To Arusha and beyond

As our two years in Africa come to end, it was time for the trip that makes Tanzania a magnet for tourists from around the world. We hadn’t been able to make a safari trip so far due to As crazy work schedule.

This was our farewell Tanzani trip and we wanted it to be memorable. A knows that I’m not super adventurous, and that we have a three year old so all these concerns factored into his planning. We did not go through a tour operator, A planned every detail himself. We wanted to keep things comfortable, flexible and to experience the best of Tanzania hospitality.

The trip was completely As baby and I was just told a day before we were flying out to Arusha and the rest was a surprise. More than happy to take the back seat this time around I decided to go with the flow.

Not the smoothest of starts as the morning of the flight we waited for our regular taxi service to pick us up for the airport. When they didn’t show up A called the travel agent and she told us she had booked us for the same date the next month.

Thank God for A and his calm nerves. He made sure we got today’s flight and in another 40 minutes and a series of phone calls we were off to the airport.

This was my first time in Arusha. The first thing that out notice when you land at the small airport is the hilly landscape and the cooler temperature as compared to Dar. Always a welcome change.

A ten minute car ride took us to the Arusha Coffee lodge where we were staying for the night before driving off to the Ngorongoro Crater the following morning. The coffee lodge is a converted coffee estate which means that you’re essentially living inside a coffee plantation. The unmistakable aroma fills up your senses even as you walk around the place. The coffee suite we stayed at was a perfect blend of colonial extravagance and contemporary comfort.

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A view of the suite
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Coffee plantation views from the terrace
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Lodge exterior at night. Photo courtesy: Elewanacollection.com. You can take a look at their website for better quality images. I don’t feel my phone photos do justice to the place.

The Lodge is also host to a Tanzanite boutique called the Tanzanite experience offering certified rare tanzanite stones as well as jewellery.

The Shanga artisan workshop is located on premises for those who want to see local artisans at work along with a souvenir shop.

The coffee shop allows you to sample the many local brews as well as buy some packaged coffee to take home.

After a walk around the estate and dinner at the Grill house we turned in early in anticipation of the long day ahead.

The next morning, our driver and guide Isaiah was there to pick us up. Like I mentioned earlier we were making a private trip, minus any tour operators which gave us the flexibility to decide our own schedule and do things at our own pace.

The extended 4×4 land cruiser safari vehicle A had rented was a 8 seater. Enough space to accommodate a whole safari group.

After a lovely breakfast on the estate gardens, we started off towards Ngorongoro. More on that in the next post.

Exploring the Gardens
Early morning exploration 
Breakfast views
Breakfast views

 

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