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Tanzania/Seychelles trip report

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Mar 7th, 2006, 07:28 AM
  #1
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Tanzania/Seychelles trip report

As one who is always up for tipping the odds in my favor - I chose to do exactly what I was told not to do, after recieving negative and misplaced advise from the naysayers who advised that I stay put and disregard any thoughts of going to Africa after my diagnosis and all that followed.

Well, I'm back and intact and feeling quite healthy, healed and feeling very satisfied from taking what has to be the best trip of a lifetime for myself and husband Mike.

With a few last minute adjustments, here's what our itinerary ended up looking like.

Feb. 10, 2006
Boston - Amsterdam - Arusha

Feb.11
New Arusha Hotel

Feb.12
Depart for Private safari, Tarangire -
Day and night drives. Hiking and visiting Maasai.
Kikoti Safari Camp


Feb.14
Day drive
Kifaru Lodge

Feb.15
Lake Eyasi
Hunting with Hadzabe bushmen. Hiking and visiting Datoga,Barabaig and Watindiga tribes.
Kisima Ngeda Camp

Feb.17
Ngorongoro Crater
Day Drives in Crater
Ng. Sopa Lodge


Feb. 19
Serengeti
Early morning and late afternoon drives
Mobile Camping

Feb.22
Morning drive
Fly Serengeti - Kili - Wilson
Karen Blixen Cottages - Karen, Nairobi

Feb.23
Nairobi - Mahe Seychelles (not)
confirmed seats given away (those Kenya Air rats)
Nairobi - Dubai - Seychelles diversion

Feb.24
Mahe, Seychelles
La Meridien Barbaros

Feb. 25
dreamyacht catamaran - Seychelle Islands

March 3
Mahe, Seychelles
La Meridien Barbaros

March 5
Nairobi - 8 hour layover - good shopping and Carnivore
Amsterdam - 8 hour layover - hung out in airport - too whimpy to go out in snow and cold

March 6
Boston - home to dog and kitty hugs.

We ended up shooting 6.5 gigs and could have done more due to shooting some, hopefully well done videos. Shouldn't have been too cheap for the Epson purchase - get one if going. We saw an amazing amount of sights of beautiful people, animals, birds and terrain. We saw an incredible amount of cats and the big 5 including a very up close sighting of a rhino - wahoo - in the Crater - 10 feet away.

As soon as I can find my misplaced brain cells, I'll write up a more detailed report and bore you all to tears.

Til then;
Sherry





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Mar 7th, 2006, 07:40 AM
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Welcome back Sherry! It seems like everyone was in this long planning mode, now everyone is going and returning so quickly! Glad you found the trip healing. Looking forward to your full report.

10 weeks to Zambia!~
Sharon
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Mar 7th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Welcome back, Sherry. I'm thrilled that you made it out of the Dubai airport.

I'm also glad you had such a magnificent time and am looking forward to reading all about it.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Sherry:
Good for you for saying nay to the naysayers--I am glad it ws a healing trip and can't wait for more details--10 feet to a Rhino!
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Mar 7th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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Cybor,
Karibu nyumbani. Nothing is better for your health than to go to Africa. When will you return? Iím looking forward to your report and photos.

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Mar 7th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Welcome back, Sherry! Can't wait to read your full report
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Mar 7th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Welcome back.
A selfish request, of course! We are booked at the Kifaru Lodge during our upcoming trip and would love any feedback from your stay . .in addition to all the details for the rest of your wonderful trip.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Back already!
Boy, does time fly when you're having a great time.
Can't wait to read you report after you've caught up on your ZZzzzzzzzzzs.
 
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Mar 8th, 2006, 01:00 AM
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Aloha Sherry, I was also at Kikoti with my niece for 2 nights starting on Feb 12th...there seemed to be only 3 couples there the first night and the 2nd night a large group showed up....guess we were dinner neighbors!!

deb

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Mar 8th, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Thanks for the kinds words.

Sandi - zzzz's aren't likely for now but will follow with a crash and burn hopefully, while not at work.

Deb - that's so wierd - I do think I remember you and your niece - you may have been the 2 that were going on a night drive with us but didn't make it - I think I said hello to you a couple times. We were the ones eating with our African guide and dressed in non safari like clothing, we're middle aged - Husband has dark brown hair and I have brown/blonde streaky wild curly hair and a perpetual grin on my face - if that helps.

Amy - Kifaru (rhino) was a real nice place - when are you going?

I still can't find the brain cells so I may as well use my awake time with some amounts of productivity. Please forgive misspells and feel free to correct or ask.

Feb. 10
Flights were uneventful except NW airlines should be tarred and feathered or at least be forced to stay seated in economy for more than an hour for trying to stuff so many people on those tiny toy planes.

