Posts From November 2015

ADS hires the best, most experienced, most educated Guides in all of Tanzania.

I recently got back from Tanzania…for the third time. Three times I have stepped off that blue and white plane on the Kilimanjaro tarmac. Three times I have found my name on a hand held a place card next to an Africa Dreams Safari logo. And three times I’ve found a smiling face behind it to effortlessly shuffle me through the madness. People often ask me why I have gone to Tanzania three times, and more specifically, why I have gone back with ADS each time.

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ADS Truly Helped Me To Fulfill My Lifelong Dream

Our eight-day safari with ADS was the trip of a lifetime for my family and me. I cannot say enough about the company, people and experiences ADS delivered to us for this trip. We did a six-day african safari tour in the Serengeti and two days at the Ngorongoro Crater. The trip was perfect. It surpassed all of our expectations. We made this trip with our family of six, my wife’s parents, and my brother. From the start of the trip to the final hours at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, we had an incredible experience that we will never forget. I am so pleased to be able share some details of our trip with anyone who will listen.

The Dream

I have dreamed of an African safari since I was a teenager. I am now 48 years old and my dream finally came to fruition in July 2015. After months of planning, we finally arrived in Tanzania, Africa at the Kilimanjaro Airport. We were immediately greeted by Mathias, Precious, and Timmon. We felt comfortable from that moment until we were delivered back to the airport by the same group in addition to one of our Safari guides, Ema.

The Safari

We flew on a bush plane to the Seronera Airstrip and our Safari began there. On the very first day, we saw a pride of lions, gazelles, leopards, topi, hippos, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, and zebras. We also met our guides, Arnold and Ema, with whom we would spend the next eight days and become fast friends. They were nothing short of incredible. They were knowledgeable, patient, experienced, and of course friendly.

We saw one lion pride on the first day with 17 lions. Naturally, we hoped and expected to see many African animals. What we were not prepared for, however, was the sheer number of animals in the Serengeti. At one point, Ema estimated that we were looking at over six hundred thousand wildebeests in the Massai Mara. Also, the vast space and size of the Serengeti is absolutely spectacular. Words cannot adequately describe the vastness of the space. We could see for miles in many directions with not a power line, telephone pole, cellular tower, or other indication of civilization to spoil the view. This was impressive to say the least.

Over the next seven days, we saw many of the same animals but also impala, warthogs, cheetahs, a rhino, jackals, crocodiles, wildebeests, vultures, storks, a python, a black mamba, and a rare treat, a caracal chasing a rabbit in the crater. The animals were 10, 20, and 30 yards away. Sometimes, they were just outside of our vehicle within an arms length.

The Accommodations

Africa Dream Safaris set us up with accommodations that cannot possibly be rivaled. We stayed at the most luxurious lodge I can imagine in the middle of the Serengeti wilderness. We could see wildlife from our showers. The pool overlooked a watering hole at which elephants, zebras, baboons, waterbuck, and various other animals came to drink on our first night there. It seemed like African Disneyland to all of us. We had to laugh out loud because we did not know what else to do.

From that point forward, to our amazement, the lodging seemed to actually improve. It does not seem possible, but that is how we felt. We moved toward the north end of the Serengeti to catch the great migration. Our last night on the rim of the crater was the best night, according to some of my family. This was a tent lodge but we were not “roughing it.” We had hot showers, tent heaters, a four-course dinner, and friendly service. On that note, every single person we met along the way could not have been friendlier and more courteous to my family.

I cannot leave out that one night we sat atop a raised wooden deck while watching hippos below and a rainstorm moving across the hills of the Serengeti. I wish I could have a life-size painting of that scene because it was breathtaking.

High Points

Although every part of our trip was excellent, there were some high points that stick out in my mind. Near the Mara River, we watched a black rhino for about 30 minutes. Then, it started to approach one of our vehicles. It raised its tail and charged. Our expert guide, Arnold, immediately started the engine of the Land Cruiser and drove away skillfully. It is something we will never forget.

We also saw the crossing of the wildebeests at the Mara River. Emmanuel, our other expert guide, helped us get into a prime position to observe this spectacular event. The wildebeests were crossing from north to south. A small group of wildebeests came down river and started to cross right in front of us. My 16-year-old son exclaimed “Oh no, a crocodile.” At that point, an 18-foot Nile crocodile took down a 300-pound wildebeest in the middle of the river right before our eyes. The wildebeest never came up. The adrenaline in my family was flowing like I cannot recall. It was a truly unforgettable thing to witness.

