Posts From May 2012

A Life Changing Event

My family and I have been back three weeks and finally all got together, reliving our experiences of “the Trip”. The seven of us are still trying to process our feelings. The Trip was incredible and there is something surreal about being back home, after 10 breathtaking days in the Serengeti and Tanzania.

Lodging: Our Trip was from May 15 to May 24. Two days were spent doing the classic camping. Though I have camped outdoors in past years, it was nothing like the ADS experience. We were completely in touch with the Serengeti. The classic camping staff worked for four days before we arrived to set up our accommodations. Everything was provided, including wet, warm wash cloths and fresh juice when we came in from Safari. A fire ring was set up, blazing with chairs setting around it, with services of any drink we wanted (a cold beer hit the spot after a full day on Safari—try the Tusker beer).

One evening one of the staff members shared with us his experiences in the Serengeti—a story, and the method of telling the story, is forever etched in our minds. Dinner was served at 7:30 PM with a beautiful place settings and wonderful food. One night was Tanzanian food, which we all enjoyed. Breakfasts were feasts.

Sleeping in the Serengeti is something I will never forget. The sounds are spine tingling. During our first night in the classic camp, a herd of 20 elephants came through the camp, mere feet (like 3) from our tents. The second night, a hyena drank from the washbasin in front of my tent—less than 10 feet from me (I was inside my tent). We ended our time at the classic camp by giving the staff Frisbees. We departed from the staff with hugs all around, after the great care they provided to us.

Other lodging was also special. Serengeti Soroi is one of the most unique, breathtaking places I have been. It was just our family and one other couple at the lodge. The staff all knew our names. They celebrated my wife’s birthday with a cake, a Maasai necklace, a decorated basket, and best of all, two Swahili songs with dances.

Wildlife: We flew from Arusha to the West Serengeti. From the air we could see Maasai villages and our first sighting of animals—the great Wildebeest migration.

Have you ever seen Jurassic Park? Do you remember the scene where they first arrive and see the animals for the first time? We had our own Jurassic Park moment. As we were coming down for a landing in the West Serengeti to begin our safari, a vehicle drove the runway to get the animals off it. As we banked over the runway, below us were towering giraffes, herds of elephants, hundreds of cape buffalo and many other species.

After meeting our guide, Ellson, we loaded up. Within fifteen minutes, we were setting below four treed lioness.

That first day of Safari, we saw four of the “Big Five”—missing out only on the rhino. But just a few days later, we found a great rhino in the Serengeti.

We were able to take incredible close-up photos of all animals. Ellson was great at working hard to get us to the animals, but not endangering us or unduly disturbing the animals. We actually drove into the migration herd of wildebeest and zebras on three different occasions—setting in our vehicle and “becoming” part of the migration.

Our wildlife experiences were many, including a life and death drama with a herd of cape buffalo with a new born calf, a pack of hyenas and three lions—an event that went on for over 1.5 hours—with the buffalo on one side of our vehicle, the lions on the other side, and the hyenas all around us!!

We experienced a cheetah so close we could smell him as he passed by us.

We had front row seats observing the mating rituals several species, including the lion, buffalo, hyenas and baboons. The elephants showed us how dominate and powerful they can be.

The lions were incredible and the word Kopjes (where we would search for the lions and other wildlife) will forever be in our vocabulary. It is hard to imagine the size and strength of the cape buffalo, until you see them up close.

ADS experience: none of us have ever been treated like we were with ADS. From disembarking from the plane at Kilimanjaro Airport, an ADS person was with us the whole way. Everything was taken care of; we were always informed of what was going on and what to do if there was a problem. Everything was included in the trip, so there was no “up-selling”, and thus no pressures. Frankly, we were treated like royalty at every turn, with warmth, friendship and accommodation. ADS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!

Our guide, Ellson, was the best we could have hoped for. Only once did he brag, and that was about ADS. He told me that we can do anything, go anywhere, with ADS; that ADS allows him to do anything and everything for his guests. We certainly didn’t see that occurring with other tour groups we saw, where they had to stay on ridged schedules and hit only the main spots.

