Kenya Tanzania Classic
We have just returned after spending 3 weeks in both Kenya and Tanzania. From our first phone to Encompass who we hadn’t heard of before doing some internet research we had a great experience. Initially we were going with the popular named tour companies before we stumbled across Encompass. We didn’t really know what we wanted but with the help of Jono, Boss of Encompass (who is South African) he drafted up an itinerary and sent it to us.
The email had a link to our own web page which had everything set out in it, including costs. We thought we would be part of a small group but no, it was just going to be the 2 of us plus it was cheaper than the other crowds for similar itinerary.
Going to Africa for us was a bit scary and we were trying to cover all the what ifs’ but there were none for us.
From our first contact with Encompass to arriving home everything went like clockwork. We saw some amazing sites, felt perfectly safe at all times, accommodation 5 star. Most of our time was on dirt roads, so yes it can be a bit rough at times.
We visited these parks in this order:-
Samburu National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Naivasha- water safari and walking amongst the animals on an island
Masai Mara National Reserve
Serengeti National Park-saw migrating wildebeest and zebras which we didn’t expect in May
Tarangire National Park
Amboseli National Park- saw Mt Kilimanjaro.
Our tour started and finished in Nairobi.
We had some long days driving between parks. The longest was supposed to be 10 hours from Masai Mara to The Serengeti which included crossing the border but it ended up being 11 and a half hours as, early into the trip we had a fan belt break.
Part of this trip was extremely rough roads. In hindsight, I may have looked at cutting out 1 or 2 of the parks and included Victoria Falls. In saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed what we did. As we went in May, it was before the main season so the parks were a lot quieter which was to our advantage. We had a little bit of rain which didn’t affect us and some grey skies. Thanks Encompass team!
Africa was a wonderful place for a holiday and we will always remember our time there. We would definitely recommend Encompass Africa to others. Thank you for organising such a great honeymoon for us!
Milestone Celebration Safari East Africa
Christmas Safari, South Africa
Family Adventure in South Africa
The only things we adjusted were when we were in South Africa. We added a trip to the Apartheid Museum after touring Soweto and removed a drive around Johannesburg City (thought it would be more worthwhile). And the rental car you organised was perfect and so roomy!
Southern and Eastern Africa Explorer
The trip was well organized, the itinerary advice and suggestions were all spot on, the locations we stayed at were brilliant and the accommodation was superb and all the internal flights and the transfers all went smoothly. Thanks to all the extra tips and useful information that we received from EA prior to our travels, we had a good understanding of what we could expect during our trip and we really appreciated this during our travels.
The safari operators on the ground in Africa were incredibly professional and their amazing guides were very friendly, incredibly professional, and very passionate about the amazing wildlife in Africa and this combination made every safari a unique incredible experience. Our trips combination of Central and then East Africa gave us a taste of how varied the African countries, their people and the wildlife really is and we will treasure the experiences we have had there.
We met wonderful people during our trip and whilst we were amazed at how so many people had been there many times before, we will now join them in the desire to return to further explore the amazing African continent. Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda next, or should it be the Namibian desert, or the South African concessions???? …. Not a matter of if, but when there will be more trips to Africa.
Highlights of the trip? That’s been a real toughie for both of us. There were highlights every day, meeting the local people, seeing the wildlife – with some amazing encounters on every safari drive we went on, the people we met along the trip, and the places we visited and stayed at together, have made the whole trip to Africa a real highlight of our travels. We have had many friends ask who organized our trip and have already recommended the lovely team at Encompass Africa to them as your expert help was a key component of our wonderful holiday. Thank you so much!
Southern Africa Adventure
Thank you Jonathon! We absolutely loved it.
Africa Family Safari Holiday
Our itinerary arranged by Encompass was fabulous and we can’t wait to experience our next trip to Africa and of course will book with Encompass Africa. Thank you Jono and the team. You made our holiday a trip of a lifetime.
South Africa Safari Romance
Food: Beautiful! A very different experience from the last safari Jono organised for us (12 nights in ‘glamping’ across Kenya and Tanzania) with early mounting and afternoon trips rather than all day exclusions. As a result, we seemed to be eating all day! All meals were delicious, a good balance between western and local tastes (Springbok shanks – yum). Servings were generous and the settings for each meal were amazing – nothing was too hard. I must admit that I find the fact for water is an additional cost a little cheeky as the cost of the accommodation really should cover this as part of the experience. The only constructive feedback I have.
