For years, our friends The Bucket List Family have told us about this amazing resort. The best people they said, the most amazing rooms, delicious food, and the best spot to find wildlife-- right outside your door. They were RIGHT.
TAASA lived up to all the hype and still surpassed our wildest adventure dreams.
We caught a LITTLE (see below) plane on a dirt air strip with a gate # that was written on a piece of wood with a marker. We watched planes take off and land every 30 minutes or so and the anticipation was killing us! After 3 days in Rwanada and 3 days exploring Ngororo Crater we had already seen some very impressive wildlife: Black Rhino, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, cape buffalo and even very Lion King-esque warthogs. But we still hadn't seen a lion or a cheetah and we were really hoping to catch a glimpse of these wild cats.
As excited as we were to experience a true Serengethi safari, it was knowing that we'd get to do with some of our very best friends that made us want to just YELL as soon as our plane rolled up to us. The Gees, the Madsens, the Bucks, and Derek Hough and Hayley Hebert were all waiting for us when we landed.
We got our bags, walked toward the tarmac, when a wild mane of red hair attacked me! It was Natalie Madsen! She and her husband Alex were on our plane unbeknownst to any of us and it was the most memorable reunion. We gave each other the biggest hug and I plopped right next to her, so we could peer out the window together.
45 minutes later, we arrived. Our friends greeted us on the runway and we were off for another wonderful adventure. We were greeted with snacks and drinks and hopped in our safari Landcruisers-- off to TAASA which was about a 30 minute drive.
We saw ALL the animals along the way and stopped to take pictures every few minutes. THIS was the African Safari we had hoped for. Wild grass that reached to the horizon, towering trees that looked like giraffes from a distance (maybe some of them were), bumpy dirt roads, and binoculars in hand, But truly, we didn't need the binoculars, because we'd soon find out that safari at TAASA meant going with highly trained guides and drivers that knew exactly where to find the animals, and could somehow, magically park. Right. Next. To them.
We arrived at the resort and wow. No words... just pics. Check this place out! They thought of everything and as we sat down in our room on our luxurious couch I couldn't help but wonder HOW ON EARTH THEY GOT EVERYTHING THERE! What a journey.
Our room overlooked the valley -- it was the perfect spot for morning workouts with roaming giraffes and elephants in the not so distant distance. (our last night we had a pride of LIONS sleep outside our door. LIONS).
We were assigned Masaii warriors who would walk us to our rooms night or day so we wouldn't walk alone and they could protect us. As beautiful and romantic our surrounding were-- we were always keenly aware that they were also very dangerous.
We spent 4 nights at TAASA and loved every minute. The food was delicious, the staff was so friendly and so accommodating, and the resort was magnificently peaceful and wild yet luxurious. Every day we’d go on a day safari that ranged from 3 hours to 10 hours (always be prepared with food and snacks because your 3 hour journey may go A LOT longer than you planned). We switched trucks every day and had so much fun visiting with different friends.
One day they surprised with lunch out in the bush! Beautiful tables were set up with a delightful buffet. It felt very Banana Republic meets Jungle Book. A cheetah chased its prey in the distance and we went and saw him chomping away after we ate—it was definitely surreal. One of the best memories we made was during our night safari. You bundle up in warm clothes and under warm blankets and go exploring in the dead of the night. From a distance we hear a lion roar and off we went to find him—our guides were incredible. We found the lion and a pride of lionesses—6 in total. It was absolutely breathtaking.
All in all, it was definitely the most magical, memorable experience our family has ever had. Sharing it with such dear friends definitely kicked it up a notch. We had such a great time, we sent my parents there a couple months later. It’s definitely something worth saving up for—a trip of a lifetime without a doubt.