Written on: March 17, 2014
I visited in October 2013
Since I was a child, I had dreamt of traveling to Africa. But life passes and those dreams fade. On my 50th birthday, I realized that life was passing quickly and I was missing out, which was my reminder of my dreams of African elephants and the Snows of Kilimanjaro.
I happened to get the contact of E-Trip Africa by a chance encounter at business dinner. On first contact, they listened to what I had dreamt about. And after a few days they put together some options of tours that could work for me. Aurelie also gave me some other suggestions that I did not even know where possible.
Knowing that I am not getting younger, I also decided that Kilimanjaro was either now or never. So I ended going to East Africa for six weeks. I spent some of my trip with my wife and the trek with two old friends. What really amazed me was the ability for Aurelie to organize and manage our trip in three different countries. She had also visited every hotel and done each of the activities that she proposed to me. Now that is a dream job, if I have ever heard of one.
I started the trip with six days in Kenya. Many people told me to stay away from Kenya due to terrorism, but I felt completely safe, even in the massive city of Nairobi. The people were very nice and my guide Joseph is now like family. Masai Mara was very nice but crowded and on several occasions Joseph, as an Honorary Park Ranger, intervened to put some very disorderly Chinese in order. He even was picking up trash when he saw it. Joseph is a nice man that cares for the environment and wants to see a better future for his two children. We then went to Lake Nakuru and spent two great nights at Sleeping Warrior Lodge. The night game drives were very cool. And Joseph could always say what the animal was just by the color of it´s eyes in the spot light.
I then headed down to Tanzania and met Jorge and Carlas for our Kilimanjaro Trek. Our guide Casper really gave us a wonderful 8 days on the Lemosho Route. Even though there was some rain, I could not have asked for a better experience and the challenge to get to the top was fantastic. I am not in the best condition physically, but this was endurance and a challenge in your own mind.
After the trek I left my trekking friends to meet my wife in Mafia Island. This untouched island is a perfect place to relax and enjoy fantastic diving. Our hosts at Shamba Kilole were very friendly and prepared perfect food, but that can be expected from Italians. Five days was not enough and I hope to return one day.
We then flew to Ruaha National Park to enjoy again an untouched park that has few visitors. This park was very nice and the lions provided us several exciting moments. Unlike Kenya, we did not see another car for several hours and you could really have a nice feel of being in the wild of Africa.
Next we flew to the Northern Circuit. Tarangire, Lake Manyara and then into the Ngorongoro Crater, where the wildlife was only slightly denser than the tourists. This part of the trip was not so great. The crater is a must, but with all of the other tourists and even a few loud rundown vehicles really distracted from the experience. Also, Oldupai Musuem is a complete waste of time and money. Aurelie and our guide both talked it down, but did I listen?? Lesson learned and shared. The Serengeti however, was better as we only spent two days in the Seronera Area before heading to the North. Again, a perfect site at Sayari Camp, where there was the chance to get out and enjoy nature secluded from the masses. Four days here was perfect and we even got some great time close to a Rhino, not to mention some fantastic Wildebeest River Crossings.
Last on the list was Rwanda. Again, this was a welcome surprise. Most people are uneducated about the country. They only remember the war and genocide and assume it is still a war torn place. It is not. It is beautiful and very warm country. The smiling faces and friendly people were unlike the rest of our trip. People were helpful and not aggressive at all. Even in the touristy shops. Gorillas were fantastic and the trek was surprisingly easy both days. Also, the visit to see the rare Golden Monkey was worth the extra day in the area.
Rwanda is another place that I hope to return to one day. The country is booming and the people are quite different from their neighbors. I think that sums it up. A trip this long has so many great stories and not enough place to write them all.
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