My sister posted about our recent safari but since I have so many emotions swirling inside I thought about adding my own two cents. Even though we have been back for a couple weeks I am still not quite “Out of Africa”. This is a trip that stays with one long after the journey is over.
An African Safari is not a trip for everyone, in fact our travel group dwindled from eight to four, when we chose Africa. One person said, “Africa? Can’t we just get a 4-wheeler and go to the zoo?”
Choosing Africa was the best travel decision we made, well, second only to choosing ADS as our tour company. When I first mentioned Africa to a friend she put me in touch with her friend’s daughter-in-law who had recently been on Safari. To say she raved about her trip would be an industrial-strength understatement. She provided Dawn Anderson’s name at ADS and that was the first step toward a magical adventure.
Dawn’s knowledge of Tanzania made the trip a breeze to plan, and if her middle name is not Patience it should be, given how deftly she fielded our (well, actually my sister’s) many questions. Although we went toward the end of the “wet” season we only had rain two evenings and a slight shower one day. The greenery and wild flowers this time of year were stunning.
To see as many animals as we did at close range was jaw dropping. With Claude guiding our way each day was more spectacular than the previous day. We saw a lot, we learned a lot and would love to return.
Incidentally, my husband may have set a Guinness book record for oldest person to go on safari at 3 months shy of his 89th birthday! The staff at each camp was especially attentive, watching over “Babu” to make sure he was okay. Okay he was…Babu loved the trip!
Barbara and Tony P.
Red Bluff, CA
Safari dates: May 18-27, 2015
Highlight of the day was seeing a mother cheetah and her five cubs. Since not everyone is fortunate enough to see even one cheetah on safari, it was quite a treat to see them – and to see them so close was added bonus.
Our guests watch as a cheetah crosses in front of their safari vehicle with her 5 cubs.
We are so impressed with our guide’s ability to accurately determine where some of these animals should be, taking us to the right spot, and then locating them. Like today. We were driving along and suddenly he turned around and said, “I think there is a cheetah in the grass over here today.” We drove a little bit and saw another safari vehicle parked at the edge of a field, and our driver took us to another side of the same field, and directed our attention to the top of a termite mound near the center of the field.
The cheetah was sitting on top of the mound. We took out binoculars and watched a bit, and then David (guide) said, “This is a mother, and she has cubs. See? See the cubs?” I had to really ‘tune up’ the binoculars to see even one of the cubs, as they were so tiny and we were so far away. Then momma cheetah stood up, and we began to see tiny little tails wagging around near her feet.
Next thing we know, David says, “Hold on!” and he started the vehicle, moving us around to another side of the field, parking just in the spot where momma cheetah was leading her family. Thus, we were in the ideal spot to watch them cross the road right in front of us.
Bob and Mary S.
Safari Dates: July 9, 2015 to July 20, 2015
In the last few years several of our friends have came back from Africa with glowing reports so we expected to be impressed. Well this trip was so far over the top that we will always consider it the best trip of our lifetime.
I am a businessman so during the trip I observed why we were so impressed and why this trip was ‘above category’. Here is what I observed. First since this was a custom trip you allowed us to pick the number of days we wanted to stay (11) and which camp we wanted to stay in at each stop. Your write ups of the camps were perfect and we stayed in the most amazing places.
Second, the guides were amazing. They tried to please 24 hours per day and succeeded all 11 days. Their eyes could spot game a half mile away (we had a range finder) and cats and birds in trees that no normal eyes could identify. After a few days of amazing sights we started to think ‘what more can we see’.
There was always more, like the time we had 6 giraffes running beside the jeep, 4 adults and 2 babies, for about half a mile or when the elephants came and starred in the windshield, or we sat 30 feet from a cheetah and her 4 cubs eating a kill, or when we spotted the most beautiful birds anyone could imagine.
A friend who had been on a different safari told me he would like to go back to see the birds sometime. They didn’t stop for many. On our trip we told the guide we wanted to see the birds as well as the game. I identified 162, new for me, largely with the help of our guide who spotted most of them first and named and spelled the species. I am an average bird watcher with well over 1000 on my life list.
Our guide, David, made this trip. Stopping to see and photograph the birds even impressed those in the jeep who had previously no interest in birds. That added a dimension to the trip that allowed us to see something different when no game was in sight.
Digging deeper into why the trip was so terrific I quizzed David on his back ground. He had been a guide for another outfitter before you hired him for Africa Dream. You trained him, an experienced guide, for a year before he could guide for you. New places to go, new way to cater to your customers, etc.
We observed disinterested guides sitting in other jeeps while their customers looked at the game. Our guides acted as interested as we were and told in depth details about why and how the wild life acted as they did and a history of the area. Your guides have to report at the end of each trip where they went and what they see and even take pictures for you. This is somehow recorded in your data base in the states so you know where the animals will be year to year based on the calendar, and arrange the tour route accordingly.
From being greeted at the airport with a ‘present to the birthday boy’ to receiving a birthday cake in our room upon arrival, then having the dining staff perform a Africa birthday dance this trip was one of a lifetime to the last day where we spotted 7 new birds and monkeys. Tell anyone who needs a reference to call me day or night. The trip was that good.
Oh one final note. We had 4 in each jeep which allowed one person on each of your 4 rows allowing everyone to see and take photo’s from each side. Many of the budget operators had 6 and 7. And you should have told us to stay one more day. Lake Masek tent camp lodge was our favorite.
Willis & Liz G.
Safari Dates: May 15, 2015 to May 26, 2015