We are now nearly a month post safari and it all seems like a dream now, a vivid and unforgettable dream. African Dream Safaris is no misnomer, but rather a most accurate descriptor of a company, a style, and a philosophy that succeeds on every level in delivering the promise of once in a lifetime experience.
From our arrival in Arusha and the kind and welcoming reception at the airport and the rapid delivery to the comforts of our first Africa hotel, things got underway as smoothly as possible. The upward trajectory gathered speed quickly the next morning with the arrival of Francis, our peerless guide and soon-to-be friend. We were but two couples, my wife and I accompanied by two dear friends.
Having read other reviews and the copious encomiums lavished on other ADS guides Francis shouldn’t have come as such a great surprise, yet he was. His knowledge of the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti were encyclopedic. He seemed to know just about everything about the flora and fauna of every place we visited in the region.
He was constantly spotting things otherwise invisible, constantly searching for new ways to delight and entertain us. He knew about so many things and his truck contained reference works on birds and animals that were dog-eared and lovingly pored over. Did I mention that he was also a simply awesome driver taking us safely across all manner of terrain, weather and challenging condition?
Francis passion and determination that paid off time and again with the rewarding appearance of leopards, cheetahs, lions galore, elephants by the score, giraffes, hippos, crocs, rhinos, untold bird species, monkeys, baboons, hyenas, jackals, and all manner of wildebeest and zebra, buffalo and plains dwellers.
We came for the animals, we got the animals and so much more. That included an encounter with an angry alpha male elephant charging angrily toward us in pursuit of an errant couple from the herd who had the temerity to “sneak” off for a mating effort before our very eyes. (Francis said he had never seen that before!)
Our accommodations were extraordinary, a throwback in bush-style elegance from quite another era. The staff members at each location were unfailingly cheerful, helpful and friendly. The food was magnificent, always fresh and exquisitely prepared. As surprised as we were by all the natural splendors, the restfulness, comfort and ease of life in the bush were beyond any of our expectations, way beyond!
The lodges throughout were perfect places for respite and provided pleasurable ways to reflect on the ardors of the day’s wonders. Perhaps the most delightful surprise of all was our bush camp that transported the vicinity from frontier to comfort zone. Our tents included king-size beds, excellent camp toilets, and hot showers (provided by a charcoal fire and the prodigious efforts of our terrific staff) and meals to die for consumed under the gaze of lions! The magical cooks presented us with their charcoal and wood-fired creations including a cake on our last night.
Our last stop was a luxurious lodge that included a swimming pool, beautiful cottages and a wonderful restaurant. The Masai protectors led us to and from our rooms with their spears at the ready. Having visited one of the Masai villages and having observed them with their herds on the plains, the strength, beauty and resilience of those people was a thing to behold.
Our ADS experience really was a dream, a dream come true. In a place and environ where so much can go wrong, everything went right due to the extraordinary talent and efforts of the personnel. We can’t thank you enough for helping to create an extraordinary memory.
Elliot D. and Linda T.
Santa Rosa, California
May 27, 2015 to June 7, 2015