Bucket list destination: Serengeti, Africa.


Once in a lifetime kind of a trip. 
If you have been following along my travels you have probably seen different parts of Africa we have been to previously but something that has always been on our bucket list was Serengeti. We planned on going there a few years back but due to pandemic all the travels had to be put on hold but...we finally made it happen!
Because of how special Serengeti is and what it is known for you gotta know the best time to go otherwise you might get there and only get to see a few animals. We knew we needed to go during the migration in order to see as much as possible including the big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo). Once we knew the best time to go we just had to research the best place to stay at that offers the best experience, shortly after we came across Four Seasons located in Serengeti and googling their property had me shocked as most of the images I saw online were of people literally chilling at the pool with elephants in the background. To break down our entire experience and go into detail more about each part of it I will break it down for ya'll bellow. 

Africa is nowhere close and getting there is an experience (and a very long one). 
Los Angeles -> Doha (5 hr layover)
Doha -> Kilimanjaro (4hr layover)
Kilimanjaro -> Seronera 
Once we got to Seronera it was a 45min drive to Four seasons property. Thankfully on the way back we only had a 5hr layover at Seronera and a super quick 2hr layover in Doha which brought down travel time from 35hrs to 25hrs or so. My biggest advice for this trip is book a flight through somewhere where you want to leave the airport at and spend a day or two at. Instead of a 5hr layover you can call the airport to book you on the flight from Doha to Kilimanjaro for the next day or so instead of the same day that way you can go explore a new destination. Back when we booked these flights and finalized the hotel we didn't think of it and over 30 hrs of traveling was simply just too much on our bodies. Airlines do not charge for the longer layovers so your only expenses will be transport between airport and hotel you pick at your in-between destination. 
P.s. Flight from Kilimanjaro to Seronera is pretty pricey as it only fits around 10 people and it stops every 20 mins or so to drop off/pick up new people from different areas. RT flight per person is around $700 and those prices do not go up or down so the total for the flight to Serengeti from USA will be around $2000+ depending on where you are located, there is no way around it. 

Honestly if you can't go big on this once in a lifetime trip it's better not to go until you are able to! Serengeti is such a special place and staying at the best hotel is the most important part of your experience. There are only a very few hotels in Serengeti in general which is because they want to keep the area as natural as possible. Even if Four Seasons hotel may look pricey it is worth every penny! The location is EVERYTHING, you are surrounded by animals at all times - we saw zebras, elephants and rhinos almost every day during our short 5 day stay there. So if you're wanting to only do one full day of safari or two half days you can chill at the hotel for the rest of your trip and you'll see plenty of animals. You can get a regular room or go all out and stay at room that comes with a private pool, that's the one we stayed at and it was such a special experience with elephants walking by while I enjoyed coffee at our pool! 

Another great reason to stay at Four Seasons is because of the safaris they offer, you will have two options - half day safari or full. I suggest doing 2 half day safaris during your trip as that is plenty of time to see animals and spend time around driving. 
*One of my favorite parts of this whole experience was that we had the same driver from the minute we landed to the minute we left Africa, he was with us during safari as well so we got to bond and it made the trip that much more special. His name was Rusage so if you go and he's still there make sure to call ahead and book him! He is extremely knowledgable and is soooooo good at finding any animal you might want to see (no promises of course but he will literally try his best). We saw the big five on our first day of safari and that is INSANE! You also have option to either do a private safari or a group one. I think group one might be fun as you would get to meet more people vs just you and your significant other. 
FYI: there are no bathrooms since you're out driving in the middle of nowhere with animals all around so try not to drink lots of water before going on safari or eat too big of a breakfast lol. 

