Our safari travel company responded quickly to my Zicasso request for an agency to help me plan a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for 3 families of friends – 13 of us in all. We returned from our 14 day trip in July and “Oh Wow” was the quote of the trip. It just fit everything from how beautiful the scenery was to how great our accommodations were. The guides and staff at the lodges were so kind and knowledgeable, "wow" again. We visited the Ngorongoro Crater area and the Serengeti in Tanzania, and the Masa Mara and Laikipia areas of Kenya. Each place we stayed offered something a little different and unique so we never got bored or tired of our experiences. Our safari travel company organized a trip that not only met my expectations but exceeded them while respecting our budget. Even when Delta and KLM tried to put a damper on our trip with lost luggage and canceled flights, our travel company was there to assist us and keep our trip on track. We never felt alone in our trip - their in-country representatives were there to assist when needed. When I turned to Zicasso to plan my trip, I had general ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. This company made it a reality.
The scenery and animals were spectacular. You learned to appreciate not only the big 5 but the diversity of the wildlife big and small and how they all need each other. We gained this appreciation through knowledgeable guides so this is important. Be sure the guides have experience in the area. With our large group we had multiple guides when we split up and it became obvious when a guide was "in training". Luckily, we always had experienced guides to back them up. So besides what you'd expect our most memorable parts of the trip were created by having great staff at each lodge. They welcomed us into their establishments like you would invite an old friend into your home. At Naona Moru Serengeti we had a spectacular fire out in the bush as we enjoyed sundowners and shared songs and dances from each of our cultures. Thanks to the owner and staff for a wonderful time! Serian Camp in the Mara North Conservancy was over-the-top in its design with a great deck for afternoon tea, rooms that overlooked the river and a staff that was just awesome. We were there 2 nights and would have loved to stay more. We had a special tea out in their Tree House and a magical dinner in the bush. We felt like we'd stepped out of a movie. We ended our trip at Ol Malo House which was memorable all on its own. Our hosts welcomed us into their home with open hearts. The family built the 5+ bedroom house as an addition to their lodge to accommodate large groups and each room was different and spectacular in its own way (my room had a tub shaped like a crocodile) with views looking out over the valley. We rode camels, did a bush hike and had a great day down at the river swimming, fishing, tubing and soaking in the sun. One day we took a 2 hr drive to a Samburu village to share in one of their celebrations. It only took 5 minutes to get back to Ol Malo because our host flew us back 3 at a time in his helicopter. An extra cost but well worth it - the experience was one none of us will ever forget. A special dinner that we helped cook wrapped up our 3 night stay and our trip full of many memorable moments defined by the people we met and shared them with.
Not much I'd change as the itinerary while full was well paced. We were gone July 1st - July 13th with really two days of travel on each end. We spent 2 nights at each location and 3 at our last place. If I changed anything I might skip going to the Ngorongoro Crater and adding another night at Serian or visit another park in Tanzania but we loved staying at the Plantation Lodge so I would have hated to miss that. In the crater we saw lots of wildlife. You are, however, limited to staying on the roads which was not the case in the private reserves. You still have a great experience and I didn't mind the closed cars like I thought I would. With the pop up roofs you still get great views. I would probably add a day or two to the trip if I could swing it - we had to be back. My only advice when planning is to know you aren't going to see it all and remind yourself when you're there so you can pace yourself and still enjoy what you are seeing. We didn't have a set plan of activities for each day before we arrived. We paced our activities on how we were feeling and each night planned the activities for the next day.
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