One of the most surprising things about arriving in Africa is how expansive the continent is…… seems endless as you fly or drive from one spot to another.  The surprise of it never goes away.  Each time you go you are hit with horizon after horizon full of small villages, stunning colored sands and cultures hundreds of years old.  I am always amazed by the number of animals and how well they share the local watering hole or river.

Our experience in this part of the world was at once shocking and thrilling.  We chose to use small planes to get from one spot to another.  The pilots are SO talented.  They often landed in nothing but lizards and rocks……there were more than a couple of “white knuckle” moments but, we all lived to tell our stories.

One tip I would share is to arrange for a driver from the airport to the resort.  The roads are often nothing more than ruts in clay-like dirt and signage is rare.  I joke about losing “internal organs” on these drives.  The roads are THAT rough.  Our driver was waiting for us and we were quickly on our way.  As we drove through rural villages, I saw a very young child in the middle of the road.  We were going fast and we alerted our driver… of the most shocking cultural aspects of this wild land is that girls (we could see her little dress as we got within 25 feet) are expendable.  He was not going to stop.  Needless to say, the Good Doctor and I demanded that he stop and we got out of the car.  He picked up the child and began screaming at the mother up the hill.  He threatened to beat her for letting her daughter get out into the street.  Evidently, hundreds of small children are killed every year wandering into the street in this country.  Way to begin a trip, right?!  A little brutal reality to balance the beauty.

So, first a little lunch before we arrive at The Manor.

The Blue Monkeys hide (not that well….) in the trees surrounding the tables we used for our lunch.

The Manor is part of the Elewa Luxury  group and sits in the middle of a coffee plantation.  The grounds are jaw-dropping…

The Manor exudes timeless elegance and transports you back to a time when you dressed for dinner and your butler ran your bath at the end of a dusty day.  It features 18 cottages each with their own view out onto the coffee plantation.  Created with activities such as Ngongo Crater Trips, Game Drives and Private Lunches on the Crater Floor, this is an amazing spot to spend some time.  We hosted a lunch for our friend who was celebrating her birthday while on this trip.  The lunch was set up in the middle of the crater floor…….

The Reserve is in the middle of the crater….clouds form at the top and literally “spill” over into the basin.  It was a bit overcast on this day but, hoping you can get the effect.

As we end our day, a Baboon family escorts us back to The Manor.

Up next…. a day in the NGORONGORO Game Reserve.  Learn the difference between private reserve and a public reserve.  It’s a HUGE and important in making plans for your next trip!

Have you been to Africa?  Did you fly between destinations or drive?  What was your resort or hotel like?  Any interesting cultural experiences?

Until next “wheels up”….

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