Service: Excellent. From the staff at reception, through to the chef, service staff and the guides – all were very friendly, accommodating and welcoming. Staff were happy to answer any questions we had and nothing was too hard.
Room comfort: The room were stayed in was great! Spacous and comfortable. Showers were hot. We did make the most of the pool and the communal areas were were also comfortable and provided great views to the surrounding area.
Thanks to Jono for organising!
Mirko had an amazing Kilimanjaro climb thanks to you and your outstanding partners, Summits Africa. They were absolutely fantastic and took such great care of him, I was incredibly impressed! What an awesome experience it was and the care taken by all the team to make sure the climb went well contributed so much to the positivity of the experience. Thank you also for the updates on his health whilst climbing, I appreciated getting the messages through whilst I was travelling solo in Tanzania!
The camps in the Serengeti we visited were all great, well situated, set up, appointed and managed with great teams of people in each who were warm, welcoming, kind, helpful and hospitable. I must make a particular mention of Rodger and Annabel at Sayari who were just the most wonderful managers, professional, warm, hands on, very respectful to their teams and they made such a huge effort to make our stay special, with amazing birthday treats for Mirko and even a celebratory private candle lit dinner and champagne the night we got there to celebrate Mirko’s successful Kili summit! Our guides were fantastic, very respectful of the wildlife, knowledgeable, passionate, and great company. Kevin, who was my guide for the week I was on my own was just wonderful and made sure I had an absolutely fabulous time. I also want to especially mention Joseph who was our guide at Sayari – he was such a lovely young man, intelligent, professional, knowledgeable, motivated, driven, with a great sense of humour, kind manner who was great to spend time with and very passionate about the bush.
Travelling on my own was not a problem at all, I felt safe, welcomed and cared for all the time, both out and about and in the camps. Everyone was incredibly friendly and kind to me.
Another of your preferred partners, Asilia is a fantastic company and I am so glad you recommended them to us. They really walk the walk, not just talk the talk! Eco-conscious and eco-friendly, great conservation and community initiatives, great guides, respect and care for the environment and wildlife, very supportive of their staff and providing great career progression opportunities, as well as great camps in great locations with wonderful wildlife.
We had so many amazing sightings that I cannot list them all but a few highlights were a cheetah and her 3 small and adorable cubs, lost of cheetah, 2 servals, an African Wild Cat, tree-climbing lions, seeing >100 lions, a pride of >25 lions all together, a female leopard and 2 playful young cubs, the migration, black rhino and calf, morning tea in a herd of 70,000 wildebeest and so so much more! Cant wait to share stories and photos with you next week.
Thank you once again so much, we couldn’t have asked for more and as always you have exceeded our wildest expectations! We are already thinking of returning to Tanzania…..as well as visiting some more countries on the beautiful African continent! Cant wait to book our next safari with you!
Sarah and Mirko
Couple on Africa Safari
Mother and Daughter in Africa
The people of Kenya and Tanzania are incredible and just changes your perspective on life and realise how spoilt we are. They have so little but just seem happy to have enough food for their family, a roof over their heads and also to hopefully educate their children. The children were all beautiful and great smiles. We saw the “Big Five” in the first couple of days of our African safari tour and always overwhelmed to see them again and again, also all the animals were fantastic, think my favourite may have been the giraffes and zebras, but hard to pick a favourite.
All of the drivers were very professional and caring, we had two other couple with us on the tour (Aussies) and we all got on well. Nothing was any trouble for them and they went out of their way to make our trip a memorable one. Another highlight was a visit to the Maasai Village, where we had a glimpse of how the the local Maasai live. I think our favourite accommodation was the very first lodge, Mbweha Safari Camp. The Manager, Joseph was the kindest most personable person I think we have ever met. The room we had was incredible and probably the best overall experience. We had Sundowners out in the open with a fire and cocktails, met the Owner of the Camp, who gave the six of us a complimentary night safari tour.
My daughter and I may not get back to Africa for another visit due to financial constraints, but feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do it once! But we will always have part of our hearts in Africa. Thank you to Encompass Africa, we are so glad we chose you to visit Africa. Kwaheri!
Southern Africa Exploration
What we have learned about animals and their communication/behaviours I feel we would now be eligible to apply to a position on David Attenborough’s team. We had a monkey in our room at Victoria Falls. Bob had come inside and left the door open and of course the monkey was in trying to gather some sugar. We had approx.. 50 baboons drinking from our plunge pool at Ngoma Lodge which lowered the water level significantly. Wonderful experiences, observing lions shreading a kudu just killed, leaving the ears and trotters. Following behind a leopard as it slowly walked in front of our vehicle, stopping occasionally to turn around and look at us.