Ellson did a great job of keeping us away from other tour groups. Many times we were the only people in the area. We could look for miles and miles, and see no other human, but only great herds of animals and the breathtaking savannah. He really helped us to truly experience the Serengeti as it has been for thousands of years.

Along the way, Ellson shared his broad knowledge of the animals, the Serengeti, the culture of the tribal peoples, and his country, Tanzania, that he so dearly loves. We had wonderful discussions with him, both driving, at our various stops and sometimes in the evening. Yet he was very respectful of our “family time”.

Each morning we met Ellson he would have the vehicles completely cleaned of not only the dirt and mud, but the trash we would accumulate during the day. Our binoculars were cleaned, in their cases and sitting on each of our seats. Our lunches were packed and he had a cooler of fresh water, soft drinks and candy bars (as well as a secret stash of cookies). His smile was infusing, and he inquired of each of us how we felt, and if there was anything he could do to help us.

At the end of the trip, there were tears as we said goodbye to Ellson. He is a wonderful man, who loves his job and is a great believer in the ADS way of first class service.

ADS, Ellson, the Serengeti and the people of Tanzania carved a new place in the hearts of my family. Dawn, thanks so much for guiding us.

The Clinkscales family.
Hays, Kansas
May 2012

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Smiles All Around

Owning a 16-year -old tour company, we travel all over the world and work with hundreds of different ground operators. Once and awhile there is a ground operator that stands out and delivers something extra special, that is Africa Dream Safari.

There are glowing reviews on this blog about all aspects of travel with ADS and the experience. Having just returned from Africa with 24 people this last May, I can tell you that there is very little if any exaggeration of the wonderful experience ADS offers their guests. All of our 24 travelers walked away from the trip with fabulous memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When you work with many tour operators around the world, you get a sense very quickly what their standards are and the level of experience you can expect when the rubber hits the road (or in this case, the dirt road). I was very confident from very close to day one with ADS, because the communications and response to our needs and concerns were met quickly and professionally by Lynn (Newby-Fraser), our safari consultant who was with us the whole way. Lynn always had the answers helped us fine tune the whole group experience with ADS.

When we planned this group departure, we wanted to offer people the experience of an individual Safari and not a traditional group experience. With 5 separate, 8-seat Land Cruisers we were able to put 5 or less people per vehicle and this allowed for a very personal experience. We often did not see the other vehicles and did not need to travel right on top of each other, making for a feeling of an individual Safari. During the six nights in the Serengeti National Park, staying multiple nights at 3 different lodges I did not see a single vehicle as nice as what we traveled in during the trip. We were proud to step in and out of them at every lunch gathering spot or picnic area across the Serengeti.

During our full day with the Great Migration on the plains of the Southern Serengeti, we did not see or pass one other company’s vehicle that PAID the extra admission to be right out on the plain with the Migration. ADS mentioned off the beaten path and this was just one example that emphasizes that point. We only needed to share the thousands of wildebeest and zebra with the lions and cheetahs we came across.

We had a very unique opportunity, and that was the chance to experience FIVE different guides over the course of the trip. All five guides were excellent and each brought a different perspective and life experience. What stood out above it all was how highly they spoke of Africa Dream Safari and how proud they were to be working with the company. Most had one time or another worked for other companies, but they were very pleased to be where they wanted to be, working with a company they respected. On our trip we had the pleasure to get to know Reggie, Pokea, Thompson, Englebert and Petro. I will always remember their warm smiles and genuine spirit. We coordinated each day always with the emphasis of bringing out the best experience.

So let me end this by saying, search no further, you can trust Africa Dream Safari to reveal Tanzania to you in the best possible way, to care for you and make you feel comfortable in the adventure. Whether it is a single family or 12 couples like our trip, you will always feel special. Michael Wishner and his team of Safari consultants are top notch and you can relax knowing you are dealing with a quality company that has a good reputation and connections on the ground in Tanzania!

