Our gang of four from Albuquerque, New Mexico have certainly appreciated and witnessed the circle of life described in the below song during the safari vacation of our life in the Serengeti from May 11 to May 20, 2016.
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give.
by Tim Rice
We had been prepared and coached quite extensively before arriving Arusha by our dear friends, Marsha and Howard Seltzer (ADS Serengeti alumni of 2009 and 2010) and the very wonderful and ever-so-helpful Dawn Anderson of ADS (through telephone calls, several emails and printed materials). Many thanks to Dawn for her knowledge and kindness.
Our trip was every thing we had hoped for and beyond. All the ADS staff were very helpful, courteous, professional and polite. The lodgings were universally unique, well appointed and surrounded by raw nature. We were escorted for safety reason to and from the common/dining areas at every dawn and darkness.
We heard several wild creatures at late nights and early mornings including lion roars and movements just outside our tent lodges. We heard buffalo foot steps and spotted them close by one early morning. The meals were excellent and with extensive menu to choose from.
We fondly thank Anglebert, our wonderful guide, for the “stories” he told us everyday through spotting, tracking the animals and narrating while and before things happened. We saw a cheetah chasing a baby wildebeest. It narrowly escaped the danger when the mother and perhaps relatives and friends chased the hunter away.
We saw one of several very beautiful grey crowned crane ferociously chasing a nearby perhaps threatening duck away, for coming too close to his lifelong mate. They both then romantically danced and kissed. We saw a whole pride of lions happily marching back to the kopjes from their morning hunt with full and bulging stomachs. They then spread out and situated themselves beautifully on the rocks.
We saw the honeymooners on the rock. Also two lionesses attentively and affectionately nursing their six cubs. One mother accommodated and nursed as many of the cubs simultaneously as possible. We anxiously watched a mother lion tormentedly and frantically searching and calling out to her lost cubs. She had evidently left them in the bush for some time while she went hunting for food for the family. After a long while, they happy reunited. We witnessed a leopard mightily and with great effort dragging a young and good sized wildebeest she had just killed up a large acacia tree to feast on.
The great migration mesmerized us to no end when we found ourselves in the middle of the sea of wildebeests. The sheer number was unimaginable and mind boggling. The fascinating stories and sceneries went on and on everyday.
In one early afternoon, while our Landcruiser was stuck in the deep mud, we heard deep breathing in the tall grass immediately next to us. We almost had to hold our breath. That was a rather uncomfortable experience for the four newbys. We were eventually rescued out of the mud by another vehicle with no difficulty.
Our Ngorongoro Crater adventure started with a visit to the Olduvai gorge where we learned about our oldest ancestors. Homo habilis, probably the first early human species, occupying that part of the rift valley area about 1.9 million years ago.
We made an early foggy morning and still dark descent into the Ngorongoro crater. Besides seeing lots of animals including the four massively looking rhinoceroses, the crater itself was a wonderfully beautiful vast meadow of wild flowers and green grassland. The sunrise was spectacular when the beam emerging through the fog and the low cloud and exposing the beautiful meadows and lakes that morning. We left the crater that evening after an unexpected and almost a spiritual experience.
Our ADS safari trip was far beyond our expectation and description. We witnessed many things for the first time in our lives. We appreciate the great efforts and energy by many people and organizations trying to preserve this beautiful planet that we live on for others and younger generations to witness and enjoy. We hope to be able to share this Africa Dream Safari experience with our family in the near future.
Nara and Kris C.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Safari Dates: May 12, 2016 to May 20, 2016
I am a professional photographer and cinematographer here in the States.
I have been to Tanzania three times previously, all three times with Africa Dreams. Most recently, I actually went to help with some of the videos that appear on this website. I am, to say the least, a fan of Africa Dreams Safaris.
So when ADS invited me back in 2016, how could I refuse? Upon my safe return they asked if I would jot down a few words about my trip. What could I say that I haven’t already said before? Just the fact that I have now been 4 times with the same company speaks volumes. But still, I had to say something. So in the vein of doing something “different”, I’m sending this along.
Pineville, North Carolina
Safari Dates: May 9, 2016 to May 16, 2016
Our Africa Dream Safari began with our arrival along with our friends Kris and Nara at Kilimanjaro Airport the evening of May 11th. After the long flight the nights rest in Arusha was welcome. The following morning our bush plane pilot, Liz, pointed out Mount Kilimanjaro, Maasai communities, migrating Wildebeests and other sights below as we flew to the western Serengeti. During our final approach to the grass airstrip we saw Hippos, a pride of Lions sleeping in the grass, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Baboons and Monkeys!
