Let me start off by saying that the safari totally exceeded our expectations (which, based on everything we read about the Serengeti, were pretty high!) The Serengeti itself is so amazing. We are honored and humbled to have been able to witness it first hand, with all its raw power and glory. The endless golden plains and reaching blue skies, without interruption of buildings and roads, inspire a sense of great freedom that lingers on with bittersweet memory as we introduce ourselves back into our normal post-safari lifestyle, with its city and traffic, etc.
The beginning of each Serengeti day started with a brilliant golden sunrise and ended with a simmering orange sunset that cast its hue and spell over the land and cloudscapes with breathtaking beauty, beyond that of the picture books we'd studied in anticipation of our trip. The animals themselves were of course the stars of the show, and the big cats the very highlight of the experience. I still remember the thrill I had when I saw my first cheetah (my favorite big cat!) in Gol Kopjes - which began with a great race across the plains in pursuit of a single female cheetah leaving us in the dust and ended with a very intimate experience with three male cheetahs that were honored to share the late morning with as they relaxed, stretched and strolled within 5 feet of our jeep.
On a different morning, we got chills as we watched a huge male lion stroll silently and slowly across the road right in front of us in the pale light of dawn on our drive from Kirawira, with his giant expanse of golden mane and his quiet confidence - he truly had the presence of a king! I can also remember, on a different day, the low growl of a leopard in the grass less than 15 feet from our jeep, that we couldn't see (until later when he finally left his cover) but we could definitely hear - I almost want to describe the experience as we were able to "feel" his growl it was so low and deep and seemed to vibrate all the way through to your soul.
We saw SOOO MANY big cats that I eventually lost count, and we really appreciate the fact that we saw so many leopards since many safari travelers never even see one. There was also the surreal moment near Moru Kopjes one morning when over 60 elephants drifted slowly between our vehicle, with their tiny babies and huge matriarch mothers and every size of elephant in between - one of our fellow travelers described it later by likening it to heaven, and I think she was pretty close. I honestly could go on and on - about the rhino mother and it's baby that charged the lions, about the elephant that challenged us in the crater, about the baby lion cub that we were able to glimpse in the bushes, about the heart-pounding thrill of watching BOTH lions AND cheetahs hunt, about the Genet cat that stole our corn muffins each morning at Kirawira. Each experience was a delight and we felt lucky to be a part of each one since it seemed that timing was such an important part of everything we saw.
I can't say enough great things about our Driver Guides. We remain completely awed at their incredible ability to spot animals. We still don't understand how they spotted so many with the naked eye when we would have trouble seeing them with binoculars at first! They are also so gracious and patient with us "tourists" and we are grateful for that. They bent over backwards to make our experience wonderful, and they were very empathic about our viewing and photographic needs by making sure we had the best views and turning off the vehicle whenever we wanted to take pictures, sometimes even suggesting different angles or lighting for our pictures!
I don't have enough good things to say and I'm afraid I could go on and on if I don't make myself stop at some point, but hopefully we have been able to communicate a fraction of how special this trip was for us. A+++ grade, 5 stars, a 10 rating on a scale of one to ten. Thank you for the thought and attention to detail that helped make this trip the experience of a lifetime.
Dawn & Mike A.
Overland Park, Kansas