WOW! A second five star, truly memorable safari with ADS. Let me first answer the following 2 questions. Why did we select ADS for our dry season safari after having just gone with them for the green season this past February and secondly why was our second experience so close temporally with the first.
Regarding question #1:
As starters, the modus operandi of ADS fits in perfectly with Covid recommendations. You a have a private vehicle whether with meet and greet drivers or with your driver guide for the entire safari. The drivers have all received vaccinations and have been Covid tested just prior to your arrival. The accommodations arranged all adhere to Covid standards. Dining is open air. During the day you have no contact (other than waving) with other tourists. Disinfectants and hand sanitizers are everywhere. In fact we never used our packed ones.
Secondly, the ADS staff with their knowledge, professionalism and kindness, created a worry free vacation our first safari and did so again this safari. Dawn Anderson, our USA representative for both trips, is simply outstanding. She created, always with welcome input from us, a wonderfully unique itinerary with no ‘reruns’. We enjoyed new accommodations, different locations within Serengeti that coincided with the great migrations location, and a new national park, Tarangire. (really enjoyed!).
Once the itinerary was created, Dawn remained available to PROMPTLY answer queries. She was especially helpful in finding the nearest location to obtain the correct PCR test before departing the US, arranging for our PCR test before departing Tanzania and making sure we had a hard copy. She sent us e-mails containing links to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health website so that during our layover in Doha we could fill out the required paper work and prepay for our Covid test prior to our arrival at the Kilimanjaro Airport. Taking care of these details before arrival facilitated our going through customs.
A pleasant surprise to us was upon disembarking on the tarmac in Kilimanjaro, we noted a person holding a sign with our names who escorted us and 2 other couples to a separate ‘VIP” room with refreshments and our individual immigration officer. Our luggage was brought here. Dawn is an experienced, knowledgeable, kind agent who truly cared that we would enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. For that matter are all the ADS staff.
Finally Russell, our diver guide who tolerated us a second time for 10 days (our request), was SENSATIONAL. He is an enthusiastic, erudite naturalist with the ability to see and correctly identify wildlife from afar and get you in the best position to view and take pictures. He also has the uncanny ability to anticipate animal behavior.
For example, while gathered at a spot with other vehicles to view a not so close leopard perched on a tree, he noted a mother cheetah and her young cub moving toward the 2 track from which we had com moving away from the other vehicles, were the only vehicle fortunate to view them at close range. He also was glad to answer any questions we had regarding all classes of the animal kingdom. Thank you Russell!
Regarding question 2 as to why so close to our first safari:
On researching various bucket list destinations we soon discovered that many restrictions are still in place as a result of Covid. Because of our exceptional safari during the wet season, we decided to complete the cycle of the great migration and go during the dry season. With fewer crowds, the wildlife is congregating in greater numbers closer to the roads resulting in great pictures, less vehicle congestion but greater road obstructions thanks to the animals. ADS was our natural pick.
Finally here is a summary with pictures (taken with a point and shoot camera) of a few of the many wildlife highlights:
1. Multiple river crossings which revealed mass hysteria of mainly gnus and zebras in a desperate attempt to reach the other side. Our guide said we witnessed over 100,000 animals in these crossings.
2. The mother cheetah and cub crossing the road behind our vehicle.
3. A single hyena conquering an adult gnu.
4. A large lion pride languishing under two small acacias adjacent to the road while they alternate turns inside the torso of a recently killed African buffalo. Not only is there a hierarchy within the pride on order of feeding, but we also noted hyenas, jackals, and vultures approaching and patiently awaiting their individual turns.
5. Observing and learning about behavior amongst a large elephant herd as they first drank from the river in which they were wading but then proceeded to an adjacent mud bath which was immediately followed by scratching their skin (including rears) against a dirt bank then blowing dust via their trunks over their skin.
In summary, it is sublime to be surrounded by great masses of wildlife from sunrise to sunset while accompanied by a knowledgeable naturalist. A 12 hour day with time to reflect during a bush breakfast and lunch never seemed too long.
To accomplish all this and be worry free thanks to the staff at ADS has left us with wonderful memories. The adage is true, there are NO RERUNS IN THE SERENGETI!
John and Tara D.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Safari Dates: September 07, 2021 to September 20, 2021