From June 15- June 26, 2013 I was fortunate to have a profound experience in Tanzania with 16 friends. Under the care and organization of Augustine's African Adventure (AAAfrica), we were offered a breath- taking encounter with the wildlife and culture of this stunning place on our planet. Augustine, the owner, proud Tanzanian, and superb naturalist, was appropriately responsive to our every need no matter what it was. He is an exceptional human being: I can only use superlatives to describe his level of professionalism that always had focus, the personal engagement he established with each of us to make us comfortable in every way he could, and his sense of responsibility for and attention to every detail from A to Z, and then some. His demeanor readily revealed a person who want s to share both the universal and the special features of his part of the world and his commitment to have each of us prepared for every event of the adventure he so artfully arranged sequentially in theme, content, and intensity. And he did so with respect, seeming ease, and good humor.
Tending to 17 persons who have traveled extensively can be daunting and some of us wondered how each of us would be able to enjoy the special aspects of every day. Day One put to rest any reservations. Our three drivers were outstanding in terms of navigating the rough roads safely, imparting their vast knowledge of wildlife from birds to flora to animals to people, bringing us to positions for best viewing, always tending to personal needs as they arose, and answering our unending questions. The radio system of communication between the three vehicles and Augustine rotating among them daily left nothing to chance!
Our accommodations were thoughtfully planned to provide familiar comfort and to give us a sense of being in the wild and in a place of rugged beauty. From well-appointed lodges to a tented and a mobile semi-tented camp we spent two nights in each place. Clearly the places were selected with careful examination.
Augustine prepared us for the social and cultural exposures we had. We visited two traditional villages and two schools to have short glimpses of how two different tribes live. We felt welcomed and the kids are gorgeous. However, at the Masai village some of the hosts who took us to see their abodes did not comply with the instructions they were given prior to our arrival and pressured some of us for money. Other hosts were respectful and some of us enjoyed the event. Driving the many miles to the National Parks and Reserves showed the juxtaposition of poverty and tourism. It was difficult to see but our four guides responded to our concerns with honesty and explained Tanzania's situation.
Without hesitation I recommend visiting Tanzania if you have a love of nature, people, and adventure, but only with AAAfrica. I cannot imagine a better experience.