When you research which Safari company to go with you realize there are so many to choose from and you get a little overwhelmed. I had narrowed down my choice to 4 companies and decided on Duma Explorer. Now that we have completed our incredible safari, we are really happy that we chose Duma. Why? Consider these 6 points.
First, I liked that Stacey, the owner, returned my many emails and answered my questions about where to go and how many days to spend in each place. Working directly with a smaller, owner operated company made me feel confident that we would get what we were looking for. It was perfectly planned.
Secondly, our vehicle was an extended cab Landcruiser with a Pop Top . There was just 2 of us with our guide and it was amazing to have lots of room to walk around, view the wildlife and take photos. I would not want more than 4 people in a vehicle. We saw some vehicles crowded with 6 people and not an extended cab. They looked very cramped. Make sure you check into the vehicles when you book.
Third, our guide Ebenezer was incredible. The guide makes or breaks a safari. His knowledge and love for the animals was evident. He shared so much information I was taking notes the whole time. He predicted what was going to happen when we followed 2 female lions and 5 cubs for about 2 hours. We got to see the story unfold right before our eyes. We did not follow the safari pack of vehicles but instead searched out the animals by ourselves. Ebenezer was an amazing guide and if you are lucky enough to book him you will not be disappointed. You could see how he was respected by the other guides.
Fourth, Stacy suggested that a private safari would give us the freedom to do what we wanted. In a planned safari with a group of strangers, you would have to accommodate everyone's ideas about timing for getting up and returning to camp. We were able to set the daily routine ourselves. We were up at 5:30 am, off by 6:00 am with a bagged breakfast and lunch and returned by 6:00 pm every day. Ebenezer was accommodating and this allowed us to see the animals early in the morning when they are more active. By staying out for lunch we were able to go further away from camp to see more. Get on the same page as your guide early in your trip to avoid frustration.
The fifth thing to consider is accommodations. We had the privilege of staying at the 3 tented camps owned by Duma. It was 5 star service in the middle of the Seregenti. All the 3 camps, Kichuguu, Chaka and Kiota run the same way. Imagine large tents with a king bed, separate showers, toilet and vanity. There is a separate tent for dining and a common area. All tastefully done. When you want a shower they heat the water in a bucket and you have 20 liters to use which is ample for a hot shower. Kichuguu is their newest camp in Ndutu. The staff there could not do enough to make our stay wonderful. The food which you have in the dining tents is incredible. To keep you safe from any possible animals you are escorted after dinner back to your tent. There is nothing like sleeping in the wild and hearing the odd sound from wild animals roaming nearby.
The last and most important point is the wildlife. A safari is not just seeing the Big 5 and ticking the boxes, it is about seeing and observing the many animals in their natural habitat. Every day was like something out of Planet Earth. We learned so much about the birds, animals, vegetation and environment. There is so much to the circle of life in the Serengeti we were never bored. What a privilege for us to have been in Tanzania.
Duma and Ebenezer made our safari a dream come true. Don't bother spending hours researching safari companies. Choose a private safari with Duma. It is worth the extra money. Book Ebenezer. He is the best guide out there. Stay in the tented camps. They are so wonderful after a long dusty day.
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