Mark & Vicki Stewart
Owners / Coordinators
May 2012

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Beautiful Tanzania

Our trip to Tanzania was magical. Looking back over the literature sent to us by Africa Dream Safaris (very little of which I read in advance of the trip) I stumbled upon this quote by, Lisa, a visitor from Vancouver, Canada. She said, “The beauty of the unspoiled wilderness and the kindness of the Tanzanian people beckon me to return again and again.” Well, at my age (71) I’m not likely to return to Tanzania, but that beautiful land teeming with wildlife left an indelible mark on my mind and heart.

What did I love most about our African Dream Safari? Wow! It’s impossible to choose one thing. The wildlife was spectacular, of course. Seeing those magnificent animals in their natural habitat was extremely exciting. Francis, our Africa Dream Safari guide was so good at finding the “ah’ nee mals” as he called them. And then, there were the gorgeous birds, both large and small, the fields of blue, yellow and white wildflowers, the dramatic Acacia trees, and of course the friendly Tanzanian people. I loved it all.

It was good to have two nights and one day to unwind and relax before beginning our Safari on Saturday, May 12th, the day after my 71st birthday. The six of us boarded a small plane that left Arusha Airstrip around 8:30 am and arrived in Western Serengeti an hour later. There we met our guide Francis, who as Africa Dream Safari predicted, would soon become our friend.

Before our trip, I knew almost nothing about the Serengeti, except that it was in Africa. I now know that this ecosystem is a geographical region in Africa located in north Tanzania, extending to south-western Kenya, and spanning approximately 12,000 miles. I have since learned that Serengeti means “endless plains” in the Maasai language.

I learned too, that the Serengeti hosts the largest and longest overland migration in the world and is home to approximately 70 large mammal and 500 bird species. The high diversity of species is a consequence of diverse habitats which include riverine forests, grasslands, woodlands, kopjes (small rocky hills) and swamps. Nearly half of the Serengeti is now part of The Serengeti National Park.

Unbelievably, the third animal we saw on our first day (Saturday) was a lion sleeping on the side of the dirt road on which we were driving. The sleeping lion was just a few yards beyond a dead African buffalo which was also lying on the side of the dirt road. Francis explained to us that the lion had almost certainly killed the buffalo the previous night, which is when they hunt, and had taken a nap after feasting on his kill. We waited until the lion awoke, then we watched as he sauntered down the road past his kill and back into the grasslands. Needless to say we were all in awe of this spectacle.

We soon came upon what would be a scene that would be repeated again and again . . . a family of baboons. This group was perched on a dead tree beside a beautiful stream surrounded by grassland. Soon we encountered our first sighting of elephants, including very young ones. It’s sometimes difficult to get a picture of the babies since the parents are quite protective and somehow seem to communicate to their young to say behind or beside them and out of sight of other creatures.

We saw our first live African buffalo as well and many zebras and impalas which we never tired of seeing. The zebras were often in pairs or even three or four together resting their necks on each other’s backs. Francis explained that by doing this they can spot predators more easily. The impalas are spectacular, particularly the males with their gracefully curved antlers and beautiful markings on their hind quarters. Impalas and zebras are often seen grazing together with a backdrop of the beautiful acacia trees.

Towards the end of the day we happened upon a group of probably a dozen giraffes at a water hole. Twiga, as the giraffe is known in Swahili, is the national emblem of Tanzania, and probably the most interesting of all the wildlife. Finally, before we reached our lodging we saw zebras and more impalas. We all agreed that this first day’s “sightings” would be a hard act to follow.

We arrived at the lovely Serengeti Soroi Lodge around 5:30 pm and enjoyed fruit punch while we were briefed by the lodge keepers. The waiters at this lodge were among the friendliest, though everyone everywhere was incredibly hospitable. We all loved the outdoor shower which was situated in such a way that no one could see you as you showered and looked out onto the mountain above and valley below.

On our second day I became enamored with Tanzania’s birds. I had taken pictures of two birds on our first day, but on this day I saw may more birds, and with the help of Francis’ Audubon Field Guide, I was able to identify them.

