Posts From April 2016

A Photo Safari With My Own Private Vehicle

Jambo, my name is Luisa and I just completed my first ever safari to Africa. I could not have done it without the help of Africa Dream Safaris. I was interested in going on a safari but being a single traveler I was nervous about going alone and with just any company.

The main things I was looking for in a safari company was the trip being 100% escorted, all inclusive, my own private safari vehicle and people who could accommodate my specific wants and needs. Africa Dream Safaris surpassed my expectations, even from the very beginning when I requested a quote. Dawn was extremely available and helpful at answering all of my questions.

My biggest concern during the planning stage was that I would be alone in Tanzania, a country I had never been visited before. However, Dawn reassured me she had also been on safari on her own many times and that she never felt threatened. While planning my safari the staff were open and honest about questions and opinions they had on where to stay and what animals I might see in each area.

Upon landing in Tanzania I was wowed by Africa Dream Safaris, not only was my escort there but it took only 15minutes to get my visa and I was on my way through customs. Each person I encountered from ADS had a smiling face and was eager to tell me about their country, traditions and culture. They were also very curious about mine. Like I said before, I was alone on my safari and, although I did have a male guide, I never at any point felt uncomfortable.

Claude was my guide and was very welcoming and knowledgeable. The best part about Claude was, while other guides were sleeping or on their cell phones, Clause had his binoculars out looking at the animals as intently as I was. He was constantly giving me information as to the sex, size, age, feeding habits etc. of each animal. He was just as excited and intrigued by the animals as I was and I found that to be very refreshing. I am sure he has seen these animals thousands of times, but it seemed as if it was his first time seeing each one.

All of the accommodations were amazing and I have no complaints with any of the tented camps or lodges. I stayed at Mount Meru Resort, Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge, Lake Masek Tented Lodge and Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Service at each place was beyond amazing from the wait staff to the room service. Each day I came back to a clean room and a delicious meal.

I had read in the ADS handbook that there were some complaints about the boxed lunches, I am not sure why. Although the food can be redundant, it is very delicious. At almost every place I stayed you got to pick what was going to be in your lunch box the next day.

The animal viewing itself was INCREDIBLE. I knew that I would see animals but I was not expecting to see the wide range of animals I saw, from the big 5, to the birds etc. there are thousands of animals and each animal is a gorgeous piece of nature. It’s breath taking to see the wildlife in their natural habitat. I have included some photos for you to see for yourself.

I wanted to write this testimonial because I know there are lots of companies to choose from and it’s difficult to settle on which would be best for you. My only advice is that if you are looking for a company who offers everything and considers your wants and needs, then ADS is the company for you.

I cannot say enough praises about them. To all the staff at ADS who made this trip possible – thank you for the trip of a lifetime!

Luisa C.
Tacoma, Washington
Safari Dates: April 13, 2016 to April 23, 2016

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Our Photo Safari To Tanzania

My wife and I have been traveling to Africa since 1967 and during the last 24 months we have traveled to Africa 4 times, once to travel the Coptic trail in Ethiopia, and 3 times on Photographic safaris. We travel by ourselves, and arrange trips with the help of someone on the tour operator’s side. We are very familiar with tour operators, from the United States, as well as Africa. We are concerned with the entire journey, including the camps, the food, accommodations, driver/guides, and the operator’s ability to meet our needs. Furthermore, the cost of the trip is something we are very conscious of.

This trip was a photographic safari, and 3 people traveled together, my wife, our South African Wildlife Photographer friend, and myself. The purpose of this trip was to see and photograph the calving of wildebeests, in the Serengeti. The trip was arranged with African Dream Safaris, through our South African friend, and my wife, Myra, and numerous emails occurred. While African Dream Safaris has its World Headquarters in the United States, our communications seemed to always be through the people in Tanzania, and they were always appropriate, helpful, and candid.

The trip was arranged about 12 months prior to leaving, and this was simple, and very well done. The communications from African Dream Safaris were excellent, including the final itinerary, and getting the necessary Tanzanian visa forms, and having them filled out saved us a great deal of time…getting through the immigration melee was really easy…and that was great.

We were met in Arusha upon landing, and driven to Arusha National Park and our first night stay at the Hatari Camp. This accommodation was fine, and we had a nice day, as we continued to get our internal body clock organized. African Dream Safaris had recommended staying in the National Park in contrast to Arusha, and the camp was more than pleasant. We were able to sleep well, travel through the National Park, and then get on a plane that flew us to the Serengeti and the Lake Masek tented camp.

Lake Masek Camp had been recommended and really met our needs. Our driver, who stayed with us the entire journey, drove to the Masek Tent camp from Arusha. In Tanzania, most of the Safari operators have their own vehicles, and your driver stays with you the entire time. The driver is not an employee of the camp site. Our driver-guide was really nice, accommodating, helpful, and was in tune with our need to move our vehicle into different positions in order to get the best photographic shot. And, often we just waited and sat watching the animals, and the driver was fine with this. We had a large amount of photographic gear, which was easily placed into the vehicles, and was readily accessible.

The camps that were recommended and chosen were very good, and the first one in the Serengeti was the Lake Masek tented camp. The accommodation was a large, clean, and nice tent with an outdoor shower. The tent was a short walk to the dinning area, which had indoor and outdoor places to eat. The food, breakfast and dinner primarily, were well done, sufficient in quantity, and very tasty.

Each morning, our breakfast was more than sufficient, and everything was ready so that we could get an early start on the day. This camp was chosen by African Dream Safaris, and was perfect for us. We stayed in camp for four nights, and the time spent in one camp, enabled us to travel around the Serengeti easily. When we traveled great distances, we were able to pack our lunches. Our driver named Francis was friendly, accommodating, helpful, and participated as needed as we decided our itinerary.

