Posts From May 2014

Tanzania Is The Place To Go!

We had an incredible experience with African Dream Safaris. Tanzania is the place to go and ADS was superb. Now that we are “experienced” safari explorers, we believe the most important aspects of all are: have a great camera (the Nikon P600 outperformed all others on our trip), choose the right time of the year, have the best guides, have comfortable vehicles, and have great lodging to come home to each evening.

We got lucky and chose the camera after our group discussed options – and ADS took care of the rest. The guides/drivers were outstanding: good English skills and great knowledge. Perhaps most important, they were always concerned about our safety. We noticed the competence of the drivers at a few key moments. Excellent all around!

John & Susan R.
Provo, Utah
Safari Dates: May 11, 2014 to May 23, 2014

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A Lifelong Dream Of Mine

Planning a trip to Africa for a safari has been a lifelong dream of mine, but it wasn’t until last summer I was able to convince my 20 year old daughter to join me. We looked at lots of different tour companies and finally decided that a private safari was the best choice for us. We wanted to be able to make our own agenda each day, stay at a variety of different lodges and camps of our choosing, and have a guide and vehicle to ourselves.

We had a limited window of time in May to make this trip happen and everyone at ADS did  heir best to squeeze as much in to our trip as possible. Many thanks to Sharon who planned a wonderful itinerary and was patient throughout the process as we bombarded her with questions.

We cannot say enough good things about the ADS staff in Africa. We were met immediately after we walked off the plane in Kilimanjaro and whisked through the Visa process. From there we travelled to Arusha for a short overnight stay at Mount Meru Hotel.

The next morning we were picked up early by the ADS staff and taken to the airfield to fly to the Western Serengeti. I must admit, my daughter and I were both a bit apprehensive about this flight, but once we were up in the air and able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Africa, our fears subsided.

We met our fabulous guide Peter at the Grumeti airstrip. Within a few minutes of leaving the airstrip, we began spotting animals – gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, baboons, and many others. Peter made sure we were always in the perfect spot to observe these amazing sights as well as get great pictures. We even got a chance to see the migration of the wildebeests which was an awesome sight. There must have been thousands of them.

We were constantly marveling at Peter’s ability to spot animals. He spotted a Columbus Monkey is a densely forested area more than 100 yards away. Every time we asked him how he did it, he would laughingly reply, “I keep telling you, this is my office.” He openly share his vast knowledge of the behaviors of the animals which we found not only educational, but fascinating.

We spent our first two nights at the Kirawira Tented Lodge and could not have been more pleased. The staff was phenomenal, always making sure we had everything we needed, even arranging for my daughter to visit with the on-site doctor when she was not feeling so well. They all made us feel “at-home” and amongst friends. As two women traveling alone, we were a bit concerned about our safety, but at Kirawira and all of the other places we stayed throughout our journey, we always felt safe and secure.

Our guide made sure we were ready to start our game drives early so we would have the best chance to get the most out of our day. On our first morning drive while at Kirawira, we were greeted by a giraffe in the middle of the road. We hadn’t even had time to get our cameras ready for the day, but not to worry. There were plenty more giraffes for us to see that day.

On our third day, we drove to the Central Serengeti area where we began to see several different prides of lions, leopards, cheetah, and herds of elephants. A few of the prides we saw were in secluded areas where we were the only people around. We discovered that the main reason was because most of the other safari tour companies have mileage limits so they won’t drive to some of these “out of the way” places. One more advantage of using ADS is that they have unlimited mileage.

We ended our trip with two nights at the beautiful Ngorogoro Crater Lodge where we were treated to an amazing view from our room along with service that was impeccable! Our only regret is that we didn’t have more time to spend there. While in the Crater, our guide located the elusive Black Rhino making our mission to see the Big Five complete.

On our last day, we began our journey back to Arusha where we would have to say goodbye to our newest extended family member, Peter. It was bittersweet, but we were comforted by the fact that we will be coming back to see him someday soon. Next time, we will bring the rest of the family.

On our way to the airport, the ADS staff stopped so we could take a picture standing in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We could now safely say that we had seen it all!

Lynn and Nicole P.
Centreville, Virginia
Safari Dates: May 15 to May 25, 2014

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We Watched Lions Hunting Wildebeest…Exhilarating!

