This summer we had a great vacation going on safari in Tanzania. Unlike other vacations where miles of walking was the norm this was mostly riding in an open Land Cruiser. We booked a 10 day tour with Nigel Perks Discovery. His company was referred to us by an acquaintance who had been on several safaris with Nigel. Our tour consisted of visiting 4 destinations; Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, and North Serengeti. We were extremely fortunate to have Jombi Kivuyo as our tour guide.
It was intriguing to learn he was born in a Maasai village but gave up the Maasai way of life (cattle herding) to better himself and his family. He is extremely knowledgeable about the animals and plants in the region and enthusiastically shared this information. Our accommodations were diverse and quite comfortable. We stayed the first two nights in Arusha at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge. It is a family owned farmhouse with 10 rooms. It was originally built by a German in the early 1904, went into disrepair during WWI and acquired by the current family almost 40 years ago. It is one of the oldest lodges in Arusha, since 1972, and is 5 star rated (for Africa).
The grounds are beautiful with a manmade lake set in lush gardens amid the forest. It is a nice place to spend several days, enjoy the grounds and hike Mt. Kilimanjaro only 30 minutes away. The next 2 days were in the lux-tent campground, Oliver’s Camp, in Tarangire National Park. Our tent, just like the others, featured a king size bed, electricity with lights, in-door bathroom with shower as well as an outdoor shower, writing desk, closet and was oriented among neighboring tents for complete privacy. The following 2 days were in another 5 star lodge, Plantation Lodge, near the Ngorongoro Crater.
The lodge is set in lovely gardens on a coffee farm, has 14 bedrooms and a swimming pool. 2 days later found us at a mobile campsite, Olakira Camp, with a view of the Mara River in Northern Serengeti where we were able to witness the wildebeest migration. These accommodations were as comfortable as Oliver’s Camp. The food and service at each destination was great! At the campsites escorts were needed between the hours of 6:30 pm and 6:30 am because the animals pass through the camps at night.
We were initially taken with how nonchalant the animals were when we pulled up to them in our vehicle. Apparently since we pose no danger to them and they don’t see us as “food” we seemed to be ignored, with the exception of a young bull elephant making fake charges at us. We saw the “Big 5”; lion, cape buffalo, leopard, rhino, and elephant. In addition we drove through herds of wildebeest and zebra, saw giraffe’s, various species of monkeys (including baboons – one tried to jump into our Land Cruiser when we were parked to get food), crocodiles, hyena’s, many species of birds, flocks of flamingos and many others too numerous to list. It was all very surreal. We found ourselves on the go early each morning and throughout the day as the animals to view are not on “our schedule”. At day’s end at the campsites we enjoyed cocktails around a campfire while watching the sunset followed by scrumptious dinners.
I highly recommend for those who enjoy the outdoors (my wife who is not a big proponent of camping thoroughly enjoyed herself, even when hearing lions roaring near our tent at night), wonderful food, service and have strong desire to see these amazing animals of Africa in the wild.