Tag: Tennessee

The Totality Of Tanzania…The Country, Its People And The Wildlife Is Truly Special

Our first ADS safari was in April of 2014 at the end of the green season. Almost immediately Africa was in my blood and I knew I would have to make a return visit within a few years. So we did…in August of 2017, during the dry season. Imagine my surprise upon landing at Kilimanjaro Airport to be greeted once again by Matthias, who gave me a big hug and said “welcome back, Sue!”

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I Stand In Quiet Awe…

For anyone thinking about planning to take a similar trip, I would be doing you a injustice if I did not recommend African Dream Safari as your tour company and Ally as your guide. From the very first contact with Dawn it has been an amazing process and a great company to work with. I can’t imagine having experienced this with anyone else.

If you would like to read my day-by-day safari journal, you can access it here on this link: http://africanadventuresofpeepandpickles.com/

I have fallen in love with Africa all over again. Now, not just the animals, but the culture, the people…everything! I WILL go back one day. I will end with this quote:

“But when, fifty years from now, a lion walks into the red dawn and roars resoundingly, it will mean something to people and quicken their hearts whether they are Africans or Europeans, or whether they speak English, German, Russian or Swahili. They will stand in quiet awe as, for the first time in their lives, they watch twenty thousand zebras wander across the endless plains.” Bernhard Grzimek, 1959

I stand in quiet awe…

Debra H. and Richard P.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Safari Dates: February 1, 2015 to February 11, 2015

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I Cannot Imagine A Trip Being Better Planned Or Executed

From beginning to end, we had a wonderful experience with Africa Dream Safaris. Dawn Anderson helped plan the ideal itinerary for us, which took into account our need to observe the Jewish Sabbath as well as to eat only fish and vegetarian foods. Things started off beautifully when Faith picked us up as we deplaned and whisked us through Immigration before taking us to the Arusha hotel.

Our first full day in Tanzania started off very rainy, but as soon as the plane cleared the Ngorongoro area, we were treated to a stunning view of the Serengeti plains. John, our driver guide, met us at the Grumeti airstrip. He proved to be an informative, interesting guide who was attuned to our interests.

I am an avid amateur photographer, and John helped position our vehicle for great photo opportunities for the wildlife, birds, and scenery. We also enjoyed talking with him about the Tanzanian people and culture, the animals and birds we saw, and a variety of wide-ranging topics. He is an exceptionally intelligent and nice young man, and we were glad to get to know him.

Our accommodations were all very comfortable, albeit quite different. We stayed at the Mbalageti Tented Lodge for our first two days in the Serengeti and enjoyed the spectacular views and delicious on-site meals. The wildebeest migration was underway, so we saw thousands of wildebeest as well as their zebra tag-alongs and the crocodiles waiting in the Grumeti River.

We then spent two nights at the Four Seasons Lodge with a luxurious room overlooking the watering hole. I’d planned to spend much of the Sabbath reading, but we were so intrigued by the behaviors of the wildlife visiting the watering hole (elephants, cape buffalo, antelope, zebras, giraffes) and interested in talking with the on-site naturalist in the Discovery Center that I didn’t even open the book I’d brought!

We then journeyed to the Seronera Sametu Camp and enjoyed the personal attention of the staff as well as delicious food. And there was great wildlife viewing there too: we saw lions and many elephant and heard hyenas and cape buffalo at night. During the time in the Central Serengeti, we saw cheetahs and leopards in addition to many lions, elephants, zebras, antelopes, hippos and warthogs. Owing to the time of the year, there were many baby animals to see.

Leaving the Central Serengeti, we journeyed to the Ngorongoro Crater which felt like the Garden of Eden with its stunning scenery and many birds and animals, especially with the yellow and purple wildflowers in bloom. We stayed at the Lion’s Paw Tented Camp which had beautiful views, great cuisine (especially the soup and the mushroom stroganoff), and superb location.

