Our eight-day safari with ADS was the trip of a lifetime for my family and me. I cannot say enough about the company, people and experiences ADS delivered to us for this trip. We did a six-day african safari tour in the Serengeti and two days at the Ngorongoro Crater. The trip was perfect. It surpassed all of our expectations. We made this trip with our family of six, my wife’s parents, and my brother. From the start of the trip to the final hours at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, we had an incredible experience that we will never forget. I am so pleased to be able share some details of our trip with anyone who will listen.
I have dreamed of an African safari since I was a teenager. I am now 48 years old and my dream finally came to fruition in July 2015. After months of planning, we finally arrived in Tanzania, Africa at the Kilimanjaro Airport. We were immediately greeted by Mathias, Precious, and Timmon. We felt comfortable from that moment until we were delivered back to the airport by the same group in addition to one of our Safari guides, Ema.
We flew on a bush plane to the Seronera Airstrip and our Safari began there. On the very first day, we saw a pride of lions, gazelles, leopards, topi, hippos, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, and zebras. We also met our guides, Arnold and Ema, with whom we would spend the next eight days and become fast friends. They were nothing short of incredible. They were knowledgeable, patient, experienced, and of course friendly.
We saw one lion pride on the first day with 17 lions. Naturally, we hoped and expected to see many African animals. What we were not prepared for, however, was the sheer number of animals in the Serengeti. At one point, Ema estimated that we were looking at over six hundred thousand wildebeests in the Massai Mara. Also, the vast space and size of the Serengeti is absolutely spectacular. Words cannot adequately describe the vastness of the space. We could see for miles in many directions with not a power line, telephone pole, cellular tower, or other indication of civilization to spoil the view. This was impressive to say the least.
Over the next seven days, we saw many of the same animals but also impala, warthogs, cheetahs, a rhino, jackals, crocodiles, wildebeests, vultures, storks, a python, a black mamba, and a rare treat, a caracal chasing a rabbit in the crater. The animals were 10, 20, and 30 yards away. Sometimes, they were just outside of our vehicle within an arms length.
Africa Dream Safaris set us up with accommodations that cannot possibly be rivaled. We stayed at the most luxurious lodge I can imagine in the middle of the Serengeti wilderness. We could see wildlife from our showers. The pool overlooked a watering hole at which elephants, zebras, baboons, waterbuck, and various other animals came to drink on our first night there. It seemed like African Disneyland to all of us. We had to laugh out loud because we did not know what else to do.
From that point forward, to our amazement, the lodging seemed to actually improve. It does not seem possible, but that is how we felt. We moved toward the north end of the Serengeti to catch the great migration. Our last night on the rim of the crater was the best night, according to some of my family. This was a tent lodge but we were not “roughing it.” We had hot showers, tent heaters, a four-course dinner, and friendly service. On that note, every single person we met along the way could not have been friendlier and more courteous to my family.
I cannot leave out that one night we sat atop a raised wooden deck while watching hippos below and a rainstorm moving across the hills of the Serengeti. I wish I could have a life-size painting of that scene because it was breathtaking.
Although every part of our trip was excellent, there were some high points that stick out in my mind. Near the Mara River, we watched a black rhino for about 30 minutes. Then, it started to approach one of our vehicles. It raised its tail and charged. Our expert guide, Arnold, immediately started the engine of the Land Cruiser and drove away skillfully. It is something we will never forget.
We also saw the crossing of the wildebeests at the Mara River. Emmanuel, our other expert guide, helped us get into a prime position to observe this spectacular event. The wildebeests were crossing from north to south. A small group of wildebeests came down river and started to cross right in front of us. My 16-year-old son exclaimed “Oh no, a crocodile.” At that point, an 18-foot Nile crocodile took down a 300-pound wildebeest in the middle of the river right before our eyes. The wildebeest never came up. The adrenaline in my family was flowing like I cannot recall. It was a truly unforgettable thing to witness.
What a Difference a Vowel Makes
On a humorous note, we learned the difference (the hard way) between two Swahili words. “Jambo” means hello in Swahili. For the first four or five days, about half of my family was saying “Jumbo” and half was saying “Jamba.” Finally, one of our guides sheepishly informed us that “Jamba” means flatulence. We all had a good laugh and made sure of the correct pronunciation from that point forward.
Final Words of Appreciation
As a father of four children, it was very special for me to take my wife and kids to Africa to experience my dream along with me. My eyes were treated to unbelievable visual displays every day if not every half hour. However, my ears were also treated to sounds that I must mention. I was able to hear my two daughters who are now 21 and 19 gasping with excitement as we saw each new animal. They would actually audibly suck in their breath in amazement. I have not heard that sound from them in over 10 years since they were little girls. I will never forget those sounds.
ADS truly helped me to fulfill my lifelong dream. The only problem for me now is deciding when to go back.
Kelly and Laura C.
Caroline, Courtney, Kyle and Luke
Safari Dates: July 27, 2015 to August 3, 2015