My husband and I recently returned from a trip with Africa Dream Safaris (ADS) and wanted to share the following information with anyone considering utilizing ADS’ services.
We have just recently returned from our safari to Tanzania which was arranged by African Dream Safaris. After researching many private safari operators we selected ADS and this was the best travel decision we have ever made. From the time our plane landed in Kilimanjaro until our departure eleven days later everything was handled in a professional, friendly manner by competent ADS personnel.
I just returned from an incredible 7 day Tanzanian safari experience, and once again I have ADS to thank for it! I should begin by saying that I have been on safari with ADS 4 times in the past, and have had some pretty amazing experiences. Each time I have gone in the past, I have traveled with various groups of friends, most of whom had never been on safari before we went together, so getting to see the wonders of Africa fresh and new each time through their eyes was always so enlightening, creating experiences I will most certainly remember for a life time.
I’ve had lots of incredible wildlife encounters over the years having been fortunate enough to conduct dozens of safaris in the Serengeti. However, having cheetahs jump on my vehicle was one specific sighting that had always alluded me until last week on a recent trip to the Serengeti.
This is my sixth safari, and my second with Africa Dream Safaris. I have taken enough safaris to compare different outfitters, and I go with ADS from now on for a number of reasons. First of all is the service, from both Sharon in the U.S. as well as the team in Arusha. On this particular safari, we had a problem at one of our locations, and our guide immediately contacted the office in Arusha who made things right. Which is what I’ve come to expect from ADS.
It’s hard to believe but we just finished our fifth safari with Africa Dream Safaris. We keep heading back to Africa because of the warmth of the people and the new experiences we always receive from nature. We keep going back with ADS because their service is excellent. We know that there will never be a problem from the minute we land at the airport to the time we are dropped back off at the airport. This trip to Africa included a climb up Kilimanjaro and ADS was most helpful in arranging transportation associated with the climb.
This was the only trip where the experience exceeded our expectations. And we are pretty seasoned travelers. Russell was an exceptional guide. I called him the animal whisperer. He must have eyes in the back of his head! His sense of humor was greatly appreciated and his patience with novice African travelers was great.
I kept calling this magnificent cape buffalo (see photo above) a water buffalo, and he patiently corrected me every time. His sense of humor fit into our group like a glove. Also, his knowledge of the animals, birds, and plants was like having Wikipedia in our land cruiser. I must acknowledge his driving skills and familiarity of the area, which was vast! To be able to drive that distance on those roads without “GPS” was amazing. Having just one guide was the key to our wonderful experience.
ADS does an excellent job at delivering a “trip of a lifetime”! This had been on my bucket list for a time and when by brother Eric also wanted to experience Africa at its best-we jumped at the opportunity to see this magnificent piece of the planet.
A private safari is the only way to go! We would do this again in a heartbeat with the very same people!
Mary and Roger S.
Safari Dates: September 10, 2016 to September 18, 2016
Our trip with Africa Dream Safaris was truly a once in a lifetime experience that exceed all of our expectations. Having been recommended by friends, we had heard great things about ADS, but were not aware of just how great of a decision we had made. The private experience of ADS is one that cannot be substituted by a group safari, or any other company.
From the get-go, ADS made sure the trip was tailored to our liking, from the number of days to the exact locations we would visit. Throughout the trip, our guide would modify the number of hours we spent out every day, and would search for things we preferred to see. This is something that you would not be able to receive with other companies that give safaris in a group fashion.
Furthermore, our guide, Willy, and every staff member we encountered throughout our journey was extremely friendly and welcoming. Willy would answer our many questions, whether regarding the migration patterns of wildebeests or the typical size of a group of elephants. Willy was not just a passive guide, but rather was as excited as we were to encounter a lion hunting a warthog, and would wait for hours as we watched a giraffe give birth. He was invested in finding as many animals and rare sightings as possible, and worked extremely hard to make sure we had the best experience possible.
ADS ensured that every penny of our trip was worthwhile, and if we were to do it again, we would choose ADS one hundred times over!”
Thanks again for an amazing experience. We look forward to sharing our stories with friends and family and recommending ADS to any friends interested in a safari experience.
San Jose, California
Safari Dates: August 16, 2016 to August 23, 2016
From the moment we stepped off the plane in Kilimanjaro and walked across the tarmac to the airport, we knew we had made the right choice in Africa Dream Safaris.
