I recently got back from Tanzania…for the third time. Three times I have stepped off that blue and white plane on the Kilimanjaro tarmac. Three times I have found my name on a hand held a place card next to an Africa Dreams Safari logo. And three times I’ve found a smiling face behind it to effortlessly shuffle me through the madness. People often ask me why I have gone to Tanzania three times, and more specifically, why I have gone back with ADS each time.
I am a professional wildlife photographer and a filmmaker. And this trip was mostly dedicated to shooting a Safari themed film. Why Tanzania? Well, for starters, it is the best safari destination in the world in my opinion. Because of the great migration there is nowhere on the planet where you can see as many animals at one time than Tanzania…ANY time of the year. For a photographer, it is heaven on earth. Even if you are a beginning photographer…you can build an entire portfolio there in one trip.
I stumbled upon ADS before my first safari. I was a newby to Africa. It was, without doubt, the best piece of dumb luck I have ever had for so many reasons.
But you can read all about that on the dozens of other testimonials on this site, along with much praise for the Serengeti. I don’t need to rehash that. I am going to concentrate on something else here…their Guides. Because in my opinion, they may be the most important element of your trip. ADS hires the best, most experienced, most educated Guides in all of Tanzania. As one Guide told me on this trip when I asked him why he works for Africa Dreams Safaris he said “because they are the best…. and we are the best”. So true.
For this trip ADS paired me up with Raphael Mollel, one of their 20 or so Guides. Francis Peter, my previous Guide and now friend, was already on Safari with other people. In short, I was told that Raphael was “the real deal” and that I would like him. He turned out to be all of that. Raphael is not only an expert ADS driver/guide. He is also a full blown Maasai warrior.
When I found this out, I asked Raphael if I could interview him for the film I was working on. He said yes. The next morning when we headed out to the truck…Raphael was waiting, wearing full Maasai warrior clothing and a big smile. That’s just a small example of the dedication…the little touches you get with Africa Dreams Safaris. They…are the real deal. Your guide is your pilot on safari. He will expertly take you on this journey. And he will become your friend. I guarantee that.
The ADS guides are all local. They know the area, the language, the customs. And they are all educated in everything you will encounter in the Bush, from the animals and birds to the geology and the local tribes. They are english speaking Tanzanian encyclopedias with Swahili accents. We laughed, we joked, we shared experiences and we learned from each other. Along the way, we ran into my friend Francis in the Bush with his Safari. It was like seeing an old friend…even better than that.
The ADS guides are a family and when you enter into a Safari with them…you become part of that family. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your guide. And when it comes time to leave…. you are not going to want to. The Tanzanian people have a friendly way about them and you are going to become absorbed by it. It’s infectious. Your guide will become as big a part of your Safari as any of the amazing things you will see out there. And in your photo album, amongst the amazing pictures of the Lions and Giraffes and Elephants there’s going to be a picture of you with your arm around your Guide. Ask anyone who’s been there with ADS. It just happens. Francis is in mine…so is Raphael.
So read on. So many people have beautifully captured the essence of their Safaris in the testimonials on this website. Although words and pictures don’t really do it justice… you have to experience it to really “feel” it. And when you’re out there, sitting around a campfire talking about your Guide with whoever you are with, you’ll say to them (about this article) “you know…that guy was right”.
Jeff S. and Chris L.
Pineville, North Carolina
Safari Dates: March 7, 2015 to March 16, 2015