Posts From June 2014

My Family’s Amazing Safari To Tanzania.

I have been dreaming of going on an African Safari for most of my life. It took me almost 50 years to make that dream into a reality, and now I can hardly believe it is over.

I feel so blessed that this adventure was shared with my husband Lance, and my two daughters Chelsea (15) and Haley (11). We are all crazy animal lovers and all interested in learning about new cultures. This trip could not have been any more ideal for our family. I have to say that Dawn helped us to plan the perfect itinerary and we loved every minute of it!

Our adventure started in Arusha where we had the incredible opportunity to visit the St. Jude school. We spent the day visiting classes, eating lunch with the children, playing games, and learning all about this wonderful school which provides an opportunity for the most impoverished students to get a superior education. At the end of the day, we rode the bus home with a young student- Jennifa and visited her home.

We were overwhelmed as all of her friends, family and neighbors greeted us with songs and cheering. We were invited into her humble home for tea and snacks and talked with her parents (through and English translator). We were almost in tears when we left and we all hugged and cried as we told them we would like to sponsor their daughter in school this year.

The next day we flew off into the Serengeti on a small plane. We landed in the Grumeti air strip and were greeted by Petro our cheerful Safari Guide. He gave both my girls the biggest hug and said that we would have a great time together. Immediately upon leaving the airstrip we saw hundreds of wildebeasts and dozens of baboons. We were so excited to start our journey deep into the Serengeti.

On the ride to our first lodge- we saw giraffes, zebras and dozens of other animals. It felt like a dream. We arrived at the Mbalageti Tented lodge and were greeted with fresh juice and cold cloths to wipe our faces. We could not get over our luxury accommodations. Our family tent was like a small palace with an expansive deck looking out into the wilderness. We cooled off in the pool and took a nap before dinner. The buffets were all fabulous and it was fun to chat with other guests about their safari experiences.

The next day we got to see our first lion pride and spotted a beautiful leopard and even a cheetah. We spent time watching the hippos at the Retina pool. It was mating season so we saw two male hippos fighting, we even saw some pink babies and watched the hippos wallowing and grunting in the mud.

The Four Seasons Lodge, our next stop was like stepping into a travel magazine. We had fun at the beautiful pool where we could watch the elephants come drink at the watering hole. At one point- there were 37 elephants surrounding the area and even a one week old elephant baby that had been born on the property the week before. The staff there (and in all the lodges) were so kind and helpful. One morning a baboon visited us on our balcony. Haley thought that was so funny!

We continued our game drives and could not wait to see what the day would bring. The great migration of wildebeests and zebras was amazing to watch throughout. Petro, of course was so knowledgeable about the animals and we admired his respect and love for them. Lance and I chatted with him about Tanzanian culture, history and life. We all became great friends. He called Haley, my youngest the Safari boss and he teased Chelsea about her music. We learned about his family as well and I even got to speak with his wife on the phone.

We headed off to the Ngorongoro Crater and stopped at a Masaai village for a couple of hours which was truly a highlight for me. We were greeted by a the chief’s son (who spoke English.) We danced together, toured the village and got to see the boma huts where they live. We learned about their life and even visit the small school made of sticks. The children were so interested in us and we showed them pictures on our camera. We sang to them and gave each one a high five. It was AMAZING! I think it gave Chelsea and Haley a new appreciation of our life in the States.

We headed down into the crater and were hoping to see the elusive rhino. We lucked out and were able to find one (a bit in the distance) and watched him for some time. The Lion’s Paw tented camp on top of the crater was magical. We felt like we were in Avatar with all the lush trees. There were only 6 tents and we happened to be the only ones staying there that night. We were treated like royalty. We got to eat dinner together with Petro and visited with the staff at Lion’s Paw.