I was also taken with the beautiful acacia trees, which to me were almost as fascinating as the wildlife. Our well informed guide explained to us that the outer branches of the thorny Acacia’s protect the leaves from being eaten by wildlife, especially giraffes and the Whistling Acacia tree produces thorns that surround a hollow pod that is home to stinging ants. The tree’s sweet nectar attracts the ants and the ants protect the tree from being grazed upon. I must have taken 50 photos of trees.

We enjoyed a drink on the porch at the lodge and a very nice dinner, then on to bed to grab some sleep before our 6 am departure the next morning. The next day we saw many zebras, baboons, our first crocodile, hippos and our first wildebeest.

One of the highlights (there were so many) was the great migration, a sight that I will never forget. Thousands of wildebeests (possibly tens of thousands) and many hundreds of zebras were moving slowly across the grasslands. Another highlight was watching buzzards and hyennas devour the remains of a carcass that was more than likely left behind by a big cat.

Yet another highlight was observing a group of Cheetahs on the kopjes as well as a pride of lions on yet another kopje. Having been told by Francis that leopard sighting are rather rare, we were very excited to see one in a tree. Soon after the leopard sighting we had lunch with some giraffes. Well, we didn’t exactly have lunch with them. They moved on (but not too far away) and we sat on rocks enjoying our box lunches. We had several sightings of lionesses sleeping in a tree, and other sightings of lionesses lounging on kopjes, up close and personal. At one of the hippo pools we saw hippos kissing, hippos fighting and hippos mating.

Our visit to a Maasai village was unforgettable. After watching the Maasai men dance and jump and then dancing with the Maasai women, we were invited inside the huts which are constructed with bent branches, grasses and covered with dung. These nomadic herders live a very primitive life. The Children sang for us.

On our way to the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (it was wonderful) we got our first glance of the Ngorogoro Crater, and our first Rhinos – one male and two females.

Everything about our trip . . . the amazing sightings of the gorgeous and not-so-gorgeous wildlife . . . the dramatic Acacia trees dotting the Serengeti landscape, the breathtaking vistas . . our fantastic, enthusiastic, well-informed guide . . . our fun-loving, easy-going travel companions . . . perfect weather conditions . . . would be nearly impossible to replicate.

Jay and I are not likely to take another Safari but will relive our Safari experience in Tanzania through our pictures and reminiscing with the Perrine’s and the Lutz’s. It was an unforgettable journey, one ne we will encourage others to take.

Jay and Patricia Franklin
Fernandina Beach, Florida
May 2012

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And best of all my dream came true!

It has been my dream for years to go on an African Safari, but the only roadblock to fulfilling this has been my hesitant husband who does not like to travel too far from home and is reluctant to be too far from a golf course. However, with some cajoling and my volunteering to do all the planning, I finally convinced him it was probably in his best interest to accompany me to Africa.

I searched long and hard to find a reputable company and talked to many people in the DC area about their experiences. Some had good experiences, but not all of them. However after lots of hours on the internet and conversations, I zeroed in on Africa Dream Safaris. ADS came highly recommended to us by three couples. And they were right. We definitely picked the best Safari outfit in Tanzania. Perhaps the best testimonial to our complete satisfaction is seeing the enthusiasm on my husband’s face each day before we started and the excited conversations we had at days end when we recounted all that we had seen.

Plans from the beginning to the end were perfect. We lodged in three different locations and they were all were unbelievable. From the time we landed at Kilimanjaro until our return trip to the states, ADS took excellent care of us. Our Safari into the bush was like a movie – every day was a new adventure. Even though our guide briefed us what we were doing each day, we never knew what we might encounter. And thanks to our wonderful guide, Francis, we were never disappointed.

If I were asked to describe Africa Dreams Safari to someone, I would answer with three words: creative, organized and efficient. Our particular trip was created by the ADS staff after talking with us and asking probing questions to ascertain what we wanted to see and do and then offering proposals to us until we reached an agreement on an itinerary. From the planning stage until we returned home, ADS had organized their staff to meet our every need and “then some”. Everything went like clockwork and we marveled at their efficiency. As a matter of fact their efficiency was the factor that turned my husband’s reluctance around 180 degrees.