Feb. 11
Arrived at JRO and did have to wait in line a bit due to large groups of tourists running amuck at the visa line. Meet up with Baricke Bee (blessed one), our most wonderful guide who would stay with us thoughout our Tanzanian trip. When we got to our giant Rover I asked where the others were and was told that it was only us. Ok, then when are they joining us - tomorrow - no, the day after - no, maybe there already at camp - no. Poor guy - I just couldn't believe our good luck. I really wanted a private guide prior but was told that it would be an extra 2g's. Ok, so that, and the fact that Africa Adventure made some itinerary changes in our favor and thru in a free visit with transfers to the Carnivore rest.- made me take back my past qualms that I had. The trip was flawless.

We arrived quite late at the New Arusha Hotel and had a Kili beer and tryed to sleep in the non a/c but nice and clean room.

Feb. 12
Woke to in room breakfast. Tried to take malerone and became very nauseated. After many attempts to leave we finally were on our way. Baricke stopped at a pharmacy for anti nausau pills whiched proved to be very effective. The pharmacist thoroughly quized my husband before making his rec.

So off we went to Tarangire with our packed lunches. We probably drove poor Baricke (B) crazy just by being so excited about seeing the landscape and the Maasai on the way. After arriving and seeing our first Baobab tree our first animal sighting was a magestic Impala. We pretty much saw everything one can see including numerous amounts of giraffe,elephant,dik dik, buffalo,zebra and numerous birds which I'll mention later. Kikoti was a nice location with large nicely spaced perm. platform tents with a nice front shaded porch area, bucket showers, chemical toilets and lovely grounds. One must be escorted by the Maasai men who always seem to appear from nowhere to the mess hall. The staff is very attentive and the food/wine is good.

More later.

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Mar 8th, 2006, 06:45 AM
  #11
bat
 
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how great you wound up with a private safari, looking forward to more.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Sherry, Yes that's was us! I do remember you - sitting at the first table when coming into the dining area. The other couple there was from Canada and we had been talking and eating when you all arrived. We were at the end of our safari so we did change our mind on the night drive the first night and the 2nd night there was thunder and some rain. I remember them saying one of you was under the weather. The maasai dancing the second night was great. Both the food and dancing were the best we had on our trip. The 2nd night we ate with our guide at the table next to the couple who manage the place and then sat around and had tea and talked stories with him and "Frank" one of the staff who was great with his stories. What a small world. I still have to post pictures and video clips from my trip and will work on that this weekend. deb
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Mar 8th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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Thanks bat.
Small world Deb, as we did sit at the table you spoke of. Neither of us however, was under the weather. It could have been one of the party of 3 - an older man and a 30ish man and woman who accompanied us on the night drive. This (illness or mental problems) may possibly explain their twittish and rather obnoxious behavior. They did nothing but complain loudly whilst the poor guide up front was getting soaked by rain and trying so badly to explain sightings - coulda/shoulda popped them one - hate that.
BTW - I left my eyeglasses behind at Kikoti and they actually caught up with us at departure to deliver my glasses even though I told them it wasn't nec. - how's that for service?
Only in Africa!
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Mar 8th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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I remember them also, he was the dad and that was his 70th birthday present a safari but wife wouldn't come so son and daughter did. They made a big to do about their accomodations (maybe booked a triple and thought they were getting 3 separate tents instead of sharing?). I also remember the glasses. Mkenda, our guide, translated the radio call about the glasses left behind!! Another time during our trip someone left behind shoes at a lion sighting (not sure how they got out of vehicle?) and another vehicle picked up and left at hippo pool in Ngoro and the folks got their shoes back! I loved the Tanzanian coconut wireless. Looking forward to more of your trip report. deb
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Mar 8th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Part II
Feb. 13
Woke up early for a early am drive thru the private reserve areas around Kikoti. A Maasai named Zambia but not like the country accompanied us as a tracker. We didn't run into any animals to speak of though as the Maasai were herding their cattle and migrating from as far as Kili due to the drought. What a sight - their cows were so skinny and dehydrated looking. Apparently the Maasai would rather let their cattle die rather than bring them to the market for huge profits according to Zambia. The Maasai that we ran into were the real thing and because Zambia knew quite a few of them they were willing to converse with us and let us hang around a bit. Zambia and B kept appologizing for the lack of animal sights due to the cattle but Mike and I were facinated seeing the Maasai in their natural habitat and going about their daily business - setting up new temp. living camps, herding goats and cattle, making and gathering food and feeding beautiful babies.
Besides it would be like going to the zoo if you could see the wildlife on demand. It truly is part of the luck of the draw as to what your going to encounter in Africa.
We did end up later in the day heading closer to the park and seeing more wildlife sightings - hundreds of Wilderbeest (mini migration) with buffalo and zebra. We couldn't get enough of the elephants and the ever present warthogs - love watching those critters run.
That night we had an indoor BBQ due to rain. The Maasai danced for us and seemed to enjoy themselves and even got the tourist involved - it was quite the hodown.
We then went for a not so productive night drive thru the same cattle areas that were lacking wildlife. We did see a scrub hare, dik diks and a steenbok. it was nice being out in the fresh cool albiet rainy night air.

