Holiday review by Charlotte
Date of trip: 18/09/2019
Number of people: 2
Seeing so many birds and animals in their own habitat ... being on the Rufiji River in the evening and in the early morning ... being able to sit and watch lions at such close quarters ... seeing a leopard ... seeing (and hearing) so many colourful birds (I counted 125 species in 8 days) ... watching an elephant take a mud bath beside us ... being able to stop the jeep in the middle of a herd of elephants having their supper without disturbing them.
It was completely seamless from start to finish. From the moment we were greeted at Dar Es Salaam airport, by a lovely lady who had taken the trouble to come to the visa checking area in case we had difficulty, to the moment we were taken back there to board our flight home, all the arrangements worked perfectly.
From the moment I picked up the phone to Tanzania Specialists (having decided I couldn't cope with the online application) and spoke to Tracy, every detail of our trip seemed to fall into line. She listened to our choice of dates, type of holiday, etc and quickly came back with an itinerary on which we changed only a single detail. I bothered her a few times with questions and she always replied cheerfully and quickly.
Where to start... we were hugely impressed, not only by all our guides' knowledge, but also by their enthusiasm for imparting that knowledge. Their care of us was exemplary, as was their driving, and they never failed to warn us if we were about to be hit by a stray branch - quite a frequent occurrence.
At Rufiji River Camp, we had a driver as well as a guide in the jeep, and a guide/driver on the river. In all cases, their ability to spot and identify birds, in particular, was astonishing and they were always armed with a bird book and an animal book so we could learn more.
We don't feel able to write about each of our guides as they were all wonderful - nothing too much trouble, and constant attention for our comfort and wishes. However, we have to add a special word for Charles at Kwihala, who seemed to have a sixth sense about what an animal was likely to do and more than once put us in the best position to see what happened. I can't imagine a better guide.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
Tribes Travel, Foxes Travel and Asilia are all very environmentally conscious organisations and we saw plenty of evidence that they are doing all they can to protect wildlife, look after the environment and involve local communities. Could they do more? That's not for us to judge but we believe that if they could, they would.
The places you stayed
Ruaha National Park
At Kwihala, we were greeted by the entire staff singing and playing to greet us, and to be handed wet flannels, not just then but every time we returned to camp, something that made the camp feel special from the word 'go'. We took full advantage of the drives, leaving camp at 6am most days with our excellent guides Charles and Tersam, the staff having brought us tea and biscuits at 5am. The tent,
overlooking the sand river, where we were entertained by a large number of baboons trooping back and forth for water, was very comfortable, with bucket showers, the guides never failing to ensure that these would be filled at the right moment for our return. The food was superb and we enjoyed the sundowners (both in camp and elsewhere) and meals served beside a fire, to all residents and managers together, on the sand riverbed - a lovely way to meet other residents. On our last evening, when we were the only residents in camp and returned late from a night safari, a fire had been lit outside our tent, and dinner laid for us at a table beside - talk about personal attention...