The next morning, as we headed into the crater we were fortunate to come upon a male lion lying in the road. We were in awe of this majestic creature. A few hundred yards away- his harem of 6 lionesses were planning their attack on a small herd of zebra. We watched them spread out and slowly, slowly creep along in the tall grass until they were close enough to charge. It was so exciting to watch!! The zebra were faster than we imagined and got away! Phew…

After a few more hours surveying the crater, seeing hyenas, mammoth elephants, hundreds of flamingos in the salty lake and dozens of other birds. We decided to make our way to Gibbs Farm. This was our last stop and it was a wonderful retreat for 3 nights after a week of game drives. We spent our time in Gibbs Farm sitting out on the lawn chairs, picking vegetables in the 9 acre garden, drinking coffee and relaxing. We also had a chance to tour the small nearby town and visit an orphanage. It was a great way to end our Safari experience. The last night the staff brought us a cake and sang to us in Swahili.

I feel so sad that it’s all over now, But these memories will last a lifetime. Thank you so much to African Dream Safari especially to Dawn for planning this fabulous trip for us to Petro for guiding us through the Serengeti with care and fun, to all the fabulous staff at the lodges who made us feel like special guests and the Tanzanian people for sharing your beautiful country with us and especially for your warm smiles!

Stephanie, Lance, Chelsea and Haley E.
Tucson, Arizona
May 27, 2014 to June 5, 2014

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Kudos To A.D.S. For The Most Amazing Trip Ever!

Our Africa Dream Safari was a home run for our family of four! From our initial inquiry to the farewell at the Kilimanjaro airport our experience was exceptional. Sharon Lyon crafted a fabulous 8 day safari for us and sent us a comprehensive pre-safari folder that included our detailed itinerary, a DVD, maps of Tanzania and the ADS Handbook which is an invaluable resource for everything you need to know about a safari in Tanzania.

Tanzania is a place of breathtaking beauty and we struggle to find the words to adequately describe our experience. You will know what we mean when you take in the view from the open air dining room at the Mbalageti tented lodge, drive over the rim of the Ngorongoro crater for the first time, or experience the never ending plains of the Central Serengeti from a private safari Land Cruiser nick named ”Air Force One.”

Highlights of our safari include being greeted by three giraffes (my favorite) as we entered the Seronera Sametu tented camp, seeing a lioness chase off a cheetah to protect her cubs and a 15 minute “up-close and personal” stand off with a bull elephant who wanted our shady spot under an acacia tree.

Any safari is mostly about the animals and we saw plenty, but we would be remiss if we did not mention the efforts of the Africa Dream Safari family who provided more than we ever expected in service and hospitality. Mattias and Timon met us at the Kilimanjaro Airport and expedited the Tanzania visa process for us (one of the perks of booking with ADS). Claude, our driver- guide, was personable and extremely knowledgeable about all creatures great and small, including the termites!

Jonas at Sametu camp and Edward at Lion’s Paw camp were our gracious hosts who greeted us with warm wash cloths and refreshing juice after each game drive and made sure that we had hot water bottles under our covers each night. Kudos to ADS for the most amazing trip ever!

Ted, Gretchen, Emily & Nicholas J.
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
Safari Dates: June 19-27, 2014

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I Chose A Private Safari That Gave Us Total Control Of Our Agenda.

Two year before our African vacation my wife Jenny and two granddaughters, Haley and Morgan, were watching an episode of “The Amazing Race”. The Maasai warriors were performing their traditional dance. Mesmerized by this performance Haley, 15 years old, and Morgan,12 years old, asked, “Can we go and see them?” With Grandpa wrapped around their little fingers, I said “Yes, we can!”

This commitment, without any understanding of what I was getting us into, led to several months of fact-finding and research. Having never been outside of the United States or ever attempted travel this complex, I was completely lost.

My research uncovered many choices that had to be made: safari tour (8-12 people) or a private custom safari with just our family; location in Africa; time of the year; financial constraints; and children considerations. I finally chose a private, custom safari that gave us total control of our agenda and timing that could be altered if we needed to address the girls’ needs…or ours. Later I found that this was a crucial decision that made all the difference to us.

