When Rob and I got married ten years ago we agreed that we would go to Africa for our 10th anniversary. For many years we talked and dreamed and two years ago we got serious and started searching for a company to supply us with our anniversary trip. When we first saw the ADS website we thought a private safari would way too expensive for us but, on a whim, I inquired anyway. Dawn Anderson replied almost immediately with an incredibly impressive brochure and a price that was so close to the “budget” group safaris that we were sold.
As the days flew by we kept saying “this time next year we’ll be in Africa” . . . “this time in six months we’ll be in Africa” . . . We were so excited and kept reading the ADS newsletters but we didn’t dare to hope that our trip would be so wonderful. But then we found ourselves saying “this time next week we’ll be in Africa” . . . and suddenly we were there!
From the ADS agent who met us at the airport, to the gentlemen who took us to our hotel that night, to the help at the regional airport, to our amazing and incredibly knowledgable guide, Patrick every single detail was taken care of. We literally didn’t have to think or worry about anything but watching for animals and wondering what incredible food waited for us in those yummy lunch boxes or at the lodge that night. (We are both engineers and are sticklers about details and about time so for us not to worry about these things is saying a lot!)
In our wistful thinking leading up to the trip we thought we might see a few animals but they would be at a long distance. So I bought my husband a very fancy camera for his birthday earlier in the year with a very powerful zoom lens. Imagine our excitement when we could almost reach out and touch these beautiful creatures. Other than a very shy leopard and a somewhat elusive rhino at the crater we scarcely had to use our zoom! What a thrill to have a male lion walk right up to your truck and snarl at you because you were in the shade of “his” bush! How incredible to see the wildebeast and zebra that blackened the plains they were so numerous!
Nothing in our dreams included elephants and their babies that would walk alongside your truck and treat you to a show while they shot water and dust over their backs! And the hippos! Who knew we’d be up close and personal with hippos while they got into a tiff and their voices echoed down the valley created by the Mara river? We had no clue that zebras “bark” or that hyenas are named “laughing hyenas” for a very good reason! And that was just during the day! During the nights we were treated with visits from elephants, giraffes, elands and lions – right outside (or under in the case of the lions) our room!
Our guide, Patrick, knew the name of every bird and every creature. I took notes on it all in my journal and Patrick was always patient for me – not driving off until he had located the animal in his guidebook so I could spell it correctly. Patrick told us about the “big five” (elephant, lion, cape buffalo, rhino and leopard) and then he made it his mission to make sure we saw all five – which we did! We weren’t sure if Patrick was a kindred spirit or if he could read our minds but he always was taking us places and showing us things that we wanted to see without us saying a word.
The lodges were wonderful and the people as friendly as any I’ve experienced in my travels around the world. We loved the Maasai people and enjoyed talking with them both in their traditional bomas as well as at the lodges where they worked. The lodge managers were great people with interesting stories and were constantly surprising us with their hospitality.
Our experience with ADS has been nothing but spectacular and, as the title says, it was beyond our wildest dreams of how great a safari can be. While we were out and about we saw some of the other big group safari companies with people crammed into vehicles following each other in a line like the animals we saw. We were so pleased we were with with a company that allowed us the freedom to be where we wanted and do what we wanted. Thank you ADS!!!!! Our 10th anniversary was more special than we could have ever imagined!
Robert and Dawn A.
Safari Dates: October 18, 2013 to October 28, 2013