What To Expect When Using ADS As Your Tour Company

Without a hint of change in his behavior in more than 30 minutes, the Wildebeest on point, without warning, leaps into the Mara River, working his way across, ever cautious of the hazards lurking beneath the murky water. It was the beginning for thousands of Wildebeest that would follow his lead over the next 12 minutes.

They crossed with great haste, swimming through the neck high water, with their hoofs slipping and sliding on the large boulders which littered the river, only slowing when they met firm ground on the far side of the Mara River. They created their own “river”, which flowed perpendicular to the Mara River, a truly wondrous sight to behold.

The Black Rhino lay sleeping, while a small herd of 5 elephants browsed 200 yards in the distance. The Elephant’s grazing path, from Acacia tree to Acacia tree, was leading them directly towards the slumbering Rhino. Many minutes passed, and the Elephant closed their distance to the Rhino…it was only a matter of time before the Rhino would detect them.

At 50 yards, the Rhino sensed their presence and rose to her feet, facing menacingly in the Elephant’s direction. As quickly as she rose to her feet, a small, heretofore unseen 6 week old baby Rhino appeared on her far side. Discretion being the better part of valor, the Rhino mother and her “tiny” offspring, gave way to the approaching Elephants, and briskly moved to the western horizon, avoiding a conflict which could have resulted in injury to her baby. A most unique find, and totally unexpected.

A mature Eland lies neck deep in a small stream trapped by a pride of Lion. It appears to have a broken, right front leg…its hind quarters are severely raked by lion claws, but it is determined to avoid the pride of 7 Lion which surround it. Periodically, it would would shift its position, in the hope of extracting itself from its dire predicament, but the pride would quickly counter, with a blocking move of their own. Although the Eland was extremely determined to live, its fate was sealed by the Lion the following day, as they were never going to relinquish such a plentiful bounty.

Most people on Safari would have been ecstatic to have experienced any one of the first three events I described above, during the course of their entire Safari. This was our 4th Safari with ADS, and our expectations were very high. Needless to say, we were not disappointed!

All of the happenings I described above, occurred on our first Safari day in the northern Serengeti…yes, the first day. What may appear as completely serendipitous events, could not have been witnessed without exceptional pre-Safari planning, and a Safari guide with a great deal of knowledge and experience of the African bush. These are attributes we have come to expect, and thoroughly appreciate, when using ADS for our Safari adventures.

Our primary goal of this Safari, was to partake in a Mara a River crossing. We witnessed two additional crossings, each possessing its own uniqueness and mayhem, as crocodiles attacked Wildebeest, as they jostled their way through the muddied waters.

Our first Wildebeest river crossing experience, was eerily calculated by our outstanding guide Arnold, predicting their movements throughout the morning as the Wildebeest browsed the Mara River grasses. We were only 1 of 3 vehicles which witnessed the thousands of Wildebeest which surged across the Mara that mid-day, a first time experience for us, which is deeply etched into our memories.

Exciting events continued to unfold for us throughout our 13 day Safari:

– 2 juvenile Green Mambas weaving their way through the thorns of an Acacia tree

– Numerous tree climbing Lions

– A pride of 10 Lions hunting a zebra mid-day, devouring it in 20 minutes

– A Cheetah mother, and 2 yearling cub stumbling upon some resting Lion, almost meeting an untimely end to their young lives

– A mother Leopard and her young cub lounging on a very large Kopje

– Martial Eagles predartory attack on Guinea Fowl and a newborn Thompson’s Gazelle

– 3 adorable newborn Lion cubs, experiencing their first weeks in the wilds of the Serengeti

– Encountering 4 new species of animals, including the Oryx, an almost mystical creature for this part of Tanzania.

My professional, wildlife photography portfolio, has practically doubled from this Safari alone, a further testament to ADS’s commitment to the wildlife/nature photographer, and their specific technical needs.

All of our Lodge accommodations, from the Hatari Lodge in Arusha Park, to our standout favorite from our 4 Safaris, Swala, were outstanding. We can highly recommend the walking safari at Swala as well, which is truly an adventure all unto itself! From the Maasai Warriors which guard the tented lodges during the night, to the incredible dynamic vistas which expand before you on a daily basis, Tanzania is a truly an exotic and magical country which begs to be explored.

Asante Sana Arnold, and to all of the ADS staff for making our 4th Safari, the most memorable yet. (yet) as in we are already planning our 5th Safari with ADS. 🙂

Peter and Jody A.
Alpharetta, Georgia
Safari Dates: August 27, 2015 to September 9, 2015

21 Comments Leave a Comment

  1. I look at your amazing photos and dream of going back! You are so lucky to have been there four times!!! We’ve been there once and for folks who have never been they just don’t understand what makes you want to go back!

    1. Hi Hallie! Thanks very much. Very fortunate indeed that we have had 4 Safaris, and I thank my incredibly successful wife everyday.

