We have to start out saying what an amazing time we had! We’ve traveled around the world and our safari was, by far, the best trip we have ever been on!
We booked our safari in the spring of 2012 (for travel in April/May 2013) through Sharon at the U.S. office for our honeymoon. Sharon was so helpful from the get-go, explaining the difference in lodge and camping types and assisting us in picking the dates, type, and duration that was best for us.
We arrived through London to Nairobi in Mount Kilimanjaro and were immediately welcomed by our ADS representative. We sped through customs and were quickly in a van on our way to the airstrip in Arusha. Within the afternoon, we were on a plane on our way to the Central Serengeti airstrip to meet our guide Francis. Right away, we knew Francis would be an amazing guide as he had a picnic lunch waiting for us in the car (and we were starving!).
The first day was absolutely breathtaking. The landscapes were beyond description, the savannahs were endless, and the sky was a cloudless, bright blue. Right out of the gate, we were amazed by the sheer number and volume of animals. We obviously knew we’d see lots of animals, but we were shocked that we’d leave our hotel and run into a lone hippopotamus, or a family of giraffes.
To say that each day was as good as the last would be inappropriate. Everyday seemed to bring something completely new and exciting that all of us, including Francis, didn’t expect. On day 2, we saw a leopard in a tree with a half-eaten gazelle. And according to everyone we excitedly told a leopard was a very rare sight indeed!
On day 3, while out on a run near the Gol Kopjes, we came across two black main lion brothers patrolling their area. We were able to be witness to the lions roaring as they marked their territory. It was an amazing, and awe-inspiring sight.
Day 5 started out as a slow day, but near the mid-afternoon, we happened across a honey badger! Francis started excitedly yelling, “honey badger! Honey badger!” as he swerved to follow it around and around. It circled frantically, darting every which way trying to shake us as we finally caught sight of it from about 10 feet away. It was only after it went underground that we understood how rare a honey badger sighting is – in his 8 years leading safaris, Francis had only seen a honey badger once before, and that was only 3 years earlier. We were ecstatic!
On day 7, as we were heading back to Lake Masek Lodge, we happened across an elephant blocking the road as he scratched his behind on a tree. We had to off road to pass the elephant, but we were soon confronted with three elephants (an adult and two juveniles) playing and splashing in a large watering hole about 300 feet away. We watched as all three elephants played in the water – swimming around, splashing each other, and spraying water every which way. It was heartwarming to see them having such a grand old time.
On day 8, we began the morning following two cheetahs as they appeared to be stalking prey. To avoid freaking them out, we followed at a safe distance for almost two hours. We were almost despairing two hours later, thinking maybe we were wrong. When suddenly, one of the males began trotting, then jogging, then running as we sighted a baby wildebeest in the distance it had seen from miles away. In awe, we watched as the lead cheetah got up to full speed, grabbed hold of the wildebeest and took it down. As we drove closer, one cheetah had hold of the neck and was slowly suffocating the prey, while the other had his jaws clenched tightly around the hind quarters. Slowly, the animal died and the two cheetahs ate their way through most of it.
We spent our last two days in the bush in the Ngorongoro Crater – which was amazing in so many ways. It truly is a microcosm of the Serengeti. The views, from the morning fog to the dense afternoon cluster of animals were amazing. We truly appreciated the concentration of animals after spending so many days in the Serengeti and understanding how truly inspiring it was.
In addition to all of the nature beauty, we also enjoyed every lodge/camp we stayed at. The people were so beyond nice, helpful, and celebratory of our big event! We frequently came home from game drives to bottles of champagne, special seating for dinner, or romantic decorations.
Our trip was amazing, and every day truly was different and phenomenal in so many ways. Every day we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. We can’t wait to go back in 5-10 years and see everything we did see again as well as several new sights!
Stacey and Brian B.
Safari Dates: April 30, 2013 to May 12, 2013
New York, New York