Tanzania Family Safari Trip Report
Arrival in Tanzania
Our guide, Emanuel, met us at Kilimanjaro International Airport for the 45 minute transfer to Lake Duluti Lodge. We enjoyed a small late dinner before a good nights’ rest in a comfortable forested cabin.
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Overland to Maramboi Tented Camp
After a delicious breakfast, we drove through bustling Arusha Town to Maramboi Tented Camp located between Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks. This medium-sized, classic tented camp is spectacularly set with open views on Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley Escarpment. While Kili enjoyed a sundowner, Jeremy and Rainier took a dip in the pool, and herds of zebra and wildebeest surrounded the deck and took advantage of a waterhole near the main lounge.
Game drives in Tarangire National Park
Renowned for its elephants, baobabs and scenery, Tarangire remains a favorite park. The rainy season brings bright birds, colorful butterflies and lush greenery and flowers. Our favorite sightings were large family herds of elephant and a lucky encounter with several lionesses lounging in the tall grass. Rainie’s favorite activities were climbing through the Land Rover like it was a jungle gym and studying the field guide she found in the glove compartment.
Overland to Mto Wa Mbo – Cultural Walk
Stopping in the crossroads town of Mto Wa Mbo was an excellent half-day excursion. This town at the base of the escarpment is home to 30,000 residents representing Tanzania’s more than 120 different ethnic groups. We took a community-guided walk that can be tailored to your interests; ours included visiting the painters’ guild, outdoors sculptors studio, vegetable gardens and an orphanage.
Overland to Gibbs Farm Lodge
The historic Gibbs Farm is located on a working coffee farm in the cool, lush Ngorongoro Highlands near the town of Karatu. Boasting a long history, this lodge (with the original 1930’s cabins) was a favorite of the McGowan family over twenty years ago. Today, charming and spacious new cottages, delicious home-grown foods (nearly 90% of products are grown or produced on-site) and variety of interesting walking excursions make Gibbs a deserving stop-over or base for exploring Ngorongoro Crater.
Game drives in Ngorongoro Grater
Our full day in Ngorongoro started early with a scenic drive through the highlands to the Crater rim. After a pause for photographs from the fog-shrouded rim, we descend to the wildlife-filled crater admiring the spectacular highwalls and flat bottom of this huge caldera. The wildlife here are especially relaxed, and our favorite sightings included close observations of zebras, mating songs & overflights of the Crowned Crane, and old solidary Elephant bulls and buffaloes.
Air transfer to Singita Sasakwa Lodge & Game drives in Singita Grumeti Reserve
The pinnacle of our safari was a luxurious stay at Singita Sasakwa Lodge on the Singita Grumeti Reserves just outside the park in the Westernmost sector of the Serengeti. Here, the endless grasslands were lush, tall and green from the recent Long Rains, and the skies were still full of dramatic thunderstorms. Although we missed the main herds of wildebeest and zebra, who were just a few days away on their northern trek to the Mara, our game drives were productive and educational. Our guide, Medard, was a fountain of knowledge about the mixed grassland ecosystem, layers of herbivores and top-tier predators. Our favorite sightings included skulking muddy hyenas, journeys of giraffe and multitudes of antelope – eland, topi, Thomson’s gazelles, waterbuck, and a very lucky female cheetah.
We initially encountered this cheetah at the end of our first evening game drive. She was eating her freshly-killed impala, and Medard explained that the cheetah is a nervous eater, frequently stopping to survey her surroundings, afraid of hyena or lions who might come to steal her prize. That knowledge made it all the more surprising that we found her in the same spot the next morning with a full belly, still nervously scanning the plains.
Our home-base in Singita was an exquisite two-bedroom villa at the stately Sasakwa Lodge with panoramic vistas over the Serengeti plains. One could easily spend a week exploring this incredible setting: a game room with full size snooker table, a media room, an exhaustive library, a garden room and stunning main bar. Nothing is lacking from the lodge experience, and the impeccable service was truly up to the high Singita standard. However, our daughter’s favorite part, by far, was the private heated pool outside our bedroom doorstep!
Air transfer to Nairobi International Airport
Our last destination was a short stay at The Emakoko in Nairobi which is our Featured Destination. Read more about this unique lodge.
Overall, it was such a special trip with a great diversity of ecosystems, wildlife and accommodations. Plus we made a few friends who we can’t wait to see on our Next Adventure…
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