Client Safari Story

"Quite a Memory."

George, Joey, and Henry and I started planning their Tanzanian Safari in March 2017 for their November 2017. Three photographers on Safari in Tanzania - I was ready to see some great pictures of wildlife and landscape and I was right. George, Asante sana for sharing your Safari Story with us and your amazing photos. 

lioness

" We had a spectacular time! In pretty much all respects, it was everything I imagined it would be.

Festo and Nathan were great but Nathan gets a special mention as he had us for the 9 days and 800+ kilometers; he was not only a wonderfully knowledge guide but an excellent (and patient :-)) travel companion. Life in the Land Cruiser was great, even with the free African Massage (as Nathan described traveling down some of the roads).

Camps and lodges were very comfortable and we were very well fed and taken care of in the camps. Ngorongoro Farm House was a nice oasis after a long day drive down from Kati Kati ... walking up the hill and seeing the sunset over the lawns, someone handing me a cool cloth and lemon water, I thought "Ok, I think I could hang here for a while". 

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The game drives and wildlife viewing were superb and the weather ideal; we'd certainly recommend that time of year to go, rains, not a factor at all and in fact welcome to keep the dust down. Temperature nice and summer-like, crowds not a factor at all (well almost never, there was that leopard site ... :-)). It would be nice to go back and see the same areas right after the long rains though ... the stark contrast I imagine.

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tawny

We missed out on the rhino at Ngorongoro and only saw the wildebeest hover but not cross at the edge of the Mara but otherwise, we saw all the big and small mammals and lots of birds (about 100 names on our list). Our cameras got a good workout and we're still curating the 5k+ images each of us have. Tough to capture the full impact of zebra and wildebeest out to the horizon in the Central Serengeti ... that is quite a memory.

For me the trip was one big highlight but a few things come to mind ...

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  • When we were in the crater, we watched this big old bull elephant saunter across the crater floor towards the marsh where Nathan had us positioned. The old boy stopped maybe 12 ft away and just stood there, dust bathing and looking at us for about 15 minutes and then just continued on his way.
  • Being a city boy, I don't see the Milky Way very often due to light pollution so I hoped to get a night sky shot at some point on the trip. At Kichuguu, what was just as memorable was the honor guard of camp staff we had around us, simultaneously ensuring we didn't get eaten and just as keen to look at the results.
  • On arrival at Kati Kati, Nathan had a somewhat extended dialogue with one of the Camp #2 staff after which, he chuckled and told us that we were in the right place but, since a family of elephants had gone through the kitchen tent the previous night, we were being moved to Camp #4. All was well and we got to see and hear a loud debate within an elephant here the next morning ... camp staff figured it was likely the same herd that had visited camp #2
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lion_mane

Thank you for putting this all together for us and hope to do it again someday. "

Makes me happy when my Safari goers get to fulfill their Tanzanian Safari dream.
What is your Safari dream? We can help make it a reality.

Can't Thank You Enough.

When I first talked to Ravi, he said he wanted to take his Phase One Camera to Tanzania. Now I know a thing or two about how awesome Phase One cameras are because of uber photographer and my dear friend Andy Biggs. 

Keeping his photography passion in mind, the Safari had to be private all the way so that he would have one guide and one vehicle the whole time. Ravi was also keen on seeing the wildebeest migration; I suggested we make a pit stop in Central Serengeti at Kiota Camp before he carry-on to North Serengeti and Serengeti Safari Camp. Northern Serengeti was a must for their August Safari because that is when the migration is in that area

Ravi captures Tanzania beautifully. I think he will be back.

Serengeti Elephants
Leopard Tarangire

" Absolutely the finest vacation we have taken in our lives! Mefi was outstanding with her service to make our trip most enjoyable and memorable. She was responsive to us during the planning stages leading up to our trip and was always available to answer any questions we had. Given this was our very first safari trip, we didn't know what to expect when we set out to think about all this and Mefi made it very simple and practical."