Having decided on a private tour, I needed to find an outfitter that offered them, and as luck would have it, I came across Africa Dream Safaris and Dawn Anderson. From my first phone call to our return home, she was with us the entire year and a half. Dawn answered all our questions…and there were hundreds; offered many options; made schedule changes at the spur of the moment; and gave advice throughout the process on every aspect of the trip. She was the catalyst for our successful adventure.

Our trip was in June, a wonderful time of the year for seeing wildlife and babies. Oh, the babies! The weather was fantastic and the Serengeti was still green and alive. The food was delicious. Jenny, a vegetarian, was accommodated throughout the trip. With the personal touches we received, you would have thought we owned the Company! At every stop we received cool drinks to quench our thirst, wet towels to wash the trail dust from our faces, and personal notes, hoping we were having a good time.

Our adventures were numerous and memorable. We ate lunch one day six feet from two cheetahs and their three cubs. Another day we saw a complete lion hunt from beginning to end.

My greatest experience was our visit to the Maasai village. This process involved a meeting of the elders prior to entering the village. As we crossed a muddy field the chief and several warriors with spears approached. Haley elbowed me and whispered that these people have nothing, are wild and dirty, and have flies all over them. She asked if we were safe. We spent several hours in the village. The chief explained community life in the village and how they all pitched in to help each other. We danced with them, visited inside their huts, and had an altogether insightful day into their lives, so different from ours. As we left across that same muddy field, Haley said to me, “Grandpa, I have never seen people so happy. I think I could live here.”

This was a life changing experience for us, particularly my granddaughters. Haley wants to have her honeymoon here and Morgan said she can’t wait to return. God willing, we will all return in 2015.

Our experience is etched into our hearts and souls, a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation, thanks to the wonderful guides and people at Africa Dream Safaris.

Bill, Jennie, Haley and Morgan C.
Mainville, Ohioa
Safari Dates: June 14, 2014 to June 24, 2014

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We Saw More Wildlife Than We Could Imagine.

It has long been a dream of my sister, husband & I to safari in Africa & I diligently researched many, many companies with which to take our tour. ADS has many awards from the Tanzanian government & National Geographic on their outstanding work on safari and within the Tanzanian community. I had the good fortune to work with Sharon Lyons (Mama Simba), Arnold (our world class guide & driver) as well as the camp hosts & workers.

Upon our arrival in the Western Serengeti, our game drive had gems as we were right in the midst of the Great Migration! Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles & impala were in the hundreds of thousand with elephants, giraffe & mongoose in the hundreds. It is an amazing sight to be surrounded by over a million wildebeest plaintively bleating, running & fighting! Mbalagetti Lodge was beautiful, sitting on the edge of the Dutwa Plain with an outstanding view from the dining veranda, pool & spa. I particularly enjoyed the “whoop-whoop” of the hyenas close by at night.

We moved on to Central Serengeti where, starting out in early morning, we were treated to hyenas with a kill and lionesses with their kill. We enjoyed watching the large number of creatures that feed from a single kill (lionesses, hyena, jackals, white-backed vultures and Lappett vultures to name a few). It sounds cliché, but for someone who has watched hours of National Geographic’s Wild Discovery, it was surreal to be so close to the action. Our stay at the Sametu Camp could have been miserable because of the nightly rain, but Jonas & the crew made our return each night enjoyable with fabulous, fresh meals, hot showers & a hot water bottle for the cold night. Our lodging was luxurious for a tent & we enjoyed the stay. Our hot air balloon ride over the Central Serengeti was magical and serene!

The Central Serengeti is certainly “cat central” and during the 3 day period we viewed: 3 leopards, 8 cheetah, 27 lionesses, 15 male lions, and 16 cubs! We spent hours at the Masaii Kopje watching a large pride feed, then relax & play. We even had the good fortune to see a lioness up a tree! A stop at the Lion Research Center was extremely interesting & the researchers shared their identification files as well as information gleaned from years of painstaking observation – definitely an organization worthy of our donations. Leaving the research station, we sighted a Serval cat and bat eared fox which are very rare during daylight. The following day while driving to Ngorogoro Crater we were treated to a fight between two massive male hippos, and herds of elephants (some with 18+ members) knocking over trees so their babies could reach the most succulent leaves at the top – impressive!

