Private Safari to Tarangire/Ngorongoro/Serengeti
Safari in Kenya to Amboseli and Maasai Mara
Thank you for the welcome home letter. We had an amazing and unforgettable trip. I sent a link earlier today to the photos I’ve shared with family and friends. The incredible wildlife blew us away and the only animal we unfortunately didn’t see was the black rhino.
All of our guides were fantastic and really made the trip special. Each one gave us a particularly special animal sighting that elevated our trip. At Amboseli, we were picked up by the resident camp guide, Eric Kalama and commenced a game drive on the way to Tortilis Camp. On that very first drive, we saw so many amazing sights, we arrived at camp giddy. We were lucky to have Eric as our private guide during our entire time in Amboseli. He was absolutely wonderful - knowledgeable and passionate about the park and its wildlife, especially the majestic elephants. Eric is a Maasai and took us on conservancy land where we were one of two vehicles within a stone’s throw of a pride of lions feasting on a fresh kill! We’ll never forget that. Warning, I have some graphic pics.
James Ombeni, our guide in Tanzania, was also a gem. He was incredibly knowledgeable and cares deeply about the wildlife. Elizabeth loves birds, and James’ depth of knowledge was impressive. We actually didn’t realize there were so many beautiful birds in Africa. James went out of his way to ensure we had wonderful game drives and took us into other parts of the Serengeti where we were the only ones on the plains. We loved that and had a wonderful picnic, just the three of us on a giant rock. With him, we saw a procession of over 100 baboons in LakeManyara. That was surreal and a standout we won’t forget. Wilson, our final guide, and the resident Maasai camp guide at Naboisho in Kenya was a delight. We had one shared drive with a fun couple from Australia and then private drives with him thereafter. We arrived at the Maasai Mara and the migration was in full swing. The spectacle of the wildebeests, their numbers and watching them rumble across the plains was jaw dropping. Wilson knew their patterns so well and got us to a spot away from the 30+ vehicles casing the herds, where we privately and unbelievably saw them cross the MaraRiver in a frenzy. Just as it was over, the other vehicles raced up. We felt truly privileged to see the migration and for that special unforgettable moment. We left with three new friends and we really miss them.
The camps were wonderful and a treat to come back to after a long game drive. Our favorite was Naboisho, followed by Tortilis, Explorean, the shared safari camp and then Maramboi. We could have stayed at Naboisho a few extra days just to enjoy the beautifully appointed tents with the fabulous private outdoor showers and with the bonus of wildlife grazing right in front. Roelof and Helen were wonderful hosts; we liked that they joined the guests for meals and around the fire, and had great stories to share.
The staff, all Maasai, were a delight; they were interested in us and we in them and there was lots to talk about. We were especially impressed that the camp had a female Maasai guide, that they were able to extend that opportunity also to women. Before we left, we visited the guiding school in the area and are planning to sponsor a Maasai student soon, preferably a female student. The students of the guiding school have far more opportunities than others and we’d like to contribute to that. We wished we had more time at both Tortilis and Explorean just to enjoy our lovely rooms; both are excellent properties with exceptional staff. We were impressed that Naboisho and Tortilis grew much of the fruits and vegetables to supply their restaurants. Meals were excellent at all the camps/lodges... I am glad we had the experience of the shared safari camp. It was a taste of camping in the bush (quite comfortably). The staff there do an impressive job, especially the chefs – excellent meals. Great memories of them all. We especially loved the opportunity to have dinner each evening with our guide.
The entire trip was perfect! Truly one of a kind experience and we definitely hope to visit Africa again in the future. AAC did an outstanding job. We are very satisfied customers and happy to recommend AAC. On a side note, we were pleasantly surprised flying British Airways, in world traveler plus class. It had most of the comfort and amenities of business class except for a fully reclining seat. We were extremely comfortable, especially sitting in the side seats.
Annie Beharry, July 2013
Private Safari to Tarangire-Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro/Serengeti
We had an awesome trip (July 3-14)!! Words really cannot describe but I'll try. The weather was perfect, the food was great and our guide was outstanding. The guide we were originally assigned to could not make it because of family problems and we were worried about who we would get on such short notice. Well, we got Selemane and he has been a guide for 30 years. He continually amazed us with his skills at spotting animals. We really enjoyed having him as our guide. We saw all sorts of amazing things as I am sure all your clients report. Africa is a diverse place. We really enjoyed our visit to the Maasai village as well. I am glad you guys can provide that opportunity. Our accommodations were also superb. Thank you so much for providing us a trip of a lifetime. It was truly a dream trip for us.
Anyway, just thought I would drop you a line and let you know how it went.
Michelle Cooper, Jul 2013
Group Lodge safari to Lake Manyara/Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire
We would like to thank you very much for helping us plan a wonderful safari adventure. We returned from our 10-day group lodge safari to Tanzania about two weeks ago and cannot stop talking about what a great time we had, all the amazing things we saw, and all the kind people we met.