Another day, watching wild dog which we had tracked and found beside a water hole. There were 16 pups and I think 9 adult dogs. The pups played together like puppies and then gathered together in a huddle whilst the adult dogs sat in strategic positons around the outside watching for predators. Gail, I am telling our friends to put Africa on their bucket list and to contact you guys. This is an opportunity not to be missed for any travellers. Thanks again for all you have done.
Romance in Africa
Cape Town had horrible weather while we were there, but we still got to see a lot and do the touristy things like a couple of tours. Table Mountain was closed due to weather, but on our last day the fogs cleared so we got some nice views. More Quarters was great! Beautiful apartment in a great location and the people/ staff there were extrememly helpful and friendly. Thankfully the weather cleared up for Franshhoek and that was lovely – did some bike riding and wine tour on horeseback which was fun. Hotel was pretty quiet at the time. Restaurant there was beautiful also. Kruger – WOW!!! Definitely the highlight of our trip! We saw the big 5 in about a day and a half! Very Lucky 🙂
Imbali was awesome!! Room was great, staff were fun and great, location across from a waterhole was great (lots of animals apeared during our meal times which was nice to watch) , food was awesome too. Our guide Oscar – THE BEST! He was SO good. Always tracking and spotting animals left, right and centre! Always the first to track and find the animals and the one making the calls to the other guides.
We had a couple of crazy moments in Kruger….. We lay in bed one night and heard the most disturbing animal noises for about 30 minutes, it was close and we knew it had to be a kill. The next morning we straight away asked Oscar and he had of course already checked it out. 4 male lions had killed a buffalo about 1km away and he took us straight there for a VERY close up look. My heart was going a million miles an hour! We have some great pics! The next morning we awoke at about 5am to some weird noises next to our room… we peeked out of the curtains to find a giant elephant drinking from the jacuzzi on our deck! Great experience and a very different wake up call! We will totally be recommending a visit to Kruger / Imbali to everyone! The Hide in Hwange National Park was a great place to stay! It has a very welcoming, cozy, family feel to the place. They do a very nice thing, where all the guests sit by the fire pre dinner, and then eat at a big dinner table all together for meals – everyone gets to know each other and chats which was nice.
Our “Tent” was lovely and had a great view of the waterhole. I also loved the outdoor shower! The underground “Hide” was fantastic!! The ability to get so close to the animals by the waterhole is amazing, especially the Elephants. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was also really good. We again had a room with a great view of the waterhole. We did a walk along the falls, river cruise, white water rafting and the Boma dinner here, and Matt also managed to fit in a game of golf at Elephant Hills.
Loved all of it!! Overall, we had a fantastic holiday and a great life experience. I would love to go back to Africa again in the future and I will certainly be contacting EA when that time comes. I will certainly refer you to any family and friends should they wish to head to Africa!
Family Safari of a Lifetime
1. 14 strangers heartily singing Happy Birthday to my daughter and a beautiful chocolate cake shared by all, with the excitement of first full day of safari to come. Woken from sleep repeatedly by the roars of male lions IN the camp, UNDER the tents, that first night. Wow, how did Jono organise that?
2. The quad bike/sleep out on the pans. What you miss out on in wildlife at that time of year is more than made up for by this and the meerkat experience. Just fabulous.
3. A mad, crashing dash through the bush to catch the sight of a leopard catching and eating its prey, then sundowners with some mad South Africans who shared the experience with us. I’ve never seen so many empty tonic cans in once place before…
4. Going out following lion tracks while the boys packed up camp on our last morning in Khwai, only to be called back to camp urgently as there were 5 lions in our campsite. We found two lioness sitting within 3 metres of Mark and Jakes tent, while one more watched the boys who were now taking refuge lying flat as possible on top of the half packed trailer. If we had had that 2nd cup of tea, we wouldn’t have had to move.
5. The helicopter flight over Vic Falls is pretty hard to beat, Georgia would probably say doing the Gorge swing backwards and waiting for the count down to reach 3 and being let go on 1. She wasn’t expecting that!!
6. Jake would say driving the quad bikes.
7. I loved every sunset. Magnificent. Needless to say, I’ll be booking another trip with you as soon as the bank account has recovered from this one.
Thank you again Encompass Africa!
