Posts From May 2010

Quote of the Week: Rochelle, Lisa and Mitch Blumenfeld

We have been back just under two weeks now and we are still marveling at what an awesome trip we experienced. Carol and Rick Flam could have never have prepared us for the trip we had; truly it was our Africa Dream Safari. It is hard to come up with enough superlatives to accurately reflect the trip we experienced. I know we have had a debriefing conversation, but let this letter record our feeling about your company and the job that was done by ADS.

From the time we first made contact with ADS until the time we came home, everyone we came in contact with was more than helpful and focused on making this a trip of a lifetime. As you know, it is not an easy trip, but the entire company went all out to make it so memorable. Your help over the past 15 months was so important in making this trip come off so smoothly. You answered all our questions and addressed all our concerns. We could not ask for more.

As for our arrival in Arusha, your staff was there as promised, met us and ushered us through their immigration without a hitch. When she took us to the Arusha airstrip the next morning, again she ushered us through check in and was able to facilitate them waiving the weight problem we were anticipating with all of Lisa’s camera equipment. Everything was “Hakuna Matata”.

But here is where it really gets good. We met [our guide]! Again, a recommendation by Carol and Rick that could not have been anticipated. You have a real jewel in this man. Not only is he polite, conscientious, and experienced, but he understands people and animal behavior. I would be the first to tell you that traveling with my daughter, sister, niece, and my wife presented some interesting dynamics. We all have different personalities, agendas, and needs. [Our guide] was able to quickly understand what he was dealing with and cater to each of us in a way that made our experience sensational. Each of us felt that personal connection with [him], and that he was personally guiding for each of us individually. And yet, he made it great for all of us. [He] knew behavior. He had the insight to position ourselves to witness what was going to either be a kill, or better yet, a rescue. After almost 2 hours of observation, we did see the rescue of a baby wildebeest by the herd from an almost certain kill situation. Most other cars that were there just drove off rather than wait, observe, and witness a rarity.

[Our guide] also shared with us villages in his country that we felt were not just tourist stops. We were lucky to meet and gain a real appreciation for the beautiful people of Tanzania. Daniel, the Iraqw gentleman we met was terrific in exposing us to his culture. We also visited two orphanages in the Arusha area. This was a moving and learning experience for our whole family.

We loved the accommodations arranged by ADS. Mbalageti Lodge was fantastic. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was also fantastic. And we really enjoyed the Private Luxury Camping. All of your personnel at the campsite were terrific and couldn’t do enough for us in providing for our needs. And the food was the best at the campsite; better than both lodges in my opinion. Compliments to that entire staff at the campsite.

Our farewell trip to the airport was a very emotional experience for all of us. We felt as if we were leaving behind a wonderful country, and more importantly, a wonderful new friend that we had made with [our guide]. I don’t know how the experience could have been any better. For this, much of the credit must go to [our guide] for the complete experience he provided our family.

As you must know, we have spoken to many fiends about our experience and ADS. We will continue to promote ADS when ever anyone mentions going to Africa. I am working with my cousin to encourage her along with 4 of her widow friends to make the journey while they still can. Your entire team has succeeded beyond any of our expectations, and for that we are all very appreciative. […] Again, all of our thanks and appreciation to African Dream Safaris.

Rochelle, Lisa and Mitch Blumenfeld
May 2010

Some of the first rays of morning light to illuminate the Serengeti wilderness that day.

 

A Maasai child peaking out from the protective pouch his mother uses to carry him on her back.

 

A cheetah pausing for a moment before continuing on his way to find food; cheetahs are built for speed rather than fighting, and they are constantly on alert for danger.

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Quote of the Week: Cindy Berg

I had a fabulous trip & I am obsessed with everything Africa. I think about my trip everyday & want to return. My pics are amazing. Especially my cat pics & I want to send you a testimonial but I have been so busy that I cannot do it until next week or afterwards. We saw lion, leopard & cheetah all in one day. When I returned to camp that night, I cried! It meant everything to me! We cannot say enough good things about [our guide]. I loved him & he worked so hard to please us. He is a great man. All your staff & accommodations were fantastic. I will be in touch soon & thank you.