Because we were staying on the crater rim, we were able to be in the crater early in the morning and saw a pride of lions including three very playful cubs. By the time other tourists were down in the crater and we saw the lions again, they were all taking their catnaps! We also were able to see many different animals with their young (zebras, wildebeest, cape buffalo, elands, hyenas), courting birds, four of the rhinoceroses that live in the crater, and huge “retired” bull elephants.

We ended the trip at the Manor at Ngorogoro, one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and a visit to Lake Manyara. While many people were dismissive of Lake Manyara, we enjoyed seeing the tropical rain forest and the different birds and animals there. In a classic example of it being a small world, we ran into a church mission group there and it turned out that the pastor leading the trip was the son of one of my father’s colleagues and his wife had been a college friend of my husband’s late first wife.

All in all, our safari was a spectacular experience and we are so glad we took the trip with Africa Dream Safaris. I cannot imagine a trip being better planned or executed, service more attentive, or a better guide than we had in John.

Now all that remains is to organize the 6,000 photographs that Lenn and I took into commemorative books so that we can share our experience more fully with our family and friends. Thank you!

Roberta and Lenn G.
Nashville, Tennessee
Safari Dates: May 13, 2014 to May 22, 2014

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Our Wonderful Dream Safari

We cannot believe that the Safari we planned and contemplated for over a year has already come and gone! ADS exceeded our every expectation… and them some! The glow returns every time we look at the many pictures we brought back from our daily game drives.

From our arrival in Arusha with ADS staff awaiting us, to our warm welcome at the Mount Meru Resort, to our flight into the bush, to our Mbuzi Mawe and Lake Masek tented Lodges and the Ngorongoro Serena lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, and back to the Mount Meru Resort… it seemed that everyone was friendly, helpful, personable and simply an extension of Africa Dream Safaris.

Our ADS driver/guides, it seemed, were omnipresent in caring for us, briefing us, driving us, explaining to us and making sure we enjoyed our experience. Our group occupied four Land Cruisers, and every one of us thought our driver/guide was the best! What a testimonial to the high level of expertise and professionalism and great personality of your staff.

Our first day blew us away! We saw virtually the entire list of the big five, and more. After that, each day got better and better. Highlights included our hot air balloon ride and experience. This option was so much more than a balloon ride!! It was classy, safe, smooth, included a full hot English breakfast under an Acacia Tree in the middle of the bush, a champagne celebration, and a Captain who was highly qualified to fly it and explain everything to us. He went higher to spot animals and lower near treetop levels so we could view. Then he spun the balloon so others could see the same sights, and then went up again for more spotting. We loved it!

Our driver/guide, Pokea, spotted rare nocturnal animals, well hidden animals (we thought), little animals, snakes, dung beatles (at 40 mph… amazing), and everything we could hope for. We can’t speak highly enough of Pokea, he made our safari a complete success!

What a magical experience! One we will remember and recommend forever. Thanks ADS

Bruce & Delores B
Loudon TN
April 4-14, 2014
Regions Explored: Central Serengeti, East Serengeti, South Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara
Lodges: 2 x Mbuzi Mawe, 2 x Serengeti Serena, 2 x Ngorongoro Serena

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The Experience Has To Be A Highlight Of A Person’s Life

It is not difficult to describe our Safari by ADS – WHAT A BLAST. From the first day on the Serengeti until the last, there were never ending sights and sounds that will be unforgettable.

Where else could you see a Zebra giving birth to her baby and teaching it to walk. Where else could you see two Gazelles fighting for a mate and a male and female lion actually mating. Where else could you see prides of Lions and herds of Elephants, Wildebeests, Zebras, Giraffes, Antelopes, Gazelles, and Cape Buffalos and assorted smaller animals as far as the eye could see. Cheetahs and Leopards were spotted in smaller numbers stalking prey or sleeping in trees.

A wonderful hot air balloon ride provided a panoramic view of the land with additional views of migrating herds of animals and a spectacular view of a long line of Hippos marching in a column to a small lake to cool off. A wonderful champagne breakfast under a tree capped off the flight.

Our professional ADS driver/guide was awesome in also finding small objects (dung beetles), vultures and a lioness feeding on a kill, and, not to forget, wonderful picture opportunities of the many colorful birds that live in the national preserve.

