It has long been a dream of my sister, husband & I to safari in Africa & I diligently researched many, many companies with which to take our tour. ADS has many awards from the Tanzanian government & National Geographic on their outstanding work on safari and within the Tanzanian community. I had the good fortune to work with Sharon Lyons (Mama Simba), Arnold (our world class guide & driver) as well as the camp hosts & workers.
Upon our arrival in the Western Serengeti, our game drive had gems as we were right in the midst of the Great Migration! Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles & impala were in the hundreds of thousand with elephants, giraffe & mongoose in the hundreds. It is an amazing sight to be surrounded by over a million wildebeest plaintively bleating, running & fighting! Mbalagetti Lodge was beautiful, sitting on the edge of the Dutwa Plain with an outstanding view from the dining veranda, pool & spa. I particularly enjoyed the “whoop-whoop” of the hyenas close by at night.
We moved on to Central Serengeti where, starting out in early morning, we were treated to hyenas with a kill and lionesses with their kill. We enjoyed watching the large number of creatures that feed from a single kill (lionesses, hyena, jackals, white-backed vultures and Lappett vultures to name a few). It sounds cliché, but for someone who has watched hours of National Geographic’s Wild Discovery, it was surreal to be so close to the action. Our stay at the Sametu Camp could have been miserable because of the nightly rain, but Jonas & the crew made our return each night enjoyable with fabulous, fresh meals, hot showers & a hot water bottle for the cold night. Our lodging was luxurious for a tent & we enjoyed the stay. Our hot air balloon ride over the Central Serengeti was magical and serene!
The Central Serengeti is certainly “cat central” and during the 3 day period we viewed: 3 leopards, 8 cheetah, 27 lionesses, 15 male lions, and 16 cubs! We spent hours at the Masaii Kopje watching a large pride feed, then relax & play. We even had the good fortune to see a lioness up a tree! A stop at the Lion Research Center was extremely interesting & the researchers shared their identification files as well as information gleaned from years of painstaking observation – definitely an organization worthy of our donations. Leaving the research station, we sighted a Serval cat and bat eared fox which are very rare during daylight. The following day while driving to Ngorogoro Crater we were treated to a fight between two massive male hippos, and herds of elephants (some with 18+ members) knocking over trees so their babies could reach the most succulent leaves at the top – impressive!
Ngorogoro Crater was awe-inspiring! Driving on the plains, the dormant volcano is easy to see in the distance, but driving down into the caldera was magical! I loved the lush landscaping at the top of the crater with the huge plain in the center. More resident animals are found here – the beautiful black rhino was tops on my list and we saw one the moment we drove down! After such an exciting start to this region’s gems, we all absolutely loved Lion’s Paw Camp & Edward was another host that treated us like royalty! The luxury tents amid the dense foliage with bird calls in the air was a treat for the soul.
We saw more wildlife than even we could imagine, enjoyed all the stories of Arnold & appreciated the expert care taken by our hosts in the camps – it really was a trip of a lifetime! Thank you Sharon, Faith and everyone who assisted with this trip. Every day is a good day in the bush!
Candice and Michael Y. and Patricia R.
Bay Point, California
Safari Dates: June 1-12, 2014