I tend to never pack what I need and always end up packing whatever I want for the photos. Well.. lesson learned the hard way.. Long story short I did bring some pants but it was hot during the day so I ended up wearing tank tops with short bottoms (shorts/rompers) every day we were there which led to multiple mosquito bites every day while my husband that was covered head to toe didn't have one bite throughout the entire trip lol. The reason for covering yourself up is because you don't want to get bit due to malaria issue in Africa which you do have to take medicine for prior/during/after your trip. I believe we started taking medicine a few days before leaving daily but unfortunately after 5 days or so while we were there I had an allergic reaction and my face has swollen up, my eyelids itched, I had bumps and bites all over my body. I then had to go to a doctor on the Four Seasons property and was told to just stop taking medicine since we were leaving next day anyway to go back home and took some anti allergy medicine which helped a lot. We landed back at home on Thursday and on Friday morning we had to leave for San Diego to go to a wedding. Everything seemed fine at welcoming party on Friday but the day of the wedding on Saturday I woke up with high fever, body aches and because symptoms were so intense that I could not even move or walk we did not know if it's covid or malaria because I stopped taking medicine and got bit. We had to skip the wedding and all the activities and rushes to ER  as you only have up to 48 hrs to diagnose it and treat it immediately if it is that. Of course after spending 6 hours at the ER and being tested non stop they have come to conclusion that it was a very very bad case of Influenza flu which I probably caught on one of the flights back. Lesson of this is to cover up while you're in Serengeti and make sure to avoid sun so that you do not have an allergic reaction as sun & anti malaria medicine don't go together so that you can avoid the fear of getting malaria all together.

  • When you book your flights make sure you land in Serengeti as early as possible and leave as late as possible in the day. The reason for that is you are charged daily fees of being in the park which I believe was around $100 or so a day. We checked out of the hotel around 9 AM which was a waste of the day since you get charged the fee even if you leave at 12:30 AM. So make the most of it and get there as soon as you can and leave as late as possible. 
  • Serengeti in no way is a cheap place to get to or stay at but it is once in a lifetime experience. Instead of trying to figure out a budget friendly way to do it, go all out - this is not the place where you can save and cut corners. In order to experience it you have to save up and make the most of it, especially by staying at the best place! 
  • Having a good camera equipment is the main key for the trip. No phone will capture the images of the animals so make sure you either rent a few lenses to bring with you or rent it at Four Seasons. They offer a very large variety of different lenses to pick from and will let you know which one is the best one for what you're looking for. We used 70-200 and settings were on 200 99% of the time! 
  • This isn't your typical destination where you can leave a property to go shopping, walk around or wonder around in general. You'll be staying in the middle of Serengeti where you're surrounded by animals so you will at no point will be able to leave the property unless you're going on a balloon ride, safari etc. You want to make sure you love the place you're staying at because that's where you will be spending most of your time. Because Four Seasons property has two water ponds on it's grounds you're almost guaranteed to see elephants on daily bases as they come up once or twice a day to get water and wash themselves. You can take a look at my reels on IG to get a better idea of what I mean! 
  • Serengeti is kid friendly (minus the bathroom part on the safari hehe) and we saw quite a few families during our trip. Do not support zoos , save up your money and take your kiddos to Africa! 
  • We had an all inclusive meals package during our stay which was great even though I did look at prices on the menu and they were super affordable for what you get! If you like to have 3 full meals + snack throughout the day I highly recommend going all inclusive. 
  • Four Seasons also offers private dinner experiences: bush dinner and poolside. If you book bush dinner make sure you check the weather prior to booking because if it rains you will not be able to do it. 
  • One of my favorite parts about staying at Four Seasons was because every single time elephants came by the hotel someone from the front will call your room in case you are taking a nap and aren't looking out the window.
  • Four Seasons property also offers a fun dining experience with a quick 10 minute African culture show, highly recommend checking that out during your stay. Show is at 830pm sharp so make your dinner reservation for 8pm.
  • Anytime you will want to walk around the property, from the room to dinner etc. there will be someone with you from the hotel just in case you come across any animals as you are out in the wild and even though property is fenced off in a way animals can still get up there and don't forget, you're in their home not in a zoo.
I hope this blog post will inspire you and you will add this beautiful, unique, once in a lifetime kinda place to your bucket list! 

In collaboration with Four Seasons, Serengeti Africa.

1 comment:

  1. I was there around the same time. . .Pretty sure I saw you wandering around the landscape. Stunning family.