All of the accommodations exceeded most expectations. The tented camps were so superior to what was expected. The food was great and the employees at each hotel and camp were very friendly and hospitable.
It is easy to see that the “WHAT A BLAST” description fits the Safari by ADS. The experience will always remain what has to be a highlight of a person’s life.

Dan S. and Lance L.
Loudon, TN
Safari Dates: April 4, 2014 to April 12, 2014

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Twenty Feet From Two Male Lions

We had almost a year to plan and think about this Tanzanian adventure. This was way outside my comfort zone. Upon arrival we were personally met, guided through immigration, and escorted to our Land Cruisers. The rest of our 9 days in Tanzania repeated the same personal service.

Our accommodations were gorgeous! Who knew there was such luxury in the bush? Queen and King size beds, hot water, great showers, white linen tablecloths, and gorgeous views to boot!

Of course the real show stoppers were the animals in the Serengeti and they put on their best finery just for us–magnificent! Our driver, Eagle Eyed Elias, was knowledgeable, polite, and had our safety as his main concern. We never felt unsafe even when about 20′ from 2 male lions!

Africa Dreams – you made our trip such a pleasure, thank you!

Vikki & Bruce B.
Loudon, TN
Safari Dates: April 4, 2014 to April 12, 2014

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If you want to maximize game viewing, ADS is the way to go!

What an experience, it seems like words alone can’t do it justice! When planning our trip to Africa, we searched for many long hours and compared a number of different safari outfits. However something about Africa Dream Safaris (ADS) made it stand out from the rest. Perhaps it was the excellent reviews, the amazing testimonials, or the dedicated attention provided by our sales representative Sharon Lyon; something just kept us coming back. Now we know first-hand what that something is and why ADS receives such praise. By sharing our journey, we hope to give you a glimpse into that special something that made ADS the perfect choice for our African safari!

From the first moment you get off the plane at Kilimanjaro, ADS is there to assist you by expediting the Customs process. We were then escorted to Mt Meru Resort, an amazing five star resort with all the amenities of home plus many more. The resort was an excellent place to stay and get some sleep after such a long flight. Of course it was hard for us to sleep too well with all the excitement of knowing that the next morning would be the start of our safari. The next morning we started off with a delicious buffet-style breakfast. The food was very delicious and always fresh. A trend that carried throughout our trip at all of our lodges and even with the picnic baskets we took on the road.

Our safari journey began with a short drive to the Arusha airport where we caught our flight that would take us into the breathtaking wilderness of the Serengeti. The flight was about an hour, during which we got to see the vast landscape of Tanzania. As our flight made its descent towards the air strip, we got our first glimpse of African wildlife as we spotted elephants, impalas, and hippos. After landing, we were greeted by the sights of all the different safari outfits and the excited travelers who, like us, were beginning their safari experience. We were soon greeted by our very own ADS driver and guide, Miko.

We can’t sing enough praise for our guide Miko. He was an excellent guide and helped add so much to our experience while on the safari. He was very knowledgeable about the animals and the history of the area in general. His ability to spot animals from a long distance and by sound alone was uncanny. The rest of the day was spent driving into the northern part of the Serengeti and provided some very memorable moments.

The first of these moments was when we witnessed a herd of elephants cross the Mara River. The baby elephants were so cool to watch as they wrestled with each other. Later, on our drive, we came across a pride of lions on some rocks. Among the young lions was a majestic male lion, which was not afraid to smile and show his teeth to the camera. Our luck continued the rest of the day as we spotted all sorts of wildlife, from zebras to beautiful African birds. However, the best spotting came in the late afternoon, with our first sighting of a cheetah. What made this cheetah so memorable was that she had cubs with her, not just one or two, but five cubs. With so much excitement and awe in the first day, we couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the trip had in store for us.