What a Difference a Vowel Makes

On a humorous note, we learned the difference (the hard way) between two Swahili words. “Jambo” means hello in Swahili. For the first four or five days, about half of my family was saying “Jumbo” and half was saying “Jamba.” Finally, one of our guides sheepishly informed us that “Jamba” means flatulence. We all had a good laugh and made sure of the correct pronunciation from that point forward.

Final Words of Appreciation

As a father of four children, it was very special for me to take my wife and kids to Africa to experience my dream along with me. My eyes were treated to unbelievable visual displays every day if not every half hour. However, my ears were also treated to sounds that I must mention. I was able to hear my two daughters who are now 21 and 19 gasping with excitement as we saw each new animal. They would actually audibly suck in their breath in amazement. I have not heard that sound from them in over 10 years since they were little girls. I will never forget those sounds.

ADS truly helped me to fulfill my lifelong dream. The only problem for me now is deciding when to go back.

Kelly and Laura C.
Caroline, Courtney, Kyle and Luke
Dallas, Texas
Safari Dates: July 27, 2015 to August 3, 2015

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September In The Serengeti – An Adventure Of A Lifetime

For the last 18 months, we have been reading of others experiences in Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris. Now, we have the opportunity to add our input.

We returned from Tanzania on the 16th of September after eleven days on safari.

To say we had the time of a lifetime is to be conservative. Everything about the trip (except the plane engine that wouldn’t start on our outbound trip to the Netherlands) was perfect.

We’d particularly like to acknowledge all of the efforts of Sharon (Simba Lady). If no one else is, we’re sure she is glad we’re back – and the questions will stop. Another ADS employee that gets all of the thanks possible is our guide, Ellison. He found incredible opportunities for us, while keeping the most interesting roads imaginable manageable. In all seriousness, he made the trip.

The best gauge of how well the trip went – during the last three days, we actually got fussy about the pictures we took OF LIONS.

We’ve included a few of our favorite pictures, we hope you’ll enjoy seeing them as much as we enjoyed experiencing them.

Bev, Mike, Christine, Jack F.
Naperville, Illinois
Safari Dates: September 5, 2015 to September 15, 2015

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The Number One Trip Of Our Lives!

From the moment our plane touched down in Tanzania, Africa Dream Safaris exceeded every expectation we had. Marcus took care of all paperwork at the airport with no hassles. He and Timon then drove us safely to Mount Meru hotel, answering every question we could think of asking.

After getting us settled in our hotel for the night, they drove us to the Arusha air strip the next morning for our flight to the Western Corridor of the country. They made sure everything was taken care of during ever aspect of that part of our trip. Our flight to the Western Corridor was beautiful with a very professional pilot.

After landing, our guide, Peter, picked us up, and away we went for the adventure of our lives. Our first day was amazing! We even told our guide that there was NO WAY the next day could measure up, but how wrong we were. Every day was better than the last. We saw over one hundred lions, thousands of wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, gazelles, and topis.

The great migration was unbelievable—–animals as far as you could see in both directions! We even saw eight of the 500 cheetah in the Serengeti, eight leopards, a serval, seven of the 33 endangered rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater, hundreds of hippos, elephants baboons,and monkeys. Every day was new and exciting. We saw more animals that we ever thought possible.

Our guide, Peter, was excellent. He spotted almost every animal around and worked extremely hard to make sure we saw everything possible. We even saw mating lions, lions dining on a zebra (twice). We never got to see an actual kill, but saw lions stalking topis and cheetahs on the hunt. I think we saw every type of animal in the Serengeti.

Our visit to a Maasai village was fascinating and a favorite part of the trip. The Maasai culture amazed me! Our guide in the village was a chief’s son (a fourth wife’s child and one of thirty five of the Chief’s children), who had been educated in Arusha, but had decided to return to his village. He gave us a first class tour of his village. The kindergarten children melted my heart. I will never forget the very young Maasai children taking the goats and cows out to graze each day. They walked miles with the herds, then returned each night—-with lions all around! The shoes worn by the Maasai (I call them tire shoes) were made of TIRES! They could walk miles in them!

