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November 2012

Onsea House

Posts Tagged ‘ Onsea House

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

D. Trice, 2012, USA

I just wanted to let you know that our group had a fantastic trip and that all the arrangements you made for us were perfect. The highlights of the trip were the stays at Serian and Beho Beho, the latter being the favorite of the ladies. The Crater and Manyara were predictably crowded but we had a good day in the Crater. We spent 3 nights in Stone Town on Zanzibar and all agreed that one night there would have been better.
My favorite place was Alex’s Serian camp and we enjoyed having Alex as our guide. The days were long (6:30 am til dark) but we saw some incredible things. The highlights were:
– a huge male water buffalo walking straight through a pride of 15 lions at twilight to get to his watering hole. He had no fear of the lions who gave some thought to an attack but without males around, they wisely avoided a contest.
– 2 Mara River crossings and another tributary crossing
– a cheetah kill of a Thompson’s gazelle
– a leopard catching the early morning sun on a high rock. Later, a lion appeared on the rock above the leopard. The leopard was quite aware of the newcomer but the rocks were screened by shrubs and it did not appear the lioness was aware of the leopard. We watched the leopard climb down the rocks and later into a tree.
– some of our group also saw a rhino
– lots and lots of elephant and obviously 1000’s of wildebeest.

At Beho Beho highlights were:
– tracking lion prints and finding 5 lions on a very recent kill of a small giraffe
– birds at Lake Tagalala
– walking trips away from the lodge and getting within 15 meters of an elephant
– finding a leopard on the way back to the lodge after sundowners
– a lion walking through the camp one evening and letting us know of his presence
– a group of 8 elephants who visited the camp daily. The herd included 2 very young elephants and they were a joy to watch. We shot a short film of them from the shower in our banda.
– the accommodations at Beho Beho were luxurious and service and food (thanks Karin) were outstanding. As mentioned, the all the women loved Beho Beho including the more relaxed pace where you return to the lodge for lunch and avoid the mid day heat. This makes sense but I would have liked the option to stay out and would have liked more time to explore around Lake Manze where we saw lots of game and lions.

All in all a fabulous trip which was greatly enjoyed by all 13 in our group. Thanks for all your assistance.

D. Trice, 2012, USA

S Kirby

Dear Daniel,

Firstly, a belated huge thank you to Julian who organised our honeymoon – it was fantastic and we felt that he had really listened to what we wanted and booked us the places that suited our time and budget, as well as our competing desires for adventure and relaxation.

We first stayed at Onsea House in Arusha for two nights.  This was very relaxing after a long flight from New Zealand with a beautiful pool and fantastic food.  The staff were also really helpful.  We had the family suite upstairs on the top floor of the main building.  I have seen it commented that that suite’s bedroom gets a little bit of noise from the kitchen below, and this was true, but it wasn’t excessive and didn’t stop us sleeping soundly.  If I had my choice (we got the last room available) I’d probably book the rooms down by the pool, as they are probably more relaxing.

Next we stayed at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.  This accommodation is a little dated, but we were aware before going that the best part of staying there is the view and the relatively quiet access to the crater which were in fact great.  When we arrived they did try and put us into a room with no view (it looked into some scrub), but after pointing out how unsatisfactory that was they were happy to change our room and we then got a view out over the crater.

From Ngorongoro we went to stay at Alex Walker’s Serian Maswa mobile camp for three nights.  This was excellent.  The personal service was outstanding, nothing was too much trouble and it was completely up to us what we did.  Staying here is not like staying at a permanent lodge (as some of the other guests seem to have expected) – it is a camp where hot water is carried to your tent for you to shower and food is cooked in a mobile kitchen – but that is what makes it so great.  During the days we went on walking as well as driving safaris, visited local villages and relaxed with a stunning view out over the plains.  We cannot recommend this place highly enough, especially in contrast to the zoo like atmosphere of the Ngorongoro crater – at Alex’s we didn’t see anyone else on safari until we drove to the airstrip to fly out on our last day!

From Serian Maswa we took a series of flights to Zanzibar and Pongwe Beach Hotel.  Pongwe was stunning and a perfect place to laze about for a few days.  We had a “garden view” room (the beach front rooms were all taken when we booked) and while it was set back from the beach that didn’t matter at all as we still had a view of the beach from our front porch and we spent all of our time on the beach, by the pool or in the restaurant anyway.  Pongwe is a low key beach resort, where you decide your own pace, it’s not a big Club Med style resort, but more like some of the beach resorts in Thailand, where the thrill of the place is relaxing and deciding what you do rather than having activities thrown at you (although they were available if you wanted them).

Our last stop was Ras Kutani on the mainland.  We stayed in one of the suites up on the ridgeline which was outstanding and felt like we had our own private getaway (although it was only 2 or 3 minutes walk from the main restaurant).  Monkeys would regularly swing through the trees in front of the suite and our view along the coast was stunning.  Before going we were slightly concerned about whether the beach would be good for swimming, however we needn’t have worried as when we could drag ourselves away from the excellent food and drinks, the sea was great and there’s even a wreck close by that was perfect for snorkelling around.  This is the perfect place to relax after a safari and we’ve already recommended that others go.

Thanks and kind regards,

S Kirby 2011

S Hearn

Dan

Herewith some comment on the places we stayed at:

  • Onsea House. Two really fun Belgiques run this extraordinary hotel with very high quality food. We eat and drank to a very high standard in fun surroundings. We will certainly go there again. It is handy for Kilimanjaro airport and Arusha airfield.
  • Ngorongoro Serena – a little tired but did the job. It is well positioned for a one or half day safari in the crater and you would not want more than that. Friendly and does the trick.
  • The Serengeti Serena – this is a gem tucked away in the middle of the Serengeti – that is far better that it would seem at the outset. High quality management and loyal staff make this place in our view. The food and accommodation is good without being exceptional but is great value. Well positioned for safari. We always go back to this Serena – and they know us and recognise us.
  • Ras Kutani – this is an exceptional venue on the coast. They should make it easier for guests to get there – but once you have arrived it is a superb place for quiet beach and lagoon time. Very good food, outstanding staff and certainly a place we will go back to. Our second son worked at Ras Kutani four years ago and little has changed; well run and high quality.

I hope this is helpful. We will be back! Regards to Marc.

Best wishes

 

S Hearn 2011

 

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, [email protected] 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, [email protected] 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, [email protected] 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, [email protected] 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

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