Square 1 Travel PLUS
I first saw the movie Born Free when I was little. Since then I always wanted to go to Africa to see all the animals. My dream came true September 2014…not only did it come true, but it was exceeded over and over. Each day brought a different view with amazing animals as far as the eye could see. As we journeyed through these two diverse countries I knew in my heart that I would return again. Why not join me....Sep 13-Sep 30/16
Louise DeArmond, Owner/Manager
For Information & Reservations contact
Phone: (250) 334.0355 (Susan)
Toll Free: 1.877.334.0355
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Sep 13 Depart Canada.
Monday night and here we are settled in at the Sandman Hotel in YVR. We have wakeup calls for 4:30am-5:00am for our 8:30am flight. The 6 of us...Shelley, Peggy, Kathleen, Klara, Judy and myself flew out of Comox. We meet up with Duane, Gladys, Ken and Gladys tomorrow afternoon in Montreal. They fly in from Edmonton and we travel via Paris and on to Nairobi where Gerti and Al will be joining us from there month in Europe!!! Let the safari begin!
Sep 14 Arrival Nairobi
Our 2nd and last in Nairobi. What a wonderful day we had today. After a fabulous breakfast off we headed to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary AND we had our first encounter with the rescued Elephants. The first ones that come thundering out of the woods are the 2 and unders and the next are the older ones. Just to watch them heading for their trainer who has the baby bottles filled with their baby milk is so awesome. We heard the stories of their rescuses. They had fallen down wells or mommys were poached. Very sad. Our little Mbegu has grown into a proper, caring young girl!It was fascinating and everyone loved the expierence. Next was the Carnivore restaurant. A fun way to have lunch. Being served about 8 different meats and then choose from menu for dessert. We left all stuffed! Rounding out the day at the giraffe center and the Karen Blixen Museum. Over 3 million Living in Nairobi and they were all on the road while we were trying to back to the hotel. We all enjoyed our dinner courtesy of Square 1 Travel!! Early start for tomorrow so good night for now! Pictures to start coming soon.....
Sep 15 Nairobi (B,L)
We've arrived safely. Had a much needed sleep, well short sleep! Most of us were awake by 4:30am. For those from last trip. You will remember the chaos at customs and purchasing.....well the renovations are finished and we breezed through with lots of time to spare. We are being picked up at 10am for our first day of adventure. I will write tonight and tell you about the elephants and giraffes.
Sep 16 & 17 Ol Pejeta Game Sanctuary (B, L, D)
I missed last night.....it was a long drive from Nairobi to Sweetwaters Tented resort but WOW worth every minute of it. We were assigned our tents grabbed a quick ITE to eat and proceeded on our very first game drive. Talk about lucking out. It had rained and we were worried we wouldn't see much... well... we saw Ringo's with babies, 3 lions, water buffalo, impala, elephants, thomson gazalle, of course my favorite. Worthogs! And we were only out 2 hours. How lucky were we. Know I haven't listed them all. All is a bird enthusiastic and he is busy letting us know about our fine featured friends. Yes we have seen the mribou storks!Today we were up, had breakfast (buffet) and started our first game drive at 730. The biggie was a leopard. We witnessed ostridges mating! We have been to visit Bar aka, the blind black rhino in captivity and have also saw the chimp sanctuary. Back for lunch and guess what arrived at our watering hole? Two white rhinos, a whart hog family of 5. Gosh what else can we wish for?We had a great sleep last night. Enjoyed the hot water at the foot of the bed for sure. Food is fab, animals...begin our wildest imagination. We are heading soon for next game drive.Honest if you wish you were here ask Sue about her trip going next year... come to experience this for yourself
Some of today's sightings. Rhinos, lion and giraffe
Kathleen feeding Baracka the blind black rhino
Exhausted male ostridge and our two drvers-Ali on left and Richard on right...with our land rovers
Sep 18 Lake Nakuru National Park (B, L, D)
Step 18 and we arrived this afternoon in time for a bite to eat before heading out to our game drive. Another successful day with efew new sightings... namely a HIPPO. We were racing back to get home before the curfew! Oh we also saw pink flamingos. The Lion Hill resort is a great place. It's too bad we are here for a short time. For our drives we do a draw at dinner with marbles and depending on the colored marble you choose is whos jeep you are in. Today Klara and I were in Richard's jeep with Gladys & Duane and Gladys & Ken. Tomorrow we are with Shelley, Kathleen, Duane & Gladys with Richard. I like doing it this way, it gives everyone a chance to get to know the others. Tomorrow we are on to the Masai Mara. You can get in on the fun next year. Give Sue a call! Honest you will just love it!
