Our Family Adventure To The Serengeti!

Its only a few days after our return home, and we are still trying to fully absorb our experience with ADS. We were amazed by so many things that it is really hard to be able to write down how well things went, thanks to ADS.

Arriving in Tanzania isn’t all that complicated but when you’ve traveled almost 24 straight hours, with 6 people, it can feel that way. It was great to see Mathias, as soon as we came into the building, at the Arusha airport.

He efficiently got our visas, and helped us through the process. As we came out of the airport, his partner Ali took our bags, got us to the Mt. Meru hotel and checked into the hotel very quickly.

The next day, when we landed at the Grumeti airstrip, we were met by our Guide, Francis. We didn’t know then what a jewel Francis is, but over the next few days as we got to know him, we found that he is someone so well educated, knowledgeable and personable that he should teach others how to be a driver / guide.

We started our safari in the area near the Grumeti river & airstrip. After a couple days there, we moved on to the Serengeti. After a couple days there we finished the safari in the Ngorogoro Crater.

This trip was really the last time that we would likely have our entire family together. My oldest son will be starting college in the fall, and then our other three kids will likely follow him out into the world very quickly. So, when each day of the safari was filled with wonder after wonder, it made it very special.

One evening, still in the Grumeti area, we came upon a Tower of Giraffe. Francis was able to get us very close, but he did it in a way that allow for the best photography light. We saw a major pack of hyena living not very far from the Mbalageti Tented Lodge. At one point, a hyena decided to run down the middle of the road so we slowly went behind him until he became tired enough to get off the road.

When we arrived in the Serengeti, the first thing we saw was a pride of lions eating a kill that they had just made.

A little later we went right into the middle of a major wave of the Great Migration. Almost as far as you could see, in every direction, were Wildebeests and Zebra. We saw a huge leopard that day. He was sleeping up in a tree, just waiting for a meal to come by, and then experienced a family of more than 30 elephants crossing a road just in front of us.

I’ve never been much of bird watcher, but Francis was able to see every type of bird you could name, from far away. (Yes, he’s as much of an eagle eye as all the other guides, but I would wager that his are the best.)

Francis made the birds interesting in a way that I had never considered before. By telling us about their behaviors we were able to understand them far better than we had before. Something as simple as a flock of cranes circling about 7 meters over our heads, he explained helps to keep them cool in the heat of the day.

At the crater, we started early in the morning to make sure we had the best chance to see things before it became crowded. Francis couldn’t have made a better recommendation. It was a little chilly so if you go, bring a sweater. When we got down to the floor of the crater, we started seeing Wildebeest and Cape Buffalo that were simply huge. A little later we came across some very large elephants and got what we think is one of our best shots.

One of Francis’ colleagues, who was guiding another party, notified him over the radio that they had seen a Black Rhino. So we shot across the crater to where he was located and were blessed to see a truly massive Black Rhino. Francis shared with us how lucky we were, because very often the rangers will drive the Rhinos away from the road so they don’t become used to / comfortable with the safari trucks.

As we drove back to Arusha that afternoon, we knew that we had experienced something really amazing and when we told our friends, before we came, that it was a “trip of a lifetime,” we didn’t know how right we had been.

My wife Heather and I are already planning our next trip. This one will likely just be us, but we came to love Tanzania in the few days we were there and there’s no better group to go with than Africa Dream Safari.


Jonathon A. Family
Olathe, Kansas
Safari Dates: May 14, 2016 to May 21, 2016

Our family and our Guide Francis