The Camps Were Fantastic And Much More Than We Expected
We came home some weeks ago from the most amazing trip we have ever made. Elizabeth and I went to The Serengeti in Tanzania, and had a wonderful safari. We can only describe it as awesome, amazing, unforgettable! It was certainly the trip of our life!
The entire trip was meticulously planned and handled by Africa Dream Safaris team. Dawn in the US and the staff in Tanzania managed our trip with utmost knowledge as well as friendliness. I was surprised to see that a trip as complex as this was, had not one unexpected surprise or something out of schedule. Every single thing was carefully orchestrated even in our end of the things.
We were so well prepared with all their suggestions! Specially the day bag and the photography! I would recommend ADS change the name of their little handbook to: “Everything you need to know about A PERFECT SAFARI.”
From the moment we landed on the Grumeti airstrip we saw small groups of wildebeest and zebras as well as giraffes. Our guide was waiting for us and our vehicle was ready with cushions on the seats, binoculars for each one of us and cold bottles of water and sodas as well as snacks. Immediately after loading our bags, we went game driving and not even a mile from the strip we ran into the first of many prides of lions we would see throughout the safari.
I have to mention our guide David. His knowledge on tracking, allowed us sightings of animals as elusive as the leopard, and also a tree where 7 lions had climbed in search of cooler breeze. He has an eagle eye spotting far away animals. Also his experience in photography allowed us to get some very good pictures, and he would position the vehicle so we could get better lighting and view of our subjects.
The camps were fantastic. Much more than we had expected. Tents, facilities, food and the attentiveness of the staff was unbelievable. Every time we came back after a game drive they were waiting for us with warm wet towels to wipe our faces and cups of cold juice! We have traveled a lot and the courtesy and service in these camps is comparable or better than a five-star hotel.
I want to mention specially the staff of the Seronera Sametu camp. JJ was always making sure we had the best experience possible and in our first night during the campfire we admired the most beautiful sky, the stars were countless and so bright. We could see the Milky way and so many other constellations. And we watched the most fabulous red full moon rising in the horizon. It was a splendid view.
Getting up early was also a magic experience. Watching the moon and the rising sun in opposite sides of the sky, finding the lions that had just made a kill moving slowly to rest by the edge of the road and the energetic cubs playing around with each other was also fantastic.
In those early hours we witnessed several hyenas moving their cubs to another den. And in another early morning we were elated when our guide followed a group of lions hunting zebras, and yet another early day we watched a family of hyenas hunting and devouring in a fast minute a young wildebeest.
We had so many wonderful sightings, elephants, 2 rhinos some 70 lions and countless numbers of wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, Topi, Impala, Hart beast, Grant gazelle, Thompson gazelle, dik dik, hyrax, hippos, baboons and crocodiles among others.
There were many elephants moving lazily thru the savanna and some young elephants were playing in the mud. We were surprised by an adolescent male who got behind the vehicle and trumpeting stomped on the ground and moved his ears as giant fans trying to impress us with his mock fierceness, and I have to confess he did!!
We saw many large groups of wildebeest and zebra following their migration instincts and the rain. They would stop for a short break and then resume their journey north. It was amazing to see so many of them in every corner of the Serengeti, all going in the same direction.
In our way to the Ngorongoro Crater we stopped at a Masai village and had a unique experience visiting their villa. They were very friendly and welcomed us with a dance and Elizabeth had a blast dancing with them. We learned some of their customs and showed us the interior of a hut and we visited the school for the youngest children.
The Ngorongoro crater view from the rim was spectacular. We got to see herds of buffalo, zebras and wildebeest. We couldn’t wait to get down there to explore. As we drove down the winding road we came to a fresh water lake surrounded by green reeds. Some hippos were there, floating in the water. We reached the end of the lake and were allowed to exit the vehicle to stretch our legs and use the facilities that are there.
The next part of our safari took us right across the dry center of the crater where we found herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra, along with lots of birds and some hyena. In the distance behind the wildebeest we could see the shimmering surface of Lake Magadi filled with lines of pink. As we got closer we could see that those pink lines were hundreds of flamingos. It was a beautiful sight. As we got closer to the lake we could see a lion relaxing by the shore.
As we were watching a herd of buffalo in the distance we could hear our guide in the front seat getting excited. He spotted a Black Rhino in the distance. We couldn’t see it at first and had to look through our binoculars. It was mixed with some buffalo. We saw our first rhino, and our guide mentioned we had just seen the Big 5. We couldn’t take our eyes off of the huge, majestic, massive figure walking along the other side of the road, slowly coming closer into view. As the buffalo left, the rhino started moving slowly towards our vehicle and he crossed the road right in front of us. We were ecstatic!
That night we stayed on Lion’s Paw camp located inside the Ngorongoro Crater park gate. Next morning, we left after breakfast and we were the first vehicle in the Crater at dawn. We had almost immediate access to the wild animals that live on the Crater floor below. The rim of the Crater was completely immersed in fog that day. Quite beautiful sight.
We were so lucky in our second drive in the Crater, that we saw another rhino. This one was further away but we took some good pictures. We noticed the animals were far fewer as compared to the Serengeti plains, but they are not as skittish which is good to see them close up.
As we drove up the dirt road leading out of Ngorongoro Crater and took the road to Arusha, we looked back at what we had experienced for the last 10 days. The Serengeti and Ngorongoro are special and unique. I’m pleased to see them so well taken care of and protected. These two places in Tanzania are very effectively guarded against poaching, making these animals some of the safest in Africa. We hope that this great conservation effort continues forever, because these amazing places need to be protected for future generations.
We will be back and of course we will do it with Africa Dream Safaris!
Martha D. and Elizabeth H.
Safari Dates: May 18, 2016 to May 29, 2016