunning views of an amazing number of planets, stars and a full moon without the lights of any civilization nearby) and as well during the night in our tents.  At the Olakira Camp, we woke up in the morning to several zebras just outside our tent, with about 30 wildebeests further out.   After the late afternoon game drives we so enjoyed sitting around the fire pits with the other, smaller number of guests, then enjoying with them being served such delicious foods at each of the dinners.  The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular and beautiful.

We had a surprise on our flight from Serengeti to Arusha.  When we landed at an intermediate small airport, a herd of impalas ran across the landing strip and caused the pilot to have to brake to avoid hitting any of them.  This is Africa!

Upon our return to Arusha, we were met by Alee for our trip to the lodge.  Then Arira Mzava took us to the Mt Kilimanjaro airport, which was a good finale to our trip.  Alee, when we first arrived, had shown and explained the sights in Arusha.  Arira was fabulous in getting us through all the red tape coming and going.  Hats off to these gents as well!!…

Again, our thanks for a safari etched in our memories forever…  The vistas, the closeness to the wildlife, the people….  all now part of us.  Your guide, Martin, was the one who made this safari so extraordinary.  Please commend him, and we’re sure his work, skills, knowledge and outstanding talents have earned next year’s Guide of the Year for Tanzania.

Asante sana…..

Don and Cindy Williams, July 2017

 

Private safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti

Hello, Kollin et al.

Our safari was amazing! I can’t say enough good about our guide, Sam; the accommodations were top notch, with very kind and welcoming staff; and the variety and sheer numbers of exotic (to me) and fascinating animals were well beyond expectations.

I really enjoyed traveling with Sam. He was quite professional, but also warm and easygoing, had unbelievably sharp eyes for spotting animals of all shapes and sizes, and had a wealth of knowledge from both experience and formal learning about the animals, people, landscape and the interactions among all of them. He made the trip interesting well beyond just what we saw in front of us. We greatly appreciated his ability to find us fantastic viewing opportunities in areas with few or no other people around. We were well looked after and appreciate the long days he put in on our behalf.

All of our accommodations were very comfortable, though I especially enjoyed the camps. Being out in the parks under a dark sky, with strange animal noises in the night or bonus morning sightings from the tent porch was an extra degree of safari immersion I really appreciated. Al fresco dining was a highlight wherever we stayed (I don’t get to eat outdoors enough in Alaska), as was bush TV at the camps. Nasikia camp went to some special effort one night to provide a lovely lantern-lit dinner under the trees. Service was uniformly attentive — to a degree that took some getting used to, actually, since we are more accustomed to living and traveling more independently…

And of course, the animals were off the hook. I won’t ever forget elephants, lions and baboons (not all at the same time) doing their thing close enough to the rig we could have touched them (not that we did). Or a hyena peeling out of a scrum with a disembodied warthog head in its mouth. Lunch with gentle giraffes; zebras and wildebeests streaming across the river while crocodiles drifted back and forth between their legs; gazelles and impalas bouncing about the vast, fenceless landscape; leopards prowling in the brush or napping in a tree; ostrich necks bobbing up and down above the sea of grass; birds wading; hippos bathing; everyone going about their business taking little heed of our coming and going…

Thanks for arranging a wonderful trip for us, and feel free to write or call if there’s anything you’d like to follow up on. And please pass on my best regards to Sam!

Cheers,

Neil Huddleston, June 2017

 

Private Honeymoon Safari to Tanzania

Hi Elena and team!

We had the most incredible, magical honeymoon and can’t thank you enough for making it a dream come true. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Plantation Lodge was so lovely. We were the only ones staying there and they upgraded us to their largest villa. They served us two lovely, candlelit dinners in the villa and even assembled a full breakfast buffet for us in the living room while we were getting dressed in the morning. It was a perfect place to come home to after our time exploring Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater.

Our guide, Servuli, showed us an amazing time. He was a wealth of knowledge about the animals, Tanzanian history, and gave us a wonderful overview about the different tribes. A definite highlight was seeing not one, but two rhinos, which at one pointed started charging (just for a second!) towards the car, something Servuli hadn’t seen in all his years guiding. He set up a table and chairs right outside the vehicle in the crater, and we had a great lunch, while Servuli fended off the monkeys.