Our lodges were all first class. We stayed in Mbalageti, Serena Serengeti (my daughter;s favorite), Lake Masek tented lodge, Ngorongoro Serena, and Plantation Lodge. My favorite was the Lake Masek tented lodge. Hippos bathed in the lake all day and at night you could hear them walking by the tents eating grass, returning to the lake at daybreak. Our food was very good. You could always find something delicious for dinner. Our box lunches and breakfasts were also very good (although too much food!). On my next trip, I will stay in all ADS tented lodges. Our guide took us by the Sametu ADS lodge and it was quite impressive, very intimate with excellent staff.

African Dream Safaris went above and beyond all expectations to make this trip our NUMBER ONE TRIP OF OUR LIVES! Many thanks to Dawn, Marcus, Timon (whom we found out was a Maasai tribe member. He entertained us with numerous stories!), all of the staff at our lodges, and especially our guide, Peter (THE BEST OF THE BEST!!!). We will return to this beautiful country again! Thanks ADS for giving us the TRIP OF A LIFETIME!

Cindy H.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Safari Dates: May 29, 2015 to June 8, 2015

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Our ADS Experience Really Was A Dream Come True

We are now nearly a month post safari and it all seems like a dream now, a vivid and unforgettable dream. African Dream Safaris is no misnomer, but rather a most accurate descriptor of a company, a style, and a philosophy that succeeds on every level in delivering the promise of once in a lifetime experience.

From our arrival in Arusha and the kind and welcoming reception at the airport and the rapid delivery to the comforts of our first Africa hotel, things got underway as smoothly as possible. The upward trajectory gathered speed quickly the next morning with the arrival of Francis, our peerless guide and soon-to-be friend. We were but two couples, my wife and I accompanied by two dear friends.

Having read other reviews and the copious encomiums lavished on other ADS guides Francis shouldn’t have come as such a great surprise, yet he was. His knowledge of the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti were encyclopedic. He seemed to know just about everything about the flora and fauna of every place we visited in the region.

He was constantly spotting things otherwise invisible, constantly searching for new ways to delight and entertain us. He knew about so many things and his truck contained reference works on birds and animals that were dog-eared and lovingly pored over. Did I mention that he was also a simply awesome driver taking us safely across all manner of terrain, weather and challenging condition?

Francis passion and determination that paid off time and again with the rewarding appearance of leopards, cheetahs, lions galore, elephants by the score, giraffes, hippos, crocs, rhinos, untold bird species, monkeys, baboons, hyenas, jackals, and all manner of wildebeest and zebra, buffalo and plains dwellers.

We came for the animals, we got the animals and so much more. That included an encounter with an angry alpha male elephant charging angrily toward us in pursuit of an errant couple from the herd who had the temerity to “sneak” off for a mating effort before our very eyes. (Francis said he had never seen that before!)

Our accommodations were extraordinary, a throwback in bush-style elegance from quite another era. The staff members at each location were unfailingly cheerful, helpful and friendly. The food was magnificent, always fresh and exquisitely prepared. As surprised as we were by all the natural splendors, the restfulness, comfort and ease of life in the bush were beyond any of our expectations, way beyond!

The lodges throughout were perfect places for respite and provided pleasurable ways to reflect on the ardors of the day’s wonders. Perhaps the most delightful surprise of all was our bush camp that transported the vicinity from frontier to comfort zone. Our tents included king-size beds, excellent camp toilets, and hot showers (provided by a charcoal fire and the prodigious efforts of our terrific staff) and meals to die for consumed under the gaze of lions! The magical cooks presented us with their charcoal and wood-fired creations including a cake on our last night.

Our last stop was a luxurious lodge that included a swimming pool, beautiful cottages and a wonderful restaurant. The Masai protectors led us to and from our rooms with their spears at the ready. Having visited one of the Masai villages and having observed them with their herds on the plains, the strength, beauty and resilience of those people was a thing to behold.

Our ADS experience really was a dream, a dream come true. In a place and environ where so much can go wrong, everything went right due to the extraordinary talent and efforts of the personnel. We can’t thank you enough for helping to create an extraordinary memory.

Elliot D. and Linda T.
Santa Rosa, California
May 27, 2015 to June 7, 2015

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Meet Big Bird – An Amazing Tale From Tanzania

Have you met Big Bird yet? If you haven’t, you should watch one of the most amazing videos we’ve seen in a long time come out of Tanzania. After being orphaned from his family, Big Bird was adopted by the staff of Greystoke Camp located in Mahale National Park in Western Tanzania. Jeff, the camp manager, teaches Big Bird how to fish and a most unlikely friendship is born. This is a truly touching video…make sure to turn your volume on and enjoy!