We were met immediately, whisked through the immigration process and into our waiting vehicle. We soon arrived at our hotel where we rested for the evening in anticipation of our flight across the Serengeti the next morning.
Our guide and driver, Claude, was waiting for us when our bush plane touched down the next morning and then the adventure really began. Within five minutes of leaving the airstrip, we were stopped on a bridge watching countless numbers of hippos. We knew we were in for a special trip.
We read all the reviews, guidebooks, and “Weekly Updates from Tanzania” for months in anticipation of this bucket list trip. Each review seemed to be even better than the one before. Honestly, we hoped that they were all true and not exaggerated! We can say, they were NOT exaggerations.
Beginning with those hippos in the river by the airstrip, we kept a running list of the animals we saw. Before the day was over and we had been delivered to our first lodge, we had seen 15 different animals…and four of the Big Five. Claude was very knowledgeable about all the animals and their behaviors. We learned so much! And how he spotted the sleeping lions on the kopjes and the tiniest of birds will always be a mystery. As in all the other reviews, we felt very lucky to have such a great guide.
When we told friends about our trip, they all asked about the accommodations. The word “tent” is used very loosely in the Serengeti. Our lodges were the utmost in beauty and comfort. Our only regret is that the game drives were so much fun, we didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy all the amenities. Just not enough hours in the day. But it was sure nice to come back to the warm welcome, warm washcloths to wash off the Serengeti make-up, and cool fruit drinks each evening. And the meals were all wonderful, especially our “bush dinner” at the Migration Camp.
But the stars of the trip were the animals, of course. Some of the highlights were two kills – one by a cheetah and another by a hyena. Very amazing. We saw lions doing a mating dance (and actually mating!), a mother cheetah with her two cubs, several leopards, countless elephants, including two juveniles “wrestling”, thousands of zebras, wildebeests and cape buffalo. A surprise was the number of babies: a two week old giraffe with his umbilical cord still attached, a tiny elephant about two months old, many zebra, antelope and buffalo babies, lots of lion cubs, baby ostriches and really cute tiny baby warthogs to mention only a few. Oh, and a two week old baby baboon that we could have spent hours watching!
We have already recommended this trip to many friends, and ADS in particular. We came home with nearly 4,000 pictures (pay close attention to the guidebook on advice about cameras and lenses) and are trying to cull them down to a reasonable number for a slide show. Next time, we would like to go back during the wet season to see the beautiful Serengeti when it is green.
Thank you, Claude and Africa Dream Safaris for making our bucket list trip a success!
Louann and Jim D.
Safari Dates: September 18, 2016 to September 28, 2016
Africa Dreams Safari was nothing short of AMAZING! This was the best trip I have ever been on. After traveling all across Europe, Asia, Australia, and Mexico, Africa stole my heart. Africa Dreams surpassed my expectations with everything they provided. The amenities, staff, transportation, and food!
The minute we landed in Kilimanjaro we were greeted by their amazing staff. They were with us every step of the way. The staff was very professional, friendly, and educated. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the staff and learning about their way of life.
Once I got to the Serengeti, I was overwhelmed with how many animals were around the area. Our small plane had to actually fly close to the landing strip to move some of the animals off the area so we could land safely. Once landing, I was once again greeted by Africa Dreams amazing staff and my tour guide Michael.
Michael was very welcoming and did everything to make sure I was comfortable and enjoying myself. The next week was spent with Micheal and viewing the animals in their natural habitat. Michael knew exactly where to go and I saw everything!!! Lions, crocodiles, Black Rhino, Giraffes, Cheetahs, and Hippos to name a few. I learned so much from Michael as he has been a tour guide in the Serengeti for over 18 years!
This is definitely a once in a life time experience. I loved every minute of this trip. The hotels and campsites were great as well. The amenities made me feel right at home and everyone was so welcoming. If you are looking for an amazing Africa Tour, Africa Dreams Safari’s are the ones to book with. I promise you will not be disappointed. I can’t wait to go back!
Debbie and Colin G.
San Diego, California
Safari Dates: October 10, 2016 to October 20, 2016
This is our second trip to Tanzania with African Dream Safaris in the last 3 years. There is no other company I would go on a safari with than ADS. Having the proper guide is the most important aspect that makes the difference between having a good safari experience and having a great safari experience.
