Tag: February

We Were So Happy We Opted For A Private Safari!

My husband John and I have been home barely two weeks and already we have shared with innumerable people our experiences and photos from what can only be described as a trip of a lifetime. After much research (on my husband’s part) we decided on Africa Dream Safari. One selling point for us was the concept of a private, custom safari. After seeing crowded (sometimes with 6 or 8 passengers) vehicles during some game drives we were so happy we opted for a private safari.

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We Had Lions Roar Right Outside Our Tent!

We have just returned from a fabulous trip to Tanzania. It was a once in a lifetime trip for us. Special thanks to Dawn who patiently answered all our many questions over the past year.

Our driver guide Patrick was great! He found all the animals he knew we wanted to see including the black rhino (we saw four in the same day), and he was a wealth of knowledge about all the animals.

We stayed in three camps (Seronera Sametu Camp, Lake Masek Tented Lodge and Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Camp), each one very unique and special. Sametu Camp may have been the most memorable as we had a lion who roared a couple of times during the night right outside our tent!

The staff at each camp was very welcoming and congenial, and the food was great as well. We went a day early in order to visit The School of St. Jude as well as to rest up before our Safari began. The children at the school were delightful.

Judi and Larry H.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Safari Dates: February 16, 2017 to February 23, 2017

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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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Guide Report – Spectacular Game Viewing

Greetings from Arusha, Tanzania. I have just finished my most recent safari with three guests William, Edward and Ed who are from Pesacola Florida, USA. While in the bush (January 26th to February 3rd) we had a wonderful time together with some spectacular wildlife viewing especially for the predators including lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Here are my three guests photographing hippos in the Central Serengeti.

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Our Goal Was To Photograph The Big Cats Of The Serengeti

This was our first African safari to Tanzania and we are already planning to return. It is impossible to put into words what this trip meant to us. What an incredible privilege we felt to share time with an amazing array of animals. The moment we stepped off the short flight from Arusha to the Central Serengeti, herds of wildebeest and zebra surrounded us as they joined the great migration.

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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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We Recommend ADS To Anyone Wanting A High Quality PRIVATE Safari.

We want to thank Africa Dream Safari (ADS) for a most wonderful lifetime experience. From the moment we got off the plane in the Central Serengeti we were seeing all kinds of animals. Right when we thought we had seen it all, the next day brought a new and exciting experience and each day was a new adventure. It was so wonderful to see all the animals in their natural habitat on our game drives. They were so close you could almost touch them!

Russell, our guide and driver was extremely well educated and experienced. Our Land Cruiser was very comfortable and Russell drove cautiously at all times. Russell provided in depth details of everything we saw, from the big 5, to reptiles, to insects, birds and so much more. He took the time to answer all of our never ending questions. We learned so much in such a short period of time.

We were treated like royalty everywhere we stayed and we were well taken care of from the moment we got off the plane to the moment we boarded our plane home. The accommodations were so fantastic – really over the top – and the food was fantastic. Our safety was a priority from all staff we encountered.

Tanzanians are very kind and wonderful. ADS is extremely professional and provided us with the highest quality experience not only on the Safari but in all the preplanning that went into our trip. We both rate ADS a 10 out of 10 and recommend ADS to anyone wanting to experience a high quality personal safari.

Cynthia and Cary N.
Seattle, Washington
Safari Dates: March 26, 2015 to April 4, 2015

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The Cheetah Jumped On The Hood Of Our Vehicle!

Going on safari was on my wish list and I discussed partaking in this type of trip with a friend who wanted to see the animal migration in Africa. Through research she discovered African Dream Safaris and suggested we use them.

From my initial encounter with Dawn Anderson through the detailed planning, thought the safari and follow up I have been delighted that we selected African Dream Safaris for this adventure. The treatment of the planning through execution of this trip has been of the highest professional and warm quality of any experience of my life.

We planned the trip a year before. I never had planned a trip so far in advance. It was a joy to receive my packet with a t-shirt, safari hat, map and a book describing the trip and any details that we would need to address to make this trip safe, exciting and successful.

There are so many details to consider on this type of adventure from travel logistics, to health concerns, to accommodation choices, to what to bring and what to expect. Everything was covered with wonderful support by Dawn Anderson and Cathy King.

Staying 24 hours in Amsterdam while traveling each direction made the travel much easier.

We were met at the airport in Kilimanjaro immediately and guided through customs efficiently. Our greeter and driver were wonderful. The African Tulip was a great boutique hotel that welcomed us to Africa. We happily stayed 2 nights to help us through jetlag. Our flight to the Serengeti was smooth and I was delighted to meet our guide Russell Thomas Temu.

I loved Russell from the moment that I met him. He was smiling, confident and accommodating. I never imagined that the safari adventure could be as breathtaking and educational as it was. Russell’s wealth of knowledge enabled me to understand how nature all works to continue the cycles of land, insects, animals, etc. His joy of discovery was obvious. Even though he’s a seasoned guide, Russell brings a passion and delight in seeing and sharing the animals and nature at all times. I felt honored to spend the safari time learning from Russell and sharing the excitement each day of our discoveries. It was truly an honor to have this time with him.

