Bottom line: I highly recommend Safari Infinity! My husband and I spent our honeymoon last September 2013 on a 10 night safari with Safari Infinity, and it was a dream come true experience. My husband I have (separately and together) traveled quite a bit around the world (although this was our first time in Africa), and we both feel that our safari with Safari Infinity was one of the very best travel experiences we've had. Tanzania is a very special place and we are really hoping to go back soon!
During the trip planning Lucia was extremely responsive to all my emails and questions (and there were lots of questions!), helped assuage any little worries I had, and was generally super supportive and helpful during the whole process. I'm not used to going through a travel company or having a travel guide to depend on, as it hasn't been necessary other trips I've taken. I'm more of a DYI'er if at all possible, so relying on a company to facilitate the process was new to me. Lucia definitely made my first time experience using a travel company seamless and enjoyable.
Our itinerary was as follows:
- Fly into Arusha and spend the night at The Bay Leaf Hotel
- Travel to Tarangire, 2 nights Tarangire Safari Lodge
- Travel to Manyara, spend the day in the park, hike, overnight at Endoro Lodge
- Travel into Central Serengeti, game drive, overnight at Kati Kati Tented Camp
- Travel to Northern Serengeti, two nights at Serengeti Wilderness Camp North
- Travel to Central Serengeti, one night at Kati Kati Tented Camp
- Travel to Ngorongoro Crater, overnight at Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
- Rise before sunrise, spend the day in the crater, then hike on the rim of the crater, then overnight at Ngorongoro Farmhouse in Karatu
- Back to Arusha, flight to Zanzibar for 4 nights
We liked all of our accommodations (except Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, which wasn't bad per se - it has an AMAZING view - but the massive lodge style is just not our thing, so it was our least favorite). We only stayed there so we could be close to the crater entrance in the morning, and it was perfect for that, although I think some other hotels are closer. The highlights accommodation wise were definitely Tarangire Safari Lodge, Serengeti Wilderness Camp North (really lovely people and amazing food, our very favorite - we really liked staying in tents), and the Ngorongoro Farmhouse. Endoro was also really nice.
Just a few of the best moments of our safari, off the top of my head:
- Elephants!! Everywhere! This is really the highlight of Tarangire (although there are many wonderful animals there too), we saw groups of 30 or more elephants in different situations, the most dramatic is when they were marching in big groups in a line toward the water source, with adults flanking babies and protecting them. We also saw our first Leopard in Tarangire, a cub sleeping in a tree.
- Our first day in Central Serengeti we stumbled upon 6 lionesses and 10 cubs. We were literally less than 10 feet from them and we just sat quietly and watched for over an hour as they nursed, played, and napped in the sunshine. Then after an hour it started to lightly rain and a double rainbow appeared. It was pure magic. Also, within our first 10 minutes in Central Serengeti we saw a mama Cheetah hunting a warthog, with a baby cub close behind that she had to keep an eye on.
- Eagles, just look in any direction and you'll probably see an eagle at some point. Tanzania is birders paradise.
- Traveling overland to and from Northern Serengeti. I get why people would fly, but the long road trip from Central to Northern and back again was some of the best moments of the trip. It's just so solitary and isolated and grand and beautiful. You get to see how the terrain and the wildlife change based on the climate (of the moment) and how the animals move and migrate. We drove two different routes too, so that kept it extra interesting. Serengeti is by far the biggest highlight of the trip! A MUST see!!!!
- Wildebeest crossings from Kenya back into Tanzania through the Mara River. We saw 9 different crossings in our two days, of groups up to approx. 50,000 wildebeests. It was awe inspiring and unforgettable!
- A male and female lion working as a team to slowly surround, stalk, hunt, and pick off a young Cape Buffalo from the herd (they were unsuccessful and aborted the plan), while a Leopard scurried up a tree to hide from the male lion as he passed.
- Later that same day we saw a Black Rihno. In Central Serengeti!!! which I think is extremely rare? It was close enough to get a pretty good picture as well (whereas the one we saw in Ngorongoro Crater was really far away). So basically we saw all big 5 in one day that day. Unbelievable.
- In Ngorongoro Crater we saw a female lioness fight off two male lions from killing her two adolescent cubs, who made hasty escape. A full on lion fight - it was crazy time!
Our guide Fazal was outstanding. He showed a deep understanding and respect for the environment and the wildlife. My husband and I wanted to have as little impact on the animals as possible and always act with respect for the environment and the people of Tanzania, and Fazal was the perfect guide to facilitate that. We could see that he was clearly respected by the other guides and park rangers, and was quite knowledgeable of just about everything, to the point where we stopped a few times and helped new guides who had gotten into jams/stuck in mud or weren't sure what to do. Fazal was also willing to go a bit off the beaten path with us at times and try and make our own adventures (versus constantly checking the radio and going where other vehicles are spotting animals, esp. in Central Serengeti). We had the radio turned off a lot of the time. We really enjoyed that aspect and during our solo adventures away from other vehicles or busier viewing areas is when we saw so many of the amazing things listed above, including the Black Rhino and the lioness and cubs. He could often predict where animals were going/moving, so he would position us into a spot where we were at a distance, not bothering them, and then could sit in wait and they would come right to us.
Lastly, I suffer from Celiac disease so I have a pretty strict dietary requirement. Lucia and Fazal went above and beyond to convey this to the camp chefs, and to always check and make sure my needs were being met. I did have to double check sometimes in the evenings with the camp chefs if it were buffet style meal, but that was easy enough and everyone had an understanding of what I meant when I said I couldn't have wheat or gluten. P.S. the chef at Serengeti Wilderness Camp North was just outstanding - he was over and above accommodating of my food issues and his food was sooo tasty and special.
All in all, as I said above, it was a dream come true and I HIGHLY recommend Safari Infinity for anyone looking for a safari company who will go the extra mile to make sure everything is perfect. Also, Simon and Lucia treat and pay their guides/employees well, which I think is another important reason to support them.