Cindy Berg
May 2010

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Quote of the Week: Ruth and David Miller

We expected to see animals, but were amazed to see hundreds of thousands of wildebeest at the same time in one place, along with tens of thousands of zebras and uncountable gazelles on the Serengeti. We expected to see lions and leopards and cheetahs, but did not expect to watch a three-day drama unfold as a lioness was separated from her pride while hunting, reunited with them, and stalked wildebeest in a hunt that surrounded our jeep for over an hour one evening; we did not realize how close the animals come to the jeep – in one case a leopard literally brushed the door such that we could have reached down and touched her (ill-advised our guide suggested). We did not realize that crocodiles can be wider than alligators are long; that hippos kill more animals than crocs or any other animal on the Serengeti; and that individual variations would be so abundant, from a one-eared elephant to zebras and giraffes with readily discernible markings. And we expected to see baboons … but in our tent?! (He left when David swore at him!) We expected good food, but were really delighted with every meal (the food boxes were uninspired, but more than adequate in quantity of food). The meals at the “Private Luxury Camp” were exceptional, and that chef deserves a special commendation. Our host there, Ndeke, was also very charming, and conversant about so many different things.

Lastly we really have to give a special commendation and thanks to our guide! His knowledge of animal behavior is superb, and he was very patient, waiting in one case for 45 minutes while a herd of 27 elephants slowly emerged from the forest. He would frequently predict the next move that an animal would make, and position the jeep such that we would see elephants slowly leave the forest cover and cross the road, or lions climb to the top of a ‘kopje’ as the sun rose. He knew where best to watch the wildebeest in full run, cheetah hunt, and leopards sleep, such that no other jeeps were anywhere around us. He has a keen photographer’s eye, and frequently set up shots for David such that the lighting, and position of the jeep, were ideal. Thanks also to yourself and all the others ‘behind the scenes’ making all of this happen smoothly. Best wishes!

Ruth and David Miller
June 2010

A leopard walking in the road… right next to the Miller’s vehicle!

 

A herd of Thompson’s gazelles keeping a wary eye on some nearby lions.

 

A hippo and crocodiles peacefully sharing the same territory.

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Quote of the Week: Mike and Cheri Ferguson

Our Safari with ADS was so much more than we anticipated. Our expectations were high given the testimonials we read in your posts and the wonderful ADS website which we visited quite often before we left for our trip. From the moment we landed in Kilimanjaro and were met by the ADS staff until the evening we boarded for our flight home, we were well taken care of and looked forward to every one of our 12 days with our guide. His ability to spot game was of constant amazement to us, and as a result, we not only were fortunate to see “The Big Five”, but we saw virtually all of the animals of the Serengeti that are not nocturnal. The overall experience, including the lodging and food, was outstanding, and we are very happy we chose to visit during the first two weeks of May, at the tail end of the rainy season. Because we were there at the beginning of the Wildebeest migration and the grasses were still present, we were able to see all of the animals in their physical prime. The lions, cheetahs and leopards all had full tummies and the plains were at times covered with game. You know a trip is a success when every morning you looked forward to another adventure and never once thought it would be nice to rest and relax for a day. We loved our safari!

Mike and Cheri Ferguson
May 2010

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Quote of the Week: Rahool Karnik and Family

Where to begin? First of all, let me say that you run an absolutely first-rate organization. Our trip was nearly cancelled because of the volcano and I was so thankful that you were able to reschedule the entire safari on such short notice. Once we finally arrived in Tanzania, our ADS representative was there right on the tarmac to greet us, arrange for our visas, and handle customs. We completely bypassed the long customs lines! Once we left the terminal, we saw all the “other” safari tour operators trying to find their clients. We hopped right into our vehicle and headed to Arusha. That evening, we were treated to singing and a cake to commemorate by Dad’s retirement, which was really a very nice and special thing to for you to arrange. Thank you.

