Three years ago, my brother-in-law went with his father on a safari with ADS. After seeing his pictures and hearing about their incredible experience with ADS, a Tanzania safari became the top item on my father’s bucket list. So in celebration of a milestone birthday for him this year, my father and I planned our own safari with ADS, could not have been happier with the experience!
Dawn Anderson was our safari consultant, and she did a wonderful job working through the details to customize a trip that was perfect for us. Our final itinerary was an eight-day safari starting in the northern Serengeti, with stops in the central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge and Lake Manyara National Park. Throughout our journey, we had the pleasure of staying in lodges and camps, and loved the different experiences that both provided.
The luxurious accommodations provided by Lemala Kuria Hills and Migration Tented Lodge were a welcome reprieve after a dusty day in the bush; but the peacefulness and prime location for viewing animals provided by the tented camps at Lemala Mara River Camp, Seronera Sametu Camp, and Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Camp could not be beat.
From hearing the hippos singing in the night at Migration Tented Lodge, to having a lion join us for breakfast at the Seronera Sametu Camp, each location provided a unique and unforgettable experience! The great locations of each camp were further supplemented by the very hospitable staff, which greeted us with huge smiles and accommodated every request to ensure a comfortable stay.
Each day on safari consisted of a game drive in a different part of the park, led by our knowledgeable and friendly driver-guide, Immanuel Kichao (Imma). Simply put, Imma was the reason we had such an incredible experience on our safari. Imma was not only more than capable of giving detailed answers to every question we asked, but he navigated the bumpy Serengeti roads like the professional that he is, ensuring that my father and I were comfortable throughout the trip.
His knowledge and experience in tracking animals translated into some breathtaking moments. Though there were far too many to list succinctly in a blog post, the highlights include watching a seemingly never-ending wildebeest stampede; lion cubs playing with each other and their mothers, then going to eat the buffalo killed for breakfast minutes later; close viewing of a leopard and a black rhino with her cub; two cheetah eating their gazelle kill; and loads of run-ins with zebras, giraffes, hippos and elephants.
While seeing the animals was certainly the highlight of the trip, I also enjoyed driving through the villages on the way back to Arusha, which included a stop at the Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME). FAME is a hospital in the village of Karatu that provides high quality, low cost medical care to the local villagers and members of the Masai tribe. It was both inspiring and humbling to see the tireless efforts of the staff and volunteers to increase access to quality medical care for those living outside of the large cities. I am really glad we took the time to visit FAME, and appreciate that ADS provides exposure to the local culture and community efforts.
We cannot thank Dawn, Imma and ADS enough for putting together such a memorable safari. We will be talking about this trip for years to come!
Joseph and Lindsay V.
Montgomery, New Jersey
Travel dates: July 26-August 5, 2014
Planning a trip to Africa can be overwhelming at best. But, with the help of African Dream Safari, recommended by friends we truly had a dream of a vacation.
In choosing to visit Tanzania it was our hope to see the wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the migration. Knowing that wildlife activity cannot be predicted, we were not sure of exactly what we would (or wouldn’t see) during our travels.
To our amazement, and with the incredible perception of our guide, Thomson Malekia, we witnessed not one, nor two or three, but FOUR wildebeest crossings. Two of our crossings were private (with no others around at all), and two of the crossings were at sunrise. The enormity and the beauty of these events cannot be described adequately in words.
In addition to the wildebeest crossings (with a few zebras involved as well) we seemed to encounter something new and interesting around every turn in the road. Photos and video can only begin to capture the experience of the Serengeti – a truly amazing place.
Special thanks to ADS and Sharon Lyon for helping us to fulfill a travel dream, and for the special care given to us during this trip in its entirety (resplendent with surprise cake and song for Dan on his birthday proper).
Jodi and Dan A.
Safari Dates: August 6, 2014 to August 14, 2014
Now I know what Ernest Hemingway meant when he said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” For eleven magical days, we couldn’t wait to see what our expert guide, Godson, had in store for us as he carefully guided our trusty Cruiser along the endless trails of the Tanzanian wilderness.
The sheer abundance of wildlife awakened a childlike wonder within. Lion, leopard, hyena, elephant, giraffe, hippo, baboon, eland, topi, kudu, dik dik, and, of course, wildebeest and zebra appeared suddenly, as if out of no-where, yet they were everywhere. While some encounters were thrillingly illusive (cheetahs hidden away in the high grasses), others were breathtakingly close and even, momentarily pulse-raising, like the time we came face to face with a great bull elephant who had no intention of giving way to our Cruiser. Quickly, Godson diverted our vehicle off-road, giving this very determined giant plenty of room to pass, as well as providing us with a great photo-opportunity!
A much anticipated wildebeest crossing taught us early-on the value of patience and filled us with a deep sense of awe for Nature’s Ways. Nothing can rival such a thunderous mass of ruminants braving dangerous waters for another day of life. That experience moved me to tears.
Another great surprise was the incredible variety of raptors and birds! Ostrich, egret, guinea, stork, flamingo, kingfisher, and songbirds flashed their shimmering colors and amused us with their antics. How do they manage to perch between those claw-like thorns of the acacia trees?
Admittedly, I lived behind my camera for the first couple of days. Then the sheer abundance of life all around me demanded that I come out from behind the view finder and absorb those moments of encounter which no photo could ever do justice. It was a decision I will never regret. While I still brought home a couple of thousand pictures, I think of them as tools to sharpen the memories I’ve tucked away as my real treasure.
The elegantly appointed tented lodges and camps provided a big exclamation point to the end of each day! Smiling, attentive staff greeted us with cool, wet cloths, pleasant drinks, and a sincere welcome (“Karibu”), then whisked us off to our tents for warm, smoke-scented showers with waters heated over open flames. Later, gathered in the crisp coolness by a crackling bonfire, we toasted the sunset then lingered over intimate, candle-lit meals underneath the canvas roof of the dining tent. With the night skies awash in stars and our seclusion broken only by the roar of a lion in the distance, we knew we were having the experience of a lifetime.
Many thanks to ADS’s knowledgeable and cheerful Dawn Anderson who spent the past year indulging every one of our questions with promptness, patience and kindness and helped shape for us a fantastic travel adventure. Asante sana, Dawn!
Elizabeth S., Clark S. and Larry O.
Safari Dates: July 26, 2014 to August 7, 2014