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Trip Report Trip rep Tanz/Kenya Feb 05

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I know if I don't just write and post this now I will never get it done so here it is.
Thanks to everyone who offered advice before we left.

There were so many highlights to this trip I can’t begin to rate them in order so I am just going to do a brief run down on each park and I would love to answer any questions anyone may have.

Booked everything through 2afrika. Did their affordable Tanzania safari & the Great White Mt safari in Kenya. The Kenya trip they re-arranged so we did not have to start in Nairobi but went straight to Amboselli. Had 6 in our vehicle in Tanzania and 4 in Kenya. I would definitely use 2afrika again.

Got our visas at Kilimanjaro airport for Tanz and the land border for Kenya with no problems just US$50 & a form filled out for Kenya which we downloaded and filled out before leaving home.

Predator’s safari were the Tanzania operators. I have heard lots of good things about them but we had a less than perfect guide. Not bad by any means but just not willing to work with us on some things. When we brought this up with the manager of Predators when we got back to Arusha she got very defensive about it and turned it back on us a little even though what we had been asking for where things she recommended. All in all this did not damage our trip in any way but if I was organizing a safari though a local operator I would have to get a very good deal from predators and if I went through 2afrika I would talk to them about a specific guide this is what others I spoke to who had traveled with them before had done and they had arranged this.

Naked Wilderness were the local operator in Kenya and I have absolutely nothing but praise for them and would definitely contact them directly. Thomas in the office was nothing but professional and our driver Jonathon was just great always concerned that we were happy with departure times etc. We were early birds and photographers and he caught on quickly that we like to be out a little earlier for the morning light etc.

Tarangire: Had read a few accounts prior to going that this was not the best time of year to head here however, we thought it was just lovely. Saw huge hoards of elles, ostrich, lions in trees plus more and it is a beautiful park.

Lake Manyara: More tree climbing lions. Lots of giraffe. Watched a family of elles playing in a mud hole for ages. The young ones were just adorable as they got in over their heads (literally) and then scrambled to get out and then played around almost saying “I meant to do that”! They were just having so much fun, it was fantastic.

Ngorongoro Crater: Absolutely spectacular. Saw every animal in close quarters except no leopod and the rhino were at a distance. Saw four cheetahs chase an impala but no kill so they just rested in the sun so we could admire them. When we go to the lunch spot there were quite a few vehicles and non of us really wanted to hang around there too long so once we had eaten we asked our driver if we could head out again which we did and were treated to spending some time alone with a pride of lions right on the roadside. The crater is definitely a must especially for a first visit to Tanzania. I had been there more than 10 years before and it was better than I remembered and my husband felt it was the best day of the trip for him for his first visit to Africa. Heard some conflicting reports as to what is going to happen with crater visits. Half days only and someone told us that you would not be able to do 2 half days back to back. I asked the manager of the safari company when we got back to Arusha and she said they had not been given all the restrictions yet so it will be interesting to see what eventuates.

Between Ngoronogoro & Serengetti but still in the Ngorongoro conservation area we were lucky to come across a bit of the migration. There were literally thousands of wildies & zebra as far as the eye could see. This is also where we say the vultures at work for the first time making short work of a wildie carcass. The noise was amazing.

Serengetti: The definite highlight was watching a cheetah hunt & kill a reed buck within 6ft of our vehicle, incredible. Saw our leopards here too!

Amboselli: As we first drove in and saw dozens of huge dust devils everywhere and it looked so barren I though we wouldn’t see much wildlife here. The dust devils were really quite fascinating and in the late afternoon they certainly helped create some great sunsets. I was of course wrong thinking I would not see much wildlife. Lots of elles, a big male lion dragging the remains of a wildie to a hiding place before he sank into soft grass in front of us exhausted from his efforts. Also we were rewarded with fantastic views of Kili for nearly the whole day both days. One morning was memorable for something so simple has heading out very early and coming across a heard of buff stomping up the dust as the sun rose behind them creating an incredible orange glow. Just beautiful.

Serena Mt Lodge: This is an interesting place. No big game but it was nice to be up in the mountains and spend time just watching the activities of the animals around the waterhole.

Lake Nakuru; I have to say I did not think Lake Nakuru was a particularly pretty park. But it is fantastic for the flamingos & rhino closer than you ever need them to be.

Maasai Mara: Yes the drive from Lake Nakuru to Mara is still a long bumpy 5-6 hours!!!
Stayed at Sienna Springs Tented camp and just loved it. It is a beautiful place and very relaxing. We had three nights so we opted to do one full day out to the Mara river. Saw hundreds of hippo. Lots of lion & cheetah also. The other day we opted for a half day out in the morning and then spent the afternoon relaxing.

Bottom line it was an absolutely fantastic trip.

Now we are pouring over our photos and video and reliving it all.

Our big consternation now is where to go on our next trip. Southern Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia or we both have a urge to head to Bhutan. Can anyone help??!!!!

Safe & Happy travels.

J

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