First of all, we cannot say enough good things about our guide, George Mollel. He was professional, very knowledgeable, friendly and always helpful. We were amazed at how he could navigate the bumpy, winding game roads while looking for animals and answering our many questions all at the same time. He truly made our trip better.
Another aspect with which we were very pleased was the accommodations throughout the safari. All of the lodges were very comfortable and clean and the service was excellent. Our favorites were the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge with its fantastic views, roaring fireplaces in the lounge, and hot water bottles in our bed every night. Our room attendant, Alfred, went above and beyond responding to our requests. We also very much enjoyed the Tarangire Sopa Lodge. The location is fantastic. We loved our lunch by the pool with vervet monkeys, hyraxes and mongoose scurrying all around us. The Sopa Lodge was very comfortable with large rooms and great service.
We do have some advice for future travelers. First, take advantage of the laundry service at the lodges. It is convenient, reliable and very inexpensive. It cost about $1.00 to get a shirt or pair of pants washed, folded and delivered to your room before dinner the next day.
Second, June is an excellent time to visit Tanzania. The weather was great, not too hot and the nights cooled off to a very comfortable temperature if you remembered your jacket. The lodges were not crowded at all and there were far fewer vehicles on the game drives than there would be in July or August.
Finally, and what I feel is most important, take a little time before your trip to learn a few words in Swahili. It doesn't take long and its not difficult. All the guidebooks have dictionaries plus you can find some excellent videos on Youtube. People are so appreciative when you have taken the time to learn some of their native language. I think it builds a bond and shows respect, and we made so many new friends.
One last thing, we must thank you for the Africa Safari Journals that you sent us. They came in very handy and they were the envy of everyone else on our trip who booked through another company. They said they were going to contact their travel agents and recommend they give their future clients a copy of the Journal. One couple on our tour liked the book so much we let them keep one of our copies.
The backpack came in very handy too during the game drives. We did have to wash it when we got home to get all the dust off, but it came out good as new.
Kyle, thank you again for helping us plan such a wonderful adventure. You were instrumental in helping us make the decisions we made and we are very grateful to you and Africa Adventure Company.
Diana and Mark Dosmann, June 2013
Group Lodge safari to Lake Manyara/Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire
Hello, Allana and everyone--
It has been more than a week now since my daughter, Katherine, and I returned from our safari in Tanzania, and I have printed out photos, put them in albums, enlarged many to decorate the walls of my office and just in general begun processing the extraordinary experience we had.
First, let me say again how impressed I was with how well and courteously you handled all of the details and all of our questions. It all went so smoothly, from our first inquiries to the briefing from Khalili at the Arusha Coffee Lodge the morning our safari began. Then came the best and most important part: GEORGE. Perhaps everyone thinks that he or she got the best guide (actually I am pretty sure they do) but I KNOW we did.
George was a skilled driver, a good conversationalist and pleasant person, and very knowledgeable about the animals, the landscape, vegetation, history of Tanzania--everything. Every time, after we had stopped to see and photograph something amazing, he would say "Are we good?" and if the answer was yes, we would start off for the next adventure. And we were always good--so very, very good.
Highlights: we saw a lion and a lioness mating--3 times!; 3 lions gnawing on a recently-killed warthog (gory but fascinating); two huge male lions, each sitting on top of a huge rock, facing each other with the wind blowing through their manes (it looked like something out of "The Lion King"); and, on our very last game drive, in Tarangire, when we had almost given up on seeing a leopard, one emerged from the tall grass with her cub and actually passed right under our Land Rover.
This was truly the trip of a lifetime--certainly I never expect to experience anything remotely as wonderful again, though maybe my daughter will. She's already talking about returning some day, perhaps for the Great Migration!
Thank you for everything, all of your at AAC. We will be putting pictures and things up on your website soon, but wanted to get this off sooner rather than later.
Eileen Keerdoja, Aug 2013
Safari to Tarangire/Lake Manyara-Rift Valley Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti
Hi Elena - took a few days to recover from our wonderful Tanzania experience. Here is my review
Shangazi House - just a wonderful facility and welcoming staff. Perfect to recover from 32 hour transfer from Fort Lauderdale. Definitely would recommend the extra day recovery we took prior to start on safari. On return for day room felt like was coming home to Shangazi including the pet warthog.
Internal flights - amazingly efficient. It seemed like we were about the only ones following the luggage rules and they didn't bother to weigh or check anybody's bags. No problem with carrying my camera and big lens on.
