Our trip to Africa was fantastic, and could barely be improved upon. My wife and I went to Rwanda and Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking, then to Tanzania for safari game drives in Tarangire NP, Serengeti NP and Ngorongoro NP, and finished up in Zanzibar for swahili cooking class, snorkeling and a spice plantation tour. The trip was organized by a travel planner at this travel company. After sending our ideas to our travel planner, we worked back and forth for a week or so to fine-tune our trip itinerary to include the things that we wanted to do, which involved seeing as much wildlife as possible. My wife loves monkeys and I am a birdwatcher, so we made sure that there was plenty of both in our itinerary. Our travel planner was very organized and great to work with. She even met us in Arusha with her husband, to say "Jambo" hello. Our guides were both great guys, very knowledgeable of the birds, wildlife and culture that we saw. This travel company is highly recommended and we would use them again if we traveled to Africa.
The most memorable part of the trip was seeing the mountain gorillas and spending a full hour with them in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We spent time with a family of 13 gorillas and got to see all 13 of them, and learn their personalities. They were so cute and friendly. There was a 3 month old toddler and a 3 week old baby. The toddler was a hoot!
Also very memorable was when 5 cheetah started climbing on our jeep and other safari jeeps. We also saw another cheetah chase down a hare and kill it. Other safari highlights were seeing a hyena with a zebra leg bone in its mouth, a super cute golden jackal digging for bugs, and 4 bat-eared foxes harassing a warthog. The fog filling up the Ngorongoro Crater early in the morning was also a spectacular moment.
In Zanzibar, the most memorable part was our day long snorkeling trip with a sandbar BBQ. My wife and I got to snorkel with 4 bottle-nose dolphins. On the sandbar, we swam in the shallow water and ate incredible tasting grilled tuna, calamari and slipper lobster.
Although this trip was spectacular in many ways, there are a couple things that we would change. We would probably go with one less day of safari game drives in the Serengeti. We were there for 3 days and probably only needed two. We would use the extra day to spend with a Maasai family, or do something more cultural.
The trip involved a lot sitting or standing in a safari jeep, so we felt that we did not get much exercise on the vacation. We would probably add a day somewhere where we could be more active, go for a full or half day hike. I am not sure where one can hike, as there are many dangerous animals, and they do not recommend that you venture out on your own.
Finally, as much as we loved Zanzibar, it was extremely hot there in February, often reaching 97 degrees during the day. We would consider going there at another time of the year when the temperatures are more bearable. Several of our excursions on Zanzibar were fun, but all I could think about was getting back to the swimming pool to cool off, as it was stifling hot.
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