Now I’m back and reflecting on what just happened to me! Blind-sided, short-sighted, dumb-sighted! What was I thinking! An African safari with Infinite Safari Adventures is so cool!
We’ve finally been able to catch up on everything around home and wanted to get back to you quickly about our trip.
As you can guess from our quick emails from Tanzania, we had a fantastic time and a lot of the credit goes to Davey and his over-the-top guide services. His rating with us is beyond five stars. We were at ease from the moment we met him and by the end of our week, felt that the three of us were good friends. And, asanta sana to you and Steve as well. Everything fell right into place as you said it would. Even the weather was perfect with warm days and cool nights.
Davey’s knowledge, not only about the animals, but about the land and everything living on it, made our trip not only a sightseeing experience, but a learning one as well. We could not have had a better time. We saw everything from ants to zebras, including the Big 5 in one day – somewhat of a rarity according to Davey. Of course, the landscapes are pretty spectacular, too.
All of the hosts at our stops were warm and welcoming as were their staffs. Food was consistently good with rave reviews going to Rivertrees and Olakira (Jane even got a recipe from the chef). Ebenezer, our guide at the Olakira camp, was also top notch (not quite a Davey, but close).
We felt perfectly safe the entire time. Jane did have a close encounter with a lioness on an Olakira safari. Their vehicles are completely open at the sides. We were parked watching a group of 10 lion cubs frolic, when an alpha female came out of a rock formation and started toward the cubs. She could have easily gone around our vehicle, but chose to walk up to Jane and stare right at her. She was less than a foot away. We were perfectly still. It was probably less than a minute, but seemed like a long time before she turned and walked around the truck. That adventure was the talk of the camp that night with Jane getting high praise for bravery. Jane shot video of most of the approach but turned the camera away when the lioness was face to face with her.
A few observations – every stop offered at least some hours to charge electronic devices and had laundry services. I had no problem charging my cpap machine battery and it wasn’t an issue at any time. (There are so many people that use cpap machines these days that airport security even mentions it in their signs and all the inspectors are aware of them.) You may want to mention the charging stations for cpap machine batteries in your sales tools. Had we been aware of the extensive laundry services, we might have brought fewer items of clothing. You may want to review your list of suggested apparel or mention that, because of available laundry services, people can modify the list to suit their needs.
Davey is a super ambassador for you. Consider bringing him to the US for some of the travel shows.
You may have heard from Steve that we tried to change our flight from Olakira to later in the day. Eight hours at Kilimanjaro Airport is a strain. We tried to get a day room near the airport, but couldn’t get one. You may want to offer that as an option if there is a long wait at Kilimanjaro. In all, we ended up either in planes or airports for the last 32 hours of our trip.
Since we’ve been back, all our conversations have included something about our trip. It is now part of our lives – a very happy part.
Marc & Jane
Mark and I arrived home yesterday (and Aussie Mark and Olivia arrived home today) and we had THE BEST time. Everything was perfect! I was extremely excited about the trip and I had high expectations, but I admit that I thought sentences like "Africa is now in your blood" in the itinerary were hyperbole, but wow, Mark and I both want to go back as soon as possible.
I've heard people say going to Africa is life-changing but I didn't really think that would apply to me. In a way it doesn't because I told you even before we left that I wanted to go back later to work with cheetahs (and I still want to, so that didn't change!), but it really did change Mark's life. I think he's going to email you himself, but he really wants to go back and teach children in a village. I didn't think he'd even want to go on the cultural visit to Mto wa Mbu, but as it turned out he won't stop talking about it. In fact I had to keep telling him for the rest of the trip that we didn't have time to go back there despite his pleas. He just loved the kids there and the people everywhere, which is saying something because he's not a people person by any stretch of the imagination! But he really loved how real people are there. So if you can give him any information on finding teaching opportunities in Mto wa Mbu or other similar villages, that would be great. Before we left for Amsterdam, Mark was complaining that the trip was going to be too long and he didn't want to be away from home for close to three weeks, but when the time came he absolutely did not want to come home. Which was especially interesting because he also said he didn't want to go to the beach, and yet there he was at the beach not wanting to leave. :) (For someone that didn't want to go to the beach, it was awfully hard for me to drag him out of the ocean...) I think if someone had handed us return tickets at IAD yesterday when we landed we would have headed right back!
