A Lifelong Dream Of Mine

Planning a trip to Africa for a safari has been a lifelong dream of mine, but it wasn’t until last summer I was able to convince my 20 year old daughter to join me. We looked at lots of different tour companies and finally decided that a private safari was the best choice for us. We wanted to be able to make our own agenda each day, stay at a variety of different lodges and camps of our choosing, and have a guide and vehicle to ourselves.

We had a limited window of time in May to make this trip happen and everyone at ADS did  heir best to squeeze as much in to our trip as possible. Many thanks to Sharon who planned a wonderful itinerary and was patient throughout the process as we bombarded her with questions.

We cannot say enough good things about the ADS staff in Africa. We were met immediately after we walked off the plane in Kilimanjaro and whisked through the Visa process. From there we travelled to Arusha for a short overnight stay at Mount Meru Hotel.

The next morning we were picked up early by the ADS staff and taken to the airfield to fly to the Western Serengeti. I must admit, my daughter and I were both a bit apprehensive about this flight, but once we were up in the air and able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Africa, our fears subsided.

We met our fabulous guide Peter at the Grumeti airstrip. Within a few minutes of leaving the airstrip, we began spotting animals – gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, baboons, and many others. Peter made sure we were always in the perfect spot to observe these amazing sights as well as get great pictures. We even got a chance to see the migration of the wildebeests which was an awesome sight. There must have been thousands of them.

We were constantly marveling at Peter’s ability to spot animals. He spotted a Columbus Monkey is a densely forested area more than 100 yards away. Every time we asked him how he did it, he would laughingly reply, “I keep telling you, this is my office.” He openly share his vast knowledge of the behaviors of the animals which we found not only educational, but fascinating.

We spent our first two nights at the Kirawira Tented Lodge and could not have been more pleased. The staff was phenomenal, always making sure we had everything we needed, even arranging for my daughter to visit with the on-site doctor when she was not feeling so well. They all made us feel “at-home” and amongst friends. As two women traveling alone, we were a bit concerned about our safety, but at Kirawira and all of the other places we stayed throughout our journey, we always felt safe and secure.

Our guide made sure we were ready to start our game drives early so we would have the best chance to get the most out of our day. On our first morning drive while at Kirawira, we were greeted by a giraffe in the middle of the road. We hadn’t even had time to get our cameras ready for the day, but not to worry. There were plenty more giraffes for us to see that day.

On our third day, we drove to the Central Serengeti area where we began to see several different prides of lions, leopards, cheetah, and herds of elephants. A few of the prides we saw were in secluded areas where we were the only people around. We discovered that the main reason was because most of the other safari tour companies have mileage limits so they won’t drive to some of these “out of the way” places. One more advantage of using ADS is that they have unlimited mileage.

We ended our trip with two nights at the beautiful Ngorogoro Crater Lodge where we were treated to an amazing view from our room along with service that was impeccable! Our only regret is that we didn’t have more time to spend there. While in the Crater, our guide located the elusive Black Rhino making our mission to see the Big Five complete.

On our last day, we began our journey back to Arusha where we would have to say goodbye to our newest extended family member, Peter. It was bittersweet, but we were comforted by the fact that we will be coming back to see him someday soon. Next time, we will bring the rest of the family.

On our way to the airport, the ADS staff stopped so we could take a picture standing in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We could now safely say that we had seen it all!

Lynn and Nicole P.
Centreville, Virginia
Safari Dates: May 15 to May 25, 2014

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