Tarangire/Oliver's Camp.....very nice camp and experience. Worst roads we experienced on safari and longest distances to drive between animal sightings. Lucked out by getting our own guide and vehicle (name was "Blessing") He was great. Only criticism was that the balloon ride required 2 hours vehicle ride at 5AM ( not the one hour as promised) and as stated roads horrible. The balloon ride itself was great. It turned out we could have done a balloon ride in Northern Serengeti or at Grumeti too. We skipped the night game drive as we were too tired.
Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro - first your man Mkenda was just great. He arranged a visit to a school near Lake Manyara where we gave the kids some soccer balls and balloon plus a contribution. It was a humbling experience for all of us but certainly for our daughter Brooke. Sopa lodge was as advertised -OK and convienent. Mkenda got us into the crater so early that I think we were the first truck down. The experience was great. Trip to Maasai was also a humbling and educational experience.
Saskawa Lodge in Grumeti was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't get my girl's to leave the private cottage with pool. Donna got to recover with a message. The private guide (Edward) was great and we got to see a Cheetah kill, many lions with cubs and male lions eating a recent kill. The facility deserves all the accolades it has received.
Sayari Camp....overall my favorite experience. Great game viewing and interesting accommodations. Saw multiple crossing of wildebeest -- interesting going in both directions with crocodile kill. Saw more cheetahs, tons of elephants, lions…Great guide - Nathoo - did a walking safari with him.
Overall a great experience and I do want to thank you for all your help. Now I just need to start working on the 3500 pictures I shot to find some good ones.
Best regards -
Gary Luckman, MD, Jul-Aug 2013
Private Safari to Tarangire/Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro/Serengeti
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Hi Kyle and team,
I just wanted to send you a brief email about the trip. (I am too busy going through my 3000+photos!)
My trip to Tanzania and Rwanda exceeded my expectations. The accommodations were as described by you. The scenery, animals and people were extraordinary. Our guide, Omar Seiff, was wonderful. I know he made the trip that much more wonderful. He is kind, knowledgeable, has tireless enthusiasm and superb interaction with lodging staff and other driver/guides. I am sure you are aware of his excellence but I just wanted to express my experience.
My driver/guide, Theo, in Rwanda for the mountain gorilla trekking was extremely helpful as well. Although a very different personality compared to Omar, I know he requested the gorilla family that was most desired. He has wonderful relationships with the park guides and gorilla trackers. The guides rode with us to the start of the trekking and he had the cell phone number of the trackers to know how far the gorilla family was. He definitely takes his job seriously and wants the best for his clients. I am glad you recommended two gorilla treks. That would be a minimum in the future. Some people had only a day or one day and one day of the golden monkeys. They seemed disappointed about only one gorilla trek. They all seemed to greatly prefer the mountain gorillas over the golden monkeys. Ideally, if I was going to do it again tomorrow, I would have done two gorilla treks and one golden monkey trek.
Anyway, I back to humid and hot Chicago.
I will send photos when I have them a bit more organized.
Thanks for organizing a great trip!
Laurie Goldman, Jun 2013
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
An absolutely terrific trip – thanks so much for your expertise…
A couple of comments:
- The Gorilla Mountain Lodge was quite nice with good (but not great food). Certainly better then anything I ate in college or in the army. The rooms were fine and the staff nice. Definitely not a 5 star but was an extremely good 3+ star facility. I was pleased with the choice.
- The Ngorongoro Manor lodge was FANTASTIC – a truly great lodging experience. While all the other lodges were excellent, the Manor lodge truly stood out as an incredible experience
- The Arusha coffee tour was well worth it
- The genocide memorial in Rwanda is something that must not be missed
- In general our group of 8 had a great experience on the sky safari. 6 of the 8 were newcomers to Africa and were in awe of the experience.
The Gorilla tracking was the highlight of the trip and was a fabulous experience – WOW!!! I am glad I am in decent condition. On the second day we had to climb nearly to the top through mud and forest.
- Butlers at the lodges were a pleasant surprise. I did not realize we were getting them as part of the sky-safari
Keep doing the incredible work that you are doing. We had a great trip and I firmly believe that AFRICAN SAFARIS ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks so much
Len Marks, June 2013
Group Lodge safari to Lake Manyara/Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
My husband, John and I were so impressed with all our arrangements Africa Adventures did for our recent African safari (June 28 - July 30, 2013). Everything worked so well. We felt well taken care of with few hassles. The airline accommodations on British Airways, Kenya Airways, Precision Air, and Rwandair Express were without flaw.
We were promptly met on our arrival in Nairobi, Kenya by Leah, your ground operator. She was very hospitable and friendly. We were met by her again on our return to Nairobi at the end of the trip. Our stay at Ole Sereni Hotel was excellent. The room accommodation was fine, the food was excellent. They even opened up early (6 a.m.) for us to have a good breakfast before our departure to Tanzania. The drivers in Nairobi were very good and on time. The next day, we were met in Tanzania by our driver Mwaku. Mwaku was with us for the entire week of Sat., July 6 through Fri., July 12th. Mwaku navigated the dirt roads with great skill. He was accommodating to the group of six, friendly, informative and very dependable.
