After months of planning, we finally got off on the trip I’ve waited to take for a long time, hoping it turns out as exciting as I imagined - our journey into the remote, mysterious, wild reaches of deepest Africa, the original birthplace of our species, the continent from where our earliest ancestors made their way across the world.

Africa is a once in a lifetime experience that everyone should explore but it is critical to start planning early because permits for the different safaris are limited per season and, of course, travel and stay costs tend to increase the closer you get to your travel date. To give you an idea, we started planning in October 2022 for our trip in July 2023.

We spent three nights in all in Mara and then left for Tanzania.

Tanzania has a rich history and a fascinating culture. It is home to seven world heritage sights, including Africa’s highest mountain, the Kilimanjaro, the spectacular Serengeti, home of the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera and the historical cultural hub of Stone Town in Zanzibar. But you will definitely come back for the people, who exude wonderful kindness, warmth and authentic hospitality.

We reached Serengeti National Park in the afternoon after 2 flights from Masai Mara and immigration at the Tanzania-Kenya border.

Serengeti means “endless plains” in the Maasai language, and the National Park is one of the world’s most celebrated wilderness areas; and is definitely a source of inspiration to filmmakers, writers and photographers alike. It is Tanzania’s oldest national park renowned for its annual Great Migration, when over 2 million wildebeest migrate to Masai Mara in Kenya. It’s a once in a lifetime wilderness experience and deeply moving. It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Alphonce, our driver and guide for the next three days, met us at the airstrip with lunch and coffee, after which we went on a game drive. The Big Five - buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and black rhino - can be found throughout the park. We saw a beautiful herd of elephants with babies as well as a group of five lions walking majestically on the grassland.

We got to see the lions at close quarters, and though we had seen lions in Mara, this was an absolutely exhilarating experience. Serengeti also had many more wildebeest than Masai Mara, owing to the migration in progress. We also saw several species of antelope, including the topi (also known as yellow jeans & blue socks) and Grant’s gazelles, and foxes and ostriches. The safari ended with a beautiful sunset and we reached our camp late in the evening. Incidentally, the word safari means “journey” in Tanzania, perfectly encapsulating the experiences of this East African Country.

We stayed at &Beyond Serengeti Under the Canvas. This is a moving camp, in that it moves with the migrating wildebeest. Moving five times a year, it attempts to anticipate the movements of the Great Migration, to bring guests as close as possible to the wildebeest, as well as catch sight of magnificent resident game. With just nine tents nestled at each private campsite, you really get to enjoy the luxury of complete contentment and nights spent in the African bush.

We were designated three tents with our own personal butlers. The tents were unique with facilities like showers and more. After a wholesome dinner, cooked by Chefs KK and Jaffery, under the stars, we called it a night as we had an early morning safari.

Next day, we spent most of the morning following the trail of the migration but didn’t have the good fortune to see it. After breakfast under the jungle trees, close to the river, we began following the cats. I, personally, couldn’t have enough of the deer and antelopes but everyone else was focused on the big cats.

We went into leopard territory, driving over rocks and looking into trees. All of a sudden, there it was, perched on a tree about half a kilometre away. I really don’t know how Alphonce spotted it but he took us close to the tree and as we came to a halt, as if on cue, the leopard leapt down gracefully. It was a delightful spectacle.Satiated but hungry, we headed back to camp for lunch with a promise to come back for the afternoon game drive and look for more cats.

After three wonderful nights at Serengeti we went to Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. Its picturesque and gorgeous landscape is very different from Mara and Serengeti. Manyara is famous for its unusual tree climbing lions and huge flocks of flamingos. It has a lake with more than 400 species of bird life, like pelicans, bee eaters and the crested eagle, many elephants, plenty of baboons and black face monkeys, zebras and giraffes.

We stayed at the &Beyond Tree Lodge, which is cradled in the boughs of an ancient mahogany forest and melts into the natural beauty of its breathtaking surroundings. Rustic but with old world luxury, it has a wonderful vibe with people who exude gentle Tanzanian hospitality and have a passion for delighting guests. It has ten stilted treehouse suites, crafted from local timber and makuti palm fronds, which weave a sophisticated blend of intimacy and romance, offering privacy and exclusivity in the cool, leafy surroundings, with elephant visitors passing through.

Designed to exert minimal impact on the environment and provide a tranquil haven, the Lodge offers an exclusive interpretive safari in a more remote area of the National Park. Just being here, experiencing the majestic mountain, and listening to the lapping of the waves on the lakeshore and the sounds of nature, is a treat in itself. From Manyara, we travelled to Ngorongoro Crater in Nothern Tanzania. Once a gigantic volcano, it is the largest intact caldera in the world and shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth; it is home to the endangered black rhino, giant tusk elephants, large lions and flamingos.

After Serengeti, Masai Mara and Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro took our breath away. The lakes were full of flamingos, hippos and, of course, the big five. We were very lucky to see as many as twenty lions in the span of just two days. The King of the Jungle, was a beautiful sight against the landscape of the crater. We stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, a beautiful property overlooking the crater’s rim. Nowhere else on earth can you wake up among all the trappings of an elegant baroque châteaux that transports you into one of the most famous African landscapes. An eclectic blend of teak panelling, Victorian furnishings and whimsical African touches creates a sumptuous atmosphere that is as elegant and unique as the crater itself. In this place of dramatic contrasts, anything is possible and the natural luxury of the beautiful setting ensures the dramatic interior of the suite blends perfectly with its stilted thatch architecture. Everything is chosen to delight the imagination and enhance the spectacular views of the magnificent surroundings.

WhatsApp Connect with us