So, I am not sure there are words to describe just how magical this trip was for the four of us. Africa Dream Safaris set up an 11 day trip that spanned from Singita Sabora Tented Camp in the Grumeti Reserve, to Crater Lodge at the South of Tanzania. From the moment we landed at Mt Kiliminjaro Airport, we were greeted and guided with the utmost professional staff throughout our stay.
Our guide, Thomson, was knowledgeable, attentive, polite, protective and a delight to be around. We invited him to dinner with us every night and he was pleased to spend even more time than he did all day every day in our Landrover! When we left, we felt like we had made a new friend.
He worked tirelessly even while we slept, he cleaned out the car for us! He spent hours and hours searching for every species of animal we could wish for. Our list at the end of the safari was 2 pages long. Far beyond any of our expectations. The first two hours of landing in the Serengeti, we were stunned at what would come to be one highlight after another. Each day, each resort, we kept saying “how could it get better than this?”, but it did.
Singita is something everyone should be so privileged to see once in their lifetime. It is the ultimate of service, food preparation, organization and without a doubt the best staff we have ever seen. When you walk into the hot drawn bath and chilled champagne as you pull up from a fabulous tour of their private reserve, you actually start to giggle. The fact that the entire resort is tented, is the last thing you think of as you drink from Waterford crystal goblets. The bbq under candle lit trees was stunning and surrounded by the entire migration of wildebeest.
Four Seasons was a welcome “lodge” experience after we spent one night at Seronera, which is really a tented lodge. Jonas, the manager, is adorable, but be ready for a shower really from a bladder of hot water that they fill upon your request! At the Four Seasons, the Masai warriors surround you and make you forget there are structures around you instead of tents.
The food was perfect and the pool with elephant watering hole was like having a safari come to you and walk in front of you for hours on end, without getting into your car! A nice break and again, perfect service, fabulous suite with private plunge pool and elephants/baboons/zebras/a lion/and various gazelle walking by your deck at all hours of the day and night. Truly beautiful.
Mbalageti Lodge, the next stop at the end of a very long dirt road, was again a “magical” setting with a very gracious staff. Sitting for meals on the pool and deck area above the expansive Serengeti plains was literally like being in the movie Out of Africa. The Presidential Suite would have fit an entire family with room to spare. The views were astounding and Thomson knew all the places to look for our requested animals of the day.
We chose to fly back down to Crater Lodge, which entailed one phone call to Africa Dreams and a beautiful Cessna Caravan came right on time to get us and take us southward. Thomson drove down to meet us and we promised to wait for him for dinner. The flight was perfect and to see what we had previously toured on land was a real learning experience from the air.
Crater Lodge was like walking back in time to some sort of castle. We felt like Hansel and Gretel when we arrived. The magical drawn baths with rose petals and setting throughout the property is something we could only envision in a Hollywood movie set.
The crater itself was a blanket of yellow flowers, with all the Serengeti animal friends we had seen on dusty roads all week, suddenly standing amidst gorgeous color. Who would have dreamt that we landed in a totally different environment with lakes, water, greenery and plush forests.
Day 9 and we felt like we were starting another vacation entirely. New set of cold climate clothes and an eating area that was certainly patterned after some famous castles in Europe. How could we go wrong? You just kept pinching yourself as each day went by, that these places are literally and figuratively in the middle of nowhere and are as perfect as anyone could make them in a huge city.
On our flight back to the States, we talked about how we slept with animals no more than 25 feet from our bedrooms every single night of the Safari. Different animals in each resort, some near the decks, some next to the tents, some just below your room. All the noises you imagine occur on a Safari. Endless music to our ears.
We saw lions, leopards, hippos, monkeys, baboons, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelle, buffalo, water buck, hippo, buffalo, elephants, zebra, flamingos, cheetahs, crocodiles, birds of every color, dick dicks, hogs…and the list went on and on. We had picnic breakfasts and lunches all over the Serengeti that were each as amazing as one could ask for, in settings that were magnificent. The food in each lodge was superb and anything you requested was brought to you with a smile.
Thomson took us to see FAME, the medical clinic, which was very interesting since we had a doctor on board! What a story that was to hear!
Thank you Dawn, for helping plan the perfect adventure through Tanzania. We cannot wait to come visit again. Now we understand what our friends had said about Africa being “life changing”.
It is a magnificent area that we hope stays able to sustain the animal life as it is for years and years to come. To see such an unspoiled beauty is very special to those who live in the USA. We saw so few people through our stay, we felt very special to be able to visit such a natural beauty.
Stacey B and Manny B.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Safari Dates: May 14, 2014 to May 24, 2014