Posts From July 2011

A Family Adventure – Crocs, Wildebeest and the Big 5

Africa Dream Safaris provided a spectacular safari.  We were a varied group, with travelers from 22 years old to 65 years old. Judy (my cousin) was a list keeper and note taker, and she listed 41 animals and about 110 birds that were identified during our safari. Our guide, made sure that we saw the “big five” and some of the “little five”.  He has eagle eyes!

In the northern Serengeti we witnessed the wildebeest migration and the famous crossing of the Mara River.  The crocs were also in attendance at the crossing!

Not only did we see many, many animals on safari but we saw the majority of them very up close and personal.  We shared the road with a pride of lions.  We stopped along the side of the road to watch and the fearless lionesses and the cubs walked right past us. When a herd of elephants crossed the road we were surrounded by the huge animals.  We were close enough to smell the hyenas. Giraffes looked at us as curiously as we looked at them and then strolled by.

The cultural and educational stops were worthy also.  The visit to the F.A.M.E clinic and hospital was especially interesting to those of us with a medical background.  We’ve investigated the project since we arrived home to find out more about their mission. Emily (our 22 year old anthropology student) enjoyed the Olduvai Gorge Tour. Judy was especially amazed by the Maasai village visit. George and Judy were interested in the Maasai shepherds, coffee plantations and the fields of maize and rice.

We loved the mix of rustic and luxury that the tented camps give.  The Bilila Luxury Lodge was a welcome haven in the middle of the safari, and Swala Tented Lodge was hands down our favorite. Thanks to ADS for giving our family the opportunity to enjoy each other on a spectacular adventure of Tanzania.

Rebecca and John McKay and Family
Greer, South Carolina
July 2011

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A Memorable Honeymoon in Tanzania

I wanted to contact you and tell you thank you so very much for helping us plan the trip of a lifetime. I cannot put into words how amazing our trip was and how beautiful the sites were that we saw!! We loved every second of everyday we were there and hated the moment we had to depart.

We truly believe our guide made the trip extra special – there was not one animal that we wanted to see that we were not able to get up close and personal with by the end of the trip. He was so knowledgeable about the land and all the animals – he was constantly educating us and entertaining us with his stories. He was very personable and we felt as if he was a true friend of ours by the time we departed.

We want to thank everyone at ADS for making our honeymoon so very special. We have been entertaining all of our friends and families with stories and pictures since we returned. We started planning our next trip and saving our funds so that we will be able to extend our stay on our next trip – we cannot wait to return. Thank you so very much for your help all the way through the process. We have attached some of our favorite photos for you to see – of course it was so very hard to narrow down. Thank you again and I look forward to contacting you to let you know we are ready for our next trip!

Kristen Payne and Jason Deweese
Columbus, Georgia
July 2011

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We Drove into a Pride of 35 Lions

Thank you ADS for an amazing, Tanzania Safari. Being a quintessential New Yorker, I must admit that I was initially skeptical when booking with ADS because I hadn’t met anyone in person and my entire transaction was over the phone / internet. However, from the moment we were greeted by the first ADS staff person upon our arrival until the day we were dropped off at the airport, we had nothing but a wonderful experience. Every ADS staff person that we encountered was courteous, knowledgeable and focused on our needs.

Our safari guide made sure that we experienced a trip of a lifetime. He was highly knowledgeable about the wild life (birds included), fauna and local culture. He was a perfect fit for me and my family because of his determination during our game drives. There was not one “uneventful” day during our 12 day safari (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater. & Tarangire). It was as though he knew exactly where the animals would be each day! We had countless encounters with herds of elephants, pools of active hippos, traveling wildebeest, herds of giraffes, impalas, zebras, etc. We saw leopards and cheetahs but our highlight was the Lions!!

During one of our many exciting game drives in the Serengeti, we came around a turn and drove directly under a rock with two lionesses peering over us! It was the most frightening and exciting experience of my life. That encounter was topped a few days later when we drove into a pride of 35 lions (15 were cubs!). There was very little distance between our vehicle and the lions! I could go on and on describing each of our exciting days.

Although we traveled during the dry season, the Serengeti was remarkably still green and we witnessed a great deal of the wildebeest migration. There were times that we were the only vehicle on the road and it was quite nice because it made for better viewing and we were not covered in so much dust. Our vehicle was very spacious, clean and comfortable and the open roof top allowed for excellent photo opportunities. It was always well-stocked with water and soft drinks. The customizable, private safari experience was a good choice for us as we could plan our days out as we wanted and not have to deal with a planned schedule or travelers that preferred to go back to the camps/lodges for lunch. We ate our lunches and some breakfasts in the bush. I was amazed at the quality and quantity of the picnics or boxed meals. Our dinners were excellent and filling and the wine selections were outstanding. It was also a pleasure to have freshly brewed coffee brought to us each morning as part of our wake up call.

