Our Tanzanian Adventure

In the summer of 2012, we started planning our long-dreamed of African adventure with our travel companions, Frances and HN. Frances located ADS on the internet, and despite concerns about their reviews being too good to be true, we booked our photo safari through Sharon at ADS’s US office. We opted for a mix of tented luxury camps and lodges for our 12 day safari. Sharon was extremely helpful in planning the trip and making the arrangements. We flew KLM to Arusha (Kilimanjaro) airport and arrived tired but excited on May 2. We were met at the airport and whisked through Tanzanian immigration without delay. The ADS meet and greet team picked us up and transported us to our hotel in Arusha for a pre-safari briefing and a night’s sleep in the luxurious Mt. Meru Hotel.

The following morning, we flew to the Grumeti airstrip in the northwest Serengeti where we met our driver/guide, Maiko George. We started on our first game drive with Maiko and saw croc’s and hippo’s in the Grumeti River, impala, topi, a lioness, colobus monkeys, and warthogs before we’d driven a mile or two. Continuing on, we saw Cape buffalo, zebras, giraffes, baboons,ostriches and all manner of beautiful birds before arriving at the Kirawira Tented lodge for our first night in the field. Our accommodations were luxurious and the food and service were 5-star.

We thought we might have peaked on our first day’s game drive, but we were so mistaken. Each of the following eleven days seemed to best the previous days with up close and personal sightings of lions, leopards, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, black rhinos, Grants and Thompsons gazelles, eland, jackals, hippos, hyenas, and the most incredible variety of birds.

Traveling at the end of the rainy season and before the start of the high season was perfect. We encountered just a few other safari vehicles at each locale, and never seemed to be crowded or in competition with them. At Kirawira, Mbuzi Mawe, and Lake Masek camps and at The Plantation, we were the only guests and were treated to royal service.

Maiko, our so-named Alpha Guide, was an expert at spotting, positioning us, and identifying all animals, birds, trees, and flowers. He consistently put us on animals before other safari guides who seemed happy to follow his lead. He was helpful to the extreme as he organized every step of our lodging arrangements and daily game drives. He had box breakfasts with coffee and tea, and boxed lunches with cold drinks as needed for our game drives. He made sure that our dietary restrictions were satisfied.

Our safari vehicle was spotless inside and out each morning. We’re certain he got to bed late and had to rise early to take care of details, but he kept his energy level and sense of humor throughout. Our final view of Maiko was him waving us goodbye through the window at the airport as we proceeded through immigration and security for our flight home.

So we, at the risk of writing another too-good-to be-true review, join the list of others in sounding the praises of ADS. This safari was the trip of a lifetime and exceeded our expectations in every respect from start to finish.

Carol and Bob B.
Lake Jackson, Texas
Safari Dates: May 2, 2013 to May 13, 2013


H. N. and Frances B.
Clute, Texas
Safari Dates: May 2, 2013 to May 13, 2013

10 Responses to Our Tanzanian Adventure

  1. Chris Bradley says:

    I am just starting to plan our trip and am concentrating on trips thru ADS. May I ask what level of accomadations you had?

    thanks for your help-chris

    • Bob Bohley says:

      We stayed at 3 Tented Luxury Camps and 2 Lodges (all managed by Serena) and our final night at The Plantation – a former plantation house turned into a luxury hotel.

  2. Marie Reale says:

    What type of camera were you using to get these close up pictures? We are booked with ADS in Sept, and can’t decided between taking a SRL and having to change lenses or just a very good digital and use it’s capacity for the zoom.

    • Bob Bohley says:

      I was shooting a Nikon DSLR mainly with a 70-300mm telephoto lense. I was also shooting at maximum pixel count (maximum resolution) because I knew that I would want to crop and enlarge some of the distant images once I got home. This allowed still good resolution on the cropped images. I did on occasion swap lenses to an 18-105mm when I wanted a wider angle shot. I used a monopod in the vehicle to steady the long telephoto shots, and that worked well.
      But some of the attached images were taken by Frances who was using a Nikon rangefinder camera with (I think she said) a 40/1 optical zoom. I’m a Nikon SLR lifer, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Good luck

  3. Anonymous says:

    We are leaving for our safari on June 12th and are gettig really excited. How was the plane trip to Amsterdam on KLM?

    • Bob Bohley says:

      Long day flying. We flew Houston – Amsterdam – Arusha. Each leg was about 9 hours and with layover in Amsterday and getting to the airport early, I think total transit time was right at 24 hours. Hope you have a great time on your safari.

  4. Marianne says:

    Looks like a slice of heaven to me.

  5. Debi says:


    My sister and I went last August and Maiko was our guide too. He was such a nice guy…Glad you had a great time too…Enjoyed your pictures!

  6. Faye says:

    We went in July and had an amazing time…photo wise I rented a lens and borrowed another body from a friend, so I had a 500mm and a 300mm on 2 Nikon bodies. I rented the lens from The Lens Depot in Oviedo, FL…they ship everywhere and it was great having the extra camera in case one failed. Got amazing pictures!

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