“How was it?” The one word that keeps coming up is “different”. So different from any other trip we have taken. As it should have been. When pressed, I guess some aspects were as I would have expected-but wouldn’t fully fathom until experienced.
1) The vastness of the Serengeti: When you learn it means “endless plain” in Massi, you agree with the appropriateness of the term. As you are viewing some of the vistas, it just overwhelms you with how it goes on and on.
2) The animals: I expected to see the usual ones-lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes; and hoped to see the rarer ones, rhinos, leopard, cheetah (and did). But it is impossible to imagine ahead of time the sheer numbers. Even though we missed the peak migration crossing the river since it occurred a couple of weeks earlier than usual, still being in the midst of a few hundred thousand wildebeests or 10 or 20 thousand zebras is difficult to comprehend ahead of time.
And yes, we have all seen elephants and lions before-but it is quite different when one saunters right in front of your front bumper and marks his territory by peeing on the vehicle 10 feet in front of yours.
3) The people: you will hear the people of Tanzania are friendly and they were. The one term we kept coming back to was “welcoming”. The staff at the lodges were so friendly – open – and willing to engage.
But the 2 critical persons needed for the trip exceeded what I could have expected. The ADS handbook describes the “meet and greet staff” who will escort you through the process of getting through immigration. Faith, our meet and greet staff person, certainly did that. What we didn’t foresee was how she became our on the ground quarterback (and friend). After taking us to the hotel she said “have a bite to eat, go crash and we will talk tomorrow.”
As a side note; you MUST have a very good reason not to spend an additional night in Arusha. The upfront extra day made all the difference in the world. The following morning she was there to ensure getting to the plane goes off without a hitch, just as she was there when we returned to make sure all was copacetic. At every step she ensured things were perfect.
Finally, our guide/driver/companion: As we set up the trip, my wife noted she really hoped to also see some birds. As expected Peter, our guide, was great finding/showing the animals. Especially persistent in trying to find some special ones. “There are some rare Colubus monkeys only in this place, let’s see if we can find them”. He did.
Or going in and around 20 small hillocks where a cheetah and her cub had been spotted the day before, until he finally found them. But back to the birds. I am not a “birder”, but those of you who are, or who live with one, know what I mean. Peter is a birder and he and my wife wonderfully bonded. Yes, he could find and point them out, but beyond that they shared the excitement in the different birds-“look Peter, see the color of his eyes”. Peter had both a book on the birds as well one on the animals of Tanzania available for us to reference.
The trip really was special, and yes so very different! ADS made sure that all of our needs were met big or small.
Asante Sana Sharon and ADS for a job well done!
Andrea and Bill S.
Safari Dates: May 16, 2014 to May 27, 2014