Trip of a Lifetime

We’ve been back now for about three days from our safari and still can’t stop talking about it or waking up thinking about everything we saw.   Words simply can’t describe how amazing it was.   When people say a safari is a “trip of a lifetime,” I now know what they mean.  We saw animals and sights that I thought I would only ever see on Planet Earth or National Geographic.  Yet, there we were – parked within a few feet of lionesses noisily growling and feeding together – or next to baby elephants playfully charging each other.

Two things amazed me most on the safari – the volume of animals we saw and the close proximity we got to them.  On a ten-day safari we must have seen 20 cheetah, 50 or 60 lions, herds of 50 or more elephants, 5 leopards, several rhino, and countless giraffe, ostrich, zebras, warthogs, and wildebeest.  We also saw babies of everything, which we could have watched for hours.  One morning, we sat and watched two cheetah cubs jumping and playing for at least 30 minutes.  They would stalk one another through the bushes, leaping at each other and rolling in the dirt.  Once in a while the mom would get in on the action and run at them playfully.  We got very close to almost all of the animals. Looking into the deep, amber colored eyes of a lioness lounging next to our jeep was something I won’t forget.  Nor will I forget being within about 50 yards of a herd of 46 elephants who turned and all stared at us when we pulled up, circling around their babies – before relaxing and going back to eating and playing while we intently watched.

We chose to stay at tented camps, all of which were fantastic.  We loved to be able to hear the animals at night.   Our favorite accommodation by far was the private camping.  We pulled up to the campsite in Ndutu – beautiful green grass and acacia trees and two tents – set up just for us.  Having dinner and sitting under the campfire with drinks afterwards looking up at the stars while hyenas whooped and lions grunted in the distance was almost surreal.  Rama, the camp manager, was perfect in anticipating our every need and we had a great time talking with him each day.  We also very much enjoyed the Kusini and Ngorongoro Lemala Camps.  At Kusini one night while sitting at the campfire sipping wine and stargazing with the camp managers, we could hear two large prides of lions within a kilometer of each side of the camp roaring.  At Lemala, a hungry elephant hung out behind our tent all night eating from the nearby trees.  Absolutely incredible!

Finally – and most importantly – I wanted to comment on our guide.  His experience, expertise, and warm personality absolutely made our trip the amazing experience it was.  He had almost 20 years of experience in guiding and it certainly showed.  He knew in-depth information on every animal and bird we saw and made the drive and viewing more interesting and exciting because of it.  He also didn’t just drive and try and spot animals as it seemed like drivers from some other companies were doing – he was constantly working with other drivers to see what was out there each day and find the best areas and animals for us to view.  As a result, we got to see everything we wanted, and much more.

Thank you to Dawn and Africa Dream Safaris for an incredible trip that we will never forget. We hope to see you again soon – Dave and I are already thinking about a return trip in a few years for our anniversary!

Moira and David Funcheon
Chicago, Illinois
February 2011

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