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Thanks To The AfricanMecca Team For A Most Exceptional Tanzania Trip

by AfricanMecca Safaris / Friday, 10 February 2017 / Published in Safari, Beach & Tour Reviews For AfricanMecca Safaris

Thanks To The AfricanMecca Team For A Most Exceptional Tanzania Trip

We have just recently returned from our trip to Tanzania.  There were four of us including myself, my wife and our friends that we have been traveling with for 20 years.  By way of background, we are very experienced travelers, have visited over 40 countries, several more than once, and this was our third visit to Tanzania.  As a result, our objective was to have some different experiences and visit new areas.

The ladies in our party are fans of Jane Goodall so Gombe was on the list, we couldn’t imagine a trip there without visiting Ngorongoro Crater and a combination of Ruaha and Selous looked to get us new experiences and an ability to get out of the vehicles and do some nature walking.  While looking for an “upscale” trip, the primary objective was to optimize our overall experience and not just opt for the fanciest places.

Tying all this together was the challenge…..and I started to approach safari packagers that could help us.  In that process I came to know, appreciate and work more and more with AfricanMecca, specifically Raza Visram.  With today’s access to the web, finding data on our options was easy and I quickly filled a binder with all the places we could stay…but I lacked a sense of what they were really like and an ability to tie it all together.  This is where Raza excelled!  In the many hours I spent both on the phone with him and exchanging emails, I found that he had personally been to almost all the camps and could provide the insight we needed….and had the patience to walk us through the selection process.  

Our trip entailed 17 days in-country with the first two nights at the Hatari Lodge adjacent to Arusha National Park and a short hop from the Kilimanjaro Airport.  We had flown straight through from San Diego and Hatari was the perfect place to recover and acclimate.  The lodge is lovely with a warm and friendly staff and giraffe at your doorstep in the morning.  The park is high in the foothills of Mt Meru and it is very lush. There are no major predators in the park, but it is giraffe heaven with “easy” game drives and is a perfect way to break-into the safari routine.

Next we drove to the Ngorongoro Crater for an afternoon game drive and spent the night at the Crater Lodge.  The crater was spectacular as always and is one of the true natural wonders of the world.  This was our second visit to the Crater Lodge, this first a year after it opened, and it has held up well.  They were full and our only complaint was they insisted on seating everyone sequentially for dinner but started the seating after 8:00 PM…which would be fine in a normal big city environment.  However, getting up from a very nice dinner at 11:00 PM and then having a 5:30AM wake up for our game drive (which is really why you are there) is not civilized!

After our morning game drive in the crater we drove back to the Lake Manyara airport where Raza had arranged for us to be picked up by a chartered plane and flown to Kigoma, 5 1/2 hours with a stop-over in Tabora to refuel, and then ferried the next day to Gombe Forest Lodge.  Our experience at the camp was exceptional!  This is a classic case of where you don’t need all the frills of a Crater Lodge to be more than very comfortable, and a with an extremely friendly and professional staff making for a wonderful visit.  It also helped that we were able to see the chimps every day!

Another charter flight, back through Tabora, took us to Ruaha National Park and Mwagusi Camp.  This is one of the first camps in Ruaha and has been owned and operated by Chris Fox since it opened more than 20 years ago.  Their theme is “understated elegance” and all of us can attest to the fact that that they more than achieved their objective.  Every facet to the facility and equipment was exceptionally well maintained, the staff was professional and very accommodating, the food was excellent and watching the animals wandering along the dry river in front of our banda very afternoon was a delight.  We can’t begin to say enough good things about our stay there. Ruaha was everything we had hoped it would be.  The primary animals were impalas..they were everywhere!  But, during the course of our visit we also saw a lot of elephants plus lion, giraffe, hippos, cape buffalo, mongoose, bushbuck, jackals, kudus, warthogs, and leopard twice….and more that I can’t remember plus a profusion of birds.  Our game walk was more eventful than planned, but very memorable…..a lion had wounded a cape buffalo that when charging by us….lion in pursuit!!

Our last stop was at the Retreat in Selous.  Raza had not been there but, based on their website, I selected their camp for our last stop.  The camp is located on the Greater Ruaha River and my objective was to have a water oriented visit interspersed with a few game-drives.  This was the beginning of their third season in operation and the facility is lovely.  We had the river “tents” which were about 800-900 sq feet of mosquito netted comfort with hippos on your doorstep.  The food manager, Kasim, does an outstanding job with the kitchen staff and our meals were elegant and exceptional.  We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a bush dinner at “Tiger Point” and it was truly one of the most memorable meals I have ever had anywhere. However, the Ruaha River is very shallow at this point and it was not possible to take boat trips…and we were there early in the season when there is the most water……so, if you go there, don’t count on the boats.  Since it was early in the season, the foliage was also still very full so game viewing was limited…..but we did see a Black Mamba pass the vehicle (they are a very scary and very fast snakes), Eland and lion.  Our driver/guide was excellent and tried very hard but the vehicles, for such a new resort, were very shabby and poorly maintained.  We also noticed some several maintenance issues around the property…..especially for such a new place.

Every step of the way, the arrangements made by AfricanMecca were spot on.  From our first greeting at the Kilimanjaro Airport to the final meet-and-greet at Dar es Salaam, every connection was on time, as arranged and handled very professionally.  We could not have ask for more.  The accommodations recommended by Raza exceeded our expectations and met our every wish.

Our thanks to the AfricanMecca team and Raza for a most exceptional trip!

Warren Hanselman
United States

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AFRICANMECCA REVIEWS

What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWSfive star africanmecca safaris reviews

  • Greetings to you and our most fervent thanks for a wonderful trip of Kenya, Zanzibar, South Africa & Victoria Falls. Everything went very well. This was truly a perfect vacation. Thank you so much for all your arrangements.
    Adrienne & Barrie Carter - Canada
  • Dear Raza, The accommodations you recommended were superb. We loved them all -- Giraffe Manor, Wilderness Trails, Governor's Il Moran, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and Mnemba Island Lodge.
    Pat Bernard, Vice President, Global Channel Sales, Novell Corp - New Hampshire United States
  • AfricanMecca Safaris created a remarkable honeymoon tailored to our interests and desires. The quality of service and delivery of experience was unsurpassed. I highly recommend AfricanMecca Safaris to honeymooners, families, or any traveler.
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  • We had a great time on your safaris. Thank you very much for all that you did for us. We were in Africa overall for 5 weeks and spent time in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania. We just totally loved it.
    Bruce and Susie Ironside - New Zealand
  • I cannot say enough about the quality of AfricanMecca. Their teams in Kenya and Tanzania were top notch. Raza, again thanks to you and your entire organization! We will be repeat customers.
    Dan Kobick - Managing Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers - New York, United States
  • I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
    Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
  • This is to let you know my guests, The Bryant's, had a wonderful time on the trip Samburu, Masai Mara/Kenya, Chobe/Botswana & Victoria Falls/Zambia. Everything was perfect! Thank you..
    Christine Milan - MT Carmel Travel - Connecticut, United States

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