My best day was when we toured from Lake Masek. We saw a pregnant cheetah and there were about 5 other vehicles around. Russell saw the cheetah making a move and suggested that we sit down and get quiet. Sure enough, she jumped on the hood of our vehicle and remained visiting with us for quite awhile. Russell’s knowledge and vision to see the animals was superb.

The accommodations at every place we stayed were terrific. I especially loved the tenting camps that placed us in the middle of the animals. Getting into bed with a hot water bottle was such a special touch. The food and service was fabulous at every place we stayed. I loved hearing the lions roar all night and then seeing them in the morning.

I’ve fallen in love with my African experience and love to return. I thank African Dream Safaris for all of the ways they made this journey so inspiring, safe, exciting and fun.

Thanks again,

Shanti G.
Delray Beach, Florida
Safari Dates: February 24, 2015 to March 8, 2015

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Tanzanian Splendor!

After a trip to South Africa 2 years ago, I knew I had to return to Africa to experience the wonders of the Serengeti. My search for a safari company ended when, at the suggestion of a friend, I discovered ADS. One phone conversation with Dawn Anderson convinced me that at last I had found the company that would make my dream come true!

During the year that passed before my departure for Tanzania, Dawn proved an invaluable source of assistance and was a delight to work with. With her wealth of knowledge and insightful suggestions, we mapped out my trip from beginning to end. She has the patience of a saint, a delightful sense of humor, and went above and beyond the norm to answer my endless questions and make sure I was well prepared for my journey. I was ready to travel by myself, but much to my delight, my two friends, Seena and Shanti, decided to join me on this great adventure once they learned of the fabulous itinerary Dawn and I had put together.

To say that ADS exceeded our expectations every step of the way is putting it mildly! From the moment we landed in Arusha and were greeted by Matias and Timan, we knew we were in good hands. Then it was on to the Serengeti where we met our guide, Russell, who quickly became our teacher, protector and friend for the duration of our safari. His enthusiasm was infectious, his patience and kindness unsurpassed, and his knowledge of the land, its animals, birds, plants, and the Tanzanian people was amazing! We were repeatedly astounded by his ability to spot not only game, but such tiny insects as safari ants, identify birds by their sounds, and predict animals’ movements. And he seemed to anticipate our every need!

We stayed at the tented camps Seronera Sametu, Lake Masek, and Lion’s Paw. In each camp we found the staff to be wonderful, friendly and helpful in every way, accommodations were comfortable, and food was great! Our last stop was at beautiful Gibb’s Farm, where we found luxurious cottages to be our accommodations, sumptuous food, and again, a delightful staff who worked hard to make sure our stay was nothing short of divine!

A few of my favorite moments:

-The pregnant cheetah who hung out on the hood of our vehicle for a long while, periodically peering in the windshield at Russell. He became our “cheetah man” forever after and we dubbed ourselves the “cheetah girls”!

-Lying in our comfy beds at night, surrounded by mosquito netting & warmed by hot water bottles, listening to the noises of the animals outside our tents…lions, hyenas, zebra and wildebeest making their presence known.

-Wake up calls featuring freshly brewed coffee and hot milk brought to our tents.

-Watching the pride of lions for 2 hours who were within sight of our tents at Seronera Sametu.

-Seeing so many mama animals and their babies…they were everywhere!

-The sundowner campfire and sunset at Lion’s Paw camp.

-Visiting the Masai boma.

-My visit to the F.A.M.E. facilities in Karatu.

-The morning spent with the Hadza people (bushmen). A rare treat that seemed like it came right out of National Geographic!

My experiences went way beyond seeing the breathtakingly beautiful land, wonderful animals, plants, and birds of the Serengeti, Ngorongora crater and conservation area, and encountering the people who reside in glorious yet at times harsh settings. I truly could see the “circle of life” playing out right before my eyes as I took in all this incredible land has to offer. The wonders of Tanzania and its people will remain in my heart forever, my life changed in indescribable ways by this journey. I shall be forever grateful…and I shall return.

Asante sana to all the people at ADS…each of you have touched my life and made my dream come true!

Chere K.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Safari Dates: February 24, 2015 to March 8, 2015

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Our 5th Safari To Tanzania!

Asante sana ADS!! – this was our Best trip yet!! And that is not an easy feat considering this was our fifth ADS safari. We have travelled with our daughter as a family three times, and this was the second time we have brought a group. Last time, a group of photographers, and this time a group of friends after a Habitat For Humanity Build in Ethiopia.

From our middle of the night airport meet & greet/visa assistance, to the midnight shuttle back to the airport ten days later, the ADS staff looked after everything. Africa Dream Safari’s did their absolute best to ensure we had an amazing and hassle free experience, with emphasis on Amazing!

First a Thank-you to Michael for your help in putting together an itinerary that was designed to provide us access to the migration, the Big Five, and a huge variety of other birds and animals – it did not disappoint.

