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Africa tends to cast its mesmerising spell on most visitors and that certainly seems to be the case with Australians Dick and Marg Guit. They first travelled to Africa in August 2013 and returned for Christmas that year, which they celebrated in style at Londolozi. Recently, with the help of our travel consultant, Geraldine, they enjoyed their fourth trip to our shores.
This trip the Guits split their time between Tanzania and South Africa. In Tanzania, the Guits stayed at Oyster Bay Hotel, Klein’s Camp, Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. They then returned to South Africa and visited Royal Malewane, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve and Jamala Royal Safari Lodge.
Here, Marg and Dick share their memories (with photos) and effervescent love of Africa with us…
After arriving in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, Marg and Dick stayed at the oasis-like Oyster Bay Hotel. Marg says, “The welcome was friendly and our whole experience at this wonderful place was just so very peaceful. The accommodation is so spacious and well-appointed and the view from the front balcony over the ocean was spectacular. Very tropical! This place is certainly a great stop over point and every aspect of it was just as enjoyable on our return.”
Marg and Dick set off the next day to Klein’s Camp in the Serengeti National Park. “From the moment we were greeted at Lobo airstrip, we sensed that our upcoming experience at our first camp in Tanzania was going to be positive. The accommodation, food and wine were all wonderful. However, some things stood out as “exceptional” at Klein’s Camp.”
“Staff can be placed at the top of the list. It can truly be said that from the many camps we have experienced over our four visits to Africa, the hospitality and personalised service at Klein’s surpasses most others. And the location of Klein’s has to be experienced to be believed. Sitting nestled into the hills, the expansive views below provided many opportunities to just soak in the landscape from many vantage points: our unit, the dining room and of course the bar/lounge area with its huge panoramic window- just perfect!”
While at Klein’s Camp, Marg and Dick were lucky enough to visit a traditional Masai village and the stay was topped off with sundowners on the final evening overlooking the plains accompanied by the staff they had become good friends with over their days there.
Next up was the Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, which is renowned for its stylish, vibrantly African designed tented suites set along the banks of a bywater of the Grumeti River, offering exceptional crocodile and hippo viewing. “This camp provided a different experience, being a tented facility. It ticked all of the boxes for us. Our accommodation was right on the river, so our relaxation time was punctuated with the sounds of the many hippo playing or defending their territory. Definitely a value-added feature of our four-night stay.
“A surprise bush dinner for guests was a highlight! Who cannot be excited when towards the conclusion of game drive, our guide enquired if we had ever before seen ‘those giant African fireflies?’ Having experienced the delight of ‘unexpected’ bush dinners from previous safaris, it was not difficult to interpret the intended meaning of that question.
“A hot-air balloon experience over the Serengeti was also an unforgettable highlight. At an additional cost, it was well worth the expenditure. To observe the magnificence of the plains from above, and experience the beauty and tranquillity of the sunrise after the excitement of watching all the preparations prior to the balloon’s ascent made this whole experience well worthwhile.”
Marg and Dick then visited Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which is without a doubt one of the most architecturally spectacular safari lodges in Africa. Steeped in romance, each mud and thatch suite is reminiscent of a bygone era, with the stilted, handcrafted structures adorned in graceful antiques, grand chandeliers and African treasures.
“After spending only two nights here, we departed wishing that we could have had more time to enjoy this magical destination. Located on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, the lodge and environs are often bathed in swirling cloud, which can make the drive to and from the crater a little challenging. But in the capable hands of Salimu, our guide, we felt 100% safe.
“Our first entry to the crater was on the afternoon of our arrival when we enjoyed our initial encounters with the amazing variety of wildlife that inhabits this environment. Our next day unfolded with another visit to the crater floor, a few hours of soaking up the scenery and the abundance of lion, wildebeest, zebra, rhino, other animals and the thousands of pink flamingos. A wonder to behold!”
The accommodation at this lodge exceeded anything they’ve experienced in the many camps the couple has visited. A private dinner for two with a special song and dance performance by the local Washa Washa Choir capped off a special experience.
The Guits then flew down to Royal Malewane in South Africa, the ultimate in colonial chic in the Thornybush Game Reserve. “Our four nights at this location surpassed our expectations! Our suite was beautifully appointed, spacious and comfortable. The external deck was large and the day beds, lounges and personal plunge pool offered complete privacy.
“Cuisine was exceptional. The chef provided an elaboration of the menu offerings for each meal. Wine selection was varied and a comprehensive description of the wine pairings was outlined for guests at dinner each evening. Staff hospitality was warm and welcoming. The ambience of the Royal Malewane Spa and the treatments enjoyed were outstanding.”
Next up was the Motse, the main property within the largest game reserve in South Africa, Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve. “Our experience at the Motse in Tswalu was one to be remembered for a lifetime. Our hut was magnificent – spacious and warm with an outside deck with expansive views to the horizon.
“Our every wish was accommodated and we traversed great expanses of the different landscapes in search of animals. Meerkats, aardvarks, bat- eared fox, cheetah, oryx and many other species of antelope were viewed. Being in the hands of a birding expert, we learnt about the calls and habits of many species.
“Special treats enjoyed were a lunch in the old hunting lodge which offered a magnificent panoramic view from atop a crest. Another surprise was a private dinner for just the two of us on the deck by the pool. A beautiful picnic brunch in the bush after a visit to view the rock art was also a gastronomic delight. It is the unexpected surprises that make such an experience more memorable too!”
Marg and Dick finished off their trip with their second visit to Jamala Madikwe inside twelve months. Jamala is a royal establishment that has set the standards for others to follow in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. “This lodge oozes class and elegance. Our villa was extremely well appointed, spacious and the evening fire was set to provide warmth at the end of safari and dinner each evening. Food is exquisite: breakfast and dinner. The fare offered is the most captivating array of savoury and sweet treats once could imagine! Surpasses any lodge we have experienced and there have been many.
“Game drives delivered some great sightings of lion, rhino and wild dog. After sundowners on two consecutive days, our group was driven to two separate locations to experience the exquisite ambience and beauty of the water and land environments blending to reflect the after sunset glow and glory of colour, reflections and elephants moving silently across the water. Truly magnificent and nourishment for the soul!”
If you would like to go on your own trip to Africa and experience its allure for yourself contact us now and let’s start talking about how we can make your dream trip come to life.
All images courtesy of Marg and Dick Guit
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Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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