My childhood friend for over 50 years and two more ladies were celebrating our 60’s on this safari. We truly feel we had the most amazing experience. We were amazed by the diversity and sheer number of animals, almost like being on Noah’s Arc.

As stated in many of the previous testimonials, ADS did a wonderful job planning our Safari, arrival and departure at the airport were flawless, lodges were excellent, plenty of food. Our guide Michael was PERFECT. Not only was he knowledgeable about the animals, trees, tribes, and birds he wanted to be sure we had the best position and lighting for photographs. He was fun, very respectful and always had the vehicle clean!

On the second day of Safari we had seen so much that we could have left then and been very happy with the experience; however, there was still much more to come. Before leaving on Safari I was not sure about taking photos of a kill – boy was I wrong. On the second day we were only a few feet away from a lion that took down a wildebeest, seeing this in person is something I shall never forget, very exhilarating.

I would definitely recommend ADS for your Safari. Hopefully my photos will tell more than my writing.

Cindy S.
Granite Bay, California
Safari Dates: May 4, 2014 to May 15, 2014

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A Place Everyone Should See At Least Once In Their Life.

Several months ago, we were invited to round out a group of six for a 10-day trip through the bush with Africa Dream Safaris and it took us all of 2 minutes to decide that we would never forgive ourselves if we declined. We just returned home from the trip tired but thrilled – it was an outstanding adventure and a very well coordinated one.

Upon our arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were met by Faith – a very sweet lady. She had everything under control for us and the next thing we knew we were at our hotel for the night. The next morning, she had us on our way via air to Grumeti. On our touch down at Grumeti, wildebeests were scurrying alongside the plane. We definitely weren’t in Illinois anymore! Stepping off the plane, we found Rafael “Rafa” Mollel, our driver-guide and soon-to-be new friend waiting for us with our home on wheels for the next 9 days. And off we went.

By day’s end, we had seen such an unbelievable variety of animals that I couldn’t imagine that the next day could be anywhere near as good but it always was. And Rafa was a wealth of knowledge on just about everything – the animals and their behavior, the plant life, the geography, etc. It was much, much more than just seeing animals – it was an education on the Serengeti.

Over the 10-day period, we noted down that we had seen at least 11 different carnivores (including 13 or so lions chowing down on an eland, several cheetahs, and a couple of leopards), 4 different primates, 5 different reptiles (including a 12-foot python that appeared right next to our vehicle while we had our focus on a pride of lions), 4 different raptors, 10 different antelopes & other ruminants, 8 other hoofed mammals (including 33 elephants in one spot and 10 black rhinos at a distance), 19 different birds, and 10 different types of trees (including several baobabs) – simply amazing! And then there was the scenery – the endless plains, the kopjes, the watering holes and rivers. Everywhere you looked, it was postcard beautiful. A place everyone should see at least once in their life.

During the trip, we stayed at 6 different places including a tented camp, a couple of tented lodges, and some luxury hotels – all were great in their own way and very different from anything we had ever experienced before. We’ve camped many times but had never heard a lion growl 20 feet from our tent before and we’ve stayed at many a nice hotel but this was the first time we’d ever shared the pool-side lounge chairs with a baboon. What fun!!!

A big thanks to Dawn who handled everything for us in the States, to Faith who took such good care of us in Arusha before we set off and after our return, and especially to Rafa who made the trip so memorable for us each and every day.

Oh, and the Tusker, Kilimanjaro, and Safari beers are all good.

Lawrence and Marcia O.
St. Charles, Illinois
Safari dates: May 23, 2014 to June 01, 2014

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Africa Dream Safaris Changed Our Lives!

Our Safari was an awesome life-changing adventure, taking us to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Arusha, and many other locales in Tanzania. We spent 11 days pausing to take in life, taking photos, cherishing the environment around us, enjoying the wonderful people of Tanzania, reflecting more on the goodness of life, and the beauty of the animals that occupy this planet. This experience has touched our hearts in ways we never imagined..