Naona Moru showed us the most incredible hospitality we have ever experienced anywhere — bar none, full stop. We had the camp to ourselves and every single person went the extra mile to make us have the greatest honeymoon imaginable. They surprised us with a bush dinner by the camp fire, a lunch al fresco right outside of our tent, and on the last day after a walking safari, prepared a sundowner extravaganza in which the entire staff started singing and dancing for us after we descended down a mountain (see the video here!). And then, as if that wasn’t enough. they surprised us again with another round of singing and dancing during dessert in which they presented us a beautiful honeymoon cake. The food was out of this world — the pumpkin soup might just be the best thing I’ve ever consumed. We heard lions, hyenas and baboons at night and woke up to see elephants right outside our bathroom window — this place was the living end.

Shatri, our guide, was absolutely extraordinary. He was so much fun, knowledgeable and by the end, he felt like an old friend. We saw leopards in trees, numerous prides of lions with cubs, a lion family eating a zebra — and he even drove us 4 hours to the Western Corridor to see the migration! Every safari guide should be trained by him. Our walking safaris were both fantastic, and the waking guide Joseph knows everything and has a great way about him.

Zanzibar was the perfect place for a week of a apres-safari, and Baraza is my favorite resort I’ve ever stayed at — better than any Four Seasons, St. Regis, etc. We had a beautiful ocean view villa, absolutely loved the unique neo-Moorish architecture and the food (even the Indian and Japanese buffets) exceeded the quality of some of our favorite New York restaurants. We were surprised with a private beach lunch and the staff were incredibly accommodating of our food preferences. We greatly enjoyed our snorkeling excursion and our half-day in Stone Town, but there was nothing better than just lounging around the beautiful resort. The Sultan’s Bath spa treatment was absolutely heavenly and I’d highly recommend it to anyone!

Many, many thanks again! We can’t wait for our next safari and to tell all of our friends about your amazing company!!

All the best,

Brian Levin and Sophia Lufkin, June 2017

 

East and Southern Africa Exploration Safari

Kyle,

We had an amazing time in Africa. The experiences and accommodations made for a true once-in-a-lifetime trip…

We would definitely recommend this trip to our family and friends, as it was a really great experience. We really want to have a shout-out for our Tanzanian guide, Jabshir, who was a big part of making this a great experience. He was very professional and answered our many, many questions in a knowledgeable and informed manner. He was really fun to talk to and had eyes of an eagle in spotting wildlife throughout the trip. I would definitely recommend him for any future traveler. He was great!!!

The Tanagire Treetop, Pioneer, and Migration camps were outstanding, and the staff at the camps were very welcoming and treated all the travelers in our group with a great customer service approach. We really felt a bond to the staff at each of these locations, and we loved the top notch accommodations.

We would really like to thank you for all of your assistance and guidance in developing an outstanding itinerary and scheduling all of the travel accommodations throughout the entire trip. We have many memories and a lot of pictures to sort through over the next few days.

Thanks for everything,

Jim and Jennifer Pachan, June 2017

 

Migration Private Safari to Tanzania

We had an EXCELLENT trip – above and beyond our wildest expectations.

  • Our guide / driver was Ombenni – he was fantastic.  He knows everyone and was able to find all wildlife for us – including cheetah family, black rhinos, leopard with its kill up in a tree, and so on.   He’s a safe driver and caring guide.    We didn’t have morning and afternoon game viewing, but rather 12 hours of continuous game viewing!   We are happy to recommend him to everyone.
  • Tarengire Treetops Camp is beautiful, and all staff were perfect – from our initial greeting to the farewell.   We enjoyed the night game ride, the safari walk, and were amazed at the sunset drinks and appetizers after the walk.   They made us feel special.
  • Gibb’s Farm was a lovely stop – the grounds are gorgeous and the buffet lunch was exceptional.   Our visit to the reenacted Iraqw “camp” was fun – the “leader” was entertaining.   We felt welcome and there was no pressure to donate, etc.
  • Serengeti Pioneer Camp is beautiful as well..We celebrated our anniversary there and felt very special (separate romantic table, cake, singing)
  • Migration Camp is also beautiful.   We loved our “honeymoon tent”.    We celebrated Michele’s birthday there with cake and very fun singing.   We had dinner on our deck – so much work for the staff – we truly felt special.
  • Arusha Coffee Lodge is beautiful, and the food was good.   We even were able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro!

