Truly A Bucket List Vacation
Well, after a long, very long trip back home, we are finally re-adjusted and have assimilated everything we had experienced and as we begin to share our experiences with everyone, the excitement continues to build as if we were still on our wonderful trip.
First of all, a very big thank you to Sharon for arranging a wonderful itinerary. We wanted to experience a diversified safari and that is exactly what she planned for us. We had planned a 10 day safari in addition to a 2 night stay in Arusha. We stayed at Sametu Camp for 3 nights, Lake Masek for 3 nights, Lion’s Paw for 2 nights and The Manor for 1 night. We actually were the only guests at Sametu, Lion’s Paw and The Manor which was quite nice because we got to ‘mingle’ with the wonderful people who made our stay at their camp so comfortable and enjoyable.
Upon arriving in Kilimanjaro, we were greeted and taken to Meru Resort where we were briefed with all the information we needed to begin our journey. We enjoyed a room service snack and got to bed as soon as possible so we could begin our next day exploring Arusha. We toured the Poli Village and did some shopping at the Cultural Heritage shop.
We had a lovely buffet dinner at Meru Resort and then up to our room to start the separating of our luggage to meet the 33# weight limit for the plane ride into the Serengeti (we put the non-essentials in our carry-on bags and left them with the ADS representatives to be retrieved for our return trip back home).
After breakfast we shared a ride to the airport with another couple that had just arrived the night before. After our luggage was cleared for the 33 pound weight limit (whew!) we, along with a few more passengers, took off for the Serengeti. Our plane ride to the Seronera Airstrip was a beautiful experience that gave us a taste of what to expect.
We landed and met our guide, Raphael who turned out to be absolutely fantastic. I know, I have read, that everyone thinks their guide was the best and that probably is very true but Raphael not only did his job of making sure we saw ‘everything’ we had hoped to see and taught us so much about all the animals and birds and trees, his company, his humor, his Tanzanian outlook on life was so very special. Fortunately, we have many pictures so that we will never forget him.
On our game drive from the airstrip to Sametu Camp we saw 34 species of animals and/or birds. We had a little rain that cleared up quickly and then a beautiful rainbow. Amazing! The next day we began our game drive at 6:00 am; we saw an additional 19 new animals and/or birds but had not seen a giraffe. Raphael assured us we would see some the next day but just as we were coming to Sametu Camp, there they were and actually, there was a giraffe ‘in’ our camp eating a tree next to the tent next to ours along with a couple elephants just roaming around.
And every day, thereafter, we continued to see something new. We saw cheetahs, rhinos, impalas, gazelles, dik diks, hippos, buffalo, baboons, lizards, crocodiles, jackals – we saw practically everything there was to see. We saw a leopard up in a tree eating his kill while another leopard and a hyena waited patiently for some sharing; not exactly any sharing going on, just an accidental drop of a leg and a piece of meat that was quickly taken away.
We saw a mother lion with her cubs playing with her and its siblings. Wildebeests were in masses everywhere. We watched a Dung Beetle roll the dung into a perfectly formed ball with her eggs inside for nourishment that she later buried for protection. We witnessed the mating of lions, elephants and monkeys. We watched a Crowned Crane (one of our favorite birds) court his beloved in a beautiful display of prancing and wing flapping. Even though there were so many pregnant zebras, we unfortunately did not see a birth; but we did see many baby zebra running and playing.
We watched a lion just about 15 feet from our vehicle eating a zebra with about 8 hyenas waiting patiently for the remains. We also waited patiently, 1 ½ hours, for the lion to relinquish the zebra to the hyenas so we could see how they can totally devour an animal, bones and all, in just a few minutes but the lion was proving that he was the ‘king of the jungle’ and just sat next to the zebra and rested in between his feasting.
We even tried to persuade him to leave but he was ever so smart, he just grabbed the neck of the zebra and pulled it another 4-5 feet away from us and actually did that one more time for an additional 4-5 feet away from us. We never did get to see the hyenas in action that day, but the next day we did witness a wildebeest being consumed by about 14 hyenas in minutes. Not a trace left.
We could go on and on about our safari adventure; the box breakfasts and lunches, the tasty dinners, especially the soups, the 40 liter showers, the bumpy roads, the changeable but beautiful weather in the distance, the Maasi Village visit, the scenery, the beautiful sunsets, the magnificent star filled night sky, the accommodations and not to forget all the wonderful, joyful Tanzanian people.
Africa Dream Safaris delivered everything we could have hoped for, from the very first emailed we received back from our initial inquiry to their last welcome home email and call. It truly was a ‘bucket list’ vacation with many life changing moments to carry throughout one’s life. We are so grateful that we were able to make Tanzania a part of our life memories. ASANTE SANA!
Rae Marie and Richard P.
Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Safari Dates: March 21, 2014 to March 30, 2014