Thank you for my African adventure, Mind & Soul Travel!
Written on: February 16, 2015
I visited in November 2013
I went on my lifelong dream safari with Mind & Soul travel in 2013. They recommended I travel with a group of amateurs photographers and I had a wonderful time!
Susanne, who's in charge of the travel company, helped with my planning and many, many questions. She was so helpful in arranging extra visits for me to children's homes so I could distribute gifts I had collected back home.
Our guides, Toyota and Linus, are two of the best guides ever! Toyota's instinct for searching out animals is uncanny. An example. There we were jostling along in the jeep at perhaps 30kmh when he suddenly brakes and reverses. He stops and points to a brown, dried out bush. Underneath was a hyena resting. For goodness sakes, it was the same color as the bush. How in the world did he spot it??!!
Our other guide, '50-50' Linus, is equally wonderful especially with his explanations and stories. Ask him anything and he'll give you an answer! I enjoyed listening to him.
The people I travelled with were great! They were funny, easy to get along with, some had wicked sense of humours and I am so glad to have travelled with them as they made my trip equally memorable. Yes, even the one who dropped a bean bag on my head!
A little reflection: Although all the accommodations had their merits - sleeping amidst prowling animals at Ndutu, Kati Kati and Tarangire, I must say that I enjoyed having my own bungalow at the Explorean Lodge. I loved the spaciousness of it, the amazing view from my balcony as well as the mod cons they provided. Yes, one may think that it being a safari, one has to 'rough' it out but let me tell you that after days of being on bumpy roads, dust in your face, hair and clothes, it was paradise coming to a place like the Explorean. They even had express laundry service (Ahhh, the joy of wearing clean clothes again). Everything about that place was 'wunderbar'- the all-inclusive drinks, the pool, the food, the turn-down service with the hot water bottle and chocolates at night - I think we ALL enjoyed our stay there.
And I was glad we stayed at Kati Kati BEFORE the Explorean (clever organization). If we hadn't, we wouldn't have appreciated the uniqueness of the tented camp. We were all amazed by the service we received at Kati Kati. It was a unique experience with the ordering of hot water for showers,the dinner service in a tent, the charging station. The food was also really good despite the 'basicness' and remoteness of the place and the staff absolutely wonderful. This was my second favorite. All of the other places had their merits but the Explorean and Kati Kati were my favs.
I must admit that although it was quite scary sleeping alone in some places, especially in the tents as these were of canvas and not of the solid wood and brick type so if a lion or elephant wanted to get at me, they could have (special treatment?). I did like having a room all to myself. The scariest was at Tarangire as I am sure you've been told by now that there were lions prowling around! After dinner, I had to walk back alone (although the staff told me that there was a guard outside) and our tents had not been lit up so I got pretty frightened. But I kept saying to myself, 'Keep calm, breathe, don't run becos whatever's out there is faster than you.......'
The safari was all I expected it to be and more! Yes, we only managed to get glimpses of rhinos far far away in the distance but we did see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, dik diks, hippos, impalas, gazelles, ostriches and many other creatures up close.
Eating our lunch boxes outside under trees sharing space with birds and voles and creatures we couldn't see was also unique. Even peeing out in the open was an experience in itself!
Meeting the local people was also part of that wonderful experience - the children, their teachers, the hospitality staff at the lodges/tents, shopkeepers, vendors - just greeting someone with 'Jambo' put smiles on faces and opened people up!
Words cannot express how I feel. I fell in love with Africa and its animals a long time ago reading books, watching movies and documentaries and this trip has justified that love and more.
Once again, thank you to Susanne, Rachel, Linus and Toyota for making my trip memorable. I hope to see you all again (Linus is sure we'll come back and he HAS spoken).
P.s lady travellers, put on high impact exercise bras for the bumpy roads.
'Jambo' and 'Asante sanna' from Gothenburg, Prem