Our Driver/Guide, Ellison, was magnificent! We have never seen anyone more knowledgeable! If we saw an animal, bird, etc., he immediately knew what it was and could give us a history of it. Ellison is a walking encyclopedia of all things Tanzania! We feel blessed that he was our driver and guide as we journeyed 1200-1500 miles across the Serengeti and Ngorongora with our trusted friend.

Ellison didn’t drive by animals on the side of the road. He went deep into the bush and off road to find them for us to see and photograph. There is no question in our mind — a private safari for two with a highly intelligent, informed, and skilled driver/guide is the only way to do this. We have seen things no ordinary tour would ever see.

For example, we drove THROUGH the Wildebeest and Zebra migrations – hundreds of thousands of animals. We drove deep into the bush to a dried up riverbed to find Lions feasting on a Wildebeest. And the extra good news — we hardly ever saw a tourist out in the real Africa. We feel honored that we were able to experience the great animals of Africa the right way with Africa Dream Safari! The people were great, the scenic beauty was breathtaking, and the variety of animals was astonishing!!

While the Crater Lodge and the Four Seasons were luxurious, our tents were way into the bush (10-20 miles) where the animals actually live. We traveled through riverbeds, up steep hills, over rock embankments, on dusty and bumpy paths, and deep into the forests and plains, to experience the real Serengeti and Ngoronoro – the real “bush.” We wouldn’t want it any other way.

The people of Tanzania are kind, gracious, and were helpful at every turn. We must tell you though — the people are, for the most part, very poor by American standards. Tourism is highly important to the country and its people. Many Tanzanians depend on the tourism industry for their livelihood. They have done amazing things to protect the animals of Africa, particularly those animals that are endangered. We are indebted to them for their courageous work on behalf of animals and are hopeful that someday you will be able to make this incredible trip, not only for yourself, but for the people and animals of Tanzania.

Needless to say, we highly recommend African Dream Safari. Everything Dawn and her team planned for us was exceptional to the core! They truly are the best.

Drs. Charles and Liz S.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Safari Dates: April 29, 2014 to May 7, 2014
Regions Explored: Central Serengeti, East Serengeti, South Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara
Lodges: 2 x Four Seasons, 2 x Sametu, 2 x Lake Masek, 2 x Crater Lodge


Charley and Liz – Lunch at Ngorongoro


Wildebeest Migration – Serengeti


The Lion King of the Ngorongoro


Two Stalking Cheetahs


The Elusive Leopard


Four Seasons with Elephants


Momma and baby


Mother and Child


Mode of Tranfer to Serengeti


Us and our Maasai Friends


A street scene in a Tanzanian Village on the way to Arusha


Female Lion Extraordinaire






The Road through Manyara National Park TZ


Vervet Monkey Sitting on a Rock


Two cheetahs


Male Lion


Giraffes at Ngorongoro Crater


Gray-Crowned Crane Mating Dance


Cape Buffalo that charged our vehicle


A mad bull Elephant


Sunrise over the Serengeti
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Green Season or Dry Season, That is the Question!

How to choose between the green and the dry season is not easily done. Each has its own unique rhythms and beauty, and both are equally rewarding. During the dry season we observed great concentrations of animals in the Northern Serengeti along and near the Mara River. Within five minutes of leaving the Kogatende Airstrip we saw elephants, giraffes, a mother and baby rhino, zebra, and wildebeest. It was incredible to witness so many animals sharing the environment.

Then, that same day we saw two major river crossings complete with false starts and long jumps into the river. Thousands of wildebeest were swimming against the currents, resting on the rocks, clambering up the river edges to safety, and a few succumbing to crocodile attacks. The sounds, smells, reverberating earth, and the clouds of dust contributing to the chaotic ballet that gyrated all around us were exhilarating. No National Geographic film, no IMAX film can ever compete with the first person experience of the great migration.

Seeing the many species of animals co-mingle with one another, displaying both the harmony and the harsh realities of their coexistence is a spiritual experience. The life cycle of the earth’s inhabitants swirl around you in the Serengeti. The symbiotic relationships are writ large here. Ox peckers enjoy a meal as they remove insects from giraffes, Cape buffalo etc. Dung beetles roll balls of excrement, creating homes for their eggs. Cheetahs repurpose termite mounds for observation towers as they search the plains for prey. Everything is intertwined, connected.

