There are few places in the world that you can wake up with elephants, eat lunch with lions and have supper with a herd of wildebeests. On a Safari in The Serengeti you can do all three and meet Zebras for elevensies 😉With all my luxurious five star experiences there’s a gritty and natural adventure combined, so for my milestone achievement of reaching the grand old age of 30 my husband and I decided that there would be no better place to spend my birthday than in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Mems and I went on a Safari holiday in 2009 to Tsavo East in Kenya and I had been itching to get back to the African wild ever since the day we boarded the plane home. When looking into world safari locations there were a few amazing contenders but The Serengeti drew us in particularly. Mainly because of it’s close proximity to the paradise island of Zanzibar and the opportunity of being able to catch a glimpse of the Great Migration. So with a ‘Trip of Lifetime’ in mind we booked 10 days in Tanzania.
After spending a few days relaxing on the pretty white sandy beaches of Zanzibar island we traded in our swimwear for safari gear and ventured deeper into the country to experience the natural wonder of The Serengeti.
From Zanzibar we flew directly to Arusha and after a short wait at the outdoor airport we boarded a second plane to Senora in The Serengeti. In both cases we were quite luckily two of four people on the plane so able to fully appreciate and experience flying so close to the action. The views are incredible, the plane was so small and therefore flying relatively low so we were able to make out small Masai Villages from above and our pilot pointed out the main locations and sights. The second flight touched down twice en route to The Serengeti and one of the most memorable moments was flying directly over the Ngorongoro Crater.
Flying into the Serengeti was a giddy glide into what felt like another world entirely. We were able to spot game upon entry into the National Park which started the trip with such excitement, especially after we had to loop the runway twice due to there being a herd of antelope on airstrip upon our first landing attempt!
My husband surprised me by booking The Four Seasons for our stay so they also looked after our Safari schedule. Upon arrival we were greeted by our driver with a glass of bubbles which was a real treat as checking in to the national park does take a bit of time. After 30 minutes in the airport lounge we made our way to our jeep outside which would act as our sole mode of transport for the few days spent on Safari. The car was amazing, fully kitted out for 8 people but reserved only for Mems and I. It had an full roof with with an open space above our heads to gaze out of, a fridge, universal plug sockets, pockets for cameras and phones to be held and complimentary and a bug spray per seat.
We left the airport at 2pm and the drive to our hotel was, unknowingly at the time, our first official game drive. Our amazig driver, Jacob was able to introduce us to some of the Safari’s most treasured animals by taking us on a four hour (long way round) trip to our residence for the evening. We had arrived in The Serengeti on a very special day, my thirtieth birthday and from our first drive it seemed the animals were fully aware of my big day!
We saw lions, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, hyenas, warthogs, baboons, gazelles and even a leopard. All on the very same say we landed in this amazing place! Jacob mentioned that we had indeed had the best luck when it came to animal encounters on the first day of our Safari, few people see so many animals on a week of driving discoveries and we had seen almost everyone in just one drive.
Where to Stay
After gratefully accepting birthday wishes from all the animals en route we arrived at our hotel for the next two evenings, The Four Seasons Serengeti. Quite possibly the best hotel experience you could ever wish for on safari!
The hotel is perfectly built around a popular watering hole and is frequently visited by local herds of elephants. Upon arrival we were shown to our amazing room which was decorated in birthday balloons and a flurry of birthday cards cake and champagne (Mems had called ahead to order because he’s awesome like that!) and saw for ourselves the wonder of the location by heading straight out on our balcony to see an elephant having a drink from the watering hole just metres in front of our room. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. After a lovely meal on our balcony we dreamily tucked up in our four poster bed and enjoyed the luxuries of the five star hotel eager to get back out into the wilderness the next day.
The morning after, nature decided my birthday wasn’t quite over yet by painting the sky with the most incredible pastel colours I have ever seen! To top it all off a herd of elephants also came to join in the celebrations. So whilst we were wiping the sleep from our eyes the view from our balcony was one of a family heading for their breakfast slurp. We jumped straight out of bed and down to the pool to capture the pretty display from nature and then enjoyed breakfast of our very own with the picture perfect view. This moment alone, was worth every penny spent staying at the Four Seasons.
After an amazing breakfast with THAT view we headed out again for a day’s worth of game spotting with our trusted driver, Jacob. With few animals left to spot we were keen to explore some of the other plains within The Serengeti. We headed to an area of shorter grass in search of an animal that most aren’t fortunate to see, The famously fast and expertly camouflaged Cheetah.
After an hour or so of avid searching we were able to see a sight that is ridiculously hard to come by in The Serengeti, a pair of cheetahs catching up on some much needed rest in the sunshine. It was absolutely incredible to see and bearing in mind I am not a wildlife photographer and therefore restricted to the standard lens of my camera (with minimal zoom) I was able to capture a clear shot of the dosing couple. We watched on as the photography professionals reached down for their mega cameras whilst simply watching the amazing serene nature of the wild cats metres away from our vehicle. An experienced completely unmatched by any animal encounter of the trip.
On this second day of driving we were also once again able to see all of the amazing animals we encountered the day before and made a special stop as the hippo pool to see the giants bathing in mud and cooling down in the heat. For lunch Jacob set up a picnic for us in a safe spot of the National Park where toilets are also available. There’s a few spaces within the park that offer similar sit down areas. These are the only locations within the park that you are able to leave your vehicle for obvious safety reasons and there’s enough of them to not have to worry about needing a wee 😉
When to Travel
Travelling at the beginning of June was the most amazing time of year to be in The Serengeti as it was perfect timing for game spotting. The great migration, dubbed as one of nature’s greatest shows on earth is in full swing at this time of year. Thousands of wildebeests are making their way across the African plains and with them huge herds Zebras and Gazelles. Every day we saw thousands of black and white beauties and with such animals surrounding the waterholes in the area the predators of the Serengeti were not far behind! We were able to see every animal possible in The Serengeti apart from a Rhino which was definitely part down to luck but also hugely down to the time of year we visited.
We were so ridiculously lucky to see the animals in the wild like we did and the plan of going on a ‘Once in a lifetime trip’ was beyond executed! I am the biggest advocate of seeing animals in their natural habitat and have often written about the ramifications of animals in captivity here on my blog. A safari is my dream escape and I can’t recommend this style of vacation more. This trip combining the relaxed tropical atmosphere of Zanzibar and the earthy discoveries of The Serengeti would make the most amazing honeymoon or milestone escape for any couple. I would also highly recommend this trip for a family with slightly older children to enjoy together. I know that in the future I’ll be not only bringing my family back here, I’ll also be shouting form the rooftops about this experience to all my friends and families, stay tuned for the Wedding Mag feature 😉
There will be a full write up of The Four Seasons Serengeti in my next post, until then, I’ll be planning my future adventures to every corner of the African plains!
In the mean time have you seen my youtube video of the trip yet? If you like the video it would be amazing if you could give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel for more videos coming soon:D
Oh Sabrina this is amazing – What an incredible trip. I can’t believe you saw two cheetahs! Total dream come true x
I agree safari and sand is the best type of holiday. I came back from South Africa and Kenya crying with how amazing it was! And you did it in style too!
Thank you for writing this up! I am saving up to do the same for my 30th birthday now – this whole trip looked incredible