Ngorogoro Crater was awe-inspiring! Driving on the plains, the dormant volcano is easy to see in the distance, but driving down into the caldera was magical! I loved the lush landscaping at the top of the crater with the huge plain in the center. More resident animals are found here – the beautiful black rhino was tops on my list and we saw one the moment we drove down! After such an exciting start to this region’s gems, we all absolutely loved Lion’s Paw Camp & Edward was another host that treated us like royalty! The luxury tents amid the dense foliage with bird calls in the air was a treat for the soul.

We saw more wildlife than even we could imagine, enjoyed all the stories of Arnold & appreciated the expert care taken by our hosts in the camps – it really was a trip of a lifetime! Thank you Sharon, Faith and everyone who assisted with this trip. Every day is a good day in the bush!

Candice and Michael Y. and Patricia R.
Bay Point, California
Safari Dates: June 1-12, 2014

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I chose ADS after researching several other outfits…it was the best choice I made.

Our family had the opportunity to take this trip come up with fairly short notice, fortunately Sharon and the ADS team were equal to the challenge – putting together a 2 week safari with only 5 weeks’ notice.

From the lodging to the guide we were assigned, everything worked. From the time we landed until we left the ADS team did everything they could to ensure we felt safe and comfortable. They were even able to accommodate us traveling with a 10 year old.

I chose ADS after researching several other outfits, and by far, it was the best choice I made. Highpoints included over 100 lions, 11 cheetahs, 3 leopards, and 3 black rhinos. Other groups we talked did not see a fraction of what we did. Our son was treated as an equal decision maker by everyone we interacted with, and they made sure this experience will be remembered his entire life.

Thank you, ADS! You exceeded our dreams and expectations!

Dale, Deelaina & Garrett M.
Boerne, Texas
Safari Dates: May 25, 2014 to June 5, 2014

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We Had An Exceptional Experience With ADS.

We began planning our May 2014 African safari over a year in advance. Dawn was extremely helpful in recommending an itinerary that would maximize our opportunities to see the many aspects of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater that we wanted to see. Additionally she did a marvelous job of arranging for us to stay in a variety of lodging facilities from a mobile tented campsite in Sametu to the luxurious Four Seasons Resort in Bilila.

The ultimate success of our safari was largely due to our incredible guide “Rafae”. His knowledge of animals and their behaviors, birds, plants and the Maasi culture made for an outstanding learning experience that each of us will always remember. We had an exceptional experience with African Dream Safaris. We enthusiastically recommend them to anyone considering a safari in Tanzania.

Dennis and Jane T.
Rockford, Illinois
Safari dates: May 23, 2014 to June 01, 2014

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Giving Josh a Helping Hand

Prep student Josh has already gone through a rite of passage for a young child, in only a few short months. Josh earned his boyhood stripes when he broke his arm while falling off play equipment at St Jude’s. He has gained the status as the only kid in the playground with a sling and he’s enjoying the attention while he can. Recovery has been quick for Josh, thanks to the caring support of the St Jude’s Health and Welfare team. The day a teacher carried him in with his painful, broken arm, the Lower Primary Medical Officer, Brenda was on hand to provide assistance. She carefully placed Josh’s arm in a bandage, then notified his parents before taking him to the hospital in one of our school buses. ADS proudly sponsors The School of St. Jude. Here’s their monthly update:

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The Unique Behavior Of The Serengeti Cheetah

In this current report, on-site researcher Anne Hilborn has provided us with a wonderfully succinct summary on the Serengeti cheetah’s unique social system. Below is an excerpt while the the full report can be downloaded here: June 2014 Serengeti Cheetah Report Prepared Exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris.

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This Trip Was A True Bucket List Experience.