Dry season or green season, the animal behavior is all around to see. The grazing animals follow the rains, seeking water and nourishing grasses. Their predators pursue them. Then the scavengers arrive, awaiting the leftovers. Nothing is wasted. In the dry season, the animals head north to the Mara River where they cross back and forth in search of an oasis in which to replenish their parched selves. Dust rises from pounding hooves, coating animals (and vehicles and their occupants in their midst) a chalky brown. Wind blows the dust so that it permeates the air.

In the dry season the hot air and dust make the wet cloths at the camps a welcome refresher. Wiping away the grit of the day and savoring a delectable glass of juice prepares you for relaxing around the campfire and recounting the day’s adventures. Dinner, conversation and a bush music lullaby round out the day. Waking refreshed, you are ready for the new day to begin. Early morning game drives are spectacular as you watch the sun rise above the horizon, the world aglow in mystical light. The roads are dry and navigable. Only the desire to sleep in prevents you from enjoying magical early morning wildlife viewing.

During the green season, the rains may come (or not). What does this mean? Worst case, there may not be hot water for a shower (it doesn’t matter, you aren’t dusty!), the roads may melt into a river of mud that can’t be safely navigated early in the morning, and a late game drive may be cut short so you can return to camp without getting mired in the mud. What? Why would you go then? Because the green season translates to a more relaxing safari, not as much intense driving, but still seeing everything you came to see – just closer to the camps. The green season affords lots of opportunity to observe animal behavior without other vehicles around. It is an intimate experience. We felt like we had the entire Serengeti to ourselves, including several of the camps; a true private safari.

We also saw the grasses seemingly turn green overnight and saw the impact the rain had on the animals awaiting its arrival. To see tens of thousands of wildebeest pour onto the plains from the forests with their young was an incredible, unforgettable sight. The views of baby animals are unparalleled. To see wobbly-legged newborns, protective mothers, and playful babies a few weeks old is enchanting and memorable. Plus, the sound of the rain on the tents – unbeatable! Oh, and the landscapes – verdant plains stretching up to emerald mountains – stunning. The Emerald City of Oz on steroids.

Rain or shine the ADS driver-guides know the Serengeti and its occupants. They know the patterns, likes and dislikes of the animals, and where and how they sleep, hunt, graze, mate, and give birth. The important thing is to let your safari unfold. You will see the animals and birds you have come to see no matter the season.

What you can never predict is what special sightings you alone will witness. From the terrain, suddenly, without warning, right before you is…a birth of a baby animal, a cheetah, leopard, or lion chasing its prey, a mother nursing her young, a pride of lions resting from a night hunting, elephants arranging marriages, golden jackals and black-backed jackals sprinting, a family of wart hogs resting on their forelegs feasting on grass, hyenas soaking in a puddle, ungulates, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and hippos displaying their behaviors, and Bat-eared foxes grooming one another; all sharing their secrets with you.

Each day is special. No day is the same. Many miracles and surprises await you. Green or dry season, both experiences are incredibly rewarding and are to be savored and enjoyed. If you are still unsure, green or dry season, just remember the only lamentable day in the Serengeti, is the day you leave….

Lynn and Phil
Oak Hill, VA
9-21 March, 2014

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Truly A Dream Safari

Since starting to plan our safari in September of 2012, I have read nearly every guest testimonial in the weekly ADS Newsletter. I had a very good idea of what to expect…exemplary personal service from the moment of arrival to departure, superior accommodations, excellent food and a guide with the eyes of an eagle. Without question, ADS employs only superior driver/guides and no matter what guide you are assigned, you can be assured that you are in the very best of hands.

However our guide deserves a special “shout-out.” Arnold was a walking-talking encyclopedia of knowledge! There wasn’t a question we asked that he couldn’t answer in great detail. Not only was he able to educate us about every animal, bird and plant found in the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater, he also shared his knowledge on the traditions and customs of the Maasai tribe and the history of Tanzania, starting with colonialism.

