Today we finally completed our preparations for our trip to Tanzania coming up in a few months.
This trip really began over a casual conversation over a champagne, mussels and steak dinner while we were in Cape Town late last year.
It was at the end of a very enjoyable two–week trip to South Africa, and we'd decided to do another trip somewhere in Africa in 2013.
MAKE OURS TANZANIA
Out of all the countries in Africa we could choose from for another trip to Africa, we'd decided on Tanzania together and then blocked a date for going in our calendars.
Basically, we threw a psychological dart on a map of Africa and decided to go where it landed. On the shortlist were Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
Then we did a bit of bargaining and negotiating regarding the places to include.
THE PERFECT TRIP, 101
When this was done, I set about choosing all the hotels and lodges, as I just love doing this.
He was happy to leave this bit to me, just like what we did in South Africa.
One of my ideas of bliss -- aside from an afternoon at a spa, a very good meal with one friend rather than with three or five other people, and some shopping therapy -- is to check out hotel and resort websites and book the ones I like.
I wonder what this should be called? Hotel therapy?
I'm pretty OC about hotels because I simply hate staying in lousy hotels.
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The choice of airline was also left to me.
But this isn't a stress point at all for the Tanzania trip because we're on the same page on this one: I know we both need comfortable flat beds on long-haul flights.
Plus all the sightseeing and the restaurant choices and reservations.
And today, all of this got more or less fixed.
THREE SAFARI EXPERIENCES
IN ONE VISIT TO TANZANIA.
AND HOW A SAFARI IS A HARD HABIT TO BREAK.
Anyway, for Tanzania, I booked three absolutely amazing safari experiences for a trip that will focus on the very best of this country.
Give or take a few we've left out simply because two weeks just isn't enough time to stay everywhere I want, of course.
There are about two other safari places I would love to do, plus a beautiful resort or two in Zanzibar.
ZANZIBAR ON MY MIND
In Zanzibar, which is towards the last leg of our trip, I was planning to book a hotel in Stone Town that wasn't very luxurious, but it was good enough and convenient enough for what we wanted to see.
The fantastic resorts are all in the beach areas quite a distance from Stone Town, you see. If you want to stay in Stone Town itself, then the choices are rather limited.
However, at the last moment, I caved in and went for an ultra-luxury resort on one end of the island that's considered the best place to stay on the island.
It also has a beautiful white sand beach.
Never mind the one-hour drive to Stone Town, as we've hired a car and driver for our stay on the island anyway.
Life's too short to stay in a so-so hotel, and there's no shortage of comfort at this resort...
PICTURE-PRETTY IN DAR ES SALAAM
Meanwhile, in Dar es Salaam, I'd initially picked a modern option over the best hotel in town, since I figured it's just for one night anyway.
We were having almost two weeks of interesting hotels and lodges -- some of the most amazing places to stay in, in the world.
Considering this, I figured that one night out of 14 can be a plush but nondescript hotel rather than an out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind place. It was basically a shopping stopover enroute back to Asia, after all.
But when I ran this hotel choice in Dar es Salaam past the Travel Companion, he said: "That's so unlike you." Or something like that.
I don't need much encouragement to go for the luxury option.
And this was all the incentive I needed to change my choice and book a beautiful boutique hotel I'd really been wanting to staying at, in Dar es Salaam.
HOOKED ON SAFARIS
Then, of course, there are our three amazing safari experiences.
We both got hooked on the safari experience last year, so you might say we're now kind of crazy about safari trips.
Or perhaps just crazy about extreme experiences -- especially as we've both done most of the usual tourist things already.
If you want to try a safari,
we highly recommend the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve
You can book direct
And lucky me.
I got to pick all three safari places, although it was overall a pretty good compromise, as usual.
LUXURY SAFARI 1: THE MOST UNIQUE IN THE WORLD
One safari is something we both definitely want to do.
It's the best and most special safari experience in Tanzania, and certainly one of the top in the world.
And we both have this at the top of our respective bucket lists.
Every single discerning traveler to this part of the world stays here.
LUXURY SAFARI 2: THE MOST REMOTE IN THE WORLD
The other safari is something I really want to do, although he's not so keen because he's read somewhere that the game viewing isn't that great.
Plus, he thinks I'm more interested in the safari's spa than in seeing more animals.
So you might say he's being a good sport about accompanying me here for three days.
This is Africa game viewing at its most pristine -- and also at its most surreal luxurious.
No conservation rangers or conservation efforts here, so it's really a free for all as far as the animals are concerned.
This is also why the game viewing here is slightly different compared to the more "civilized safari areas."
One day, you may get very lucky. The next day, you may not.
But that's truly nature at work without human interference, as far as I'm concerned. And if you're into safaris, you want to include one like this every now and then.
THE LAST BASTION OF WILDERNESS
IN THE WILDERNESS
Besides, this is an ultra-luxury safari in one of the most remote places on earth. Talk about a completely surreal experience unlike any other.
The area where it's located has been called the last wilderness of Africa. Can you imagine what the last wilderness of a wilderness continent is like?
It's also supposed to be one of the last remaining places on earth where you can go and escape manmade noises.
LUXURY SAFARI 3: THE MOST FAMOUS IN THE WORLD
Finally, the third safari is in a location of his choice -- and this is where I had to compromise, although not with too much difficulty.
It's one of the most famous safari locations in the world, and the first choice of most people going on safari in Tanzania.
And the safari lodge I've chosen is possibly at the top of its class right now. It's quite unlike any other in Africa.
All three safari experiences are best-of-breed and entirely different from each other.
So our trip definitely won't seem just like one never-ending, and never-endingly eventful safari.
PERHAPS THE BEST FOR LAST
And then we're ending our one-for-the-books journey in the beautiful island of Zanzibar, in that gorgeous resort I've just described.
Hopefully, we'll get to eat at this fish restaurant while we're there.
So it's three amazing safari experiences, and then I've saved the best destination for last, in another wonderful trip in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.
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