The food and lodgings in Tanzania were exceptional as well as the professionalism and friendliness of the staff we encountered. We were then transferred to Arusha on time and flew back to Nairobi for our flight to Rwanda. We were very appreciative of Africa Adventures for arranging the stay in the VIP lounge in Nairobi during the long layover between flights.
We were promptly met in Rwanda and introduced to our driver, Afrika. We were then taken to a wonderful lunch, and then on to the Genocide Museum. This museum is hard to experience, but essential for all human beings to see. It is very well done and really educates on Rwanda's tragic history. Our accommodations at Gorilla Mountain View Lodge near Volcanoes National Park, was very nice. We particularly liked the fireplace and porch with chairs in our little lodge. The food was very good there. We particularly loved the greetings (both Tanzania & Rwanda) from most of the lodges when we arrived with warm or cold towels, depending on climate, and the juice or hot tea greetings. The 2 day gorilla trek was a highlight of the trip. We met the Umubano gorilla family headed by George, the silverback the first day. We had not gone far inside the park, when George's family came down to meet us. They were very active, in a playful way. One of the young blackbacks playfully knocked my husband down as he ran past him (he wasn't hurt).
The next day we met the Sabyinyo Gorilla family. This was after about a 90 min. hike in very dense forest. The guides had to use machetes to clear the way. We were rewarded by seeing the oldest and biggest silverback in Rwanda, as well as the youngest, a 5 day old baby. The baby's mother lost her left hand in a trap as an infant, but this didn't stop her from being a good mother.
Afrika then drove us back to Kigali. We stayed at the Kigali Serena Hotel, which was very nice. Afrika was very friendly, with a good sense of humor, informative and an excellent driver on the very difficult roads going up to the gorillas. Afrika took us to Iby'Iwachu Cultural Village, which we enjoyed very much. We were the only ones there for their very interesting presentation. They danced for us and even made us King & Queen for the day. It was a very good suggestion. We were impressed with the organization and very professional guides in Volcanos National Park. They helped us navigate the jungle terrain, informed us how to act around the gorillas and presented us with very useful insights into the gorilla life. We were also impressed that the Rwandan Gov't uses part of the proceeds from gorilla trekkers to help the communities surrounding Volcanos National Park. They seemed very professional, yet concerned about the welfare of the gorillas under their care.
We then traveled to Uganda, where we were under our own arrangements, which worked out well.
When we arrived back in Nairobi, we stayed again at Ole Sereni, where we retrieved the suitcase we checked with them. We were again met by Leah, transported to the airport with great care and professionalism. We were so fortunate that we returned home before the airport in Nairobi burned down. We hope it didn’t cost other travelers too much delay…
Overall, we were very impressed and pleased with all our arrangements with Africa Adventure Company and would recommend them to friends traveling to Africa. In fact, we are interested in your Down Under to New Zealand, Australia for the future. We particularly liked the fact you were accommodating in helping us plan time on our own with our own arrangements, and then meeting back up again. We loved having the colorful, bound book of our own safari with pictures of what we would see and places we would be staying. We also loved the duffle and backpack plus luggage tags, and hats you gave us. The African Safari Journal & Field Guide was fabulous in helping us identify and track the animals we saw. It was great having everything in one book which was both a reference guide and journal all in one. I’m using it to label my pictures. We also really liked the organization in envelopes and the pouch for keeping all our important travel vouchers. Thanks for thinking of all the "little things" which made this such a wonderful experience.
Most especially, thank you Szilvia for your exceptional guidance and planning this trip. We really appreciate your professionalism and that you were available to answer all our many questions before travel.
Thank you for a great trip!
Kathy & John Opitz, Jul 2013
Safari to Tarangire-Lake Manyara Eco-System/Lake Eyasi/Ngorongoro/Serengeti in Tanzania
My husband, our 10 year old daughter and I just returned from our 18-day safari adventure planned and arranged by Africa Adventure Company. There just aren’t enough good things to say about Mark, Saskia, and the entire AAC team who put together our first Africa safari.
There wasn’t a single hitch or problem during the entire 2+ weeks we were in Africa. Everything was planned to perfection. The accommodations were exquisite and the custom itinerary worked perfectly for us.
Each game drive at every park was thrilling! We saw ALL the animals. You name it, we saw it…and up close! Too many majestic lions to count (I think we lost count after 60), cheetah, rhino in Ngorongoro and Serengeti, huge herds of zebra, elephants, wildebeest, and buffalo, baboon families in Manyara, and all the wonderful small animals that compliment the big five.
