Family planning, Crusoe-style.
Don’s 75th birthday was approaching, and this was a milestone that called for a family celebration. Don and Susan had traveled with their three sons over the years, but now there were also three daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.
Careful planning would be critical. So Don called R. Crusoe (they had traveled with us previously) and got the ball rolling.
Destination? Tanzania, for a grand safari.
“We had never traveled with the extended family before,” says Susan. “Tanzania was the first time.”
“Before we went any further planning the trip, our first question was whether this was an appropriate undertaking for the younger grandchildren, the eight-year-olds. Kiran Chand at R. Crusoe encouraged us to do it. She said it would be a great trip for all of us, the children and the adults.”
Kiran was right.
“It was an incredible trip,” Susan says. “We touched down in Arusha, and Kiran had us stay at the Coffee Lodge for two days. That was just an excellent plan. It allowed us to acclimate and unwind and rest. It was a great introduction to Tanzania, beautifully done.”
Then the family began their safari. First stop: Tarangire National Park, slightly off the main safari route and a lovely, quiet reserve known for its elephants, birds, and ancient baobab trees.
On to Lake Manyara, home to the legendary tree-climbing lions. Dramatic Ngorongoro Crater. Olduvai Gorge, where the Doctors Leakeys conducted much of their anthropological research. Into the Serengeti Plains to witness the Great Migration. Then back to Arusha and home.
“I had always heard that travel in Africa necessitated that you get out early in the mornings to go on safari. But Kiran knew that the children, especially the younger ones, needed more time to get ready. So
she arranged for our morning game drives to start later, and that was great for the children and the adults.”
The grandchildren loved the animals, but they were also thrilled to be with their cousins. And on game drives, they thought being able to stand on the seats of the 4x4 vehicle and stick their heads out of the roofs was cool. What kid wouldn’t?
Susan says they always felt safe and well taken care of, thanks to Kiran’s meticulous planning. “She did a very thorough job of preparing our family, even down to explaining the importance of taking soft-sided luggage, health information, etc.”
And the family was surprised by birthday celebrations held for Don along the way. Susan recalls many instances, but one in particular comes to mind: “The staff at our camp in the Serengeti performed a traditional song and dance around our table in honor of Don’s birthday. That was just one of many overtures that made us feel really special.”
“Our grandchildren are city kids,” explains Susan. “On safari, they got to appreciate the animals and the wilderness. The eight-year-old boys, as you would expect, needed space to run around and burn up some of their energy, and the camps were wonderful for that.
“The children will remember the trip forever,” she adds. “One of them wrote an essay for school, and though he described all the animals he saw, much of the essay was about being with family. He also wrote about how well informed our guides were. That left a lasting impression.”
Bravo to the family, and a very happy birthday to Don.