My family and I were on holiday and we made the marvelous decision to stay at the Singita Sasakwa Lodge (in connection with the Sabora Tented Camp, also fantastic).
I had reservations about going to Tanzania, and felt nervous about flying into Kilimanjaro and having to drive an extra hour to Arusha, and then fly out the next morning, etc. etc.
I need not have been nervous. Our family was literally coddled and looked after from the moment the plane touched down until the moment we left again.
Of all the places we stayed during our time in this lovely country, Sasakwa was everybody's favorite.
It started with the flight on the tiny Cessna. The views were amazing, and we landed on my first dirt airstrip- really cool.
The Grumeti Reserve has its own landing strip and the guides already wait for you as you come in.
Our bags were loaded in the back of our safari vehicle (open-sided; I was a bit freaked out but came to really love it (except once when we were literally attacked by a swarm of tse-tse flies!).
Our guide for our entire stay (we also spent four days at Sabora Tented camp, also in the Grumeti reserve) was Adas.
This guy knows EVERYTHING about his subject; the reserve and everything it holds. More about him later but for sure Adas made our special trip even more special through his enthusiasm and knowledge.
The drive to the lodge is awesome because you begin game viewing right away.
Also, being on a private reserve is much nicer than a national park because if you see an animal, you can just drive after it - which we did. (In this first case, a herd of zebra).
We came into the lovely courtyard of the lodge and it occurred to me that this place was just incredible because it was extremely luxurious despite being built literally in the middle of nowhere.
The breezeway is the coolest thing about the main house because when you walk in, the view of the Serengeti is the first thing you notice - it is amazing!
It is mesmerizing! You can hardly pay attention to everyone greeting you (Hi Anya, Chris, Tansy (sp?), Alex et. al.) because the only thing you want to do is take in the view.
We had a comprehensive orientation over a cup of Arabica coffee (don't go anywhere by yourself after 6pm and before 6am; wear mosquito spray at all times, etc.), and then off to our rooms.
OH my gosh! It is really exactly like you are staying with your rich English explorer octogenarian uncle who just stepped out of the room for a moment but will be back to have drinks with you in the library. It is incredible.
I just loved it. Bamboo, sisal, linen, a claw foot freestanding bathtub with views over the Serengeti, botanical prints, accessories such as magnifying glasses or trunks laying around,... it is all there.
The plunge pool is lovely, big enough to enjoy and also heated.
Beds are very comfortable. I slept well almost every night (we all got a stomach bug but were so well looked after by the hotel staff and the traveling paramedic that I can't even be negative about that!).
Game drives are twice per day if you want it (we did), and we saw everything: we saw the big five - including (thanks to Adas' sharp eyes) the elusive and secretive leopard.
We saw a cheetah make a kill, we saw tons of lions, buffalo, ... everything really. Black rhino, giraffe (Adas even had our son go out of the vehicle and take some hilarious photos with these wonderful beasts - and I, a hysterical parent, totally 100% trusted this man).
I haven't even written about all the special things the lodge does to make your experience as wonderful as possible. It would take up too much space to describe it all exactly but here is a list:
Bush breakfasts - AWESOME! The Land Rover has a grille that flips down which allows a table to be laid out with a Maasai cloth and a lovely breakfast of breads and fruit, coffee with milk, hot cocoa, etc.
Bush breakfasts part 2: We were treated to an entire buffet in the wild, as it were. The lodge set up an entire outdoor dining room for our family (and the other guests as well, each timed for privacy) complete with mimosas, a full English (or African?) breakfast, and even a real bathroom complete with toilet in the middle of the bush!
A warm welcome in the evenings after game drives of hot chocolate with Amarula to get everyone in the mood for dinner;
A photo of our family presented to us as a gift, in a frame, of us on New Years Eve;
and so much more!
No one was ever rude or too busy to help us with anything, everyone always treated us really and truly like a valued guest, anything we wanted or needed was not too much trouble.
Hanging around the great house was such a treat, we hardly wanted to make all the game drives.
Wine selection outstanding of course.
Didn't visit the pool but it looked lovely.
The spa was wonderful and the massage I received was one of the best I ever had!
Food was outstanding - I am not a foodie but I really enjoyed everything, especially barbecue night.
The decoration of the entire place really did it for me - it was perfect in every way.
The gift shop is also nice and sells reasonably priced items that people really want to take home with them.
We are probably going to go back for the great migration and I can't wait!!!!!!!!
I am sure I forgot lots of things but this is a place you should visit once in your life.