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.
"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!
- 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.
- 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). "
See you back on another African Safari with your family.