The Zanzibar Serena Inn is a first-class hotel that offers wonderful service and facilities, perfect for your stay in Stone Town. This 51-room property overlooks the ocean and is close to the harbor and the center of town.
To Sayari Safari Camp and Malaki: Sayari is built among some of the most interesting rock formations ever. The kopje have personalities and are beautiful. Claire welcomed us and this graciousness would follow throughout our stay. We had a tour of the kitchen and found out tha t the delicious food was being prepared by the 2nd in command chef. I'm not sure if the safari guides have to take eye tests, but Malaki saw a cheetah's tail twitching from 100 yards away. He was also able to navigate the roads using not one, but two gear shifts! Our time with Malaki showed us many unique sights: two week old baby giraffes, a male ostrich incubating eggs, and all of those beautiful rocks. He met us at the end of a nature walk with Nathoo and Julius, hosting a sundowner in a light rain, on t he banks of the Mara River. It was absolutely beautiful. I mention Nathoo because he confirmed the wonderousness of termite mounds and told us so many other things that I wrote 6 pages in my journal!
To Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Milinga: I 've coined a new word: 'Pamping'. This is not to be confused with 'glamping.' Pamping means pampered camping! At Disneyland, there used to be an attraction, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, after the movie made based on a book. It was a multi -leveled tree house. We felt as though we were on the set of a movie! The tree lodge, with its outdoor shower and visiting elephants, was decadent. Liberati was our butler and made a wonderful frozen gin & tonic. Scott and others celebrated our anniversary with a Lake Manyara son g and a delicious chocolate cake. Magic!
To Zanzibar and Jumah: After many days of travel in the bush, arriving in Zanzibar was almost a culture shock - lots of people, traffic, humidity. But wandering around Stone Town, smelling the spices and getting lost in the maze of buildings, we still had a sense of wonderment and awe. The Serena Inn is absolutely beautiful. This was the perfect way to ease out of vacation mode. Jumah took us on three tours: Stone Town, sharing with us his knowledge of Stone Town and the history of Zanzibar; Spice Tour, allowing his trainee to conduct the tour with an amazing young man whom I 've dubbed the 'Weaver' for his creative use of palm fronds; and a Taste of Zanzibar. It was this last tour that was my favorite. The halwa factory where we were to be shown how the confection is made was closed, so he asked what other activity we might like to do. Still on my quest for mandazi, I asked to be shown how it was made, thinking we'd stop by a bakery. No, instead, we got into a car and went to Mohammed 's house, where his wife graciously showed us how to make mandazi, mboga, vipopo and visheti! What a fabulous experience!
To Giraffe Manor and Newton & Dickson: What a wonderful introduction to Kenya! The Kelly room was spectacular and the atmosphere was magical with the giraffes. The rose petals on the floor and bottle of sparkling wine were beautiful and a very special way to mark our anniversary. And, we had our first taste of Amarula! Newton gave us the historical and cultural context to start our trip, including a visit to a supermarket so I could indulge my passion for food and cookin g. He also introduced us to mandazi (more on that later). Dickson navigated the traffic and roads under construction masterfully, giving us Swahili lessons all the while!
To Tortilis Camp and Eric: Tortilis was beautiful! Andrea and Manuela made us feel welcome from the moment we stepped out of the vehicle and Tent #1 with its Mt. Kilimanjaro view was a great way to start the 'camp' part of our trip. The celebratory sparkling wine for our anniversary made it perfect! Eric introduced us to the famed Ambos eli elephants (see his credit in Frommer 's guide to Kenya & Tanzania!), gave us the helpful hints that would help us differentiate animals and took us to a local Maasai village, where we learned about the Maasai culture, an experience that we would continu e to build on. One of oRead More