April 13 and 14:
We arrived into the Grumeti Plains today. The Serengeti occupies the NW part of Tanzania and adjoins the much smaller Maasai Mara of South-Western Kenya. The Grumeti Plains are part of this area and a significant part of the legendary migration that we have all dreamed about. It is truly one the world’s greatest Natural Wonders, often bringing tears to eyes of those who are fortunate to witness it and of course the subject of that famous Broadway musical The Lion King!
Our leaders of Africa Inscribed, Gavin and Dylan, are the ultimate gurus at knowing how to surprise, pace and delight their guests. Gavin’s wealth of knowledge is remarkable. His soft mannerisms and his lifelong interest in all things wild has paid off as he is internationally recognized as a naturalist and guide. These traits are all very comforting while in the “wild” and he is well suited for any personality.
They certainly saved the best for last and ended our last two nights with the ultimate WOW! Our first of these nights was spent at Sabora Camp (my favorite of the trip) and ended with the nicest lodge to date in East Africa, Sasakwa Lodge.
Sabora (“tented”) Camp envelops one with a sense of romance, seemingly drawn from the pages of Karen Blixen’s personal diary. It gives the real feel of Colonial times, with impeccable décor speckled with lots of crystal, silver and brass. This grandiose yet elegant décor occupies a true dreamscape, reminiscent of a Salvador Dali painting with daybeds ideally placed amongst the shaded trees outside each tent, wildlife grazing as if they were pets in your backyard. We gather around the nightly campfire seronaded by local dancers while enjoying our “sundowners” and cannot help but muse that Life is Good!
Sasakowa Lodge rambles along a rocky cliff perched above rolling plains. It is a lodge meant for those seeking the ultimate in accommodations, service and amenities, outfitted with tennis courts, a spa, a fitness room and a game room. While such luxuries might sound out of place they are in fact all done with very low key, African ambience. Needless to say, Sasakowa Lodge is a Relais and Chateaux property.
The icing on the cake is their riding facility. This facility is suited for only the more experienced horseback riders (a few exceptions made for those riders over 14). I would gladly be reincarnated as a horse at Sasakowa’s stables!
April 15th: final thoughts…
A full day spent in Arusha visiting the Arusha Coffee Lodge for lunch and the very local Maasai market. Late afternoon we departed via our van to Kilimanjaro airport to begin our long journey home.
As I embark home my mind is filled with the most vivid memories: the primitive lives of the Maasai; young children walking miles and miles herding cattle across the endless plains; clothing washed by hand and sun dried; woman balancing goods of any manner on their heads or swaddling babies on their backs in kikois. These beautiful people conduct their lives with a nobility that belies the simple and primitive living conditions, their eyes glittering with curiosity and smiles greeting the outsider with an acceptance and joy that is infectious.
I will end this journal by thanking our leaders from Africa Inscribed, Gavin Ford and Dylan Harriss. I thank them for opening my eyes to one of the most amazing places on earth. I have just had a small sampling of this great continent and realize there are so many unique experiences to return to such as a photography exploration, a wildlife adventure, visiting the gorillas in Rwanda or visiting Victoria Falls. Africa awaits your next adventure and we are here to turn your dream into a reality.
My wish is for every person who has a dream to visit Africa, young, old, rich or poor, to try and fulfill it. To me, Africa was not only exhilarating and moving but will always be embedded in my heart and mind. The natural and untouched beauty, the chill that tingles up your body as you sit on the edge of your seat driving endlessly through the opens plains wondering what will face you next can only be understood firsthand.
I hope to hear from you soon so we can plan this journey together.