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Live Life and Travel!
Live Life and Travel!
Accommodations in Tanzania deserves its own post. Why? Because there is nowhere in this world like Africa’s safari living. I have never enjoyed our accomodations like I did in Africa. Where can you get luxury and adventure all in the same place? Look out your window and be surrounded by the wild? Or have breakfast while watching the wild?
Africa is considered a honeymoon destination and I never knew why until we visited! Every camp and lodge we stayed at got better and better! We were in awe and blown away with the detail and location of our campsites/lodges. They were located in very remote locations, in the heart of the African wilderness, with stunning scenery. It really felt like we were on a honeymoon especially because of our complimentary upgrades. I have to thank Piper and Heath Travel for booking our accommodations. Click here to read more about our trip planning.
We didn’t know what to expect when we were told we would be staying in tents. The last time we stayed in tents was during our hike to Macchu Picchu in Peru and they were basic tents. Not in Africa! We were GLAMPING! 🙂 I have seen luxury tents in National Geographic magazines and didn’t think we’d be staying in places like that. We stayed in luxury safari-style tents with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, with phenomenal views.
Warning: if you have a phobia of bugs/rodents then you may want to think twice about going to Africa. I was a little too paranoid about creepy little, potentially deadly, crawlers inside our tent. Every night before dinner, we had to spray mosquito repellant all over the room so when we returned, the bugs would be gone. Of course that didn’t kill all of them, so what did I do before bed, spend 15 minutes swatting bugs. My husband calls me “the investigator” because I would literally walk around the tent with my flashlight and headlamp looking under our bed, cracks/holes in the wall, and basically every corner of the room making sure there weren’t any bugs. We were even given a list of bugs/animals to be cautious (i.e., scorpions, lion, black mamba) of AND a big sword next to the door. How do you sleep after seeing that? There was no phone to use, only a whistle to blow ONLY in an emergency. Our tents were about a 10 minute walk to the reception and we weren’t allowed to walk alone at night. Sleep at your own risk LOL. We asked for adventure, we sure got it :).
Once you get passed the bugs, you will have an amazing time! It took some time to get used to them, but regardless, I wasn’t going to let them ruin the experience.
Below are places we stayed at and my review.
Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge
We stayed here on our first night in Africa and only stayed for 1 night. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Mount Kilimanjaro in the city of Arusha. This property is family owned, located on a farm, and is surrounded by lushes green trees and gardens. There were walking trails, a farm, a lake where you can go boating and fishing, and a horse stable where you can also go horse riding. Rooms were very spacious, had a separate living room, and warm water. It’s located in a quiet location, a great place for yoga and mediation. Restaurants served great meals and staff were very friendly! Internet connection was great (the only place we had strong internet). Highly recommended and would definitely stay here again!
Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge
We’ll never forget this place! This is where our adventure began! I didn’t realize we were sleeping in wild territory. We rode bikes to this campsite. Click here to read our blog post on our bike riding experience.
The first night we were in complete animal-shock. Bugs were so loud I can hear them tapping in all corners of our tent trying to get in. I can hear animals (I THINK they were monkeys) on top of our roof scratching trying to get in also. I swear I thought we were going to get eaten alive LOL. All night I heard various animals howling, laughing, screaming…you name it. Unfortunately I can’t tell you which animals I heard because it was dark but I’m certain I heard hyenas and elephants. Of course my husband slept through the night while I stayed up and prayed for our safety and occasionally woke him up asking “did you hear that?”.
The next night, we had our first close encounters with elephants and what we thought were hyenas. It was midnight when I woke up to swooshing of bushes. I was half asleep so I thought I was home and the swooshing was a gardener. I realized it was midnight and as the sounds got louder and louder, I panicked and began to have crazy thoughts of murders. I immediately woke up my husband and he peeked outside our window and noticed the sounds were coming from wild elephants – they were right next to our tent!! We got excited so he pulled out his GoPro while I took out my camera. As soon as we attempted to open our screen door to walk out, something growled at us not once but twice!! I thought it was a hyenas although my husband thinks it was a lion. Whatever it was, it was not happy and LUCKILY it gave us a warning instead of attacking us. Thank God for watching over us that night! Elephants were so loud that evening it seemed like they were fighting off predators. It was another sleepless night for me :(.
Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time there. Yes I still enjoyed it even though it was scary. We stayed here for 2 nights. Rooms were comfortable despite all the bugs/animals that surrounded us. Internet was only available at the reception area and it was very slow.
All beds had mosquito nets to protect you from the bugs. You don’t want to get bit!
Our favorite place was the restaurant because we got to eat breakfast while watching the wild. How freakin’ cool was that? 🙂
Below was our Masai escorts. We were escorted by them in the early morning and evening to protect us from the wild. They held handmade spears and flashlights in the evening. I had conversations with them while walking to our room about what they’ve killed and seen (it was a bad idea to ask especially because I get so paranoid). It was like telling ghost stories in the dark, but the stories could possibly become reality.
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge
After our animal encounters at the last place we stayed at, I was still on guard. I was glad this place was much quieter and away from the wild since this campsite was located on a hill. I finally got some sleep! However, we woke up early to the sounds of birds singing (and lots of them)! Africa has an abundance of beautiful and exotic birds.
Getting to this place was interesting because the road was terrible (all roads in Africa are horrible); it was very bumpy! Our driver joked that our rides are free massages LOL. This place felt like we were on a jungle retreat because of all the trees and our tent was a good distance away from other tents. It was such a beautiful property! We got amazing views of Lake Manyara from our porch. Our tent was spacious, clean, had warm water, and a nice comfortable bed. There was no wi-fi but it was available at the lobby (slow speed). I would highly recommend anyone to stay here!
The bar had amazing panoramic views of Lake Manyara, it was my favorite place of the lodge!
This is the restauant where we had our breakfast and dinner. We enjoyed our meals to birds singing and playing.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
The drive to this lodge was bumpy and winding but worth it! As soon as we pulled up to this property, I asked our driver “Is this where WE are staying” and he laughed. This lodge was located at the highest point of the Ngorongoro crater (7800 feet), it’s the perfect location for a romantic stay! It had the most spectacular views of the crater, it gave me goosebumps! Wish we could have stayed here longer (stayed for only 1 night). Wi-fi was only available in the lobby area. There was a lounge/bar area with fire places and cushioned leather seats, a great place to unwind after dinner. Breakfast was buffet style while dinner was a nice sit down. Staff were very friendly and attentive. I guarantee you’ll love this place! A must if you plan to stay a night in Ngorongoro Crater.
This was the view as soon as you walk in. It had high vaulted ceilings and tall windows which faced the pool and view of the crater.
Our room was pretty spacious. We stayed in a standard room and we had an indoor patio that faced the crater. It was really cold at night and there was no heater. Also, warm water was limited for usage before 7pm which was earlier than what we were used to (it’s usually 9pm).
The views are what makes this lodge worth staying here. It was breathtaking to watch the sunrise and sunset from the crater! Too bad it was too cold to jump in the pool.
Mbalageti Safari Lodge
It was quite a journey to get here as the drive to Serengeti from Ngorongoro Crater was already a long drive (7 hours). This property was remote and isolated, located on a hill, and had the best views of the Serengeti plains. We got complimentary upgraded to a luxury tent (stayed in chalet #23). It was my most favorite tent out of all the places we stayed at because of the location, space, service, and detail. We had 2 balconies, a private tub on the balcony, very spacious bedroom and bathroom, cool looking bathroom with trees, and warm water.
Since our tent was located at a far distance, I was a little scared because they provided us with a big sword (at least we had another form of protection other than just a whistle) and they provided a detailed list of what bugs/animals to be cautious of. To me that meant, it’s time to put on my big girl pants and fight! Because how in the world will they hear a tiny whistle from a distance LOL (the Masai guards do not stand next to your tent, they are roaming around trying to fight off the wild). And YES we sure heard animals. Luckily they didn’t come close to our tent unlike other places we stayed at.
The downside was wi-fi was extremely slow and you can only access it in the lobby area. Also, there were tsetse flies around. So be cautious when walking around and don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing. Click here for my blog post on trip planning including what to wear/not wear in Africa.