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"The lodges she picked for us were excellent! The service in these camps were simply outstanding. The folks in each of the places were caring and helpful.

The guide we had for our 11-day trip Rowland was an experienced guide with a ton of patience. He was equally passionate about the trip each day and helped us experience the ultimate safari.

Highly recommend Journey to Africa and Mefi! Thanks Mefi!"
- Ravi and Jayanthi R.

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wildebeest sunset

It was such a pleasure working with Ravi and Jayanthi on their Safari. Jayanthi was going along with her husband but I do believe she enjoyed it just as much. Woot! And Ravi, amazing photos. Asante for sharing them. 
You ready for your ultimate Safari? Ask for details. 

'Can't wait to plan round two."

When Talia emailed us via our form Start your Journey, she mentioned she heard about us "Through a friend, who had posted recent pictures and tagged Journey to Africa".  I asked which friend? Aarthi and Prabath B. I love the #JourneyToAfricaSafariCommunity we have created. Referrals and repeats are our jam - I am grateful.

Talia and Vernon were heading to South Africa and wanted to add Tanzania as well. We spent a lot of time planning their first-anniversary Safari. We found the right dates of May/June so we could still enjoy all the luxury lodges but take advantage of some of the low season rates May offers. Mission accomplished. They stayed on the rim in beautiful Entamanu Ngorongoro and lovely Serengeti Safari Camp.  

Talia and Vernon shared their amazing Safari Stories and photographs with me over coffee in Houston.  Here are some - had a hard time narrowing them down - for you to enjoy.

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A cerval cat - not a very common sighting on Safari. 

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giraffe and mama

An older baby hyena still feeding from it's mother. Another not so common sighting.

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A baby elephant with other elephants in mourning.
They said they were driving when they heard elephants trumpeting. They thought it was a gathering but on getting closer, they realized there was a dead elephant on the ground and the other elephants were actually mourning. Sad sight to see. 

mourning baby elephant

Still one of my favorite birds and so glad they got to see this on Safari.

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Some amazing big cat photographs.
For the curious, before they went on Safari, we talked about photography. They wanted to buy a camera and lens so I suggested they buy a Canon T6i as it is a good camera to have but borrow my favorite lens, the Canon 70-300 mm L.  They got some amazing shots. 

young lion
mama and lion cub

Part of the migration crew. They never take a bad picture. 

And this ... the majestic African sunset with one of the most beautiful animal. 

elephant sunset

"Going on safari exceeded all expectations we had. From the camps to the amazing staff, our fantastic guides, the food, the wonderful people we met, and of course, being able to see all the stunning animals in their natural habit was simply amazing. We had always wanted this “once in a lifetime experience”, but we already can’t wait to start planning round two!

We can’t thank you enough, Mefi!"

cheers

Cheers Talia and Vernon.
You can call yourselves pro-photographers. 

"Tanzania is definitely an exception."

When Matt and Ashley D. contacted me to plan their 10th anniversary Safari, they had one request. They wanted to spend time in Oliver’s Camp.

Why? Their friend John H. had recommended that Safari lodge. John H. and I met randomly at Oliver's Camp in 2009 while having dinner in the family style table. A friendly chat lead to us keeping in touch for all these years.

The Deel's Safari was super fun to plan. 
And I managed to surprise them with a few anniversary treats.  

African Safari

"THANK YOU SO MUCH for planning our amazing anniversary trip.  We’ve traveled to numerous countries over the years and I always say “I don’t like going to the same country twice because the world is so big and there is so much to see”, but Tanzania is definitely an exception to this rule!  It is such a beautiful country with wonderful people.  I can’t wait for our return trip and I hope to bring along friends and family so they can experience all Tanzania has to offer as well.   

Thank you again for making this exceptional vacation happen!

