When Robbin Meulemans stepped foot in Tanzania for the first time, it was love at first sight. “At the time, I was running a successful company in the European flower business,” the Dutch entrepreneur explains. “My wife and I went on a one-week safari and had the time of our life. From that first trip, we knew then that one week in Tanzania was never going to be enough for us.”
Together with his wife, Mathanje Meulemans, Robbin soon turned what was meant to be a week-long safari experience in Tanzania into a full-time passion. The couple was hooked: the beauty, the nature and the people of Tanzania were captivating. After many months of assessing the pros and the cons, the risks and the challenges, Robbin and Mathanje decided to follow their hearts. Partnering with local destination and country expert Epimark Bernard, Tanzania Specialist opened its doors to the world in 2015.
“The past 5+ years in business have been incredible,” explains Robbin Meulemans. “Looking to the next five years, we’re excited to reveal that we will be developing more services and products that are not yet offered in Tanzania. I can’t say too much right now. What I can say is that we are working on one of the best new spots in the Rift Valley. It’s going to be something absolutely unique to Tanzania and guaranteed to make for an unforgettable trip! That’s all I can say for now! Stay tuned.”
Robbin Meulemans: 5 Questions
Here we dig deep into the story behind Tanzania Specialist and hear Founder and CEO Robbin Meulemans secrets to exploring the wonderful world of Tanzania.
Tell us the story behind Tanzania Specialist.
I fell in love with Tanzania during our first safari holiday with my wife, Mathanje. This was almost a decade ago. When we came home to the Netherlands after that first trip to Tanzania, we couldn’t stop thinking about it. The landscapes, the wildlife, the culture and the amazingly warm people we met along the way. Epimark Bernard, our Tanzania expert guide, was one of those amazing people. We kept in touch upon our return home to the Netherlands.
With our minds still fixed on Tanzania, our conversations with Epimark quickly turned to business. We made the decision to officially establish a luxury safari and travel company specialising in Tanzania experiences, and Tanzania Specialist was born! Today, our family splits our time between the Netherlands and Arusha. Our oldest daughter goes to the international school in Arusha right now, while our youngest daughter stays at home learning English with our wonderful nanny. I can say that it is a pleasure and a privilege to do what we do in the most beautiful country in the world: Tanzania!
What does your dream vacation in Tanzania look like?
There are so many great highlights of Tanzania. It’s hard to select just a few! Most of our clients book their ideal Tanzania holiday with us for a week or two. So, if I had a 10-night stay, I would start with a couple of nights on a luxury safari in the Serengeti National Park. No journey to Tanzania is complete with a safari trip to the amazing Serengeti!
The next stop on my perfect Tanzania itinerary would be a couple of nights at a premium lodge with incredible views of the escarpment. One of my favourites is the Mayara Best View Lodge in the Arusha region. It’s the perfect place to relax and spend quality time with family and friends. The last half of my perfect Tanzania vacation would include visiting the iconic Ngorongoro Crater, followed by a last African safari adventure in the Tarangire National Park.
What is the biggest misconception when it comes to travel in Tanzania?
The biggest misconception is regarding the Great Wildebeest Migration. Without a doubt! Many travellers coming to Tanzania assume that the Great Migration only happens in specific months of the year. In fact, the Great Migration in Tanzania occurs all year round!
That’s where we come in at Tanzania Specialist. Our travel experts advise each of our clients on the highlights of the Great Migration, where they can see these highlights and when, as well as advising other great sights that they may not have thought of.
Some clients may wish to witness the River Crossing, which happens in June on the Grumeti River on the west of the Serengeti National Park. For clients who want to catch the wonder of the calving season, the beginning of the year in January and February are the best months to plan you trip to Tanzania. There’s an amazing variety of sights to see at any time of the year in this country. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
What makes Tanzania a magnificent travel destination?
For me, it’s three things: the wildlife, the pure, unspoiled nature and the vast diversity in landscapes. She’s got endless savanna plains, rainforests, bushlands, mountains, volcanos… The list is endless. This kind of diversity is what Tanzania makes so unique compared to the rest of Africa.
Being able to visit wildlife in their natural habitat without any fences is something that makes Tanzania stand out from other safari destinations in Africa. In Tanzania, are no fences between the National Parks. This means that animals live there not because they are forced to, but because it is their natural home and preferred habitat. This is one of the many factors that make Tanzania such a natural destination, full of wondrous moments and experiences.
Where would you like to visit in Tanzania that you haven’t yet?
I’ve been living and working in Tanzania for almost seven years now, but there are still plenty of places I want to tick off my Tanzania travel list! I would say that Rubondo Island National Park is at the top of my list. This island is located in the middle of the second largest lake in the world. It’s a lush environment that fosters a lot of wildlife. Chimpanzees, giraffes, antelope, crocodiles, monkeys and many birds all co-exist on the island. It’s recommended as one of the most memorable spots in Tanzania. Although it is quite an operation to get there, our guides tell me it is well worth the effort!
Are you ready to fall in love with Tanzania? Arrange your Tanzania vacation with the experts at Tanzania Specialist and prepare for a bespoke adventure in Africa you’ll never forget.