Jambo ADS, It's been six months since we returned from Tanzania, and the memory of our glorious trip still burns bright.
It was a bittersweet trip for us, as you know. Tim's wonderful Dad passed away while we in transit from Los Angeles to Kenya. Michael, we thank you so much for fielding calls in the middle of the night from Tim's family, and getting them connected with us in Arusha to pass on the sad news. After that, we have great confidence that ADS could and would reach us, no matter what it took.
Anyhow, Tim's family adamantly insisted that we finish our safari, pointing out that Dad would have been pretty crabby to learn that we derailed our lifelong dream trip because of his passing. So hard as it was, we forged onward - and we were rewarded with the best holiday of our lives. Tim and I are lucky to have traveled all over the world, but this trip and every detail was truly unforgettable. Everything - the lodges, the game spotting, the vehicle, the private plane to the South Serengeti, the kind people who attended to our every need - was top-notch.
Any discussion of our safari begins and ends with one word and one guy: Adam. When we landed in the South Serengeti on a swath of emerald green that made Ireland look pale and dry, we didn't know what to make of our dread locked, very serious guide. It took a couple days to break down his formality and expose e dry sense of humor, but we did it. Adam, besides being a crack driver, was a superb game spotter and demonstrated an astonishing breadth of knowledge about not only the animals, but about the birds, insects, geography, geology and history.
One of the highlights of the trip was having dinner with Adam at the private luxury camp on Naabi Hill. He told us about how his boys liked Winnie-the-Pooh, about the culture, poverty and standards of living of the Tanzania people and the Maasai in particular and what he knew of the U.S. When we come back to Tanzania (and of course we will use ADS), we will absolutely, positively ask that Adam tolerate us fro another nine days, because he made the safari far more then a game-spotting adventure.
In all, over nine days on the ground, we saw well over 100 lions (six of whom lumbered up to our vehicle and took a nap on our back tire), hundreds of hippos, and dozens of elephants (one from a cars length away). And truly magical - a morning spent tracking four cheetahs on the hunt and marveling at their speed as they brought down a kill.
Our favorites lodging, hands' down was the Kusini Tented Lodge, where we spend two glorious nights in the most comfortable beds ever, dining family style with the other guests on the offerings of a superb chef and toasting one another at the sunset happy hour on the kopjes. And how cool is it that a Maasai Askari, ready with a spear, escorted us to our tent, lest we encounter and angry cape buffalo. Awesome!
Michael, Adam and all of the ADS staffers who showed us the time of our lives, Asante Sana. It would be our pleasure to be a reference for your company.
Leigh and Tim C.
Long Beach, CA