Our first guide Mkenda was an amazing expert and a wonderful friend and companion. Without his unique expertise, I doubt we would have seen half of what we did. His vast knowledge of the environment and animal behavior enabled him to find the animals without having to follow other guides. Most of the time we discovered and were able to experience and photograph amazing sights on our own with no one else around. Afterwards Mkenda would call the other guides and tell them what we had found.
We were with Mkenda and in his LandCruiser for two weeks until we flew to the Serengeti and we enjoyed every moment of it. We will positively request Mkenda as our guide on our next safari with AAC.
We were so happy that you suggested that we spend two days exploring Lake Eyasi and visiting the people who live there. Our trip to Kisima Ngeda was so relaxing with a chance to get out and safely walk and enjoy the expansive grounds. Nani and her entire staff were wonderful and genuine. The food and tent were fabulous. The grounds and location on the lake were a welcome respite between game drives.
While at Eyasi we had the opportunity to shop at a large local outdoor market and to visit a local school. We brought boxes of pens and pencils for the children at the school and our daughter thoroughly enjoyed meeting the children and giving out pens to each. The teachers were happy for our visit and we are hoping that the children at the school will become pen pals with the children at our daughter’s school here in Arizona.
Each place that we stayed along our route from Nairobi, to Arusha, to Tarangere, Lake Manyara and Lake Eyasi, to Ngorongoro, northern Serengeti and back to Arusha and Nairobi was perfectly planned and each offered an entirely different experience. It’s difficult to choose a favorite destination as each offered something special. If we had to do the whole trip over again there is very little that we would change.
I would be remiss if I did not mention our second guide, Kivuyo, who led us on game drives for three days while we were at Serengeti Sayari Camp. Another superb guide who was very knowledgeable about all the wildlife in East Africa and took us to four Mara river crossings of large herds of wildebeest and zebra in three days! Not to mention prides of lion, a rhino, cheetah, hyena chasing a herd of zebra, elephants crossing the airport runway, and so much more.
Kivuyo was great fun, full of energy and was an absolute blast to be on Safari with. He was also especially great with our daughter and they spent lots of time pouring over books and identifying all the various animals and birds that we saw.
The food was absolutely wonderful at every camp that we stayed. The people who ran the camps and worked at them were equally as gracious and wonderful. Our daughter had the chefs and cooks wrapped around her little finger. She is a somewhat “picky” eater but everyone was more than happy to make special meals for her. Thank you Sayari Camp, Kisima Negada, Sopa Lodge, Hogmead, Oliver’s Camp, and Manyara Ranch! You are all fantastic!
And thank you very much Mark for the great job Africa Adventure Company did for us. We will be back again!
Bev, Clark and Kayla Pettit, Jul 2013
Private Safari to Tarangire/Ngorongoro/Serengeti
Home just 1 week ago, I already miss Africa, trip was stupendous! It exceeded my expectations, even though I can't describe what the expectations were. The animals were plentiful, migration fascinating, crossing riveting, accommodations terrific, George, our guide was incredible!! Every day, we spoke about you, said you planned the trip to a T, must have "hand-picked" George for us, he could see better with his eyes, then we could with our binoculars. He was smart, funny, knowledgeable, he made the trip what it was through his love of animals and their behavior. You said I may want to return. . . I said no, this is it, well, not so sure. . . Anyway, I want to talk to you about the school we visited, also, want to know if anyway to do a safari with "less rough roads" for friend. I will call you! Oh, Africa Adventure is the only one to plan your safari!!
Thank you so much,
Fran Porter, Aug 2013
Flying safari to Private Game Reserve near Kruger
Flying safari to the Moremi Reserve (Botswana)
Flying Safari to Amboseli, Kenya
Private Safari to Tarangire, Tanzania
Visit to Cape Town and Victoria Falls
Hi Lynne (& team),
I wanted to pass on our personal thanks to you, and congratulations to the Africa Adventure Company, for organising such a wonderful and memorable trip around Africa for us. All of the places we visited and stayed, based on your recommendations were amazing. There were only a few very minor hiccups over a month of travel, but most importantly to me, all of our guides, greeters and drivers turned up on time, and were friendly, knowledgeable, professional and polite.
We were very fortunate with our animal sightings in the parks, though I feel sure that most of that "luck" was owed to the quality of our guides and generally visiting the recommended reserves where tourist numbers were limited. We managed to see the Big 5 in our first camp, at Tanda Tula, but it was much more than that.
Some personal highlights if I may:
- Cage diving with Great White's at Gansbaai near Cape Town - a truly incredible experience. Seventeen individual sharks apparently. The underwater camera we had bought especially for this proved a wise investment!
- Spotting a serval at Tanda Tula - our guide was very excited, telling us how rare such a sighting was. We ended up seeing four overall during our travels, though the third was very brief as it rose from hiding in the grass when we stopped to look at an owl, and the fourth was seen looking down from our hot air balloon.
