Our safari began, as so many others have described, with arrival at Kilimanjaro airport and a swift and easy passage through customs and arrival at Mount Meru Resort in Arusha. The following day we were treated to a tour of Arusha with an informative, detailed running commentary by Mathias and Joseph about the city, its people, and industries. We also toured the Cultural Heritage Center that holds a vast collection of paintings, carvings, and jewelry.
The following morning we flew from Arusha regional airport to the Mara River Airstrip in the northern Serengeti where we were met by our guide/driver Anglebert. From here, and for the next 12 days, our animal sighting experience was beyond our expectations.
I have always wanted to see the Great Migration; within a brief time from landing we saw hundreds of wildebeests and zebras crossing the Mara River. The sight left us speechless. During the next 2 days we saw all of the Big Five and returned to the river at different locations to watch the migration. Anglebert always knew where to be at just the right time to maximize our sightings.
As we traveled through the Serengeti, north to south, we saw lions, elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, hippos, hyenas, jackals, monkeys, cheetahs, leopards, crocodiles, a Black Rhino, and many different antelopes and birds. It is difficult to describe the excitement of being within 15 feet of a lion as it lies in the shade staring at us as we stare at it.
At one point a male lion must have gotten annoyed with our presence. His gaze of us went from nonchalance, to tolerance, to border-line annoyance and then he made a very low growl. With a quiet voice Anglebert said “I think we should move on now”. We did.
The beauty of the country and the proximity to the animals continued to astound. The plains of the Serengeti, the vastness of the Ngorongoro Crater, and the kopjes were more breath-taking than one could imagine. The accommodations, food and service, from tented camps, to the luxurious were outstanding.
We were treated like royalty in exceptional surroundings at The Manor Lodge (where our private ‘butler’, Peter, gave us gentle care, bounties of flowers and special private settings for gracious meals) and at The Migration Tented Camp (where the staff joyously spoiled us with a memorable evening of feast, fire and song in celebration of our wedding anniversary). Yet we loved equally the Mara River Tented Camp (and all the other tented camps) where The Great Migration passed within a few feet of our tent. The staff at Mara River Camp, better described as our Hosts, shared their warmth and knowledge with gracious joy.
We also toured the facilities of F.A.M.E. (Foundation for African Medicine and Education) spending time with co-founder Dr. Frank Artress seeing first-hand the great work this organization is doing for the people of the region. Following that, Anglebert took us to an open-air market in the town of Karatu. Hundreds of people selling all manner of goods including clothing, cattle, cloth, sugar cane, shoes, wood, melons, meat, and cooked foods. It was an amazing and colorful experience.
A special word about ADS. From the very beginning of our inquiries about a safari, Sharon Lyon was most helpful and thoughtful; answering our questions and arranging our itinerary. Anglebert, our guide/driver, was so attentive, answering our questions and being sure our experience was as we wished it to be.
His knowledge of animals was astounding as was his incredible ability to spot animals and know where they would be. He taught us so much. There is no doubt that the experience one has on safari is directly related to the abilities of a guide. Anglebert was the best.
Joseph and Mathias were also warm, fun and incredibly helpful in getting us to and from the airports, helping us through customs and seeing that our time in Arusha was well spent. We thank ADS, Anglebert, Mathias and Joseph with full hearts. Cathy King, of King Travel, was very helpful with suggestions and arranging our overseas flights.
We plan to return to Tanzania in 2-3 years. ADS here we come!
Alan L. and Jan S.
Safari Dates: August 28, 2016 to September 11, 2016