Arnold has a genuine and profound respect for the wildlife we encountered, he was always as excited as we were over a sighting. His enthusiasm over spotting far-off game (that to our eyes appeared to be a black speck on the horizon) was contagious. And his driving skills are extraordinary! The roads were often bumpy and muddy but Arnold managed to be the first vehicle to arrive at a sighting of a recent kill, a pride of lions, a leopard in tree or a hunt in progress. He always positioned our vehicle for the very best photo opportunities. We were so close to the game that our simple SLR digital camera with a zoom lens was more than adequate for capturing remarkable photographs.

As for the accommodations, every place we stayed was fabulous. We especially enjoyed the tents at Seronera Sametu Camp and Lake Masek Tented Lodge. Sleeping under the stars in a private luxury tent, listening to birdsong and the nocturnal communication of hippos and lions was an experience that will never be forgotten.

Thank you Dawn, for all of your assistance in planning our safari. It was the trip of a lifetime and we are so happy we chose ADS. A private safari is the ONLY way to experience the magic of the Serengeti. Your company needs to rename itself AADS (Amazing Africa Dream Safaris)!

Sue and Serge B. – Livonia, Michigan
Pat and Harvey T. – Fairview, Tennesee
Safari Dates: April 26, 2014 to May 4, 2014

Final comment: in the spirit of full disclosure, my sister Pat and brother-in-law Harvey were not initially interested in going on safari for a number of reasons (bugs, heat, fear of political unrest). I promised them that it would be a life-altering experience and here is the email that Pat sent me upon their return:

“Sue – both Harvey and I are waxing on about what a wonderful experience we had on Safari. This is without a doubt the best trip we have ever been on. I don’t think you can describe it to others, even with pictures, but I’m glad we have them as a reminder. I am so happy you convinced us to go. Just amazing…in a live-changing kind of way …”

‘Nuf said!!!

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The Game Drives And Animal Viewing Were Amazing

As first-time safari goers, we approached our safari planning and trip with some trepidation, which was understandable at the outset but proven in the end to be completely unnecessary. The preparation provided by ADS was extraordinary. The handbook was complete and detailed, providing all the necessary information and answers to virtually any question one might have. And any remaining questions were promptly addressed in emails or by telephone.

In addition, the map and recommended reading list provided by ADS were very useful. We purchased some of the recommended books and read them, with map near at hand, in advance of the trip. The books by Myles and Kay Turner were particularly informative about the history of the park. As a result of this excellent preparation, we were very well oriented to the geography and we were able to participate intelligently in discussions with our guide about game drive planning.

The emergency contact information provided by ADS also came in helpful. They are in fact available 24/7 to assist with unexpected problems. In our case, we traveled to and from the Serengeti from Entebbe, Uganda by private air charter arranged by ADS. It is not the usual route. When we were not able to make contact at Entebbe with our charter company, we called the 24/7 number at the Arusha ADS office. We connected promptly, and they were very responsive. Within minutes following the call, a charter representative came for us and escorted us through security and customs.

By the way, the charter flight itself was a very good experience. We flew from Entebbe to Tanzania across Lake Victoria, and processed through Tanzanian customs at Tarime “International” Airport. The airport has a grass runway, and two huts — one that serves as the office of the charter company and a smaller one that serves as the custom office. I have included a picture of the two huts; the smaller one in the background is the customs office. It took only a few minutes to process with customs and then the plane took off again on our way to the park.

The scenery at low elevations was fantastic, and with our prior map orientation, we were able to identify the principal terrain features, like the Great Rift Escarpment and the Mara and Grumeti Rivers. As we approached Seronera, we could see giraffe, zebras and wildebeest. Our guide was waiting for us at the Seronera airstrip, and after transferring our luggage, making introductions and a brief stop in the available airstrip facilities, we began our first game drive.

Our guide (Ellison) was excellent. He was wonderful, informed and educational, and the safari would not have been the same without him. The accommodations were also excellent, and the camp and lodge staffs very friendly and attentive. The game drives and animal viewing were amazing. It is difficult to describe the sheer breadth of the panoramas, the large numbers of diverse animals, and how close you get to the big game (over and over again).

If we ever go again, it will only be with ADS (and hopefully with the same guide). We had thought that our safari would be a once in a lifetime experience, but after being there a couple days we decided that we would make another trip. And we would highly recommend ADS to everyone.

