CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST AFRICA – JUL-AUG 2018
Safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara
Dear Mark and everyone at Africa Adventure Company,
We have now been back from Africa for almost a week and I am missing it! I cannot thank you enough for planning such a fantastic trip for us! Everything was perfect. We were taken care of every minute that we were there by friendly, knowledgeable and helpful guides. The itinerary was perfect. We loved the diversity of places that we stayed and visited and enjoyed each of them very much. I hope to ask you to plan another trip to Africa for me soon!
Catherine James, Aug 2018
African Journeys Safari to Kenya and Tanzania
I just wanted to thank you for arranging a fantastic trip to Kenya and Tanzania. I had a wonderful time and am so glad that I was able to join the group. Also, thanks very much for arranging the single accommodation for me for all but one night during the trip. I really appreciate the ground crew’s persistence in making that happen.
First, we had an enjoyable visit in Nairobi. Newton was fantastic and worked very hard to arrange all of our activities to fit our schedule and avoid the crowds. The visit to the orphanage was a real highlight – I am so glad that we fit that into our schedule. The people working there were so committed to the children…
On safari, I can’t quite get over the amazing wildlife that we saw. Each day was a real adventure and we saw something new every minute. We attribute our experience largely to our excellent guides. In Tanzania, Davis and Ephata were incredible. They had an in depth knowledge of the animals, their behavior, and their habitat. Most of the time, they were the first to spot the wildlife. They knew where the animals hung out and got us there first before the other vehicles arrived. Many times we were absolutely astounded at their ability to find the animals when they were so well camouflaged. We could never have seen so much without them. In Kenya, Amos and Steven were also very good in Amboseli, and Amos and Sayeed in Masai Mara. They sometimes relied a little more on the other guides to find the wildlife, but they were still very good. They knew the animals and birds very well and taught us so much about their behavior. Our last day, we had the incredible experience of witnessing two lionesses take down two wildebeest in the morning and then saw a huge wildebeest crossing in the afternoon. Absolutely amazing!!! …
The lodging and meals were also great. The Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi was lovely, and has some amazing history. All the other lodges were also very good or excellent. The rooms were clean and spacious, and the food was very good – especially for vegetarians. The food at the Fairmont and Kichwa Tembo was particularly good, but all of the food was more than adequate…
Finally, I just want to note that the coordination between the different ground operators was excellent. I know there were a lot of different moving parts, the guides in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania, and the other staff at the airport and the hotels. They all worked very well together, so we hardly knew that we were being handed off from one to another – even at the border crossings!
Bravo for a job well done.
Amy Nelson, Aug 2018
Kenya Flying Safari to Amboseli, Lewa Downs and the Maasai Mara
Thanks for planning an exciting safari for me. I enjoyed myself but wish it had been longer. Lewa Downs was my favorite by far. So much so, I would consider returning, which is rare for me because there is so much of the world left for me to explore.
Again, I had a great time.
Karen Barratt, Jul 2018
Tanzania Explorer Safari to Tarangire, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti
Hello Mark and Saskia,
Thank you again for putting together such an amazing African safari for me and my family. It was a trip that we will never forget and one that has surely changed the perspective of both my son and daughter. The fact that we NEVER had to concern ourselves with transportation, accommodations or meals on any portion of the trip allowed us to focus on the beauty of Africa and the adventure that was all around us. I wanted to comment on part of the itinerary and provide some feedback for you.
1) Meru Hotel : This was a nice hotel and very comfortable after 24 hours on an airplane. Getting acclimated to a different time zone in a western style hotel was perfect. The Arusha tour was interesting . Cosmas took us to the large food market which was totally authentic and African. Although we stuck out like sore thumbs, it was great to see the chaos of a genuine market.
2) Maramboi Tented Camp: This is a great property! The staff, the tented lodge style rooms and the fact that it is situated right in the middle of a wildlife reserve was amazing . Great first property to start the adventure. The food was excellent and the staff were so warm and welcoming, My kids were very sad to leave. The game drive in Tarangire was rich and full of wildlife.
