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Kevin   –  
Canada CA
Visited: November 2015 Reviewed: Jan 9, 2016

Email Kevin  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Seasoned travellers - but this was Beyond our Wildest Expectations

A group of 6 of us from Canada began planning for this vacation ~1 year before we traveled. We diligently researched, compared and interviewed 8 separate safari companies before selecting Planet Africa to help organize our tour. We dealt only with Leah Humphreys at Planet Africa and can only hope that all their agents are as well trained, knowledgeable, helpful and personable as she is.
We started our adventure in Cape Town - but handled the logistics of this part on our own. We arrived in Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania and were met and transported to the Arusha Coffee Lodge in Arusha by a Planet Africa arranged vehicle. We spent two nights there to allow us time to regroup post Cape Town & the wine area of South Africa, plus the fairly long plane ride from SA to Tanzania. We wanted to start our safari rested and fresh. I would recommend you also consider this, since the Arusha Coffee Lodge has beautiful grounds to walk around - plus an excellent craft workshop at least partly manned by handicapped workers. The quality of goods there is very good - I was so impressed with the glass blowing and glass hand-craftsmanship that I videoed the whole process and bought a memorable distinctive tall wine glass (for only $11 CDN) and carefully hand carried it throughout the rest of our travels safely back to Canada. The food and comfort and service and ambiance at Arusha Coffee Lodge also are all excellent!
Our first day of Safari took us by jeep from Arusha to Tarangire National Park. We were met by our Safari guide (Stanford) who proved to be excellent - personable, articulate, and very knowledgeable of the wildlife and surprisingly the many birds that we encountered on our trip. We arrived at Tarangire in about 1 1/2 hours and started our first day of safari ~10:30 am. I won't go into the details of the specific wildlife & birds we saw over our 2 part days and 1 full day of safari other than to say - it was fantastic and it would take much too long to write. Tarangire seemed to me the most varied terrain we traveled - swampland, treed land and open savannas. It seemed that around every bend there was something fantastic to see. Some of the sightings were so impressive that you could spend 1/2 hour or longer marveling at them. Others were more fleeting. All were wild and memorable.
In Tarangire we spent two nights at Oliver's Camp. Our host & hostess there were Justin & Jackie. They were both very knowledgeable and helpful in identifying the many birds we saw around the property and Oliver's Camp has a beautiful deck overlooking a very large plain. We were served our breakfast there on our last morning and it was special to look out over the plain and see Zebras passing through and the small elusive Dik Dik antelope grazing in our midst. Oliver's is an upper scale camp, but if your budget allows, this is one of two camps that I recommend you indulge in.
After we left the Oliver's Camp, we had a final 1/2 day safari in Tarangire before we traveled to Lake Eyasi. This was an add on that we planned to our Safari experience to give us some feel for Tanzania and some of the peoples and tribes that live there. We spent one night at the Kisima Ngeda Lodge in Lake Eyasi and on the day travelling there we visited a Masai village. The next day when we traveled to the Ngoro Ngoro Crater , we hunted with four very skilled young boys from the Hadzabe tribe (one of the few remaining tribes in Africa that are truly bushmen - living off the land almost the same as they have for millenia). We also visited the DaToga tribe (blacksmiths) that make metal bracelets and arrowheads etc from reclaimed brass and aluminum. The Kisima Ngeda is a typical tented camp, very comfortable and accommodating. The extra day we allocated to allow for this cultural excursion was very well spent and very much recommended.
Our next stop was for two nights at the Plantation Lodge, which is very close to the Ngoro Ngoro Crater. The accommodation and grounds at this lodge are truly excellent. It is very much appointed like an upper scale hotel, with individual villas interspersed throughout beautifully maintained grounds. We asked for a brief tour around the grounds and it was arranged that the head gardener, who has been there for over 20 years, gave us an excellent tour around the Plantation. We spent one day touring the Crater area. We chose to get a very early start and had tie to loop the Crater a couple of times. The crater area (although very large and with a great variety of wildlife) can be reasonably covered in one day. And the wildlife there is amazing. We had excellent views of Hippos, and our only sighting of a pair of rhinos at the Crater.
From the Crater area, thanks to valuable input from Leah at Planet Africa, we decided to Fly from Lake Manyara airport to the Central Serengeti. This eliminated the need for a fairly long drive to reach this area and allowed for more time on safari. The small plane we traveled in was a wonderful experience in itself. Also, since we had decided to stay at Namiri Plains Camp in the Central Serengeti, it was necessary that we use their camp guides. So by opting to fly rather than drive, although we paid a premium to stay at the Namiri Plains, we also saved some money in that we did not have to pay for other less expensive accommodation, plus our own guide.
We spent three nights at the Namiri Plains Camp in the Serengeti, and for me, this was the highlight of the trip. This camp has recently been opened up in an area that had been closed to the public for ~20 years and is renowned for its cats. We saw several cheetahs, and many many lions at amazingly close distances!! Also, and this was somewhat fortuitous, we arrived at the camp (short rainy season) at the time that the wildebeest migration was passing through and saw tens - probably hundreds of thousands of these animals, several thousand of them parading by our campsite. This camp is also first class, but if your budget allows this would get my number one vote ( although my wife also makes a very good case for Oliver's Camp). If you can - do both.
Following our stay at Namiri Plains, we were transferred back to the airport and flew to Zanzibar. We spent two nights at Kisima House in Stone Town - also very comfortable accommodation - and spent a day doing the Spice Plantation Tour plus a guided walking tour of Stone Town. Both were well conducted and reasonable. We then went to Chumbe Island a very small and isolated Eco Tourism Island off the coast of Zanzibar. This was a truly delightful experience - we had a guided walking tour of the island, a night walk where we saw very big coconut crabs, and were transported to a coral reef where we snorkelled for an hour or two both days we were there. All in all an excellent experience.
In summary, Planet Africa and Leah in particular helped us put together a trip that truly exceeded our expectations. Of the 6 of us, Deanne & I decided to book our return flights from Canada to and from Cape Town. This allowed us to Fly via Mango Air from Zanzibar to Cape Town via Johannesburg. We decided to spend 2 nights in Jo-burg and (again at Leah's recommendation) stayed at the Residence Boutique Hotel there before traveling on to Capetown. If you visit Johannesburg as art of your adventure - I highly recommend this hotel and experience as well!