I know a lot of how great our experience was is thanks to you, so thank you so much for arranging everything. It couldn't have gone more smoothly. I really appreciate the care you took in making everyone aware of our diets and also the box of vegan goodies Muba picked up for us, which we turned out to not really need because the lodges all had plenty of food for us - especially Lamai and Unguja which both went way out of the way to make us special meals. I took some emergency energy bars with me and I didn't eat a single one the entire time - being vegan was a total non-issue. Some of the lodges packed hard-boiled eggs, which aren't vegan, in our lunch boxes, but I just gave those to Olivia, who eats eggs.
Muba is AWESOME. We loved him. He is really a superior guide: he's personable, extremely knowledgeable, and is quite remarkable at finding animals. Don't let him go! The guide we had in the Serengeti, Jairo, was great too. At first we didn't think anyone could live up to Muba standards, especially as Jairo's English wasn't quite as good (although still perfectly acceptable), but Jairo ended up also being an excellent guide who tolerated a lot of antics from us. (He very good-naturedly drove us back to a silly stick we wanted to photograph after Mark and Olivia TWICE mistook it for an animal.)
We did have one question: the itinerary said we'd be staying in a semi-permanent tented camp, Nomad, in the Serengeti, but we ended up at Lamai, which we weren't expecting. Believe me, I am NOT complaining because Lamai was crazy-awesome - by far the most amazing place I've ever stayed and even Aussie Mark's favorite place ever and he's stayed in a lot of very high-end places. So we were wondering how we ended up there, but I need to report that they were really, really great. They totally catered to our diets, and they made Mark and I a special anniversary meal including a decorated vegan cake, and that SUNRISE in the rooms - just amazing. They really seemed to think of everything. I'm not used to that sort of personalized attention, but it was truly fabulous. Our 10th anniversary rivaled our wedding for awesomeness!
Unguja was also extremely attentive: they actually prepared special vegan menus with TWO options for each course for us because the manager said he didn't like people being forced into one option just because they have a dietary restriction. I'm really not used that kind of attitude! It was great!
All of the other places we stayed were great too; we had absolutely no complaints. We couldn't believe how well the entire trip went; everything was perfect. I don't write a lot of reviews, but I do plan to write reviews for Lamai and Unguja because they totally took care of us and it means a lot to me, and I definitely want to write a review for you because a) you are awesome and b) I know how important reviews can be for small businesses. Is there anywhere other than Trip Advisor you'd like me to write a review?
And finally: the cheetahs. So, I'm really serious about returning to work with cheetahs, and possibly other wildlife (I read Tony Fitzjohn's memoirs right before the trip and I really want to be able to hug a lion at some point in my life!), so what can you tell me about doing that? Mark and I both want to return and actually do some work over there. He really wants to teach children, but working with big cats would be just about the ultimate thing for me. As you know, I spend most of my free time doing wildlife rehab and while I love the raccoons and raptors I work with in Virginia, cats are kind of my thing. (I was delighted that we had cat-heavy safaris!)
"We want to thank you for everything that you arranged for us for our vacation. Everything from Infinite Safari exceeded our expectations, and it was definitely a trip of a lifetime. We especially loved the night at Kikoti, and we hope to return there again someday for a longer stay. Unguja Lodge was a perfect place for relaxation, and we did not want to leave!
Baraka is an amazing guide. He is incredibly knowledgable about the animals, plants, ecology, and history of the area. Because of his skills and eagle eyes, we were able to see so much more than I could have even hoped for when we were planning for this trip.
Everything went seamlessly from pickups to drop offs and all connections along the way. There was not a time when we wanted or needed for anything.
Thanks so much for all your help, and we hope to have the chance to go again. Asante sana"
Scott & Amy M
"We had the best trip ever, and echo Amy and Scott in reporting that Baracka was a gem! We enjoyed every moment of this, and are getting a lot of mileage sharing our adventures with others, and our awesome experience of Infinite Safari. Karibu, Mark Goodman"
"Wanting to go on a Safari for years, I finally got to go to Tanzania in September. What an experience! Friends and I went with Infinite Safari Adventures and were able to modify the suggested itinerary to suit us. The trip exceeded my expectations. Our guides were so knowledgeable and personable - doing everything to make our trip comfortable and exciting. The places we stayed were different and each gave us a different view of the country. Each day was so fantastic - seeing 4 of the big 5 and so much more. The migration of the wildebeest is something I will never forget - unbelievable to see. Would love to do it again - at a different time of year!"
"I am 80 years old and I live in Japan. This August I travel from Japan to join a dear American friend and his family for our first wildlife Safari in Tanzania. As I boarded the plane in Amsterdam to head for Africa my heart started beating with excitement and anticipation. For me, the real worth of the safari so much depends on how good and experienced the driver-guide is for the safari. On our trip I saw the “light and shadow” of life for the wild animals and I owe so much to our guide on this tour.