Safari & Sand Honeymoon
Cape Town: We were well greeted off the plane in Jo’burg and made it through customs, re-checked in and on our way to Cape Town very quickly. No problems with this at all… easy transfer. Our driver was waiting when we arrived in Cape Town and we were at More Quarters shortly after landing. More Quarters was beautiful. We loved the apartment-hotel, the intimacy and personalised service from a small boutique hotel made us feel very special as honeymooners. Would definitely recommend anyone stay here when they go to Cape Town. They went the extra mile on our arrival knowing we were honeymooners with the room set up and the staff were always very friendly and helpful, suggesting local restaurants for dinner within walking distances that were not tourist traps. Really excellent choice… very happy.
Safari: We had the best time! We cannot fault Notten’s Bush Camp. We recommend everyone go here. On the drive from the front gate of Sabi Sand to Notten’s we saw elephant, buffalo and rhino… so three of the big 5 within 20 minutes. Everything at Notten’s is perfect. It’s small, personalised, friendly, food in abundance but delicious… had a really family owned feel. There aren’t any lights in the cabins but we loved that! So so good would recommend everyone stay here.
Azura Benguerra: Cannot speak highly enough for Azura. Everything was perfect. We loved it. Service was second to none and the food was delicious. Beach, weather, romance, relaxation… absolutely everything was fantastic. We couldn’t be happier and did tours to two mile reef to snorkel as well around Paradise Island and explored this as well. It really is a majestic untouched treasure Benguerra… Would recommend Azura to everyone! It was fantastic.
So overall we had a perfect holiday. More Quarters, Nottens and Azura were superb. We had a blast and would happily return to all of these places multiple times over. Thank you so much for organising such a wonderful honeymoon. We have attached some photos for you 🙂
We cannot wait to return to Africa one day… Victoria Falls, Botswana and Tanzania await we think this might have to be our next African adventure.
Solo Girl in Africa
My highlights were getting stuck in the Serengeti, with lions on the kopjes watching us, Cape Buffalo less than 100 metres away, and a family of baboons walking by. Trying to dig out the car in the mud and grass and getting dirty was so much fun! We got it out (and sundowner drink well deserved!).
My tour guides, Muba and Allen in Tanzania were great, with incredible knowledge. I would definitely go back on safari with them in the future.
Unfortunately at Nairobi airport, someone else took my driver (uncanny, they had the exact same name as me!) but the Encompass Africa Emergency service was excellent. I was picked up by a new driver in a short time and taken to my accommodation. It was all quick and easy.
Thanks again and I am enjoying planning my next trip with you (thanks Gail).
Gorilla’s in the Mist Honeymoon
Africa was the start of a longer holiday and we only returned home this week. Back to brutal reality! The African component of our holiday was definitely the highlight. I can’t get enough of it! It was our first trip to Rwanda and we were really impressed. It is such a beautiful country and it definitely feels like it’s going places. The gorilla experience was beyond words!! Thank you again for all your help.
Safari Connoisseurs in Uganda
Just wanted to drop you a line and say that the Ugandan part of our trip has been incredible! Organisation as usual flawless and everything has gone so smoothly! Mahogany Springs was just wonderful. The setting is so beautiful, the gardens gorgeous, the lodge itself just lovely, set up so well and the facilities great. The staff made us feel so welcome and looked after us amazingly well. The food was wonderful and we just loved it.
We did the village walk with a young man from the village which was really interesting and great fun, we also visited the orphanage and spent some time with those lovely kids and gave them the presents we’d brought. Lovely experiences.
The gorillas were just unbelievably wonderful, it was such a privilege to spend time with such gorgeous and gentle giants. We were very lucky, on our first tracking we found the gorillas after just 5 minutes and spent the whole time with the Oruzogo family out in the open, all just relaxing and posing for our photos, so calm with us there, completely unconcerned and happy doing their normal things with us just sharing their space for a while.
On our second tracking we had the full trekking experience, a 6hr trek up and down some of the steepest and rugged terrain! It was loads of fun though and a real adventure and experience which we both enjoyed immensely. We found the Rushegura family after 3 hours and then followed them through the thick forest for the next hour as they moved around and fed. There was an adorable 1 week old baby which was lovely to see in the protection of its mother’s arms. The silverback was relaxed and came and sat down right next to us, so close he was touching me! It was a truly incredible moment.
Mirko loved it so much and said it was the best trip ever. For me it was on a par with our other Encompass Africa trips which is saying a lot as they are my favourite trips ever! We would both be keen to come back and see more of Uganda! Thank you so much for organising such a great trip for us and for the great advice re the camera gear (the 70-300mm was perfect!). Now for the next leg, cant wait!!!!