Sep 19 & 20 Masai Mara Game Reserve (B, L, D)
Awwwww the wharthog!
Home Away from home at Sweetwaters – Gladys
Beautiful sunrise on Mt Kenya
At the Equator.....with the Record
Isn’t he handsome
Oh they have such lovely markings
On the bridge over the Mara River
Lunch time on the Masai Mara
Grandma and the little one
Our guides in Tanzania
Farewell luncheon at Arusha
Farewell luncheon at Arusha
with her little one
2 Rhino’s at our watering Hole – Sweetwaters
Duane and Ken
Leopard – hard to make out in the tree
OPTIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
Good evening from the lounge at the Mara Sopa Hotel. After a long and bumpy drive we arrived in time for lunch. A quick freshen up and off for our first game drive in the Masai Mara. AND again we lucked into some great viewing. Not only did we see at least 10 hippos up to their eyeballs in the river, it we were the first to arrive at the spot where 5 lions were just laying watching us watch them! More vehicles arrived and I guess they go bored because one by one they came down, sauntered by us and off into the distance. Richard said they were 3 years, from one family... 4 males 1 female. All were perfect! Also came across at least 10 elephants, including 2 little ones!
We are at the very same table for 12 as 2 years ago. Just after dinner ended the lights went down and out came a birthday cake and the glorious singing....
We are getting knock knock on our door at 4am for our Hot Air Balloon ride.....yes we are!! Klara, Shelley, Kathleen, All & Gerti and myself are doing this. We will meet up with Gladys & Ken, Gladys & Duane, Peggy and Judith for a boxed lunch..... somewhere. This is after our Champaign breakfast.
Can you see yourself here with us? Call Sue and get yourselves signed up on next years trip. You won't be sorry!
4am comes pretty darn early but I can't sign off without thinking such happy thoughts about 2 years ago!!
Good night from the Masai Mara!
Haven't we had the best day today! For the six of us doing the Hot Air Balloon ride our day started
with our wake up knock at 4:00am. And off we went for the 90 minute ride to the balloon place.... arriving at 6:00am on the dot. There were 6 balloons in all. Off we went on our 1 hour flight. It was just fabulous to be scimming the tree tops and finishing the ride off with the champaign breakfast. Our pilot was from Canada, intact he has been the Canadian champion for a while. Used to fly out of Barrie! After the perfect morning our driver, David,took on a game drive where we met up with our drivers Richard and Ali. We ate our packed lunch in the shade of a tree and continued our drive including a guided walk along the Mara River and were shown where the Wildebeest crossings happen. Loads of hippos, elephants, zebras, AND cheetahs!! So beautiful and non threatening. They just laid there watching us watch them.
Today is our last day in Kenya. Tomorrow we cross the boarder to Tanzania. It will be sad leaving Richard and Ali but we'll meet our new drivers who will be just as great.
Weather has been quite nice. Chilly in the mornings where we have needed jackets but that soon changes. 3 times we've had rain for about an hour...but then back to lovely. Food has been great with a wide variety including local, North American and East Indian. Something for everyone for sure. WIFI is not in your rooms, in the lounges only. As I am writing this I hear many languages spoken. The staff are fluent in not only English, but probably two others. Schooling and Religion are important here. People walk long distances for work, grocery shopping, school and church. Of course it's different in Nairobi, being a city.
Join Sue next year and experience all this and much more as she travels fascinating East Africa!
Bed time now!
Sep 21 Lake Victoria (B, L, D)
This lovely resort is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. We have left Kenya, passed over the border into Tanzania and are spending a night in this mini paradise. We are the only guests of the resort so pretty much have been waited on hand and foot. The grounds are full of colorful birds, lush gardens and even peacocks!
We left the Masai Mara this morning at 6:30 and crossed over the border at noon. We bid farewell to Richard and Ali, our drivers for the last week and now we have Johnson and Chum for the remainder of our holiday. In Tanzania the same company is looking after us however under the name of Leopard Tours. Really looking forward to entering in to the Serengeti tomorrow. Time seems to be going quickly. The group is having a great time. Food has been great and of course the animals have been beyond belief.
Think about it - this could be you next year!!