3) Village walk thru Mto wa Mbu was very cool. Amos , the worker at the center, was excellent. We expected this to be a staged 2-3 hour tour of a cultural center, but it was totally different than expected. We spent 3 hours walking all around the village visiting great spots. Amos shared the richness of Mto wa Mbo and the rich culture throughout the city. He even took us to a ‘bar’, which was a mud hut, and tasted and explained the cultural significance of banana beer. Great stop over on our way to Lake Eyasi.
4) Kisima Ngeda Camp: Probably our favorite tented camp. So comfortable and nestled in the grove of palm trees next to the lake. The owner, Chris, came out each night to introduce himself to all of the new guests. That was a great touch. His staff of all male employees was exceptional. The visit to the Hadzabe tribe was amazing. Authentic in every sense of the word! A local Datoga tribes person was on hand to help locate and introduce us to the Hadzabe people. His name was Quadra and the dude was excellent. We were able to go on a 2.5 hour hunt with some of the young men. They caught a bird and a squirrel with their bows… Highlight of the trip for me. He also took us to two other tribes. One was the Blacksmiths and the Datoga tribe. Great all around experience.
5) Balloon ride in the Serengeti : This was fantastic ! What a highlight. We had to get up an hour earlier because Bologonya is farther away from the balloon launch site. We left at 3:30 am … The pilot was very skilled. He navigated perfectly and we were able to skirt acacia tree tops and lion rock. We saw plenty of wildlife and it was a much different experience in a balloon vs. a rough jeep. The champagne breakfast was wonderful as well.
Our guide Cosmas was a very good guide. Thank you for the upgraded camps. Kitela was beautiful and luxurious and Bologonya was treat in the middle of the Serengeti. We will highly recommend Africa Adventure Co. to our friends and relatives who are interested in this adventure !!!
Joseph Pangelinan, Jul 2018
Safari to Rwanda and Tanzania and Private Mt Kilimanjaro Climb
We had a fantastic trip! We really enjoyed all of the different parts of the trip, especially:
- Gorillas in Rwanda – Sam did a great job navigating all the curvy/hilly roads, and seeing the gorillas up close was an amazing experience.
- Safaris in Serengeti and Ngorongoro – Daniel was an exceptional guide, very upbeat and with extensive knowledge of wildlife. He made it fun even though we did some very long all-day game drives to see the wildebeest migration, lions, and cheetahs.
- Killi Villa – It was great to have our own villa and chef and swimming pool; almost too fancy for us. It’s a little far off the main road though.
- Kilimanjaro Climb – Our guides (Abraham and James) were also great, and helped us make it to the summit. The food was good, and private toilet tent was so much better than the bathrooms there.
- Zanzibar – Breezes was a wonderful break after the Kilimanjaro climb. We did a Stone Town tour one day and snorkeling another.
- Selous – Rufiji River Camp was great, and the staff went above and beyond to provide internet access for Claire to register for her college classes! The animals weren’t as amazing as Serengeti, but we still saw a lot of cool things on safari there, and it was awesome to see/hear the hippos from the camp.
Thanks for planning a wonderful trip for us, and quickly moving our first week to Rwanda when the DRC didn’t work out!
Steve Perrin, Jul 2018
Exploration of Madagascar’s Berenty and Andasibe-Mantadia Reserves and Tanzania Safari to Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti
Thanks for pulling together such an amazing and unforgettable trip for us. We really had an epic time. Here is some feedback as requested.
- It was easy and a pleasure working with Szilvia and her team. They were very responsive, patient and really tried to meet all of our needs and answer all of our questions and get us prepared the best they could.
- The itinerary was great (as originally planned) to optimize all that we wanted to see and do.
- The logistics were very smooth; ground transport, air, guides, etc.
In Madagascar, Tuki our driver to Vakona was exceptional.
In Tanzania all the ground transport was fabulous (the lounge at the airport was lovely and Mussa our driver was a delight).
- The caliber of guides was very high.
Francis in Tanzania served as driver and guide for our Ngorongoro leg was a standout in his patience, knowledge, flexibility, humor and endurance. We also were impressed with our Vakona guide, Patrice, our Berenty guide, Mbula (he taught us many words) as well as our Chem Chem guide, Emmanuel.