The lodges and camps that we stayed at were all outstanding and quite luxurious. The service was impeccable as the staff went above and beyond to make us feel safe and comfortable. During the night, we could hear animals rustling by our tents. At Migration Tented Lodge on the Grumeti River, hippos would come up at night to graze and we could hear them munching ….one night our tent was surrounded! It was such an exciting experience.

We visited a Tanzanian School/Orphanage, and the FAME medical clinic. These were all eye opening experiences and I’m happy that we had the opportunity to visit these places. It’s truly incredible to see how many people devote their lives to wonderful causes. We also visited a Massai village which was a tremendous cultural experience.

Our first safari adventure was incredible and it definitely won’t be our last. ADS does a great job and upon speaking to fellow travelers using other companies, we were constantly reassured that we made the right decision. No changing of drivers, full attention to detail with well thought out itineraries, no overcrowded vehicles and highly knowledgeable staff.

Thank you again!

Julianne Recine and Family
New York, NY
July 2011

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Quote of the Week: Janice and Cal Weisberger

Safari, the word conjures visions of Tarzan and Ramar of the Jungle. We had always wanted to go to Africa to see the wild spaces. We did copious research and chose ADS because of superb reviews and word of mouth from friends who’d travelled with ADS. We were not disappointed. We are experienced travelers and have not been treated better on any of our many trips overseas. We were met promptly at JRO and helped through the visa process. We were off to our hotel in good time.

The next morning we were met by our guide at Kogatende airport and within minutes of beginning our game drive had already seen many different species and a wildebeest crossing of the Mara River. The days only got better from there.  The daily game drives constantly produced new adventures. We were amazed how quickly we came to be used to wildebeest, zebra and giraffe around us. We never ceased to be excited by the great cats. Lions, leopard and cheetah always held our attention. The realities of life and death for the animals of the Serengeti became clear to us. We wondered at how the elephants and other species came together to protect their young. We watched a small herd of Thomson’s gazelles protect itself from a nocturnal prowling leopard. This was on our evening game drive from Buffalo Springs.  The power, grace and determination of the leopard had us in awe.

The accommodations at all our venues were excellent. We took a break from tent camps at Bilila Lodge and were amazed at the level of luxury in the bush this provided. The tent camps were fantastic especially Swala at the end of a long drive in Tarangire.

Our safari with ADS ranks with the best travel experiences we’ve had. We would certainly choose to travel with ADS again. The service at all periods of our planning and actual trip was superb. The people of Tanzania were warm and friendly and great hosts. Thank you ADS and Asante Sana to all the folks of ADS and the Tanzanian people for giving us one of the great experiences of our traveling lives.

Janice and Cal Weisberger
Santa Monica, California
September 2011

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Our Safari Feedback

Below is our african safari feedback, now that we have had time to reflect. I also attached a few pictures from the 1,200 I took. Dean had better equipment and may provide you with a better sampling. I did take a few hours of video and am in the process of editing it and will forward 2 copies when completed (via regular mail) I for you and one for Engelbert.

Overall, we expected the trip of a lifetime and we got it. I have told everyone, this was the best trip ever and if they ever go, African Dream Safaris is the way to go. I have no complaints about anything. Even the unexpected was handled well. I have awesome pictures and video to help me remember the trip. I saw much more than expected and felt safe and secure the entire time.

Prior to leaving:
All the information your sent was very helpful. The booklet was good at getting us prepared. Your follow up was good, not too much, but enough to keep us engaged. We didn’t know whay to expect and you gave us what we needed to know to prepare.

Once we arrived:
We were met, as promised, at the airport and taken care of to get through the line and visa process. The people handling us through this process and transportation to the hotel were very nice and helped us get comfortable with our very different surroundings. The young woman who spoke with us and gave us the phone etc. ( I can’t remember her name). was very nice and informative. To improve the experience the young woman could speak a bit louder. She was soft spoken so it was difficult to hear in the back of the vehicle, sometimes in the front as well. I offer this as an improvement opportunity not a complaint. They were all very nice and helpful and very patient answering our incessant questions.

The Hotel arrival and Departure:
VERY VERY nice. The rooms were much better than expected. The food at the Hotel was good. Had we had more time to stay there, I might have more feedback. I did use the business office a bit. Everything was very nice. The staff was friendly and helpful.

You have a very dedicated employee, who enjoys working for Africa Dream Safaris and tells his clients he likes it and why. He was an excellent guide, way above expectations. He worked hard on our Safari. We left before dawn each day so we could be in the bush at dawn. We usually returned to the lodge at dusk. While this gave us excellent wildlife viewing and some spectacular pictures, Engelebert had a lot of long days. Every morning we would have a clean vehicle to ride in, so we know he worked on the vehicle after he dropped us off. I think we only ate breakfast at the lodge the last day and we never ate lunch at our lodge. Additional work for Englebert, arranging and packing our meals and cleaning the vehicle afterward.

