After planning for more than one year our family’s “Trip of a Lifetime”, I cannot be happier to have chosen Africa Dream Safaris. Dawn’s help, patience, and advice were invaluable and the trip unfolded seamlessly.
Following a very long trip from the U.S. across Europe and most of Africa, we landed at Kilimanjaro airport where we were met by Mathias who made the visas process quick and efficient. Our trip started at the River Trees Inn where we had our first experience of a dinner “al fresco” under an “Out of Africa” open dining room, and beds surrounded by mosquitos’ nets to the delight of the children.
The real adventure started the following morning when we flew to the North West corner of the Serengeti in order to witness the Great Migration. Ellison and Emmanuel were expecting us and we immediately went on our first “game drive” which ended at the Mara River Camp.
We were in awe of all the animals around us, including a group of wildebeests crossing the runway causing a small plane to abort landing! At this first location we experienced the warm welcome of the Tanzanians and I was quickly addressed as “Bibi” (or grandmother in Swahili) which the kids loved!
Starting with that first day, the adventure took us across the Northern and Central Serengeti, a Masai village, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Parks. The change in landscape, the variety of animals and our friendly guides kept us all busy, interested, and on-the-go from 5:30/6:00 am until we reached our next camp/lodging around 5:00 pm.
All tents and lodgings were a treat where we were met with wet towels, fruit juices, and friendly/faces to the sound of “Jambo! Jambo!” We were served good meals at all locations as well as our breakfast /lunch boxes. We especially enjoyed our “bush” dinners wrapped in “shukas”, with one particularly fun event when the entire kitchen staff arrived singing and dancing to help celebrate one of my daughter’s birthday!
This occurred again on our last evening when the youngest in our group, almost 10 year old Ava, was the beneficiary of the singing, dancing, and the special “goodbye cake”… Unfortunately, our trip had to end and we all wished we had an extra day at the Maramboi Camp with its pool surrounded by zebras and wildebeest and fabulous sunset!
Above all, our guides Ellison and Emma were just perfect! In addition to their good humor, laughter, and patience (10 individuals/2 jeeps), they shared their knowledge of the country, animals, birds, animal behavior, and answered our many questions tirelessly. They were more than wonderful with the children (thank you Ellison for teaching them the Tanzania welcome song in Swahili and playing games with them).
We left early every morning looking for animals away from the beaten path and other vehicles; Ellison and Emma positioned the jeeps for the best photo angle and they truly made our trip a successful and memorable one. We delighted in being close to prides of lions, cheetahs, hippos, leopards, scores of elephants, only missing the elusive rhino.
We had lunch among a sea of wildebeest and zebras, and were lucky to see some action: lions matting, a crocodile taking down and drowning an unfortunate wildebeest, a lioness calling her cubs to go hunting a nearby gazelle (only to watch the gazelle spooked by other jeeps… Ellison and Emma were always very careful not to interfere with the animals we observed), a leopard running up a tree to relax in peace, hyenas and vultures fighting for the remains of a zebra.
The last day we were treated to a mom cheetah stalking gazelles while her 3 cubs watched from the tall grass; she was successful and carried her catch to the foot of a tree, then went to a small dirt elevation to call the “kids” who shortly thereafter joined her for lunch! Our kids were a little upset, but it was a great opportunity to talk about “the laws of nature and survival”!
Thanks to Africa Dream and our fabulous guides, our nine-day adventure was a great success!
Asante Sana Ellison and Emma, we all miss you!
Rosemarie and the “Boston Gang”
New York and Boston
Safari Dates: August 14, 2017 to August 22, 2017