Kidas (Kuria Hills) was solid, but he was the hardest to communicate/connect with (to be fair, he was having a hard time in his life just back from his mother’s funeral and dealing with an unideal wildebeest situation).
5. Packing list, tipping guidelines, preparation materials were all very helpful. We tipped everyone generously (slightly higher than the high end of your suggested range)
- When something went wrong and we contacted you, you were receptive and responsive even though Szilvia was on vacation.
- Most accommodations were amazing:
Vakona was beautiful; not updated, but not at all an issue. It felt comfortable and luxurious for being in the middle of the rainforest. The laundry service was heroic (we arrived with soaking wet bags from thunder storms from our 8hr. Istanbul layover). We were very glad we stayed there as the location is very nice.
Berenty exceeded expectations. Accommodations and setting have all be recently updated and it felt quite luxurious and the food was the best we had in Madagascar. The lights out thing remains, but it’s part the charm.
Lemala Killi Villa: was almost too large and remote at first, but it was very comfortable and served the purpose of a gateway to Arusha national park and views of Killi. Very friendly and accommodating staff
Little Chem Chem: the height of decadence for us. It was simply amazing on all levels. The only complaint is perhaps we ate too much because they were constantly feeding us. Massages were a special treat for us all including the kids. Thanks for the great recommendation to have the kids try it out as well.
Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Crater: they had these lovely shows at night: Masai and acrobats that were super fun to see.
Lemala Kuria Hills: Gorgeous and luxurious. Enjoyed the rooms, plunge pool and dining.
Arusha Coffee Lodge: very comfortable, accommodating and a great place to recoup and shower. Good food.
- Really hard to pick a highlight location. We had very lucky days from views of Kili to many lemurs day and night to crazy amount of lion in Ngorongoro to close encounters with elephants at Chem Chem to close encounters with giraffe in Arusha. It was only the Serengeti which was a challenge.
- Glad we were able to add the market and the city tour in Madagascar and also glad to add the shopping in Arusha (could have used more time, but our flight was delayed in arriving to Arusha).
- Picnic breakfasts and lunches were well worth it for longer game drives (especially at Chem Chem and Ngorongoro)
- The visit to the school and the Maasai village were highlights and very easily arranged with Chem Chem. It seemed less touristy than could have otherwise happened. Thanks for trying to accommodate the orphanage request; totally understand it was not possible in the end.
Overall, we had an amazing time and are still digesting the surreal wonder and majesty of what we were able to experience from the landscape, people and the wildlife. It was incredible. We would definitely use/recommend your services as we felt very well cared for and overall well curated to our desired goals. Thanks for all that you do!
Nadya Ramsaroop and Maneesh Jain, Jul 2018
Private Tanzania Family Safari
First, let us emphasize that we had a marvelous trip! For our small group, the four Pangelinans including two teenagers and ourselves, the trip was the perfect mix of varied experiences. The kids made friends with whom they are still in contact through social media.
The Hadzi Bushmen walk (and run through the acacia bush at times) was a tremendous experience as was the hike into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to see the elephant caves. The physical activities were perfect for our group. We all learned that people all over the world are kind, helpful (teaching us to use bows and arrows) and friendly.
The visits to the artists’ and wood carving studios, Arusha city market, banana beer bar, metal jewelry craft making, and rice mill helped us learn how local people make a living for themselves and their tribes.
All of our lodging was excellent from the high-end Kitela Lodge to the extremely nice mobile tent camp (Kati Kati). The chefs were wonderful and the food always tasty except the selection of food items for some of the picnic lunches was very limited. The staff at all of the lodges was very helpful and friendly. We guess they are just a sample of the many wonderful people who live in Tanzania. We highly recommend you continue to book all of the lodges.
We appreciate the tipping chart very much. We have traveled many places in the world with a number of different travel companies. Tipping is always a big mystery and a huge concern. Thank you! We want to be correct and to help support the local residents, and have never been quite sure of the appropriate amounts to tip…
We will be very happy to book a trip with you again in the future! We have given your business card to someone already.
Dave and Karen Sharpe, Jul 2018