Bush2Beach (B2B), and its owners, Ingrid and Chris, provided responsive, first class, personalized, client oriented services from the first planning email to the airport drop off on day of departure.
Over a long planning period Ingrid responded to our often-changing requirements with knowledgeable suggestions that were specifically tailored to our requirements – not just animals, but people activities and culture too – and always keep moving – no down time. Other agencies, as is all too often the case, wanted us to confirm to their off the shelf programs. Bush2Beach developed “our” program. In the course of trip planning we came to think of Ingrid as our friend in Northern Tanzania, a friend who normally responded to emails in less than 24 hours!
Days before our arrival we had emailed Ingrid from Ethiopia where we had experienced horrid service from our tour operator. We commented that we had run out of artificial sweetener. On arrival at the airport at Kilimanjaro, you guessed it, Simon, our guide-driver, welcomed us with artificial sweetener. This attention to detail and client focus was clearly evident throughout our twelve days in Tanzania. On arrival in Arusha, en-route to our first lodge, Ingrid met with us and took us to a large super market where she shopped with us for snacks. On the next to last day of our trip we experienced a minor problem that caused a short delay in that day’s hike on Killy. How Ingrid handled that minor issue again illustrates how they operate. The employee responsible for the delay awaited us at the end of the hike to apologize for causing the delay. Simon also expressed Ingrid’s regrets and told us what she was doing do ensure that it would not recur. At our hotel there was a formal letter of apology from B2B together with a complementary bottle of good red wine.
As to the trip (safari) itself. It turned out to be all that was promised -- wonderful mix of wildlife, culture, geology and anthropology. Our guide-driver was Simon, B2Bs senior guide-driver. He was personable and knowledgeable and made a point of tuning in to whom we were and how we liked to travel. He soon knew our quirks and was attentive to them. Jemma, for example, likes her coffee – and likes it with hot milk and chocolate; and there was always a thermos of it ready for her in our SUV. Our SUV was comfortable and contained two ports to charge electronics, gallons of water and a fridge.
Accommodations were comfortable as promised, and importantly, without the drama and surprises that often happen on touring in the developing world. Ingrid had provided information detailing what to expect in terms of electricity, hot water and toilet facilities, etc and that is what we received.
Simon always kept us advised as what was going to happen and worked with us on a daily basis to ensure that it met our agenda. Wildlife was initially not our main focus, but under Simon’s guidance it soon became that – he always seemed to know where to be and when to maximize our wildlife viewing. It became enthralling to (and we became willing to spend hours) watching families of elephants going about their day, or to follow a cheetah stalk its prey or just watch a pride of female lions sleep together or a male protects its kill from a hyena. One day on a more remote part of the Serengeti that Simon took us to we saw fourteen lions in a period of thirty minute and naturally he made sure that we saw all of the Big Five.
The roads of Northern Tanzania can be a challenge but Simon was a master driver. He was also a master at arranging local guides who took us into the homes and lives of local tribal groups. Our discussion of polygamy with several Iraqw women in the Lake Eyasi region was a trip highlight.
We could go on but by now you should get the idea of how Ingrid and Bush2Beach are no less than the best tour operator in Northern Tanzania – use them!