Our accommodations were awesome and all possessed a staff that was friendly, courteous and eager to please. We looked forward to mealtimes as the menus were varied and the service excellent. The food was well-prepared and tasty. In fact, the entire evenings were delightful. Two of our three locations had views that were spectacular. We had never witnessed sunsets so beautiful. And who could forget looking up and observing thousands and thousands of stars in the heavens, something truly special for us city-dwellers.

Both my husband and I agree that without a good guide, our safari would have suffered considerably. We were blessed to have Francis as our guide and no one could have asked for a better one than him. His knowledge of the area was vast and he kept us informed throughout each day. His excursions were well thought out, yet he was flexible to alter his planned route if we wanted to remain longer at a particular site or skip one completely.

Each morning he would be waiting for us, packed and ready with all provisions for the day. He would announce what was in store for us that day and what he hoped for us to see. He was careful to explain what he could do and what he could not do and we always felt we were in good hands. He was very patient with us and very mindful of those of us who were not feeling well and needed frequent rest stops.

Francis possessed uncanny eyesight. He could see a small speck of a sandy brown object at 500 yards and tell us what animal it was; he was never wrong. He seemed to sense the animals’ presence before we saw them and he would patiently wait for us to get the perfect photograph. We saw a leopard, a rare sight. We heard hippos snort and sing to each other. We were able to hear the hyenas laugh as they fought over a kill. We learned much about elephants and their love of family. At times we thought we were in Jurassic Park when we watched those stately giraffes walk.

Francis became more than a guide – he became our friend. On our last night with him we invited him to dinner and then afterwards we put on a skit for him depicting our idiosyncrasies on the trip. We all had great laughs that night.

We were sad we had to leave this beautiful country with the most awesome wildlife, but as we said our goodbyes, we knew in our hearts we took a bit of Africa home with us. Our memories and our photos will always keep this adventure with us. And best of all my dream came true!

Diane and Skip Perrine
Annandale, Virginia
May 2012

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Lions and Rhinos and Pythons OH MY!

Dream vacation – understatement! Life changing – most certainly! ADS was the perfect choice for my mother and I. Can’t thank Omary enough for sharing his country and 15 years of knowledge with us. His eagle eyes (without the help of glasses) managed to spot a python – only the second one he’s seen in his 15 year career.

He also spotted two rhinos in the crater. Added fun at no additional charge was our up close & personal encounter with the resident leopard that has managed to elude the gals that run Soroi Serengeti. Carol graciously gave us the honor of naming him. We chose Tar Heel after our home state of North Carolina.

We tried to race over to Gary & Grant’s campsite to catch a glimpse of the 20+ lion pride that visited them one morning. Unfortunately that was the only day I was running 15 minutes behind & we lost out. That same evening, our campsite was visited by a huge herd of mostly bull elephants. They woke me around 1am & stayed for hours. Omary swore they were only curious. He was awake as well to ensure they didn’t step on his little tent. I had never been so happy to see daylight & the sound of that generator in my life.

The lack of sleep had definitely taken a toll on mother. By the time Kevin came to give us our morning wake up call, she had a story made up about lions visiting us that not even Gary & Grant would believe. Needless to say we got no pictures but did have the bags under our eyes as proof.

On our last day we had the pleasure of meeting Pam who gave us a tour of F.A.M.E. We stopped for a quick bit of shopping after that & met fellow ADSers Debbie & Barry. There Barry insisted on purchasing the shop owners display wooden elephant. This would be his carryon over the next week as they were off to Paris after Tanzania. Hope ya’ll made it back in one piece! It was also on our last day in Lake Manyara National Park that I saw the most amazing sign that summarized my time in Africa just beautifully:

Remove nothing from the park except:
Nourishment for the soul;
Consolation for the heart;
Inspiration for the mind.

