In the Pool
Crystal Clear Waters
On the Melia Grounds
On the Grounds
Lunch at Gabi Beach
Sunset on the Evening Cruise
Up top on the Cruise
Not Mykonos, Different but Cool
Dinner in the Private Level
Breakfast at Spice Market Restaurant
Lunch at Gabi Beach
For me, This morning’s breakfast was in the Spice Market Restaurant. Man I missed the Jetty. I love that intimate place. Today, everybody was doing their own optional activities. Some went on the Spice tour, others were planning the sunset cruise and some like Vera Brown and Sonya Fife were doing both. In between times some went to GABI BEACH to hang out or to have lunch. I used my down time to rest and enjoy my suite.
This all inclusive resort in Zanzibar, the city beginning with a “Z” was the perfect ending to an idyllic vacation. Each of our 3 properties have included breakfast, lunch and dinner – Awesome Sauce! and I might add that the meals have all been on point and truly a foodie’s delight. The MELIA sits on expansive acreage. There is even a private beach (Gabi) a mile away, accessible by golf carts driven by staff. This morning I was invited to THE LEVEL for dinner so after the sunset cruise, my family ((Katrina and Phil) and myself were driven to THE LEVEL. We dined on lobster tails, fish, lamb chops, and chicken perfectly grilled by a Chef from Nepal and entertained by a group getting down with sounds of Kool and the Gang, Stevie and others.
The sunset cruise was as Deborah Berhel pointed out, “different but nice”. I tell you it was no repeat of my yachts and catamarans in Mykonos and Negril but this is Zanzibar.
In the morning, one last breakfast for me at the Jetty and then we roll out of here at noon for our charter flight to Dar Es Salaam where we will all have a day room at the 5 Star Serena Dar Es Salaam to relax and then have dinner until our late night flight to Amsterdam. Earlier today I messaged the hotel to book a final spa treatment upon my arrival there. With my grueling schedule, my body needs all that goodness for my well-being. I will be home less than a week then it’s back in the air and off for 3 weeks in Morocco and Marseille with 2 groups.
My friends, I hope you have enjoyed reading about this awesome Kattrax adventure as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you. It’s been a grand experience.
Photo credits: Katrina Peoples, Sonya Fife, Paula Smith & Alton James
On the way to the beach
Manhole Cover Zanzibar Style
Breakfast at the Jetty Restaurant – Solo
Joined by Family Phil and Katrina
At the Jetty
Private Dining, Great Ambiance
Dinner at Jafferji House Rooftop Restaurant
Many maze like alleyways
One of Stone Town’s Markets
Anglican Church/Former Site of Slave Market
On the Way To the Hotel’s Beach
This morning I was determined to have breakfast at the Jetty. So I set my alarm for 8am and made my way. It’s located at the tip end of the Jetty. It’s quaint, very intimate and yes, it is the Kat’s Meow. Yes, serve me. I detest buffets. I practically had the place to myself until Katrina and Phil joined me. It was such a beautiful setting and there was no rush to leave. I’m sure we were there a couple of hours; just chillin’.
This afternoon the group was set for the Stone Town tour. Stone Town is the older part of Zanzibar City. One of the highlights but quite sobering and chilling is the site of the former slave market which where later the Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church was built. Built on the location of the whipping post from the island’s largest slave market. The Church was built by the third Bishop of Zanzibar and famous abolitionist, Edward Steere. Steere is buried behind the main altar, as he died a few weeks prior to its completion. The grounds also hosts one of the most famous Slave Monuments in the entire world.
Zanzibar was one of the largest Slave ports in the vast Indian Ocean Slave trade, which was dominated by Arab slave traders. Although best known today as an island paradise, there are many reminders of Zanzibar’s dark history in the slave trade around Stone Town and across the island.
The slaves were shipped here in boats from the mainland, crammed so tightly that many fell ill and died or were thrown overboard. Dozens of slaves including women and children were imprisoned for days in crowded cellars with little air, no food or toilets.
We walked through the maze of alleyways, seeing the sights, smelling the scents of the market; and soaking up the local color while enjoying the education but now most were ready to make our way to JAFFERJI HOUSE ROOFTOP RESTAURANT. Our guide cautioned us it was 4 flights of stairs. Well I don’t know about his counting but it was more like 9 flights. Heck, he had already walked us 5 miles through the town; another extra few flights of stairs wasn’t going to make a difference.
