My husband, two kids and I just returned from two weeks in Tanzania and we had an absolutely wonderful experience with Proud African Safaris and our extremely knowledgeable and personable guide, Ephraim. Our kids are 12 and 15 and it felt like the perfect time for our family to be on this trip, really appreciating the culture, wildlife, history and scenery. We saw the Big 5 and had some breathtaking (but safe of course!) close-up experiences with lions and elephants in particular. I had really hoped to see large numbers of animals together, and we were all so struck by the different species that graze and walk together in large numbers — impala, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, baboons, gazelles, elephants, buffalo. We saw one group of 20 giraffes together, several large family groups of elephants, and easily thousands of zebras. We loved stopping to watch the animals interact and eat and move around. We made a list and counted 44 different species of animals, not counting birds or fish. Ephraim did not use the radio in the car, which I appreciated, as it’s a lot of togetherness all day and the noise would have surely been a bother. I’m really surprised at how well we all did game driving seven days, especially with all the early mornings, which are a pain in the moment but totally worth it. We had a beautiful breakfast in Ngorongoro Crater that Ephraim managed to keep a surprise, and it was a great celebration after finding our “big five” final animal, the rhino, early that morning.

There are so many countries and outfitters when I started researching a safari trip. We’d never been to Africa before. I liked Tanzania because of the large game parks such as the Serengeti and the opportunity to see large herds of animals, as well as the stability of Tanzania for many years. We also wanted some relax time afterward, and Zanzibar struck us as appealing. Once we narrowed to Tanzania (and I’m sure there are many good choices), I got quotes from five operators. Proud African Safaris stood out for their ability to customize, their great customer service during the planning process, and for me, I really liked that it’s founded by a native of Tanzania and is focused on that country. It was great customer service from start to finish, and the lodgings were absolutely beautiful and memorable and distinctive. Nandi was helpful in getting us organized, Zubeda provided such a friendly welcome and easy transfers, Taib was a very knowledgeable contact in Zanzibar whom we hired for a terrific afternoon tour of Stone Town. And Ephraim as our safari guide could not have been better. His knowledge, eagle eyes and friendly manner were perfect.

We really enjoyed our 4-day extension to Zanzibar, and ran into several others resting up from Kilimanjaro trek or safari. The powdered-sugar white sand beaches are phenomenal, like walking in snow in some places. My daughter and I snorkeled and scuba-dived, and the family all enjoyed a boat trip, where we saw a mangrove forest and snorkeled in a starfish lagoon. On the last day, we toured Stone Town, which is full of history and picturesque alleyways and a super busy market full of vegetables and fish. We had a beautiful rooftop lunch at Emerson on Hurumzi with a sky-high view over everything. Super delicious food and not expensive. That meal was such a highlight, and turns out we had just seen the location on the Amazing Race TV show, so that was a bonus. Taib knows the island so well and put it together for us.

So many unbelievable memories. We’re incredibly grateful for the care, warmth, professionalism and knowledge of the Proud African Safaris team, and couldn’t recommend them more highly.