Asante Sana ADS. This was exactly what we asked for and you delivered!
This was my second trip to Africa, having climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in June of 2013. On the way back to the States I was introduced to ADS by a couple sitting next to me who were talking about the safari they had just completed. They told me it was the best trip they had ever been on. When I inquired who the outfitter was they said ADS. ADS became the basis of all our research into safaris and in the end they won hands down! Thanks to Dawn for the personal attention to detail and patience with all our questions.
Having been in the Southern Hemisphere a couple of times my wife and I know the results of long travel times and how tiring it is. With that in mind we opted to spend an extra day in Arusha and head out on safari well rested. Very wise decision on our part. We were met at the airport by Mateas and Peter. They ushered us thru the Visa and immigration areas with a minimum of delay. We were taken to the Mount Meru Hotel, which is a splendid property and served us well for two nights. The evening of the second night we were treated to a special anniversary dinner served up in a private gazebo with a candle lit table. Nicely done.
The next morning we flew directly to the Mara River Camp and began our safari there. We saw four of the big five on the very first day and the fifth came soon after! Finding a black rhino with her baby on our first day was impressive. Loved just driving along and stopping because “oh, there’s a herd of elephants” or “oh, look at the giraffe with her baby”!
We saw not one, not two, but three migration crossings. I could not do it justice in this space. I would recommend viewing the CD “Planet Earth” or “Africa” to watch the migration and you will then know what amazing is. Later, more about our wonderful guide who made it all possible.
Our drive to the Lobo valley was long and dusty, but well worth the trek. Here we saw lots of lions both male and female, lots of cubs, a number of cheetahs and rare sightings of leopards. We were able to watch a cheetah hunt and kill. It was actually quite quick and humane.
Our final stop was at the Ngorongoro Crater. I believe this is the largest crater in the world that supports wildlife, and does it ever. Elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, buffalos, zebras, warthogs, hyenas, cheetahs, a serval cat, and more.
The accommodations at Lion’s Paw Tented Camp were excellent, as were all the camps. The tent camps were impressive, providing comfortable accommodations in not easy conditions. A queen sized bed, bathroom and shower in a tent, really! A warm “bucket” shower at the end of a long of day of game driving was most welcomed. The personnel at all the camps were truly outstanding, leaving nothing to want. At dinner in camp one evening my wife was treated to a birthday greeting in Swahili and a delicious birthday cake. Being zipped into the tents at night knowing we might hear lions, hippos, cape buffalo or possibly elephants right outside is an experience hard to explain.
In addition to the animal sitings listed earlier I would mention jackal, baboon, crocodile, eagle, vulture, eland, wildebeest, gazelle, impala, hippo, trees and birds too numerous to mention. Any attempt to include all here would be an exercise in carpel tunnel fatigue.
Last but certainly not least, two very important features that made this a trip of a lifetime. Wilfred, our driver/guide, was quite simply the BEST. There was not a question he did not have an answer to, and there were many. How he managed to maneuver the Land Cruiser thru some of that terrain was beyond belief. He found animals that were not visible to the naked eye. He was able to position us to get the best possible photo shoot. Above all he has great respect for the land and the environment which served us so well. He is truly a fine gentleman.
The second item was one I mentioned in the title, gluten free diet. My wife suffers from Celiac disease and is very sensitive to gluten whether in the food itself or cross contamination during preparation. We are happy to say she made the entire twelve days without incident. Something that is difficult to do at home with far better circumstances. Bravo to the cooks and advance work by ADS.
Indeed a trip to be remembered!
La La Salama,
Melanie & Ed G.
Londonderry, New Hampshire
Safari Dates: October 3, 2014 to October 12, 2014