Sept 22 & 23 Serengeti National Park (B, L, D)
Gosh,I know I'll have a hard time with descriptions of the last two days. We left Serenity by the Lake yesterday. There are rice fields in this area along with fruit trees and fishing. We arrived at the main gate along with two bus loads of school children probably ages 5 - 8. All in their uniforms and so well behaved and so darn cute! Anyway they were ahead of us but we finally got our two day permit and we were off to be wowed on the plains of the Serengeti! AND were we wowed. We have seen lions, leopards, elephants, lion cubs, honest you name it and with the exception of cheetahs..... we've seen it all. Hippopotamus, crocodile, dik diks (ask me). Shelley, Kathleen, Peggy, Judy, Klara and I were with Chum. He is a great fellow always singing and smiling! The guides are always a wealth of information. We bounced along from 9am to 4pm....arrived back exhausted but happy. Ken and Gladys, Gerti and Al, Duane and Gladys arrived shortly after. Some took a dip in the pool, freshened up and we all met for happy hour. It's a beautiful hotel chain. The staff work in for two months then go home for a couple weeks. Very good food, great choices. We always sit together at the same table. We are off to the Norongoro Crater...... actually our last two nights together. I won't be sending too many pics because the WIFI isn't great for me to see them but I promise to still see even when I get home. This is one of the most magical places to visit. Everyone should take the opportunity to come and see the Serengeti. Next years trip is waiting for you! Good night.... the alarm goes off early
Sep 24 & 25 Ngorongoro Crater (B, L, D)
After an early wake up call we had our breakfast and started our 5 hour journey to Ngorongoro ... arriving in time for lunch. AND we had the rest of the day at leisure. How lovely is that! We have just had dinner so it's off to bed for an early wakeup call. All day in the crater tomorrow Lala salama!
Our day began very early, 6am! The drivers wanted us to be down in the crater to greet the animals as the were waking from their sleeps! So we bundled up and off for the 600 meters plus journey to the crater floor. You won't find all animals in the crater. For instance there a very few female elephants - lots of males, and many are older and will be there to the end of their lives. A lot of lions, zebras, Thomson gazelles, cape buffalo, monkeys, wildebeast. The crater is 19 by 21 kms, so it's HUGE. There are forests, watering holes, lakes - dried up mostly because it is not the rainy season. Flamingos, many species of birds including the secretary bird, bee eaters, crown cranes and kobi bustards (largest flying bird in Africa), snake eagle (even had a snake in it's beak) yes I know.......yewwwwwww. Chum and Johnson provided us with both breakfast and lunch boxes. Breakfast had juice, sweet buns, banana, sausage, nuts,bars and coffee. For lunch we were treated to a chicken breast bunwich, apple, more juice, bars, nuts and water! All this while watching the hippos wallow in the water in front of us. We watched vultures rip into a carcass with hardly any meat left while hyenas were circling or their chance for a meal and fending off the jackels. And the circle of life continues. We saw many lions cooling off in the shade, like protecting a kill and lions just sleeping!We started our ascent back to the hotel about 3pm. Its our last night in Ngorongoro and our last night together as our group. Gladys & Ken, Gladys & Duane, Gerti & Al will be heading back to Canada. Klara, Shelley, Peggy, Judy, Kathleen and I will be relaxing in ZanzibarGoodnight
Sep 26 Depart Arusha Park (B, L)
Another 7:30am departure. We left Ngorongoro with sad hearts - for two reasons. Our African Adventure was coming to an end and we are bidding a fond farewell to our new friends: Gladys & Ken, Gerti & All and Gladys & Duane. We've had a great time together, lots of laughs, excitement for every animal, bird, plant and tree we saw (and photo), handed children our candy and enjoyed seeing their happy smiles!
We've stayed in wonderful hotels but it was unanimous that Sweetwaters was the favorite... it was the first place on the safari AND where we saw our Big Five AND we loved the tents! We were thrilled the two rhinoceros came to 'our' watering hole along with many maribou storks, impala, warthogs and more!
The meals have been superb and plentiful. Most have been buffet style with wide choices. The times we were waited on were fabulous. Gosh even our two boxed lunches and one boxed breakfasts were great. Many Tuskers, Safari, Kilimanjaro's and Serengeti's have been consumed. I think some beer/wine stores will be asked to order them in!
We've had many early mornings, early bedtimes, bumpy roads, emergency pit stops, quick shopping stops and many WOW DID YOU SEE THAT stops.