Bill A. and Mary S.
Paradise, MO
Safari dates: April 8 – 15, 2014
Regions Explored: Central Serengeti, East Serengeti, South Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara
Lodges: 3 x Private Camping, 2 x Lake Masek, 2 x Ngorongoro Serena

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Our Conservation Efforts with Serengeti Cheetah Project

Africa Dream Safaris helps fund the Serengeti Cheetah Project’s ongoing conservation efforts. In turn, periodic reports are prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by the on-site researchers for the Serengeti Cheetah Project. The latest news from the safari capital of Africa has just been released. Here is a link to the April 2014 Serengeti Cheetah Report prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by Anne, the on-site researcher for the Serengeti Cheetah Project.

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This Adventure Topped Them All!

Those ten days of our ADS safari were the most exciting days of my life! That’s really saying something big! I have traveled to a number of countries during my 73 years, and I’ve seen things that really amazed me. This adventure topped them all!

For one thing, it is rare that we have an opportunity to just submerge into focusing exclusively on nature for ten days. From early in the morning until early evening, we could sit in that Land Cruiser and watch it all happening right before our eyes….wildebeests, zebras, cheetahs, warthogs, hippos, gazelles, giraffes, leopards, baboons, and so many more animals. Every view was breathtaking!

Patrick, our guide/driver, was a critical part of making this such an incredible trip for us! His experience (10 years with ADS) was evidenced every day. Not only could he spot animals very far away, he knew their behavior enough to know where to move the vehicle so that we could get the best photographs. He was constantly telling us about the animals’ behaviors, habits, and movements. It was like getting a crash coarse in the whole ecosystem in Tanzania. A totally fascinating experience!!

May was a perfect time to go, because it wasn’t crowded. ADS, with their expert advance planning, made this company the best choice! ADS is the only company I would ever use to go on safari in Tanzania!

Videography is my hobby, so I made a 34 minute video that I put online on Vimeo. You don’t need to be a member of Vimeo to see it, and there is no cost to see it. Just click the link below, and it will take you to my Vimeo page. (In the last two weeks, the video on Vimeo has had: 358 downloads and 219 plays in 12 countries.)

Mazie B.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Safari Dates: May 20, 2014 to May 30, 2014

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Being Able To Customize The Day’s Itinerary Was A Real Plus.

The plains of the Serengeti have always been one of the images of Africa embedded in our minds. What a dream come true to be able to see and experience the Serengeti firsthand. As our plane descended into Grumeti airstrip we could see hippos in the river and herds of zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo grazing on the grass. Our guide Claude and our Toyota Land Cruiser were waiting there for us.

After a brief check in with the park officials, we were on our way for a half-day game drive in the Grumeti area. After viewing the zebras, wildebeest, cape buffalo, and impala up close, Claude spotted some lions in a distant tree. We were never able to reach his level of game spotting over the next six days. Lions are rarely found in trees in the Serengeti or most other places for that matter. After shooting some photos from a distance, Claude thought he would try getting the vehicle in closer.

While he maneuvered the vehicle through the grass I fiddled with my camera changing lens. When I looked up we were parked just outside the foliage of a tree, the tree with the lions! There were five lions resting comfortably in the branches and another laying on the ground near-by. All this within the first 90 minutes of arriving, any doubts or skepticism we had about the Serengeti’s game-viewing reputation was permanently removed from our minds.

The lodging arranged by Africa Dream Safaris was top notch. The food was good, well-prepared, and plentiful. You could dine with American-like cuisine or explore African dishes as you chose. The staff were attentive, polite, and truly interested in your enjoyment of the experience. We slept well and enjoyed some fantastic sunset views from our rooms. Usually, internet service was available in select areas, like the lobby, for those needing to stay connected to the outside world.

It’s really the game drives that define your safari experience and Africa Dream Safaris does it right. Our knowledgeable and friendly guide was great at sensing what we wanted to see, or really should see, and when we had had enough. He always asked of course, but you felt he already knew the answer.

Being able to customize the day’s itinerary was a real plus over shared game driving. The Land Cruiser is design to accommodate 8, so there is plenty of room to spread your stuff and get up when you want for a photo from the open roof. We could sit in the shade and yet had ready access to the rolled back roof. A cooler and snacks in the vehicle get you through the longer drives without growing hungry or thirsty.
Overall, a great experience we would definitely do again and certainly recommend.

