Every lodge we stayed with quickly became our favorite, from the luxury of Arusha Coffee Lodge to the outstanding service at Escarpment Luxury Lodge. We absolutely loved the early coffee service in our luxury tent at Seronera Sametu Camp before heading out for our pre-dawn adventures. Lake Masek tented lodge was a total delight. We could hear the hippos grunting and snuffling as they dined on the lawn right outside our tent, and we love the little Bush Baby that lives in the tree near the dining area deck.
Astounding, ethereal, exceptional, awesome are a few of the superlatives to describe our February 2021 Africa Dream Safari excursion to the Serengeti. What follows is a brief recap of our unforgettable twelve- day journey. Our first two days were at Arusha Coffee Plantation. If your flight is quite long, we highly recommend 2 nights there, so you will be fresh when you begin the safari.
1726…no, that’s not the year we did our first of 5 safaris with ADS…that’s the number of miles we covered during our exceptional 12 day safari! As my wife and I are avid photographers, going during the wet season has been very high on our list. We knew would never have another opportunity to go during peak season and have a minimal number of vehicles in the Southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, as Covid would severely limit the number of safari travelers. Our guide ensured we would be in the optimum area to observe the Migration, which meant driving many miles to follow the ever moving herds, depending upon which lodge we were staying. ADS excels at getting you to the animals, and the miles driven are inconsequential.
To go or not to go
“In the circle of life…it’s the wheel of fortune…it’s the leap of faith…it’s the band of hope…til we find our place…”
Well, we took a leap of faith and found our place in an unbelievable Serengeti safari experience! Where to begin? I’m sure so many of you fellow travelers are wondering about what traveling is like now, so I will give you an honest and extremely thorough account of our travels and sights during this crazy time. Get ready if you choose to read this, because it’s a very long blog!
Enjoy the video below taken by our safari guests on September 5th, 2020 during an early morning game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater. The elephants in the Ngorongoro Crater have become very habituated to tourist vehicles over the years though it’s unusual to get this close. Make sure to turn the volume up on this one!
Lerai Forest, Ngorongoro Crater
Video September 05, 2020
Lerai Forest in the world famous Ngorongoro Crater is home to some of the largest bull tusker elephants in Africa. The elephants in the Crater are unique in that they are predominantly old bulls flaunting giant ivory tusks. They survived the pre-ivory ban days in the 1980s when many large tuskers outside the relative safety of the Crater were poached. Since the ivory ban was enacted, elephant numbers have increased dramatically and the contiguous Northern Tanzania parks including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire form one of the greatest strongholds for elephants in Africa.
With more than twenty-five percent of its total land area dedicated for wildlife and protected areas including 22 national parks, 23 game reserves, 44 game controlled areas and 18 marine protected areas, Tanzania is arguably the greatest Eco Travel destination in the world.
After a flurry of flight cancellations at the beginning of summer that left many disappointed travelers postponing safaris to next year, we finally have a few guests successfully venturing from the U.S. to Tanzania for late summer trips. We thought it would be helpful to show what it’s like travelling internationally along with the current conditions in Tanzania and, of course, some wildlife updates from the bush!
Currently, there are no restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Tanzania. Tanzania had briefly put in place a requirement that travelers would need to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entering the country but that measure was rescinded. As the situation is fluid and out of an abundance of caution, all of our guests travelling for the remainder of the year plan to get tested within 72 to 96 hours prior to travel. Regarding the return trip home to the U.S., the CDC has recently dropped the 14-day self-quarantine recommendation for returning international travelers.
International Terminal in Boston on Aug 26 – not the typical summer lines!
Most of the lodges and camps we typically incorporate into our itineraries have now reopened under the government’s new and strict operating procedures. These include screening and temperature checks for all staff and guests, frequent disinfecting of high touch surfaces, limiting the number of guests for dinning services and wearing recommended protective gear.
ADS Guests checking in at Arusha Coffee Lodge – Temperature Checks and Hand Sanitizer Stations now in place at all Lodges and Camps
The Tanzanian government recently announced the lifting of all international travel restrictions following a decreased trend of COVID-19 cases in the country and that it’s ready to welcome back visitors with open arms. In recognition of the importance of health, safety and security of tourists, the government further announced the implementation of strict operating procedures for each sector of the tourism industry (hotels, tour operators, airports and national parks) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
I recently returned from another fabulous safari with ADS….my fourth! As I basked once again in the beauty of Tanzania and its people, I couldn’t help but wonder how can anything surpass such glory?! To travel to this haven of natural wonder four times is such a blessing. To watch the circle of life play out in front of one’s eyes is truly amazing. To do so on a private safari with ADS makes for an incomparable experience…every time! There’s just no other way to go!
My wife and I recently returned from a week’s safari in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater in February 2020. The program that Africa Dream Safari (ADS) Vice President, Sharon Lyon arranged for us was as complete and near-to-perfect first trip to Tanzania that a traveler could want.
10. Getting in the Land Cruiser (before sunrise most days) with hot tea and coffee in hand, eager to see what the day would bring and NEVER being disappointed.
9. Eating amazing fresh fruit and fantastic homemade soups with nearly every meal and enjoying our first banana chips as a snack in the vehicle
8. Seeing elephants and the endless plains of the Serengeti FROM THE SHOWER.
We could not have been happier with our trip and our experience with Africa Dream Safaris. After a glowing recommendation from our friends who had previously traveled to the Serengeti with ADS, we reached out to Sharon Lyon and were not disappointed.
Becky and I returned from Tanzania and our Trip of A Lifetime on January 24, 2020. It was an amazing adventure, and we will carry our memories of it for the rest of our lives. We love wildlife and bird-watching and had talked about a safari to Africa for 20 years. We even attended a couple of travel shows about Africa, but couldn’t really figure out how to start and where do we go? How do you coordinate this? Is it safe? So, we procrastinated. Until, we met our new neighbors.