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October 2013

Olivers Camp

Posts Tagged ‘ Olivers Camp

Ron. C, 2013, USA

Dear Ed,

Our African Safari was absolutely spectacular!  The wild life was amazing, way beyond expectations.  All the camps were great, the food was delicious, and the guides were incredibly knowledgeable.  Our guides were Kevin at Oliver’s Camp and Ngorongoro Crater and Pastory on the Serengeti.

Ron. C, 2013, USA

R, Cohen, UK, 2013

Hi Ted and Ed

Sorry for the late reply. We had an absolutely amazing time it was a really incredible trip and thanks very much for all your help organising it.

Particular highlights included:

–       Having an outdoor bubble bath with champagne at Olivers watching elephants graze right in front of us.

–       River crossings at Serengetti under canvas, they were incredible as was our guide Godson. We loved Serengeti under Canvas and the food was amazing there so compliments to the chef.

–       Mnemba despite the astronomical price was incredible, one of the most beautiful places we’ve been and with brilliant food and service, our butler Rajab was brilliant, we absolutely loved it and would love to go back. Probably in about 20 years when we’ve saved up enough again.

There weren’t many minus points we thought the whole thing was wonderful and it went very smoothly, thanks again for all your time and help. We would definitely use Africa Odyssey for future African trips.

Cheers

Ri. Cohen, 2013

 

J Brewer USA 2012

Lodgings – The lodgings were all excellent.

ArushaOnsea House was beautiful, but there was only there enough time to get a few hours sleep and some breakfast before we were on our way. The staff was very welcoming.

Tarangire – Oliver’s Camp…… Wow! Ken and Michelle are great people and great managers. They employ absolutely the best staff, chefs, and guides. It was great sitting on the front porch of our tent and watching elephants and waterbuck stroll by. The food was great and could be served in any of our nice restaurants at home. At mealtime guests all sat together at one table with Michelle and Ken at every meal listening to and entertaining us. One of the guests did have a problem when a honey badger invaded their outdoor shower and kept them at bay for a while. Although the showers at Oliver’s are ensuite, there is one side open to the outdoors. At our other camps, the showers were accessible only from the tent. Perhaps that’s a better design when it comes to keeping the shower free of wildlife. The guides, Mesenga and Erasto, were outstanding and knowledgeable about all the wildlife and birds. This was our first game experience and everything was a wildlife highlight. There were great numbers of elephants, zebra and buffalo, lion with zebra kill, lions roaring at night, elephants eating the brush outside our tent at night, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, cheetahs, wild dogs, gerenuk, hartebeest, a python in a tree, kori bustard, dik diks, secretary birds, eagles, owls, vervet monkeys, hornbills, baobob, sausage and candelabra trees, and on and on. We went on 2 night drives, which were fine, but they need to do something better about spotting wildlife in the dark (perhaps a spotlight on each side of the vehicle instead of a single handheld light with the spotter). Does anybody in the bush use infrared sensors to find game at night?

Lake Manyara – The drive was interesting and of course totally different from a game drive. We were disappointed with our Asilia guide, Esto, who took us from Olivers through Lake Manyara and on to Ngorongoro Crater. He was knowledgeable, but it was near the end of the second day before he warmed up to the cordiality shown by our other guides. And we had quite a scare when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and started to drift off the road. Luckily we were both awake and called to him. At Lake Manyara we did not see any lions, in trees or otherwise, so that was disappointing, but we did see olive baboons with babies, blue monkeys, some elephants, lots of pelicans, hippos, storks, flamingos, and other birds to make up for it. We saw a dead elephant (our guide said it died of natural causes), with rangers in the ready to remove the tusks. Very sobering.

Ngorongoro Crater – Sopa Lodge…. We really expected that Sopa would be too “touristy” and crowded for us but it was not. It was a really nice place. We had a room with a great view of the crater and of course our welcome champagne from you. It doesn’t get better than that! The room was great and the bed had a hot water bottle in it to keep us toasty at night. Nice touch. We went down to the Crater early (left at 6:15) so we could see the sun rise on the Crater. Beautiful. Wildlife highlights were 2 black rhino, lions including a grants gazelle kill, cheetah, hippo, black backed jackal, zebra, buffalo. crowned crane, vultures, buzzards, kites, our only African hare, hyenas and one very lucky wart hog that did not end up as dinner for the hyenas.