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The ADS Staff Were Incredible In Managing A Very Scary Situation

I traveled to Tanzania nine years ago with Africa Dream Safaris and was deeply moved by this unique experience. Seeing so many beautiful animals touched my soul and the gentle people of Tanzania captured my heart. At the time, I was very impressed with the ADS team both at home and in Africa. Their enthusiasm about Tanzania was palpable and their knowledge of the Serengeti was evident in every detail of my trip.

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Rare Carcal Cat Spotted

We cannot thank Sharon Lyon and ADS enough for providing us with our trip of our lives! Not only was it a wonderful vacation, it was a true adventure! ADS provided EVERYTHING we needed to feel safe, secure and thoroughly enjoy ourselves. Our guide, Anglebert, was extraordinary. His knowledge of the animals created a new experience every day for us…so much so that we actually looked forward to our 5.00am wake-up calls, so that we were in the vehicle before 6.00am.

We learned that this is one of the best times to view the behaviors of the animals, and they did not disappoint. We learned so much about the natural order of things-how lucky are we to have experienced this! I am sure Mike will fill you in with the details…there is so much to report, remember and absorb. Our excitement has not subsided, and each time we view our photos, we find ourselves wanting to do it again!!

We wish we could tell you our favorite animal, but they were all so extraordinary that we would feel guilty choosing one over the other. Please thank you complete staff for all of their assistance in making this a trip we will never forget!

Some of the more unusual animal sightings we enjoyed included a caracal cat, serval cat and oryx antelope.

Sincerely,

Linda and Larry R.
Gold River, California
Safari Dates: October 5, 2015 to October 18, 2015

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African Dream Safaris Made Our Dream Come True!

From the moment we landed in Arusha till we left Arusha for home your staff was right on. Our adventure started as we were attempting to land in the bush and our landing was aborted due to a Giraffe on the runway! We realized right then and there that this was going to be a special experience.

After we landed we met our guide, Emmanuel, who quickly became our friend. He was knowledgeable, patient, understanding and considerate. We left the airport and almost immediately we began to see animals “up close and personal.” Zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles were everywhere. Giraffes were majestic and elephants were lumbering along as we drove.

We were “lucky” (based on Emanuel’s skill ) to spend some time watching a cheetah and her four cubs frolic under a tree. If that was not enough, our first lion sighting also took place on the first day.

We ate our box lunch and continued to drive to River Camp. Here the staff could not have been more accommodating. After a delicious dinner and a good sleep, we started out in the morning hoping to see a river crossing. We sat at a location for about an hour as it looked like the wildebeests were getting ready to cross. Then suddenly the herd moved off – that is when we saw the reason – a lion had a wildebeast in his jaws! We followed the lion who took the kill in to a bush.

We left and continued on our quest for a crossing. Again, patience was the key and sure enough, we were able to observe a crossing. What an experience! This was all before lunch! Since we were very close to River Camp we went back for lunch – the table was set outside under a tree. Back to our home away from home – the Landrover – looking for a leopard. Sure enough Emmanuel got us a leopard – in a tree very close to the road.

I do not know how he did this but we were able to get close to so many animals. Every day was better than the one before. Lions, cheetahs, leopards seemed to be waiting to meet us! While the drives between camps were long, they were interesting and gave us a real feel for the vastness of the Serengeti.

We were only missing a rhino to complete our wish list. In the crater, way off in the distance we observed a young rhino sleeping. Well we thought that was enough – not Emmanuel. He told us that as it cools down the rhino may start to move. We drove around for a while and returned to see the rhino still sleeping. Do not give up was our motto. Patience paid off – after about an hour the rhino woke up and started a slow but steady walk in our direction.

The rhino, as if on command, came to the road and walked right behind out vehicle! What a way end our Africa Dream Safari!!!

Janet and David C.
Beechhurst, New York
Safari Dates: October 10, 2015 to October 18, 2015

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Traveling to Tanzania this November or December?

We were hoping one of our upcoming safari guests wouldn’t mind taking a laptop in their luggage from the U.S. to Tanzania. Nancy Julius, who just recently returned home after a safari, would like to send a laptop to a staffer at a Camp they stayed at in the Serengeti. Please let us know if you are interested and we will put you in touch with Nancy. Asante Sana!

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