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!
Africa. Dream. Safaris. Each word had its own special meaning for this trip of a lifetime. Millions of words have spilled across page after page trying to capture the true essence of the magical and mystical land called Africa. It may be a cliche but there is no better way to express that this experience was truly a dream come true and an epic journey across the vast plains of the Serengeti and down into the breathtaking beauty of the Ngorongoro Crater with so many memories made along the way. This safari provided the ultimate opportunity to explore, investigate and learn about the animals, the geography and the people in the best possible way – up close and firsthand.
We did a once in a lifetime photo safari to the Serengeti back in February 2018. Within a year, the magic of this place started calling our names again. I called Dawn Anderson, with Africa Dream Safaris, to get the planning process initiated for the second time. Since our ﬁrst trip was during the green season, we thought we’d like to experience a dry season safari, with hopes of witnessing a Mara River crossing. We eventually booked our trip for mid August.
Going on a Safari has always been on our bucket list of ‘want to do’s’. But fears of distance, unknowns and where to go caused hesitation. Then a year ago our friends who had gone on a Tanzanian safari encouraged us. Well this got my husband and I thinking…we should just do it.
She struts across the savannah, attitude on full display. At around four feet tall and ten pounds, she’s not the biggest thing out here, but she has swagger and a killer kick. I watch her chase several immense vultures off a carcass, just because she can. This is the most unique bird of prey in all the world—crane-like long legs, a bare red/orange face, hooked beak, and crazy black feathers on the back of her head. Over the course of ten days, I see about a dozen of these entertaining birds, sashaying across the most wondrous place in all the world—the Serengeti in Tanzania. The secretary bird is one of 201 bird species I record on my Sep 2019 trip with my 29-year-old daughter Daisy.
A little over a year ago, I started to plan a trip to Africa with my husband, brother and sister-in-law. I truly had no idea what to expect, even after talking to others who had gone on safari. However, any expectations I had were blown out of the water by ADS!
We’ve long found 3 questions from Coach Lou Holtz have invaluable life wisdom applied to ourselves and others: Can I trust you? Do you care about me as a person? Are you committed to excellence? For ADS, a resounding YES to all three questions. Their trustworthiness is truly part of the ‘dream’!
When we decided to take my wife’s bucket list trip a year ago, we really had no idea the actual safari experience would far exceed our expectations! We arrived thinking this would be our one and only safari trip. We left Tanzania talking about and planning our return trip. What an amazing journey!
The decision to travel with Africa Dream Safaris this past August 2018 was a very easy one because we had traveled with them in March of 2017, during the Green Season. My husband was keen to photograph the Great Migration in the North Serengeti, on the Mara River. Our guide, Pokea, told him , ‘Then you have to come back at the end of August!’ So we did!
How does a person research and decide on a safari company? I tried to recall my research and what lead us choose Africa Dream Safari for our trip. One of the main reasons for choosing ADS was the private tour concept and what the reviews shared about this. We were going as a family and wanted it to be us sharing and not ‘making friends’ or some dictating our trip with their limitations.
Where do I begin? Well, I will begin and end with our amazing driver and guide Claude. We cannot say enough about Claude, not just his expertise as a guide, but more importantly, how wonderful he is as a human being.
I’m not sure where to even start other than we had a fantastic safari. First of all, the tented camps and tented lodges were much nicer than we envisioned. The workers at all of our lodges, which many were local Masai, were incredibly friendly and always happy to help in any way. That also seemed to be true of all the Tanzanian people we dealt with from the hotels to the cultural center to F.A.M.E to the meet and greet staff and to any locals we met on safari.
Like many, I began planning for our safari by researching the internet to find out: when was the best time of the year to visit, where should we visit, what were the merits of the various travel companies that offer a safari in their catalog and who could we trust with planning this unique adventure for us.
To celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a dream vacation to Africa. A safari sounded so exciting and we were by no means disappointed!
After planning for more than one year our family’s “Trip of a Lifetime”, I cannot be happier to have chosen Africa Dream Safaris. Dawn’s help, patience, and advice were invaluable and the trip unfolded seamlessly.