We have been home from our safari in Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris for about one week now, and after having had this time to reflect on our trip, we still can’t believe what an incredible time we had. The trip was one that we had been talking about and contemplating long before we came across the ADS website. However, as soon as we found ADS, we knew we had found a company that could make our wish for an amazing and unforgettable safari a reality.
While our expectations for the trip were exceedingly high, ADS surpassed those expectations at every point of the experience, from the planning phase through to our departure from Tanzania. All of that was due to the various ADS staff, including Dawn (who helped with the planning phase of the trip), Solomon and Charles (who greeted us at the airport and took us around Arusha on our first day) and, perhaps most importantly, Ellson, our driver and guide.
Within hours of our request for information, Dawn had provided more information than we could have hoped for. She gladly answered all of the questions we had (which, as we do not travel often, were many) in an incredibly kind and timely manner and made the planning of the trip as easy at it could have been. We eagerly anticipated the day we were set to leave and soon, that day was upon us.
Immediately upon our arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, we were whisked through customs without a hitch and we were soon on our way to Mt. Meru Resort in Arusha, the first of our absolutely incredible accommodations. We opted to schedule an extra day in Arusha to take a look at the city and to recover a bit from the jetlag. It also allowed us to enjoy an extra night at Mt. Meru Resort, which can easily put many of the best hotels in the states to shame.
Soon though, we were on our internal Regional Air flight to the Serengeti. Upon landing, Ellson, our guide, was waiting for us with the ADS vehicle (a vehicle which, we soon found out, was washed, cleaned and waiting for us each morning throughout the trip), cold beverages and some snacks. We could not have been luckier that we got Ellson as our guide. The wealth of knowledge Ellson had, and freely offered, was incredible. His ability to spot wildlife constantly amazed us. And whenever we had a question, Ellson kindly answered and with a smile that never left his face.
Within minutes of stepping off of our flight to the Serengeti, not only were we on our first game drive, but we had also spotted several lions and a leopard. We had read in other testimonials that many other ADS guests find themselves viewing wildlife within minutes of arriving, but nothing can really prepare you for that first moment when you do. That, though, was indicative of the entire trip.
We still cannot believe the amazing things we saw and experienced. A few of the highlights include being charged by a rather ornery young male elephant (though given Ellson’s skill, we never felt we were in any danger), finding ourselves in the middle of a herd of probably about 150,000 zebras, coming across a lion, a lioness and their three 3-4 month old cubs, and seeing two mother cheetahs each with cubs (one set was 3-4 months old, and the other set was probably only about 1 month old).
While all of the following are things we will never forget, the most unforgettable part of the trip was getting a chance to see one of the mother cheetahs stalk, chase and take down a Thomson’s gazelle only to then see the cheetah carry the gazelle to our vehicle where the cheetah and her cubs proceeded to feast on the gazelle literally right under our noses. Luckily, we have plenty of pictures to remind us of all of these absolutely incredible encounters (a few of the many, many pictures we took are below).
Our experiences, the service we received, and the accommodations at which we stayed while on our trip with ADS were all beyond what we could have dreamed of. We always said that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, but before we had even left, we were already trying to think of ways that we might be able to repeat the trip in the future with other family members. We truly can’t thank Africa Dream Safaris enough.
Jacob and Liz