Clients Trip Reports East Africa: Aug – Sep 2022
Exclusive Safari to Kenya
Dear Mark, et al,
Our trip to Kenya was flawless and magnificent! Both Andrew and I want to thank you all for planning such a special, inspiring and magical trip for us. All of our accommodations were outstanding and all of our many flights were on time!… The hide at Ol Donyo provided us with spectacular views of the big bull elephants, plains zebra, Masai Giraffe, warthogs, and various types of antelope. Horseback riding was a highlight for me and Andrew enjoyed a walking safari. We loved our guide and the staff at the lodge were all amazing as was the food. We LOVED the hot water bottles in our beds each night at every lodge.
Mara Toto was also a special experience as we were the only guests at the lodge. We were fully spoiled. We loved hearing the hippos at night as well as the lions and hyenas. We had a female guide which was really special as we learned there are only 50 in all of Africa. Food was amazing as was the staff. We had heavy rain every day at about 4:30pm that lasted about an hour or so. Again, we loved the hot water bottles in our bed at night…We saw 4 of the big five in the Mara, so exciting!
Borana Conservancy was probably my favorite of the three locations. The food here was also amazing as was the staff. Honestly we could not believe how well fed we were throughout the trip. We felt like geese being fattened for Christmas. LOL . We did several walking safaris here as we were ready to stretch our legs a bit. We saw four of the big 5 here as well and a kill. Our guide was so knowledgeable. He will be testing for his gold level in October and we had a woman trainee as well. Super special. I think we liked Borana so much because you don’t get 20 jeeps at a sighting. It’s a bit more intimate. Lots of rhino sightings as well. We went to the Ngare Ndare Forest and swam in the Blue Pools. Amazing!! Borana has also been affected by the drought although it did not appear as severe as Chyulu Hills. We were told its easy picking for the cats because the prey are becoming weak…
Again, thank you all so much for putting together what truly was a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to do it again!
Cheryl and Andrew Clark, Sep 2022
Safari to Tanzania, Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
I completely enjoyed the experience. The Serengeti particularly got into my soul. I was expecting the gorillas to be the highlight of our trip. It was awesome, we were very luck to see a family without much walking on the muddy trails and to see a family with two youngsters and two silverbacks. It was a long- held dream of mind to see them. I was totally surprised to find out I was sad to leave the Serengeti; surprised to feel so moved emotionally and spiritually by the land and the animals.
Thanks for your help in planning this trip.
Brian Gamble, Sep 2022
Private Safari to Tanzania with Zanzibar Extension
The entire trip was absolutely fantastic! The arrangements all went so smoothly; we never experienced an “uh-oh moment” the entire trip. I can tell you the guides were really great, especially Samwel. He was the most interesting person, so full of information and admiration for the animals and love of his country. He is a very knowledgeable man and has had such an interesting life himself. He taught us many things about the animals and how the animals work together and the earth as well to provide for them all. I feel so fortunate we had him as our guide. Rufina and Marco did a great job in the Serengeti, she was much more reserved but good at spotting animals and answering questions. Anjam in Zanzibar was another very interesting person who loves his country, its history and the use of herbs and spices from his culture. He is a most kind person, feeding stray cats along the way and he gave me some nigella seeds for my granddaughter with asthma and coconut oil his wife purified for my daughter. He just enjoys sharing and what a history Zanzibar has. So the guides are a tremendous asset and key to a great trip.
We saw all the animals except rhinos. We had lovely sightings of cheetah which was my reason for going to Serengeti. Thank you for recommending that!! They seem to live between the airport and Olmara. Lions are everywhere as are elephants, giraffe, hyenas, zebras, wildebeest, monkeys, gazelles, etc. We even saw a leopard for an instant in Lake Manyara. I have the most amazing photos that I’ll share. We were impressed with the respect all the guides all show to the animals. We got up close to some but only for a few minutes which we agreed was the right thing to do…The animals, the scenery, the vastness are so awesome to take in. I still dream about it.