- Our first leopard sighting (we saw seven over the trip!) up a tree with its kill at Tanda Tula - he had just eaten and was content to occasionally shift positions and look down on us as we watched from below, with two spotted hyena circling the tree, hoping for some of his kill to fall.
- Two separate sightings of wild dog packs at Tanda Tula. Our tracker cleverly imitated their hunting call as they started to trot off, and they turned and trotted back over the hill to look for their unknown packmate.
- Flying over Victoria Falls by helicopter - first time we've seen a natural wonder of the world, and well deserved.
- Great hippo sightings in Botswana – I took many photo's trying to get a perfect "hippo yawn". Our guide took note of our particular interest, and timed some lunch breaks and sundowners at hippo waterholes and I got two particularly good shots.
- The staff at CampMoremi singing a "welcome" song in their native tongue on our first evening there when a large group of new arrivals, including us arrived.
- Following a mother leopard over a good half hour as she led her young(ish) son back to a kill on our final day at Camp Moremi - almost made us late for our charter flight out, but a wonderful way to wrap up our stay there!
- Sitting out watching a big pride of 11 lion, as a little lion cub was groomed and licked by lioness on each side of him.
- Amazing bird sightings in each of Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania - too many to list, but I grew particularly fond (obsessed?) with the lilac roller, though the secretary bird and the African fish eagle were also favourites.
- Saw two male lion in the night (well, 5.30am but it was pitch black) on the way to our hot air balloon ride. Not as much game sighting as I had expected on the hot air balloon, but we greatly enjoyed the new experience and different perspective in floating over the bush and game. Saw our fourth serval (briefly) from the air and an African Civet (only time we saw one) from our balloon.
- Our only cheetah sighting of the trip - on our final day of safari'ing our guide found two males sprawled on a termite ground in Tarangire national park. Wonderful way to end the safari part of our trip.
- The Serena Inn in Stonetown - the markets of Stonetown were a bit chaotic for us, but after all the early morning safari starts, a day or two lounging around the pool drinking cocktails, swimming, reading and sorting photo's in the sun was wonderfully relaxing. The staff proudly assured us on the front desk when we checked in that they had assigned us their best room, and it was a wonderful ocean facing room on the second floor where we could watch the sun set over the water from our balcony.
- Snorkelling off Mnemba Island in Zanzibar - we stopped enroute for a brief swim with a friendly pod of dolphin, before arriving at Mnemba Island where the number and variety of fish in the beautiful blue water was amazing.
I guess we can't put the quality of the food as a highlight, though the chef at Tanda Tala deserves a medal, and those morning's that we got to eat a cooked "bush breakfast" out in the bush and the sundowners were always memorable. Something wonderful and slightly surreal for us city folk, sipping our favourite drink and watching the sun set over hippo or elephant at a waterhole on another continent half a world away.
Each camp had its individual highlights, but personally my favourite overall would be Tanda Tula, in Kruger, which was our first safari camp and full of new experiences, and the genuine warmth and hospitality of the camp staff coupled with some amazing animal experiences means it will definitely be on our list when we start planning our next trip.
Thanks again, and rest assured that we are passing on AAC as a recommendation to any friends and family who have become a bit envious after seeing our photos and hearing our stories.
Sean and Amy Powell, Jul-Aug 2013
Group safari to Tarangire/Lake Eyasi/Ngorongoro/Serengeti
We have just returned from our Tanzania trip and it was amazing. Everything exceeded our expectations! We came for the safari and the animals and left having fallen in love with the people and the country of Tanzania. Our Safari guide, Ally Faraji Kileo, made the trip extra special. He introduced us to so many people and experiences in Tanzania that we truly felt like guests; that together with his extraordinary knowledge and experience with animal behavior makes him a top guide. The Africa Adventure Company has earned a great reputation in Tanzania and traveling as their guests made sure that we had access to all of the wonderful things they had to offer.
The Range Rover vehicle was very comfortable and easy to use for the game viewing. We really enjoyed all of the places that we stayed at and the variety from the semi-permanent tents to the lodges. The cultural interactions with the Maasai and the Hadza tribes were a trip highlight with the family. We really enjoyed our family holiday and hope to be able to return to Tanzania in the near future.
Marybeth Roberts, Aug 2013
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. I was going through my mail yesterday, and I realized that I’d never sent over any feedback on our trip in June. Thank you for all of your assistance. By and large, we had a wonderful vacation. Below are my thoughts on the highs and lows of the trip. Thank you again!
