Hello JosephThank you for all of your work ...
Tanzania | Aug 15 - Aug 29, 2023

Wilf M.
Canada | Reviewed on Sep 27, 2023

Hello Joseph

Thank you for all of your work in planning an amazing trip to Uganda and Tanzania. All of the hotels/bush camps/lodges were excellent. There was never a hold up/question about entrance permits when we arrived at the National Parks. The airport pick ups were very smooth, even after a 2 hour arrival delay.

The meals while basic were plentiful, soup, salad, fresh rolls, rice/potatoes, mixed veggies, meat/pork/fish/chicken, dessert, tea/coffee/cold milk. Alcohol/wine/beer was available for an additional cost. Breakfast of fruit, cereal, eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast was pre ordered the night before and was ready upon your arrival. The box lunch was a sandwich, dessert, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice/water. It was interesting to see how the chef would vary the meal each day by using various spices or sauces. At the Rhino Lodge, one of the items offered at supper was roasted potatoes in a peanut butter sauce!! Surprisingly it was OK!! Some of the meals were a buffet style, some were served, while others were a served buffet. There was no issue if you wanted seconds.

After seeing 100’s if not 1,000’s of animals in Tanzania, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of animals in Uganda (15 elephants and a similar number of zebra/impala) trekking to the chimps and gorilla was certainly a highlight. My driver in Uganda, Nassar from Able Tours, said that Uganda is a farming country and if a farmer comes across a fresh livestock kill, they spread poison the kill hoping that it will poison whatever did the kill. He also said that zebra do not have any natural predators, so they usually die from old age. Driving thru Uganda I was very surprised to see the height and steepness of the landscape. We had to take a short 10 KM detour, due to road construction, it took us thru a large tea plantation and it was eye opening to see the people harvesting the tea leaves, with the wicker baskets strapped to their backs on the steep hills. Watching the person, who took the full baskets back to the processing location climbing up and down the hills, made my legs and back ache!! I am a motorcyclist; it was very surprising to see all the motorcycles that are used to transport all of the commerce. I saw motorcycles carrying 5 people, ladies riding side saddle on the motorcycle, lengths of metal pipe, lumber, live animals, many yellow water pails, large branches of bananas, large 50 kilo bags of beans and rolls of metal roofing. Whatever needed to be transported was done with the small 100/125 cc motorcycles. I saw people helping to push these motorcycles up over the hills as the motorcycles did not have the power to get over the top of the hill when they were loaded. The boat ride on Lake Mburo was refreshing after the long and rough roads in Uganda. The night I stayed at Ichumbi Gorilla Lodge, there was a commotion outside my tent around 11:30 PM. The noise carried on until about 3 AM until it finally subsided. In the morning, when I went down for breakfast, the staff asked how my night was, did I sleep well? I mentioned the noise and the staff just smiled and said, “Yes, the forest was not happy last night.” Apparently something had upset the local monkey group and they wanted everyone to know about it! Nassar told me that we were going to take a ferry across Lake Victoria, to save a 200 km drive I asked Nassar if he could swim, he said “NO, water is meant only for 2 things, cooking or bathing. There are things in the water that will eat you.” The ferry held 8 vehicles, about 300 of my newest non swimming friends and 50 motorcycles. There was no actual landing ramp, you just landed as close to shore as possible. Some of the ladies who had long dresses on would be carried off the ferry by someone so that their dresses did not get wet. I was the only one who was surprised by this, as it apparently is a common procedure. The ferry landed about 1 ½ KM from the Pineapple Guest house. The extra day that I stayed in Entebbe at the Pineapple Guest house was interesting. The guest house has 4 rooms each with private bath/shower and a balcony. There is a out building for families that sleeps 4. The swimming pool was a nice spot to meet other travelers and exchange stories. If you ever visit the guest house, ask for their Pineapple custard dessert. It is actually pineapple upside down cake with a large slice of pineapple on the bottom and a warm sauce that you pour over the dessert. I have never seen a pink pineapple but they are growing right on the property. I walked back down to the landing area (1 ½ KM) the next day and watched the activity at the local market. The Boma Hotel in Kampala/Entebbe was very nice with a swimming pool attached to the dining area. Unfortunately a late evening arrival and an early morning departure did not allow me time to enjoy the pool