We eventually had to start making our way to the first of our safari lodges, Buffalo Springs Lodge. While all the places we stayed during our safari exceeded our expectation, Buffalo Springs managed to shine the brightest. The staff really stood out to us here, as they were very friendly and went way above and beyond to ensure our stay was comfortable and enjoyable. The food was amazing and we were able to enjoy the company of our driver, Miko, who was happy to answer all of our questions and to tell us more about the country he loved so much.

One of the best perks of Buffalo Springs is their night game drive. The night game drive gave us a chance to experience wildlife that would not normally be present or perhaps active during the day. A memorable part of this game drive was the hyenas, about thirty total, we got to see in action around a carcass. While Buffalo Springs was our favorite lodge, the trend of friendly staffs, excellent food, and breathtaking views from our accommodations continued with all of our lodges. The other lodges we stayed at included, Seronera Sametu Camp, the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, and Kikoti Tented Lodge.

The following day we got to experience some of the local culture by visiting a Maasai village. We were taken on a walking tour of the village by one of their young scholars. He talked about their culture and their beliefs. We were amazed by all the vibrant colors of the clothing that the Maasai wore. Later after the tour, we got to watch the young men and women of the village perform a dance and we even got the opportunity to join in on the dance.

During our trip, we got the opportunity to see and discover so much wildlife. We could talk for hours and write hundreds of pages of our experience and still not do it justice. Starting this safari, we had big expectations of what we hoped to see. Within the first couple days into the safari, we had seen almost everything on our list, leaving the rest of the trip as a bonus.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of our trip came on the fourth day of our safari. Late in the evening we had approached a leopard sighting, when a commotion was herd. The safari vehicles raced over to check it out and to our amazement was a leopard that had just killed a Thomson’s gazelle and carried it up a tree. Miko helped get us a great view of the leopard with the kill while a couple hyenas were at the bottom of the tree looking out for some scraps.

Our luck with the three big cats (lions, leopards, and cheetahs) would continue on with us spotting all three big cats in the same day on two separate occasions. Going into the trip, we were concerned with how close we would get to the animals. While some animals required a good pair of binoculars to spot, we had plenty of chances to see animals right outside of our vehicle. We got close-ups of such animals as lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, baboons, and various gazelles, just to name a few.

While nothing beats the Serengeti, in our book, we had other great days at places like Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire National Park. The highlight of the Ngorongoro Crater, and one of the perks of ADS, was being the first vehicle into the park. This early start allowed us to maximize our time spent in the crater. The crater offered a chance for us to immerse ourselves amongst thousands of wildebeest and zebras as they migrated across the vast plains of the crater. During lunch at the crater, we got the opportunity to picnic while only a hundred yards away slept a pride of lions.

As for Lake Manyara, traveling through the park felt like we were making an excursion through a wild jungle. This park gave us the opportunity to see vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, and baboons up close and in action. The last part of our trip took us to Tarangire National Park. This park by far offered the best views of elephants all trip. We saw a huge number of elephants, numbering in the hundreds. We also got the opportunity to see lions around a cape buffalo carcass. At the end of the day, we were treated with the site of a mother cheetah with her cub. The cheetah made her way down to us and stopped no more than ten yards away from our vehicle giving us the perfect photo opportunity.

We want to thank everyone at ADS, especially Sharon Lyon for helping answer the hundreds of questions leading up to our trip. She was always quick with responses and very friendly. She helped answer any concerns we had and made the booking of the trip so much easier than expected. We felt very well prepared going into this trip thanks in large part to Sharon’s friendly advice and wealth of knowledge.

We’d also like to thank our guide and driver Miko, whose expertise and passion for the job made our safari experience so much more enjoyable. If we ever end up going back on a safari, we will definitely choose African Dream Safaris. We don’t see how any tour group can offer more than what ADS gave us. Long after the other safari outfits had returned to the lodges, we were still out in the park seeing stuff like a leopard with a kill in a tree. If you want to maximize your time spent game driving, ADS is the way to go. Thanks again for an unforgettable trip!