After the Serengeti, we traveled to the Ngorongoro Crater, and stayed in the only tented camp within the park, Lion’s Paw Tented Camp. The food was very good, and, despite being the only guests of the camp, our hosts were lovely, and accommodating. This was an excellent choice was made by African Dream Safaris, because, being inside the Park, enabled us to get up early, eat breakfast, and get down into the crater early. This really helped avoid the morning traffic of people coming from various sites outside the crater. We stayed two nights at Lion’s Paw Camp, and then drove to Arusha, stopping in an Iraqw village, and met an elder. We also stopped at Lake Manyara National Park which was lovely.

The trip was made easy, and the information supplied by African Dream Safaris, before we arrived, gave us what you need: contact numbers, items to avoid, the costs, how to tip, and what you should be aware of. The people, who represented the Africa Dream Safaris were friendly, verbal, approachable, professional, knowledgeable, and very helpful. We asked to find out about buying some appropriate African art pieces, and they got is to the Cultural Heritage Gallery in Arusha without problem.

I would without hesitation recommend them as a tour operator, which is knowledgeable, helpful, and their employees like what they are doing. The cost of this trip was more than reasonable, and do not be afraid to compare the trips prices. My wife would travel with them again, without hesitation.

Jerry and Myra D.
Wilson, Wyoming
Safari Dates: February 1, 2016 to February 10, 2016

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We highly recommend using ADS whether you are first time visitors or bush fundies like ourselves.

Myself, a professional wildlife photographer, and my husband, guide book writer for the Bradt guide to Tanzania went on safari in Northern Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris for the third time in March 2016. In total we have visited Tanzania more than a dozen times, but our safaris with A.D.S. never disappoint. This time was no exception.

As before, the vehicle was really comfortable and reliable. There is an onboard fridge with a good supply of water and soft drinks as well as some sweets to keep you going between meals. Binoculars are provided as well. Our driver guide, Michael was good company and was ever patient with our demanding photographer’s ways of keeping on trying to get the best angle and lots of waiting with good sightings.

This time we did a two-week safari in the Serengeti. It is a real privilege to spend a good chunk of time in one of Africa’s best National Parks and we enjoy getting in the rhythm of spending time in the bush. This time, we covered the whole of the Serengeti starting in the Ndutu area in the South. We then made our way north through Central Serengeti, the Western Corridor and the far North Serengeti.

We travelled in March and wildlife is fantastic at this time around the Southern parts, but moving away from that area had it own advantages as we often had the whole lodge and game drive area to ourselves.

As usual, every day in the Serengeti offers something special: a special sighting, a special experience or something unusual…some of these sightings offer a good photo opportunity, some don’t. Here are a few images of our special encounters on this trip:

As we drove into the Serengeti, we came across a jackal feeding on a newly born wildebeest. In March most of the female wildebeests have calves and these are easy pickings for predators.

After dropping their babies in the South of the park in February the wildebeest were now migrating north.

The Serengeti must be THE place for watching lions. Lion kills, lions with cubs suckling or playing, lions in trees and of course the sleeping lions which you can just ignore after two days in the Serengeti as by then they really aren’t even worth stopping for anymore.

We had many great cheetah sightings. Cheetahs hunting and on kills. This time, we didn’t get very lucky with the leopard sightings, but then a few days before our departure we found two big leopard cubs left behind by the mum while she was presumably out hunting. They were a bit shy at first, but as we spend more time with them they became bolder and curious. What a treat photographing this brother and sister pair.

The rocky outcrops in the North (called koppies) are great for photographing klipspringers. We focused a few game drives on them and I’m pleased with the pictures.

A balloon safari is always a highlight. As two balloons went up we had the opportunity of photographing the other balloon itself at sunrise.

The birds are always a treat and I can say that Michael, our guide had a good birding knowledge. We managed to get some good shots of some of the more colourful species like the Bateleur and Fisher’s lovebird.

Lastly, a beautiful giraffe image with the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands in the background and one of the Serengeti’s big tusker elephants.

We’ll be back again and we can highly recommend Africa Dream Safaris to any visitors to Tanzania, whether you are first time visitors to Africa or bush fundies like ourselves.

Thanks again for a great safari – it really was fantastic.

Sincerely,
Philip Briggs and Ariadne Van Zandbergen
Safari Dates: March 11, 2016 to March 25, 2016

Philip Briggs is the author of Bradt Guides to Tanzania, Northern Tanzania Safaris, and East African Wildlife, as well as a dozen other books about Africa. Please visit bradtguides.com for more information. Ariadne Van Zandbergen is a travel and wildlife photographer specializing in Africa with work published in hundreds of books and magazines and has her own photo library. Please visit africaimagelibrary.com for more information.

Philip’s published works include Bradt Guides to Tanzania, Northern Tanzania Safaris, and East African Wildlife, as well as many several other books about Africa. Many loyal fans follow Philip’s travel advice and recommendations very closely when planning their own dream safari vacations. And rightfully so…Philip has traveled extensively in Tanzania for many years and offers an unparalleled perspective from which to judge any African Safari company. So, needless to say we were thrilled when he came back with a glowing review for Africa Dream Safaris!

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Antelopes of the Serengeti

A few weeks ago I posted about some of the more unusual animal inhabitants of the Serengeti entitled The Bizarre, Quirky, Rare and Deadly. This week we will take a look at the Antelopes of the Serengeti. One of the main reasons the Serengeti is commonly regarded as the finest national park in Africa is the incredible diversity of large animals that coexist within the ecosystem. A perfect example of this diversification is seen in the Antelope species. I count 16 different species of antelope that have been seen by our guests over the last several years with 12 of those species being commonly seen on many of our safaris.

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