How can you describe in words the trip we just returned from? It was SO MUCH more than a vacation. It was an experience. And the Serengeti is SO MUCH more than a national park. The Serengeti is another world lost in time… it is space… it is color… it is life. The Serengeti is a feeling. The fact is, there are no adequate words available in the English language to describe it, it is something you simply have to experience for yourself. Even pictures can’t do it justice, although I obviously tried as I now have over 2800 to sort and choose from! But one thing is for sure. None of us have ever experienced anything like this safari, and none of us will ever be the same.
Once we stepped foot into Tanzania we knew this was a special place. As our plane descended into the Serengeti we were immersed into the middle of a wilderness that was bigger and grander and more fantastic than any of us had imagined. The responsibilities and cares of our lives back home seemed so “distant”. The chaotic clutter of buildings and noise of traffic back home seemed like an ever-fading dream.
All of the ADS people we dealt with were absolutely wonderful. ADS’s meet and greet process at the airport was amazing – never have I felt so much like a VIP as your staff actually met us on the tarmac as we exited the plane and led us past the long lines of other tourists waiting for their visas (ADS was the only company we saw that did either of those things). Immediately we knew we’d made the right choice with ADS. And it just continued to get better from there. The entire staff at the private luxury camp were SO warm and accommodating, we were not treated like guests, we were treated like family.
David our driver guide was just incredible. Patient and accommodating, he knew exactly how to approach animals and where to position the Land Rover to get the best light for photography. David simply exuded confidence and seemed to know that wilderness like the back of his hand. When talking with other non-ADS groups at lodges, we were consistently amazed at how much more we saw compared to what they saw. In addition to being absolutely eagle-eyed at finding animals, our guide was an enjoyable conversationalist telling us about his home country and educating us about the local culture. By the end of the safari he had become so much more than our guide, he had become our friend.
A favorite safari moment is tough to choose, as we have SO many. Maybe it was the morning we watched a family of lion cubs playing next to their den, or the day we saw six fuzzy cheetah cubs following their mother through a carpet of yellow wildflowers. Maybe it was the sunny afternoon we saw a wildebeest calf being born and then take its first steps right next to our vehicle, or the bull elephant taking an enthusiastic dust bath in the Crater. Maybe it was the surreal experience of driving right through the middle of the Great Migration, being totally surrounded by animals, listening to their sounds and feeling the ‘energy’ that only comes from being surrounded by the life force of over a million animals!
The wildlife viewing was consistently phenomenal, and we were surprised time and time again by the antics and behaviors of the animals. Each and every day we saw something different and amazing, and I simply can’t believe how close we got to these wild animals. It was amazing how much they all seemed to trust our presence, even the one matriarch elephant guiding her tiny baby across the road that almost brushed against our vehicle they were so close. Frankly it was humbling.
I have to say, having a private vehicle and guide made ALL the difference and set the stage for our success in getting off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and close to the animals. We saw other companies herding caravans of tourists down the highly trafficked main road, and once again we felt like VIPs! The private luxury camping was also fantastic; it is hard to beat the feeling of sitting next to a blazing campfire underneath a canopy of stars. At one time in the night we could actually hear a pride of lions roaring in the distance. And I just can’t describe the magic of looking out over the plains at night, watching the landscape literally glow in the surreal light of a full moon with no one else around for miles. It just doesn’t get any better.
Asante Sana Sana, Africa Dream Safaris, for making all our dreams come true! We know that we were truly blessed to have had the experience we did, and it has changed us forever. I hope to return someday, but until then we will remain enthusiastic ambassadors for beautiful Tanzania, the amazing Serengeti, and the passionate team that is Africa Dream Safaris.
Rolf and Kathy J.
Briar and Heidi D.
St. Cloud, MN