Sincerely,

Bradley Parks and David Rivenbark
Manchester, Tennessee
Safari Dates: August 26, 2012 to September 3, 2012

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A Most Memorable Dream Safari

We want to give a heartfelt “Thanks” to everyone at Africa Dream Safaris that touched our lives before, during and after our 10-Day Safari in Tanzania. As travel agents we had our choice of many safari companies and there is no doubt in our mind that we could NOT have picked a finer company to arrange our safari. From the initial arrangements to our swift entry into Tanzania with the efficient staff located at the airport and in Arusha, to our choices in accommodations, add to that our wonderful guide and his knowledge; our entire experience was “awesome” and even that word is selling it short! As our guide said, “Every Day Is A New Day” and that sums up every day of our safari adventure!

We were no sooner settled into our lodge on the first day when two adults and one baby vervet monkey showed up on the roof of the main lodge. They ate and played while we watched and after a while disappeared. The monkeys were then hooting and scampering over our chalet roof that night–like they knew where we were sleeping. What a great way to start off our trip–we certainly weren’t in the U.S.A. anymore.

We left early the next morning and within the first few hours of our safari our guide had spotted 4 of the “Big 5.” Our first sighting was of 2 lioness and 2 cubs well hidden in the bushes. We would never have seen them, but our guide certainly did. Then shortly after, he spotted 6-7 lions climbing up into a low tree. We were informed this is rather unusual behavior for lions – they were probably searching for shade. We continued our drive and saw water buffalo, elephant, hippos, crocodile, zebra, hyenas, jackals, antelope, gazelles, monkeys, baboons, wart hogs, crocodiles, mongoose, ostrich, eagles, storks, African Cranes and dozens and dozens of other different animals and birds. (We had to keep a journal otherwise we would not remember all of what we saw.) Wow! and that was only our first day. Could it get any better?

It did – in fact, it got a lot better! By day three we were in the middle of the Wildebeest Migration. You can watch TV and experience the migration but nothing beats actually being in the middle of it with thousands and thousands of wildebeest mooing and running everywhere. Sheer pandemonium! It was more fascinating that we ever imagined. Within a day we also saw the zebra migration. These too are beautiful and curious creatures and their migration stretched from horizon to horizon, sometimes in a one-by-one formation.

As we continued on our daily drives we saw lots of giraffe, both young and old, and were fascinated by their elegance, beauty and serenity as they went about their daily foraging in the Acacia trees. We spent a lot of time watching and photographing them.

Our special sightings were when we came very, very close to a male lion with a two kills, a lioness feeding her cubs, a leopard gnawing on an antelope kill in a tree, a male cheetah standing atop the rocks surveying the area searching for a female, and having a face-off with water buffalo and an elephant. There were many more such events and the excitement never stopped.

We want to add something about our cultural tour to Arusha. It was a colorful, bustling town with lots to see and a lifestyle that was totally new and intriguing to us. The other special experience was visiting a Maasai Village. What a fascinating culture! We spent quite a bit of time in one of their villages and really enjoyed being greeted by the typical “jumping dance” and being hosted by the chief’s son who had 6 wives. Their school was equally interesting and their students were entertaining. We were impressed with how well they spoke English and what happy, carefree people the Maasai are with their choice of lifestyle.

The tented lodges were a pleasant surprise–very clean and comfortable with “wake-up calls” by one of the lodge staff bringing strong Tanzanian coffee and cookies at 5:00AM – a unique way to start your day. The staff at all of these facilities were very attentive and always trying to please. Marge even had a massage one afternoon in our tent by an absolutely great therapist. It was fun to watch all the animals around the grounds at these locations – even Cliff Springer’s, a unknown animal to us. Monkeys and baboons were always present and at night we could hear them moving about. One night we were awakened by hoof sounds. When we got up and looked out our screened window we saw four long legs – a giraffe! We were so excited we had trouble getting back to sleep.

Finally, maybe the biggest surprise of all…as we were on our way to the airport…the sun came out, the clouds cleared and there before us was majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro, all 19,300 ft. of her!

Thank-you ADS for providing a most memorable Dream Safari!

Marge & Lance Jensen
World Ventures, Tours & Travel
Knoxville, Tennessee
May 2011

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