Asante sana ADS!! – this was our Best trip yet!! And that is not an easy feat considering this was our fifth ADS safari. We have travelled with our daughter as a family three times, and this was the second time we have brought a group. Last time, a group of photographers, and this time a group of friends after a Habitat For Humanity Build in Ethiopia.
From our middle of the night airport meet & greet/visa assistance, to the midnight shuttle back to the airport ten days later, the ADS staff looked after everything. Africa Dream Safari’s did their absolute best to ensure we had an amazing and hassle free experience, with emphasis on Amazing!
First a Thank-you to Michael for your help in putting together an itinerary that was designed to provide us access to the migration, the Big Five, and a huge variety of other birds and animals – it did not disappoint.
We were a group of ten, eight who were first-timers to Tanzania, and we had two private safari vehicles. Our ADS driver guides, Anglebert & David were THE BEST! They worked with us to plan the each day, suggesting areas they felt would be best, given the rain, and migration situation. They always listened to our feedback, and as we have come to expect from ADS staff, were always willing and enthusiastic about early morning game drives. Anglebert and David were really outstanding, and treated us to long days, off the beaten path drives, and loads of game viewing. There were days we hardly saw another vehicle, and could enjoy the view and spend as much time as we liked with the animals without interruption.
Everyone in the group commented at some point about the game spotting skill demonstrated by the drivers. How do they manage to see things from so far away? How can they tell a leopard tail from a tree branch from 500 yards away? How can they actually know the names of all those birds? Always pleasant, endlessly answering our questions about the animals, birds and the plants, and willing to share their books on each, Anglebert and David are true professionals. They kept us safe, their knowledge of animal behavior not only found us the game, but would often put us in its path – so the animals walked right up to us. Anglebert, an accomplished photographer himself, would position our vehicle just right for the light and the best angle, so even the smallest point and shoot cameras got terrific shots.
It is absolutely true that a good driver-guide can absolutely change your safari experience. We have traveled with eight different ADS drivers, and have always been impressed at the terrific job they do. The company standards for hiring are obvious in the experience and education of the staff – The bonus you get as an ADS customer is in the passion, the work ethic, and the desire the guides bring with them. They are trained, educated, specialists who are committed to making your safari experience excellent in every way.
The highlight of this trip for us, was Anglebert managing to get us in front of a pack of more than 20 wild dogs. In five trips, this was the first time we have seen them, and they did not disappoint. (You might be surprised how many photographs can be taken in an hour) It was a thrill to even see the dogs, endangered and elusive, and then to have them hang around and cooperate for so long…Wow!
On previous trips we have tried almost everything as far as lodging goes, and have decided we like the tented camp experience best. We were treated to excellent food, great staff, and daily hot showers at four different camps this trip. The hot water bottles tucked into the beds at night and coffee delivered with wake up calls were big hits, much like the popcorn and campfire’s under the stars. But more importantly, we were in terrific locations for the best game viewing every day.
The camp staff were terrific, and made us a hot breakfast at 5:30 AM, and got our box lunches ready so we could head out each day before dawn. In the evenings, they were pleasant & willing to provide hot water for showers before dinner, regardless how late we turned up back at camp – which was mostly after dark.
Every time we travel with ADS, we are impressed with the exceptional service we encounter in the camps along the way. This trip a standout was Gilbert from Ndutu Woodlands Camp – who captivated our group by sharing personal stories around the campfire, of his life and childhood growing up as a Maasai.
This was our 5th trip to Tanzania, and no matter how many times you go, you cannot escape the excitement, or how addictive it can be. It is difficult to explain the overall experience to anyone who hasn’t done it, other than just to say – “YES!! JUST DO IT!!” Once you do, you will face the same challenges our group did after this trip…
Trying to explain to someone that you saw more than 50 lions before lunch that day, or that 17 of them were eating a zebra right beside your vehicle.
Or how totally cool it is to watch a young cheetah playfully race in circles around his mom, then climb a tree stump and pose perfectly for photo’s in the warm golden light of sunrise.
Trying to explain the smile that comes to your face as you watch a couple of little lion cubs chew on their mom’s tail & then tumble around playing tag while the sun rises behind them. (This is why you get up and get out before the sun comes up!)
Or how do you describe what it’s like to see a herd of more than 200 elephants on the move, or how fast your heart is beating as you try to sit quietly while they surround your vehicle, because your driver has managed to park you right where they end up crossing the road.
And how do you explain sitting around a campfire at night and looking up at the sky so full of stars, and so bright they don’t even look real.
All I can really say is – If you are even thinking about going to Tanzania, you cannot do better than to go with Africa Dream Safari’s, and go now – It will change your life! As it has our family’s’. Thank you Michael and all the ADS staff from the bottom of our hearts.
Cheryl and Greg Stewart
February 12, 2015 to February 20, 2015
Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint
Zebra with weaver birds
Lion cubs under our vehicle
Elephant Viewing – Tarangire National Park
Elephant Viewing – Ngorongoro Crater
African Wild Dog
Lions with zebra kill
Lioness with cubs
Our group in the Serengeti
Maasai Boma Dance
Black Backed Jackal
Bat eared Fox
African Crowned Crane
Lappet Faced Vulture
Lilac Breasted Roller
Red Billed Hornbill