Youd be hard pushed to find a traveller who hasnt heard of the Serengeti, or a luxury-lover who doesnt know of Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. But those in the know, whove been visiting Tanzania for years, want the best in luxury safari holidays, not the best known. Ten years ago I lived in Dar es Salaam, and since then Ive been back and forth to Tanzania trying to find the best of the best, so that I can introduce my clients to the country I love. Ive been to world-famous game reserves, and wilderness areas that few outsiders have ever heard of (Pare Mountains anyone?) to come up with my list of Tanzanias properties that deliver the ultimate luxuries: charm, beauty and unforgettable memories. Beho Beho, Selous Game Reserve In spite of years travelling the globe in considerable style, all travel experts have their favourites, the treasures wed pay to return to again and again. For me, this place is Beho Beho, in the Selous Game Reserve. Staff welcome guests as old friends, the guides are amongst the best Ive ever had, and the food is out of this world. Best of all, the Selous is the size of Switzerland, so you dont share the experience. Sayari, Northern Serengeti When I first went to the Northern Serengeti, we drove for hours without seeing a soul, and accommodation was almost impossible to come by. With the wildlife and beauty of the Masai Mara, but none of the visitors, the rest of the world has caught on, and this area is big news for 2012. One of the few places where visitors stand a chance of enjoying a river crossing to themselves, there are just two permanent camps here. My pick of the bunch is Sayari, which has blossomed from a seasonal mobile camp into a serious luxury camp, with game viewing and views to die for. The Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam Normally, a hotel in Dar es Salaam is simply a place to crash out before an early morning flight. The Oyster Bay has changed all of this. Such is the warmth of the welcome and the charm of the staff, its rapidly becoming a destination by itself. When a hotels standby supper is effortlessly produced lobster, delicious enough to satisfy one of Londons toughest restaurant critics (a dinner companion on my last visit), you know youre on to something special. Greystoke, Mahale Mountains In an era when it seems that every hotel has a pillow menu, wi-fi in the bath, and 1,000 TV channels, a mere few cater to those who like their luxuries a little more authentic. Intrepid travellers will find their ultimate reward at Greystoke Mahale. A six hour flight from the Serengeti on one of the worlds most beautiful lakes, Greystokes location is second to none. My visit delivered spine-tingling chimp viewing, swimming in the clearest water, and shooting stars like burning balls of fire. Id actually be nervous to return, in case it didnt live up to my memories, but each of my clients comes back similarly entranced. Mwagusi, Ruaha National Park Its hard to put a price on adventure, but in our safe and largely circumscribed lives, its certainly a luxury worth travelling for. The Ruaha National Park delivers in spades. Wild dogs making kills in camp and elephants blocking the path to dinner- it always seems to happen here. Its rare that I have a guest return from the Ruaha without a glint in their eye and a thrilling tale of adventure. Pack your bags – you wont regret it. Alexandra Matts is a Director at Exsus. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.
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