J Ansbaugh

Jambo Edward!

Happy New Year – Hope that all is well with you.   We truly had the time of our lives on our 3 week African holiday.  We’d both go back in a heartbeat; given the opportunity. J  Thank you for the incredible itinerary that you helped us put together.   Your expertise and patience helping us design this trip made this our ultimate dream trip.   Everything went perfectly (after our late arrival in Nairobi due to the snow in Amsterdam J).    What an incredible trip!  You truly suggested some of the most amazing places to stay and the timing of our stay in each location was perfect.

To summarize our trip, here is a brief recap of our thoughts on each place we went on our trip….

Masai Mara, Kenya @ Naibor Camp
Loved our guides!   Loved that they wear their native Samburu tribe clothing.
Naibor Camp was the most well run place that we stayed….and that is due to the outstanding camp managers and staff.  They made us feel right at home.
Loved the food….it was the best we ate on the trip.  And we had a lot of great food.
Loved our Askari – they were all so very personable and service oriented.  I also love that they are dressed in African clothing.

Had our best animal sightings at the Mara without a doubt.    Had incredible sightings and it was really so unique that you can get as close to the animals as you can in the Mara.
Loved the bird sightings and the bird tour that Adam, one of the camp managers, provided.  So cool.

A wonderful, wonderful experience!   We can’t say enough how much we enjoyed our stay.
Love telling folks about how we’d hear the hippos slipping back into the river in the wee hours of the morning after their evening grazing. Loved our story telling and discussions at the dinner table. Lots of fun!

Arusha, Tanzania@ OnSea
A beautiful property, loved the view of the lush vegetation around the property
Loved cleaning up after our time in the bush and taking a nice swim in the pool
Excellent food at the restaurant

Serengetti, Tanzania@ Dunia Camp
Loved the scenery of the Serengetti.   I thought it was the most scenic of all the places we went.

Had a wonderful guide from the Chagga tribe
The camp was nice and we met a lot of wonderful people.
Had  a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration where the camp staff performed different songs and dance from their various tribes which was a lot of fun.  Christmas Day we had a special brunch which was a lot of fun.

Had a very different landscape and view from camp looking out into the fields from our tent but was very beautiful as well

Lots of great animal sightings – giraffes with the landscape of the Acacia trees was wonderful, a great lion sighting of a large pride of lions, had a couple of cheetah sightings and loved the wildebeast sightings with the larger groups running (had an awesome viewing as we flew into the Serengetti).  One really good leopard spotting too.   Was surprised that we saw very few elephants though.

Met a lot of nice people – especially a family from the UK who we later saw again at the Plantation Lodge.

They called campfire there “Bush TV” which we thought was pretty cute.

Lake Manyara, Tanzania@ Plantation Lodge

Beautiful scenery around the lake and driving down into the lake area
Lots of fun sightings of baboons and blue monkeys
Some great elephant sightings

Saw a different type of wildebeast there

Saw a few new birds and a monitor lizard which was fun.

The Plantation Lodge was a beautiful place with a very different feel – lush gardens, an older colonial style to the lodge and rooms, great food, a swimming pool.  Nice for a little pampering after being out in the bush.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania@ the Serenna Crater Lodge
The crater is absolutely magical and it was so incredible that we saw 7 different black rhinos on the first day!

A microcosm of animals all within a smaller space so it was great to see them all together
An incredible view of the crater from our hotel room and fun to see the different lush vegetation of the highlands

The lodge was a very different feel since it was much larger than any of the other places we stayed so while it was very nice, it didn’t have quite as personal a feel (we admit we’d gottn a little spoiled by the previous two places J)

Our guide there was nice, but had been working in the business a lot longer so he wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as our guides at Naibor and Dunia Camps.

Zanzibar, Tanzania@ Ras Nungwi
A beautiful place and a great way to unwind at the end of the trip with 5 nights at the beach
Loved our waterfront bungalow and were very impressed by the resort staff and resort.   Great food as well (as you can see….a common theme – we ate a lot of great food on the trip!)

Had fun festivities and entertainment – live music for the New Year
Did a day trip to the Jozani Forest where we had amazing sightings of the Red Colobus monkeys up close on a walking tour then went to a Spice Farm and saw how many spices grow.  Both were excellent and we had a really good guide for the trip.  Got to see more of the island which was beautiful.
Had a wonderful tour of Stone Town where we saw the open markets, walked along the narrow streets and looked at the beautiful Arabic and Indian doors, saw the slave market site and the church there now

Zanzibar is a beautiful and an exotic blend of cultures and we got a lot of nice and hot weather

We were struck at times by some of the staggering poverty in the towns – that was sobering.   Had noticed that in other parts of the trip as well – especially in Tanzanian towns (around Arusha and near the crater)

Jeff really got into learning Swahili in Zanzibar and it was a lot of fun to watch him interacting with the folks at the resort.  J

We both felt that this trip was the trip of a lifetime and managed to even surpass all of our hopes!   That is hard to do because we had so many high hopes for the trip….and still we were completely blown away.  We feel so incredibly fortunate for the opportunity.   Back in our day to day lives, we often comment on memories of Africa and recall the incredible colors, sounds and landscapes.   We are left in awe by the beauty and the vast landscapes and will do everything within our power to give back and ensure that we preserve the incredible treasure that it is.

We dream of returning some day soon.

Until then….

Love,

J Ansbaugh 2011