Where do I even start?
Our safari was AWESOME, UNBELIEVABLE and truly UNIMAGINEABLE! For a variety of reasons, I absolutely believe I have you to thank for that.
Your first hand knowledge of Tanzania was extremely helpful in choosing the type of safari we booked. As you knew, I was surprising my husband for our anniversary and I had some concerns about how receptive he would be to the idea. The informative package you sent to me when we booked the safari was an important part of the surprise as it answered all of the questions he had. The fact that you were so helpful and accessible (except when you were on safari again yourself J ) was relieving and much appreciated.
Alright, so we get through the plane ride and land in Kilimanjaro. How awesome to have William waiting and us being able to relax (while everyone else was standing in line) to get our visas and through immigration. Within just a couple of minutes, we were on the other side meeting Fadhal.
Fadhal was awesome! I am not sure that words can accurately describe how both Dan and I feel about having had Fadhal as our driver. Every day we felt like we were learning so much - kind of like being back in Science class. He is a wealth of knowledge and that did not go unrecognized or unappreciated. He seemed to know everything from the Masai way of life (we got quite the education there), to birds, different trees and of course, all the animals - their mating, feeding and everything else. Dan and I were like sponges taking it all in. I think one of the best things about him is knowledge and his willingness to share it so openly. As we were on our game drives, Dan kept commenting, as he was looking into the other trucks from other safari companies, how a guide could easily make or break someone's safari experience. The other thing that was terrific about him was that as all the cars were turning left going to see what everyone else was seeing, Fadhal would turn right and we were able, in most cases, to view the animals up close without a bunch of other cars on top of us. I probably shouldn't say this, but the other company's drivers looked so disinterested - like they were just driving, not guiding, and the clients did NOT look like they were having any fun. I guess being on a safari in a mini bus could do that to a person. It would be a shame to invest so much money on a safari and then ride around seeming unhappy. That was definitely NOT the case for us and we enjoyed standing up for game drives in our Land Rover 4x4.
As a "New Yorker" at heart, the thing I appreciated most about him was his driving-not slow, not too fast, but always safe. Lord knows, on those roads, that's what we needed. e were truly putting our lives in his hands on some of those roads and we were grateful that he was not only a great guide, but an experienced and great driver.
Ok, now the favorite parts of the trip: The people we met at Mawa Ninga were incredible. It has a beautiful view, but the people there were more wonderful. That was probably one of our favorite places. We played games with a few of the Masai and enjoyed our nights there.
I am not sure which park we liked better, Tarangire or the Serengeti. They both were incredible. When we encountered a heard of elephants so close we thought their trunks would reach us, we knew we were not at the zoo. That was part of our first day in Tarangire, just beautiful. The Serengeti was just spectacular. We saw everything: tons of zebras (my personal favorite), many elephants (Dan's favorite), lots of lions, cheetahs, a few leopards, and even a black rhino in the crater! The days were filled with these, and many other animals. We were definitely not at the zoo.
Camping - a "must" on safari. Listening to the hyenas and lions at night was awesome. It was scary at first when we pulled up and saw the tent in the middle of nowhere. But looking back, even the next day, it was great.
The way you helped me plan our itinerary was perfect. Winding up at the Crater Lodge was the icing on the cake. One day we returned from a game drive tired and hot. We went to the bar for a drink and then went back to our bungalow. When we opened the door, the lights were dimmed, candles were lit and our butler, George, had drawn us this beautiful bubble bath adorned with rose petals. I was in another room and heard Dan say with such a sincere tone, "What have I ever done in my life to deserve this?" That pretty much sums up how being at Crater Lodge makes you feel. An incredible way to cap off the experience of a lifetime!
So, THANK YOU. Thank you for being so helpful when I first called with a million questions. Thank you for being so incredibly knowledgeable and planning an itinerary that really worked for us. Thank you for having Fadhal as our guide and driver. Thank you for all your assistance in planning and executing this wonderful experience we will never forget.
Oh, and by the way, if I could have done anything differently, I would have added 2 nights at the end on the islands as you had suggested. I know it would have been spectacular.
If you ever have any clients who want to speak with someone prior to booking with you, please feel free to give them my name and email. We would be happy to share with them.
Tina and Dan R.