…scribblings from Africa by the Zambezi Safari & Travel Company
The holiday was truly magnificent. Incredibly tiring, we went on every game drive and walk that we could!
I had my doubts about the Southern Sun but it was really good. The staff were friendly and eager to please, so we left with a really good feeling.
Jongomero in Ruaha was really luxurious. We were the first guests of the season. The food was scrumptious and it kept coming! I look forward to losing weight on holiday abroad but that was looking to be a forlorn hope. Mollie and Noelle were excellent hosts. It really does make a difference to have a woman’s touch when it comes to the management of a bush camp. Mollies’ knowledge of the flora and fauna was awesome. Our guide, Kim, nothing was too much trouble and it was obvious who had taught him! In fact the entire staff were a credit to Mollie and Noelle. We really didn’t want to leave.
Next , on to Lake Manze in Selous. This to me was the Jewel in the crown of the holiday. The Selous National Park bush is so varied, from lush savannah to scrub to dense forest within a few minutes drive, it was possible to see elephant, impala, wildebeest, eland, waterbuck, kudu and warthog all in the same area and not forgetting giraffe, they were everywhere! There were lions looking very sleek and well fed, in fact in both Ruaha and the Selous all the animals looked very healthy, not covered in scabs and flies and looking moth eaten. The camp at Lake Manze was basic but had everything you would need, the only thing I would say is don’t arrive on your first day after dark, no electricity, impossible to find anything! On the plus side the food was excellent. Phil, the manager made sure that every whim was catered for. Our guides Peter and Bukari were excellent, once again, nothing was too much trouble and what they didn’t know about the Selous wasn’t worth knowing.
Next, we flew to Lake Manyara which was a long haul and we were very tired by the time we got to Gibbs Farm. But what a place, the rooms are like something out of Arabian Nights! Food and service was excellent, full marks to Hermann the manager. Our guide Maliki was exceptional, turned out he was a real entrepreneur, owning his own vehicles and a fleet of bicycles. The day long game drive to the Ngorongoro crater was something else. Wall to wall game and more lions than you could shake a stick at! It rained both nights we were at Gibbs Farm and the whole area was so green. This was apparently not supposed to happen.
Just for info, the Coastal pilot who flew us from Arusha down to Dar via Zanzibar was a great flier, no idea who he was. Also, pleasant surprise, Coastal do a complimentary car service from domestic to International airport. Their man Vincent showed us to the restaurant where we could pass the time until our flight and even carried our bags, otherwise I would have been a sweaty wreck! I’ve written to Coastal commending Vincent, but whether they will acknowledge him I don’t know.
All in all a fabulous holiday and I wish I was still there! We don’t have any photos of ourselves on the trip as we don’t do that, no time!
Sorry this is turning into a prolix, one last thing, on our first morning in the Selous we came upon 3 lionesses with 4 small cubs and 2 tiny ones, these being only one or two weeks old. One of the lionesses was the childminder and every time she was disturbed she packed the cubs off into the undergrowth, but the most endearing thing was how gentle and serene she was, calling to them in such soft grunts that were mere aspirations, a true vocabulary that I have never seen described, an abiding experience and I will enclose a photo if I can find it. Got it on video but it is so soft as to be all but inaudible.
Best regards and thanks for everything,