Astounding, ethereal, exceptional, awesome are a few of the superlatives to describe our February 2021 Africa Dream Safari excursion to the Serengeti. What follows is a brief recap of our unforgettable twelve- day journey. Our first two days were at Arusha Coffee Plantation. If your flight is quite long, we highly recommend 2 nights there, so you will be fresh when you begin the safari.
First, I would be remiss if I did not whole heartedly thank particularly Dawn Anderson, our ADS representative, as well as all the staff of ADS. This knowledgeable, professional group is there all the way for you. The ADS handbook and detailed itinerary were valuable resources, but we still had many questions which were always promptly answered by Dawn. She guided us through the VISA application website, as well as sending us other entrance requirement paperwork which we then had completed before arrival.
ADS arranged for and paid the travel expenses to and from a Covid testing site, then picked up the hard copies so we were prepared for our trip back to the US. The meet and greet specialists are prompt, friendly and helpful in guiding us to circumvent the long lines. Through WhatsAp, we were able to communicate easily and frequently with the ADS representatives, and they often checked in with us to make sure we were doing well.
Our personal driver-guide, Russell, who was with us the entire safari was superior in his knowledge of all classes of animal life. He was very personable, professional, and patient as well as being highly educated with an advanced degree in Ornithology. In addition, Russell anticipated the animals’ movements and positioned us for some incredible camera photos. How fortunate we were!
For 10 days, we were overwhelmed by the wonders of the natural world. Serengeti offers so much more than the ‘big 5’. Not only did we see primates, but we also saw many other mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Troops of baboons, prides of lions, towers of giraffes, clans of hyenas, and herds of elephants, zebras and antelopes walked closely around us.
However, all the sites paled in comparison to the miles long great migration of wildebeests and zebras. Repeatedly Russell commented how fortunate we were. One silver lining to Covid is that nature’s bounty is congregating closer to the roads and are less timid. Some sights which our guide, Russell said were not typically seen were:
1. Flamingos by the hundreds congregating at Lake Magadi
2. A pride of 16 lions languid in the afternoon sun
3. A group of 3 male cheetahs lazily sunning while surveying their territory
4. A melanistic (opposite of albino) serval cat
5. A tower of more than 20 giraffes adjacent to the road
6. Two male kori bustards strutting their plumes in a territorial fight
In addition to the mammals, the birds (especially flamingos, eagles, storks, vultures, secretary birds and the kori bustards) were spectacular with their brilliant coloration. Don’t neglect the lowly insect world highlighted by the dung beetles and termite mounds. We often spent twelve hours a day on safari, starting before sunrise and enjoying the very satisfying bush breakfasts and lunches. The time flew by, and we never felt the all day drives were too long. Prepare for all this wildlife by purchasing “East African Wildlife” through the internet.
We were extremely pleased with the Hemingway lodging. We found the attentiveness of the staff and the food exceptional. At 2 of the lodges sadly we were the only guests and thus treated like royalty. The Covid precautions were practiced at all the lodges, and of course, with the way ADS operates, self distancing was automatic.
We were so satisfied with everything that we are currently planning a trip during the dry season. We feel that given the current situation world wide that ADS affords us the best opportunity for safe travel.
So, go on the nature vacation of a lifetime and know that Africa Dream Safaris will be there to aid you at every step of your journey. The opportunity to see so concentrated an amount of animal life is more than worth the expense. It is UNFORGETABLE!
John and Tara D.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Safari Dates: February 03, 2021 to February 15, 2021