We left at 9am for Manyara National Park which was about a 45 minute drive. Manyara National Park is located along the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Here the topography is more jungle with a lot of primates and many birds. It is 127 sq miles but much is taken up by the lake. We saw velvet monkeys and many groupings of baboons and had fun watching them groom each other.
We woke up the next morning and Stephen and Michael were not feeling 100%. They both skipped breakfast. We said goodbye to Greg, Alan, the Spanish couple, George and the Texans, who were also heading to their next stop. We left around 9:45am, and headed to Exploreans Lodge. On the way we did make a short stop at a large store that sold a lot of different items in the town of Mto wa Mbu. I bought some wooden salad tongs, and salt and pepper containers. They had the salt and pepper containers on the table at Manyara Ranch and I just loved them, so was quite happy to find them here in this store.
We arrived at Exploreans about 12:30pm – perfect timing for lunch, which we got to enjoy out on the terrace.
We woke up to another nice breakfast and were packed and ready to meet Modi at 9am. Now Modi is a soft spoken, quiet man who was always very kind. When driving in the city he often let people cross the street or pull in front of him. He graduated from the University and was married with two kids. He was not a big talker, but when he smiled his face lit up, and he was like an encyclopedia of knowledge about all the animals and plants. We loved Modi!! Read More →
We flew on Delta/KLM Medford-Portland-Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro. We flew Economy plus from PDX-AMS (those 3-5 inches make a HUGE difference) and regular economy AMS-JRO. We only had about an hour layover in AMS due to the plane leaving late, but luckily the gate for our next flight was only about 5 gates away. We also carried on all of our luggage so had no concerns about luggage making it to the next plane. Two 10+ hour flights in economy can be brutal!! We landed at JRO at 7:45pm and after about a 30 min wait for our Visa on Arrival and ATM stop we met up with our driver/guide, Modi (more on this fab guy later) who took us to Machweo Spa and Wellness Retreat located just outside of Arusha. As their website says:
Just outside of Arusha, but away from the chaos and mayhem of the city we created a sanctuary of tranquility. We believe Machweo to be the hidden gem you have been looking for: a refuge for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Recharge your batteries after your flight or enjoy some serious pampering before or after your safari adventure or climbing expedition. Read More →
What to wear, what to pack – probably two of the most often asked questions when planning to go on safari. This can also have added difficulty if you are doing internal flights and are given a maximum luggage weight of 15 kg (33lbs) per person for everything, luggage AND carryon combined. Now, we always travel with carryon only so are used to traveling light – but 33 lbs for EVERYTHING especially when carrying so much camera equipment, binoculars, etc. is daunting!! We worked really hard to have everyone down to the 33 lbs. In all honesty when we left home we were all about 34-36 lbs. each. But, we discovered that while it is important to watch the weight and be mindful of it, they do not actually have scales anywhere on these airstrips and as long as you are not carrying too much oversized luggage you are probably fine. That being said, I would still stay below 40 lbs and not push it. In the end we were happy we had packed light – there was not anything we had left at home that we wished we had brought and having fewer items made it really easy to pack every time we moved. Most camps will provide laundry service so no need to overpack. Read More →
I knew I wanted to go on safari with the kids at some point, but I also knew I did not want to “rough it”. While I wanted a tented camp, I also wanted hot showers, flushed toilets, electricity, and oh, that “Out of Africa” feel would be nice. Read More →
I was honored when my dear friend, Sandy Coughlin of Reluctant Entertainer, invited me to join the group of bloggers who would be attending the 2013 Harry & David bloggers event. This would be my first official blogging event, and though I am not a food or home decor blogger but a travel blogger, I knew I would learn a lot and maybe see things from a slightly different perspective. We all met at Sandy’s house the first evening for a lovely dinner made with many Harry and David ingredients and wonderful table decorations by Penny and Lulu Florist.