Accommodations were very nice. Beds were good, food was good to fantastic, staff excellent. We heard zebras and warthogs outside our tent at Tarangire Ndovo, cool!… Acadia Farms was way beyond our expectation. It is fairly new, beautiful, and its organic farm-to-table which I don’t remember reading. The staff sang to us and brought bowls and towels to wash our hands before we entered, every day! We had a personal housekeeper who made us swans out of towels and wrote messages in flower petals and also a fellow overseeing everything else for us. The fireplace in the garden was great. It’s so nice to sit out and talk to other guests at the end of the day. Olmara Camp in the Serengeti was very nice, the stargazer tent was so cool. I loved the “bush babies!” We heard hyenas outside the tent…Their chef is amazing, best food! Tents are huge, staff so nice.
One surprise for me was everything I had the slightest concern about was NOT a problem. I saw zero mosquitoes, running water was available everywhere except on game drives (of course), filtered water to drink everywhere, it was not hot, we did not need hats or gloves. The best thing I brought was a big scarf that I wrapped around my head and neck on drives in Serengeti in open jeeps when it was windy and it’s cold early morning and evening. That’s all I needed. You could reassure people of those things.
We thank you for organizing a most wonderful, memorable and adventurous trip for us.
Luana and John Metil, Sep 2022
Tanzania Group Explorer Safari
My husband and I would like to express our thanks for the wonderful safari AAC organized for us in Tanzania this past September 20 – October 1, 2022. From the moment we met our guide, after exiting Kilimanjaro International Airport, we were treated like royalty. Having never visited any country in Africa before, we arrived with fairly open minds; we wanted to see and experience things as they unfolded, without preconceived ideas interfering.
The national parks we visited (Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti) showed us a variety of terrain, climate, flora and fauna and gave us a very good idea of the multi-faceted nature of Tanzania. The accommodations were excellent and varied and the staff always made us welcome and very comfortable. While we had an excellent experience at each of our accommodations, I want to give the staff of Maramboi Tented Lodge a special mention for going above and beyond in making our stay very special.
Our safari exceeded all expectations, due in large part to our excellent guide, Athumani Shabani. He set the tone from the first meeting. After our long flight from Amsterdam, he was welcoming, friendly, good-humored and efficient, attending to all the details of getting us started. He cheerfully answered all of our questions (and we ask a lot of questions) and set us up for the next ten days of amazing experiences.
Over the course of our safari, we became more impressed with Shabani each day. His knowledge of the flora and fauna of Tanzania is encyclopedic. He knew where to find the animals and explained their various behaviors to us in detail. We also had many questions about the cultural life of Tanzania, the country’s history and government, and we had many wonderful conversations as we drove. And speaking of driving: Shabani’s skill behind the wheel is second to none. Even on the roughest of tracks, we always felt safe, and were confident he would get us to and from our destinations without difficulty.
We had the pleasure of visiting a local market near Lake Eyasi late one afternoon, with Shabani and a local guide, Mike. During this visit, we were privileged to see another side of Shabani, as he helped a young boy purchase some new school clothes at the market. We were already impressed with him as a guide but I can say that his kindness and generosity to others sets him apart. Our experience in Tanzania would not have been as rich without Shabani leading us.
Many thanks to all the organizers on the ground in Tanzania and much gratitude to Africa Adventure Company for setting us up with this most memorable experience. We have wanted to visit Africa on safari for a very long time and this visit to Tanzania was definitely the trip of a lifetime.
Denise O’Brien & Jim Logan, Sep 2022
Wilds of Tanzania and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
All at Africa Adventures,
We had a fabulous trip and brought back memories for a lifetime. The real purpose of our trip, seeing incredible native animals and immersing ourselves in the African experience, was a total success. The variety and number of animals and birds we saw exceeded all of our expectations. Thank you for making sure we accomplished that. Also, your advance materials prepared us very well and we never felt like we should have packed additional or different things.
We felt very secure and taken care of every step of the way. From our initial greeting at the Kilimanjaro airport to our final drop off at Kigali airport, every detail was clearly planned in advance and effortless for us (including our VIP treatment through immigration when we initially arrived at Kigali airport).
Our stay at Anita and Phineas’ house (Kahawa Cottages) made a very personal and special first night stay and we departed with lots of information. Our guides, including the one provided at Lemala Mara and particularly Ephraim (with whom we spent more time both in days and because of all the game drives) were fantastic and anticipated our every need. We could not have asked for better guides.
