Springtime in the Serengeti

I just don’t know where to start regarding this trip.  I have been living in Europe for almost 25 years.  I have been wanting to go on a safari for a very long time, but for one reason or another it never happened. In the fall a couple of friends came to me and said they were planning on going on a safari for Spring Break, and they asked if I would like to join them.  I agreed without a hesitation.

Before I knew it, Spring was in the air, and the trip was around the corner. The talk centered around what clothes and other essentials to take.  Then finally the day arrived. We left Venice, changed planes a couple of times and arrived in Arusha.  We were met at the airport by the staff of ADS who helped us with the visas.  The next thing we knew we had our luggage and were on our way to the first hotel!  It was gorgeous!  We were surprised at the luxurious accommodations!  We ate lunch outside, did some shopping at the cultural center, and enjoyed a delicious dinner.  We ended our evening being entertained with the preparation of an Irish coffee.  It was the perfect ending for our first day!

The second day we took a short flight to the Central Serengeti.  We met our two guides.  They were fantastic!  They were so knowledgeable about all aspects of our trip.  The first animals we saw were hyenas!  We hadn’t been in the jeep for 3 minutes when we saw the first one!  He was walking toward our jeep, so we had to stop for photos.  He stopped near a ditch, and his friend made his appearance.  We were so happy to see animals.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning!

What did we see the first day?  Velvet monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, a leopard sleeping in a tree.  Out guide kept moving the jeep for the best views!  Next a giraffe, some guinea fowl, and then baboons, and all of this before our first box lunch!  He pulled out a map, and explained the areas we would be exploring that day.  We saw our first termites’ nest, then elephants, lions, gazelles and 2 more leopards!  As we were driving to our tented lodge we saw so many animals living harmoniously together:  birds, hippos, dik diks, monkeys, giraffes and LOTS of elephants!  When I thought about taking this trip, I really wanted to see the animals in their natural habitat.  I never imagined that we’d see so many animals on our first day of the safari!  We stood on the seats of the jeep with our heads out of the roof, looked wide-eyed at the animals, and enjoyed the breeze through our hair (make sure your hat is strapped on tightly!).

Animals, animals and more animals…..each day was special for different reasons.  Here are a few highlights: a leopard hunting a dik dik (he managed to get away safely!), hippo pool (they are huge!), monkeys in trees watching us, lions (mom with 2 cubs 1 day, then a pride of 8 the next day, then 2 males that were enjoying a zebra breakfast), zebras leading wildebeests on the great migration (they walked in lines!). We were able to drive in the middle of the Serengeti, get out of the jeep, and see zebras and wildebeests as far as we could see in EVERY direction.  It was as if we were a part of a National Geographic documentary!

One day we were on the look-out for big cats, and we were not disappointed! We came upon 4 cheetahs: mom and 3 cubs.  She was teaching them to hunt!  They had captured a baby gazelle (our guide thought it was a couple of days old).  Eventually they killed and ate it.

But the experience did not end there!  The mother went to sleep under our jeep, but this is still not the end.  One of the cubs jumped on the hood of our jeep!  He walked back and forth several times hitting the windshield. He played with the side mirror, and he stood up on the windshield.  All the while our guide was calmly telling us to remain quiet!  We took some incredible photos, and had a great story to tell!

We even managed to see some rhinos while we were in the Ngorongoro Crater.  There was a short rain shower, followed by a rainbow.  We thought that was the perfect ending for our morning!  But the adventure continued into the afternoon.  One of the last animals we saw that day was an elephant.  He was walking toward our jeep.  I snapped a photo, and he kept coming closer.  I snapped another photo and decided maybe I should not be standing on the seat (he was really getting close!).  At the last moment he turned, went around both of our jeeps and continued to walk.  It wasn’t until after I was looking at the pictures that I realized how incredibly big this elephant was!

I cannot say enough about this trip!  It surpassed anything that I ever imagined.  We were taken care of the entire time.  Our tour guides were the BEST!  The entire experience was incredible, but the guides made our experience unforgettable.  Their ability to locate the animals was unbelievable.

They shared their knowledge of the animals and their stories with us.  They would position the jeep so that the sun was at a perfect angle for our pictures.  They were up at the crack of dawn, guided us all day, and would get us to our lodge each evening.  We were patiently and kindly taken care of each day.  We couldn’t have been in better hands.  I would recommend this trip with African Dream Safari to anyone who is interested in going on a safari to the Serengeti!

Diane Anderson
April 2011

One Response to Springtime in the Serengeti

  1. Bill says:

    Great photos Diane, that pic of the leopard under the Land Cruiser is truly very rare. They “never” come that close to the vehicle, I thought. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. Bill

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