We are a mother and daughter who work together as a real estate team in Virginia. We were long overdue for a vacation and we wanted an adventure. We got more than we’d ever expected. Our trip was beautifully planned by Dawn Anderson of ADS, and every day – often every hour – was a delightful surprise.
Surprise and astonishment, actually, especially when, as we drove away from the Kogatende airfield in the Northern Serengeti, we saw wildebeest, zebra, impala, giraffe, Thompson’s gazelles, topi and lions – all within the first 10 minutes! Soon after, we saw more lions, warthogs, elephants, buffalo and baboons, two cheetahs, and later in the day, a wildebeest river crossing. That was the first afternoon!
Cats. That was the ongoing theme of our safari, with a marvelous background of tens of thousands of constantly shifting wildebeest and hundreds and hundreds of their zebra attendants, along with countless antelopes of all kinds. We made notes each day on what we’d seen, and never had a day with fewer than two dozen species – usually more than three dozen.
Cats were everywhere. I just went through our notes and may have missed a few, but it looks like we had more than 40 different lion sightings in our 10 days in the Serengeti and in Tarangire.
Cats were the soundtrack, too, with their grunts and roars and purrs and snorts and triumphant mating sounds. Lions relaxing in acacia trees, leopards resting next to their kill in sausage trees, cheetahs on their termite mounds or swiftly stalking through the tall grass. Lions trooping along with their young, lion couples mating, lions nursing cubs.
Pokea, our guide, somehow had the uncanny ability to keep spotting cats from afar, even as he wrestled the Land Cruiser around and over and through all the rutted roads and across open grasslands and threading the big vehicle over super-narrow bridges. He always knew how to approach the lions and cheetahs and leopards so we’d have the best possible (and closest!!) view.
At times, the lions also approached us, which was exciting and made us a little nervous. And when a curious cheetah marched over to the jeep and poised itself, ready to jump on the roof, Pokea instantly acted on our request to drive on with no cheetah passengers. I know this was an opportunity lost, but it was fine with us.
We saw hundreds of elephants, too, and dozens of giraffes, and marveled at how both of these would appear out of nowhere, somehow able to hide despite all that height and width and bulk.
We never got over our awe and amazement and gratitude at how CLOSE we were to all of the animals. We saw nearly everything from no further than 10-15 feet away, sometimes even closer. Most of the time, there was no one else around. Just us, and the magnificent animals we were watching from our amazing vantage point, and the vast Serengeti landscape surrounding us.
I won’t list all the other animal and bird sightings, except to say that ever-alert Pokea drew our attention to a small herd of oryx, so rare that he hadn’t seen any for the previous four years.
Don’t wait for your bucket list. Call Dawn now and plan your trip. You will be awed by the beauty and magnificence of the open, rolling plains, the distant hills, the kopjes, the woodlands, the dramatic skies, and of course the rustic luxury of the tented camps so accurately described by ADS.
Barbara S. and Robin C.
Safari Dates: August 18, 2017 to August 27, 2017