In 2019, we two couples started planning and booked a trip to Tanzania with ADS for 2020. Needless to say, COVID-19 had something to say about that plan! The trip was postponed twice, until this August 2022.
Michael Wishner could not have been more understanding and accommodating regarding postponing our trip twice. Michael is truly a “hands on” leader of the ADS operation. He is punctual about sharing information, replying to e-mails, and is always available by phone or e-mail. In our group, he turned dread and anxiety, and even the thought of not having the credentials needed to make the trip, into an overnight “problem solved” for one of us. You have no idea how much his involvement in problem-solving eased our minds.
The women in our party have been friends since the 7th grade. Linda remembers playing with her Barbie dolls and imagining being in Africa with all the animals. We two couples have been friends for years, but we have never traveled together. When the topic of an African safari came up, we were all in. Thankfully, we had friends who had traveled with ADS about 10 years earlier. We looked into other Africa trips, but we decided that ADS was the way to go. We were not wrong!
This trip so exceeded our expectations every single day. When we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were greeted by a lovely woman who ushered us to the VIP lounge, where we had personal service for passport control, luggage retrieval, and beverages.
Then we were greeted by Mathias and David from the ADS office, who drove us to the Arusha Coffee Lodge. It was night-time, and we were very tired, but the drive through Arusha was an adventure in itself! The Coffee Lodge is a perfect place to spend two nights and recover from the brutal flights from the US. Beautiful accommodations, grounds, great food, and personal service from wonderful employees.
After our 2 nights in Arusha, we were flown in a bush plane to the North Serengeti – the Kogotende Airstrip. We were met by our driver/guide Emmanuel, who would be with us for the next ten days, and in our hearts forever! In the few hours’ drive before we arrived at the first tented camp, we saw four of the big five! Emmanuel is extremely personable, knowledgeable of all the wildlife, their habits and behavior, and of the local flora, birds, history, geology, and more.
The 2nd and 3rd days we saw 4 crossings of wildebeests across the Mara River! One of the most sought-after experiences for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, the Great Migration is the ever-moving circular migration of over a million animals across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. We got to observe this part of the “circle of life” in several locations due to the patience, persistence, and knowledge of Emmanuel.
After about 3 days of the safari, I kept thinking, “what more can we possibly see?” Well, lady – just wait! You haven’t seen anything yet. The adventure continued to get better. At every turn, there was different landscape, new and different animals, and new experiences (vehicle stuck on rocks in a river, vehicle stuck in sand in a dry riverbed). Everywhere we felt completely safe and comfortable, as everyone had our backs.
We made our way south, stopping at 5 tented camps for 2 nights at a time. There was one exception – only one night at Lion’s Paw Lodge at the Ngorongoro Crater. Each camp/lodge exceeded our expectations in every way. The accommodations were lovely and comfortable, and the staff were all amazing – so friendly, helpful, and full of joy. We felt that the employees everywhere took pleasure in making our personal experience as fabulous as possible.
One of the couples in our party has traveled extensively internationally. All their trips have been wonderful, unique, and remarkable in their own way. But we all consider our African experience to be in a class by itself. This experience changed us. To see all the wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat is a spectacle to behold. To see a small part of this continent, where the human species evolved, is impossible to describe.
Chris and Lyman T. – Greenfield, Indiana
Linda and Allan A. – Los Alamos, New Mexico
Safari Dates: August 19, 2022 to August 29, 2022