We were almost off to a false start on our safari when Turkish Airlines inexplicably canceled the second leg of our arrival flight to Kilimanjaro.  Fortunately, thanks to Dawn/ADS, they were able to reschedule the entire trip – albeit 2 days later flying KLM Airlines.  Otherwise, we would have had to cancel our trip.  How lucky we were to still be able to go and have such an incredible experience.

Every destination on our safari in Tanzania was unique unto itself.  The Singita Sabora Camp in the Grumeti Game Reserves was a real luxury tent camping surprise.  We were surrounded by wildebeests that never stopped “talking to us”.  While there our every need was attended to.  Edward, our Singita guide, did an outstanding job showing us the wildlife of the Grumetu Game Reserve.

After this we were picked up by our ADS guide, Thomson Malekia who escorted us for the next seven days in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.  My wife and I have had naturalist guides in the Galapagas Islands and trekking guides in Machu Picchu and the Andes, but none surpassed the skills and capabilities of Thomson.  He was patient with us and all the animals and consequently we saw many more than we might have because they just kept coming into view.

Our accommodations at each of our destinations were unique and comfortable. The food was phenomenal and the hospitality extended us could not have been improved upon.  Thomson had an almost have a sixth sense as to where all the different animals would be and we safely saw them all up close and personal.

One afternoon we spent more than an hour in the middle of nowhere with a family of 5 cheetahs and just us! We watched them run and play and took incredible pictures of the entire family.  We saw the illusive leopards sleeping in trees, a stalking lion taking down a Thomson Gazelle for her pride, elephants with colossal tusks eating the crater flowers and the endangered black rhinos grazing on the crater plains.

Every evening we watched incredible Serengeti sunsets and the dawns were memorable as well – especially the sunrise viewed from the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater as all the animals were awakening.

On our final day when returning to Arusha, we stopped at the F.A.M.E. Hospital in Karatu,Tanzania which was established by Dr. Frank and others for the Tanzanian people where there is only one doctor for every 30,000 inhabitants.  As a physician, I was impressed with the quality of care they were providing their patients with such limited resources.  However, they had modern medical equipment and were connected through the internet for medical specialty consultations from most anywhere for their patients.

In summary, this trip was a true bucket list experience for us and we thank ADS for making it all possible! THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME!

Dr. William and Daphne M.
San Diego, California
Safari Dates: May 14, 2014 to May 24, 2014

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We Enjoyed Meeting Wonderful People, Workers And Travelers Alike.

We send thanks and congratulations for a job well done. The 8 day itinerary and the execution by your staff gave us an unbelievable experience and the knowledge that our money was well spent.

Faith met us at the Kilimanjaro airport with a smile on her face and a professional, calming manor. She got us to and through Arusha and managed a quick check in to the hotel – all this with a new baby due in 2 or 3 weeks.

Our driver-guide Ally met us as we got off the plane at Grumeti airstrip. The rest is history! Ally is certainly one of the smartest and personable men we have ever known. His love of the land and its creatures was admirable and contagious. His actions left no doubt he took his responsibilities as a teacher and a protector seriously and joyfully. He taught us patience is indeed a virtue. Animal’s actions are predictable – to the expert – we learned to relax and enjoy the fact that something grand was going to be seen. Many of our best pictures and videos are a direct result of Ally’s patience.

We enjoyed meeting wonderful people, workers and travelers alike. Many shared their joy of the visit to Africa and many shared their hope and expectation of a better life ahead. The wide spread use of the English language was a surprise to us. Parents sacrifice to send the children to school. They know education is a key to the better life.

The late May date was perfect – comfortable weather and good road conditions. Your equipment was good and Ally cleaned it every day. The camps were comfortable, clean and exciting. The food was very good – yes, very good.

Carl & Barbara M.
Avon, Indiana
Safari Dates: May 15, 2014 to May 22, 2014

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ADS Has The Best Of The Best When It Comes To Staff, Guides, Locations and Itineraries..

After 18 months of planning and anticipation, our safari time finally arrived. This family trip, grandparents, parents and grandchildren, was planned to be a time of enjoyment, education and memories to last a lifetime. We were not disappointed in any aspect of expectation!

