Upon our initial arrival to the Serengeti at the Grumeti airstrip from Arusha (a surprisingly vibrant city of 400,000 and the home of most everyone who works in the Serengeti), our bush plane was greeted by a large herd of Impala which prevented us from landing until our pilot buzzed the runway. From that first introduction, and for the balance of our safari experience, we were blown away by the sheer magnitude of wildlife which exists in this magical (and thankfully protected) corner of the world.
As we approached our tent upon return to camp late afternoon on the first day, our path was crossed first by a small group of Warthog running by, followed by encountering several Rock Hyrax (a rodent similar in size to a large hamster) resting on the steps leading up to our stilted luxury tent, only to be capped off by seeing a pair of Baboons sitting comfortably in the chairs outside the front entry! While the sun was setting with a brilliant orange-red hue behind a Kopjes (a large rock formation) adjacent to our camp, and as we were enjoying a refreshing drink on the deck outside, we listened to a cacophony of Hippos grunting in the nearby water hole, Elephants trumpeting in the nearby thicket of trees, and Lions roaring off in the distance.
Our safari happened to occur during the great northward migration of the Wildebeest, and at one point our guide (who is a magnificent, knowledgeable guide possessing a gentle spirit) had to stop the vehicle for approximately twenty minutes as he estimated 15-20,000 Wildebeest ran by us in a thundering cloud of dust. Though there were innumerable amazing encounters, both in life and death, with the myriad animals we were blessed to observe, one of the most tender highlights was being able to witness a male and female lion during their “ceremony”, wherein they part from the rest of the pride for several days to mate.
Having your urban life interrupted by such a dose of pure nature in its rawest form somehow becomes a very existential experience which lets you know, no matter how much we try to manipulate our own life, there is a certain order to the world of which we are inexorably a part. A certain peace is gained while being in the wild that makes you realize that everything happens for a reason, and that all is as it should be. What started out as a dream trip on our “bucket list” has transformed our perspective and become a life-altering experience which we will repeat whenever we need to renew our spirit.
Amy and Steve Gunther
Lions passing in front of a herd of Cape buffalo.
Two zebra friends passing time together.
The DeRose family and their ADS guide, having a good time on safari!