March 31, 2014 – Tanzania
Posted on April 2nd, 2014
Our private jet flight today from Livingstone, Zambia, to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, took just under three hours, far quicker than flying by commercial carrier. It was just enough time to enjoy a delicious on-board luncheon consisting of a la carte choices of fresh bream (a Zambezi river fish), roast lamb and a lighter, vegetarian option. Desserts included Amarula crème brulee and fresh fruit skewers.
We made an early arrival at the VIP Terminal and then boarded five Cessna Safari Caravan planes for a one-hour flight to Serengeti National Park. From there, A&K custom four-wheel-drive safari vehicles transferred us to the nearby Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, considered one of the finest accommodations in East Africa.
A&K Founder Geoffrey Kent was on hand at the lodge to personally greet each of us and to welcome us to a three-day adventure in true safari country. The Serengeti is home to the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, Cape buffalos, rhinos and elephants), and we were all looking forward to seeing how many we would sight during our visit.
We regrouped for a private welcome reception that opened with a brief keynote address from Geoffrey Kent followed by dinner in the lodge’s Kula Restaurant, where we enjoyed African-inspired and international cuisine prepared at live cooking stations.
The next day found us rising early for one of the most simultaneously relaxing and invigorating experiences of our entire journey — a hot-air balloon safari across the Serengeti plains. We took off in the golden light of dawn accompanied by Geoffrey Kent to view life on the Serengeti without the dust or bumps that accompany ground travel. We saw a wide variety of species during the hour-and-twenty-minute flight, including a leopard lounging in the branches of a large tree.
The fresh air and excitement served to sharpen our appetites and thankfully we were greeted upon our return to terra firma by a sumptuous champagne breakfast cooked in the open air on the Serengeti plains.
Later in the morning, a game drive found us viewing prides of lions, including several tawny specimens resting up in trees, an unusual behavior more common to lions in Uganda. We also came upon a large herd of elephants with many young and babies close by. Of course, not everyone came on the drive, having opted instead for a poolside lunch or a spa treatment at the hotel.
We enjoyed another game drive that afternoon, followed by a private lecture by Dennis Ikanda of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute that highlighted their research on lions in the Serengeti. In the evening, we once again gathered for dinner hosted by Geoffrey Kent.
Our third day here included an excursion across the vast Serengeti for views of the annual Great Migration, in which millions of wildebeests, zebras and antelopes trek nearly 2,000 miles in search of fresh grazing. It is the largest living natural spectacle on earth and we were all thrilled to witness a portion of it.
When it came time to depart Tanzania, we transferred to the airport in Kilimanjaro, where we were personally bid farewell by both Geoffrey Kent and Lazaro Nyalandu, the Tanzania Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. Mr. Nyalandu presented each of us with a small parting gift as well. It was a splendid gesture that echoed the cordiality we encountered throughout our visit here, and typical of the extraordinary travel moments A&K always seems to deliver. We boarded our private jet with smiles abounding, looking forward to our next adventure: a visit with mountain gorillas in Uganda.