Traveled in 2021.
We used Sikeleli to plan out Botswana & Zimbabwe safari and they did a superb job. So when we decided to travel to Tanzania, we contacted Dani to help with our plans. She and Karen both helped us work out an itinerary.
Originally I had thought about ending our safari time with a trip to Madagascar, but they steered us to Zanzibar and that turned out great. When we arrived at Arusha, our greeter met us at the plane doors at the top of the stairs. My wife was having some balance issues, so he helped her down the stairway and commandeered a wheelchair for her. He whisked us through the three health stations and helped retrieve our luggage before we met our driver who sped us off to the Arusha Coffee Lodge. We stayed were a couple of days to accustom ourselves to the time change. Sikeleli saw that we had the cabin closest to the restaurant. They communicated those instructions to the other lodges as well, so my wife didn’t have far to walk to our lodgings.
All of the Elewana properties we used as safari bases were wonderful. The levels of service were outstanding – the staff couldn’t do enough to ensure we had a great time. Sikeleli had arranged for the same driver/guide to accompany us for the first three lodges. Ali was terrific in adjusting the touring to fit us and in finding game. Besides the usual big five and grazers, we spotted cheetah on the hunt, a python crossing the road, and flamingos (as well as countless other birds).
Our favourite of the safari lodges was Ngoro Ngoro Lodge. Every night we had a fire in the fireplace. After daily safari outings, there was a hot bubble bath with flower petals waiting in the claw-foot tub, and sweet & savoury snacks. The dinners were white table cloth affairs with top-notch cuisine.
Our internal flights were well managed. No major snafus. When we arrived at our Serengeti lodge, the welcome was even warmer. We really enjoyed sundowners on the upper terrace, even when a serval jumped on our table and helped himself to a chicken wing. Besides seeing the wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River (until the crocs brought one down), a leopard and her two cubs, and a lioness and her four cubs, we finally were lucky enough to see and touch a pangolin. That’s been on my list for a long time.
Our final stop at Elewana Kilindi on Zanzibar was like a trip to paradise. Every morning we called our butler and let him know what to bring to our sitting room for breakfast. Our bedroom overlooked the Indian Ocean and one of our two plunge pools. We mainly relaxed for five glorious days. Sikeleli had even arranged for a doctor to come and administer our COVID tests in our room so we didn’t need to make the 45 minute journey to the nearest clinic. Usually my wife is ready to return home near the end of a long vacation, but on this trip she agreed that we could stay another week – no problem.
If we return to Africa for a fourth safari, we definitely will be calling Danni and Karen at Sikeleli.