Kimberly Green and Donna Kelly
Charlotte, North Carolina
May 2012

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Guest Testimonial – African Dream Safaris

We returned from our Africa dream safari two weeks ago in May 2012 and we are still smiling from ear to ear and have goose bumps to prove it! The life changing experience we had from the time we landed in Kilimanjaro, to the day we took off can never be equaled. The whole trip took us a year to plan and execute thanks to the professionalism and depth of knowledge shown by our tour operator Lynn.

After a wonderful evening of wining and dining at the lovely Mount Meru Hotel, the next morning we were flown into the Serengeti in an exciting one hour flight over vast tracts of open plains and game which makes Serengeti so enticing. As soon as we landed we were greeted by our very pleasant guide Claude Shitengle who escorted us to our range rover and off we went tracking and spotting all kinds of game during the day.

One must remember that in Serengeti the game doesn’t necessarily come to you, but you go in search of the Big 5. And that’s where the ability of your guide to spot wildlife comes in very handy. Claude was the best spotter if we ever saw one and could spot a leopard in a tree almost 1000 feet away. If that wasn’t enough he had tremendous patience and took endless uncharted tracks and detours to find us game we couldn’t have seen otherwise. Our next few days we were able to see all the Big 5 in huge numbers. Thank you Cluade! The hot air balloon was great too, though expensive!

We know that ADS has little control over Picnic lunches. Sadly the quality was not the greatest and a lot of food goes to waste. Folks at various picnic sites would either throw their half-eaten lunches or give them away. People are not looking for anything fancy for an afternoon lunch, but please no jaw breaking chicken! We would suggest that the caterer be advised to keep picnic lunches simple . For example, Tuna mayo or an egg salad sandwiches with some fruit would do just fine to cater to the American palates!

A piece of advice. Everyone wanting to travel to Africa, must travel light and carry a “carry on” bag, otherwise your checked baggage has a good chance of being lost, as ours was. Oversized duffle bags won’t do and won’t be allowed, as ours was not. On the other hand, oversized bags which fitted into KLM volume checker were allowed! Makes no sense!

In the end we took over a 1000 pics. So all said and done a great trip thanks mainly to our Trip advisor Lynn who was with us right from planning the trip over a year ago and countless hours she spent with us. One great advice Lynn gave us was to carry lots of one dollar denominations, which came in so handy for tips, even though we ran out of dollar bills towards the end. Thank you Lynn from the bottom of our hearts!

The hospitality of ADS ground staff throughout our stay was top notch right to the end. A special thank you also goes to our guide Claude, with whom we made a special bond. Thank you Claude and hope to see you again some day.

Last but not the least, though animals are a big part of why tourists visit Serengeti, in the end it is the kind and friendly people of Tanzania who make the difference. So a big Asante Sana to the people of Tanzania.

Dr. Dawn Sadry, MD, CCFP
Addy Sadry
Toronto, Canada
May 2012

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What an amazing backdrop for our reunion

Lynn: OMG! That is all I can say about our experience with ADS. The service was impeccable! This was our first trip together let alone to Africa. Julie and I went to college together 20+ years ago. She was from Colorado and I was from Rhode Island. We became friends and stayed in touch. Thanks to Facebook Julie and I reconnected and I saw a post about her starting to plan her “dream trip”. I sent her an email and asked if she needed a travel partner. Originally, she was going to travel with family but one thing led to another and low and behold just Julie and I were going. What an amazing backdrop for our reunion.

We met up in Detroit for the beginning of our trip. After a long couple of flights we were in Tanzania. We were met at the airport and had NO trouble with our Visa etc.. Then we were entrusted into the care of Mathius and Charles. These two were fabulous! They were very knowledgeable and helpful. Our first full day was fabulous! We were able to tour a local school and toured the Usariba township. We were able to experience the true Arusha on our extended day. The Mount Meru Hotel was wonderful and it was a very pleasant surprise to sit under a canopy in the middle of the gardens for dinner!

Ok, on to our Safari!! Charles and Mathias drove us to the airport the next morning for our flight into Grumeti. Unfortunately, Wilfred was unable to pick us up at the airport as he was unable to cross the Grumeti River which was over it’s banks. No worries he had a plan in place. A nice gentleman met us and drove us to meet Wilfred. The adventure was under way! We had to cross over the Grumeti river on a suspension foot bridge. Ok, the adrenaline was pumping! Once at the car, Wilfred gave us a quick briefing and we were off.