Six of us had a blast with our Hot Air Balloon ride experience. Not really knowing what to expect but thrilled with each second of it! What are the chances of our pilot being the Canadian champion in his craft! And our driver/ guide to/from the balloon ride was David, the same gentleman from two years ago. I remembered him from that time and he was thrilled to meet me again! AND the Venezuelans....what happens in Africa stays in Africa!!
Our 4 driver/guides were FANTASTIC: Richard & Ali in Kenya, Chum & Johnson in Tanzania. They answered each and every question (no matter how many times we asked), were exceedingly patient, laughed with us, were thrilled with each new animal siteing .... absolutely fountains of knowledge. We learnt and sang songs with Chum. Richard drove wild & crazy to see the animals, Ali great personality and good laugh, Johnson, keeping a watch over his 'flock'. Each different but very proud of what they do and their countries. Very sad saying our goodbyes.
We arrived in Arusha and enjoyed our final lunch as a group. Six heading back to Canada at 8pm and the six of us looking forward to the relaxing time in Zanzibar - departing at 3:50pm-
We flew on Precision Air.... nice service, smooth flight AND on time! Sun tours was right there to meet us and take us to the lovely Breezes Resort. He did get us there in time for dinner. Our rooms face directly to the ocean. Just beautiful. It is exactly as I remembered it. Diner buffet, great service,
Time to sleep.... long day
Optional: EXOTIC ZANZIBAR
Sep 26 Arrive Zanzibar (D)
Sep 27 & Sep 28 Zanzibar (BD)
Zanzibar is the aromatic spice island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania. Our home away from home is the Breezes Resort. We have perfect rooms facing the ocean. Our package includes half board (breakfast and dinner - drinks not included). Mainly adults however there is an adorable 5 year old girl from Sweden with her parents. Not a lot of things to do besides relaxing around the pool or down on the beach. They have a spa, dive shop and fragrant grounds. There are about 140 people here, most from Europe. If you listen carefully you heae many different languages. They do speak English
We have spent time around the pool, walked along the beach, ate and drank. Today it was overcast but still warm. Absolutely the best way to wind down after our safari and that is exactly what we did.
I hope you have been following my adventure. I've enjoyed having you along as an armchair traveler. If you know anyone who may enjoy this by all means, send them our way. Sue is doing the same African Adventure next.
We leave for home tomorrow, but I promise to fill you in when we get home as well as adding more pictures.
In the meantime.... Asanta Sana for following me
Sep 29 & Sep 30 Depart Zanzibar (B)
We are home now! Yes, it seems longer coming home than it was starting our Adventure. Yes, we were a long way from home, infact a 10 hour time change. Our flights were great each way. Westjet, Air France, Kenya Airways and Precision Air. All flights were on time, offered great service – yes, we had food (okay, not on Westjet). Depending on the route taken, you could even have a layover on your return, to break the time spent in the air. Amsterdam or Paris would have offered a great stopover. It took me 4 days to get back on our time zone!
For the six of us that enjoyed 3 days in Zanzibar – would we have traded it for the world? No Way! After two weeks of being on the go daily, the excitement of all the game drives, all the animals and everything we experienced – we needed those days to “come back down to earth”. Our resort Breezes, was perfect. Is it like an “all inclusive Mexican or Cuban resort” probably not. We didn’t need transportation within the resort to get around. We did see the same folks daily. The beach was tidal which you could walk right out to the breakwater if you wanted to. You could also walk for miles on the beach. Yes, there were vendors selling their wares. Yes, you would barter with them. Yes, they did take “no” for an answer as well! The food was great, the wait staff fabulous. No, the coffee was far from Tim Horton’s (but that was fine). Yes there were phones in the room (only place on the whole trip there were phones in the room).
BUT it was exactly what was needed for us. We came back rested but happy to be home.
I do say, this has been the Greatest Outdoor Game Show on the Earth. Not a word of a lie. To see the animals running free and not behind the zoo bars is well worth the admission to this Show. Honest – it is a Bucket List Trip! Call me and I’m happy to talk about it always. You could be enjoying it yourself next year. OR if you think you need some nightlife, culture along with animals – join Brent and I on our 2017 South Africa trip. We’re heading down in October and look forward to seeing Capetown, the Garden Route, Kariega Wildlife Park, Victoria Falls and a houseboat safari on the Chobe River. Interested – give me a call!!!
For now, Asana Sante for following our adventure!