Once again, we had a great safari experience due to our ADS guide. The ADS guides are superior to any other guides in their local knowledge and desire to make their clients have a “once in a lifetime” experience. Our ADS guide continuously put us in the proper position to maximize our animal viewing opportunities. Isn’t that why we go on a safari?
San Juan Capistrano, California
Safari Dates: September 21, 2016 to October 2, 2016
For my 50th birthday I decided to check off the one item on my bucket list, an African Safari. After much research I decided on Africa Dream Safaris. The best decision I could have made. From my initial contact with Dawn to the final farewell with Mateas we were always safe and very well taken care of. Dawn’s professionalism is second to none. Even when we decided to add two more people at the last minute it was not a problem, at least on our end.
The wildlife in Tanzania is absolutely breathtaking but the wonderful team at ADS really created the unforgettable trip. Michael helped us plan an amazing adventure and from the day we landed until the day we unfortunately had to depart we were in incredible hands. Mathias and Joseph met us at the airport and since we had an extra day we spent an afternoon with Joseph experiencing his personal insider tour of Arusha.
In the bush Ellison was our guide and friend. He bonded with our kids, was fabulous at finding animals, had an encyclopedic knowledge of the plants, animals and geography, and truly exuded a personal passion for the Serengeti. He also took us to places where we were the only people for miles around – just us, the unending plain, and the cheetahs.
There’s no way to describe having lunch surrounded by thousands upon thousands of migrating wildebeest. The only way to go is a private ADS safari and a guide like Ellison made for a truly memorable, once in a lifetime adventure.
This was also a wonderful family adventure. Our kids are 12 and 14 which are perfect ages to experience Tanzania. Cell phones were put away (and wifi access isn’t great) and replaced by cameras. Our family took 8,000 pictures!, most of which were taken by our kids.
The lodges were all terrific and unique – like the Mbalageti Lodge where the electricity turns off in the evening and your tented room is lit by candles. Or the family tent at Seronera Sametu Camp where you hear the sounds of nearby lions at night. Or having an elephant walk by your balcony when you’re having lunch at Ngorongoro.
Each lodge was unique and each new lodge became our kids’ favorite. One of the most memorable experiences for our kids was the visit to a Masai village where the cultural contrast really resonated (especially when they saw children their age tending herds alongside the roads).
Our trip was at the end of June, when the migration was in full swing in the west Serengeti and most of the baby animals are around 4 months old. We saw baby cheetahs, lions, hyenas, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, gazelle, elephants…and every day, when we thought we couldn’t possibly have a new experience, we discovered something incredible and unexpected.
Thank you ADS!!!
The West Family
San Francisco, California
Safari Dates: June 22, 2016 to July 3, 2016
We came home some weeks ago from the most amazing trip we have ever made. Elizabeth and I went to The Serengeti in Tanzania, and had a wonderful safari. We can only describe it as awesome, amazing, unforgettable! It was certainly the trip of our life!
The entire trip was meticulously planned and handled by Africa Dream Safaris team. Dawn in the US and the staff in Tanzania managed our trip with utmost knowledge as well as friendliness. I was surprised to see that a trip as complex as this was, had not one unexpected surprise or something out of schedule. Every single thing was carefully orchestrated even in our end of the things.
We were so well prepared with all their suggestions! Specially the day bag and the photography! I would recommend ADS change the name of their little handbook to: “Everything you need to know about A PERFECT SAFARI.”
From the moment we landed on the Grumeti airstrip we saw small groups of wildebeest and zebras as well as giraffes. Our guide was waiting for us and our vehicle was ready with cushions on the seats, binoculars for each one of us and cold bottles of water and sodas as well as snacks. Immediately after loading our bags, we went game driving and not even a mile from the strip we ran into the first of many prides of lions we would see throughout the safari.
I have to mention our guide David. His knowledge on tracking, allowed us sightings of animals as elusive as the leopard, and also a tree where 7 lions had climbed in search of cooler breeze. He has an eagle eye spotting far away animals. Also his experience in photography allowed us to get some very good pictures, and he would position the vehicle so we could get better lighting and view of our subjects.
