“Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all.”
– Brian Jackman, writer
In February 2018, we made the decision to go. We settled on Tanzania as we wanted a traditional safari experience. I started looking at different websites to get an idea of what our African safari adventure could look like. As luck would have it, the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show was that weekend. So we headed to LA to meet with travel companies and safari planners.
There were a good number of travel companies at the show that offered trips to various countries in Africa and we talked to all of them. Most companies focused on South Africa tourism. Several focused on East Africa, so we spent a lot of time talking with each to see what they offered. While they all seemed capable, we were looking for the ‘one’ we would instantly connect with.
From the moment we first met Jessica Mathews at Dancing Zebra Safari Company we knew we were making the right choice with our safari planner. While there were many safari companies to choose from, Jessica was friendly, knowledgeable, and genuine. We talked with her about how it was important to us that our tourism dollars remained in Tanzania and were used to fund local operators, camps, and lodges that were owned and run by Tanzanians and employed Tanzanian staff. We didn’t want the patented experience of some big corporate tour company, we wanted, small, local operators. Jessica’s focus on cultural authenticity, conservation, and local empowerment was just what we were looking for.
Since it was only Christine and I, we were also looking for a safari planner who could arrange both shared and private safari vehicles and mix mid-level and luxury accommodations to keep our overall cost reasonable. While we had previously talked with some safari planners who were inflexible with these requests, Jessica planned the perfect trip, with the right mix of rustic, yet luxurious accommodations, and both shared and private safari experiences, led by very well-respected local operators and incredibly knowledgeable and friendly local drivers and guides.
In the end, we would be in Tanzania on Safari for 2 weeks visiting sites around Arusha, the Northern and Central Serengeti National Park, Lake Manya National Park, Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area, and Tarangire National Park.
As our itinerary included all in-country air and vehicle transfers and lodging, all we had to arrange was our international flights and purchase travel insurance. I had previously had good experience flying KLM, so that decision was easy. For travel insurance it was important to deal with a reputable and reliable provider, so we chose Generali Global Assistance