Karen Piekos   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2015 Reviewed: Sep 29, 2015

Email Karen Piekos  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Planet Africa planned the ultimate, perfect trip! Could not have been better.

This was our first safari, and was to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday. Mary at Planet Africa was supremely helpful and is an expert with regards to east African safaris. She spent some time up front talking to me to understand what type of travelers we were and what we wanted to do and see. Then we planned out the itinerary, which included 4 game reserves in Tanzania (Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti) one in Kenya (Masai Mara) and then a beach holiday at Azura Quilalea in Mozambique. During the planning process she was very responsive, helpful and patient -- she spent hours on the phone or emailing me when I had questions or new ideas based on my research. After we finalized the locations we wanted to visit, she would recommend a couple of different lodging options at different price points, all that she had stayed at and knew herself, and she would tell us pros and cons of each. And when we arrived at each location we discovered that she was completely honest and candid about what to expect. She cared and wanted us to have a wonderful experience. As I mentioned, this was our first safari and I was working with some someone on the other side of the globe to plan it, so admittedly I had some trepidation at the start. But her responsiveness and candor put me at ease and I enjoyed working with her. I now realize it is far better to work with someone who has experience and has gone on many, many safaris, and who knows the lodges and resorts because she had stayed there. Also, when Mary was traveling herself or unavailable, someone always responded to me immediately and was quick to help. And there were also many nice details about working with Planet Africa. They provided all sorts of data about the trip, ideas about what to see and do, what to pack. They made sure there was someone at all points to transfer us and help with questions. They arranged 50th birthday cake surprises at one safari lodge and at the beach resort. Our luggage was lost on arrival and they got it to us quickly -- out in the bush. Just a lot of nice little details that made us comfortable and added to our trip. I would recommend Planet Africa Safaris to anyone, and I plan to use them again for my next trip to Africa.

anja   –  
Switzerland CH
Visited: August 2015 Reviewed: Aug 20, 2015

Email anja  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Best vacation ever- thanks to planet africa planning

It was a real pleasure planning this trip, together with Leah from Planet Africa: so efficient, so knowledgable, great communication with always prompt replies to whatever questions I had! Very nice friendly, professional guides over there and awesome camps and lodges…- the perfect experience altogether!!

BL   –  
United States US
Visited: June 2015 Reviewed: Aug 3, 2015

Email BL  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

wonderful trip

I had a flawless trip from start to finish, and feel I got a very personalized approach from Planet Africa. I wanted to see lions, and Leah was super throughout the planning. The two camps were a dream come true.

Anne   –  
United States US
Visited: September 2014 Reviewed: Jul 23, 2015

65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Our trip was one of the best in our lives-fabulous guide, beautiful animals, lovely accommodations.

The safari MORE than met our expectations. The service was impeccable. It was delightful to feel so cared for by so many lovely people. Candlelight meals under the stars were above and beyond the "camping" experience we had expected. Our guide, Stanford took care of us in every situation including a bit of a confrontation with locals, and another situation in which we were stuck in the mud, quite near a female lion, also when others were hopelessly bogged down in the mud at nightfall, he pulled them out too. He was equipped for every situation and more than competent. Our lives were in his hands and I felt he was cautious and aware of our surroundings at all times, while at the same time bringing us close to the animals. He was very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about the animals, the land and the people. If by communication, you mean Willow, who handled our travel arrangements, she was endlessly patient in explaining and helping us decide where we wanted to go. Willow was away on maternity leave while we were on the safari itself, but Polly was incredibly helpful in rearranging our travel arrangements, when I had to leave and return to the US before our trip ended.