Walt and Sheila M.
Redondo Beach, California
Safari Dates: May 2, 2014 to May 10, 2014

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Like Being In The Movie ‘Out of Africa’

So, I am not sure there are words to describe just how magical this trip was for the four of us. Africa Dream Safaris set up an 11 day trip that spanned from Singita Sabora Tented Camp in the Grumeti Reserve, to Crater Lodge at the South of Tanzania. From the moment we landed at Mt Kiliminjaro Airport, we were greeted and guided with the utmost professional staff throughout our stay.

Our guide, Thomson, was knowledgeable, attentive, polite, protective and a delight to be around. We invited him to dinner with us every night and he was pleased to spend even more time than he did all day every day in our Landrover! When we left, we felt like we had made a new friend.

He worked tirelessly even while we slept, he cleaned out the car for us! He spent hours and hours searching for every species of animal we could wish for. Our list at the end of the safari was 2 pages long. Far beyond any of our expectations. The first two hours of landing in the Serengeti, we were stunned at what would come to be one highlight after another. Each day, each resort, we kept saying “how could it get better than this?”, but it did.

Singita is something everyone should be so privileged to see once in their lifetime. It is the ultimate of service, food preparation, organization and without a doubt the best staff we have ever seen. When you walk into the hot drawn bath and chilled champagne as you pull up from a fabulous tour of their private reserve, you actually start to giggle. The fact that the entire resort is tented, is the last thing you think of as you drink from Waterford crystal goblets. The bbq under candle lit trees was stunning and surrounded by the entire migration of wildebeest.

Four Seasons was a welcome “lodge” experience after we spent one night at Seronera, which is really a tented lodge. Jonas, the manager, is adorable, but be ready for a shower really from a bladder of hot water that they fill upon your request! At the Four Seasons, the Masai warriors surround you and make you forget there are structures around you instead of tents.

The food was perfect and the pool with elephant watering hole was like having a safari come to you and walk in front of you for hours on end, without getting into your car! A nice break and again, perfect service, fabulous suite with private plunge pool and elephants/baboons/zebras/a lion/and various gazelle walking by your deck at all hours of the day and night. Truly beautiful.

Mbalageti Lodge, the next stop at the end of a very long dirt road, was again a “magical” setting with a very gracious staff. Sitting for meals on the pool and deck area above the expansive Serengeti plains was literally like being in the movie Out of Africa. The Presidential Suite would have fit an entire family with room to spare. The views were astounding and Thomson knew all the places to look for our requested animals of the day.

We chose to fly back down to Crater Lodge, which entailed one phone call to Africa Dreams and a beautiful Cessna Caravan came right on time to get us and take us southward. Thomson drove down to meet us and we promised to wait for him for dinner. The flight was perfect and to see what we had previously toured on land was a real learning experience from the air.

Crater Lodge was like walking back in time to some sort of castle. We felt like Hansel and Gretel when we arrived. The magical drawn baths with rose petals and setting throughout the property is something we could only envision in a Hollywood movie set.

The crater itself was a blanket of yellow flowers, with all the Serengeti animal friends we had seen on dusty roads all week, suddenly standing amidst gorgeous color. Who would have dreamt that we landed in a totally different environment with lakes, water, greenery and plush forests.

Day 9 and we felt like we were starting another vacation entirely. New set of cold climate clothes and an eating area that was certainly patterned after some famous castles in Europe. How could we go wrong? You just kept pinching yourself as each day went by, that these places are literally and figuratively in the middle of nowhere and are as perfect as anyone could make them in a huge city.

On our flight back to the States, we talked about how we slept with animals no more than 25 feet from our bedrooms every single night of the Safari. Different animals in each resort, some near the decks, some next to the tents, some just below your room. All the noises you imagine occur on a Safari. Endless music to our ears.

