My wife, our 20 year old granddaughter, our 17 year old grandson and I went on a ten day safari to the Serengeti in Tanzania May 19 to May 28, 2016. This was a private safari with just the four of us and Peter, our driver guide. The first three days we spent in the Central Serengeti and stayed at the Serengeti Serena Lodge.
The first day we flew from Arusha to the Central Serengeti Airport and our guide met us for a game drive for the rest of the day. We had a good box lunch and saw lots of animals that first day including elephant, hippo, leopard and cape buffalo for 4 of the big 5. We told the guide that we wanted to spend most of the day on game drives with a box lunch and go to the more remote places.
We spent 8 to 9 hours the next three days on game drives and part of the time rarely saw other people. We left the lodge each day about 7 am after an excellent breakfast and finished the day with an excellent dinner. A highlight of our stay at Serengeti Serena Lodge was a bush dinner the third night. This was an interesting buffet dinner with white table cloth and china and Maasai singers and dancers and a huge bonfire. We were the only people at the bush dinner which was in the bush.
The fourth day we had an all-day game drive to the Western Serengeti to the Mbalageti Tented Lodge. This was our favorite lodge since it was on a hill overlooking the valley in all directions. The staff were extra friendly and helpful and there were less people there than the Serena Lodges since it had fewer cabins. Here we went out the first day with a breakfast picnic at 6 am to see early morning animals including a pride of lions.
We came back for lunch at the lodge and then back out at 4 pm to see the evening animals. The second day we went on a walking safari to the river at midmorning which was not very interesting and then at 4 pm we went for another game drive until 6 pm. During the day we visited with staff and had an excellent lunch.
After the third night, after a good breakfast we had a long game drive to the Southern Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. This was a very large lodge with an excellent view from our rooms of the Ngorongoro Crater. The next day we took picnic breakfast and lunch to spend the day on a game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater. Again we saw lots of animals including 4 rhinos to complete the big 5.
The next day we left after breakfast and went to Lake Manyara National Park where we say elephants and 15 giraffes at one time several monkeys and at least 100 baboons in one location. We also saw lots of beautiful birds. At the end of the day we drove to Arusha to spend the night at the Mount Meru Resort.
Overall the safari was excellent and much better than smaller ones that my wife and I had been on previous in other parts of Africa. We saw the huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra in migration as well as tree climbing lions, leopards and cheetahs. The wide variety of country side was surprising.
Peter our driver-guide was superb with his knowledge of animals, birds and plants. He was able to spot some animals at some distance and then take us to see them up close. He was a very safe and capable driver as well as concerned about our need and what we liked to see.
We would highly recommend the private Africa Dream Safari. The contact with Michael Wishner was excellent as we inquired about the safari and finalized it. The fact that ADS takes care of everything from the visa, all accommodations and meals from arrival to departure is excellent and assures that there are no mistakes.
James and Judy W. and Abby and Daniel A.
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Safari Dates: May 19, 2016 to May 28, 2016
My daughter Emma and I just returned from a safari of a lifetime with Africa Dream Safaris. We could not be happier with what Sharon Lyon helped us to arrange.
Everything was as advertised. We were met by Matteus at the gate at Kilimanjaro Airport and swiftly escorted through the Visa and Customs process and taken to the Mount Meru Hotel. We opted for a layover day in Arusha and given a tour by Matteus and Joseph. This ADS Meet and Greet Team could not have been nicer.
The next day we flew out to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti and met by our guide Emmanuel(Ema). They say a safari guide can make or break one’s experience and we certainly lucked out. He was everything we could ask for: personable, experienced, very knowledgeable, and had a great sense of humor. He quickly realized what kind of an experience we were looking for and made it happen. As you can see with the attached photos he was able to find and then put us very close to some magnificent animals.
We spent the first three nights at Mbalageti Luxury Lodge, the next two at Seronera Sametu Camp, and the last two at Lion’s Paw Camp. They were all great, but the two tented camps (Sametu and Lion’s Paw Camps) were even more special because we happened to be the only guests there those nights so we were treated like Royalty.
I think Emma had some reservations about sleeping in tents prior to the trip but quickly found out this was not camping as either of us had ever known. From the on-demand bucket showers to the hot water bottles in our beds at night, we were pampered. We also ate very well while on our safari. It is amazing how well these chefs do at cooking wonderful meals in these remote locations. The soups were the best. We even had a special cake baked just for us on our last night.
We did not do a lot of the optional tours and visits while on safari because we were there to see the animals. We did however do a Hot Air Balloon ride which was excellent. ADS scheduled it to optimize our game viewing from above. Seeing the sunrise and all those animals from a balloon will forever be in our memories.
ADS quotes Mark Twain: “Life should not be measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.” Thanks to ADS I had three such moments while in Tanzania. The first was when Ema parked us in the middle of the great migration and there were thousands of wildebeests and zebras in all directions. The second was when we first saw the vast expansiveness of the Serengeti Plains dotted with assorted animals spread out between the Kopjes. The third moment that took my breath away was when we first looked down over the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.
We spent years preparing for this trip. You can read the books, look at the pictures, and watch the videos on Africa. But there is no way you can get a feel for what it is truly like. You need to be there yourself to see it, to hear it, and to even smell it. Only then can you get full appreciation. Africa Dream Safaris can make this happen for you.
Derek and Emma F.
Francestown, New Hampshire
Safari Dates: June 1, 2016 to June 10, 2016
We’ve always wanted to go on a safari in Africa, but we were intimidated by the amount of touring companies available. We did our research for months, including speaking with references from various companies and we ultimately decided to choose African Dream Safaris.
Our experience was pleasant from the start. Dawn was a wonderful liaison – friendly, nice, compassionate, and extremely knowledgeable. Still, did we make the right choice? Well let me tell you, everyone we met, starting from our arrival at the airport, had the exact qualities of Dawn! We could not believe how friendly, helpful, and caring the staff were.
Then we met our guide, Russell, the one we’d be spending most of our time with. If I had to use one word: amazing. We were extremely happy with Russell. He was always so attentive to our family’s needs, tailoring each day’s trip to maximize our enjoyment of what the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater had to offer.
Not only did he frequently spot all kinds of wildlife from afar, but he made sure the entire family could view the animals without disturbing or threatening them. He was also extremely knowledgeable about the best angle and lighting for photographs and video. His deep respect for nature and wildlife was exemplary.
Russell and the entire staff of African Dream Safaris exceeded our expectations and were responsible for a fantastic vacation that we will never forget. African Dream Safaris truly made our wishes come true.
Here is a link to our youtube vacation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir_cPM6ttWs
Steve C. and Nhu P.
Walnut Creek, California
Safari Dates: June 14, 2016 to June 24, 2016