Holiday review by Mr. Marcus Rutherford
Name: Mr. Marcus Rutherford
Date of trip: 24/01/2014
Number of people: 2
Resident special animals: Lake Manze â€“ Elephant lying down and asleep beside the bar Mdonya Old River â€“ Leopard dining on baboon in camp Oliverâ€™s â€“ â€œFluffyâ€ the hyena and honey badgers around the â€œtentâ€
Best bush experience: Ruaha â€“ lots of elephants and fabulous birds. Watching the leopard twenty feet above my head Selous â€“ a four hour boat trip through the channels which was magical. Being buzzed by 200 carmine bee-eaters on the evening game drive Oliverâ€™s â€“ the two walking safaris with Lewis
Selous and Ruaha were much the same as I expected (unsurprisingly) and the welcome back from the staff was warm and genuine. Mary in Ruaha and Phil and Tracy in Selous were extremely helpful and caring.
Thank you for your help in booking the safari and helping make it special.
This time I went mainly for the birds which is not what most safari guests want, and it took time to persuade the drivers that they did not have to stop at every impala or baboon for me to take to take a photo. Having said that â€“
Mdonya Old River - once the driver and spotter tuned into what I wanted, they were enthusiastic to get me as many bird photo opportunities as possible, and although not accurate in identifying all the birds, at least spotted most of the interesting ones
Lake Manze â€“ the boat guide is very knowledgeable and superb at spotting birds. A couple of excellent â€œspotsâ€ on the drives too.
Oliverâ€™s â€“ Lewis is exceptionally knowledgeable. My driver (there was no extra spotter) never did full understand what I wanted to see, stopping at every dik-dik (there were many) and largely ignoring any birds he could not recognise (there were even more) so it was largely up to me to spot and try to recognise the birds as we zoomed past.
The places you stayed
Very international, some families with children â€“ French, Italian, German, Australian etc mostly on short excursions from Zanzibar.
Ruaha National Park
Very comfortable but still connected to the bush. International, younger and more adventurous, but fewer people (max three others I think). A Swedish couple were there for three nights and a very irritating young Italian couple were there for a couple of nights, but I had one night completely on my own in the camp.
Oliverâ€™s camp in Tarangire was new to me (the park I knew), and fairly obviously a significant step up in terms of luxury and facilities from Mdonya Old River and Lake Manze camps. This is a very special place and it is exceptionally well run â€“ no wonder it is popular with the wealthy American clientele for whom the African experience is something to dip into (and retreat from at the end of the day) rather than more full on as with the other two camps.