We cannot say that an African safari was a lifelong dream… but it should have been!
After this trip to Tanzania, we will never think about Africa in the same way. This was a mind changing experience for the whole family. There was some trepidation in all of us. Fear of the unknown, strange foods and of course..wildlife. We did not know the languages, nor the customs, nor the people; but we rolled the dice and went. We are so glad that we did!
Thomson Safari was our choice after extensive research and reading countless reviews on-line. We obviously cannot compare to others as this is the only one we have done. It all boiled down to who would take care of us. This was crucial as we were traveling with Daughter Shelley, Son-in-Law Jeff and the two most wonderful Grandchildren in the world; Sam and Kate! We made a great choice.
Thomson does it all; no contractors, all dedicated employees who make your trip simply marvelous. They really care about Tanzania and its people and that is simply special in a world that seems like it is all about the almighty dollar.
They start with a brand new Land Rover truck which they strip down from the engine compartment all the way to the rear bumper.
Then they build a passenger compartment with cushy seats, huge picture windows, and a pop top at the perfect height for wildlife and scenery viewing. Every morning our guide had the vehicle cleaned and spotless for the days trip. Chama said there are two seasons in Africa, muddy and dusty. We saw a lot of both.
This was Shelley and Jeff looking out the top. We did this constantly looking for the next animal; or even “ALT’s” which our guide Robert Chama explained were animal looking things.
One of the most wonderful parts of this whole experience was to be able to see it through the eyes of our family.
Then they put you up in great accommodations ranging from fantastic lodgescomplete with a wood burning fireplace to warm your fanny while you shower, a patio to enjoy a cocktail..and snuggley beds to sleep in.
Then we move to the Nyumbas, or tents as we say in the western world..Great inventions with most of the niceties of home.
On top of all that; we add great food. Karen and I are on a somewhat kinky Paleo diet and at every venue, they had food prepared just for us. The food was gourmet literally in the wild. Everything “normal” and very delicious!
The Thomson staff were very careful with food handling to keep us safe. We were reminded to use bottled water which was always at hand. Supplies of water for our travels across the national parks and game preserves were stored on the top of our Land Rover covered with canvas and plastic wrap to protect from dust.
A ritual before every meal was hand washing.One of the staff would pour warm soapy water over our hands, wash them, and then rinse.
We also traveled to where the animals were migrating so we could catch as many as possible. We saw almost all that we were looking for except a Cheetah including some very rare ones. Those pictures will follow in later additions.
The safari also introduced us to the people of Tanzania and their lifestyle.This group of women opened a market to make direct sales to tourists so more of the final sales price ended with them instead of middlemen. This was sponsored by the Thomson organization. They also took us to a school where we were amazed at the focus of the seventh graders we met.
A church group came to our Lodge at Gibbs Farm to entertain and it was quite a show, a brief video of that is below:
This was our crew along with a park ranger.
Before you get to see the animals, we wanted to share what SAFARI is all about. The animals are next and we shot many of them with our Nikons!
We vow to return to this magic country.