Serengeti – Serengeti Under Canvas. They have a great reputation and their service lived up to it. Our butler, Alex, was quick to prepare a shower and quick to offer a drink (we loved Amarula and Afrikoko liqueurs). Their chef was great…. we especially liked his soup recipes. They varied our eating arrangements to sometimes be at single tables on the lawn to sometimes having all the tables being under the dining fly. There’s nothing that can compare to the romantic atmosphere of a gourmet dinner by candlelight in the wilds of the Serengeti. On the downside of Under Canvas…. they are not on top of their maintenance issues. The tent had missing zipper pulls, including the inside pull on the main door/flap, and had zippers that had ripped away from the canvas. The safari vehicles had plastic floor covering that was worn though and cracked. It didn’t make the vehicles any less useful, but for the premium price paid for Under Canvas, it would seem they could afford to keep things close to 5-star quality. It also seemed odd that the staff was not as concerned regarding safety issues …. At our other camps, when we were escorted to/from our tents at night, the camp personnel would be shining flashlights / torches into the woods and grass to see if there were any animals and it was obvious that they were watching out for our (and their) safety. At Under Canvas, there did not seem to be any care taken when moving through the camp at night. The butler walked with us with a flashlight, but did not shine it anywhere but on the path, then he walked back to the staff area with no flashlight for himself. We probably wouldn’t have noticed, so much, except that at Oliver’s, when we were escorted to our tent, when the flashlight was shown through the grass, many eyes were looking back at us. All benign eyes, luckily. Under Canvas had all sorts of animal sounds at night, but the personnel didn’t take any extra care to assure anything near our path was benign. Now to the wildlife. You suggested we stay 4 nights in Serengeti to increase the chances of seeing a crossing. Well we got to see wildebeest crossing the Mara River (our guide said 5000 or more) within 2 hours of landing at Kogatende!!!!!! It took our breath away. We had just landed at Kogatende and the guide picking us up said that we should hurry because the wildebeest looked like they were ready to cross, and he asked them to wait for us 🙂 It was awesome. We watched them for a couple of hours gathering to the left, then turning and running to the right bank of the river, going down to the river’s edge and then back again. And then all of a sudden one leaped into the river…….and we had a crossing. The vehicles all made a mad dash for the river’s edge and for 19 minutes there were wildebeest leaping into the river, being swept downstream against the current, toward hippos and crocs, but from our vantage point able to make it safely to our side of the river. The only sounds were that of wildebeest gruntings and their hoofs pounding along the riverbanks. After 19 minutes all that were going to cross had and there was silence. It was so surreal – we were totally overcome by the moment! Our guide, David was with us for this and all our drives. He was very knowledgeable and really worked hard to find wildlife for us such as lions including cubs, leopard, zebra, impala, buffalo, giraffe, ostrich including nest with eggs, buzzards, kites, eagles, klipspringer, eland, waterbuck, topi, oribi, baby hyena, rock hyrax, grants and thomsons gazelles, even a dung beetle, and on and on and on.

SelousSelous Safari Camp – The absolute top accommodation was Selous Safari camp. The tents were beautiful. The view to the lake from the tent was beautiful. The elephants, giraffes, and baboons wandering past the tent was exciting, not to mention bushbaby and hippos sounds at night. The dining area was beautiful. The scenery around the camp was beautiful. As with Ken and Michelle at Oliver’s, Emiel at Selous is a great manager, and we enjoyed his company at meal times as well. He also had a great chef and great staff. Our butler, Hassam, took excellent care of us and always wanted us to eat more! Our walking safari with Gerald was fun and informative. The boat safaris, with Makuma and Kandindi, on the lake afforded nearly uncountable species of birds (fish eagle, kingfisher, spoonbill, herons, etc.) and nearly uncountable numbers of crocodiles and some exciting moments of big game near the shore. But don’t let those comments take anything away from our jeep safaris in Selous. Our guide, Allen, did everything to be sure we got to see the most that we could. When he heard that wild dogs had been spotted, he took as many road short cuts that he could to get us to see the dogs before they moved off or before it got dark. It was a pack of 10 dogs and the pups were cute as they chased one of the vehicles as it drove off. And for our sundowner, he took us to watch a pride of 12 lions eating a buffalo. Awesome. When Allen took us to the airport for our flight back to Dar to return home, he took a detour so we could have one last game drive of greater kudu before we left. Allen is a real treasure. Other wildlife we saw there included yellow baboon, mongoose, weavers, woodpecker, heron, kingfisher, nile monitor. The list just goes on, including ebony and mahogany trees.

Top game viewing moments were…. Hundreds elephants in Tarangire. The truly endless plains with what looked like a million wildebeest and half a million zebra (as far as the eyes could see) and the incomparable spectacle of wildebeest crossing the Mara river in Serengeti. Rare black rhino in Ngorongoro. Being within a few feet of lion prides (and their kills) and wild dogs in Selous.

Our check off list consists of 46 different mammals, 143 birds, and 15 different kinds of other critters like snakes, lizards, etc.

We will send a few of our best pictures that captured the best moments. With over 2100 pictures snapped, we haven’t reviewed them all, yet, but I will skip ahead to some I know were of some exciting for us. Since the picture files are large, we’ll send them via separate email posts, a couple at a time.

We’ll definitely be in touch when we’re ready for our next African adventure. It’s too good to only do once.

J Brewer USA 2012

C Diaz

Hello Ed/Julian

We are back home! The two weeks we spent in Tanzania went by faster than I wished!! And we absolutely loved every minute of it, thanks a lot for your help putting this trip together! I have a co-worker who is now interested in doing this same trip and I will most definitely recommend Tanzania Odyssey

The trip was fantastic though! We really had an amazing time and got really lucky with our game viewing, we saw everything! Including the ‘big 5’ the highlight was the leopard and lions eating their pray, we saw 2 massive river crossings, no croc kill though, our guide said by this time the crocs are so well fed they don’t bother hunting.

In terms of accommodations Oliver’s Camp and Serian’s were definitely the highlight of our trip, Plantation and Rivertrees are also very charming properties. I would happily stay at the same places again.

Regards,

C Diaz, Canada, 2011

F Carli

Our trip was fantastic. Everything worked out as planned. Starting from the first lodge: the Tree Lodge in Tarangire, overnight. Beautiful room, traditional dinner under the stars with a very good BBQ style.

Oliver’s Camp was as hospitable as it could be. Excellent food from breakfast to dinner. Accomodation is also comfortable and stylish. The lady manager very friendly and so the crew. Sadiq, our tour guide was knowledgable and courteous all through the journey to Ngorongoro and Mynyara lake.

Olakira Camp, Serengeti, well it’s Serengeti. The camp is well managed, good food, very nice people, comfortable accomodation for the price. Our two guides were so friendly they made you feel very welcome. Fadhil Deo and Francis, thanks again, brothers.
We concluded our vacation in Zanzibar at Kono Kono which is a wonderful resort. I just wish they could improve the dirt road to the resort [20 minutes of bumps] but when you get there and you see your villa… WOW! The beach and see are fantastic and so their food.
with kindest regards

F Carli 2011

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