It has always been my dream to visit Tanzania! Finally, and with a short notice, I left for a 6-day adventure in Tanzania.
As all my travels are a little chaotic, this one also had its hiccups. I caught the 6:45 am flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a Saturday morning. I was supposed to be at the airport at 6:00 am sharp but I arrived a late and the check-in counters were already closed! But the friendly staff made it possible for me to check in, rush through security, and board the flight.
In Johannesburg, I boarded my flight to Kilimanjaro Airport via Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. Everything went according to plan. After my arrival in Kilimanjaro Airport I was greeted by friendly immigration personal and was met by our driver, George. It was a warm summer’s night and I wished lights would illuminate Kilimanjaro for those who arrive at the airport in the evening.
George drove us to Moivaro Lodge. What a pleasant surprise! Moivaro Lodge is surrounded by a big, lush garden, nicely furnished bungalows with a little terrace and a big bathrooms. The dinner was absolutely fabulous and I had my first Kilimanjaro beer together with my travel companion Debbie from our Jenman African Safaris’ Cape Town office.
The next day we made our way through a dry and open landscape to Lake Manyara National Park, which stretches along the base of the 600 meter high Rift Valley. The park covers an area of 330 square kilometres – and a whopping 220 square km is just the lake! When entering the park, the smell of the lush rainforest is both overwhelming and refreshing. I saw hippos, wildebeest and flamingos were what we get to see on our first game drive. The scenery was stunning and Debbie and I really enjoyed the Tanzanian open-roof game viewing vehicles!
Our second night was spent at Eunoto, which is Tanzania’s only luxury Maasai Village. After a 40-minute drive through dusty and rough terrain, we were welcomed at the lodge with a wet facecloth to wipe the dust off and a cool drink. Our personal butler walked us to our spacious rondavel at the foot of Rift Valley. The dinner was excellent like we had experienced throughout Tanzania. I fell in love with their honey-cinnamon butter on freshly baked bread!
Our third day in Tanzania turned out to be a long day with a nice surprise towards the end. We drove through the world-renowned Serengeti National Park and driving through the Ngorongoro Conservation area. The roads were long and rough. George said, “It’s the way I make the white people dance!” After 3.5 hours of driving I ask how long we still have to drive and I received the depressing answer that it would be another 3 hours!
But we were not sad for long, as we spotted our first lions at the Simba Koppies. Then George drove us up close to hyenas and another male lion! Wow, we got great pictures and were happy. The next three hours passed quickly and finally we arrived at our camp for the night, Mbalageti.
Mbalageti left us completely speechless! It’s pure luxury: tented chalets in the middle of the bush, a big king-size bed, a veranda overlooking the plains of the Serengeti, a spacious bathroom with a shower and bath! We spoiled ourselves with a bath and headed to our 4-course dinner! I felt like I was on my honeymoon.
Overall, what stood out was that the guest books at all the lodges showed that tourists have had had exceptional game experiences in the Serengeti. Comments like “we saw lions attacking buffalo” and “we saw a group of leopards” were plentiful – it sounded like something out of National Geographic.
The next day after a long drive we got to our accommodation at the crater rim, and the next morning we descended into the world’s greatest natural spectacles – the Ngorongoro Crater.
For some reason, Debbie decided on a 7:00 am departure with George. It was sunny but cold and – at the end – it was worth getting out of bed. The sunrise and scenery was absolutely spectacular and after our 600 meter descent, we were spoiled with spotting prides of lions, zebras, hyenas, wildebeest, so close to the car, you could touch them. That evening we drove back to Arusha and stayed in Arusha Coffee Lodge. It’s a welcoming lodge in the coffee plantations just outside of Arusha: big bungalows, coffee and tea in our bungalow and a nice veranda to watch the sunset. Additionally, we swam in the pool, chilled at the bar and enjoyed our last Kilimanjaro beer.
The next morning I caught a glimpse of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro before we boarded the plane, with the friendly Air Tanzania staff, to return to South Africa! Thank you George for a great trip! And “Jambo” to everyone wanting to travel to Tanzania!