I wanted to take a moment after taking some time to reflect back on all the adventures we had in Africa. We did so much throughout the days, that it wasn’t until I returned back home to sit and reflect back on our adventurous days! ABOVE AND BEYOND anything we had ever done as a family, and so many memories that will stay in our hearts, minds and souls forever. Thank you for putting a great trip together that was able to blend multiple generations, guides and drivers that were over the top knowledgable, kind, sharing, caring, fun and confident! The accommodations were a perfect fit for our family (a little out of our comfort zone in the beginning, but in a beautiful way where we still felt comfortable and enjoyed the nighttime /early morning experiences and sounds that one does not get in a hotel room- WE DO NOT WANT TO STAY IN HOTEL ANYMORE if we travel Africa again), and hiring a camp crew that catered so lovely to my 79-year-old adventurous mom all the way down to teenagers! The camp crews were outstanding as well! The HUGE EFFORTS, TIME AND ENERGY they put into everything were remarkable and admirable, especially under challenging weather conditions! I’m not sure how they do it, but they impressed us to the “moon and back” and went over the top! We all enjoyed the variety of DELICIOUS foods, snacks, welcoming drinks, warm teas, and getting to know the locals 🙂, the warm moist towels coming off of Safari were refreshing, hot water bottles on cold nights in our beds to keep us warm, the hot showers and hot water in thermos’s to wash up, hot water for washing our faces outside our dome mobile tents, freshly brewed coffee around the morning campfire or in the dining tent, a campfire when appropriate, the efforts and time put into meals, welcomed drinks and celebrations and we all enjoyed and appreciated the time, energy and efforts made to make us feel welcomed and spoiled ALL THE TIME! The wildlife sightings/experiences in all the Parks were truly remarkable, as well as the Maasai afternoon experience of dance/song and soccer game, (to truly connect through playing soccer where we laughed and high-fived each other, watching their dances and meeting Chief Oleif-see photo above of game and gifting 2 soccer balls), and just driving from place to place absorbing the transitions of the landscapes while reflecting, and watching African daily life and everything in between! We feel so fortunate to have experienced this in our life!
In regards to Adventure Guide James: He was a true lead guide in making so many adventurous outings happen if plan A was not working, paying attention to details, sharing knowledge and history/culture/animal habitat, and focusing on our exposure to Africa to make it most memorable. We felt very safe and protected under his guidance and he carried great pride about himself as well as his culture that lends itself to the trip. His knowledge and the way he handled his job was very professional, blended with fun in participating in a soccer game :). He was a good fit for our entire family, and made the walking portion of our trip feel safe and secure, and exposed us to be “on/in” the land and surrounded by beauty. He taught us so much- THANK YOU!
Adventure Guide Stevie: He was a super great blend for our entire family, (a great find for our company), melding the young with the old, and made everything interesting and engaging for each of our teens as well as for all the other generations. He also took us under his wings and we felt very safe and protected at all times (from local market tour, and safari to walking safari), while learning a plethora of information about the land, history, culture, wildlife, and birding. He truly was in the best interest of ALL of us! He is professional with a nice blend of an easy-going and SUPER FUN personality- as well he participated in the soccer game with Maasai. My teens really connected with him on all levels, and without him, the trip would have looked very different. We feel fortunate to have had Stevie as a knowledgeable, kind and caring guide and already miss his contagious laugh and smiles! He leaves a special place in ALL our hearts on many different levels! Please make sure other families get to experience Stevie because his energy, knowledge, engagement and love of Africa is remarkable! 🙂 He is a GEM! Thank you!
Driver Francis: What a great find for your company!!! He is a confident driver under always changing and challenging weather and road conditions, felt safe with his driving, is super respectful, knowledgable about all aspects of Africa, shares great information, and is kind to teens-elderly. He seemed to always be in the best interest of us-what we wanted and knew small details to make things happen. He has one of the biggest human hearts and contagious smiles- we all have a special place in our heart for him. We wish him only the best and thank him for always being on the lookout for my 79-year old mom, making her feel over the top special. I feel my brother will share more delightful information about Francis since he was mostly with him in the vehicle.
Driver Sheddie: What another great find for your company!!!! Such a skilled and confident driver under ever-changing challeniging weather and road conditions. Felt so protected and safe in his safari vehicle. He also was ALWAYS in the best interest of us, from finding the best views for viewing wildlife or photographing wildlife/landscapes, capturing large-small animal habits/behaviors, being super respectful of the wildlife/land and our experience, cautious yet confident, caring, and kind when my son and husband were sick, shared great stories and information about his knowledge/history of wildlife and Africa, and had a super calm and collective way about his presence that was ALWAYS welcomed. He helped keep us always on the go! We truly enjoyed having him, his energy and passion- we miss him so much. We hope he continues to find joy in his career. Please send him a hug from Tanja!
OK, Please share any of this with African Environments. They are doing a lovely job in educating, empowering and training their staff, as well as following their Mission. We were fortunate to have the chance to meet Wesley and Mellie for a few minutes one evening at Camp Pembezoni on the last night. I admire them and felt honored to have met them. I hope to see them in Bozeman 🙂
PS: James and Stevie gave us Shuka’s as a departing gift. We plan on wearing them every Christmas and sharing wonderful memories of our expriences in Africa!
Thank you again for both of you planning a loverly trip!
Love, Tanja T and her family