Feb. 14
After breakfast we did a morning drive on our way out of Tarangire. Again we saw numerous amounts of wildlife with the addition of elands,lichtensteins hartebeest,banded mongoose,vervet monkey, common waterbuck.

Non birders skip this part:
During our stay we encountered red and yellow barbet, blue-cheeked bee-eater, european bee-eater,augar buzzard, sooty chat,tawny eagle, brown snake eagle, cattle egret, black flycatcher, bare faced go away bird, grey headed gull, goliath heron, lesser honeyguide,grey hornbill, ground hornbill, von der decken's hornbill, african jacana, masai rafie ostrich, spotted eagle owl,
red billed oxpecker, white pelican,crowned plover, lilac breasted roller, african spoonbill, red necked spurfowl, burchells starling,hildebrandt's starling, superb starling, abdim's stork, maraboa stork, scarlet chested sunbird, wire tailed swallow,red billed teal, ruppell's griffon vulture, white backed vulture, common wattle eye, golden weaver, village weaver, pin tailed whydah, paradise whydah and a nubian woodpecker.

So as you can imagine the mostly overlooked Tarangire seems to have many offerings. It's a beautiful area and should be added to one's itinerary.


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Mar 8th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Lucky you, ending up with a private safari! Looking forward to more.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Don't you just hate returning to the "real world"! I'm glad you had a great trip and look forward to hearing more about it.

Cindy
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Mar 8th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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Yes Patty - private as you've all said is the only way to go. we were able to spread all of our debris all over the entire vehicle and have B all to ourselves.
Reentry is a _itch Cindy.

To continue:
We drove and stopped at a shop in Karatu (B's home turf) to buy some souveniers. I know some of you like the hunt and to barter but I really can't stand it. My DH is even worse than me. So I actually had B (my wonderful guide of many talents) do my bartering. I probably would have bought more but I just couldn't handle the constant bickering and hounding.

B's father was a well loved preacher and his Mom was a local teacher so B knows everyone in and around Karatu - we dubbed him the Mayor.

After leaving Karatu we made our way to the Kifaru Lodge(thanks for your patience Amy). It's an old German owned coffee plantation with stunning grounds in the Ngoro. conservation area. There's a nice pool and tennis courts surrounded by very well landscaped and flowering areas. The white stucco buildings seem to have 3-4 rooms all facing different directions with nice open verandas offering expansive views. because of the height of the complex being almost as high as the crater rim the air is very fresh and they claim that the water s drinkable - no mossies either. The food is very good but the service is sketchy at best - they do try and are very pleasant but they seem to be missing a beat somehow. The rustic room walls by the way, are paper thin and we hear a German/Dutch (couldn't tell) fight going on in the next room.
The lighting which seems to be a forgotten agenda everywhere we stayed was poor at best - no problem if you bring a portable reading light. One more comment is the platform beds are enclosed by a thick stucco surround that will take your kneecaps out if your not paying attention. These are minor inconveniences and shouldn't detract from your enjoyment of this pretty place. They do offer guided day and evening walks and horseback riding so this is a place that you could spend some extra time at.

Feb. 15
We requested a wake up call with a delivery of coffee and tea which was delivered. Shortly (like 2 minutes later) they came and took our hot water thermos away. After going up for breakfst we purchased 2 pks. of coffee beans and made our way to Lake Eyasi. B asked us if it was ok to stop and get the rear window fixed, as he wiped out in the am on the way as the roads were treachurous from the previous eve. rains. We sat in the vehicle listening to songs on the Tanz. radio station featuring Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and others while the guys fixed the window. B put that station on thinking that as Americans that must be what we like listening to - we got a good laugh out of this - sometimes it all was just so surreal.
The road to Lake Eyasi was very long and bumpy with so many locals out walking or trying in vain to ride bikes to get to their far away destinations. Couldn't complain about the bumps as we were in a 4x4. Once arriving at the Kisima Ngeda Camp we were impressed at how lush and tropical the surroundings were. The camp is lovely with gorgeous views and on the edge of the very dry Lake Eyasi with the rim of the crater beyond. The tents were well kept and large on platforms all facing the Lake. The staff is attentive beyond anything I've ever seen. We had a table set up outside our tent one night for a beautiful candle lit dinner. Once the first course was brought one of the waiters stood off to the side under the brush and was going to stay there to attend to us until we told him he could come back later. The food is spectacular BTW.
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Mar 8th, 2006, 12:42 PM
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What's up with the edit feature? My edits don't seem to take hold. Does the edit feature time out or something?
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Mar 8th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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How long was the drive from Karatu to Kisima Ngeda? I'm glad you enjoyed the camp. It's on my wish list. Will you be posting photos?
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