We saw lions, leopards, hippos, monkeys, baboons, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelle, buffalo, water buck, hippo, buffalo, elephants, zebra, flamingos, cheetahs, crocodiles, birds of every color, dick dicks, hogs…and the list went on and on. We had picnic breakfasts and lunches all over the Serengeti that were each as amazing as one could ask for, in settings that were magnificent. The food in each lodge was superb and anything you requested was brought to you with a smile.

Thomson took us to see FAME, the medical clinic, which was very interesting since we had a doctor on board! What a story that was to hear!

Thank you Dawn, for helping plan the perfect adventure through Tanzania. We cannot wait to come visit again. Now we understand what our friends had said about Africa being “life changing”.

It is a magnificent area that we hope stays able to sustain the animal life as it is for years and years to come. To see such an unspoiled beauty is very special to those who live in the USA. We saw so few people through our stay, we felt very special to be able to visit such a natural beauty.

Stacey B and Manny B.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Safari Dates: May 14, 2014 to May 24, 2014

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After A year In The Planning We Are Back With Many Memories

“How was it?” The one word that keeps coming up is “different”. So different from any other trip we have taken. As it should have been. When pressed, I guess some aspects were as I would have expected-but wouldn’t fully fathom until experienced.

1) The vastness of the Serengeti: When you learn it means “endless plain” in Massi, you agree with the appropriateness of the term. As you are viewing some of the vistas, it just overwhelms you with how it goes on and on.

2) The animals: I expected to see the usual ones-lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes; and hoped to see the rarer ones, rhinos, leopard, cheetah (and did). But it is impossible to imagine ahead of time the sheer numbers. Even though we missed the peak migration crossing the river since it occurred a couple of weeks earlier than usual, still being in the midst of a few hundred thousand wildebeests or 10 or 20 thousand zebras is difficult to comprehend ahead of time.

And yes, we have all seen elephants and lions before-but it is quite different when one saunters right in front of your front bumper and marks his territory by peeing on the vehicle 10 feet in front of yours.

3) The people: you will hear the people of Tanzania are friendly and they were. The one term we kept coming back to was “welcoming”. The staff at the lodges were so friendly – open – and willing to engage.

But the 2 critical persons needed for the trip exceeded what I could have expected. The ADS handbook describes the “meet and greet staff” who will escort you through the process of getting through immigration. Faith, our meet and greet staff person, certainly did that. What we didn’t foresee was how she became our on the ground quarterback (and friend). After taking us to the hotel she said “have a bite to eat, go crash and we will talk tomorrow.”

As a side note; you MUST have a very good reason not to spend an additional night in Arusha. The upfront extra day made all the difference in the world. The following morning she was there to ensure getting to the plane goes off without a hitch, just as she was there when we returned to make sure all was copacetic. At every step she ensured things were perfect.

Finally, our guide/driver/companion: As we set up the trip, my wife noted she really hoped to also see some birds. As expected Peter, our guide, was great finding/showing the animals. Especially persistent in trying to find some special ones. “There are some rare Colubus monkeys only in this place, let’s see if we can find them”. He did.

Or going in and around 20 small hillocks where a cheetah and her cub had been spotted the day before, until he finally found them. But back to the birds. I am not a “birder”, but those of you who are, or who live with one, know what I mean. Peter is a birder and he and my wife wonderfully bonded. Yes, he could find and point them out, but beyond that they shared the excitement in the different birds-“look Peter, see the color of his eyes”. Peter had both a book on the birds as well one on the animals of Tanzania available for us to reference.

The trip really was special, and yes so very different! ADS made sure that all of our needs were met big or small.

Asante Sana Sharon and ADS for a job well done!

Andrea and Bill S.
Marblehead, Massachusetts
Safari Dates: May 16, 2014 to May 27, 2014

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Serengeti Ranked #1 Natural Wonder

African safari tours to various destinations in Africa featured prominently (as one would expect) in the latest release of Wild Travel Magazine where the top 100 natural wonders of the world that everyone must see in their lifetimes were selected. However, we were delighted to read that the Serengeti, our favorite national park, claimed 2 of the top 5 spots. Specifically, watching the great migration in the Serengeti, Tanzania was ranked #1 and tracking lions in the Serengeti was ranked # 5. Furthermore, Africa Dream Safaris was selected as the top tour operator in the Serengeti. Read more about Wild Travel Magazine article here.


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