Holiday review by Liz & Dave Milway
Name: Liz & Dave Milway
Date of trip: 17/06/2018
Number of people: 2
There was a week-old zonkey (zebra father, donkey mother) at Mount Meru Game Lodge. So cute with its fluffy body and stripy legs. At the David Livingstone Museum at Ujiji, there is a living treasure - the elderly gentlemen who guided us was wonderful - just make sure your eyes don't wander when he's talking! In the Gombe National Park we watched a 49 year-old chimp named Gremlin select a wild mango, climb down the tree, select a rock and crack the mango open - all in full view and as close as we were allowed to be. From the balcony at Katuma Bush Lodge we watched an elephant repeatedly place his trunk up against a palm nut tree, shake the trunk, and then gobble up the nuts which fell to the ground. Oh, and we got a glimpse of a couple of tiny leopard cubs hidden in the scrub! During game drives at Rufiji River Lodge we observed a large pack of African Wild Dogs resting in the shade; a family of young lions basking in the sun while their magnificent uncle rested in the shade; and a troop of elephants - including a tiny youngster - enjoying a mud bath. At Lazy Lagoon we were treated to a star-lit dinner on the beach to celebrate our anniversary, surrounded by candles in hearts drawn in the sand.
I don't know enough superlatives to express our enjoyment! Unusually, even my husband didn't want the holiday to finish. Each location had its particular charm and special moments, so we felt very fortunate.
Thank you, Chris - your deep knowledge and willingness to both listen and adapt the itinerary contributed greatly to the success of this holiday. Oh, and Oliver Fox, who we came across a couple of times, sends his good wishes. Apparently his mother and you know each other.
All the guides were unfailingly knowledgeable, friendly and patient!
They even answered my very nosy questions about their lives.
Athomane was very helpful at Gombe, given my lack of practice with mountains, and seemed as excited as I was!
Charming Yasini was amazing at Katavi - we can't see how he spotted those two camouflaged leopard cubs.
At Rufiji camp, Nelson's thorough knowledge and determination resulted in the most spectacular sitings - particularly the wild dogs, elephants and lions.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
I was conscious of being a "Mzungu", and feel pangs of guilt at my comparative wealth, but on the other hand, there seems to be a huge problem with underemployment in Tanzania. The high number of staff employed in the lodges, some of whom had fairly high levels of education, would assist slightly with this issue. Tourism also contributes to raising the value of the natural environment and wildlife, which hopefully will help to protect it.
The places you stayed
It was a joy to walk around barefoot here. The fishing village, a very short distance away down the beach made a picturesque, if humbling, contrast to the serenity and luxury of the resort. The resort staff were friendly and helpful. We enjoyed the trip to the lighthouse, the snorkelling and picnic on the sandbar, the sunset dhow cruise and a massage. We were treated to delicious meals, taking full advantage of the seafood offered, and at our final dinner there, the most enormous prawns we'd ever experienced. As a special treat, even ladies' underwear was laundered at this site!
Aah, at first glance our banda though clean looked a little tired, but to wake up with a full view of the ocean, with canoes and dhows drifting past, this site was truly glorious. There was very pleasant company from the managers and the lovely dogs, the service and food was excellent, and the location was beautiful - just wandering along the path accompanied by butterflies, strolling on the beach and lazing on the day bed or hammock was about as much activity as we felt was necessary, though we did enjoy an outing to Bagamoyo and learned a lot about colonial history there.