Destination: Maynara National Park
Date: May 2014
Activity: Short Game Drive and Shopping
Our last day on safari was spent in Maynara National park. This is a densely wooded jungle park just outside of Ngorongoro Highlands. We gathered a little later than usual and left our “ski resort” accommodations to go down to Maynara. The game drive was beautiful and we mostly saw a few baboons, grey monkeys, an elephant, giraffes, storks, and countless varieties of birds. It was such a different geography that we just enjoyed being in the true jungles of Africa.
In the end we saw sixty-two different animals and birds on our eleven days of safari. We were able to add thirty-three to our list after the first initial list that I mentioned in the We Found Lions & Elephants! Africa Part 3 post.
After an easy morning game drive and watching a baboon be very nasty on the side of the road. (I don’t think I should mention some of the ridiculous gestures that baboons can make, but rest assured they are a vulgar species!) We headed off for a beautiful lunch overlooking the park at the Serena Maynara Lodge. The food was delicious and our waiter, Bonus, even brought me a bowl of ice cream from the kitchen. He scored major points with this pregnant woman.
On our way to our last accommodations we stopped to do a little shopping. We stopped at Zebra Handicrafts where the owner had a big warehouse of wooden statues and keepsakes. My goal was to find a nativity and a few single animals for my kids to enjoy when we got home. Our driver Eldon told us to only pay half price so after a little haggling and the owner getting quite upset with Trent we managed to pay half price for our souvenirs. It was a great little purchase and the nativity will be one I will add to my collection of nativities from all over the world. (After getting home I realized I was missing a wise man in my nativity and a friend was missing her Mary. So make sure you watch them pack up your purchases so you aren’t shorted.”)
Once we finished shopping we headed over to our last accommodation. This place was gorgeous! Probably my very favorite! I couldn’t have been happier. We had a little bit of a difficult time getting to the lodge since it had just rained and the road was a muddy mess. The guys in our three cars even had to get out of the Landrovers to help a truck that was stuck sideways in the road. We were all a little worried what our lodge would look like, but rest assured African Dream Safaris had not let us down on their booking of all of our accommodations during the trip! It was amazing!!
We were quickly led to our room and each room was its own individual structure. Our room was large and spacious with a large king bed and an over sized bathroom. We even had a beautiful sweeping view of the jungle behind us with a private outdoor shower. Every detail added to the beauty of this African bungalow. It was so gorgeous I had to go over to Colton’s room to see if it was of equal quality, and even his was just as gorgeous!
Our evening at was spent playing cards with friends and enjoying the open windows of the main lobby. When the dinner hour of 7:30 came around we were served a five course meal that was a bar above many of the other resorts we had stayed at along our safari. We had almost the entire resort to ourselves and it was fun to get to know the staff and have them attend to our needs so specifically. At the end of our meal the entire staff came out to sing to us, bring us a cake thanking us for staying at their lodge, and wishing us good luck on the rest of our journey.
I would definitely recommend booking a safari through African Dream Safaris. Our trip organizer was Dawn and she made sure that we all had the best accommodations, food, and guides. Of course booking an overseas trip especially to a place like Tanzania can be a little daunting, but Dawn answered all of our questions with individual emails and lots of brochures, blog postings, and newsletters, to let us know we would have a fantastic time. In the end after over a year of planning I will say this trip has exceeded all of my expectations. A safari should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Safe and Happy Travels!!