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Holiday review by Lynn Emery

Name: Lynn Emery
Date of trip: 01/08/2013
Number of people: 2
Country: Tanzania

Overall level of Satisfaction

 
Tribes Overall: "To visit Africa was a long time dream of ours and both Tanzania and Zanzibar exceeded our expectations from start to finish. The quality of our experiences though out were second to none with the people organising us never faltering. In a country where so many things could go wrong nothing was too much trouble; our guide made our enjoyment his priority. Never did we expect to get so close to both the wild life or the Massai people in such a safe environment created by our guide in Tanzania and hotel management in Zanzibar. Truly memorable experience."
 
Tribes Service: "The reason we chose to travel with Tribes was because of the e.mail we received from Tracy following our initial enquiries. We were treated like individuals with guidance and recommendations given freely with no pressure put on us. If there was something - and there were many things - we didn\'t understand Tracy gave her time and shared her knowledge freely. All our documents arrived on time and we found joining details especially useful. Thank you Tracy and Tribes you treat your clients as unique people with unique holiday needs. You are a class act. "
 
Guides: "Albert was amazing from start to finish. He made it his job to make sure we gained everything possible from our time with him. His knowledge during the game drives was fantastic. On our first day we realised we had a shared interest in the birds as well as the animals and he went out of his way to make each game drive different so we could find a wider variety. His selection of bird identification books had us all sharing the task of identifying the correct species. He found us the most magical picnic sites, we sat by hot springs in Manyara without another soul in sight watching the hippos in the distance, in Ngorogoro we got closer still to hippos wallowing in the water with black kites flying overhead, and in Tarangire we left early to drive to Silale swamps where the views were like nothing we had ever seen before. His knowledge of the way local people lived and the Massai was given freely and he arranged walking tours at the lodges and visits to bomas and local workshops for us. This gave us a chance to talk to and learn directly from the Massai people which added a greater depth to our experience. A local Massai guide complete with spear walked with us to Empakai- all arranged by Albert - this made a day I had been looking forward to for such a long time extra special. "
 
Social & Environmental Responsibility: "Difficult to answer this as we have nothing to measure anything against. However the game parks treated the animals and the environment with respect with the animals coming first and the tourist second. There seemed to be no chasing of the big spectacles we were expecting, if you were lucky enough to find something amazing other people just came along and shared quietly. The local people were largely left to carry on with their daily lives. The Massai people only became involved in what you were doing through choice but seemed to be perfectly happy with the tourists sharing their communities and trying to understand their culture. The lodges had all been given a eco rating by yourselves and it was interesting to see how they were using solar power or had situated their tents to have minimal impact on the environment. It was also unexpected to find young Massai boys employed by the lodges who were using the extra money they earned to access further education - some stories were quite inspirational."

Accommodation

 
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge
Situated 6km up a dusty track past many people going about their daily life this is an excellent introduction to staying in tented lodges. The view from high on the escarpment is beautiful and changes with the light throughout the day. The tent itself had everything we expected, and felt far enough removed from the reception and dining areas to give us a feeling of complete freedom. The meals are served in a covered dining area with the bar and open air log fire just below. We took a guided walk with a Massai from here and were treated not only to his knowledge of plants and the environment but also to spectacular views - I couldn\'t believe just hours after leaving Heathrow we were standing on the rift valley escarpment overlooking Manyara lake with a Massai.
 
Country Lodge
The Country Lodge is situated outside the Ngorogoro crater which for us was perfect. It is a little haven of semi-detached bungalows set in a beautiful garden with a pool. The days we were there were quite chilly and we were greeted by a roaring fire in the bar area where we warmed up after our game drive. The food here is amazing and plentiful. There was a never ending supply of all the courses with the waiters very proud of their dishes. We were particularly fond of aragula soup a new taste to us, as were many of the other guests judging by the amount of second and third helpings eaten!! The room itself is spacious, beautifully clean with a huge bathroom; and the highlight a small fire place where we had a fire lit to keep us warm on our chilly evenings.
 
Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge
Wow!! This is an experience never to be repeated. The lodge is situated outside the park but don\'t think there is no game to be found nearby. We arrived to find elephant and zebra 100 yards from our door, and had 3 dik dik as regular visitors. We also spotted giraffe, water buck and a family of mongoose entertained us for half an hour playing next to our varanda. We took a guided walk from here with a young local Massai. He shared in depth knowledge of the medical uses of the plants and made us Massai toothbrushes. We walked through zebra and wildebeest and saw giraffe in the distance. Not to be missed. The dining room is in a separate tent and provides good meals. After dinner you can sit outside on huge sofas around a large fire under the stars before being escorted back to your tent by the attentive Massai. To sleep here is great, who knows what has landed on your roof or what it is walking past your tent in the dead of night. We \'slept\' one night to the sound of hyena howling to one another - perfect, this is what we came for.
 
The Zanzibari
Welcome to paradise. After a week on safari this was just heaven. Our large room overlooked a beautiful garden and had been decorated with flowers. We had a kettle and a fridge and a door on the bathroom!!! Greeted by Paulo and a cold drink he explained what they could offer us by way of trips and how the hotel works, and believe him when he says they want to make your stay special. The hotel serves wonderful food in a dining room full of furniture made from old dhows infact the furniture through out, from beds to sun loungers, is made from this aged recylced wood. There is a pool and a man-made beach and at low tide steps lead down to clean white sand where you can walk in either direction. At this hotel you can be as active or as lazy as you wish. We took some trips which were professionally organised with private guides and cars to ensure our safety. We were also given a local Massai who took us for a walk around the village and we were able to visit places we would never have ventured on our own. On site we were treated to cocounuts cut straight from the tree just for us to drink, you can\'t get fresher than that. On our final evening we had dinner next to a fire on their beach, treated to our own dancing Massai and special sea food dinner. With the waves of the ocean crashing. the breeze tapping the palm tree fronds together and the stars out this was a perfect end to a perfect holiday.

Our Memories

"After a long and very successful game drive in Manyara we were slowly heading back to the exit. The weather had been on our side, no bright sunshine to make the animals hide away from the heat. It had been our first game drive of the safari and we had been so close to many more animals and birds than we had ever expected. If this was how it was going to be it was perfect. Then our ever watchful guide Albert suddenly stops the land rover and reverses. Up a tree only 10 yards from us was a leopard sleeping, how he had spotted this beautiful creature camouflaged so well was beyond us. It is extremely rare to spot a leopard, so to have one so close to us was a very special moment. We watched and waited for about 10 minutes before it stretched and stared back. Without making a sound it slowly stood up and without making a sound gracefully descended the tree. AS it disappeared into the undergrowth we could track it's movement by the warning cries the birds were giving each other as the leopard moved amongst them. A perfect end to a perfect first day."
"Our second day in Tarangire had our guide taking us further into the park to Silale swamp. We headed for the remote picnic site which we shared with very few other people and ate lunch overlooking the swamp stretching from left to right and the baobab trees stretching into the distance. This was special enough, however after lunch we took the short drive to get a closer look at the swamp just as a herd of about 100 elephant came across our path and headed for the swamp for their daily drink and wallow. In fact if you looked into the distance you could see other herds making their way down too. With the swamp only 100 yards away the viewing of elephant family life was spectacular. Albert - our guide - explained some of the behaviour we were watching which made it all the more interesting. During our time there we watched them drink, play, and wallow in the water, mud and dust. The matriarchs ever watchful and the young being kept in the centre of them to protect them. The youngest we guessed to be about 6 months old made us smile as he struggled to keep his trunk under control as he drank and played. As they walked off into the distance talking to each other in a low drone we left to. Another one for the diary, a truly special experience."

customer rating

5/5 from 174 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time: Flights from UK to Tanzania take about 9 hours direct or 10-11 with a brief stopover en route if from Europe.

Language: Kiswahili and English are Tanzania's official languages. Although most people in the cities speak some English, a few phrases of Kiswahili are useful in more rural areas.

Visas: Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health: Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

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