The short version is that everyone felt the safari exceeded all of our expectations.
Our flights were all on time, just very long, and our reserved seats were not changed. We all managed to get by with just carry on luggage, so we don’t know if there would have been any issues with checked baggage.
The meet and greet with Mattias went smoothly at both ends. Without ADS’ help to smooth things, the visa process looked like a nightmare for everyone else. The extra day in Arusha was a wise decision. Dinner at Onsea House was wonderful. You should give it a try on your next visit.
The safari itself was just breathtaking in the diversity of the wildlife; the animals, the birds, the vistas, the landscape—all just amazing. Our driver/guide, Michael, was/is a treasure. His knowledge of everything about the Serengeti is encyclopedic. We were lucky to be able to have meals with him at the Lake Masek lodge and he was a wonderful resource to learn about Tanzania and its people. He has excellent language skills and an engaging personality. You are lucky to have him on your team.
All the lodges were great; Ngorongoro Serena, Lake Masek and Mbuzi Mawe. The staffs at each were amazing; friendly and helpful. The Sundowner on our last night at Mbuzi Mawe was a major surprise. We thought the whole camp was invited, so we were astonished to learn that ADS had arranged it just for us. Major bonus points for that.
One heads up for your team regarding the Masai clubs you gave us upon arrival. They were beautiful but they were confiscated in Amsterdam because they were in our carry on bags. So, you should be aware, if you are not already, that they can only come home in checked baggage.
Thank you for all your help in setting up this great adventure for us. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do it again at some point in the future.
Westfield, New Jersey
Safari Dates: April 7, 2017 – April 15, 2017
I was fortunate enough to conduct a relatively short safari to the Serengeti with my family this April. Working for ADS, I’ve taken a number of safaris over the years but this was one of my best ones yet. We enjoyed four nights at Seronera Sametu Camp, an outstanding little bush camp that sits right at the edge of the famous Serengeti plains. This area is known as the big cat capital of Africa and I can’t imagine a better wildlife viewing experience anywhere in Africa.
What I love about this area (besides the lion and cheetah viewing) is that due to its unique location at the woodlands-plains boundary, it contains an abundance of species that live in both habitats. From woodlands species such as giraffe, elephant and leopard to plains species such as gazelle, warthog and cheetah, the area contains an incredible diversity of wildlife far from the main tourist areas (we would see no more than one or two other vehicles the entire day).
Now April is arguably one of the best months of the year for wildlife viewing but this area is superb year-round and enjoys low visitor concentrations whether the dry season or green season. It’s also a great idea while staying at Seronera Sametu Camp to book a field talk with the Serengeti Lion Project or Serengeti Cheetah Project. Researchers from each project offer a presentation in the evening at the main lodge tent and then join guests for dinner afterwards.
Here’s a selection of photos from the safari (I’ve include region links where applicable):
Fourteen cubs from the the Maasai Kopjes pride of the Central Serengeti. I’ve never seen so many lion cubs of the same age together! There were only three adult females taking care of all these cubs. It was an incredible sight to behold!
Elephants along the Seronera River in the Central Serengeti.
Enjoying the elephant viewing!
This huge pride was near the hippo pool in the Simba Kopjes area (Central Serengeti). There were 20 lions total and all with extended bellies (they must have eaten well the night before).
We parked here for several hours just feet from this lion pride.
The wildebeest migration just north of Naabi Hill in the South Serengeti.
Another massive herd of wildebeest in the five hills area just to the west of Sametu Kopjes (East Serengeti).
Male and female lions near Sametu Kopjes. These are two different pairs of courting lions.
S’mores at Sametu Camp
We came across a group of spotted hyenas finishing off a wildebeest kill close to camp.
Leopard along the Seronera River
Looking for leopards…we didn’t have much luck on this trip with leopard sightings.
Large male cheetah at Gol Kopjes in the Eastern Serengeti
Female cheetah with gazelle kill at Gol Kopjes.
Enjoying the sights at the Retina Hippo Pool in the Central Serengeti
We came across this idyllic waterhole out on the eastern plains between Sametu and Gol Kopjes…stunning!
Elephants and Impalas in Seronera Valley
Taking a well earned break from the vehicle for some family friendly activities
Nobody noticed this gazelle leg until later. Was it from a martial eagle or leopard kill? We never found out.
The dab…enough said.
One of the Barafu Cheetahs…beautiful!
- The Wishner Family
My wife and I began planning our trip almost two years prior to our departure on February 12th 2017, looking at many different companies before settling on ADS. It was a smart decision. They take great care of you from the moment you book until the day you return home from the most wonderful journey of your life!
Upon arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, we were met by an ADS staff member, as promised, and whisked through visa and security without an issue. This while watching other people get off the plane, standing around not knowing where to go or what to do.
The drive to Mount Meru hotel went smoothly and we began our education of Tanzania and learning a little Swahili on the way to the hotel. The hotel was as lovely as ADS described.
We were picked up the next morning and driven to the Arusha airport. There we took a small plane out to the Serengeti. Our first landing was a stop in the northern Serengeti to drop off passengers. On our approach, almost everyone on the plane was looking out their windows at the animals below. Our next stop was in the Central Serengeti, Seronera, where we met our guide Elias.
Elias immediately started the day’s game drive and we began to see the fabulous animals. We saw herds of Wildebeests along with Zebras, Hart beasts, gazelles and many others. We saw a male lion mating with a lioness. We also saw two tree climbing lions. On the way to our camp (Seronera Sametu), Elias showed us a leopard that had dragged his kill up into a tree. We made it a point to leave camp by 6:30 am each day to see the morning activity. Our guide always tried to place us in the best position to take photos.
Elias was so knowledgeable about the animal, that you almost thought that you were taking a course in animal behavior. Each day we were seeing a bigger variety of animals: Hyenas, Eland, Elephants, Thomson gazelles, Grant gazelles, Impalas Topi, Warthogs, Waterbuck. We were able to get so close to the animal that one rarely needed a telephoto lens. When we reached the Ngorongoro crater we sighted the last of the Big 5, four Rhino’s together. The real excitement was when two of them ran across the road in front of us.
It was a wonderful trip. All the camps we stayed at (Seronera Sametu, Lake Masek Lodge, and Lion Paw Camp) each had their own charm. The food was excellent at all the camps.
I guess the most exciting moment for me was at the Seronera Sametu Camp when, I went outside to watch the animals around the tent and, a male lion about 30 yards away sat looking at me (see the first picture below). He was quickly moved a safe distance away by the staff!
In closing, we would like to thank our wonderful guide Elias, who has eyes like a hawk, for spotting all the animals, Dawn who was fantastic, anticipating all our questions and needs, plus all her helpful tips, and all the ADS staff for their caring, helpfulness, ensuring us a wonderful time.
Below are some of the 3,000 plus pictures that we took. An ADS Safari experience is highly recommended to everyone. My wife and I are already talking about going back for another adventure with ADS!
Andrew and Cassandra P.
Putnam Valley, New York
Safari Dates: February 13, 2017 to February 22, 2017