Africa was never on our radar or bucket list, but my dad had planted the seed with my brother and mentioned it to us and the search was on! Being recently retired there was never a hesitation in saying, yes! Not knowing anyone who had been on a safari led to our search and exploring on our own. The goal was Africa with the 4 of us in a safari truck and to be able to see what we could see!
From our first contact with ADS team member, Dawn she walked with us the entire way by answering questions in emails, phone calls and even had zoom meetings. She was very thorough, and no question was left unanswered. We chose African Dreams Safari, and it was more than phenomenal!
Covid and a year or more of planning the most exciting trip of a lifetime came to be. While preparing to travel with packing and planning I often listened to the band Toto. Their song, “Africa” developed a whole new meaning to me. “Take the time to do the things you never had!” We are so glad we did and didn’t regret one minute, and neither will YOU!
We wanted the freedom to enjoy the ride without any hassles or distractions or worries and just to be able to absorb the beauty of the land. Being able to see God’s land and drink in the experience into our very soul is what was desired and ADS more than delivered!
We did not want to be limited on how long we stayed out on safari or if we wanted to see something else or go further into the Serengeti. ADS promised, and they delivered. Trust your guide and get out in the morning early as allowed as the prime-time activity for the animals is in the morning. You can sleep on the plane ride home!
Our first impression of Tanzania was flying into Arusha at night and not seeing any lights beyond the airport, which was very different and exciting all in one! You realize very quickly that you are not in Kansas anymore!! Aka, from Ohio!
Being met at the tarmac and escorted off by an ADS team member was a sigh of relief as we knew we were in good hands right at the start. We bypassed the throngs of people in other lines and literally had no worries from that moment on. They were with us from the beginning to the end.
The first night in Arusha was at the Killa Villa in a beautiful, secure place after a bumpy massage road ride to get there. On the first evening there, the silence and stillness was what I noticed first. We enjoyed a beautiful dinner outside on the porch.
The silence except for the crickets was impressive. You don’t realize what silence is in the U.S. No buzzing from high tension wires, no tv’s by us, no lawn mowers, no noise from the cars or trucks or planes just silence and sounds of animals in the near distance. Who knew what beauty really lied in silence.
It is so worth booking a pre-safari stay to get your body adjusted after the crazy long travel times and honestly, I am sorry we didn’t do at least one extra night at the end of the safari. A visit to the African Cultural Center began the deep dive into the African history and culture itself. It really is the place to visit as we admired the artisan craftsman shop and the exceptional animal wood carvings. We appreciated the explanation of tanzanite and artwork there.
Africa dreams delivered a reliable, clean Toyota hard sided safari truck with an open roof top and a canopy to protect us from the sun. This provided us the chance to get as close as possible to see the animals in the wild and yet be provided the safety and reliability of their trucks with our experienced guide, Arnold Mushi.
Arnold was a wonderful man who freely shared his knowledge, wisdom, and expertise down to the tiniest detail of our daily trips. He was warm and inviting from the first moment we met, and he welcomed us into the family immediately. We lacked for nothing, learned so much and laughed and laughed at so many things along the way. He made it worry free, magical, adventurous and THE most memorable and amazing trip!
Our experienced guide, Arnold has over 20 years of being a safari guide. His knowledge and experience of seeing the land and animals still brought excitement and joy to each day. He shared his knowledge with us and answered question after question as we strived to learn all that we could along the way. He never was annoyed or frustrated and couldn’t have been a more perfect guide. He assured us that no 2 safaris were ever the same and that you never knew what was around the corner!!! That was an understatement! Thank you Arnold and you will never be forgotten.
To experience the cycle of life in the purest form is indescribable and a such a gift. We really appreciate how Tanzania and Kenya now protect the animal’s cycle of life by no longer allowing poaching. You will have to find out how they quickly stopped that. We witnessed family upon families of elephants, 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of wildebeest from as far as the eye could see to the right and an as far as to the left you could see them with the zebras and gazelles and many other animals in and around.
The migrations we saw thru the rivers was thunderous and funny to watch how they huddled together to see who would go down the cliff or riverside first before the rest would follow. We saw 7 kills by predators, and we were so quiet in the truck and so close you could hear them smacking their lips. It was surprisingly quiet and found it to be a restraint process by most of the predators. The crocodiles in the river were another story.
Every day was truly like opening a gift to see what unfolded and what new wildlife such as giraffes, buffalos, monkeys, and birds we would see. It was a pleasure to hear Arnold speak Swahili to other guides when trying to locate the sightings of the animals. It was better not to know what we were going to see as it was such a surprise and then we wouldn’t know what we may have remotely missed. I don’t think we missed anything at all! I couldn’t catch up with keeping a daily list of animals!
From the first night to the last night of “tenting “was an experience as each had its natural gifts to behold. The excitement of the first night of stepping onto our tent porch was breathtaking as we could see giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest in the horizon. We had front row seats as we watched the beautiful quickly setting sunset that lit up the sky.
There was security that walked the camps at night which was reassuring. We learned and enjoyed the sounds of the animals eating the delicious grass outside of our tent during the night. A quick lesson in co-existing on the planet. The sun rising in the horizon was refreshing and one could feel the excitement of a new day beginning. Every safari day and every safari “camp” night were amazing.
On our last day out of the Serengeti we tried to drink in the final moments of what we could see and experience. When we actually came back to a paved road we knew our journey was nearing the end.
ADS even had our day room at the Arusha Coffee Lodge which was actually our own cabin/suite. It was just phenomenal as it gave us a place to rest and shower and re-pack to ready ourselves for the long trip home. We discovered a pleasant surprise there which was the Shanga shop were people with all types of disabilities make crafts and learn a new trade. I enjoyed this last little taste of Tanzania as sadly we had to head back home.
On the ride to the airport, we tried to cram in more simple Swahili from Arnold and our escort Esther. We laughed so much to lessen the sting of leaving such peaceful calm and beauty which took us literally halfway around the world.
“Take the time to do the things you never had!” We are so glad we did and didn’t regret one minute, and neither will YOU!
Jackie and Jim C.
Safari Dates: August 26, 2022 to September 07, 2022
3 Comments Leave a Comment
Wow Jackie , a trip of a life time ! I can’t even imagine! So happy to see Africa through your eyes , so amazing! I have such a love for elephants and to see the pictures you took of them are just amazing! Thank you for sharing another great journey of yours !
Your sister in Christ,
So amazing!! You captured some wonderful pictures. When you mentioned laying in the tent and hearing the animals eating the grass outside it brought back memories of just camping hearing noises outside the tent and wondering what it was, in my case it was just possibly a raccoon maybe a deer. In your case it could’ve been so much more. What an amazing trip. I might have to put this on my bucket list.
Love you guys,
Looks like a trip of a lifetime, the animals are so beautiful and to see them in their own habitat has to be amazing! I can’t even imagine camping out there it had to be a little scary but awesome! Thank you for sharing, Rose