We are a family of five adventurous world travelers seeking to experience the beauty of nature, explore the achievements of mankind and experience different cultures. Our family adventures include climbing Machu Pichhu, scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Galapagos, hiking Petra and sailing the Greek islands just to name a few. However, our recent African Dream Safaris Serengeti experience brought our travel experience to a whole new level and every day of our safari exceeded expectations.
From initial website contact to our return to the USA, ADS was absolutely first class. Great communication, education and timely responses to prepare us for our adventure. Every detail was handled professionally from our initial contact upon arrival and the VIP lounge at Kilimanjaro airport, through every day of the safari and to our return back to the airport. Every ADS staff we encountered was not only professional, but incredibly friendly. We were treated like family by everyone and found ourselves giving hugs to the staff as we bid them goodbye.
Ester met us at the airport and took us to our Arusha overnight lodge at Kili Villas. The Villa was beautiful, and we had the whole house to ourselves with a chef and concierge. Great food and wonderful staff. Ester picked us up early the next morning for our flight to the northern Serengeti. The 1 hour flight allowed us to see the Serengeti from the air, truly the “endless plains.”
While landing at Kogatende air strip, the excitement built up as we saw herds of impalas and troops of baboons to either side of the landing strip. Upon deplaning, we were immediately met by Ellson, our guide. We bonded with Ellson immediately as our three college age children bombarded him with
questions about all the animals and the Serengeti.
Ellson had our Land Cruiser completely outfitted to include box lunches and we immediately went on a game drive within minutes of landing and saw countless animals. Ellson was absolutely world class, he knew every detail about every animal and was truly in his element as he shared his knowledge with our family.
We lodged at the Mara River Camp for two nights. This was a perfect location that allowed us access to the Mara River, Great Migration and all the animals. We saw thousands of zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, giraffes and elephants. We witnessed a lion pride working together to take a wildebeest and a leopard sleeping in a tree while dining on a waterbuck. On the Mara River, we saw countless crocodiles and hippos enjoying the water.
Every night, Ellson would sit with our family to discuss the events of the day and to ask what we wanted to see the next day then develop a plan. Ellson’s recommendations were perfect and while we always had the choice, we choose to follow his recommendations every time.
The canvas tented lodging was incredibly wonderful, complete with comfortable beds, hot showers and robes. You could see the giraffes and hear the hyenas from our tent. While the lodge and food were great, the Mara River Camp staff took service and hospitality to a whole new level.
They knew us by name, interacted with us and catered to our every need before we knew that we had a need. Incredible attention to detail for every guest. The morning coffee press delivered to our tent was an incredible way to start the day and the “Out of Africa” bush dinner the last night was absolutely memorable with the staff singing and bringing cake to the table.
After two days, we then made our way south towards the Seronera Valley. Mbuzi Mawe would be our home for the next three nights. Again, the lodging under canvas, food and staff were first class at this lodge. From our tent, we could see the lions on the kopje and hear the hyenas howling at night. There is a ranger at night stationed in the center of the camp to ensure your safety.
The walking safari with our guide Gift and ranger George was incredible. We climbed the lion kopjes and learned about all the plants and animals. We actually came across a lion walking across the road a hundred yards away. The staff went out of their way to setup a surprise bush dinner outside on the last night but unfortunately, it was rained out.
During our three days at Mbuzi Mawe, we again encountered countless animals. We saw klipspringer climbing rocks, a cheetah mom and her two cubs and encountered the Tagora lion pride eating a fresh zebra kill. We also saw hundreds of hippos in the Retima pool and other pools throughout Seronera valley as well as hyenas. The lodge is also home to hundreds of hyraxes.
On day 7, we left the Serengeti and stopped at Oldupai on the way to the way to Ngorongoro Crater. Oldupai was a quick, beautiful but informative stop to see the evolution of man. At Ngorongoro crater, we again saw countless animals in a completely different ecosystem within a caldera.
We lodged at Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge. Beautiful lodge, beautiful rooms with incredible crater views and the same excellent, consistent food, service and hospitality. Just perfect. At dinner, the staff sang songs and brought a cake out to our table for no reason.
On the last day, Ellson took us shopping in Arusha. He even found a coffee shop where we purchased lots of Tanzanian coffee to share with friends and family. We were met again by Ester at our day lodge at the Rivertrees Country Inn. Ester wanted to ensure that our trip was perfect and that every need was met. She even coordinated to get us some local Tanzanian tea to take home.
This Rivertrees Inn was absolutely beautiful with its own Garden of Eden, troop of monkeys and they source all their flowers and produce from their garden. Again, great lodge, great food and great service. This was a wonderful way to allow us to shower, change and eat a great meal before our long journey back to Amsterdam.
Thank you, Sharon, Ester, Ellson and the entire ADS staff who made our trip perfect. You exceeded every expectation and gave us a lifetime of memories.
A special thank you to Ellson, we enjoyed your company and learned so much about the Serengeti from you.
The Largoza Family
San Antonio, Texas
Safari Dates: July 1, 2023 to July 8, 2023