- Uganda was an absolute dream in every possible way
- Every person we interacted with was professional and kind, and we could not have been happier with our experience
- Being greeted and briefed by Lydia was wonderful, and Male was an absolutely wonderful driver and guide with a fascinating personal story
- The Protea Hotel in Entebbe was exactly what we needed when we arrived from Egypt, and we loved the Botanical Gardens we visited
- Kyaninga Lodge was absolutely incredible. We loved hiking around the volcanic crater and swimming in the lake. The food was delicious as well
- GorillaForest Camp was also wonderful. We loved the singing performance from the local schoolchildren and the hike to the waterfalls
- Chimpanzee Experience: This was the absolute highlight of the whole trip. We loved observing the chimps all day, and we were amazed by the range of behaviors we witnessed and the expressiveness of the chimps. This absolutely made the vacation and I would recommend it to anyone.
- Gorilla Treks: Seeing the gorillas was wonderful as well. Fortunately we saw the gorillas both days and we did not have to hike too far. On our second trek, we were able to get extremely close which was very fun. One thing we found out upon arrival was the importance of using porters. Although our family is extremely fit, and did not actually need their help, we were told that many porters only get to take the job once a month, and it is important to the community and their role in protecting the gorillas that we all hire porters. I think it might be great if in the future you could include a bit of information about the porter process and the community’s role in conservation, because it might encourage other active and fit people like us to hire porters.
- Transportation: In hindsight, we might have flown via bush plane from Entebbe to Kibale, although we very much enjoyed our drive from Kibale to Bwindi through Queen Elizabeth Park. Our flight from Bwindi back to Entebbe was perfect.
On the whole, it was a fabulous trip, and thank you so much for working with us in planning it (cancelling and then rebooking my Dad)! We have told everyone how much we enjoyed the trip. On a separate note, we’re headed to Brazil next year as a family, and I was wondering if you could recommend a similarly comprehensive travel agent for South America.
Thanks again for all your help,
Katie Stiner, Jun 2013
Flying safari to the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti
I just returned from Kenya and Tanzania Sunday. Oh my gosh!!! Sightings were fantastic!! I need a couple of months (seriously) to sort through my photos and write a proper a trip report, but I just wanted to give you some quick feedback and teasers.
No problems whatsoever. Both Naboisho and Sayari were fantastic. Having private vehicles was definitely worth it at both camps, since I liked to leave on game drives before sunrise and search for the cats on our own before anyone else was out and stay with them (it amazes me how many people like to sleep in and leave late - and then they're surprised by the sightings I had :-)
Anyway, most of the time I was alone with my guide having found our own sightings, usually no other vehicles, and we sat for hours and hours just watching and photographing the behaviors of these magnificent creatures... it was sheer magic.
Only spent one day in the Maasai Mara National Park. Had some great sightings there, but it was quite crowded. Luckily, the phenomenal leopard sighting I had there only had one other vehicle. Just as it ended, a half dozen more vehicles were screaming in from all directions to join, but they missed it :-) All the other days at Naboisho I decided to spend in the conservancy. There really was no need to leave it; they have it all except for the river, for which I was going to Sayari anyway.
Here are a few of the highlights...
- Startled awake at 5am at Naboisho by something thundering past my tent, with something else chasing right behind it - lion chased a zebra and killed it only 100 yards directly in front of my tent!! That's one I'll never forget!
- Alone with my guide as we found three male lion emerge from the brush and stroll the plains together exuding confidence and power.
- watched lion cubs play for hours with a white tailed mongoose as if it was a cat toy, each stealing it away from another then getting chased down by the other cubs.
- watched 6 week old lion cubs greet their mother after returning from a hunt.
- found a leopard with 3 cubs near Nabiosho; none of the camp staff knew of this leopard with cubs so they were all excited.
- surrounded by a lion pride just after sunset as they all started calling, including the males -- that sure puts a shiver down your spine!
- found a lioness struggling to drag a fresh wildebeest kill across a plain, stashing it under a bush, calling her young cubs to come out of hiding, seeing them come bounding out from their hiding place in the brush, and then play all over mom and the carcass.
- lion pride confronting a group of angry buffalo.
- half a dozen wildebeest river crossings.
- my last morning at Sayari, I saw a large river crossing with no one else around; just my guide and me. Being alone, he said we could get out of the vehicle. So there we are standing on the embankment of the Mara River as thousands of wildebeest are crossing to our side, climbing the embankment not 15 feet from where we were standing and flying by us! My guide said in his 5 years of guiding, it was only the second time that he had been alone with a crossing like that. Absolutely thrilling and unforgettable!
Thanks for the recommendations Kyle. As I said, I've barely started sorting my photos, so the real trip report will be coming in a couple of months. Until then, here are a few teaser photos.
Chris Swindal, Jul-Aug 2013
Private safari to Tarangire/ Lake Manyara /Ngorongoro/Serengeti
Visit to Zanzibar
Seeing the big five in less than three hours our last day in Serengeti was a major highlight during our ten day safari recently concluded and led by astonishing safari guide, George Mollel.
