Recent clients from the US are recently back from an East Africa adventure that included gorilla trekking in Rwanda, an Out of Africa style tented safari on the plains of the Serengeti, and a safari in the game rich Ngorongoro Crater.
Their itinerary included: Serena Hotel in Kigali on arrival in Rwanda. Singita Kwitondo was their base for gorilla trekking. Then andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas and andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge for two equally thrilling but completely different safaris. Their trip ended with a relaxing overnight at Arusha Coffee Lodge.
Here’s their feedback…
Beautiful and comfortable hotel. They let us keep the same room for the two nights that we were there. We got tested for Covid-19 on arrival at the airport around 8 p.m., and results were available the next morning. We did not venture out into Kigali, but enjoyed the property, room service, and spa.
The lodge was modern and beautiful, with a view of the Virunga mountain range. Our gorilla trek was the obvious highlight. We were assigned to track the Muhoza family (13 gorillas), with a male silverback, a few females, and some youngsters. We both used porters to carry our backpacks, well worth it, and freed us to enjoy the hike and take photos. Some of the female gorillas and youngsters came quite close, and didn’t seem to be bothered in the least by our presence. We did the golden monkey trek the next day, which was also fun. The service at the lodge was top notch. They have a “mud room” with gaiters, jackets, shoes, walking sticks, etc. They give you a backpack with lunch and water for trekking. When you return, they take your shoes and socks and clean them for you. They brought a nurse from town to the lodge to do our Covid-19 tests. We also did a wine tasting with the sommelier (they have a very nice wine cellar at the lodge with South African wines), and enjoyed “Rwanda night” with dances and locally inspired food.
AndBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas
The most adventurous part of our trip! The tents were very comfortable, with hot bucket showers and flushing toilets. The food was delicious, and on our last night they set up a table and fire pit in front of our tent, and we enjoyed a private dinner and a bottle of sparkling wine under the stars. It was just the two of us on the safari vehicle for the four days (I think the property was not full to capacity yet). Our guide Daniel was amazing, willing to “push hard” so that we could see as much wildlife as possible, and even helped us take photos. We did game drives every day from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., with breakfast in the bush and lunch break at the camp. The highlights were being in the middle of the Great Migration and seeing so many lions (final count was 36 I think). They had a tent set up in Central Serengeti for Covid-19 tests, which was very convenient, so it did not take time away from our safari experience.
AndBeyond Ngorongoro Crater
Beautiful property, right at the edge of the crater. We did one long game drive around the crater floor, couldn’t see the wildlife as close as in the Serengeti, but could still appreciate the unique ecosystem. We mostly enjoyed relaxing at the property, especially the hot baths and fireplaces since it was chilly at the top of the crater!
Arusha Coffee Lodge
Comfortable day stay, and I’m glad we booked this. They kindly allowed us to stay until our transfer to the airport at 7:30 p.m. We went to the Cultural Center nearby for a few hours and bought a few pieces of artwork from the gallery.
Thank you again for all your help planning this vacation for us, especially with all the changes/re-booking during Covid-19. It was one off the bucket list. When we’re ready to return to Africa, we will definitely book with your company again! ”
Here is the Detailed Virtual Itinerary
The Best of East Africa : Gorilla Trekking, The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater