Traveling half-way across the world to Africa for a safari holiday of a lifetime is a big decision. We know. And whilst sitting in the office, or at home in the UK, US or where in the world you may be reading this from, it’s very tricky to pick one safari operator.
So, if you are wondering ‘Why Easy Travel?’ you’ve landed on the right blog post. We have compiled a list of 10 reasons, that should take you no longer than 3 minutes to read, about why Easy Travel is different to any other tour operator in Tanzania.
Ready? Let’s go!
1 – Trip Advisor’s Hall of Fame
For the past five years, Easy Travel has received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, placing us in their exclusive Hall of Fame. This comes after 1000+ positive reviews shared by the people we care about most: our clients!
2 – 30+ Years of Experience
Since 1987, Easy Travel has been offering world-class safari tours in Tanzania. That’s over three decades of accumulated knowledge and on-the-ground experience, financial stability, attention to detail, exceptional care and thousands of satisfied customers.
3 – Tailor-Made Tours
Easy Travel staff loves to craft customized itineraries for our clients. Obsessed with elephants? We know where to go. Sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti? No problem. Want to spend 7 days climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? Sure thing. Whatever your style — basic, comfort, comfort plus, luxury — we’ve got you covered.
4 – Our guides are beyond brilliant
Our friendly, passionate guides are experts at a wide variety of skills: Tanzania’s cultural and natural history, language skills, and first aid training. Easy Travel Guides are multilingual – speaking Swahili, English and either German, Spanish, French or Italian. Our guides truly go the extra mile to ensure each client always feels fully supported.
5 – KPAP Certified
For over three decades, Easy Travel been organizing treks to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and we are a proud member of an elite group of KPAP-certified Kilimanjaro operators. As a KPAP-certified operator, we are dedicated to treating each and every porter with the uncompromising dignity they deserve.
6 – Best Safari Vehicles Fleet in Arusha
Easy Travel has an impressive fleet of 50 safari vehicles – with all the extra bells and whistles to navigate Tanzania. Our vehicles are sort of like SUVs on steroids! They are fully customized Land Cruisers complete with a pop-up roof, seven individual bucket seats, multiple device plugins, and its own cooler.
7 – Easy Travel Has The Best In-House Auto Shop in Arusha
Because we take such great pride in our fleet, we’ve invested in our own full-service auto repair shop, to ensure that every SUV is 100% ready when the rubber meets the dirt. Only a handful of tour operators share this level of commitment. With veteran mechanics managing state-of the-art machinery, everything is completed in-house: the painting, welding, tailoring, electrical work. We even have our own fuel pump! Learn more about our Auto Shop.
8 – We Never Subcontract Safari Vehicles
East Africa is notorious for unrelenting roadways that challenge even the toughest vehicles. Because you will be spending considerable amounts of time inside your vehicle, one of the most important considerations for lasting comfort on safari is reliable, safe vehicles. For this reason, unlike many inbound tour operators in Tanzania, Easy Travel never subcontract any of their safari vehicles. After each safari, every vehicle receives a comprehensive service to ensure the vehicle is in excellent condition before it starts any trip.
9 – Top-Rated tour operator on TripAdvisor
On Tripadvisor, 96% of our 1,374 reviews gave us a five-star rating, making Easy Travel the highest rated tour operating company in the region.
10 – Female Empowerment
Female empowerment is a central pillar of our success! 50% of our employees are female. This has without a doubt, made us a stronger, more resilient and happier team.
11 – Environmental stewardship
Being part of the tourism industry, our existence depends on a thriving natural environment. Our mission is to ensure we play a leading role as environmental stewards. During our recent World Environment Day clean-up the team collected a staggering amount of 74,631 plastic bags and 16,206 plastic bottles! Read more about our clean-up efforts:
Getting You There?
From a distance, you’re the first to spot a string of dots moving slowly along the Serengeti horizon. From the comfort of your safari vehicle these animals appear small, almost like ants, as they march single-file.
“Let’s go get a closer look,” says your guide. Yes, you think. Yes, please.
The speed picks up. Dust spirals behind your vehicle. Each member of your small group holds onto their hats as the Land Cruiser draws near, closer, so close now that those horizon dots grow feet and legs, big legs, legs the size of trees. And above those legs flap huge ears, wailing trunks, and leather skin.
Closer you drive until you’re twenty feet from these beasts, animals about as far from ants as you could ever imagine. You’ve spotted a herd of thirty African bush elephants. The herd is spread out, and your guide explains they are all headed towards the river for a drink.
“They can drink up to fifty gallons a day,” your guide explains. “About the amount of a typical bathtub!”
This flotilla of land mammals — the largest on the planet — slides steadily along the savannah, and you drive along next to them for the next hour, speechless, in awe. Sure, this landscape is vast, but this elephant sighting just made it larger-than-life.
Introducing the African Bush Elephant
A safari just isn’t complete without an intimate encounter with an African bush elephant. These Cadillacs of the Serengeti are just too iconic, and too powerful to avoid.
As one of the “Big 5“, you will most certainly encounter your fair share of elephants in Tanzania, so why not arrive with a few important elephant facts?
- Species Name: Loxidonta africana. There are three recognized species of elephants — the African Bush, African Forest, and Asian. You will likely only see the African bush elephants on safari.
- Average lifespan: 60-70 years. Elephants have no natural predators, other than humans. Some experts say that teeth health actually determine an elephants lifespan! (Source)
- Size: 8-12 feet. Some adults can reach up to 24 feet in length, too!
- Range: African bush elephants are located only in Central and South Africa.
- Estimated Population: Roughly 415,000 African elephants. Before the 20th century there were an estimated 3-5 million.
Elephants by the Numbers: Five Need-to-Know Statistics about the African Bush Elephant.
24,000 Pounds. This is the weight of the largest known elephant ever recorded (11,000 kg), discovered in Angola. The average adult elephant you will see on an Easy Travel safari will be around 13,000 pounds (5,900 kg) for males and 6,600 pounds (3,000 kg) for females.
300 Pounds. Large bodies mean large appetites, and the African bush elephant is constantly having to shove grasses, roots, and bark into its mouth to fend off hunger. These guys are known to eat upwards of 300-350 pounds of food per day!
40,000 Muscles. Each trunk of an average elephant carries 40,000 muscles in their trunk. Crazy, right? Unlike popular belief, these trunks are not used for drinking but, rather, to flip water into their mouths, almost like a spoon. Here are some other amazing things for which elephants use their trunks.
50 Years. Adult elephants will mate up until they are aged 50, and females will typically give birth every 5 years. Sometimes the births can take days, and baby elephants, as you might have guessed, are large upon arrival. Can you imagine giving birth to a baby that weighs 300 pounds? (Source)
8/12. Mark your calendars, because August 12 is World Elephant Day, a day dedicated to “bring attention to the urgent plight of the Asian and African elephants” worldwide. Started in 2011, this day is now officially recognized by over 65 wildlife organizations, many countries, and popular celebrities. Easy Travel supports World Elephant Day, along with many social and environmental initiatives. Learn more and follow their important work here.
We love elephants. So much. To be fair, there are dozens more fascinating elephant behaviors to learn about — Herds are led by a matriarch! Elephants grieve and weep, and feel joy! — but know this: any Easy Travel tour will guarantee you a close-up experience with these incredible African bush elephants, found nowhere else on Earth. Our experienced guides have decades of experience and can share loads of elephant information with you, too.
Getting You There?
“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.”
– Kahlil Gibran
Safari is best known for getting you extremely close with things that roar. You travel halfway across the world just for safari because it soars and cackles and howls. Safari is all about stripes and spots, scales and feathers. Safari is defined as witnessing a planet fully alive and wild.
But what about the other, quieter life forms that exist in the Serengeti, those that may not roar or travel in packs or migrate in the millions? What if I told you there were equally impressive (and far older!) life forms in the Serengeti that have been watching over the savannah for millions of years? Any guesses?
Introducing the mighty trees of Tanzania.
Why it’s Essential to Know the Trees on Safari…
Without Africa’s mighty flora, your safari would look a whole lot different. For example, giraffes depend on browsing from endless acacia treetops. Monkeys and birds find refuge perched in the canopy, away from predators and midday heat. Trees offer a vertical advantage of sight for many animals on the hunt.
This verticality afforded by Africa’s many tree species provides critical habitat for your safari’s most famous creatures. It’s because of this that we think it’s critical for you to familiarize yourself with a few of the most common (and fascinating) trees you will see on safari. If you only learn a few of them, let it be the following three: Baobab, Acacia, and Kigelia.
1 – Baobab
Say it three times: Bay-Oh-Bob. Good! You’re halfway there. The Baobab is a crowd favorite on safari and for good reason. These ancient, swollen trees are absolute icons of the savannah. They just look wise, so wise that they have been depicted in movies like The Lion King and Avatar. How is that for a resume?
Baobab trees have been nicknamed “The Tree of Life,” because, for millenia, tribes, animals, and birds all tended to congregate around these bulbous elders, while using their branches as shade, and the fruit for dyes and vitamin-rich supplements. Here are some stats:
- Official name: Adansonia digitata. 9 species total: 6 native to Madagascar, 2 native to mainland Africa, 1 native to Australia. Baobab trees grow in over 30 African countries.
