Thanks for the note…we are having to hit the ground running to catch up with all the work we’ve missed but the trip was absolutely magical!
We were met on time and with great care by the Nomad representative upon our arrival in Dar. The Movenpick was just fine, quick nap before our early departure to the Selous the next morning. Again an easy and pleasurable transfer to the airport in the morning. The representative took care of all our paper work and stayed with us until we boarded the plane. The quick flight to the Kiba airstrip was quick and easy. We were met buy our private guide for the next 4 days at the airstrip and off we went. The Sand Rivers was fantastic! The room was very nice. They were a little rushed upon our arrival due to departing guests and a batch of new arrivals so I guess we didn’t get met in the “perfect” Sand Rivers way but we were so excited we didn’t really notice.
Our standard cottage room at Sand Rivers was a perfect balance of luxury and raw African style. What you get by not having any windows and an open air environment you give up a little in regards to bugs and what not, but we didn’t go to Africa to shut it out, so we found it quite wonderful. The staff at the lodge were fantastic, very attentive with a helpful attitude. It never felt overwhelming but they were always there if you needed anything. Our guide Anaphie was great, good knowledge and very friendly. We saw, lions, giraffes, zebras, impalas, elephants, crocs, hippos, and a host of birds and other animals.
What can I saw about the Zanzabar and the Matemwe Retreat…it was perfect. We were met at the airport on time and with ease by the representatives from Island Express, the subcontractor of Nomads on Zanzibar. They had a very comfortable van that took us to Matemwe, about an hours drive from the airport. The driver Abdalla was very kind and knowledgeable, giving us a tour as we traveled to the Retreat. Matemwe Retreat, again it was a perfect mix of luxury and open air African rawness. I remember reading some reviews on tripadvisor.com just before we left that seemed to be a bit mixed, but once we got there we couldn’t imagine anything better. If you were worried about a little bird pooh on your porch or a few bugs, etc. then you should stay somewhere with windows and shut it all out, but Vanessa and I love the setting and experience. The special thing about the Matemwe Retreat is that you are taken care of from the minute you arrive. You have a personal “butler/room attendant” that is at your service your whole stay. They bring you three amazing meals a day (well breakfast and dinner were better then lunch but still quite fine). They make sure the bar is stocked with whatever you desire. They set up all your activities and work with you to create your menu’s for the day. The other great thing about the Retreat is that it is all inclusive, meals, drinks and laundry, even when you venture down to the main resort the drinks are on the house. They even offer free snorkeling to the atoll off the coast with the room cost. They had great honeymoon surprises from champagne bubble baths set up to various flower arrangements on the bed. The other big bonus at the Retreat is besides your room being its own building the roof has an amazing sun deck and dipping pool. We spent hours just relaxing up there watching the local fishermen sail their dhows to and from work as the wind swayed the palm trees…easy living. We loved our time at Matemwe Retreat, we were so spoiled that if we were to return we would only want to stay at the Retreat and not the Bungalows. We got a chance to fish with local fishermen, snorkel and on the last day we added on a tour of Stone Town before we were delivered to the airport. Since Island Express was our transportation they just added on a $70 charge for a four hour tour. Our guide, was great (can’t remember his name!), he made sure we felt comfortable as we visited the cramped markets and streets of Stone Town and stayed with us all the way until we were checked onto our flight. Perfect!
Upon our arrival back in Dar we were met by the same guide for our fist night. He picked us up and transfered us to the Dar’s International terminal. Our layover was 5 hours and he was kind enough to set us up at the Flamingo Room. There they allowed us to dine, drink, play cards and read until our flight. We even had a Masi porter, he was great.
So all in all we are very pleased with our experience and thank you for putting together what was an absolutely wonderful honeymoon!
J + V