African Safari

- How was your time with Fazo? 
Fazo was exceptional!!  He was courteous, professional, knowledgeable and so much fun.  We enjoyed getting to know him, laughing with him, and enjoying a beer at the end of the day with him. He truly cared for the land, animals, and people.  He was patient and kind, he not only cared about us and our experience, but he also cared about the other camp guests and wanted to ensure everyone had a great safari experience. One safari guide staying at a camp with us was new to the area and didn’t know his way around very well. Fazo was disheartened to hear that those guests didn’t see the same animals and have the same great experience as we did during the day, so Fazo very politely spoke with the resident camp guide and the new guide and helped make sure the guests had a better experience the next day. He privately took the new guide under his wing and gave him advice, while not speaking down to the new guide or making him (or his guests) feel uncomfortable.  This is only one example of Fazo’s passion for his job and his country.   We told Fazo that he is welcome in our home if he travels to Florida, Missouri, or Kansas.

- Did you enjoy your Safari experience? Wildlife, birds?
We absolutely enjoyed our safari experience. The wildlife, birds, bugs, and insects were all amazing (yes, I even took pictures of the dung beetles).  I also really enjoyed the people and the culture.  Seeing and visiting with the Maasai was definitely a highlight.

- Any favorite story/ stories?
1) We really enjoyed meeting a Maasai boy outside of the Ngorongoro crater that Fazo had befriended over the years.  The boy was about 8 years and an absolute pleasure to meet.  As we were driving I saw a small boy in the distance sprinting across a field. After a few twists and turns in the road we came upon the area where the boy was running to and Fazo noticed that the boy happened to be his friend (the Maasai boy had recognized our car in the distance).  We stopped and visited with the boy for about 10-15 minutes and I definitely consider this to be a highlight of our trip.   

2) A favorite was also the late afternoon game drives when Fazo packed a few snacks and a couple beers.  Happy Hour in the bush watching a lioness and her cubs play is hard to beat! 

3) The staff’s recognition of our anniversary was also great.  We had a surprise sunset bubble bath and champagne at Oliver’s Camp (we didn’t even know our room had a bathtub!) and we also really enjoyed the celebratory dancing and singing with cake and champagne at Olakira.  Such unexpected treats! Thank you, Mefi for coordinating the celebrations.

4) Having Fazo tell us about the baboons that jump into cars and steal food, then to witness it firsthand a few minutes later when another guide failed to close down the roof before parking.

5) Seeing an elephant in the crater get upset at a safari car and charge the vehicle. Luckily Fazo was always watching and paying attention because he promptly started our car and zoomed down the road so that the car behind us (the one the elephant was charging at) didn’t run into us.

6) We enjoyed learning about Fazo and his family.  His volunteer work protecting the wildlife, his avid volleyball playing, his wife and children, his knowledge of sign language, his support of the deaf community, and his love and respect for the people and animals within his country.

7) Having Fazo ask us questions about where we grew up (rural Missouri and Kansas) and his surprise that we had dirt roads and how similar the views of the Kansas plains are to the Serengeti plains.

Olakira Camp Serengeti

- What about the Safari Lodges? Did you enjoy your time here?
All of the lodging was great.  Oliver’s Camp and Olakira were our favorites because we enjoyed the camping experience, but all of the accommodations were fabulous.  

- Was Zanzibar enjoyable? Did you enjoy the Stone Town and Spice Tour?
Zanzibar was beautiful!  During our one full day there we went on a snorkeling tour that included lunch on a private beach (coordinated through Matemwe Lodge), it was a great way to spend the day.  We weren’t sure what to expect from the Stone Town and Spice Tour, and to be honest we weren’t really looking forward to them, but they were great and I am so glad we went on them.  We learned so much on the tours and we enjoyed seeing another side of Tanzania. Our Zanzibar guide was very knowledgeable and the tours were fantastic.

- Any suggestions for us for future clients? Any improvements we can make?
A suggestion for a future client would to bring more long, moisture wicking dresses.  I only brought two and I wore those more than anything else on our trip.  They kept me cool and comfortable on game drives and in the evenings when I wanted to dress up a little I wore them with my wedges (not that dressing up was ever required). "

Happy Anniversary!
See you back on another African Safari with your family. 