    1. Thanks Kristine! Funny you should mention that selfie. We have taken many over the months, and that is by far my favorite. Taken with a GoPro4. Peter

  2. Amazing photos. My wife and I will be returning in December for our 2nd safari with ADS. Would you mind telling me what photography equipment you used along with any tips you might have. I was pleased with the photos we took last time but they pale in comparison to yours.

    1. Thanks very much John, and truly appreciate that you recognize the efforts behind my work! That is awesome that you are returning in December! I shoot with all Canon gear, 7D Mark II, AND 4, L series lenses which range from 17mm through 500mm. I can spend hours talking Safari photography particulars, and I would be happy to help you with advice in advance of your Safari. You can contact me at parebalo@me.com, and we can go from there if that works for you. Peter

    1. Thank you Mary! You reminded me of one of my favorite sayings…. Life is not about the number of breaths you take, but the number of times your breath is taken away. Peter

  3. As a multiple (3) safari person myself, I totally understand your desire to return again and again. Your pictures definitely show a great understanding of the dynamics of the Serengeti … beautiful!

        1. LOL on Arusha! First meeting will be called to order at the Hatari Lodge! Great lodge, particularly if you are familiar with the movie Hatari.

  4. We have an opportunity to go on a safari one time. Which time of year do you suggest we go knowing that we want to see the most wildlife possible? What would you suggest is the best place to go for a 6 – 8 day safari?

    1. Jambo Bonnie! Our most wildlife game viewing has been the beginning of May. So much of your game viewing experience will be based on the lodges you stay in and the areas of Tanzania you are most interested in seeing. You really can’t go wrong with the central Serengeti, especially in the April May timeframe when you have a very good chance of seeing the Wildebeest migration pass through the Seronera region. I would highly recommend ADS’s private Safari here, we did it 4 years ago, and it was the hi-light of our 13 day Safari.

      As I have found out during our 4 safaris, there is really no optimal time to go. Depending on the park your pick, Serengeti, Ngorongoro or Tarengerie, you really cannot go wrong. The sheer quantities of animals, from birds.. to herbivores… to carnivores… is not equalled anywhere else in Africa. What you may want to consider more so, is wet vs dry season. If you’re looking for lots of green in your photos, then the months of December through May would be a very good choice. Otherwise, you will still find it somewhat green in the norther Serengeti, but a lot of the foliage will be bare, like our US winters. That does not mean it’s cold! It is a most mild climate throughout the year. Having said all of that, I still come back to the Central Serengeti for the most game viewing, during the April May timeframe.

      I hope this has helped a little with your choices Bonnie, and if you would like to chat about additional details, feel free to email me. Cheers! Peter Parebalo@me.com

  5. My wife and I returned from our 1st safari to Ta, nzania early January this year. This was not our 1st safari in Africa, as I was born in South Africa to a crazy wild-life family. I visited many National Parks and experienced many animal wonders, but we as a family could never visit Tanzania, Kenya and most other countries under black rule because we were considered supporters of Apartheid, because we were of “White” settler decent.
    Well, eventually we moved to the USA where I become an American citizen.
    Tanzania, is by far the most prolific game viewing area in Africa. The openness of the Serengeti plains makes it far easier to spot wild-life over long distances. The migration of the wildebeest was my bucket list, so can you believe it I only saw about 250,000 in a week, but was hoping to see the vast herds that populated the exact locations we were in less, than 2 weeks later. Only 250,000, anyone in their right minds would know I was spoilt from previous safari’s with other great herds of several other species.
    Tanzania is wonderful, but expensive as compared to South Africa, and other countries because you have to engage a safari company and cannot travel on your own.
    As for equipment, I do not have anywhere near the quality you have, with a simple canon t3i and some canon lenses, but none professional, but I still have people clamoring to view my photos as to me the most important thing in photography is having a reliable mono pod and bean bags to steady your camera and of course patience.

    1. Wonderful and insightful comments Colin! And as I posted above to Bonnie, the sheer quantities/species of animals you can see on any given day’s game drive, is truly outstanding in the Serengeti. I think you summed it up well, when you noted that you have people “clamoring” to see your photos. This speaks volumes to how unique the game viewing is within Tanzania, and I’m sure, a tribute to your photography as well….. Peter

  6. Peter,
    I am planning a trip with ADS in the fall of 2016. Your shots are fantastic! I am planning to take Nikon equipment and was not sure that a 200/400 would be sufficient.Can you advise?

    1. Thanks very much Bob for your comments on my photos. Assuming your Nikon is a crop camera, 1.6, you will have plenty of reach with your 200-400. And if it is a full frame sensor, you will still have very good reach for the majority of what you will shoot. Make sure you take a landscape lens of some type too, as the scenery is very spectacular.

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