More Than We Dreamed
When Andy proposed that we go on safari I was nervous and unsure. Then he showed me your website and I read the testimonials, and in truth, I thought they were probably made up. But, Andy had his heart set on this as it was one of his life long dreams, so I went along with it. One of the best decisions I ever made.
ADS made us feel special right from the start. We were greeted as we disembarked in Kilimanjaro, our passports and visa forms collected, and we were able to sit and wait while our greeter went to the front of the line and got our documents processed. We were out of the immigration and customs area in record time. We were then turned over to our guide and driver, Manuel and Matteus, who took us to our hotel, explained what to expect, and agreed to meet us the next day to take us around Arusha. The Mount Meru Hotel was beautiful. A very nice property.
I am going to skip the day we spent in Arusha so I can get to the safari. We flew on a small plane from Arusha to the Serengeti. The pilot took a detour and flew us over the Ngorogoro Crater and then another detour to show us an arial view of a Hippo Pool. So beautiful!
When we landed in the Serengeti we were met by our guide Claud. He was very nice and helpful. We got in the Land Rover and away we went. We almost immediately came upon a large lion pride eating after a kill. The pride was big and included and alpha male and two other grown males. This attracted a bunch of cars. Claud got us to a spot with a good view, but then he did something that showed me he is truly a special guide. He said we might get a better look on the other side, and so we drove around, and saw it all from a different angle. This included a large lioness sleeping in a tree and a bunch of cubs lounging near a water hole. We were in awe.
We drove around and came across a herd of giraffes, and this is where we parked and had lunch, with the giraffes eating all around us. It was magical.
The day went on with sighting after sighting. Claud always had answers to our questions, no matter how obscure. By the end of the day we had seen 23 different animals and birds, including a rare cereal, cape buffalo, ostrich, bat eared fox, hartebeast, topi, black backed jackel, crocodiles, storks, hippos, warthogs, dik diks, impala, elephants, monkeys and more.
One of the most amazing things is that every single day we saw animals eating their prey. We came upon a group of lionesses who had just taken down a cape buffalo. They were exhausted, but opened it so their cubs could eat. They also growled off a male that was not part of their pride. He stood a ways back watching longingly. We stayed for a while and then moved on.
We saw cheetahs at a kill, they were finished eating and went to lounge on some rocks. A jackel then came up grabbed a piece of the carcass and ran away with it. He kept coming back and taking pieces and hiding them. It was fabulous to watch. We also came upon a herd of elephants crossing the road. We saw a tree full of lions, and finally came up to a group of about 1000-1500 wildebeasts and zebras who were migrating.
Driving back to camp we went past the lion kill and it was wild. The kill was being attacked by vultures, storks and all manner of birds. The lionesses were down by a watering hole. With the gathering cars, the lionesses lost sight of the kill and one of them made her way up the hill to get rid of them. They flew off immediately upon seeing her. It was very interesting because she had to walk right between some cars to get to the kill and it did not even phase her. We watched as she started to feed again when we saw right in front of our car the lion of the pride making his way to the kill. He started eating, kind of growled her off, and flipped the buffalo quite easily. It was incredible to watch.
Then it was back to the camp. On the way we saw two leopards. Very cool.
Our days were filled with amazing sights. It was just incredible that every day, every hour brought us to more and more miraculous sights.
The most miraculous was on about our third day in the bush. We were driving to our camp passing through a herd of zebras when Claud said “zebra giving birth!” and drove off road a bit so we had a good spot to watch. The baby was about half out when we got there. We watched as he started trying to knock the amniotic sack off of his head and got free of the rest of it. After just a few minutes he was trying to stand. His mom was helping him, while she still had the afterbirth hanging from her. Within just 15 minutes he was up and walking. His dad came over and nudged him. It was so sweet.
Another amazing thing happened on one of the last days at the lodge. I was sitting outside as were about 50 other guests. I was having some tea and I had a couple of cookies. I also had these two little donut things, but I did not have the jam to put on them, so they were just on the table next to me. All of a sudden this black thing came charging up to me and stopped at the table. Looking me right in the eye was a blue monkey. He took one of the donuts. The other one rolled to the back of the table. He looked at me again, and then knocked something over to get the other one. With one in each hand he looked up at me and then ran off to the middle of the lawn to eat his donuts. It was awesome!
Sharon, this safari exceeded our wildest hopes. Claud was responsible for much of this. He knew where to find animals, was patient, so he was not in a rush to move from sighting to sighting, which afforded us a chance to really see the animals naturally. I would recommend him as a guide to anyone! He is absolutely a tremendous asset to ADS.
Attached are some of our pictures of our adventures in Tanzania. Thank you for arranging such a great trip!
Please feel free to use this testimony and have anyone contact us if they are interested in talking about what to expect.
Susan and Andy R.
Los Gatos, California
Safari Dates: January 28, 2013 to February 4, 2013