I found Discover Africa via a Google search and sent them an email. within 24 hours I had a reply (due time difference) and then a phone call with Antoinette and we planned the trip. Antoinette was so easy to work with and had the patience to keep changing the itinerary due to the pandemic and flight cancellations and more. She is a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend her to anyone looking on planning a trip to Africa.
The tour itself was arranged with Wild Frontiers. We did a 4 night Gorilla trekking trip in Uganda and then a 9 night safari in Tanzania. All the arrangements went exactly to plan and then some. From the moment we arrived at Entebbe Airport with the VIP meet and greet which had been arranged I knew we were in good hands. The VIP meet and assist off the aircraft on arrival is a life saver. With all the requirements to have a covid test on arrival and navigate the airport and the various stages of entry into the country, it simply is a must.
Our flight to Entebbe had been cancelled so we arrived a day earlier than scheduled. Arrangements were made to move the transfer a day earlier and we spent the day at an airport hotel. This had not been planned as we were going to fly direct to Bwindi – however in hindsight it was a blessing. Having the day to recuperate was awesome. A representative of Wild Frontiers, Evelyn, met us at the hotel and went over the itinerary and handed over tickets and gave us lots of tips. She even arranged to have our baggage, which had been delayed, sent to Bwindi when it finally arrived two days later. I could not ask for any better service, they were simply incredible.
On arrival we were met by our guide Echy. What can I say about him other than he was one of the best guides I’ve had on trips to Africa. Charming, funny, and full of information on what to expect. He is well known in the area and it was delightful to see how everyone greeted him. He made you feel at home and comfortable. Ask for him – you will not be disappointed.
Accommodation and Buhoma Lodge is simply awesome. Right at the start of the gorilla trekking area so close to everything. Food and service are awesome and the accommodations are superb – though there are a lot of steps to the rooms so bear this in mind.
From Bwindi we flew to the Serengeti via Entebbe. This is pretty much a full day affair on charter flights so be prepared. One suggestion I would make is to have a packed lunch sent with you as there is no time at the airports to grab a bit to eat.
Again all arrangements were superb with not hitches whatsoever. On arrival we were met by our guide, George. Again another super person who was full of knowledge. He immediately realized we loved birding and was awesome in spotting them. He was flexible with game drive times and length which was wonderful.
Kiota Camp is a wonderful camp overlooking the open plains of the Serengeti. Lying in your comfortable bed at night listening to the sounds to of the bush is incredible. Again service and food are wonderful and the staff went out of their way to look after us. In the evening after our game drives and we had all showered and freshened up we would head to the dining tent and sit around the camp fire and have a pre-dinner drink and just talk about the day. One night the staff asked us if they could move our chairs for a moment. We were not sure what they were doing but the next thing they had brought our dinner table from the dining tent and put it at the fire so we could have dinner there. It was super night.
One comment I do have on this – when going out for the game drives a packed lunch is provided. These were always put on the floor of the vehicle and sat there for a good number of hours before we stopped for the lunch break. Recommend this be put into a cooler box rather than left in the open heat. There was a cooler box on the vehicle but it was not working so that didn’t help.
After 4 nights in the Serengeti we moved to the Ngorongoro Crater area and stayed at the Bougainvillea Safari Lodge. A wonderful place to stay with awesome meals. The food was incredible.
Unfortunately this is when I fell ill with gastroenteritis and severe dehydration and ended up in the hospital! George, our guide, was magnificent at handling all of this and still making sure our friends traveling with us would continue with the safari. They throughly enjoyed their game viewing in the crater and then moved onto Honeyguide Tarangire Camp, which they just raved about. I was sorry to have missed that part of the trip.
We ended the trip at the Africa Tulip Hotel in Arusha. A great hotel to end or start your trip if starting in Arusha. Highly recommended.
I highly recommend both Discover Africa and Wild Frontiers. All arrangements were exceptional and the constant communication through-out the trip made for a well executed safari. Thanks to everyone for all their help and look forward to seeing you on the next adventure.
Steve Turner travelled to East Africa in December
The trip included: East Africa Uganda Tanzania Entebbe Serengeti National Park Ngorongoro Crater Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Africa Birding Safaris in Africa Bougainvillea Safari Lodge Buhoma Lodge Kiota Camp The African Tulip Hotel
Safari planned by: Antoinette Van Heerden