"Reactions were Priceless"

When the Angela H. emailed to say she wanted her children [twins aged 12, 15 and 17 year old] to experience more than wildlife on their winter-holiday Family Safari to Tanzania, I knew where I wanted to take them - off-the-beaten-path area of Lake Eyasi where the Hadzabe tribe live off the land as well as my favorite organization, The Rift Valley Children's Village. As you will see, Sydney who is 17 year old is planning on going back here.

Grier's feedback is very honest about the sounds at night. I should suggest having a white noise app or device in my packing list. And the twin boys, well, Angela's bees and birds topic got taken care off by the wildlife on Safari. Nature at its' best. 

Planning the Hall Family Safari was great fun. 
Thank you for trusting me to show your beautiful family my Tanzania.

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" We had an incredible time on Safari.
First, we must thank you for being so flexible & helpful on the trip delays and then with the delayed baggage. This greatly reduced the stress of 50+hrs of travel getting there, knowing that you and the team were handling everything. 

You are correct – John Bingo is an awesome guide, and that totally made our trip as special as it was. He sometimes got more excited than we did to find certain animals or see the animals do funny things (a female elephant itch her butt in a mud pile, or a zebra scratch it’s belly on a large rock). We came across the largest group of dung beetles John had ever seen so he slammed on the breaks of the truck & jumped out so fast!

Kids:

  • Sydney was enthralled by the Rift Valley Children's Village. She has already asked to set up a savings account just to buy another plane ticket there so she can volunteer for a year after she turns 21!

  • Grier was terrified of the night noises – so she didn’t get much sleep. My favorite Grier quote was “The days are neat, but the nights are so long.”

  • The boys took so MANY pictures & go-pro videos. They also got some animal kingdom sex education – lol. Lions mating & a Thompson gazelle giving birth. Think both grossed them out, but we all thought their reactions were priceless.

We crammed the Night Safari & Walking Safari into the single evening/morning at Oliver’s Camp – it rushed us a bit but we understood why (due to the travel delays)."
[*Journey To Africa note - They were disappointed they would miss these activities when they realized they were going to miss a night at Oliver's Camp due to weather related flight delay leaving Boston but we made it happen.]

The Hall Family.
December 2015

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Life worth Exploring!
What will your Family Safari Story be? We can help You find out. 

Everything we dreamed off and more.

When Vickie called me to say she and Neil wanted to go on a Journey To Africa Safari, I was super excited. See, Vickie and Neil are world travelers. They have been to every continent with famous large travel operators. I was up for the challenge to show them my Tanzania and provide them with the same quality service they had come to expect - and more - because we are into tiny personal details.

Safe to say, they had an amazing time and even after a few years, Vickie and Neil are still great supporters of Journey To Africa by constantly sending us referrals.

Asante Sana Vickie and Neil. 

tanzania safari

"Amazing, incredible, life changing are just a few words I use to describe our  "Journey to Africa".

From the moment we arrived in Kilimanjaro, we were transported into one of our most magical vacations ever! (That's saying a lot! as we are veterans of world travel, seven continents with some of the top outfitters in the travel industry)

We picked Journey to Africa because Mefi could design a VIP tour package to fit our schedule, our personal Africa safari wish list:

  • We wanted our own guide. 
  • We wanted to experience five luxury camps at our leisure. We wanted to go on a minimum of three safaris per day. 
  • We wanted to meet Maasai , Hadzabe, Datoga tribes and experience their cultures.
  • We wanted a hot air ballon ride over the Serengeti.
  • We wanted to see the "Big Five"

We received every single item on our personal wishlist, and much, much more!

Everyday was at our leisure, perfect for us, as we didn't want to share a vehicle or a "time line" set up by others. We saw lots of game on all our drives, we witnessed a couple hunts and kills - we were there during the migration.