The camps were fantastic. Much more than we had expected. Tents, facilities, food and the attentiveness of the staff was unbelievable. Every time we came back after a game drive they were waiting for us with warm wet towels to wipe our faces and cups of cold juice! We have traveled a lot and the courtesy and service in these camps is comparable or better than a five-star hotel.
I want to mention specially the staff of the Seronera Sametu camp. JJ was always making sure we had the best experience possible and in our first night during the campfire we admired the most beautiful sky, the stars were countless and so bright. We could see the Milky way and so many other constellations. And we watched the most fabulous red full moon rising in the horizon. It was a splendid view.
Getting up early was also a magic experience. Watching the moon and the rising sun in opposite sides of the sky, finding the lions that had just made a kill moving slowly to rest by the edge of the road and the energetic cubs playing around with each other was also fantastic.
In those early hours we witnessed several hyenas moving their cubs to another den. And in another early morning we were elated when our guide followed a group of lions hunting zebras, and yet another early day we watched a family of hyenas hunting and devouring in a fast minute a young wildebeest.
We had so many wonderful sightings, elephants, 2 rhinos some 70 lions and countless numbers of wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, Topi, Impala, Hart beast, Grant gazelle, Thompson gazelle, dik dik, hyrax, hippos, baboons and crocodiles among others.
There were many elephants moving lazily thru the savanna and some young elephants were playing in the mud. We were surprised by an adolescent male who got behind the vehicle and trumpeting stomped on the ground and moved his ears as giant fans trying to impress us with his mock fierceness, and I have to confess he did!!
We saw many large groups of wildebeest and zebra following their migration instincts and the rain. They would stop for a short break and then resume their journey north. It was amazing to see so many of them in every corner of the Serengeti, all going in the same direction.
In our way to the Ngorongoro Crater we stopped at a Masai village and had a unique experience visiting their villa. They were very friendly and welcomed us with a dance and Elizabeth had a blast dancing with them. We learned some of their customs and showed us the interior of a hut and we visited the school for the youngest children.
The Ngorongoro crater view from the rim was spectacular. We got to see herds of buffalo, zebras and wildebeest. We couldn’t wait to get down there to explore. As we drove down the winding road we came to a fresh water lake surrounded by green reeds. Some hippos were there, floating in the water. We reached the end of the lake and were allowed to exit the vehicle to stretch our legs and use the facilities that are there.
The next part of our safari took us right across the dry center of the crater where we found herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra, along with lots of birds and some hyena. In the distance behind the wildebeest we could see the shimmering surface of Lake Magadi filled with lines of pink. As we got closer we could see that those pink lines were hundreds of flamingos. It was a beautiful sight. As we got closer to the lake we could see a lion relaxing by the shore.
As we were watching a herd of buffalo in the distance we could hear our guide in the front seat getting excited. He spotted a Black Rhino in the distance. We couldn’t see it at first and had to look through our binoculars. It was mixed with some buffalo. We saw our first rhino, and our guide mentioned we had just seen the Big 5. We couldn’t take our eyes off of the huge, majestic, massive figure walking along the other side of the road, slowly coming closer into view. As the buffalo left, the rhino started moving slowly towards our vehicle and he crossed the road right in front of us. We were ecstatic!
That night we stayed on Lion’s Paw camp located inside the Ngorongoro Crater park gate. Next morning, we left after breakfast and we were the first vehicle in the Crater at dawn. We had almost immediate access to the wild animals that live on the Crater floor below. The rim of the Crater was completely immersed in fog that day. Quite beautiful sight.
We were so lucky in our second drive in the Crater, that we saw another rhino. This one was further away but we took some good pictures. We noticed the animals were far fewer as compared to the Serengeti plains, but they are not as skittish which is good to see them close up.
As we drove up the dirt road leading out of Ngorongoro Crater and took the road to Arusha, we looked back at what we had experienced for the last 10 days. The Serengeti and Ngorongoro are special and unique. I’m pleased to see them so well taken care of and protected. These two places in Tanzania are very effectively guarded against poaching, making these animals some of the safest in Africa. We hope that this great conservation effort continues forever, because these amazing places need to be protected for future generations.
We will be back and of course we will do it with Africa Dream Safaris!
Martha D. and Elizabeth H.
Safari Dates: May 18, 2016 to May 29, 2016