Our Trip Began And Ended With Our Phenomenal Guide!

I want to thank you and Africa Dreams Safari for providing my friend Sheila and me with an adventure I still have trouble finding words to describe. I’ll start with spell-binding. I feel as though I had stepped through a portal into a new, vast and wondrous life scape that enriches my present existence beyond measure.

It’s hard to know where to begin other than acknowledging that our trip began and ended with our guide, Elson. More on him later! But I think it important to differentiate between our ADS experience and others, starting with our happy selection of the Hemingway Camps.

While I knew of glamping I resisted being counted among the pampered and spoiled, distanced from an authentic local experience, nonetheless the comfort, beauty, proximity to wildlife, and staff attention in the camps blew me away. If being near a toilet, having hot water, a firm mattress, mosquito netting and tasty meals means being pampered, then so be it.

To me it meant allowing my body to be conditioned and prepped for the travel and experiences ahead. But more than that, our rooms were beautifully designed, harmonious with the surroundings, enabling one to hear the sounds and feel the air that brought the sense of being in Africa close.

So many times Elson drove us to an area where we could watch and bide our time with wildlife, and a jeep from another company filled with people would pull up. Inane chatter, complaint and argument filled the air, ruining the atmosphere. Privacy may be the governing principle, but also flexibility, because Elson would simply drive us to another space where we could resume our observation.

For me space and quietude were necessary to absorb fully the experiences unfolding. The rule of respect for wildlife, meaning calm, a respectful distance, and essentially making oneself as invisible as possible, reigned.

Only then did I feel the phenomenon of entering another kind of time, not the artificial constructs measured by men and the so-called civilized world, but of animals, whose lives are governed by when it is time to eat, drink water, mate, wander in search for the previous three, care for their young, or simply be.

Our drives were long and arduous but having my eyes ever fixed on the horizon, the landscape, in search of animals, I never felt taxed. Led by Elson, we were ever energized by this purpose.

I believe Elson saw that we came to see wildlife, to learn about Tanzanians and the many tribes that people his nation, and to experience as much as possible the tableaus and drama that make up his world.

We acceded to his experience, ate up his knowledge of wildlife, trees and plants which he shared liberally (and patiently) and joked as we bounced and jounced along. He was a careful listener and searched out ways to gratify our curiosity.

As with the camps staff, we felt treated not merely as tourists, but as honored guests, and enjoyed our time with him immensely. Elson was not only a consummate professional, but kind, unfailingly attentive, warm, and a pleasure to be with every day.

There were so many breath-taking moments but among them were a cheetah mom and her three older cubs who brought down a Thompson’s gazelle. She held it by the throat, abstaining from eating, while her cubs ate it alive in a matter of minutes. Later she joined them but by then the gazelle was mere shreds, its discarded stomach a viscous red ball gleaming on the grass.

Other moments that caused tension as well as hilarity were lions mating. Elson described how lions and lionesses mate every 10-20 minutes night and day for 7 days straight, and watching them perform their act in a matter of seconds, then collapsing in exhausted heaps was unforgettable.

And our night game drive yielded astonishing sights, a leopard mother and her yearling cub, servals, genets, white-tailed mongoose. But it was the act of driving silently under the light of the planet Jupiter and catching sight of many orange and red eyes gleaming in the blackness, revealing nocturnal life as active and captivating as during the day.

I was an infinitely grateful witness to all that I saw, and wish I could express my gratitude and enthusiasm for having taken this trip. I use the worlds humility and ecstasy when babbling about it to my poor partner and friends.

Thank you and ADS again, all best wishes

Evelina C.
North Oaks, Minnesota
Safari Dates: October 10, 2023 to October 20, 2023