Our Africa Dream Safari experts planned for our family of seventeen a custom itinerary for eight amazing days in Tanzania! They prepared us on what and how to pack, what to expect, how to tip; selected for us a variety of accommodations (three hotels and two tented lodges); and answered questions right up to the night before we headed to Africa.
Seventeen us us climbed into a bush plane and headed out from Arusha on our adventure. We enjoyed stunning views of Mount Meru, and flew for an hour across Tanzania. Upon landing, we were welcomed by our three fabulous guides, Francis, Ellison, and Pokea, who would spend the week with us. We hit the trail and immediately came upon two baby giraffes sitting and “posing” for us, followed shortly by a larger group, generating our catch-phrase “Welcome to Giraffic Park”.
We saw first one then dozens of hippos in the water, and spotted thousands of wildebeest in the distance, quickly realizing they spanned the horizon along with smaller groups of zebras. Next came a herd of elephants happily munching trees – very close to our vehicles! Then the unexpected: zebras and wildebeest crossing the river — not once, but two major herds within a couple of hours! Even our guides took photos. Parked along the river during the second crossing, the animals flew past our vehicles, a spectacular site and an amazing experience! We continued to spot animals left and right with our guides educating us not only on the type of species, but about each species.
Other highlights included our night game-drives where we spotted various animals, including a pack of hyenas eating dinner; a pair of lions mating twenty feet away; several subsets of the Central Serengeti super-pride of lions at watering holes, and in grassy fields seeking shade of our vehicles or awaiting prey; hunting cheetahs and lounging leopards; a lioness chasing a warthog (he escaped); a jackal chasing a baby gazelle; dozens of bird species, great and small, some monochrome and others brilliantly iridescent; my nephew swimming in the Four Seasons pool with a herd of 25 elephants at the watering hole beside it; rare black rhino in the Ngorogoro Crater; elephants outside our rooms at Serena Lodge; zebra wandering our campgrounds; and our spectacular Thanksgiving Day hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti with lions, hippos, birds and more, followed by breakfast in the Serengeti with herds of buffalo, zebras, and antelopes in the distance (and baboons nearby)!
Our day trip to a Masai village included a tour, introduction to villagers, and the opportunity to dance with them – good times were had by all, followed by shopping of local crafts and jewelry. My brother-in-law delighted several Masai women by gifting his own handmade bracelets to them.
Armed guards kept us safe each night. Our expert and personable guides continually fielded our questions, spotted animals we hadn’t seen, demonstrated respect for animals and environment, and educated us on safety, people, animals and culture….
The hot meals in camp were exceptionally delicious, with many choices at the buffets.
It was the trip of a lifetime and more so because our family experienced it together — and seeing it through the eyes of my nieces and nephews made it even more special. I have shown my photos to friends and colleagues with narration of our adventures, encouraging them to pursue their own Africa Dream Safari…
Overall, our expectations were exceeded. Thank you, Dawn, Ellison, Francis, Pokea and others at ADS!
Heather and Robert T.
Safari Dates: November 24, 2013 to November 30, 2013