As our plane circled over a grassy runway in the Serengeti my husband and I and his parents saw our first African animals in abundance. Giraffe striding gracefully, zebra grazing and baboons running across our path as we landed. All the planning, decision making, and long travel melted away as excitement and awe overtook us.
The swollen Grumeti river prompted adventure from the moment we stepped off the plane, forcing us to cross a suspension bridge to our waiting vehicle on the other side. On our first day we couldn’t believe how many animals we saw- lions, giraffe, hippos, bat eared fox and numerous birds to name just a few.
Each day became more magical than the previous. A running joke with our guide, Michael was our question each morning, “how are you going to top yesterday’s game drive?” and he would!
We easily got into the rhythm of waking at 5:30 am with coffee delivered to our tents and on the road by 6am, breakfast and lunch in the bush and twelve hours later winding back to camp stopping to photograph the amazing sunsets. We virtually had all our camps to ourselves since we travelled early in the season. The staff at every lodge were amazing!
We have definitely been spoiled and can never consider doing another safari any differently or with any other company. It is such a treat to have every detail taken care of. Another aspect of the rhythm to our day was becoming friends with our guide. We loved Michaels’ sense of humor and his abundance of knowledge. We felt fortunate to have a guide with 18 years of experience at the helm.
Once we returned home we were continually asked, “what was the most amazing thing you saw on your trip?” I would just sort of give a blank stare back with the slide show flipping through my brain unable to answer.
Do I say, “the Dr. Seuss like trees dotting the landscape…or every sunset was more intense than the night before…or standing in the middle of the great migration watching and listening to thousands of wildebeest and zebras while sipping coffee…or the silent drift over the Serengeti from the vista of a hot air balloon…or watching baby lion cubs play then nurse from their mother?” The entire experience was so amazing it is impossible to pinpoint just one highlight.
We went on this trip with no particular expectations and found beauty from the weavers nests to the majestic maned lion sauntering across our path. We all fell in love with Africa and hope to make the journey back someday.
Thank you to all the wonderful staff of African Dream Safari!
Kari and Oliver P.
Safari Dates: June 6, 2015 to June 20, 2015
We have just completed our second safari with ADS and with our outstanding guide, Francis. Last time we went at the end of January during the green season. This time we went in August which is the dry season. This time we traveled with our niece and nephew and their 2 kids, 11 and 13. It was great seeing all of this again through their eyes. Although it was all very exciting for us-it was such fun watching them take it all in for the first time.
We started out in the North by the Mara River. The wildebeest are up there now for the water and it was an amazing sight. Wildebeest as far as the eye can see. We also had an extremely rare sighting-a baby rhino!!! This was a first, even for Francis who has been at this for some time. We felt very honored.
This was also our first experience with the semi-permanent camps and I will say we were a little apprehensive about, what we loving called, shower-in-a-bucket. Let me assure you, many of our favorite times were at Sametu Camp where we wanted to move in. J.J. and Kidevu made us feel so welcome and treated us like family from the moment we got there to the moment we, sadly, had to leave.
At Mara River Camp, Gilbert and Tony extended hospitality that made us feel right at home and oh so comfortable. These places will be memories we will talk about forever.
This trip varied from our January one in that we saw babies of just about every species. We saw mamas nursing, mamas grooming, mamas hiding their babies, we even saw young male elephants jousting. We saw two lion cubs playing with what looked to be a mud flap off a vehicle. One of the cubs came over and started to gnaw our tire-guess he wanted another toy.
Once again we saw the Big 5 and all their babies. Hopefully on our next trip the babies will be all grown up.
Nancy and Lenny M.
The Villages, Florida
Safari Dates: August 12, 2015 to August 21, 2015
We had a wonderful, memorable, enjoyable trip to Tanzania this summer with Africa Dream Safaris. We went hoping to devote most of our time to observing and taking photos of animals, and this trip fulfilled all our expectations and more. Here are just a few of the thousands of pictures we took, and comments on some of our favorite experiences.
While we enjoyed the comfort and safety of our Land Cruiser, more than once we parked very close to a pride of lions, and they seemed unconcerned about our presence. What a treat to see them just going on about their normal activities: lion cubs nursing, lions dining on a recent kill, daddy lions allowing cubs to playfully cuff them on the chin, or just napping in the shade or sun.
We came across a herd of 30 or more elephants, ranging from large bull elephants to babies, as they snacked on tree limbs and tall grass, and then we waited quietly as the entire herd passed behind our parked vehicle while we snapped pictures.
We saw thousands of wildebeest and zebra in migration while we enjoyed a picnic lunch under an acacia tree. The wildebeests serenaded us with a rhythmic marching chant as they moved in almost a single file across the plains, with zebras occasionally interjecting their dog-like barking sounds.
We saw giraffes, gazelles, warthogs, and monkeys… Troops of baboons entertained us with their antics, especially the baby baboons.
We sat for quite a while watching a mother cheetah and her five cubs, who eventually paraded across the road right in front of us!
We were amused as we watched a hyena casually strolling through a gathering of wildebeest, zebras, and topi, pretending he was not checking for possible prey.
It was an eye-opening and smelly experience at Retima Pool, which was filled with hippos. Never thought of this before, but when hippos need to “do their business,” they just let it rip right there in the water. Get a hundred or more hippos together in the same little lake, and — well you can imagine the smell.
But it was an impressive sight to see that many hippos lolling side by side in the water, lifting their heads from time to time for a breath of “fresh” air. We often saw hippos elsewhere on the trip, both in and out of the water. Also usually near the water were crocodiles, and a host of different birds such as storks, herons, ducks, and egrets.
The leopard napping in the crotch of a tree caught the attention of our guide, David, otherwise we would never have spotted her. The leopard had pulled several “kills” up into the tree, which were hanging at various places among the limbs, ready for the next meal. Then David directed our attention to a nearby tree, where the leopard’s young cub was sleeping. How he ever picked out that cub among all the leafy branches was incredible.
The adorable little African Dik Dik, the smallest antelope in the Serengeti, captivated us with those big brown eyes and delicate legs.
We were rewarded with an up-close view of a herd of Eland, the largest antelope, who are normally shy enough to run when anyone gets near. We laughed watching a zebra having a do-it-yourself massage against a large rock. Picture backing up to a doorway to scratch your back – zebra was doing this on every part of his neck and back he could get near the rock.
And the birds! So many beautiful, unusual, elegant, colorful, or just interesting – both large (ostrich) and small (Bee Eater Birds, aka Love Birds). The Crowned Cranes often cooperated well by posing for the camera.
All in all, we kept track of and recorded seeing 66 different species of animals, birds, and reptiles, and at least a dozen exotic trees and plants, which you’ll be relieved to know we won’t individually name here.
We highly recommend a photo safari to Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris to anyone who will listen!
Bob and Mary S.
Safari Dates: July 9, 2015 to July 21, 2015