I Cannot Imagine A Trip Being Better Planned Or Executed
From beginning to end, we had a wonderful experience with Africa Dream Safaris. Dawn Anderson helped plan the ideal itinerary for us, which took into account our need to observe the Jewish Sabbath as well as to eat only fish and vegetarian foods. Things started off beautifully when Faith picked us up as we deplaned and whisked us through Immigration before taking us to the Arusha hotel.
Our first full day in Tanzania started off very rainy, but as soon as the plane cleared the Ngorongoro area, we were treated to a stunning view of the Serengeti plains. John, our driver guide, met us at the Grumeti airstrip. He proved to be an informative, interesting guide who was attuned to our interests.
I am an avid amateur photographer, and John helped position our vehicle for great photo opportunities for the wildlife, birds, and scenery. We also enjoyed talking with him about the Tanzanian people and culture, the animals and birds we saw, and a variety of wide-ranging topics. He is an exceptionally intelligent and nice young man, and we were glad to get to know him.
Our accommodations were all very comfortable, albeit quite different. We stayed at the Mbalageti Tented Lodge for our first two days in the Serengeti and enjoyed the spectacular views and delicious on-site meals. The wildebeest migration was underway, so we saw thousands of wildebeest as well as their zebra tag-alongs and the crocodiles waiting in the Grumeti River.
We then spent two nights at the Four Seasons Lodge with a luxurious room overlooking the watering hole. I’d planned to spend much of the Sabbath reading, but we were so intrigued by the behaviors of the wildlife visiting the watering hole (elephants, cape buffalo, antelope, zebras, giraffes) and interested in talking with the on-site naturalist in the Discovery Center that I didn’t even open the book I’d brought!
We then journeyed to the Seronera Sametu Camp and enjoyed the personal attention of the staff as well as delicious food. And there was great wildlife viewing there too: we saw lions and many elephant and heard hyenas and cape buffalo at night. During the time in the Central Serengeti, we saw cheetahs and leopards in addition to many lions, elephants, zebras, antelopes, hippos and warthogs. Owing to the time of the year, there were many baby animals to see.
Leaving the Central Serengeti, we journeyed to the Ngorongoro Crater which felt like the Garden of Eden with its stunning scenery and many birds and animals, especially with the yellow and purple wildflowers in bloom. We stayed at the Lion’s Paw Tented Camp which had beautiful views, great cuisine (especially the soup and the mushroom stroganoff), and superb location.
Because we were staying on the crater rim, we were able to be in the crater early in the morning and saw a pride of lions including three very playful cubs. By the time other tourists were down in the crater and we saw the lions again, they were all taking their catnaps! We also were able to see many different animals with their young (zebras, wildebeest, cape buffalo, elands, hyenas), courting birds, four of the rhinoceroses that live in the crater, and huge “retired” bull elephants.
We ended the trip at the Manor at Ngorogoro, one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and a visit to Lake Manyara. While many people were dismissive of Lake Manyara, we enjoyed seeing the tropical rain forest and the different birds and animals there. In a classic example of it being a small world, we ran into a church mission group there and it turned out that the pastor leading the trip was the son of one of my father’s colleagues and his wife had been a college friend of my husband’s late first wife.
All in all, our safari was a spectacular experience and we are so glad we took the trip with Africa Dream Safaris. I cannot imagine a trip being better planned or executed, service more attentive, or a better guide than we had in John.
Now all that remains is to organize the 6,000 photographs that Lenn and I took into commemorative books so that we can share our experience more fully with our family and friends. Thank you!
Roberta and Lenn G.
Safari Dates: May 13, 2014 to May 22, 2014