The 20+ hour plane ride was grueling but the anticipation easily trumped the non-eventful con-nections at airports starting in San Francisco winding through Washington DC and Addis Abba, Ethiopia. We were all tired and ready for the resort at Mount Meru in Arusha as T-mon and Mat-tias whisked us through the airport, taking care of our bags, visas and insuring us that we would soon have a hot meal and a bed to rest in, we began to sense how smoothly the ADS operation would run.

These guys were professional and had only our needs on their agenda. Our extra day spent in Mount Meru, before departing to the Serengeti, was well spent and just what we needed to get over the jet lag. Thank you Mama Simba for paving the way for us at the Heritage Cultural Center where we were able to purchase good, quality tanzanite at great prices along with getting an education about the area and the mining of the stones.

Our 1 hour plane ride out to the Western Serengeti was an amazing view of the land and a small introduction of what was to come. Once we arrived at the Grumeti Airstrip and met Ellson , our ADS guide, the 6 of us loaded up in our Land Cruiser. Within 5 minutes of leaving the airstrip we were already seeing animals in their own environments! The elephants, giraffe, gazelle, hyena, birds, warthogs, jackals and others were right there, within reach, and we had multiple cameras ready to document it all. Needless to say, the excitement and anticipation levels were off the hook!!

Our game drive through the West Serengeti to our first camp, Mbalageti Tented Lodge, was complete as Ellson shared all his knowledge of the animals and their way of life. I can’t imagine that there is a more qualified and knowledgeable guide than Ellson on your staff. He was truly a walking encyclopedia on all subjects and readily shared all information with us. He even carried reference books in the vehicle so that we could see pictures of the birds and other animals that we saw. He quickly became not just our guide but a genuine friend and part of our family.

The Mbalageti Tented Lodge was an amazing oasis in the middle of this open wildlife environ-ment. Our private veranda was an amazing place to watch the wildlife and sunset and just one of the many luxury parts of this lodge. The food was amazing, the people so accommodating and focused on making our trip the best and the chalets were so comfortable. The designer rates an A+ for luxury in the wild! Our early morning game drives allowed us to encounter all the native residents and much more. We saw it all! Ellson made sure we didn’t miss a beat as he had this remarkable knack for spotting the animals in the far distance.

On to the central Serengeti and 3 nights at the Seronera Sametu Camp which was a tented camp that was camping at it’s finest! We were pretty much the only residents for the time we were there which meant that Primo, our top chef, devoted all his attention to us. The rest of the staff was amazing too. They anticipated & catered to our every need. The wildlife was amazing and, OMG, we even had a Cape Water Buffalo in arms reach as he grazed outside our tent one night. We were up early every morning for game drives and managed to see lions & cubs, cheetah & cubs, leopard & cubs along with the rarely seen Serval and her cub along with a Steenbok during our 8 night stay.

The Lion’s Paw, on the rim of the Crater, was another fabulous location chocked full of luxury! I wonder if this is what they call “Glamping”? The Flamingos were amazing, a concentration of pink spread across the water as we descended down into the base and of course we were able to see not 1 but 2 rhinos. The staff was as attentive as ever at camp and really made our stay so wonderful. Groovy, our chef, made some of the best soup that I have ever eaten and it was amazing to see his kitchen and realize that everything was cooked using charcoal! The hot water bottles in bed…who would think of these little things that make such a huge difference! All of the staff did an amazing job and catered to us to insure we were comfortable and felt welcome.

What an amazing journey…words just can’t do it justice. We will remember this for years to come and definitely remember that ADS has the best of the best when it comes to staff, guides, loca-tions and itineraries. Thank you ADS for this once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experience!!!

Alice and Barry B.
Kim and George A.
Nicole and Jessica A.
Martinez, California
Safari Dates: June 1, 2014 to June 12, 2014

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I Cannot Imagine A Trip Being Better Planned Or Executed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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