Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

A wood-burning fire was lit every evening in our room, and sometimes on very cold mornings as well, by Felicien, our butler
Lisa Riggs | March 6, 2023

We had a great trip arranged by Katie McDonough and Cherri Briggs, to Rwanda for mountain gorilla trekking and then to the Serengeti in Tanzania for more wildlife viewing. The experience of being able to get so close to and observe elephants, giraffes, lions, gazelle, zebras, cheetah, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, leopard, hippos, golden and vervet monkeys, not to mention gorillas, in their natural habitat, is incomparable. Also incredible were the gorgeous birds including storks and flamingos. We were also lucky to see black rhinos both in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater.

The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge was outstanding. The cottages were lovely. A wood-burning fire was lit every evening in our room, and sometimes on very cold mornings as well, by Felicien, our butler, who also brought coffee to the room. He helped us gear up for the gorilla treks, and assisted with hiking boot and leg gaiter removal when we were done. The treks themselves were physically demanding at high altitude but well worth it, and we were completely pampered when we got back to the lodge.

The lodge is community owned, and many staff members are from the nearby village. Felicien gave us a great tour and we were delighted to meet many of the people, including the beekeeper, the doctor/herbalist, and some charming women who showed me how to grind flour from sorghum. Easier than it looks!

We stayed at two different camps in Tanzania and our guides were outstanding. The game drives were amazing and the guides well informed. Our favorite was the Namiri Plains Camp, where you could look out your deck and watch elephants stroll by.

Cherri and Katie arranged a very smooth and varied trip, arranging and navigating smooth entry and exit and Covid testing for each country. I highly recommend them!

Every detail was covered, every highlight touched, every special moment experienced, every gourmet meal enjoyed — truly, everything we did far exceeded our expectations
Kathleen Ross | March 5, 2023

We have just returned from three FABULOUS weeks in Africa (February 8 – 27) — we visited Cape Town, Rwanda, and Tanzania. As I said to Frankie in Cherri’s office — who planned the most stellar adventure for us and was BEYOND accommodating of our crazy scheduling issues — I thought a visit to Africa would be a one-and-done. My was I wrong — thanks to her recommendations, we officially have the safari “bug” and can’t wait for the opportunity to return!

My first call to Cherri’s office took place last September when I shared my destination wish list: Cape Town to meet our son who was sailing there in The Ocean Race, Rwanda to visit the gorillas, and Tanzania to enjoy a safari. EVERYTHING we did was guided by Frankie’s stellar advice, every detail was covered, every highlight touched, every special moment experienced, every gourmet meal enjoyed — truly, everything we did far exceeded our expectations. I could NEVER have planned this adventure on my own. Kudos to her and the rest of Cherri’s team!

It is impossible to identify a single moment that stood out amongst the others — they were all spectacular!….

Cape Town, the drive “down south” to Cape Point, the PENGUINS, the dinner recommendations, the people, our FABULOUS guide, Chantal, from Chalan Africa and the South African wines were all a delight! We were presented with varied opportunities to observe the cultural issues that still penetrate every day living in South Africa — simply by being there. To say that history is alive and — almost well — in South Africa is an understatement! On a unique note, I must say I never expected there to be rolling blackouts throughout the country — or to have a schedule announcing the timing of the blackouts posted in the Cape Grace Hotel each morning!

Rwanda was a delight to experience and Joseph, our guide from Uber Luxe Safaris, could not have been more perfect for our visit. His knowledge about Rwanda’s history and culture and his willingness to share was a treat for all of us. We soaked up every word he said, learned so much about its history, its people and their lifestyle, their future, were dazzled by the climb up to see two separate gorilla families on two separate days, admired the hard work ethic of the people (the women — WOW…farmers extraordinaire!!!) , and absolutely melted at the many, many, many smiles we saw along the way. We left Rwanda filled with much more than we EVER expected, which was simply a visit to gorillas :-)! If you go, do not miss a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial — it was our first stop after we landed and it set the tone for the remainder of our time in a beautiful country filled with beautiful, kind people — oh, and some very cool gorilla families!

And then…there was Tanzania! I grew up watching Born Free over and over again. And absolutely sobbed over Out of Africa. My kids — and we — all saw The Lion King on Broadway three times and watched the movie countless times. While much of each of these stories take place in Kenya, every wild animal, beautiful vista, expansive landscape are alive, well, and SPECTACULAR in Tanzania! We stayed at Singita Faru Faru in the Grumeti Game Reserve in the Serengeti, at Nyasi Migrational Camp with 1.4 million wildebeest and their zebra friends in the Southern Serengeti, and Little Chem Chem Lodge on Lake Burunge in north-central Tanzania. Each lodge was a sight to behold and an experience like no other. Each of our guides brought a different perspective to wildlife watching AND each had fascinating histories growing up in Tanzania. We loved listening to their childhood stories of a very traditional Tanzanian lifestyle! Frankie’s recommendations to experience these three separate lodges gave us the unique opportunity to experience so many different safari elements! We were filled with awe and gratitude that so much open space has been protected to benefit the zillions of species who inhabit this beautiful country and were treated royally at each lodge located in the middle of nowhere!