Our guide Anglebert greeted the four of us, transferred our luggage to the Land Cruiser, and within the first two hours we saw Impala, Eland, Giraffes, Crocodiles, Hippos, Monitor Lizard, Cape Buffalo, Weaver Birds, and Elephants.
During our picnic a group of giraffes strolled by, eyeing our group carefully. While we were taking photos, he was constantly working to position us for the best light, photo composition and opportunities, and got us close to any action. We learned the ins and outs of navigating within the Land Cruiser for viewing and photography, and became pretty efficient within a short time.
We arrived in late afternoon at Mbalageti Tented Lodge, located on a high hill with a panoramic view of the Serengeti. The accommodations there and at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge were delightful. Our second night a lion was roaring just outside our room, and there were the sounds of Hyenas, Zebra, Baboons, and Elephants in the distance.
The Lions had made a Wildebeest kill on the perimeter of the camp, and the following morning we had our first close up encounters with Lionesses and their cubs. At Mbuzi Mawe a Cape Buffalo bedded down nightly in a sheltered pocket under a tree beside a large boulder, 40 yards from our front portal. When staying at the tented lodges we were escorted by young men with spears and flashlights whenever moving about camp when it was dark.
All of the food at the lodges was excellent, the staff members were happy, friendly, and we had fun visiting with them at our various stops. We left each morning just before daylight, took along box breakfasts and lunches, which were refreshing and filling. Our dining rooms were in the shade of trees in the Serengeti with animals all around us. A few times we elected to return to the lodge during the heat of the day for late lunch and a rest, and to avoid some of the nuisance of the Tse Tse flies while they were most active.
We watched as two Cheetahs ran down a Wildebeest calf, but they were forced away when the mother turned and charged them to save her baby; the calf escaped unscathed — got some nice photos of the action. Early one morning a large pride of lions moved across the long grass to a comfortable resting spot on a large Kopje to sleep for the day, after a successful night’s hunt and gorging on Wildebeest. Following them on their trek we parked near the Kopje to watch them.
A highlight among highlights was seeing and hearing the migration. It was a magnificent sight, with a sea of animals churning all around us. Anglebert positioned us at the base of a mountain, where we were surrounded by thousands of Wildebeest and Zebra. While we were there, two lionesses attacked one of the lines of animals on the flank of the mountain, and we could see the panicked animals fleeing; the lions were not successful in taking their prey.
We spent time watching animals with anticipation of action to come. This was true for leopards, and we were fortunate to see a number of these beautiful, elusive animals, including one taking its Wildebeest kill up into a yellow bark acacia tree. Anglebert would move our vehicle to get the best camera angles and light as the sun changed positions. He was amazing!
At the beginning of the day he asked us what our goal was for the day. Whatever we mentioned, we ended up seeing that day. He has a thorough knowledge of animal behavior, ecology, natural history, and is a proud representative of Tanzania and of ADS. Everywhere our travels took us we saw animal herds spread across the Serengeti.
We stopped by Oldupai Gorge (so named for the Oldupai plant that grows there) on the way from Serengeti to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and had a wonderful tour of the displays and guided tour of the Gorge itself, including the exact site where Australopithecus was found by Mary Leaky.
Ngorongoro Crater was breathtaking. There we saw Rhinos (4 of them), solitary male Elephants, battling male Wildebeest in the rut, Warthogs, Zebra, swarms of birds nesting together in roadside thorn trees, Hippos, Cape Buffalo, Zebras, Lions, Ostriches, Grant’s and Thompson’s Gazelle, and many other animals; we had seen most of these in the Serengeti, with the exception of the Rhinos.
Our goal for the day there was to see the Rhino, and Anglebert had us near one within the first hour in the crater. We were the second vehicle into the crater that day in the morning mist, and the next to last vehicle out that evening. Our finale was watching a Rhino from distance of about 100 yards.
We are beginners at photography, but one can not help but capture some amazing images in these beautiful places. The lodging was wonderful with spectacular scenery. Every aspect of our trip was amazing, and far exceeded any of our expectations!!! Everyone made us feel welcome and at home.
Many have tried to describe Africa and the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Highlands. We think Africa itself spoke to us through its incredible beauty, diversity of life, sounds like the low rumbling growl of the Lion, the calls of the Wildebeest, enchanting bird songs, varied ecosystems, its vastness and mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets. It may very well be the heart of the earth.
Asante sana to ADS, Dawn Anderson (who prepared us comprehensively for this trip; a special thanks for all of the advance photography advice), the ADS support staff, and to Anglebert (thanks for the beanbags and photography coaching and unmeasurable patience with all of our questions). This was the most spectacular trip we have ever taken!
We hope to return “home” to Tanzania again someday.
Patsy and Ed B.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Safari Dates: May 11, 2016 to May 20, 2016