At the Spice Market Restaurant. Woman Preparing Breads
Beautiful Grounds at Melia Hotel
At the Buffet
Spice Market Restaurant
Phillip, Our CoPilot
With Masai Warriors – Dinner Entertainment
Katrina at the Lavish Buffet
The Jetty Bar
Dinner Tonight at Spice Market
Leaving Serengeti Serena
Ngorongoro Crater flying Over
We said goodbye to Serena and the Serengeti today. One final game drive en route to the airstrip for our flight to Zanzibar. It was a 2 hour flight to the tiny island 50 km off the coast of the mainland. It’s a Muslim country, in the Indian Ocean. We flew over the Ngorongoro Crater on our way. What an awesome sight to behold from the air. After arriving, once situated with our ground handlers, we had an hour drive to the MELIA ZANZIBAR. Once Goldie got management straight and everyone settled in their rooms; it was all good.
The Melia is an all inclusive luxury resort on an amazing beach of white sands. Its 5 restaurants serve local and international specialties. Our first night, some dined at the pool bar while others dined at the Spice Market Restaurant. In a word, the dining experience was amazing as was the Entertainment that followed with the Masai warriors doing their thing. I anxiously anticipate what’s in store for us tomorrow on our STONE TOWN TOUR. Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar in Tanzania. Stay tuned!
Serengeti Serena Lodge… I should have known with a name like “SERENA” it had to be a winner. From the moment we set foot on this property, we have been shown nothing but LOVE, pure and unadulterated LOVE. This being my 13th visit to a Game Lodge, in Africa, I tend to pass on the drives even though each drive is special in its own right. The knowledge and expertise of the Ranger has a lot to do with the success and we had it with the 3 brothers assigned to our group.
While the others spent their time enjoying the 2 drives a day and in some cases all day; my time was spent getting rejuvenated at the Spa, resting, reflecting and preparing for upcoming international tours. At lunch yesterday, enjoying with Ms Sonia Epps, mother of Tedra Scott; the server asked me, what? no game drive? I said, No. and about that time there were about 8 zebras sipping water at the pool and out of nowhere, 2 huge buffalo appeared. I said, “See the drives come to me”. It was spectacular.
We were all told to meet at the bar before dinner. The staff had a surprise in store for us. We were led to a very private area that was set up just for us. There were 3 beautifully set tables and a bonfire for our group and our 3 Rangers, a complete buffet with the Chef and his Sous Chefs grilling fish, lamb and sausages, a total spread down to desserts. As we made our entrance the group was served flutes of champagne. We even had the drummers and dancers….all for the Kattrax Group. The spokesman told us, we were the largest ever African American group they have had and he’s been here 20 years. They were so honored to have us in their presence. Dessie AJ and Tedra had words of appreciation for the staff and our Rangers.
In closing, the entire staff paraded through singing, dancing and with a cake. They even got me up to dance. It was a beautiful farewell. Who knows? Maybe we will return some day. Tomorrow we fly to the island of ZANZIBAR. I’m excited!
Yet another name from my childhood that I thought was fictional only to grow up and discover it was a real destination. Words mainly garnered from my beloved Amos “N” Andy episodes, like The Zambezi River and Lake Titicaca. At any rate, here I am on the Serengeti and enjoying my pleasant surroundings.
We had an 8am flight from the Arusha airstrip which was a mere 5 mins from our Lodge. Now we were faced with the moment of truth. Would we all weigh in with our luggage being less than 33 lbs? Yaay! We made it and these guys were serious about weighing each bag. They split us up into 2 groups with 13 on one charter and 6 on the other. This flight would only be 60 minutes and I was fast asleep shortly after take off.
After arriving at the Seronera Airstrip, our 3 vehicles and Rangers were waiting for us. The Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge was 27 km away and the plan was to do a game drive en route. Nice! By the time we reached the Lodge, they had already seen 3 of the BIG FIVE – Elephant, Lion, and the very elusive Leopard. Upon arrival at the Lodge we were greeted by drummers, dancers and flutes of champagne and glasses of orange juice and refreshing cold towels.
There would be another drive before dinner. I passed on the game drive and made my way to the massage tent and enjoyed the African Footprint Ceremony. This is just what Dr. Kat ordered for her tired legs and feet. What a special treatment to soften, cool and hydrate. The masseuse did her thing so well I scheduled the same treatment for the next 2 days.
It’s dinner time now. I can hear the drummers beating and the dancers making their calls. Until next time…
A tired Kat after 18 hrs of flying
On the Coffee Tour
We are a cool group of 19 with only 3 new to the Kattrax Family. As usual, we have a reunion of sorts. Geralyn, Tedra and mom Sonia flew in from DC, Carol from Pittsburgh, AJ from Texas and the rest of us from Cali. We flew 10 hours into Amsterdam changed planes and then another 8 into Kilimanjaro airport. Man, we’re we tired. We were faced with challenges from the gate with the advisory that our luggage restriction was 33 lbs in soft sided luggage with specific dimensions. We all thought 44 lbs on the aircraft into Kruger was bad. Well, most were kicking and screaming but all came through with flying colors. I think Dessie gets the prize; weighing in at 14 unfreakinbelievable pounds. My power couple, Phil and Katrina who travel with 3 ginormous suitcases each to Paris, Egypt, Dubai, Vietnam, and South Africa; actually surprised the heck out of themselves each with a 21” carry on. I’m still shaking my head on everybody being so in compliance.