“Kanwa Kyudai”, means “by the way” in my language, and we see so much “by the way.” In Ngorogoro Crater we see the female lion kill the buffalo. When her canine sticks into the artery and the blood flushed up to the air, the game is over. What a cruel scene is it! What a contrast to the scene of Lion family that we saw in the Serengeti, looking so peaceful and showing warm family tie. Adult lions are cautiously taking care of their baby lions. I would say this is a part of the “light” as compared with shadow part we saw at Ngorogoro Crater.
How we could have these satisfactory and rewarding experiences was so much due to having a good driver/guide, and the tour planner Infinite Safari Adventures who provide such a skillful talented guide for us. We enjoyed the safari, and think it was really rewarding one."
"Infinite Safari Adventures created the perfect vacation for our family. We had an incredible first week on safari and were able to see The Big 5 and then some! We couldn't have asked for better guides; they were absolutely top notch. The second week was filled with kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving and exploring the tide pools. Still, it was well balanced with plenty of relaxation time. Thank you Infinite Safari Adventures for a truly memorable experience."
Michael P. & Michele K.
"Over four decades travel has done much to mold and shape me, but it was my climb this summer of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world's highest free-standing mountain at 19,340 feet, arranged by Infinite Safari Adventures that was simply transformational. Sure getting to the top is wonderful, but as valuable to me was the feeling of teamwork, trust and commitment we and our guides and porters shared to make the experience unforgettable for each of us. And Kili, alone would have made the trip, but we had yet another week of wonders as we set out on safari. With the wildlife safari portion created for us by Infinite Safari Adventures we toured some of Tanzania's best game parks. Every day held a surprise for us, including having an elephant standing between our spacious tents at Tarangire Safari Lodge! None of this romance - the fabulous game drives, the excellent meals at places like the Gibbs Farm, or even the bush plane ride back to Arusha - would have been possible without the meticulous planning and execution by Infinite Safari Adventures. We were thousands of miles from home, yet every connection was flawlessly made, every one of our practical needs was met, and we felt safe at all times. In reality, Infinite Safari Adventures made our dreams come true."
West Hills, CA
"Thanks Infinite Safari Adventures!! We had an amazing time!! It was definitely the best trip I've ever been on out of all of my travels!! Everything went very smoothly and we will definitely be recommending you to our friends who are looking at Tanzania for their honeymoon next summer!"
Clifton Park, NY
"Just got home yesterday afternoon, from all my post-TZ travels... want to say again how extremely much Dick and I enjoyed our entire time in Tanzania, how very, very much we want to return and just how wonderful it was spending time with all of you! Hugs to all... including Julius!"
Marina Del Rey, CA
"Going on an African safari was not high on my list of "things to do!" But an opportunity arose with good friends to go on a safari with Infinite Safari Adventures. Now I'm back and reflecting on what just happened to me! Blind-sided, short-sighted, dumb-sighted! What was I thinking! An African safari with Infinite Safari Adventures is so cool! From the luxurious accommodations, delicious food & wine, incredible animal sightings (right out the window of the jeep, not miles away - right there, face to face), - wow, a truly unique and life changing experience. It's like a really really good book. You want to read it again and again because you never want it to end - even though you know what happens next you find something new with each read! Thanks for looking after our every need Alan & Steve, you are both conscientious and capable tour directors. I am looking forward to my "next read" really really soon. Asante Sana!"
Los Angeles, CA
"Great trip. Well organized. Excellent driver. Good itinerary. Not the usual lodging and food. Boutique experience that is much better than the usual safari. Good if you want to see the animals and also do water sports. You are well cared for and can design the kind of experience that you want. Recommend without any reservations."
Dr. Richard H.
"We are lucky to have had many great holidays in our lives. However, we would put our trip with Infinite Safari Adventures in a class by itself. It was a really special trip for all of us. We congratulate ourselves on our choice of tour companies!! We feel that choosing a smaller company was a big plus as Infinite Safari Adventures really listened to us and tried to tailor the trip to us. No detail was too small (e.g. coffee, biking). We really doubt we would have had such good service and attention to detail with a bigger company. One of our group had been on a safari with his parents earlier in the year and said that he thought Infinite Safari Adventures was much better than the company his parents used.
We also decided while we loved all the things that we did on this trip the one thing we would love to do again is to revisit Fish Eagle Point and do more kayaking. We could have easily stayed a week there!"