We very much enjoyed the experience of staying in tented camps, which we had not done before, and found all of them to be comfortable, with incredibly welcoming and accommodating staff. Our camp in Central Serengeti, Olmara, including the manager and the food, was particularly outstanding. As was the lodge and staff in Rwanda. Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge served a traditional African dinner and that was excellent. Regarding the food throughout our trip, we generally found individually served meals to be far better than buffets and local dishes to be better than western ones…
Donna Sills and Michael Sloneker, Sep 2022
Private Safari to Tanzania
Thank you Elena for providing such a wonderful experience for our family. Here are a few pics of our family. (Our favorite lodging was Lolkisale Camp in Tarangire and the surprise experience was meeting Jane Goodall).
Ellen Gartenberg, Aug 2022
Best of Tanzania Safari
Deb and I just returned from our African Safari trip that we originally planned for in 2020. To say the least we had a fabulous time!
Your pre-planning information and guidebook were extremely helpful, and it prepared us so much better than other traveler we ran into along the way.
The private nature of most of the trip was outstanding. Our guide that was assigned to us, Wilfred Mollel, made the entire trip “very special”. His expertise, professionalism, knowledge, humor, etc. made our journey AMAZING. He is a jewel and Africa Adventure Company should feel blessed to have him representing you in Tanzania.
We were able to see 4 of the “Big 5” animals in the first 45 minutes with Wilfred. He also made sure we got to see a rhino which many travelers were unfortunately not able to. We took nearly 1,000 photos between our Nikon 35MM camera and our iPhones which helps to memorialize our trip. We eventually saw all the Big 5 along with so many animals and birds, and even the great migration over the Mara River. Each of the 4 camps we stayed in provided 5-star accommodations and customer service. We were always met with a smile and a willingness to make our stay very special. Our guide in Northern Serengeti was Daniel. He was very knowledgeable and wonderful as well. However, Wilfred stole our hearts and we were sad to leave him-we hope that he will stay in touch with us as we provided our email to him to exchange photo’s etc.
We also would be remiss if we did not mention your office staff and Kyle. Kyle was also fabulous to work with and very helpful through the entire planning phase, rebooking (twice due to Covid), and also as we were heading out. He was always very supportive and answered our multiple questions.
We want to Thank You for an African Adventure we will never forget!
Larry and Deb Gossman, Aug 2022
Kenya and Zimbabwe Safari including Mana Pools
Hi Mark & Saskia,
All four of us agreed that it was the best trip of our lifetime, and know in our hearts that it can never be topped. We all feel extremely lucky to have had such an experience. Each day was mind-blowing, and every day even more mind-blowing than the previous! You are the ONLY company I would ever recommend for such a trip, and I kept pointing out the upgrades, differences, etc.
The itinerary was perfect. Perfect flow, type of camps, Vundu and guide Nick Murray at the end, etc.
Lewa House (Lewa Conservancy, Kenya) – was the perfect first camp. It was like being in Disney World with so many animals on the way from the airstrip. We had a wonderful guide, Joseph. The food was good – more like home-cooking, then gourmet, but it was very, very good, with outdoor breakfasts each morning. The rooms and accommodations couldn’t have been better – gorgeous, and thanks to Allison (Mark) for recommending it. The Lewa staff then put on a special anniversary dinner for Debbie & Gary in their private outdoor dining spot – so beautiful it made me teary eyed. So special! Lovely people, and the owner (Culem – a zoologist), gave the most incredible walking safari. Top notch, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone…
Mara Expedition Camp (Maasai Mara, Kenya) – My favorite camp. Classic safari (and I liked it better than the Mara Plains – felt too much like a Ritz Carlton to me), but oh, so classy, down to every small detail. I even took a picture of the logo’d custom toilet roll paper holder in the jeep. The food was over the top gourmet! Every staff member was outstanding and so professional – the best I’ve ever encountered in any 5-diamond hotel. To top it off, the owners, Beverly and Derrick Joubert were there and graced us with their presence at cocktails and then dinner. Animal sightings were different, including thousands of zebra in the great migration and also witnessed from the very professional and well worth every penny balloon safari, followed by a champagne breakfast. Following a walking safari with park ranger, and our guide, we had a short jeep ride to the most beautiful outdoor surprise breakfast set-up & champagne. Again, another teary-eyed moment for me.
Vundu Camp (Mana Pools, Zimbabwe) – what can one say about Nick Murray & Vundu, other than WOW. It was the highlight of our trip and we will carry the memories forever. It was very special that after a pontoon boat ride, that Nick/Des & staff set up a dinner on the bank of the Zambezi, and said they only did it 2 or 3 times a year. I have a deep love in my heart for that team and will make a donation as I worry about all the challenges he has doing business in Zimbabwe…
The Elephant Camp (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe) – what a lovely way to end! Back to luxury and comfort and a place to chill before the long trip home. Loved it! The food and staff all excellent! Had an interesting menu too with my main course of Warthog the last night. Gary & Debbie zip-lined, Dave chilled with a book, and I got a massage – which was excellent!…
No trip will ever surpass this one – not even one to the moon! You did a bang-up job, and for that I can’t thank you enough.
Sally Minnix, Aug 2022
Plains and Primates Safari to Kenya and Rwanda
Good afternoon Elena,
I hope this finds you well. We loved the trip! Jake and Mary loved it as well and talk about going back.
Everything went perfect. The Hemingway in Nairobi was excellent. We arrived late (11:00pm) and they were waiting for us with the kitchen open. Outstanding service.
The Mara Toto was wonderful and very attentive to our every need. The game drives were excellent.
In Rwanda, the Serena Hotel doesn’t disappoint! Our stay at the Amakoro Songa Lodge was nice. The lodge wasn’t run as efficiently at all the other places we have stayed in Africa…however, it was nice.
Our gorilla trek was fabulous, how can’t it be? But, the Golden Monkeys!!!! I can’t thank you enough for highly recommending the Golden Monkey trek. It was outstanding. Thank you again for “insisting” we do it.
All transfers and drivers were on time and friendly.
Just a note, we only had to Covid test upon arrival in Rwanda for both Gorilla and Golden Monkey treks. It was very easy and convenient.
Elena, thank you, again for putting together this outstanding safari. It was another great experience for us that we won’t soon forget. I will contact you when we are ready for our next safari.
Sharon Saleski, Aug 2022
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking and Tanzania Safari
Barby and I had a fabulous time on the trip you planned for us. In most cases, everything exceeded our high expectations. The accommodations at Amakoro Songa Kinigi Lodge, Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Camp and Mpingo Ridge were fantastic. The tent camp was a bit rougher than I expected but we still loved it. You might want to warn guests to bring heavy duty ear plugs as the wildebeests bellowing all night can make sleep very challenging.
All of the food was fantastic and the service staff could not have been more helpful and accommodating. Even our flights went off without a hitch. And virtually no flies or mosquitoes!!!.
So thank you again for planning such a great trip. We will for sure be referring all of our friends to you who are thinking of an African adventure.
Bruce Salk, Aug 2022
Primates & Plains Safari to Rwanda & Tanzania
Our trip was great!
We must say our guide, Ephata, was wonderful! He knew where to go for the right views of all the animals. He also was very personable and formed a relationship with us. A good man, we would highly recommend him!
So the highlights of our trip are as follows:
- The “Great Migration” was wonderful and breathtaking! We saw it all!
- Being with the mountain gorillas, they were amazing!
- The stay at Siringit Serengeti Camp was the best out of all the stays, paying attention to details. You should try to use them for more nights, they were great.
- The second best stay was at Ingagi Park View Lodge, the fires for warmth, the foot massages for comfort, etc. Very nice touches.
- We did enjoy all the tent glamping!
- The best meal was lunch in Kigali at the buffet at the Serena Hotel, beautiful!
- The Genocide Museum and Memorial was very well done, vey informative and moving. Lessons for us all!
- We also went to the Dian Fossey Gorilla facility, very well done and time well spent. An amazing woman and wonderful work, we recommend adding this to your itineraries.
- We flew over via business class on Qatar, Highly recommended! It made a difference.
This was a trip that everyone should experience the trip of a lifetime. Thank you for pulling it all together and making it a smooth experience! All connections were smooth, the guides were excellent.
Most kind regards,
Larry and Kathy Stahl, Aug 2022
“Great Guides” Private Safari to Tanzania
Thank you so much! Just wanted to send a note to say how much we LOVED Ephata! Seriously the best guide (for anything) we’ve ever had!! He was so knowledgeable, kind, had our best interest of getting to have the best trip we could have in mind the entire time! So so grateful that you paired us with him!
And we couldn’t have LOVED the staff at Mpingo Ridge anymore! Everyone was so so nice everywhere we went, but the Mpingo Ridge staff was extraordinary!
Kathleen Weber, Aug 2022