Our very first game drive! We saw Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, Kopi, Impala, bat eared foxes, Warthogs, Banded and slender mongoose, Black backed jackals, Baboons, Tawny eagle, Eland, Topi, Waterbuck, Cape buffalo, Ostrich to name a few. Wanting to visit local culture, Wilford suggested we head to Lake Victoria. We were able to tour the area, meet the locals and distribute some US goodies to the children! A heart warming experience I must admit!

We arrived at the Soroi and were met by pleasant smiling faces. We were taken to our room and shown around. The rooms and lodge was exceptional. While at dinner that evening we noticed that dining near us was the manager and owner. Both personally came up and greeted us. Wow! Talk about personal attention.

We opted for box breakfast and lunch as we did at every hotel. We wanted to make the most of our trip and Wilfred was more than accommodating and even encouraged this. We left early the next morning and headed out into the Western Corridor. Our drive was pleasant and educational. Wiflred is a wealth of knowledge. Seeing your videos and preparing for our trip I was hoping to get Wilfred and to my pleasant surprise we DID!! Yay!! On our way back, I don’t know how he spotted them but he did… our first Lions! He was able to get close and we sat and watched and studied them.

The next morning we were heading to our private luxury camping in the Seronera Valley. After driving all day we were headed to our camp and came across a pride of Lionesses, a kill and 5 cubs. Talk about adrenaline. Wilfred is AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME… I must admit I aged a little but what an adrenaline rush!!!! Julie and I talked all nite about that. Our Camping experience was wonderful, that coming from a non camper. It was incredible to hear a Lion roar, a hyena and a jackal. Luckily nothing was too close by.. I think… Our crew was pleasant, friendly and I can tell enjoyed their work. The chef was marvelous and our “African Dinner” was superb. Yum is all I can say.

A nice feature of planning was going to the Bilila Lodge. A wonderful place. Not being the camper in the group I cherished the surroundings, gorgeous room and amenities!!! The grounds were immaculate as were all of the hotels/lodges. The food fantastic and the scenery superb. It was very nice to have internet and be able to share with Wilfred some of the videos on your site, as well as pics from the previous days! We loved spending time with Wilfred and hearing about culture and learning about the animals. He was very open to answer every question we asked him. Hopefully, we taught him a thing or two about our states. Dinner the second night was a BBQ that was set in a round room. The surroundings were very intimate and we were able to meet other guests, our chef came to our table to talk with us as he made his rounds in the room. Service and the food as usual was outstanding!

We did spring a radiator leak but not to worry! Wilfred had back up plans. The office was prepared to send out a replacement car. There was no worry or concern. Julie and I knew we were in the hands of a 10 yr veteran.. although he finally admitted that this was his first radiator leak… On our way to Ngorongoro Crater we stopped at the Oldupai Gorge, toured the museum and had a native explain/ provide history on the gorge. We then went off the beaten path and Wilfred brought us to a Maasai Village where I was invited to dance with the tribe. What a wonderful experience! We were generously welcomed and given a tour of the village. On to the crater.

Arriving at the last lodge, Julie and I wondered where the time had gone. We were a little sad because we knew that our trip was coming to an end. We enjoyed dinner and our view from our room.
The Crater was amazing… there we were on the edge of the wildest spot in Tanzania, on the wildest continent left on earth. To stand there on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater beside the Serengeti plain. Somehow the wind, the sun, the sky, the clouds ..they are unique. Only in Africa.. Greens looked greener, pinks pinker, yellows more yellow.

We hit the sack pretty early that night as we wanted to be the first in the Crater and we were!!! Being the first was awesome until we ran into an elephant who would not allow us to pass and held us up for 30 mins or so. Apparently every other car behind us saw the road block and envied us! Julie and I learned early on.. that Wilfred started and ended the days with something wonderful!!! Never were we disappointed. We completed the Big 5 finally!