We were a group of ten, eight who were first-timers to Tanzania, and we had two private safari vehicles. Our ADS driver guides, Anglebert & David were THE BEST! They worked with us to plan the each day, suggesting areas they felt would be best, given the rain, and migration situation. They always listened to our feedback, and as we have come to expect from ADS staff, were always willing and enthusiastic about early morning game drives. Anglebert and David were really outstanding, and treated us to long days, off the beaten path drives, and loads of game viewing. There were days we hardly saw another vehicle, and could enjoy the view and spend as much time as we liked with the animals without interruption.

Everyone in the group commented at some point about the game spotting skill demonstrated by the drivers. How do they manage to see things from so far away? How can they tell a leopard tail from a tree branch from 500 yards away? How can they actually know the names of all those birds? Always pleasant, endlessly answering our questions about the animals, birds and the plants, and willing to share their books on each, Anglebert and David are true professionals. They kept us safe, their knowledge of animal behavior not only found us the game, but would often put us in its path – so the animals walked right up to us. Anglebert, an accomplished photographer himself, would position our vehicle just right for the light and the best angle, so even the smallest point and shoot cameras got terrific shots.

It is absolutely true that a good driver-guide can absolutely change your safari experience. We have traveled with eight different ADS drivers, and have always been impressed at the terrific job they do. The company standards for hiring are obvious in the experience and education of the staff – The bonus you get as an ADS customer is in the passion, the work ethic, and the desire the guides bring with them. They are trained, educated, specialists who are committed to making your safari experience excellent in every way.

The highlight of this trip for us, was Anglebert managing to get us in front of a pack of more than 20 wild dogs. In five trips, this was the first time we have seen them, and they did not disappoint. (You might be surprised how many photographs can be taken in an hour) It was a thrill to even see the dogs, endangered and elusive, and then to have them hang around and cooperate for so long…Wow!

On previous trips we have tried almost everything as far as lodging goes, and have decided we like the tented camp experience best. We were treated to excellent food, great staff, and daily hot showers at four different camps this trip. The hot water bottles tucked into the beds at night and coffee delivered with wake up calls were big hits, much like the popcorn and campfire’s under the stars. But more importantly, we were in terrific locations for the best game viewing every day.

The camp staff were terrific, and made us a hot breakfast at 5:30 AM, and got our box lunches ready so we could head out each day before dawn. In the evenings, they were pleasant & willing to provide hot water for showers before dinner, regardless how late we turned up back at camp – which was mostly after dark.

Every time we travel with ADS, we are impressed with the exceptional service we encounter in the camps along the way. This trip a standout was Gilbert from Ndutu Woodlands Camp – who captivated our group by sharing personal stories around the campfire, of his life and childhood growing up as a Maasai.

This was our 5th trip to Tanzania, and no matter how many times you go, you cannot escape the excitement, or how addictive it can be. It is difficult to explain the overall experience to anyone who hasn’t done it, other than just to say – “YES!! JUST DO IT!!” Once you do, you will face the same challenges our group did after this trip…

Trying to explain to someone that you saw more than 50 lions before lunch that day, or that 17 of them were eating a zebra right beside your vehicle.

Or how totally cool it is to watch a young cheetah playfully race in circles around his mom, then climb a tree stump and pose perfectly for photo’s in the warm golden light of sunrise.

Trying to explain the smile that comes to your face as you watch a couple of little lion cubs chew on their mom’s tail & then tumble around playing tag while the sun rises behind them. (This is why you get up and get out before the sun comes up!)

Or how do you describe what it’s like to see a herd of more than 200 elephants on the move, or how fast your heart is beating as you try to sit quietly while they surround your vehicle, because your driver has managed to park you right where they end up crossing the road.

And how do you explain sitting around a campfire at night and looking up at the sky so full of stars, and so bright they don’t even look real.

All I can really say is – If you are even thinking about going to Tanzania, you cannot do better than to go with Africa Dream Safari’s, and go now – It will change your life! As it has our family’s’. Thank you Michael and all the ADS staff from the bottom of our hearts.

Cheryl and Greg Stewart
Regina, Canada
February 12, 2015 to February 20, 2015

Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint

Serengeti Cheetah

Zebra with weaver birds

Lion cubs under our vehicle

Elephant Viewing – Tarangire National Park

Elephant Viewing – Ngorongoro Crater

Leopard

African Wild Dog

Lions with zebra kill

Lioness with cubs

Our group in the Serengeti

Maasai Boma Dance

Lioness

Cheetah

Spotted Hyena

Wild Dog

Golden Jackal

Black Backed Jackal

Bat eared Fox

Banded Mongoose

Dwarf Mongoose

Elephant

Cape buffalo

Black rhino

Masai giraffe

Eland antelope

Thomson’s gazelle

Steinbok antelope

Dik-dik antelope

Martial Eagle

Secretary Bird

Kori Bustard

African Crowned Crane

Lappet Faced Vulture

Lilac Breasted Roller

European Roller

Superb Starling

Red Billed Hornbill

Green Bee-Eater

Red-and-yellow barbet

Long-tailed Widowbird

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