Customer service was phenomenal. Upon arrival, we were greeted with cold towels and a refreshing cold drink. I will continue to rave about this place and encourage travelers to stay here!
Showering felt like I was in the stone-age because of the openness, stone built shower, and a tree next to the shower. It was cool seeing geckos run across the shower floor and window while I shower (not really).
My absolute favorite place was the restaurant that had million dollar views of the plains. You can see for miles and miles (make sure to bring your binoculars). We had lunch while watching giraffes, another reason why this place is amazing! The food was to die for! Dinners were buffet style and one night we had barbecue skewers (steak, chicken, pork, sausages, beef). It was hard not to think about what animals they killed for our dinner LOL. They celebrated guests’ birthdays by staff singing and dancing around their table.
I loved the pool/bar area. Great place to lounge while enjoying the views. Bring bug spray! Those pesky, tiny mosquitos will surprise you while you’re napping.
The bar was both indoor and outdoor. They serviced a good selection of drinks. Upstairs was a library and a lounge area. Service was excellent. The managers were from Holland and Australia and they always made sure to greet us and ask how we were enjoying our stay.
Breezes Beach Club & Spa
We took a small plane (smallest we have ever been on), an hour flight to Zanzibar, a private beach south of Tanzania located in the Indian Ocean. From the airport, it was another hour drive to the resort. It was the perfect escape from the “regular world” (and the wild :D). It was a wonderful 5 night romantic getaway. This resort had everything you need – restaurants, sports activities, bars, shops, spa, mediation rooms, medical facility, etc. Food and service was exceptional. They offered daily tea time, happy hour, and really awesome nightly entertainment (musicians, and very talented “street performers”). A perfect vacation for couples and families!
We got a free upgrade :). Room was great – it was spacious, clean, comfortable king size bed, big patio, clean, A/C & heater, and had warm water. Room service was great and they offered laundry service as well. Unfortunately we didn’t get a view of the ocean. There was no TV (actually there weren’t TVs in any places we stayed at in Africa which we were OK with).
I LOVED the decor all throughout the resort. It was a mix of mediterranean/asian inspired with beautiful lanterns and colorful drapes. The lantern lit up at night making it a romantic, paradise setting.
The Water Club is for those interested in water activities (snorkel, kayak, scuba, etc.) They offer half/full day excursions. We rented water shoes so we can walk on the water during low-tide (a must if you’re planning on walking during low-tide to avoid stepping on corral) and asked a local to take us out for a few bucks – I’d recommend this! We saw a water snake and beautiful color sea urchins. We met a honeymooner who went on a snorkel excursion and they wouldn’t stop raving about the all the cool sea urchins they saw. Unfortunately, we missed out due to travelers illness my husband caught. This resort is perfect to travel with kids!
We rented water shoes so we can walk on the water during low-tide (a must if you planning on it to avoid stepping on corral) and asked a local to take us out for a few bucks – I’d recommend this! We saw a water snake and beautiful color sea urchins. This activity took about 1 hour. We had a blast!
The resort had its own private beach so it wasn’t crowded and it felt like you had it all to yourself :). The weather was perfect although it rained one day for only a few hours. It was truly paradise!
BE CAREFUL! Everything was perfect and Breezes was fantastic, but on our second to last night while eating a beautiful private dinner (A MUST IF YOU CAN FIT IT IN YOUR SCHEDULE), Irwin ate medium rare beef (Irwin ordered it that way) and got food poisoning! We have been spoiled with fabulous dinners throughout our trip so he felt comfortable letting his guard down for one night… and he paid the price for it (we ended up missing a scheduled snorkeling trip and tour of Stonestown the following day because Irwin was too ill)!
Lesson learned: be careful when you eat undercooked meat of any kind; especially when you’re traveling abroad! Fortunately, Breezes had an in-house nurse and she was able to give Irwin some medicine to make him feel good enough to board the plane back home (and that flight home ended up turning our planned 5 hour layover to an extended stay in Amsterdam).
Accommodations more than exceeded our expectations. Safari was unbelievable and the accommodations topped it off. We can’t wait to return to explore other parts of Africa!
P.S. Where was your glamping experience? I would love to hear from you even if it’s just to say hello :). Please comment below.