Review by: Steve Beck

Overall Impressions

Totally awesome trip. No trip will ever be as good.

Countries Visited

Kenya

1) Mara North Conservancy was the best place we went. Lots of animals close to hand and you don't have to stay on the roads (as you do in Ngorongoro and Queen Elizabeth). 2) Serian the Original was unique--you feel like the manager is your friend, and not just a great worker. 3) Nairobi felt a bit chancy. Good to stay in a safe place and get into the bush as soon as possible.

Tanzania

1) The Serengeti is awesome. We didn't see the big herd (it wasn't together yet--slowed down by the rains). But saw many lions and other things. Again, you can drive off the roads. 2) Visa was a bit clunky. It turns out if you get an East Africa Visa, which is good for Kenya and Uganda, it is invalidated once you set foot in Tanzania. SO we had to pay a small fee to get Visas when we entered Uganda. It might be good to have Tanzania be first or last in a trip like ours, to avoid this. But it was no big deal. 3) In rainy season, the game drive cars get stuck in the mud and have to be pulled out by tractors. We only got stuck three times, and it was an interesting part of our adventure. Others were stuck many more times. I think the cars aren't really four-wheel drive, actually. Climate change may make the rains continue in February and this may become a bigger issue. 4) Manyara was very beautiful (just the forest and lake) and we got close to the baboons and blue monkeys, which were hard to photograph in other places. 5) Ngorongoro is similarly beautiful because of the crater, but the experience with the animals was more distant.

Uganda

1) Uganda has the strange rule that army guys with guns accompany you everywhere. This initially made us a bit nervous. 2) It was interesting to see a bit of the community, which we were able to do in Uganda. We got the impression that ecotourism is really doing something positive in the community. 3) Because you walk to the gorillas, it is an even closer and more personal experience.

Accommodation Visited

Ole Sereni Hotel

A good hotel. Nothing special but it worked well.

Serian 'The Original'

Overall best. Great location. Great food. Great people. Six stars.

Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp

Loved the location and the feel of safari camp. It is probably one of the closest to the game drive route but still is a bit of a haul over the bumpy road each time.

Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp

Beautiful place, and you don't need mosquito netting. Food was ok, not great. Staff were good.

Protea Hotel Entebbe Resort

The hotel was fine. What actually made this a good day was our boat ride on Lake Victoria. They took us out to equator island, and bird island, and we took lots of pictures. The two young guys driving the boat were cool and fun to get to know. Food was nothing special, but perfectly ok.

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Beautiful, great support, really lovely people. This was our best experience with a Sanctuary location. Food was really spectacular--they have a real chef there!

The Boma Entebbe

This half-day was really great, and made our super-long travel day work well. Pretty good food, and a pretty place.

Staff Review

Mahlatini and Donna really knocked it out of the park. I can't imagine a better trip anywhere, and Donna put it together so that we were always taken care of completely, and then worked with us on the trip to arrange our boat ride. Truly awesome and we will send our friends your way.