- Size: 40-70 feet (12-20m) tall, trunk 35-60 feet (10-18m) diameter trunk.
- Average Age: Baobab trees live for 1,000-2,000 years (the oldest alleged is the sunland baobab in South Africa, said to be 6,000 years old, though this number is both unofficial and unlikely. What is official, however, is the bar that’s carved into its base). (Source)
Baobabs are Water Hoards. Baobabs look swollen in their base because they are hiding something valuable. Water! These mammoth trees store upwards of 120,000 liters (32,000 gallons) of water in their trunks, banking each sip for long, dry months and drought conditions.
Baobabs Empower Women. Baobab fruit is considered a superfood. The size of a coconut, their uses are many. Rich in Vitamin C and an antimicrobial/antioxidant, these fruits have been used for eons to promote healthy gut flora and digestion. Think 10 times the Vitamin C of an orange and 10 times the fiber of an apple! (Source)
Because of their recent rise as a superfood, such popularity worldwide for the baobab has translated to positive effects on African women who primarily harvest this fruit. More income, more opportunities, more empowerment and self-determination. We support that. (Source)
2 – Acacia
Acacias might be the most iconic tree in Africa. You know these ones, even if you’ve never seen an acacia in person. Imagine the sun setting and these flat-topped trees stand like umbrellas among the savannah. Because you will witness a ton of acacia trees on safari, we recommend first familiarizing yourself with them:
- Official name: Acacia tortillis (Umbrella Thorn, one of the most widely distributed acacias on the planet). Acacias are actually a genus of 160 different species of trees and shrubs in the pea family. They are called “wattles” in Australia.
- Size: Your typical acacia will grow to around 40 feet (12m), with some as large as 70 feet (21m) and about 3 feet (1m) in diameter.
Acacias Can Communicate to Each Other. Without a doubt: trees harbor plant intelligence, and acacias might be the Einstein of the tree world. When browsing animals like giraffes approach an acacia crown, for example, that tree will release tannins that are toxic. As this poison increases in the tree, a chemical called ethylene is released, a sort of chemical defense system that can travel up to 45m, warning other nearby acacias of oncoming feeders. Amazing, right?!
Acacias Used for Just About Everything. The tannins in acacia bark have long been used for dying. Their timber is widely harvested for fenceposts and firewood, too.
3 – Kigelia (“The Sausage Tree”)
If acacias are the most widely dispersed tree on the savannah, the kigelia tree might be the strangest. Popularly known as the “sausage tree,” you’ll quickly learn why. Hanging from the kigelia’s branches are fruits up to two feet long, weigh 15 pounds, and oddly resemble bratwurst.
- Official name: Kigelia africana. There’s only one species, distributed throughout tropical Africa.
- Size: Can grow up to 20m (66 feet). Can be evergreen in wet areas and deciduous in long, dry areas.
- Traditional Uses: For years, tribes have used the fruit to fight infection and skin conditions, burns, etc. Recently, it’s been explored as being a central nervous system stimulant. (Source)
Fascinating Flowering: When the sausage tree flower, the tree will send long hanging clusters of maroon colored orchid-looking flowers called “pannicles.”
Enjoyed By All: The sausage-shaped, oblong fruits are enjoyed by a variety of bush animals, including baboons, bushpigs, elephants, giraffes, hippos. Eaten fresh, however, the fruit is poisonous to humans.
Whether you know the average decibel of a lion’s roar (114 decibels, 25 times louder than a lawn mower!), the proper name for a group of hippos (a “bloat”), or the chemical communication phenomena between acacia trees, the more you know before heading out on safari, the richer the experience. A little homework goes a long way in the savannah, and your Easy Travel guides will supplement your safari with natural and cultural history as well.
Getting You There?
Since when did our most memorable travel experiences come to be determined by the fluff of hotel pillows? Since when did exploring the world become contingent on pampered luxuries? Since when did getting on an airplane and traveling to the ends of the earth require infinity pools, high-speed wifi, and expensive cocktails? (well, I rarely refuse a drink). Since when did an adventure of a lifetime, of witnessing the beauty and wildness of our world become so…so…cushioned?
Okay, truth be told: sometimes luxury travel does feel darn good. Sometimes being pampered, being set up in high-end resorts and lodges with every amenity imaginable is just what the doctor ordered after a long stint of work back home, or life event worth celebrating in high style.
But this thread isn’t about poolside daiquiris. This post will not help you navigate your daily massage appointments. It’s not about private jets or celebrity-status exclusivity replete with every luxury you can think of. No, for this one we focus on inclusivity, on traveling as pure connection, on travel’s pure essence: the essence of adventure, the motivation, the why. Here we’ll explore why we fly halfway around the world for safari, the connections we make, and why a Basic tour with Easy Travel both meets and exceeds this true essence.
