The trip: Flights getting in were long, long, long. Flew out of Panama at 10am on a Monday and got to Nairobi at 11pm on Tuesday.
Got our visas in Nairobi without a hitch, our bags arrived and when we got out, there was our now good friend Benson with his sign and a smile. Got to hotel ( after midnight(nice modern hotel) and crashed with wake-up call at 5:30am, pick-up by Benson at 6:30 and off to the airport for flight to Kilimanjaro.
Got Tanzania visas no problem got bags and we were picked up by Solomon, our new friend for life. We got acquainted. He gave us the plan for the day and away we went to Tarangire. Our arrival at Tarangire River Camp was in the afternoon after a drive around the park. Many baobabs, elephants, baboons.
We again crashed for a few hours, tent warm, no fan and got up in the cooler evening to dinner, nothing special, sleep very warm and breakfast and away to Lake Manyara where we had a drive before checking into Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, good room, appreciate being able to shower morning and evening, low season made the usual buffet seem not as nice, but good enough.
Worth mentioning is that animals in Lake Manyara have migrated to other site as Solomon told us some left of course, nothing like we remembered. He drove us quite a distance away to Hot Spring where we managed to see some hippos at a distance and a few buffaloes. The many birds we remembered were not there, sad.
Trip to Ngorongoro very nice, arrival at the hotel fine (Ngorongoro Serena Lodge). Got upper rooms with the spectacular views, nice dinner and the next day off to the crater floor. Wonderful encounters with elephants, lions, jackals, hippos, gazelles, birds, a rhino who was far away against the crater wall, not accessible. Amazing drive by Solomon…rest of the stay at the lodge was very nice.
Away to the Serengeti and Lake Masek where I had no high hopes and lo and behold!! …on our safari drive going towards the camp, Solomon drove around the marshes where he knew female lions had their young, and we found a lion with 2, month old cubs with an aunt lazying beside and we shot the most endearing photos…all by our lonesomes.
We left and Solomon decided to try a place where he knew a female leopard who was not shy, hung out. There she was with a 2 year old not far from her. Again, literally blown away. Got to Lake Masek Tented Camp past 6pm, and enjoyed the wonderful luxurious tent, wonderful meal sitting at the table with Solomon(a plus), tent with enough light to read by, amazing wi-fi and hot shower in the evening and morning. Left after breakfast, lovely people, only another couple and their driver that night.
Got to Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge and the most wonderful drives, animals in abundance, lions everywhere, gazelles, elephants, zebras, hippos, wildebeest and we found migration herds who had come back from the western corridor because of the rains here. The last night the staff sang goodbye because it was our second stay and for four nights, along with a bottle of bubbly!!! The unwanted: tsetse tsetse flies, got bitten through, uuuugh!
When we got to the western corridor it looked deserted in comparison and Solomon took us to the Grumeti River to watch crocodiles, hippos and black-faced monkeys. We did manage to see 3 leopards in the accacias, the last one he found on his own and gave us a treat photographing by ourselves before he informed his colleagues and we were overrun with vehicles.
We also saw a pride of female lions with large cubs under accacias by the river. We saw giraffes and zebras in fewer numbers tan the central Serengeti, but by that time we were just spoiled rotten!!
The Mbalageti Camp had its minuses for us since no electricity from 9am-4pm and from 11pm to 5am where we were left without a fan. Strange, must be the orientation of the tents, but, it was cool outside in the evenings and warm inside.
Left to the airstrip and after big hugs with Solomon and deep appreciation for his excellent efforts got on the plane to Kilimanjaro Airport. Young man helped with our bags and got us through customs and on the plane to Nairobi Wilson. Thought it was again Precisión Air, not happy with small plane, but an hour later forgot about it. Smiling Benson there to receive us, hotel perfect, next day paid for day room and Benson picked us up to the airport for flight Nairobi-Brussells-New York where we rested until June 22 when we got home. The End.
We thank you for perfect arrangements, as you say stay well, talk soon,
Alberto & Vicky