The Migration Crossings were the Highlight – September 2012
I just wanted to write and thank you for the amazing safari that you helped arrange for my wife Amy and myself. Tanzania and ADS delivered a truly memorable experience on all fronts. Our driver and guide, Arnold, was truly fantastic. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the wildlife, graciousness and hospitality were simply exceptional. We couldn’t have been happier with him as our guide to experiencing Tanzania. Lynn was also a wonderful facilitator in arranging the itinerary and in providing all the advice and help in preparing for the trip over the past year. Thanks Lynn! Both Arnold and Lynn are a credit to ADS. They definitely deliver a great experience to the clients.
September was a great time to visit the Serengeti, as it was not too crowded, and we got to witness the migration of the wildebeest herd up in the beautiful, green regions of the northern Serengeti. Due to the recent rains in Tanzania, the herd was crossing back into Tanzania early this year. Seeing the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara river was a spectacular sight. We were fortunate enough to witness it on 3 different occasions over 2 days. One of these was a massive crossing that lasted over 2 hours.
Our back of the envelope calculation was that at least 100,000 animals had crossed in that single crossing, and that was actually only about half of the animals that had assembled at the river’s edge. I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience, but then we saw the whole thing again each of the next 2 days! Arnold knew just when to be around the river to wait for the crossing. He was also brilliant at positioning the vehicle so the light was best for photographs. Along with the wildebeest herd, the northern serengeti was packed with wildlife. Thousands upon thousands of zebra and antelope of all variety.
Witnessing the migration crossings were definitely the highlight of the trip, but there was so much more to see as well. We also visited the Loliondo Conservation Region, the Lobo Valley, the central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge, and Tarangire National Park. All were special places with their own character.
The Loliondo region and Lobo Valley were beautiful wooded hilly regions with elephants, lion prides, and hundreds, if not thousands, of giraffes. The central Serengeti truly embodies the sense of “endless plain”. Seeing it in the dry season was fascinating, as there was a sparse beauty to it at this time of year. Fortunately there were still abundant antelope, lions, leopards, and cheetahs to view. Learning to spot them in the dry, yellow grasses was a great game to play.
It was also great to be in our private camp in the central Serengeti. We could hear lions mating throughout the night, and hyenas calling as they walked through the campsite. Pretty neat. The Ngorongoro crater was also not too crowded at this time of year, but still contained a great assortment of animals to view, including several pairs of rhinocerases (what’s the plural for rhinoceras? rhinoceri?). The crater itself is also a beautiful spot. Sunset on the crater rim was something special.
We also loved the time we spent at Tarangire National Park. This is a truly beautiful park with relatively few visitors, at least in September. We hardly ever saw more than 1 or 2 other vehicles on any of the game drives here. Watching all of the elephant families and herds coming to the Tarangire River to drink was beautiful. There are also large numbers of buffalos, zebras, giraffes, and antelopes, as well as several large prides of lions that follow them around waiting for their chance to hunt. My advice to anyone planning a safari trip would be to definitely include some time in Tarangire.
We’d also like to thank all of the people working in the various camps we stayed in during our trip (Lemala Mara, Buffalo Springs, the ADS private camp, Lemala Ngorongoro, and Swala Tarangire). The level of comfort, food, and service we encountered was fantastic. The people of Tanzania are incredibly warm, friendly, and hospitable. They all made the trip very special. Thanks again to Lynn, Arnold, and all the ADS people for making our trip such a memorable experience. Maybe one day we’ll be lucky enough to visit Tanzania again. If so, we’ll definitely use ADS again.
Bruce and Amy Power
Berkeley, CA, USA