After spending one night at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, a wonderful gem of a hotel, set in a coffee plantation, we flew to Lake Manyara in the morning. Here we were met by Malley, our guide from &Beyond for the next several days. Our home for 2 nights was the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, located at the bottom end of the park. Nobody else comes down here, so you have the entire area to yourself. Elephants don't hesitate to check you out on your deck! What a thrill!!!
Travel Agents on a working safari!
From Lake Manyara we drove to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge for lunch on the way to Serengeti Under Canvas, an &Beyond seasonal tented camp in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is part of the Serengeti Eco-system, which includes the Masai Mara in Kenya. On the way we visited Shifting Sands in the Oldupai Gorge.
From Ndutu, we flew back to Arusha, where we met Jackson from Asilia. He was our guide for the next week. Asilia is rebuilding their Olivers Camp from the bottom up, so we stayed at Swala, a Sanctuary lodge owned by A&K. Swala is located far away from any other camp, so you have the entire area to yourself down there. Swala has also recently been rebuilt and it is gorgeous.
From Tarangire we drove to Mto wa Mbo Village for a local lunch.
We spent the next morning in the Crater, before proceeding back to Ndutu, where we spent 2 nights at Asilia's Olakira tented camp.
No off-road driving is allowed in the Ngorongoro Crater, but what can you do when there are lions in the road?
From Ndutu we entered the Serengeti NP at Naabi Hill Gate. These cute little Love birds were sitting on eggs in their nest in the tree and he was feeding her or is it just a kiss?
Coming down the hill I witnessed something I will never forget. WOW!!! The entire southern plains of the Serengeti were covered with wildebeest, like a black carpet. It went on as far as the eye could see, for many miles in all directions. I thought that I had seen the Great Migration at Ndutu, but this was amazing! There must have been millions of animals here all spread out forever. This scene cannot be photographed, it has to be seen in person. There's no way I can describe it or you can comprehend it unless you were there. Here is my meager try at showing you just a glimpse of what I saw.
From Seronera we flew to Kogatende in the Northern Serengeti as driving will take an entire day. Here The Mara River flows through the Serengeti before it enters Kenya and The Masai Mara.
The time to be up here is in early summer to late fall when the wildebeest pass through on their way to and back from grazing in the Masai Mara. Many animals stay here all summer. Some spectacular river crossing can be seen here then without the crowds often encountered in Kenya at the Mara crossing points. But hurry up, the area has been discovered and many new seasonal camps and permanent lodges are being built up here. We stayed at Asilia's Sayari. Bushtops is an hour away. The seasonal camps will be open by June 1st and stay until October 31st to catch the migration coming and going into The Masai Mara.
Our first stop on Zanzibar was at Matemwe Bungalows & Retreat, located north of Stonetown. Then we stayed at Breezes, Baraza and The Palms, located south of Stonetown. To end the trip we stayed 3 nights at the fabulous Serena Inn in Stonetown located right on the water.
The Jozani Forest is Zanzibar's only National Park. It's most famous for its Red Colobus Monkeys. They also have very long tails!
This was my first visit to Zanzibar, so I needed to see a lot and learn a lot. I can now highly recommend a visit here for you too.
I will end with a nice shot of a Dhow, the name of the boats used in Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast of East Africa.
Next, I'm off to Southern Africa from May 4-25, 2011.
I'll be visiting Zambia after the Indaba Conference in Durban.