There are no words to describe this experience; it’s just that, an experience not a trip…..
Try to image sitting in the middle of over 5000 migrating wildebeest, watching a mother cheetah teach her 4 cubs how to hunt, observing the behavior of a pride of lions, the adventure of trying to find lion cubs that are only a few weeks old and being a foot away from a year old cheetah cub playing on your vehicle, “talking” to a Rhino to get him to move closer. If you can imagine this, try experiencing it!
On our first day, we spotted a leopard, much to our surprise we got to watch a chase, not a normal kill chase, but a baboon chasing the leopard away. Seeing the baboon run and jump through the tall grass was a site you just can’t explain. One minute the leopard was trying to hide in a small tree then next the baboon was in that same tree with the leopard nowhere in sight. As we moved on, we came across some black face monkeys that just couldn’t resist stealing a cookie from inside our vehicle. Only took a few seconds, he was in and out, smiling at us holding the cookie.
Watching 250+ hippos in the hippo pool get settled for their day long soak, seeing them yawn, fight and maneuver into a perfect spot for the day, with the added bonus of a few babies keeping close to their mothers. At the end of day 4 we came across a large pride of lions (10), we patiently watched the cubs doing their best to share or steal the meal away from dad, until mom came in and “told” him to share. This is not an experience you will see in a zoo; you really get the true experience of animal behavior and interactions with each other. As the each day happened, we were more amazing with each new encounter. Following a cheetah family, mom with 4 cubs, as they were out hunting and finding the same family the next day to have one of the cubs jump up on our vehicle and having a little fun with the car antenna, along with a quick look in the sun roof before our guide shooed him away.
On our last game drive, we still needed to complete our Big 5, with the Rhino. Early morning we saw 3, but they were pretty far away, as we searched throughout the day, we finally was giving it one last look, we another one was spotted. Once again it was far away, just not as far as the morning ones. With a little patience, and a little “talking” to him, he started to move closer and closer and closer to us, 50-75 feet close. It completed the final game drive in a very special way.
As our experience came to an end, we were asked what our favorite part was, we didn’t have an answer, each day and encounter was very unique and holds a special place in our hearts.
We cannot say enough about our guide Pokea, there was never a question that he wasn’t able to answer, as hard as we tried to stump him. He truly made the trip that much more enjoyable, between all the laughing and knowledge sharing, we were truly with a one of a kind person, who we are happy to call our friend! We miss you!!!
This was truly an experience of a lifetime, even when it happens again, it could never ever be the same, can’t wait for my next experience with ADS. Thanks to Sharon for our wonderful itinerary and the rest of the ADS team that made this a trip we cannot stop talking about.
Mark, Priscilla and Brandy “buibui” W.
Round Lake, Illinois
Safari Dates: April 25, 2013 to May 1, 2013
This was the trip of a lifetime. After numerous conversations about what exactly my husband and I wanted, Lynn put together a trip that included everything we requested and more including Claud, the perfect guide for us. We originally planned the trip for late May but had a change in plans. Lynn assured us that by going the last week of April/May we were going at her favorite time of the year, at the end of the rainy season where everything is lush and green. She was absolutely correct — the weather was perfect 80F and sunny everyday.
Transportation: The KLM flights from Detroit to Kilamanjaro were wonderful. Excellent service, decent food and timely. Mathias was waiting at the airport and walked us effortlessly through customs. We spent an extra day in Arusha and Mathias and Trevor were great tour guides– we really enjoyed our time with them. The flight from Arusha to Seronera was breathtaking. Flying low over the plains, valleys and mountains gave us a feel for the vastness of the Senengeti.
Lodging: Mt. Meru is a very classy hotel, staff was accommodating and food was good. At the Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge we were introduced to the “bush”. While being escorted to our room, a troupe of 20+ baboons came chattering by. A little startled we realized that we were really in the “bush.” Micheal was our bartender and our waiter and service was impeccable and the room was super. Second lodge, Ndutu Lodge had beautiful views, great food, nice gift shop and good location. Last night we stayed at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge on the crater. It was magnificent! At least four stars if not five. Breathtaking views !! Loved all our lodging.
Safari: Every day brought new and exciting adventures. Early rising got us to the important viewing sites in time to see recent kills with lions feasting on their well earned prey. Claud seemed to be able to find whatever we asked for – four lion prides, one with three females
and seven cubs ranging in age from approx. two weeks old to two months.
We even got to see a male and female lion greet each other with a big hug ! Our viewing of the cheetah mom and her four cubs chase down a wildebeest, make the kill, and enjoy the feast was incredible but when they all came over to the vehicle, bloody faces and all, to lay in the shade it was a dream come true. At the crater we really wanted to see the black rhino. Claud explained usually you only see them from a distance, but his excellent vision enabled us to get within 10 feet of a black rhino who let us take our pictures but them stamped her feet and started toward the vehicle. Claud assured us it was time to leave ! I don’t think there is anything we didn’t see. Leopard, baboons, elephants, hippos, several types of monkeys, giraffes, servel cat – I can go on and on. Claud located everything we wanted and more.
About Claud – Wonderful person. Very intelligent, knowledgeable not only of Tanzania but also of the world in general. When you spend seven days with someone conversation can get stale. But not with Claud. Conversation was always informative and fun for both him and us. He got along very well with other drivers and they seemed to appreciate his willingness to share information on our sightings. If we were to return, we would definitely request him as a guide.
We saw other groups six and nine people in the van. For the extra cost, it was well worth our private safari. Room to move around to see both sides of the vehicle and space to move around.
Nancy and Bill H.
Rome, New York
April 23, 2013 to April 29, 2013
OMG! What a trip! I got some good photos, but Linda got some that are totally amazing… how about a cheetah looking over its shoulder with a tommie fawn in its mouth?
The accommodations were terrific and I was very happy with them. Friends tease me about the level of comfort I prefer on a camping trip, but while I may stick a portapotty in the corner of my large tent, I never even thought of installing a shower! My favorite was the Seronera Sametu Camp, maybe because it was so remote, or because it was just the three of us, or the sense of wonder at my very first luxury tent camp stay. Of course, Naabi Hill and the Private Camp there was great, too, although Linda wasn’t thrilled with three hyenas trying to take the tent down in the middle of the night, or trying to join her in bed. The guys there sang to us and baked us a cake… that was special. I liked all the accommodations.
The trucks are excellent. We had a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser–they sure have gotten fancy! Really? A hood ornament on a Toyota? Wilfred cleaned it every day, and did a beautiful job of it, too. The man sure puts in a long day’s work. I was most impressed with him. The seats were fairly comfortable, but my tailbone that has been broken twice in the past was beginning to cause real suffering starting around the fourth or fifth day. The hammering up and down on the seat became painful for all of us. How about air ride seats like truckers use to save their butts? The hatches in the roof were super, too. Wonderful visibility!
The itinerary was very good and I have no complaints about it. After all, Linda (and you) put it together. My two desires for the trip were to see a cheetah (we saw six!) and to go to Olduvai Gorge. I’d have enjoyed staying longer at the gorge. In fact, my major complaint about the trip is that it was too short! Otherwise, it’s the finest trip I’ve ever taken, and believe me, my friends and I have been on some real humdingers.
And that’s all I can think to tell you at the moment. Linda will have to explain her nocturnal encounter with hyenas which were a skinny layer of canvas away from her!
Thank you, thank you, for doing your job SO well. I’m a happy customer!
April 2, 2013 to April 10, 2013
Eagle River, Alaska