As most of you may know I recently got back from the trip of a lifetime – a honeymoon safari to Tanzania! Six months after our wedding we finally went on our honeymoon. By day two Kevin was already saying that it was one of the top trips he’s ever been on. And he originally didn’t want to do a safari haha. His idea of a honeymoon was lounging around all day on a beach and doing nothing. Which also sounds amazing to be honest. But marriage is about
compromise doing what the wife wants, so off to Africa we went! 😂😂
We decided to go in February because upon research, its the short rains/ dry season in Tanzania, baby season for most animals, especially the Wildebeest. More babies = cuteness and also a higher chance of catching predators on the hunt. We also grouped it together with Valentines Day. So it was a win win!
Choosing a safari company
The first step to planning your safari, besides deciding when and where to go – we had to decide which safari company to go with. Apparently there are people who fly in, and rent a safari car to drive around themselves. But after experiencing the roads and how knowledgeable the guides are – I absolutely would NOT recommend driving yourselves. So to find the safari company that’s right for you, a great comparison website is SafariBookings. Which is how we found Soul of Tanzania, they had the best combination of price and reviews for a fully customisable private safari. Also! they provide hot meals (even for lunch!) which is another differentiator from the other companies. We noticed other people all had boxed lunch which looked like a fruit, juice box and a pizza or sandwich. Which I am so glad we did not go for because I don’t think I could eat that for lunch for 7 days straight.
The whole process of booking our safari with them was smooth. From the initial quote request and getting matched with a Journey Designer (shoutout to Jose) to the moment we actually finalised and decided to book (and pay) – it required a TON of emails back and forth with questions and tweaking the details. I was never pressured to book before I was comfortable with all the details. Our route was recommended based off of their knowledge of where the animals would be during that time. And Jose worked with us to get us the honeymoon discounts whenever he could.
Day 1 – Fly into Arusha
Jose recommended we fly in and just rest the first day in Arusha before setting off immediately on the safari. And I am so glad he did. Our journey to Arusha required a flight from Amsterdam ➡️Nairobi ➡️Dar Es Salaam ➡️Arusha over the course of 24 hours. So by the time we got to our hotel we were exhausted and just wanted to shower and sleep lying down. And that’s exactly what we did! We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton Arusha which is super centrally located in Arusha. They have an outdoor pool and gym, but I couldn’t tell you much else besides the food was great! We literally just showered, ordered room service, napped, ordered room service and slept again. Basically it was an amazing lazy day!
Day 2 – Safari Start! Game drive to Lake Manyara
After a breakfast buffet at our hotel, we started the day at 8AM and met Felix our new BFF for the next week. We departed Tanzania after having a review meeting to go over our itinerary and buying snacks. We passed through a bunch of small towns on the way to the Lake Manyara Park (all of our park permits were taken care of/ included in the safari package). Once we got into the park, it felt like the REAL safari began! We popped open the top and stood in the car to try to spot all the animals.
At the end of the day we stayed at the amazing Lake Manyara Tree Lodge which is part of the andBeyond travel group. They had a welcome party when we arrived with a cool drink and towel. And right from getting into the room there was a warm bubble bath waiting for us. Everyone was so kind and attentive, I super recommend staying here – even though there were a lot of mosquitos haha.
Day 3: Central Serengeti
After a restful night at Lake Manyara, we started the journey into the Serengeti. This is where we were hoping to see some of the other cats besides the cool lions we saw already! And as luck would have it – we saw a leopard!!!!! And it was only Day 2 of safari-ing so far. After a super satisfying day we ended up at the Four Seasons Serengeti. The Four Seasons hotels are always wonderful, but this lodge has a infinity pool overlooking a watering hole – with a live feed of it in each room. So if you happen to see an animal there, you can rush out there to take a look! How cool is that?
Day 4 + 5: Camping in South Serengeti
For the next two days, we wandered where the wifi was weak (non-existent) and head further into the Serengeti to camp at the Acacia Migration Camp. These camps move every few months to follow the Great Migration of the animals. And even though we didn’t have the luxuries like the other lodges we stayed at – it was an experience to stay in a remote area. With the animals roaming through the camp at night, we could hear all the sounds! We woke up at sunrise every day to catch the animals before the heat of the afternoon made them lazy.
Day 6+7: From the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater
Once again we left in the early morning to make the long trek back to the Ngorongoro Crater since its near our starting point (by Lake Manyara). We saw the most beautiful sunrise and of course more animals! We ended Day 6 at the BEAUTIFUL Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (a part of the andBeyond group) – I think it was definitely our favorite lodge of the whole trip.
On the morning of Day 7, our final day of safari – we woke up before the sunrise again to experience this beautiful sunrise at the edge of the crater. It was truly breathtaking! And as we drove into and around the crater floor, I just felt like wow – this place feels like a paradise for the animals. Everything was so lush and green, the animals seemed so happy. If you go to Tanzania you MUST make a stop here. We saw a rhino (super rare), hippos outside of water (also pretty rare during the day) and got to get pretty close to the animals since they’re not as scared in the Crater.
The final days
After driving back to Arusha on the final days, we took the next two nights to just relax and recover from the dust of the safari. Because trust me – it is DUSTY. We stayed at the newly opened Gran Melia Arusha. A lot of the people we talked to there mentioned that it’s now the “best” property in town and we definitely enjoyed our time there. With three different restaurants on the property, a rooftop bar and an infinity pool. We were finally on “vacation”. And just like that, the trip of a lifetime was over. Thank you for letting me share my wonderful memories with you and I hope that helps to inspire you to go on your next adventure! Maybe a safari? 😉
A HUGE thank you to Soul of Tanzania for organising a trip Kevin and I will remember for the rest of our lives! They were even kind enough to offer a deal to my readers to get you started on planning your own safari! Just mention my blog when booking your safari with Soul of Tanzania for a discount. (A free nights stay at their standard level hotel in Arusha or the value of $60 pp discount if you choose to book elsewhere!!) And request Felix as your guide! He has the best vision and could see things we couldn’t even without binoculars!!! 😊