Lunch with a lion, breakfast with a baboon, and dinner with a genet…those are just a few of the memorable moments from our totally amazing trip with Arica Dream Safaris. We are so glad that we chose Africa Dream Safaris for this “bucket list” trip. ADS came highly recommended by a co-worker who did a similar trip last year. To be honest, I thought his effusive praise for ADS and the wonders of the Serengeti were a little over the top. But I can happily admit to being wrong, from our first contact with Dawn (the most patient and responsive trip planner ever) to the final goodbyes at the airport, Africa Dream Safaris was absolutely the best!
I can’t thank ADS and our guide, Wilfred, enough for making this truly the trip of a lifetime. They delivered all of the things you’d expect – first rate accommodations, comfortable and reliable vehicle, flexible itinerary, but also the little touches that made the trip special – the lovely Maasai bracelets, gifts and champagne to celebrate our anniversary and the good-bye cake! We always felt safe and cared for – having Wilfred was like having an encyclopedia of the Serengeti at our disposal. Not only was he great at locating animals and getting us into position for great photographs, he would also share the most interesting facts about the animals, plants, and ecosystem. By the time we left, he was “Uncle Wilfred” to the girls and we truly hated to say goodbye.
From the first day in Seronera when we ate our lunch in the vehicle just a few feet from a huge male lion, we had one amazing experience after another. We took over 6000 photos and videos, but no images or words can convey the sense of wonder that the Serengeti evokes. I’ve wanted to write a review since we returned, but have been dragging my feet because I just don’t feel like I can do it justice. One of my favorite memories couldn’t be captured digitally. (I tried!) Our second night in the private camp (which should not be missed) I was snuggled in the incredibly comfortable bed watching a spectacular lightning storm that lasted for hours, listening to lions roaring just yards away from our tent. I had this huge grin on my face that just wouldn’t quit.
We saw so much more than we expected and yet you can never see it all. We’ll have to make a return trip to find the elusive honey badger, python, and pangolin! We saw a clan herd of over a hundred elephants, many incredible cheetah sightings (16 in all, including two hunts!), hyenas and lions with their kills, herds of wildebeest as far as the eye could see, and so many other amazing animals and birds I can’t begin to list them all.
While the “Big Five” were awesome, many of the highlights of the trip were smaller things – spotting the rare African wildcat, the yellow-winged bats, a double rainbow with an elephant at the end of it, and delicious fresh mango for breakfast. The animals are amazing and the reason we planned the trip, but we found the Tanzanian people to be equally wonderful. The stop at a Maasai village and a visit to an elementary school class in Arusha brought home both the differences and similarities of our cultures and lives.
The grin returns whenever I think of all the delightful people and places we visited. I’ve had a wonderful time sharing stories and pictures from the trip, here’s a link to some more of our favorites: http://www.pbase.com/teddi_and_roger/africatrip2013. Needless to say, Africa Dream Safaris has another huge fan!
Teddi and Roger, Randi and Rian Edington
Safari Dates: January 1, 2013 to January 9, 2013