He was very patient. I had some gastro – intestinal difficulties throughout the safari and his patience for my numerous “happy bush” stops was much appreciated. He was always very careful to make sure the “happy bush” was safe. Early in the safari, he was so patient as we looked at wildlife he knew we would be seeing the entire trip. While he would subtly prompt us to move on, he never pushed us and let us learn at our own pace. He tried to give us a lot of detail on the wildlife and had books for us for reference, He quickly learned what we wanted and patiently helped us find it.

I am convinced, Engelbert was a major reason our safari was so spectacular. He has knowledge of the wildlife and what they are going to do. He couples that with an eye for photography. So while he might stop somewhere and we think we should go closer, Engelbert would explain why were parked were we did and sure enough we would get some excellent viewing and excellent shots of all kind of wildlife. He shared his knowledge with us and patiently answered our never ending questions. Engelbert had an easy going way of sharing the knowledge that made us feel comfortable. We felt more like friends with him than him being our guide. He was our expert friend and he made us feel that way and provided us the comfort to ask him anything. Spending 12-14 hours day together could have been a challenge, Engelbert made it a pleasure. He always had everything we needed/wanted and made us confortable every step of the way.

Lodging/food on Safari:
The lodges in the bush in order of preference are: 1 Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge, 2 Serena Lodge, 3 Ngorongoro Crater, 4 Kikoti Tented lodge. Mbuzi Mawe had the friendliest staff and excellent food the rooms were good as well. Serena had a wonderful view on the veranda where we sipped cocktails and watched the sunsets and listen to the wildlife. Food was good, Ngorongo was like a hotel but the dining was excellent.

Transportation on Safari:
The vehicle was excellent, clean and as comfortable as we could expect. We had plenty of room and excellent visibility. The cooler had plenty of water, juice and was cold. We didn’ thirst. Englebert brought snacks for us between meals as well. We bounced around quiet a bit but enjoyed every minute. It was amazing to us how Englebert could stay on the road while, looking in tree for leopards, the bush for wildlife and the road for animal tracks.

Michael and Terry Kniola
Dean and Patricia Manke
North Bethesda, Maryland
July 2011

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Quote of the Week: Jack and Diane Collin

I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed our trip.  Everything Africa Dream did was top notch.  We could not have been happier.  Every person we came into contact with was exceptional.  We loved our guide and dubbed him the #1 Guide which became a big thing in the guide camp for him. He was fantastic.

We saw everything and more than expected.  I thank you again for all the hard work.  The accommodations were all spectacular and far exceeded our expectations.  The Kempinski Hotel was great and that was documented by the fact that we were sharing it with Hillary Clinton the night we were there.  I will have no problem highly recommending your company to anyone thinking about a trip to Africa.

Thanks again

Jack and Diane Collin and Thomas and Bonnie Williamson

July 2011



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Quote of the Week: Joan Salm and Family

We can’t believe it’s over! What an incredible experience we had on our Africa Dream Safari – it truly was a dream come true. We are a recently retired couple who went on safari with our 16-year-old grandson. From the moment we landed in Kilimanjaro to our departure 12 days later, we were taken care of and every need was met with grace and kindness.

The next morning our flight to Kogatende gave us our first view of this unique part of the world. We landed and met our guide/driver/soon-to-be-friend and we were off on our first game drive. We were totally transported and rapidly in synch with this wondrous place. We gasped and were awed with what we saw our first day. Our driver/guide was exceptionally knowledgeable about everything we were seeing: animals, of course, and plants, trees, birds (oh what a variety of incredible birds) and history.

We could hardly believe what we were seeing that first day near the Mara River: hippos, gorgeous giraffes, wart hogs, thousands of twitchy Thomson gazelles, those crazy wildebeests, zebras, crocs, elephants and 3 cheetahs. We had our box lunch in the car under a tree with four lions … can you believe it! We just felt so privileged to be seeing this magnificent place with our own eyes. Everyday was a new … we were happily on the go every minute we could be to see and photograph as much as possible and we were rewarded time and time again.

On our third day in the bush we were invited to witness a Masai ceremony in Loliondo. This was truly an honor and a wonderful opportunity to have a glimpse of what is important to these beautiful people. The occasion was the elevation of a new generation (age set) of warriors. These young men came to this boma (circle village) from miles around to this “graduation” ceremony as they had come of age and had proven their bravery. There were around 100 of these men all very proud and decorated with red color in their hair and unusual hair arrangements and many big smiles.

We are particularly glad that we chose ADS because of their commitment to supporting many of the conservation efforts in Tanzania and are especially pleased that some of cost of our trip goes toward these programs to help preserve these precious places forever.

Joan Salm and Family
July 2011

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