As the dust begins to settle from this very epic adventure, we will relive our very vivid and fond memories of each country and each experience with enormous smiles on our faces! Cherri’s team made it all happen and we look forward to making our next call to them for our next adventure. Thank you for directing us to them!!!

The wildebeest migration/crossing, doing the Serengeti Balloon Safari at dawn and the experiences at Giraffe Manor were highlights of an overall fantastic trip!
Thomas Smith | October 31, 2022

Frankie (who works with Cherri Briggs) put together a fantastic, terrific trip to Tanzania and Kenya last August/September. In setting up the trip, Frankie listened to our goals and wishes, answered all our questions and put together a trip that accomplished everything we’d hoped for. We originally planned the trip in the spring of 2021 and thankfully COVID was much less of a travel and health issue in September 2022 than it was in 2021. It was an amazing African trip with so many special experiences. This is our second time to Africa and second time traveling with Cherri’s team. They know how to do it!

The places we stayed were all luxurious and unique!!
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (Loved being in the Tree Lodge area, so romantic!) – Namari Plains – Singita’s Mara River Tented Camp (The outside bath tub with window view is amazing, plus wildebeest crossing in the rain while having a massage. It doesn’t get any better.) – Giraffe Manor – Solio Lodge
Everywhere we stayed, the staff was friendly and made sure our needs were met. The food was delicious and the service was very attentive.

We went to Africa to see the animals and habitat, of course. And that was amazing!
From the hyenas and lions in the Ngorongoro Crater, to the big cats at Namari Plains (not to mention the sunrise hot-air balloon ride!) to the tens of 1000s of wildebeests at Singita’s Mara River Camp (watching them cross the Mara River on migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience), to feeding the giraffes at Giraffe Manor and seeing the rhinos at the Solio Game Reserve. We saw not only lots of different animals but also a variety of ecosystems. The guides were fantastic, especially Haupt at Namari Plains and Baraka at Mara River Tented Camp. The accommodations were top-shelf not only in terms of comfort but also their unique character and views. The views from our room at the Crater Lodge were stunning, as was the vista of the Mara River from our tent and dining area. Absolutely unforgettable!

Cherri’s office sends email details on the country, health and suggestions on activities. We felt safe our entire trip, with no worry about Covid. Several weeks before we left for the trip, Frankie sent a spiral-bound book with every detail. Perfect reference and planning guide! She was always available to answer questions!

Frankie made sure we stayed in great tents at each camp, and she secured the Helen Suite at Giraffe Manor, which meant we had a visit each morning from Edd, the hungry giraffe. We so enjoyed our Tree Lodge area room at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Here, they created a special cake for dessert with a surprise chorus singing beautiful music. Everyone in the dining room got to enjoy and celebrated with cake. Many special details were arranged for us to celebrate our anniversary and Tom’s birthday at each stay. We appreciated these personal details! Also, the air travel and ground transfer logistics intra-trip came off without a hitch. Frankie also arranged for an escort thru the airport when we arrived in Kilimanjaro and as we left Nairobi. That made our trip much easier and less stressful.

The wildebeest migration/crossing, doing the Serengeti Balloon Safari at dawn and the experiences at Giraffe Manor (including a visit to the elephant orphanage) were highlights of an overall fantastic trip!

Cherri coordinates South Africa adventures with Road Scholar. I was the 15th participant on their small-group tour...
Lisa Lenrow | October 10, 2022

After a wonderful experience due to Wendy’s recommendation for visiting Morocco, I contacted her for solo itineraries to South Africa. She recommended Cherri, who coordinates South Africa adventures with Road Scholar. I was the 15th participant on their small-group tour, Southern Africa Safari and Train Adventure, from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, in mid-September 2022.

This was my first trip with Road Scholar and it will not be my last. The trip exceeded my expectations. I felt safe and welcomed by the group leader and all the participants. A highlight for me was the delicious wine in Stellenbosch, followed by Boulders Beach and the African penguin colony. The favorite part of the trip for me was the exquisite service and elegance of the Rovos Rail. What a way to travel to Zimbabwe…morning lectures, afternoon excursions, delicious meals with South African wine pairings, and the peaceful rolling of the train lulled me to sleep.

The game drives didn’t disappoint either. Every one was better than the last, with up-close sightings of all the big five plus so much more. It was incredible following a pride of lions and spotting giraffes, kudu, elephants and so many other animals and birds. I will also always treasure interacting and feeding elephants. It was especially rewarding that part of my trip cost contributed to the Victoria Wildlife Trust as well as supported the local community. Interacting with residents and students was genuine and meaningful.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the splendor of Victoria Falls. I was blessed to see the Falls flowing with water and spotted with a rainbow. It was cathartic and the first of the seven natural wonders that I’ve been honored to experience.

At each turn, the group leader and local specialists provided the right amount of educational content along with their charming personalities. I am so grateful that I took the leap and opened my heart to meeting new people and new adventures. The trip was incredible; the memories and friendships will stay with me forever.

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