Our Serengeti Plains trip with African Dream Safaris

Our Serengeti Plains trip with African Dream Safaris

Our group of 4 toured the Serengeti Plains with African Dream Safaris arriving April 11, 2011and departing April 18, 2011. The experience was everything I had hoped for and more. Dawn Anderson set pretty high expectations with the suggested itinerary. It was even better than that.

Our flight contained a bonus – an overview of the Serengeti with stops at Manyara, Kogatende and Grumeti, before Seronera. Our guide met us at the airplane. He matched up well with our group. Peter was skilled at finding game animals, helped to interpret their social interactions, and we often spoke of the inter-relationships between the animals and their environment. He also had a keen eye for birds, which he could quickly identify; I liked that! In addition, Peter was a good traveling companion to our group. We had a wide variety of conversations traveling, and in the evenings. He kept things light, informative, and had a good sense of humor. We were comfortable with him and enjoyed his company.

We saw more animals than I thought we would. Around Seronera, we saw a large variety of animals. Peter could spot leopards in a tree when others could not (including one in a sausage tree ½ mile from the Seronera airport). The hippos at Retima Pool in the morning and experiencing about 100 elephants walking down through a large meadow and passing so close to our vehicle we could almost touch them were highlights. The herds of impala cavorted and had mock battles in the morning in the same area. The giraffes were majestic.

We got some great shots of warthogs towards Moru Kopjes. And driving down the dusty main highway (it has not rained in a while) to Naabi Hill, we encountered our first serious wildebeest, with a herd about a mile long crossing the road, single file, in front of us. Quite a site!

Gol Kopjes was dry, and the big herds had already left the area. The remaining Grant’s and Thompson Gazelles looked sleek and clean. The lions, cheetahs and hyenas looked healthy and well fed. One morning we watched as a pride of lions confronted and chased off another female lion that may have wanted to join the pride.

In the Miti Mitatu area, we encounter the large, as far as the eye can see herds of wildebeest and zebras. We learn that there is a symbiotic relationship: the zebra have good eyesight, the wildebeest have a good sense of smell. We watched cheetahs (the 3 brothers) make a mad charge into the wildebeest, but fail to make a kill. Worn out from their efforts, they lay down and we leave. We do see them the next day – Peter says they are looking hungry, so apparently they did not make a kill.

We later watched a mother cheetah with 3 cubs who have found a young Thompson Gazelle. She watches while her young take turns chasing the animal and try to kill it – Nature in action. And on Saturday, after driving through the big herds for some time, we encounter a pride of lions in the open plain near a waterhole. They have fed (a young male has a potbelly from overeating) and are now sleeping. Since it is noontime, we crack open our box lunches and eat lunch in the middle of a pride of lions. We look at each other and remark “No one will believe us.” It seemed like every day, Peter would come up with another scene different or better than the day before.

On Saturday, we drive to Matiti Mountain, seeing innumerable animals and birds as we pass thru the woodlands. We have our box breakfast and tea sitting on the mountainside with the dik-dik, looking out over the green Matiti Plains. We drive 5 miles out onto the plain and visit a dead wildebeest that the buzzards and marabou storks have congregated at. The social interaction of the buzzard community is intense—much squawking, fighting, even landing on each other out of the blue.

On our trip back to Seronera to catch the plane, we travel via Kusini airstrip, then towards Moru Kopjes, and on to Seronera. We do see game all the way to Kusini, along with lions and hyenas at various times. In the area of the Simiyu River, we encounter very large herds of Wildebeests. It is impressive to see several hundred thousand of the animals all about you. Appears they are on the move. We are sorry to be leaving!

Our accommodations were excellent. Mbuzi Mawe was super. I particularly liked the Private Luxury Camp since it was just our group. It was fun sitting with our sundowners around a campfire looking out over the endless plain. The staff, food and service were excellent. Lake Masek was Kathy’s favorite as we could sit on the veranda before dinner and watch the giraffes and zebras parade by with the hippos grunting in the lake. The doves provided a musical background. Food was excellent at all the lodges and camps.

It was a superb trip. You may add our names and phone number to the ADS reference list. We would be happy to share our experiences with others.

David and Kathy Cook
San Mateo, California
April 2011

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