My recent trip to Vietnam started in the northern part…
After a great flight on KLM, with excellent service, we landed in Nairobi to begin our adventure. Our tour was booked through Sky Safari and Elewana Collection – it was, in one word, AMAZING!
We were picked up by a driver from Hemingways Hotel. Hemingways is a beautiful hotel, great size room and a wonderful staff. The GM Simon took great care of us! The next morning he had us a car and driver and off we went to the Giraffe Sanctuary where the Giraffe Manor is located next to. It’s a gorgeous Manor and I would’ve loved to have toured it! Instead, I let a Giraffe lick me!! From here we went to the David Sheldrick Elephant Rescue. What a wonderful experience. I read his wife Daphne’s book Love, Life and Elephants before I went and am so glad I did. It’s a beautiful love story and sad as well, but made me feel like I’d been there already, familiar with the land around me. Any time I can read a book and then travel to the destination I always feel like it enhances the experience!
We had our driver stop at Karen Blixens museum on our way back, which is only 10 min from the hotel. I loved Out of Africa so to be there in person was fantastic. It was easy to close my eyes and go back in time and imagine what it was like and picture everything from the movie. Plus learn a few secrets!!
We then caught our flight to Arusha where we stayed for one night at the Arusha Coffee Lodge.
Our butler John took great care of us and doted on our every need. Had probably my best dinner of the trip here!
Next morning we took a coffee tour and even tho I don’t drink coffee I learned a lot about it such as the different grinds: coarse is for a French press, medium is for filters and fine grind is for latte/cappuccino machines. The roasting process was interesting as well.
Then we toured the shop on property called Shanga. This is nothing short of fantastic. It is a heartwarming project that employs people with disabilities. Deaf, blind and others making beautiful jewelry, glass blowing, weaving. It really was something to see.
Only day two and I’m already shopping!!!
We’ve had two amazing days already but now it’s time for a safari!! We are hopping on the private plane to Tarangire Treetops. It was so exciting to be back in Africa! We had one other couple from Canada with us and we traveled with them for the next 6 nights. The experience to travel as a group of 4 on the plane and in the jeep on safari was fantastic.
Our guide Godbless (yes, that was his name!) met us at Kuro airstrip, which in Swahili means waterbuck! We started game drive #1 on the way to the lodge. The lodge is fantastic! The staff greets you outside as you pull up and when you walk in they’re waiting with drinks and snacks! After dinner, they showed us to our treehouse for the next 2 nights. These are gorgeous and huge! Built into part of a tree, this is far from tenting!! I don’t know if it could be more magical to wake up and be high up in a tree house with a beautiful view! Someone pinch me…I’m living the dream! Our butler here is Nicholas and wonderful! At night you must be escorted to your tent for obvious reasons!! I love dinner but I don’t want to become it for some hungry lion!
A good night’s sleep and ready for a full day of drives! Elephants, giraffes, zebras, it’s endless the beauty that lives here. As much as I love it and have been privileged to be here for the 3rd time, it’s even more fulfilling to see it thru someone else’s eyes for the first time. I’m so glad Jenn is here and I can see her heart is as full as mine.
Another good nights sleep and today we’re off to a Masai village to visit a local tribe. Only clients of Sky Safari are able to do this which made it feel a little more special and not so touristy. The Masai homes are built by the wives and they have 3 months to do it – no pressure there! The homes are made from sticks, mud and cow dung. The chief can have as many wives as he wants and this one had 9! First wife has 10 kids! The girls are married off by age 12-17 and they get no say in it.
We brought a few bags of things to give them. The kids loved the jump rope and beach ball. It was so fun to watch them playing and jumping rope. I brought a bag of jewelry from home and the ladies took that. Sunglasses were a hit and cracked me up to see the chiefs son wearing them! They all had fun blowing bubbles! The big hit seemed to be the folded bags that pop open into carry bags! The ladies loved those. Mental note-to-self for next time! We then bought a few items from them. The Chiefs brother out of nowhere came and grabbed my hand
and took me away – he wanted to give me a bracelet! So sweet. It was time to go and we hugged and danced. Even tho we didn’t speak each other’s language we spoke gratitude with our smiles and our eyes. Giving to others is a joy that fills my heart, and you can see it in theirs as well. What beautiful people.
When we got back I did a short safari hike and saw elephants! Learned about plants and saw their tracks! Those feet are huge!!!
From here we drove to our first sundowner! High atop a mountain it was stunning. The plains go on forever and the sunset gorgeous. We then went on a game drive. Came across a pride of lions that were happily enjoying a recent kill. A few cubs bouncing around!