The Chanya Hotel in Moshi was my first experience with a tented bed!! There is a swimming pool which was most enjoyable after my Kilimanjaro trek. All of the hotels in the cities are located along a main road, but there was never any noise from the traffic, and each hotel was gated. The Rhino Lodge is located near the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. The balcony faces a mountain range and it was enjoyable to sit and watch the evening sky, while listening to the animals wandering the property. When I went to go bed, I was surprised to find 2 hot water bottles under the covers, warming the bed!! Arriving at the bush camps you are met by the staff who offered hot towels to wash the dust off of your face and also a glass of cool “refreshment.” The rules about the camps were explained and you are given a walkie talkie to contact the main tent. You were told NOT to walk up to the main tent by yourself in the dark. You called the main tent and a guide would arrive to accompany you to the main tent. Hot water was provided for a shower, you told the staff what time you wanted a shower and they would bring you 2 large pails of hot water that was then mixed with the water that was on the roof.

In Tanzania, my driver was Rama from Nariku Travel Experience. He was excellent in spotting the animals that often were hiding in or under a tree. When we first met, before we entered any National Park he said there was 1 rule that I had to follow, that was NEVER get out of the vehicle until he says it’s OK. After seeing a pride of lions lying on their side in the tall light brown grass, I soon realized what he meant. I commented about the lions and he smiled and said that if I was going to go to the bathroom over by the tree that I would probably not get back!! Rama explained about the 2 safaris and asked me what I wanted to do. He said we may be 20 KM away from the camp watching the animals when it is time to return for lunch. If we returned it could take an hour each way plus the time it took for lunch and then we would have to return and find the animals. He said we could take a box lunch with us and stay with the animals. As I came to photograph the animals, that was the option I chose. Rama’s knowledge and experience was tremendous as he was often able to position the vehicle in such away that allowed for some amazing photos. He was more than willing to wait until I was finished taking all of the photos that I wanted and often he would suggest a slightly better location. We witnessed 2 lion kills, one directly in front of the vehicle, about 20 meters away. Rama saw 1 of the lions stalking a gazelle, while the second lion went into the bush to chase the gazelle out. Rama drove right to the edge of a water crossing, where we parked and waited. Shortly after, the lion managed to capture the gazelle. Later that evening back at the camp, some of the other people who had witnessed the kill said, while eating meat with their supper; that was not very nice to witness the lion kill.

The 2 tours were completely different. In Tanzania, Rama stayed with me the entire day in the vehicle, he would stay at the same camps, ate with me or if I was sitting at the common tables with other guest, he would sit with the other drivers. I felt that I had made a friend, we chatted about his family, life in Tanzania/Canada and anything else that came up.

In Uganda, Nassar, was very pleasant, he drove me from point to point, dropped me off with another guide and he would return to take me back to the hotel. He did not seem to stay at the same camp/lodge nor did he ever have a box lunch for himself. The first day I realized that he did not have a lunch, I offered to share mine with him, but he stopped along the road at a vendor selling BBQ meat, cassava, bananas or corn to purchase his lunch. One morning Nassar mentioned that he was slightly sore as he had stayed at a small hotel in town and was able to play football for about 2 hours that evening with some of the local lads. We both laughed and commented about knowing how he felt!! The trip in Uganda was basically a 5 day drive with 2 days trekking to see the chimps and the gorilla. It seemed to be a long uneventful tour, due to the lack of animals.

The overall trip was amazing, I think that had I arrived in Uganda first and saw the few animals before going to Tanzania, there would not have been any slight disappointment. All of the hotel staff were extremely helpful and friendly, more than willing to chat about their life and to learn about my life in Canada.

Thank you for arraigning this adventure, perhaps there will be another longer safari soon!!

Wilf McQuinn

Local specialist: Susan Deslaurier
Susan Deslaurier
Local specialist in Berkeley CA and Kenya | Replied on Oct 13, 2023
Hello Wilf, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your trip, with such colorful and detailed stories of all you experienced. We will share with the drivers and guides you mentioned about how much you enjoyed their skilled sharing of the people and places in their countries, they are all such amazing members of our team. We appreciate you trusting us with your trip plan, and hope to see you again in the near future with more trips to Africa…there’s always more to explore across the continent... Read more

Hello Wilf,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your trip, with such colorful and detailed stories of all you experienced. We will share with the drivers and guides you mentioned about how much you enjoyed their skilled sharing of the people and places in their countries, they are all such amazing members of our team. We appreciate you trusting us with your trip plan, and hope to see you again in the near future with more trips to Africa…there’s always more to explore across the continent and we can take you there!

Best wishes for your future travel journeys, with thanks,
Joseph and Susan