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Trip Report---Tanzania

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Back from another terrific trip to Africa--this time Tanzania. I will post link to pics sooner than later but here's the summary.

Used ATR to book accomodations at Katavi (Chada); Selous (Impala) and Mahale to see the Chimps. Stayed at Coffee Lodge in between lodges. Overal, as compared to the other operators that I saw on the ground in Tanzania as well as the personalization and service, I would rate ATR a B minus. Eager to take your money and responsive with email but no on the ground connections and some airline goofs indicate I could have done better.

KLM from LAX to Kili was great (yes you read write). KLM is a consistent non glamerous product but service overal was great.

Coffee Lodge---Arusha Coffee Lodge is great, rooms are huge with fireplace and location to Arusha airport out of the busy City was a real treat.

Chada Katavi---Remote; a 3 hour plane ride with a stop from Arusha but worth the trouble! Management of Camp was phenomenal--they make you feel at home the second you land. Tents were semi-luxurious with the only reminder of where you are the bucket showers. Nomad is very conscious of the carbon footprint and big on conservation. The hippos were everywhere; great lions, buffalo and incredible and different terrain. Sounds at night ranged from the hippos to the lions and this was a first class run camp.

Next was Mahale. What can one say? Think luxury. Robinson Caruso adventure. The Chimps, the main attraction, were actually kind of a letdown for me. I felt we were too organized, too timed and too intrusive. The other camps followed our radio calls and impasses in the mountains created tension. The Chimps themselves were comfortable with us and amazing. But for me the real beauty was the hikes, the fishing on the coast, the beauty of the place and the sense of adventure. Again, really really well managed and since most of the group can from Katavi we had a blast.

Back to Arusha and onite at Coffee Lodge and then off to Selous Impala. Why ATR didnt directly transfer me to Selous from Mahale was a mystery since there was a charter flight.
Selous is awesome. The elephants in the river, the birds, the hippos, the lions, the wild dogs, yes wild dogs were PHENOMENAL. Guides were superb. Boat safaris for birds, elephants and fishing spectacular. This place gets it. The scene is not super luxury (Sands River does that with private butlers) but the feel (escorted to your room at night by massai warriors with swords) and the sounds of the wild on the river and the elpehants outside your tent were priceless.

My third trip. Im sold on Tanzania. Arusha and Dar are half day tours and out for me. The real beauty is getting out and meeting the people and getting out to remote places. This is indeed a special place.

I used a Nikon D300 with 200-500 lens and got some great pics. Ill post a link soon.

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