Our Dream Vacation

When we started planning our first big vacation about a year ago, even before we decided on a destination, we called it our dream vacation of a lifetime. Eventually we narrowed it down to the Serengeti and by a twist of fate ended up using Africa “Dream” Safaris. ADS planned our dream vacation and our guide, Raphael, made it come true.

When we arrived at the airstrip in the Serengeti on the first day about noon we expected to get settled and oriented. Instead we saw more that first day than we expected to see the entire safari. And each day’s adventures seemed to exceed the previous day. The number of sightings of so many different animals was impressive, and I won’t go into detail, but what stays in our memory the most is the vista of migratory animals (wildebeests and zebras) as far as the eye could see in all directions. The Serengeti was beautiful and would have been (almost) worth the trip even without the animals.

Our guide, Raphael, was remarkable. Often we were the first and sometimes only observers at the most interesting sightings. Even when we weren’t the first, Raphael anticipated the animal’s movements and had us in the best position. He was knowledgeable about all the animals, providing insight and answering all our questions. He seemed to enjoy the sightings as much as we did.

I cannot imagine what the safari would have been like without ADS. With Dawn’s guidance we were well prepared. We worked hard to learn all we could and get everything ready and packed within the luggage limits. That was actually part of the fun and anticipation of the trip. Each day we were on the road around 7 AM and returned about 5 PM. All of our lunches and all but two of our breakfasts were on game drives. We are 68 years old and had no trouble standing up to the rigors of the twelve day (ten in the field) safari. But anyone deciding to go on a Serengeti safari should make sure they really want to do it. We did, and it was a dream come true.

We have included some pictures, but pictures cannot do justice to the vast magnitude of this unique area of the earth and the great migration phenomenon.

Stephen and Mariglyn Glenn
Friendswood, TX
January 2012

2 Responses to Our Dream Vacation

  1. Mary Lou says:

    Beautiful pics! I am encouraged, since I am 67 and was wonderiing about doing a trip like this at my age. But I am in good shape, so it should be fun! What photo equipment did you use? thanks!

  2. Stephen Glenn says:

    The camera I used was a Canon SX30 IS. A photography expert friend helped me pick it out especially for this trip. I thought it was the perfect camera. It seemed to be the best tradeoff between picture quality and portability. It has a large lens but it is not interchangeable. With its large zoom capability and image stabilization I got some great pictures. On safari you are so close you don’t even need the maximum zoom very often. If that isn’t enough the camera takes great videos so you don’t need a separate video camera. You soon realize that one of the main attractions of animals in the wild is how they move. I found myself taking more videos and less still pictures as time went on. Be sure to take enough batteries and memory cards as backups. I found that a battery would last at least a day on a charge and was always able to charge it at night but sometimes it was difficult as power wasn’t on all night. I also found that I could get at least 2 days of still and videos on a 15 GB SD card, but your mileage might vary. I downloaded the picture and video data to my laptop every night, but used a new SD card so I did not have delete any data and could retain the SD card as a backup. A tip: be sure to set Tanzania time in the camera so the pictures will be time tagged correctly.

    We were in pretty good shape for our age and had no problem being on the road for 10 hours a day. If you do tire you can always ask the guide to get you back to the lodge earlier (or leave later) but it is pretty hard to stop once you get started. We hated to see the day end. The most rigorous part of the tour is getting there (and back). We stayed three days in Amsterdam but should have probably stated only two or even one good day to rest up. I would recommend that you spend the first and last night in Arusha. The flight out of Kilimanjaro leaves late and was very tiring getting through the airport. Had we not spent the previous night in Arusha to get a good rest, we would have been pushed to our limit.

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