Indagare Ambassador Jolie Goodson shares her safari experience at some of Indagare’s favorite lodges in Tanzania—including the Serengeti and Zanzibar.
We loved the Legendary Lodge in Arusha in Tanzania. It was the most beautiful room and the staff was incredibly warm and welcoming. They gave us beautiful gifts—a safari shirt and blanket and flashlights that we used the whole time. It was hard to leave! The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti was also wonderful. We were blown away by the amount of animals we saw. Our amazing guide, Awahdi, picked us up from the airstrip and it was non-stop animals. We were trying to keep our expectations in check as far as animals, but we saw everything—and right up close. The tail-end of the migration was still happening, so there were thousands of zebras and wildebeest. It was breathtaking!
Our room at the Four Seasons was also fantastic. The hotel was right in the middle of the Serengeti so we saw animals from our room and deck and from the main pool—it was so special. It had plenty of room for the extra bed for our daughter. We loved the cold plunge pool on the deck. The restaurant staff became like friends. They really took amazing care of us. Our daughter absolutely loved the hyrax animals all over the property—they were adorable and they were everywhere.
The hot-air balloon ride was an epic experience and I can’t imagine not doing it. It should be a must-do for everyone! And it was so nice to have a lovely pool where you could relax during the afternoon. My daughter said that what really stood out to her was how kind and welcoming everyone was. Also, how we saw every animal from the first moment we arrived—even before we got to the hotel.
And Mwiba… what an insanely beautiful property—jaw dropping! I truly want to move in. I love how they set you up for meals in different locations. The property was not full, and I could see that being very romantic for sure—and it was totally fine to do with our daughter. The order was definitely perfect. There were fewer animals, which was fine, because we had already seen so many. We got quality time with a leopard that killed an impala and hauled it up a tree to eat. We watched her up close and personal for two days—incredible!
We freaking loved our guide Isack. He took us on a walking safari, which was super cool. He also took us to meet two different tribes, the Datoga and the Hadzabe bush tribe. These were unforgettable experiences. (I would not recommend the visits for younger children.)
Our daughter loved that you could watch the huge monitor lizard at the watering hole, also the water bucks and bush babies—and that our room was more of a tent than a normal hotel. Lots of animals came to the watering hole here, including a family of elephants. One night at dinner we heard an elephant trumpet which was super cool!
We loved Zanzibar sooooo much—that insane turquoise water. The sand is so powdery—like flour! It was otherworldly. The property was out of Robinson Crusoe. Also, I’ve snorkeled and gone scuba diving all over the world and that was some of the best shallow snorkeling I’ve done: Tons of beautiful tropical fish and coral heads, and the water seems completely clear, with near perfect visibility. Our family loves that sort of thing! We went every day, and took a boat ride out to another deeper spot, which was just as beautiful—out of a movie.
The property was more full than the others, which was a fun vibe, and there was a huge swing that was a highlight for the under-12 set. They also had lots of games, and we enjoyed chess and Scrabble every happy hour. The staff was great about setting us up with things to do, such as the snorkel trip and a sailing trip. They made it easy. We all thought it was perfect coming at the end, super relaxing but still seeing new, cool things. Our daughter totally loved it. We swam all the time, we walked around the island and took boat trips, read books and journaled. Our daughter said she loved the food, because she mostly eats what we eat and always has, but it might be tricky for picky eaters. We all kept a journal for the trip and it was fun to write the highlights every day. I definitely recommend that!
Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Post-Safari Beach Destinations
A note on tipping
The hotels do not always have cash on hand, and you are not likely to be in a town where there might be an ATM. But the hotels will allow you to charge tips to your credit card. This is wonderful and we were totally stressed out at the first and second property, until we learned we could do this.
Travel uniform: For walking safaris, you must wear safari clothes of greens, browns, or tans. No white, black or blue. And long socks are a must. We didn’t have long stocks, but luckily the staff gave us some from the staff shop! And definitely bring a fleece and a jacket and some long sleeves, because it can be chilly in the morning and evening.
We thought the weight limit was for all of our bags combined, so we removed things in order to get the weight down, including binoculars, which would have been amazing to have, but they were heavy. It turned out they did not weigh our backpacks, only our duffles, so we could have brought those items we left at home no problem.
Contact your Trip Designer or Indagare for more on how to book a family safari, including advice on the best safari lodges, experiences and much more!