Next day we left early for our game drive seeing loads of animals then a great picnic. The morning glory flowers that fill the field made me feel like I was in the land of Oz!! We head our way back to Kuro and hop on our plane to Lake Manyara and drive to The Manor at Ngorongoro. Flight only about 25 min and then a 40 min drive to the Manor.
This place is gorgeous! Beautiful grounds and a fantastic room. Very large and warm! We were greeted with drinks and snacks on a white table cloth table set in the middle of the gorgeous yard. Everyone is so gracious and accommodating. Starting to see a pattern here!!
After we dropped our bags they took us to a local primary school that also teaches 8 blind and deaf kids. We had 3 bags of supplies to deliver which they were so thankful for, and we also had the pleasure of meeting little Karen who is 5 yrs old and blind. What a sweetie she is.
The head master took us on a quick tour. The kids go to school from 8a-4p with 2 breaks. They share 2 to a desk and facilities at best are limited.
Early morning 5:30 AM we take off for the Ngorongoro Crater. Now I feel like I’m in Jurassic park!
The terrain is different here. Tall grass with lavender like flowers that is beautiful to see. We saw a Servil cat that one guide hadn’t seen in 27 years! I’d never even heard of it. Looks like a baby leopard! We also saw a caracaol, another type of cat. We picnicked for breakfast and lunch. I love every minute of every day.
Next day we head to Lake Manyara known for its flamingos! Loads of baboons and birds of many varieties.
Flew 45 min from here to Lobo in the Serengeti. Our guide John picked us up and headed straight to Safari. What a way to start as he got word there were 5 cheetahs hanging out on some rocks. And we found them! This couldn’t have started any better!
We were late getting to the lodge, but it was worth it. Night drives aren’t allowed so I think John was nervous to get back! The welcome committee was here to meet us and again drinks and snacks awaited! A girl could get used to this. Charles is our butler here and he’s great!
The tents here are more tent like but still very nice. Serengeti Migration Camp sits alongside a river so you will see hippos!! And warthogs and perhaps a few others!
Next morning full day of game drives. We saw several prides of lions. Thousands of zebra and wildebeests. It is during the migration so very cool to see. We hit the jackpot when a male lion walked past us and we followed him. Took us to his pride of 5 females and 9 cubs. We had to sneak in and out quickly but it was worth every minute. I think our count was 32 lions that day!
Then we came to a swim hole of hippos. Like what seemed about 100! Very cool to see! If you’re into hippos, this was the motherlode of all!!
Serengeti in Swahili means ‘endless plain’ and it sure is. I think of all the places we saw the Serengeti was my favorite. The endless plains have a special beauty about them. The camera can’t really capture it, but my memory sure can! I really felt sad to leave here. There’s something different and special about it.
A quick morning game drive then time to go to Zanzibar!
A few stops then we land into Zanzibar. A 1.5 hr drive to Kilindi resort and worth it. This resort is beyond gorgeous. Originally built by the manager of ABBA he decided he couldn’t run it and sold to Elewana. With only 15 rooms they are spread out and giganitc! Our butler Daudi took us to our room and wowed us when he opened the gate to our paradise. A lounge area with plunge pool, then walk up stairs to a huge bedroom with plunge pool off it. Then back outside and up stairs to the open air bath. Completely open with amazing views of the ocean. We just landed in paradise. Daudi lets us do nothing. I felt bad, but he insisted on carrying my flip flops when we were walking the beach! I’m starting to get used to this!
Food is great, all inclusive and the most gorgeous beaches ever. You dine when and where you want. We ate at the beach, by the pool, rooftop balcony. The GMs Dustin and Kaila are amazing. One day I think we were the only ones there! Free spa treatment thru Sky Safari so took advantage of that and then a spa day the next day. There’s only 2 beds and 2 girls Winnie and Aika. They are amazing. Best massage I’ve ever had! The spa is opened aired and such a treat.
One day to kill time I asked Chef Lucas if we could cook with him and he said sure!! So we made ravioli and dumplings!! Which were fab if I say so myself! And a fun few hours in the kitchen with the chef!
This time I was really sad to leave. They were so kind and generous and made us feel like family. It was the best way to end the trip and wind down.
Elewana collection has excellent properties and know how to treat guests. As they all do, but these guys were something special!
Sky Safari is an excellent product and the best way to travel between camps to get the most out of your experience .
Safari in Swahili means journey. So safari to Africa or journey to Africa, but just go to Africa! Your soul, your mind, your life will be changed forever.
Denise Schaefer, Agent