We’re happy and tired customers.   Feel free to use us a reference.

Thanks again.

Natalie Sands, June 2017

 

Flying Safari to Tanzania’s Northern Circuit and the Selous Game Reserve

Hi Ian,  I wanted to write in about our safari, while everything is still fresh in my mind.  First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you!  What a wonderful experience!  As you know, while I’ve traveled with you before, my husband and daughter had never been to Africa, and they were just as wowed as me.

We loved all of the Asilia camps.  It was interesting how different they each were.  The Highlands were amazing, with their loft tents (which looked like something from the future or space travel!).  The trip to the Maasai village was really enlightening; I think my daughter in particular was very affected.

Namiri Plains was unbelievable!  First, I want to mention our guide, Erasto.  He was amazing–we all felt like he was our best friend at the end.  The camp was so isolated, amazing in the Serengeti.  We saw tons of lions and cheetahs, and several leopards, including a cub with its mother.  A particular highlight, of course, was getting to have dinner with Alison Nolting (Founding Director of AAC)!  After first seeing her in the crater, which was exciting enough; I told her it was like meeting a celebrity.  I now know that Robert was in touch with you about my birthday, but he could never have imagined what you guys would do with that information!  Alison may have told you, but the celebration went on forever, and was something I will never forget…

Okay, on to Beho Beho:  You weren’t kidding when you said it had the “wow” factor!  That was pretty much all we could say as they showed us the lobby and our banda.  At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel being in the less densely populated (animal-wise) environment of the Selous, but we wound up loving it.  Our first night, we took a game drive and didn’t see that much, other than an entertaining troop of baboons.  As we were enjoying our sundowner watching them, however, we all heard the roar of a lion nearby.  Our guide quickly ushered us back into the car, and we were wondering if he was worried about surprising the lion.  No, it turns out he wanted to find it!  We drove around, changing direction each time we heard a new roar.  I thought it was a little strange, like looking for a needle in a haystack, but suddenly he said, “There it is!”  It was sitting up, so we could see it, but soon laid down.  We watched for awhile; it wasn’t doing much, and it was getting close to the time we had to return to camp.  Just before we had to leave, it started roaring again, about 10 feet from us, and in our direction!  (it didn’t seem upset!)  What an experience!  And I have to say, there was something very different, and deeply satisfying, about searching out and finding the lion, rather than just coming upon it on the road (as we did in the Serengeti).  We also got to watch a pack of African wild dogs engage in a greeting ceremony on our last day, which was fascinating.

Every meal at Beho Beho was an absolute culinary delight (as were the Asilia camps).  It was interesting to get to eat with different people each night, so that we felt like we got to know everyone there, including the head chef.  I don’t know if you know, but we had another amazing experience there.  On our second night, it just happened that the owner (Charlie Bailey) was there, with his right hand man George.  We had an intimate dinner with them, and again, it was an experience I will never forget!  Charlie was the ultimate story-teller (and it sounds like his father was the ultimate character!).  We loved every second of it, and it made our trip just that much more special.  Now I just need to win their photo contest, so we can go back!  (until then, I’ll just go to bed dreaming about the animal symphony we got to hear every night we were there)

Beho Beho

All in all, it was another perfect trip with Africa Adventure Company.  Time to start planning our next!  Thank you again for everything.

Liz Snidman, May-June 2017

 

Adventure to Morocco

Alison and AAC team,

Overall, I give this trip to Morocco an A+. The itinerary you worked out was excellent in terms of sequence, pace, venues, accommodations and activities/amenities. Having a single driver/vehicle/guide for the entire trip made a huge difference in dealing with and appreciating this fascinating country. Our guide, Lahcen Zaaim, was superlative and a lot of fun. We cannot recommend him highly enough.  He said the itinerary was about the best he had seen, although he made some minor adjustments along the way to ease the logistics. He even took us to his mother’s home to have lunch with his mother, brother and family. That was special. His help in negotiating some significant purchases was invaluable.  All the accommodations were excellent whether in the city, medina, country side, or in the tent in the dunes. Dar Ahlam was our favorite, with Kasbah Tamadot a close second. Overall, I would not have changed a single thing with the possible exception of adding a day to do absolutely nothing at either Dar Ahlam or Tamadot…

Dar Ahlam

Thanks again for helping us with a wonderful experience.

Skip Shipman, April 2017

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