Africa has been on my bucket list for many years. In fact, I literally dreamed of going there. Friends would talk about the “exotic” destination. The Hemingway safaris. The animals. The romance.
A good friend of ours partnered with Pique Travel for her safari a couple years ago. We saw her amazing photos, which were off the charts. She has traveled around the world and said Africa was her favorite, so we didn’t want to wait any longer.
Working with Kris at Pique Travel really made it happen. He worked within our budget and created an unforgettable itinerary. We started in Arusha, Tanzania, which happened to be my birthday! What a way to start our trip – happy hour and sunset at the Tree Tops. I’m not sure it could have gotten any better. Over dinner, we looked over the watering hole where wildlife came to drink as Swahili dancers sang around our dinner table. Best birthday ever!
After our time at Tree Tops, we headed out to the famous Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles.
While in the area, we stayed at The Manor, an impeccable property with classic clawfoot bathtubs, exceptional service and unique experiences. The crater in general was unique just due to its self-sufficient ecosystem of animals – including a very up close and personal experience with an elephant next to our safari jeep!
We then ventured to the Serengeti where we stayed at Pioneer Camp – which was simply the best! In particular, our guide at this camp was amazing. His knowledge and ability to sight wildlife were enviable. He spotted leopards in trees, when we saw nothing. His expertise allowed us to get close and have great viewings, including a black rhino at our picnic lunch spot one day.
Although it was a bitter sweet experience, we were fortunate to see a lion kill. Four female lions took down a water buffalo. It was very interesting to see the strategy and the struggle/fight to bring it down. Then two of the lionesses went back to the bush and brought their cubs to eat. It was unbelievable to witness. When we got to camp everyone said the animals liked us because we were having so many unique sightings and experiences.
We absolutely loved the Hemingway feel of Pioneer Camp. The chef and food were outstanding and we loved eating by candlelight in an intimate setting with a beautiful full moon.
I could seriously go on and on about this adventure. It was a fairy tale come true. Where else could we see elephants eating off the roof of a restaurant, giraffes that were so graceful and hippos up so close you had to watch yourself. Just to name a few!
We loved working with Kris on the Pique team. We felt like we got to know him and become friends, which helped him build an itinerary that was perfect for us! We will never forget this adventure and can’t encourage people enough to take a journey to Africa.
Want to learn more about traveling to Africa? Email Kris Nosworthy at KrisN@PiqueTravel.com.