Although I was lucky to see gorillas in Uganda, this was my first experience of what is referred to as the ‘Real African Safari’ experience and it was magical.
Carrier Luxury Holidays had kindly invited me as one of six UK agents on a 10 day/ 9 night authentic African odyssey educational trip to Tanzania.
We were hosted by a member of Carrier’s team and our exciting itinerary had been carefully curated by their expert team to showcase the very best Tanzania can offer, including accommodation in six different luxurious lodges.
Our adventure would take in Arusha, including Gibbs Farm, which overlooks the Great Rift Valley on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, a unique volcanic environment supporting over 25,000 animals, including the seldom seen black rhino, plus the Central and Northern Serengeti.
We flew with the excellent Qatar Airways, changing plane in Doha before arriving in Kilimanjaro, with just over an hour transfer to Arusha for a night to chill and recharge at the Gran Melia Arusha before starting our journey west overland. The Northern Tanzanian safari circuit took us through Lake Manyara National Park in a 4×4 Land Cruiser and gave us our first game viewing en route to our overnight stay at Gibbs Farm, recently awarded East Africa’s top hotel in the Condenast reader’s awards.
Gibbs Farm is an historic organic farm and family coffee plantation, deeply rooted in East African culture and community, and a sanctuary for safari goers to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
Beautiful architectural details are inspired by local African artists with the organic vegetable and terraced flower gardens providing a wonderful setting for afternoon tea or a quiet walk.
Each of its 17 guest cottages features a unique theme and views of the coffee plantation or the gardens.
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the Seven Natural wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A descending afternoon game drive took us into the crater floor before a hosted dinner and overnight stay at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
Perched on the edge of the crater, the lodge comprises three separate camps, totalling 30 magnificent suites with spectacular vistas. Described as Maasai meets Versailles, each camp has its own guest sitting and dining areas, as well as viewing decks.
Serengeti National Park
Onto the enormous Serengeti with stays at three splendid different lodges across the Central and Northern regions, several game drives and lots of safari.
Each of the properties in the Serengeti comprised luxury tents that opened to fantastic views. We stayed one night at Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp; one night at One Nature Nyaruswiga; and two nights at Serengeti Bushtops.
The food and service were amazing, and the staff couldn’t do enough for you.
Our guides were the best, and they were great at spotting wildlife. There isn’t a guarantee to always see the animals you may want but apart from cheetah, our group saw everything, including the privilege of seeing a leopard three times. We also saw a lion hunt.
The opportunity to see such incredible creatures in their environment is never taken for granted but nothing had prepared me for the early morning experience of seeing them from above from a hot air balloon, something I will never forget.
Although we didn’t have time, an ideal ending to a Tanzania safari is to take the short flight to Zanzibar for a relaxing beach stay.
There are some fantastic properties here, including the Zuri, which we have recently received great client feedback on.
You could also include the gorgeous Spice Islands for some of the world’s most renowned dive sites or a hiking excursion around Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.
Tanzania is such an amazing place, with a very interesting history. Whichever holiday you choose, you will be welcomed by some fabulously friendly inhabitants who, despite being divided into 120 different ethnic groups and cultures, live in harmony with one another and provide some of the most wonderfully exotic local cuisine you could imagine.
Thanks to Carrier and the fantastic hospitality of all that looked after us so well and contributed to a special trip.