We all had to get Visas and yes, that’s always a headache but through it all; we made it and came through Tanzania’s Immigration In record time. The Arusha Coffee Lodge is an hour drive from the Kilimanjaro International airport. Our check in was smooth and were we delighted the Bistro was open as late as it was. We were all starving like Marvin. The Bistro stays open 24 hours. How nice!
The Lodge is gorgeous, the grounds beautiful and the service is impeccable. This would be our home for 2 nights with full board. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner). Our first day would be the tour of the town, the coffee tour and shopping at the Cultural Heritage Center. My shopaholics had their hands tied with the weight restrictions for the upcoming Charter flights. I know it was killing them to use serious restraints but they managed. We will have 2 charter planes for 3 flights as each only holds 14 passengers.
After our 2 nights we will fly to the Serengeti National Park where we will have at least 6 game drives and of course, full board. After 3 nights, we fly to the island of Zanzibar. I am so looking forward to Chillin on the beach at the Melia. Today was Ms Vera Brown’s 75th Birthday and we celebrated with her after dinner. She was overcome with joy and happiness. She is a real sweetheart and quite a Kattrax trooper.
I can’t say enough about the cuisine served here. It is truly a foodies delight. Imagine a Lodge, so all inclusive, one orders from a full menu. For breakfast I had grilled red snapper on a bed of the best sautéed spinach ever. A popular starter for dinner last night was a spicy prawn and mango salad. Being the non drinker, non shopper that I am; the spa has become my best friend. Today’s full body massage with emphasis on my feet was heavenly. No beyond heavenly and I look forward to the spas at the next 2 lodges. Lucille Johnson and Cousin Darryl Smith; your ears must be ringing because so many have asked about you. You are truly missed on this adventure . My no shopping self picked up something for you both and I’m sure you’re going to love it. Stay tuned for The Serengeti!
Photography courtesy of: Katrina Peoples
Hello my friends,
I’m coming to you straight from the KLM LOUNGE at SFO awaiting my flight to Kilamanjaro. En route to the airport I had a cancellation for the ABU DHABI and DUBAI TOUR Nov 24 thru Dec 3, 2019. My back is against the wall and if you know about contracts then you understand,.
This is a fab 5 Star trip with 3 nights in Abu Dhabi at the RITZ CARLTON GRAND CANAL and 5 nights at the 5 Star Kempinski at Emirates Mall, included are tours, tours galore, a dinner cruise and meals. Air fare is additional but reasonable from SFO.
THIS STARTED AT $2325pp. dbl Occupancy. Single supplement was $1425. But if you are a single with no one to travel with and you don’t mind missing Thanksgiving Day,; join us. We are a cool group celebrating some Sagittarius Birthdays. Thanksgiving????? I’m thankful everyday. Who needs a designated day to eat turkey?
New low, low price for a single:
$2000 plus single supplement of $712. Kat is handling the rest. Airfare is additional. To lose this room is a hit I can’t bear to take. This offer is not valid if you are already confirmed.
I’m about to board now but email me if you want a piece of this.
Sakari, aka, Kari and Kardi B, my granddaughter, daughter of DeeDee. Kari started traveling to Paris and the Caribbean at 17 months, and Dubai at 19 months. She is now 6, plays the violin, has received awards in kindergarten for Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving. Says she just has to hold a baby Koala and would love to have a birthday party in Australia. No doubt she has my DNA.
30ft Speed Boat
Junior with Mom Michelle
Loves the Water
Also also known as Lil Clarence, Junior and Baby Kat by his mom. He is the son of Michelle Redding and big Clarence. He got the name Baby Kat because as a tiny tot he liked some of the finer things in life that Kat liked; fast expensive cars, 5 Star restaurants and hotels and flying first class. He has always loved the water since his parents started taking him to Jamaica over 25 years ago. All he wanted to do was spend money jet skiing. Junior is now 33, no children but he has Gucci, his road dog, a 6 lb Yorkie. He calls Gucci a chick magnet. Smh.
He’s a Facility Manager for a large pharmaceutical company, making 6 figures. He bought his first home in Las Vegas this year and loves his toys. He says his 30 ft speed boat is a party on water giving him lots of enjoyment. He’ll sometimes tell his mom, “Come on, let’s go have some fun” and always showing her a good time no matter what they’re getting into. He has developed into a fine young man, living his best life.