The following day was off to the Serengeti via plane. The flight provided quite a few dramatic views of the African landscape. On arriving to Grumeti, we were greeted by our driver/guide. We absolutely loved his company. Not only was he knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, but he had a wonderful ability to sense when something was about to happen. He is also clearly blessed w/ the eyes of an eagle because he was able to spot things while driving that I could barely discern w/ a 400mm lens. In one instance, he spotted 4 lions perched in a thickly overgrown tree from at least 300 yards away. He was also always flexible and accommodating…willing to start each day whenever we wanted and positioning the vehicle just so in order to get the perfect shot. We always felt very safe and secure w/ him around.

As for the wildlife, it was non-stop. From giant crocodiles in the Grumeti, the wildebeest migration, cheetahs on the savannah, leopards in Seronera, and the black rhinos of the Ngorongoro we saw it all. The sheer spectacle of wildlife that the Serengeti can showcase is truly awe-inspiring. One of my favorite moments was coming across a lion pride that had just made a zebra kill. After eating for a few minutes, 3 of the lionesses suddenly left and walked off into the distance. After about 30 minutes, they returned w/ 8 tiny cubs in tow to join in the meal. A half hour later, one of the lionesses left the pride again. We followed her this time as she ventured deep into the long grass and eventually emerged w/ an even younger cub! It was a long way away from the kill so she carried him in her mouth for half the journey! It was a touching sight.

The ADS private camp is an absolute must! The most wonderful staff we met during the entire trip… they were so nice and accommodating that I felt guilty asking them to do anything. Rama truly made us feel like royalty while there. Henry, who was our chef, is simply unbelievable. In the middle of the bush, he crafted by far not only what were the best meals of the entire trip, but some of the best dishes I have ever had… in the middle of Seronera! If he opened a restaurant, I can promise that I would be a regular there. And the location of the camp was key. Right in the bush, we were in the midst of the wildlife. I loved sleeping to the sounds of lions and hyenas.

So once again, let me say thank you to the entire ADS staff for an absolutely first-class safari. I had extremely high expectations for this trip and at almost every turn you exceeded them. It was the best vacation I have ever taken and an absolute trip of a lifetime. My parents and sister had no less a fabulous time and we were able to capture countless great photos.”

Rahool Karnik and Family
May 2010

A male lion in his prime.

 

A pair of zebras relaxing against a backdrop of lush green foliage.

 

A male and female impala racing across the plains.

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Quote of the Week: David Nasser

First there is the matter of our guide. He was very knowledgeable about the mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants. Further, he was able to give us historical insights about the area and people. As a photographer I especially appreciated his skill in placing the truck in the best possible position. He always encouraged a ‘wait and see’ approach as opposed to rushing about to the next animal. He understands the role of patience in wildlife photography. We thoroughly enjoyed traveling with him. The accommodations were great; we particularly liked the River Lodge. The dinners were much better than expected and we appreciated your advice relative to the boxed meals.

From start to finish the trip went exactly as we had hoped. We saw everything we had hoped to see and a couple of events that are simply unforgettable. If this turns out to be a once in a lifetime trip for us, I can honestly say that it was well worth it. I would recommend ADS to anyone planning an African adventure. I’ve been diving in a lot of places; seen some extraordinary things. This trip would rate right up there with my best diving adventures. Thanks to all involved – you run a great operation.

David Nasser
May 2010

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Quote of the Week: Jo Rakauskas

What a trip we had!!……and a wonderful guide……not much rain….perfect conditions,- no crowds….as a matter of fact there was one night when we were the only people at Kirawira…..and just one other couple at Plantation Lodge……Beautiful accommodations, our favorite nights were spent at the Private Luxury campsite with smiling Jonas and the crew!!….Number of wildlife in the Crater was disappointing, but the fields were bright yellow and beautiful in the sun (although I understand the flowers are not a good thing for the wildlife), and we did get to see Mama Rhino and her baby cross the road in front of us…..the last of the “Big 5″….Have a film of mating leopards in a tree which [our guide] said was most unusual……….Will get some photos together one of these days and a testimonial as well…… Asante Sana for providing us with a wonderful and varied itinerary.

Jo Rakauskas
May 2010

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