We're back safe and sound in Edinburgh having had the most amazing time.
Everywhere we stayed was fabulous - great rooms, locations and with helpful, knowledgeable and passionate staff.
The Olakira tented camp was a real highlight - such an experience to go to sleep surrounded by the sounds of zebra and hyena (and to wake up to find paw prints just outside the tent door!) .
Our safari guide (Kevin) was fantastic - really going out of his way to make sure we got the most from our Safari time, and we saw more than we could have hoped in terms of the wildlife. Watching three cheetah brothers stalk and then take down a wildebeest is the sort of thing we thought we'd only ever watch courtesy of David Attenborough - we feel very privileged to have seen (and heard!) this spectacle first hand.
And then there were all the lions (cubs, mating and all), the cheetah mum and her 4 playful cubs, and 400,000 migrating wildebeest thrown in for good measure! The only thing we failed to see "properly" was a leopard. We did catch a glimpse of one hiding in a bush, but he seemed intent on not putting on a display for us. I suppose we'll just have to go back to Africa in the future and try again!
Zanzibar was a real contrast to Safari and we were so pleased you recommended to do the safari portion first. I don't think we have ever enjoyed a swim and a shower quite so much as we did our first ones at Matemwe - we'd never realised it was physically possible to get so so dusty!
Matemwe was an idyllic place to spend some quality R&R time. And in general we did very little other than laze about by the pools. We did go on a snorkelling trip, and also did a spice tour (really interesting and e have returned to the UK with a freshly stocked supply of vanilla pods and various other spices) and had a quick look at Stone Town, but by and large we just enjoyed the sun, the sea and the cocktails!
All flights and connections went off without a hitch. Flying in the small bush planes and taking off from the N'Dutu airstrip was great, as were the views over the Serengeti, the Maasai village we visited and the Great Rift escarpment. A real bonus on the flight from Dar es Saalem to Heathrow was to pass Mount Kilimanjaro on a perfectly clear day. Stunning.
All the unpacking is done and just the photos need to be sorted through!
Thanks again for all your assistance - we really did have the best time and would thoroughly recommend you to our friends and others. If we are ever lucky enough to return to Africa again we will certainly be in touch.