My wife, my two teenage daughters and I are home from Africa, but find ourselves wishing we were still back in the Serengeti!
We recently returned from a 12-day safari organized through Africa Dream Safaris, and it was all that we hoped for and more. I wanted to make this trip to see the animals of the Serengeti and Tarangire in the wild before that chance is gone, and for my kids to have the opportunity to do the same and to be able to tell their children of all that they saw. If you share any similar dreams, I encourage you to pursue them. No documentary can compare to seeing first hand giraffes grazing amongst acacia, hearing the roar of lions nearby at night, or the sound of a multitude of wildebeests as they cross the open plains.
We were blessed with many great moments (thanks in large part to the abundant wildlife Tanzania affords and to the amazing spotting skills of our guide), but some of our favorites memories include the following:
– Seeing hippos in the Mara river from our small plane as we were landing in the northern Serengeti
– Immediately being amongst the wildlife and encountering crocodiles, hippos, elephants, giraffes, zebra, and wildebeests within 15 minutes of landing
– Game driving through the rolling hills and kopjes of the northern Serengeti and anxiously awaiting what we might find around each turn
– Seeing lionesses calmly looking for prey in the golden morning light
– Spotting a leopard, and then her cub, in a tree with a freshly killed impala
– Watching the same leopard cub inadvertently drop the kill from the tree branch to the ground, much to the annoyance of its mother
– The sight of a herd of elephants in the Lobo Valley crossing within yards of us and the sound as one turned and trumpeted at us
– Spotting a rhino and seeing how he dwarfed the wildebeests around him
– The call of hyenas at night immediately outside our tent at Seronera Sametu, and later the roar of lions as they passed through camp
– The incredible vistas and sunsets on the Serengeti
– Hearing the rush of the grass and seeing the speed of cheetahs as they took off after an impala
– Seeing the harshness of the wild as we came upon a badly wounded hyena in Ngorongoro Crater that had clearly lost a battle the night before and was limping up to take perhaps its last drink of water
– Getting another sense of the same upon seeing a pride of lions feast on a fresh water buffalo kill
– Experiencing the friendliness of the Tanzanian people as we stopped to shop for a Kanga in Mosquito Creek
– And, finally, trying to hang on to as many images as we could our last night on safari as impala, elephants, giraffe, and waterbucks all grazed within yards of our tent while dusk set in on the Tarangire. Some of our photos capturing these memories are set forth below.
As others have consistently spoken of, the help African Dream Safaris provides in planning a trip such as this is incredible. Our planning guide, Lynn, was fantastic. She was extremely responsive to our questions (which were endless), diligent in planning an itinerary and accommodations that matched our visions (which among the four of us were diverse), and invaluable with the additional ideas and suggestions she offered. We needed and wanted some guidance and direction on setting up our trip. If you are in a similar situation, I believe you will find those needs more than met by ADS.
If you are concerned about spending multiple days in the same vehicle with the same guide, don’t be. It’s clear that ADS invests in finding quality people to lead their safaris. Our guide, Claude, was perfect. As mentioned above, his game spotting skills and wildlife knowledge were impressive. But more importantly, by the end of our safari, we felt we had a true friend.
Claude’s warm greeting and easy going demeanor immediately set us at ease. He welcomed our questions (which, again, were endless), was interested in getting to know us and in hearing of our experiences, and shared some of his with us. In between game viewing and learning about all the wildlife we were seeing, we talked of things that ran the gamut from backpacking to books, from football to fracking.
While always willing to talk, Claude was sensitive to allowing some quiet time to just take in all that we were seeing. He wanted to be sure we saw as much game as possible and offered suggestions on plans for each day, but respected whatever schedule we wanted. As I say, by the end of our trip, we felt we were saying farewell to a good friend, and we sincerely miss him.
If you’re thinking of going on safari, I encourage you to do so. And based on our experience, we are very comfortable recommending ADS to help make that dream a reality.
Ed, Sandy, Shannon and Kelly T.
Santa Barbara, California
Safari dates July 14-July 26, 2013