While in Ngorongoro, two well known "five star" outfitters zoomed by us missing a beautiful leopard sleeping in a tree very close to the road. They were on a "scheduled tour" staying at the same lodge as us. Their guest informed us they have to stay on schedule so they couldn't stop for the leopard.

We stayed in the same world renowned lodges and camps as other outfitters but, we were offered something that they couldn't provide, a personalized experience.

We experienced everything we dreamed of and more!!!

-The Love's."

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Life worth Exploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

"Amazing Trip to Africa."

I have known Aarthi and Prabath B. for a long time. Prabath's brother, Prasanth and I went to university together, and Prasanth and his wife Ali went on Safari in 2004 when the now glamorous Sayari Camp had just opened and was a luxury mobile camp. When you have been planning Safaris for as long as I have, you see a lot of evolutions. 

When Aarthi and Prabath emailed to say it's now their time to go on a Safari, I knew I had to make their Safari just as special as Prasanth and Ali's. I meet them at a coffee shop in Houston where I started taking notes. After listening and sharing ideas about their lodging style, activity interest, etc., I knew I had to incorporate Oliver's Camp, Plantation Lodge and Lamai Serengeti to their August itinerary - yes, I did give them the choice of Sayari Camp - but Lamai Serengeti won. 

It was such a pleasure showing Tanzania to Aarthi and Prabath Boya. 

The happy couple with some great backgrounds. Memories to last a lifetime.

Serengeti
Serengeti
sunset

Wildlife. 
They saw an abundance of wildlife on Safari including a crocodile dragging a wildebeest down when unsuccessfully trying to cross the Mara River and leopard mating in Serengeti.
What a sight that must have been to see!

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elephant

Choice of lodges.
You don't have to go far sometimes to see wildlife. Here they are, enjoy an afternoon siesta at Oliver's Camp and Lamai Serengeti when elephants and zebras came close to their room. One of the reasons why we are picky about the lodge choices - you always want to be part of the environment, not secluded behind glass windows - unless you want that experience as well.  

Oliver's Camp
Lamai Serengeti

"A huge thank you to Mefi Pishori Alapat and Journey To Africa Safari for arranging our amazing African Safari. Loved every minute of our perfect vacation from the beautiful lodges to the incredible guides. And best of all, we can check the great wildebeest migration off our bucket list! Can't wait to go back!"

For more of their photographs, see their albums on Facebook.
Tarangire | Ngorongoro | Serengeti | Zanzibar Island

Yes, Safari Party

Tanzania, you bring so many people together. 

When Jann came back from her second Safari where she took her friends to Tanzania, asked if I would come to California for a post Safari party, I said YES. I am so glad I did.

We shared so many different Safari stories over glasses of wine. Jann, my lovely friend knows how to throw a great party. She asked the McLeans who had been on the first Safari with her as well as friends who are interested in going to Tanzania - the Safari bug is contagious. 

The group that went with Jann enjoyed a reminiscing party. We enjoyed going over the Safari photos and there were many good ones to ooo and ahhh over. And yes, lots of Safari Stories.

Judy and Kathy talked about their wonderful time with the Maasai ladies in Mkuru. Jeff, the only guy in the group, called himself the harem leader -- maybe like the impalas. He really enjoyed his time with the Hadzabe tribe. The hunting for food and berries was truly an experience he would want people to partake on their Journey To Africa Safari. Karen and Linda were just so happy they said Yes to joining Jann on her Safari. 

Jeff and Hadzabe

Here's to saying Yes.
Yes to going on a Safari with Jann.
Yes to meeting up with a great bunch of friends and sharing our Safari Stories.
Yes to many more Safaris to Tanzania in the future for Jann, Judy, Kathy, Karen, Jeff and Linda and their friends.

Yes. Make your Safari Party happen. I would love to come for a pre or post Safari Party.
I am always up for a Tanzania chat.