Elta   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: September 2014 Reviewed: Jun 22, 2015

35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Best holiday we've ever had

We booked with Planet Africa on the recommendation of friends who travelled with them the previous year and had raved about their wonderful holiday. We sent an email request to get a better idea of the options and cost, and a representative arranged a call that same day to talk through our preferences. She and her team organized a trip that combined gorilla tracking in Rwanda (our primary focus of the trip) with safari at two different sites in Tanzania based on a few telephone conversations and email exchanges. The entire trip was extremely professional, from beginning to end, with excellent communication, personalized service and great attention to detail. The accommodation was perfect at each location. Our local guides were absolutely fantastic - knowledgeable and engaging, particularly at Sayari Camp in the Northern Serengeti. Logistics were worked out brilliantly. We can't remember a trip that was so flawless in its execution, whether with the timing of flights, being met by our local guides, or any other aspect of the trip. The Planet Africa team was also on hand while we were in Rwanda and Tanzania to help as needed; towards the end of our stay in Tanzania, we made a last minute request to change the itinerary and they were very quick to get back with us about options and to help make the adjustments. We were absolutely thrilled with the service we received and the holiday we had, which definitely goes down as the best in more than 30 years of travel to more than 50 countries. We will undoubtedly book a future trip with Planet Africa.

Gavin Crescenzo   –  
United States US
Visited: March 2015 Reviewed: Apr 1, 2015

Email Gavin Crescenzo  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Travel is my and my wife's life, and this was the best trip we have ever taken..

Let me start by saying everything was blew away our expectations.. The communication, the fortitude, knowledge and care with Planet Africa Safari's was unbelievable.. I spoke to so many companies and they truely stood out from the first skype call I had. After speaking with Willow, she truly understood what my wife and I wanted our trip to be like, and it was not very generic. Every suggestion she made was spot on, she really got our vibe and simply nailed it. They even were able to make a camp (Manyara Ranch) stay open a few extra days so we could do horse back safari, talk about above and beyond. I would recommend everyone work with Planet Africa Safaris, it is a super enjoyable, informative, intimate, friendly and most importantly, not "touristy" experience, in a very pre fab / cookie cutter itinerary, touristy world of safari booking.

Jill   –  
Canada CA
Visited: December 2014 Reviewed: Feb 8, 2015

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Outstanding Safari

I had dreamt of a safari like this since I was 10 and Planet Safari delivered! Everything was perfect - from planning discussions a year before which were personalized and attentive, through last minute hiccups from my end being sensitively and wisely handled, to a warm greeting at every place we stayed! The hotels and tented lodges were ideally located in beautiful natural settings. The interiors were tasteful and elegant while retaining the 'bush camp' feel. The food and service were great throughout. Our guide made the whole excursion an exciting adventure and gave us in depth insights into what we were seeing. He was attentive, knowledgeable, charming and efficient. Tanzania is a spectacular country and Planet Safari's team of professionals are dedicated to ensuring you have an outstanding vacation.

Pete   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: December 2014 Reviewed: Jan 18, 2015

35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

A wonderful and unforgettable honeymoon with Planet Africa Safaris

My wife and I used Planet Africa Safaris to book our honeymoon. From our initial inquiry with Planet Africa, the communication with Sophie and Leah was great. When we first contacted Planet Africa Safaris, we only had a basic idea of what we wanted to do & see on our safari in Tanzania. Planet Africa came up with some itineraries (at different pricing levels) for us to review and worked with us to make sure we were able to experience the safari we wanted. We felt that Planet Africa was upfront and honest with us (e.g. a certain place we wanted to stay was very nice, but in Planet Africa's opinion, not the best value), and this was very refreshing.

This was our first safari, so while we didn't know what to expect, but our expectations were quite high given the amount of money we were paying. We are happy to say that our expectations were exceeded! Our guide, Sadiq, was very professional, knowledgeable, friendly, flexible, and an overall good guy. Sadiq was a key reason why we had such an amazing experience.

The itinerary Planet Africa Safaris designed for us was excellent. The different types of accommodation we stayed in (B&Bs, luxury camps) were all nice experiences, each in their own way. The food we had at every place was nothing short of spectacular, and we received very personal attention & service everywhere we stayed.

We would not hesitate to book again with Planet Africa Safaris. They truly provided an unforgettable honeymoon experience for us.

Jennifer Visited: December 2014 Reviewed: Jan 10, 2015


Excellent service when booking and they followed up on every detail after our trip. We booked with Leah and I felt it really was important to her that we had an amazing trip. We will certainly book with them again.

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