Asante Sana to you Sharon for helping us with the most amazing trip of a lifetime. Below is a few of our highlights.
We arrived in Kilimanjaro late on March 11th and were met and greeted by the team of Martius and Timan who whisked us through customs quickly. The team drove us to Mount Meru and did our check in, gave us instructions (and gifts), and made sure we had all our questions answered.
The next day they drove us throughout Arusha shopping and sightseeing. We spent time at St. Judes learning about the school and meeting some of the children who were having recess while we were visiting. Thank you ADS for helping these students.
The next day the team drove us to the airport and we flew into the central Serengeti. There we met Emanuel, or Ema to us, and he would spent the next 10 days teaching us so much about wildlife and fauna we would encounter. Everyone seems to think their driver guide is the best and we think they are all wrong and ours is!
Thank you (asante sana) Ema for your sense of humor, your patience with us and our millions of questions, for going around the rain showers, and most of all showing us your country you know so well. We arrived our first night at Seronera Sametu Camp in the pouring rain. The staff met us with umbrellas and we had arrived at our first stop. Ema loaned us his flip flops so we would not get muddy. The staff prepared and carried our supper that night, to our tent so we would not have to get muddy going to the dinning tent.
They also carried breakfast and lunch the next day. Sometimes they made five or more trips to our tent for one meal. This was the first of so many times staff made us feel like royalty. The attention and consideration shown to us at all camps we visited was phenomenal. All staff, from the Managers to the Maasai Warriors, spoke some English and we soon learned some Swahili.
The next camp on our adventure was Lake Masek and again were greeted with great staff, great food, and a great tent. Veronica, asante for your sense of humor and the care you took of my husband. Kusini tented lodge was probably my favorite, at least their food was the best. Our picnic lunches were more than anyone could ever eat and so much to choose from. I especially loved the bathtub and the complementary laundry where the clothing were hung in the sun to dry.
Lion Paw was next for our tented camp stay. If you want a small camp surrounded by jungle and very private tent, this is for you. We were only there one night and then onward to our first and only lodge (Ngorongoro Manor Lodge). This was just what we needed for a break from the tents and a bit of quietness away from the bush music and into the rose gardens and beautiful walkways. The flower petals placed around the bathroom were lovely, another first for me. Margaret, my sister’s name, laughed with us and made us feel like she could have been my sister, not only in name. She said to tell you hello, Sharon.
Our last lodge was Swala, my husbands favorite. What an amazing experience they gave us. Eating remarkable dinners out under the stars in the middle of an Impala herd. We sat on our porch and watched the Impala babies play with the monkeys keeping us company. The places we stayed and the incredible staff is only the beginning of all my highlights.
The wildlife was exquisite and everywhere. We watched cheetahs chasing gazelles, we chose not to watch any kills but had the opportunity several times, lions mating, cheetah and lion babies playing, dung beetles rolling, wildebeests and zebras everywhere. We saw too many different kinds of Antelope to mention. Monkeys, a couple of varieties, baboons including a Troup of hundreds.
Lions, leopards both on the ground and in trees, eight lions in one tree. Hippos in and out of the water, Black Rhinos, many giraffes including a herd of about 50 together. We saw probably 400 elephants in one day in Tarangire. Cape buffalo chasing a lion pride. Hyenas in and out of mud holes. Mongoose ran across the road and we got a glimpse of an African Wild Cat running into its burrow, we saw all four kinds of Jackal and bat eared fox. We were not lucky enough to see the wild dogs but almost everything else mentioned in our itinerary.
Our hot air balloon ride across the Serengeti will always be remembered. We had another prospective of the animals from new angles as our pilot rose high and low several times across the Serengeti. We were in the air almost one and a half hours landing on the road, drank champagne then headed to a spot in the bush for a delicious breakfast where the food was good and the champagne flowed freely. The areas we ate our lunches were beautiful some private with only our guide and ourselves eating, others were picnic areas with others enjoying them. In one of these areas my husband and a monkey got into a tug of war with one of our containers. Our trusty guide saw this and laughingly rescued my husband. One of the nicest surprises, we were never too far from a toilet. Some were squatters but were private.
I’ve only touched on a few of our wonderful highlights and I am so glad we decided to go with ADS. I saw other crowded vehicles with other groups and watched the people some shooting pictures others looking bored to death. I talked with others from different groups on the plane and we decided that all and all I had the best safari with the best adventure for about the same amount of money and ours was private and theirs was not.
Thank you Sharon for suggesting March for my adventure, it was a great time to go. Would I go again? In a heart beat. Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely! I am sharing a few pictures of my over 1000 taken. Hope they are enjoyed.
Mike O. and Connie C.
Port Charlotte, Florida
March 11 thru March 23, 2014