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August 2014

Lake Manyara

Posts Tagged ‘ Lake Manyara

Powers, USA, 2014

Ok so a review of the Big Daddy. It was really a great trip (you and I did a great job).  After experiencing a private game reserve and Singita properties I would skip the National parks and fly straight to Grumeti. Being able to go off road get so close to the animals with a 3 vehicle limit made such a difference. There was just no comparison.  Our guide Aloyce was excellent as were all the Singita guides. To be fair, when we visited the Crater it was raining and the viewing wasn’t great.  But when we did see something we were with 30 other vehicles.  Our guide was nice but after experiencing the A+ Singita guides he gets a B-

THE LODGES:

Plantation-beautiful. Rooms were great, food pretty good, service excellent. Really liked this place.

Sabora- my favorite! If I did it again I would just stay there rather than move to Faru. Looking out to the plains every morning was wonderful.

Faru -loved the rooms and pool and gym but prefer the views from Sabora

Loved the chef and our surprise breakfast in the wild.

Mara River Camp-so cool. Great camp. Service was great, food okay, tents were great, views fantastic.  Loved the remote part of the Serengeti. Only disappointment is they switched our guide from the cool Masai guide, Mathew, to this other guy who wasn’t nearly as personable.

GAME VIEWING

Lake Manyara -lots of Baboons! Nice park but we saw everything there times 100 in Grumeti

Crater- definitely worth the view from above. Great to see the local Masai who live there. As mentioned it was rainy. According to our guide the animals weren’t active.

Grumeti-fantastic.

Mara River Awesome! We were so disappointed to hear the migration had come and gone a month earlier at Sabora. So glad we booked Mara as a back up because the wildebeest started arriving the day we got there. On our evening drive we saw an endless line of wildebeest running across the plains toward the river.  The next afternoon we were fortunate enough to see several successful and unsuccessful 🙁 crossings.

A few minor details.

Charters. The pilot told me since we were the only ones on the flight from Lami to Kenya we could have called the airline to pick us up a couple hours later. Would have been nicer to hang out at the camp versus 6 hours inn Nairobi airport. Good to know.

Length of stay. Ideally I’d stay 4/5 days at Sabora. By the sixth day I felt we were covering the same ground and looked forward to the Mara. If it is migration time Mara warrants a third day.

So Ed that’s it for this review. Thanks for putting it all together. It was really a pleasure working with you.

L. Wattiau, 2012 (Belgium)

Hi Edward,

We want to thank you very much for the great organization of our honeymoon. Our expectations were high but they were definitely matched and even surpassed. Not only was Tanzania a superb destination, each part of the trip (mountain, safari, Zanzibar) as well as each hotel added value to this unique experience. In each hotel, we were very happy with the room we got (ex: nice terrace with breathtaking view on Mt Meru and surrounding hills in Onsea, bungalow facing the see in Ras Nungwi, room with roof top bathroom in Zanzibar Palace, …)

Climbing up to the top of Mt Meru was certainly not an easy walk (for us) but how rewarding it was to see the sun rising above Mt Kili and the surrounding see of clouds. Definitely worth it…and one of my highlights! (also because it provides the opportunity to walk in the nature vs. sitting in a car most of the time during the safaris )

Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater were amazing but, in our opinion, could not compete with Serengeti where nature is somehow ‘wilder’ and all around you at all time. Also because Serian is just unrivalled…definitely our favorite place during the trip.

With regards to the guides, they were both great in Manyara/Ngorongoro and Serengeti.

We also liked our stay in Zanzibar, very relaxing. We also scuba dived and went on a dolphin trip. This was definitely one of Nathalie’s highlights on Zanzibar. We went to Kizimkazi in the afternoon (instead of the morning as usually done by tourists). Besides two fishermen’s boats, our private boat was the only one out at that time. We actually saw several groups of dolphins and came back to Kizimkazi at sunset.

We are extremely happy of our honeymoon, you really made it a unique experience! All the organization was just perfect (as already mentioned above)…thank you again for that!

Kind regards,

L. Wattiau, 2012

V. Kite, 2012, Australia

Hi Ed,

Will give some more specific feedback sometime later this week.

Game viewing was excellent…so much so that after the first 7 days Marg looked at me and said, “well, what else is there to see? What are we going to do for the next 3 weeks??”

As you would expect, we saw lions everywhere – as usual, lying around looking fat and doing nothing! I think we saw lions at every camp/lodge (except Mahale and Ras Kutani of course – he he!). The lions were so inactive we got excited when they even did so much as stand up. However, did catch lions mating at two places.

Plenty of leopard sightings (three separate sighting at Ruaha) and cheetahs (Ruaha and Tarangire) also. Saw wild dogs both days at Lake Manze. The chimps were amazing – if I were to tell you that we even got an extra chimp viewing session when they came into camp the morning we were leaving, you wouldn’t charge me extra would you??

In the Serengeti, we saw our first crossing 5 minutes after being picked up from the airstrip when we casually drove down to the river for a quick look – nobody else there either, as they were crossing north to south, so no one had been watching for them. Saw a huge crossing each day…got sick of all the death and destruction. The migration was in full swing in the area when we were there.

No rhino sightings unfortunately – never mind.