Witnessing a male Lion stalk and bring down a hyena, seeing the Black Rhino in two different parks in addition to eight Cheetah, seven Leopard, one hundred fifty Lion (many with cubs), and discovering a pack of newborn hyenas gives further testament and tribute to Mollel’s seemingly instinctive capability to locate animals, in addition to hundreds of birds in all of the parks we visited.
From Arusha National Park to Tarangire, Lake Manyara to Ngorongoro Crater and of course the Serengeti, Mollel had us out for over 100 hours on Safari during our stay. And we loved it! Whereas most other visitors seemed to stay on the major thoroughfares through each of the parks, we were more often taken on the “back routes” and saw everything from two Rock Python to all sorts of elephants, Cape buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, dik diks, Thomson’s gazelle, a serval devouring a puff adder, hundreds of hippos, crocodiles, mongoose and lizards on top of all the birds.
Our accommodations were truly first rate as well. Overwhelmed by the gourmet food and first class service at each of our camps and hotels I was most impressed with the grandeur of my room at the Ngorongoro Farm House and the customer service provided by the employees at Kati Kati camp in the middle of Serengeti…..and the staff celebrating my Mom’s birthday with a special cake at Maramboi Tented Camp! Truly first class.
Post-safari “recovery” in Zanzibar was wonderful. Whether swimming the gorgeous Indian Ocean or enjoying the spice tour prior to Stone Town, our time at the exceptionally well-staffed Mapenzi Resort helped make this trip truly unforgettable.
If I’m lucky enough to take another African Safari I will come again to you and The Africa Adventure Company to help plan my itinerary. And the only safari guide I’ll ask for, and accept, is George Mollel.
Thanks for planning the adventure of a lifetime.
With sincere appreciation,
P.W.W. Jun-Jul 2013
Private safari to Tarangire/ Lake Manyara /Ngorongoro/Serengeti
Visit to Zanzibar
Unbelievable, 200+ different birds! 7 leopards! 2 black rhinos! … and it goes on and on!
We had the most marvelous guide. Thank you for George Mollel. He had the skills of a tracker, the eyesight of an eagle and the ability to anticipate the actions of the birds and animals we sought.
To say the safari was fabulous is saying too little. We awoke early and came back at dusk, we took advantage of every minute. When needed, the lodges and camps accommodated our schedule
Can you imagine; a male lion, after mortally wounding a spotted hyena, being circled by four other members of the hyena clan, crying out, trying to get the lions attention away from the dying member. The lion wasn’t deterred. Mollel suggested that perhaps one of the hyenas had killed a cub and the lion “king” was asserting his dominance.
Speaking of hyenas, Mollel brought us to a communal den with 6 or 8 small pups of varying ages … absolutely precious.
When Mollel stopped to check tracks on the road, he spotted signs of a large rock python. Sure enough, not far away, a 15 foot python!
Tree lions were not where we expected. We found a mom and four cubs being given a lesson in tree climbing in Tarangire! The Manyara lions were on the beach.
We’re convinced that looking for birds is the secret to seeing more of everything.
In my life of many years and travels, this was by far the highlight. Thank you for your expertise in planning this amazing trip.
E.K.W., Jun-Jul 2013
Flying Safari to the Maasai Mara
We're back!!!! AND, we had a fabulous time. We had wonderful experiences.... not only being with Samson again, but also seeing so many amazing animals.
First, we want to say, Africa Adventures (you) did a great job taking care of us. There was so much uncertainty arriving in Nairobi, but you had someone meet us at the wheeled stairs on the tarmac as we got off the plane.... taking us to where we needed to go to get our VISAs, through Immigration, and then to find the next connection. We were the only passengers to receive this treatment. This was absolutely wonderful and such a stress reliever, as the situation at Jomo Kenyatta was quite chaotic. Newton (your ground representative) did a fabulous job. He was very informative and really watched over us while we were in Nairobi.... not only in the beginning of our trip, but also at the end. These special touches are what make us continue coming back to Africa Adventure Company.... we know you will go the extra step to make our trip wonderful.... and it was.
The Mara Intripeds continues to be our favorite second home. Edwin, the Manager, was amazing.... his greeting, checking in with us every day, spoiling us with a bottle of wine in our tent, his warmth & genuine friendship.... all his attention made our time at Intrepids absolutely perfect. And then, of course, there's Samson.... all 3 of us were so happy to be together again. He is an amazing person, an amazing guide, a true spirit of love for all the animals, as well as the land... our spirits really connected and as you can imagine, it was hard to say goodbye again.
So, Kyle, we want to say thank you for this long awaited trip. We had a wonderful time.... came back with fabulous memories and amazing pictures.... and we're looking forward to going back again.
Bill & Janis Webb, Aug 2013
5353 North Federal Highway, Suite 300, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 U.S.A
Tel: 800 882 9453 Tel: 954 491 8877, Fax: 954 491 9060