What Makes Safari Great? The Connection
As much as we love the luxuries in life, let’s be real: safari is not about high speed Internet or poolside suntans. It’s about the wildlife. It’s about wilderness. It’s about those amber-hued landscapes arcing with giraffe neck and warthog tail. It’s about your heart beating in your chest, faster and faster as you immerse yourself into the bowels of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire—this breathing, seething planet where millions (yes millions!) of wildebeest charge past crocodiles and lions to survive another day while Kori bustards fly through the sky with their seven-foot (2.1m) wingspans, weaving past baobob trees, some of which are more than 6,000 years old.
Now this is what safari is all about. It’s about connections: to age-old landscapes and age-old cultures, to that steamed ugali sticking to your fingers (Food Of Tanzania), to that sweet-salty taste of banana beer on your lips. For many, safari is less about the accommodations and more about the experiences. Luckily, Easy Travel offers both. Our three main tiers of safari options can meet your every need and budget without compromising quality or safety. Take a look…
The Three Trip Options of Easy Travel: Basic, Comfort, and Comfort Plus.
Before we dive into the specifics of a Basic package, let’s take an overview of Easy Travel’s three package tiers—basic, comfort, and comfort plus (View Our Styles) to see what’s included, the differences in amenities, travel, etc:
- Basic: Travelers sleep in public campsites; bathroom facilities are shared with fellow travelers at the camp; private tents, personal chef, personal driver and gear specialist.
- Comfort: Travelers stay in small lodges and tented camps; ensuite bathroom facilities; a mid-range balance of comfort and price. Personal driver and gear specialist.
- Comfort Plus: travelers stay in state-of-the-art, luxury lodges or tented camps where the quality of service and facilities are equivalent to a large hotel organizations; personal driver and gear specialist.
Here’s What Basic Accommodation Looks Like…
Now let’s focus now on Easy Travel’s Basic category. It’s a bit of a misnomer, as “Basic” implies some minimum, that what you receive is something simple and barebones. This is far from the truth. In fact, nothing Easy Travel does is basic or simple. Choose Basic and you weave through all the same superlative landscapes as Comfort and Comfort Plus packages. You will witness extraordinary lion kills, Serengeti sunsets, and hippo-bloated rivers.
For a Basic tour, the main difference is that you will be camping for the entirety of your trip. What does this look like? First, imagine a large tent of your own in which you can stand in, move around, wiggle and dance and do yoga if you’d like. It’s that big. Oh, and did I mention you set up nothing? Yes, after a full day of game drives you arrive to your public campsite and tents, sleeping pads, and bags, and dinner table will all be prepared for you. Again, not “Basic.”
Every morning and every night, hot water for tea, hot chocolate, and coffee will be served alongside exquisite meals prepared by a personal chef. Easy Travel’s Basic tours require you to share facilities, such as restrooms and some dining halls, which just means you’ll be able to rub shoulders with interesting folks from around the world. Win-win.
Here are Five Must-Pack Items for a Basic Tour:
- Headlamp – These are one of our all-time favorite tools, as they make for hands-free convenience when rifling through your tent at night.
- Camping Towel – Invest in a quick-dry towel for showering and face-washing. Indispensable.
- Toiletries – Most shampoos, soaps, and hand sanitizers will be difficult to find in Tanzania. Better to bring them.
- Cozy Sandals – After a long day in boots, it’s nice to have a comfy pair of sandals or Crocs to put on.
- Travel Pillow – Resting your head on something cozy at night is underestimated. These days you can find ultralight, packable pillows for both camping and long flights. Great investment.
This is the connection I speak of. Because what you return from safari with aren’t photos of bathtubs porcelain and ironed linen but memories of cheetah stripes and elephant herds, Am I right? Most clients who choose a Basic package understand this and are willing to give up a little cushion of lodges and save their shillings for the experiences that last a lifetime.
Choose a Basic tour and you have the opportunity to wake up, open your tent, and have a Ngorongoro sunrise flood right in. You might discover zebras browsing grass next to your camp or perhaps even the distant roar of a lion at night (don’t worry, our campsites are safe!). You’ll be able to witness, from the comfort of your own rolled tent flap, constellations of stars hanging above, after an evening Serengeti campfire.
These are the sights, sounds, and smells of a Basic tour. These are the elements of coming alive. These are the moments we live for. With a Basic tour you still receive the high-quality experience of a private, state-of-the-art safari vehicle, an experienced driver and guide, personal chefs, and camping gear.