Highlights:

. food and various ‘experiences’ created by the Beho Beho team (lowlight – how much weight I put on).
. wild dogs (my favourites) at Lake Manze
. overall game viewing at Ruaha – definitely the best overall game viewing of the whole trip, aided by an excellent guide (Joffrey)
. Mahale and Lake Tanganyika – everything about it! – the camp, the chimps, the varied experiences and things to do, and above all the wonderful guides there
. Serengeti – the lodge (Lamai)…particularly the pool! Sighting of a male leopard right on dusk…then hearing another leopard call in the distance, and witnessing the male leopard cab reuniting with his mother
. Tarangire – night drive, and the wonderful relaxed atmosphere created by our favourite managers, Ken and Michelle (strangely enough, who happened to be fellow Aussies)
. Ngorongoro – such a wonderful surprise when Peter turned up on our first night there to be our butler at the Crater Lodge – he came back especially for the two days in the middle of his leave just for us; wine and cheese out on Marg’s deck overlooking the Crater is an experience I’ll never forget
. Ras Kutani – an absolutely perfect, relaxing way to end. So glad we went here rather than to Zanzibar
. made some great friends in our travels

Cheers,

V. Kite, 2012, Australia

D. McKee 2012, USA

Hi Edward

highlights are difficult to pinpoint as the whole trip was so great. But I would say the game viewing and the diving.

We caught the latter end of the wildebeest migration – what an awesome sight and sound. Driving to our Serengeti Lodge the first night we arrived there we drove through a valley through which the herd was passing. Habib stopped the vehicle – and the noise was incredible! Like the sound of a small train going through. I had never imagined the sound that 1000s of wildebeests in close quarters would make. And on our last day driving out of the park we caught the start of the zebra migration which follows the wildebeest.

The cheetah kill was another amazing sight that happened right in front of us. We also got up close and personal with a small herd of elephants at Lake Manyara. The sight of the vast plains of Serenegeti teeming with game, and the Ngorongoro Crater like a huge bowl of wildlife are memories that will stay with me. And the leopard in the tree just metres from our vehicle – sleeping peacefully quite unconcerned that we were so close to him.

Then arriving in Zanzibar to the white soft sand beach and the blue seas. We booked the diving through the lodge with Scuba Libre Diving. Very professional outfit too. The first day the diving was among the best we have ever had. Second day was really good, but the weather was changing and the visibility not so good. Still great dive – we saw Frog fish, Stone fish, turtles, moray eels, Scorpion fish and many others. So we decided to spend the 3rd day relaxing at Shooting Star – long walk on the beach, chill on the lounger at the pool. And then ended off with a wonderful sea swim on the incoming tide – great waves and body surfing!

The Jozani forest trip was interesting. We had a really great guide, Abdul. Very knowledgeable. And Stone Town was fascinating with all the little winding alleyways and streets. Loved the hotel – and what superb seafood in their restaurant.

I found a forum on TripAdvisor where someone asked about your operation, and left a comment there. I could not find a TripAdvisor page for your company. But I did leave comment on the pages for both Roy Safari’s and Shooting Star Lodge.

Once again our thanks for interpreting our wishes to perfection. The trip ran like a well-oiled wheel, with everyone and everything as on the itinerary. Such great organisation meant we could really enjoy our holiday to the full.

Regards
D. McKee 2012, USA

D & J Collis

Hi Edward,

We both agreed that we had to write to you and let you know just how great our trip was!

Echo Beach hotel was fantastic. The owners and all the staff made us feel very welcome and it was the perfect hotel for us. Small, quiet, on the beach, fantastic food, clean rooms and great service. They were extremely helpful in organising trips for us and in particular the diving was very good. We are both keen scuba divers and so having an instructor on-site was really helpful. We did dives from the hotel in their own dive boat as well as a trip to the other side of the island organised and led by the Echo Beach instructor and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.The hotel even managed to organise for me to watch England play in the world cup at a nearby bar!

Next came the Safari in the south (Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara). This was our first safari and so both of these experiences were amazing to us (despite being warned that these areas are closer to zoos than Safaris). A private jeep was definitely worth-while so thanks for the advice with regard to that. Plantation Lodge was lovely too: beautiful rooms, more great food and very helpful staff.

The grand finale was of course the trip to the Northern Serengeti and to Alex Walker’s Serian camp. This was definitely one of if not the best wildlife experiences we’ve ever had on our travels (and having backpacked all over the world – including places such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, hopefully this is saying a lot). The camp is extremely well organised with fancy plumbed “tents”, great food and great service. However, the real reason this camp is so great is of course Alex himself. As well as making every evening meal memorable with his stories and general wildlife knowledge, he clearly cares a great deal about the experience that every one of his guests has. He works as hard as he can with your guides (who are also excellent) to get you to the right places at the right times and to make sure you are enjoying yourself. Consequently, we got to see all of the big five within about 10m from our car. An intimidating site when one of those big five is a massive Rhino.
Of course, ticking off the big five wasn’t even the biggest highlight wildlife-wise – that had to be being in the middle of The Great Migration – and again we have you to thank for convincing us that this was the best idea for us and the best use of our money. I think in fact, our only negative point for the entire trip would be that we wanted more time at this camp. It was that good and every
extra day is definitely worth it.

So, finally, we can fully recommend everything that you organised for us on the trip. Every hotel, trip and even connections were perfect.

And of course that means that we can fully recommend yourself also. Being backpackers and used to organising our own trips, we weren’t really sure what to expect. We are so used to having to sort out
transport and connections ourselves that we found it hard to believe it could all work so smoothly; which it definitely did. Our stay at the Serian camp convinced us we have to return to it when it moves
South and so we will no doubt be requiring your services again in the
future.

Many thanks for all your help and advice and for booking us a fantastic and memorable honeymoon.
J Collis 2011

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