Our last day came too fast. We enjoyed our drive back to Arusha for our day room. On our way we were able to go visit FAME. This was very interesting as Julie and I are both in the Medical field. We were able to meet and interact with both the staff and doctors. What an impressive facility! Once back at the Mount Meru resort we were able to shower quickly, repack and then headed to the airport. Once at the airport Wilfred waited until we were through immigration and security before he left. We were on our way back home….. 🙁

I must commend you and the entire staff both locally and in Tanzania on the level of customer service that you provide! I thank you for fully preparing us for what to expect every step of the way. The handbook and all your emails were awesome. You and ADS made this a trip of a lifetime!! Thank You from the bottom of my heart!!!

Diane Macksoud
Cranston, Rhone Island
May 2012

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We had 95 lion, 15 cheetah, and 12 leopard sightings!

We would highly recommend booking a safari with Africa Dream Safaris. From the moment we landed in Tanzania, there was someone there to greet us, get us through immigration and to our hotel. They answered all our questions and ensured we had a lovely dinner, even though we arrived quite late.

The next day they drove us to the Arusha airport and the safari began. We have been to several countries in Africa, however, for the sheer number of animals a safari in Tanzania cannot be beat. We visited the South, Central, and Western Serengeti, as well as Ngorongoro Crater. We saw literally thousands and thousands of animals.

Sharon advised on where we should stay to see the migration and she was right on target. It was unbelievable to see the huge herds of wildebeests and zebras and believe me, you have to see it to comprehend the how large it is.

We had 95 lion, 15 cheetah, and 12 leopard sightings. We saw a mother cheetah with three cubs and three mother lions with 10 cubs. We saw all the big five, plus animals we had never seen before to include porcupines, colobus monkeys, and a leopard tortoise.

The lodges were quite nice and the camping was fun. At one of the camps, one of our hosts tried his best to teach us Swahili. Our driver David was extremely knowledgeable and found all the animals we told him we were interested in seeing. He consistently knew where the animals would wander or where to place the land cruiser to get the best pictures. We would definitely arrange another safari with Africa Dream Safaris.

Tony, Amanda, Matthew and Hayley Bedwell
New Palestine, Indiana
May 2012

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Saw the ‘Big Five’

It has been said countless times on this site, but our trip to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater really altered our view of our planet. These two national parks should not be missed by any animal enthusiast! We HIGHLY recommend AFRICA DREAMS SAFARI because they maintained a close personal touch with us from the time we arrived at the Kilimanjaro Airport until the moment they dropped us off 10 days later.

David, our guide, is as good as it gets. He was informative without being blabby. His respect for the parks and the animals was truly inspiring. He was always careful to position us for the best camera angles for pictures of the animals!

Selecting our favorite moment is difficult because there are so many! We were proud that we saw the “big five!” Within two hours of our arrival in northwest Serengeti, we were surrounded by 60 to 70 elephants, which was at the top of our list of goals!

It was fascinating watching three lions devour a Cape Buffalo after a kill. They gorged themselves to the point of not being able to move! After the feast, one of the lions passed out in the road right in front of us!

In Ngorongoro Crater we particularly enjoyed the sunrise interplay between a pride of lions on the hunt and a herd of Cape Buffalo who managed to chase the pride into the bushes and keep them there! Two of the lions are pictured here. This was classic a lesson in survival of the fittest.

The blue monkeys were beautiful and hilarious!

We saw the beginning of the migration of the wildebeests and zebra, which is beyond description. We guessed that we laid eyes on nearly a million wildebeests and a quarter million zebras!

The giraffes were simply magical. So gentle and graceful. We saw hundreds throughout the trip!

We were so lucky and honored to see the rare black rhinos in the magical Ngorongoro Crater. We could go on and on, but the bottom line is, this was the trip of a lifetime and we feel so fortunate to have been able to do it! AFRICA DREAMS SAFARI offers terrific customer service . We will definitely go back to them for our next trip!

Holland and Patience
Skaneateles, New York
May 2012

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