As avid outdoorspeople and nature lovers, my husband and I decided last year that an African safari would be a great adventure. In particular, we wanted to see the wildebeest migration, and that led us to Tanzania. After several hours of research, it became apparent that African Dream Safaris offered just the type of experience we were interested in.
From the beginning, Dawn expertly answered our questions, prepared an excellent itinerary and delivered top notch information so we could adequately prepare for our trip. Like all of the entries on this blog, we have to say the entire trip was flawless in details—from the smooth visa processing upon arrival, to outstanding accommodations and food, ADS handled everything beyond our expectations.
Having traveled worldwide, I do want to say you can put your trust in them—not only did everything operate expertly, there were backup systems in case of a problem. (Of which we had none).
Attention and gratitude is rightfully given to the quality of the guides. This was the case for us as well; Russell, our guide, enhanced our experience at every turn. From the practical side (expert driving on challenging roads, super clean and well running vehicles) to his uncanny ability to spot wildlife, explain habitat and behaviors, and most of all allowing us to process what we were seeing and giving us context and depth of information, Russell made our trip.
Russell’s knowledge was unsurpassed and we were able to see and learn about things we had not even imagined. Not only did he know where to find the best animals, he would position the land cruiser so we could always get the best pictures, he knew everything about birds and had a great bird book for us to look at, and he was an expert on plants and trees.
We bonded with Russell and were sad to say goodbye at the end of our journey, but will always feel that we had the best trip ever since he was our guide. He invested in making us have the most fulfilling trip possible.
It is hard to describe this unique experience—ADS through the planning and their guides, makes sure that you see extensive wildlife, but more than that, the private driving journey allows each person to experience the great landscape and ecosystems of East Africa individually and in a relaxed way—many times we would not see another person for the entire day.
We were in a pristine landscape where nature and its inhabitants are all around you, and you could authentically experience this great life cycle operating with precision and interdependence—quite life-changing for those of us who spend most of our time in cities!
It is difficult to pick out what we enjoyed the most but a few things stand out—the beautiful leopard we were able to observe close up for an hour, going on the fabulous hot air balloon ride (highly recommended) and then racing to the Mara River to see a wildebeest crossing (adrenalin producing), seeing all the animals interacting after a fresh kill—lions eating, hyenas and jackals finishing up, and then the ever important vultures cleaning everything down to the bones, seeing the nocturnal caracal looking for prey in the Ngorongoro Crater in the late afternoon (rare) and most of all and totally due to Russell’s skills, seeing a baby elephant get born (more than rare)!
Not to mention that we saw over a million wildebeests, and an abundance of lions, crocodiles, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, zebras, cape buffalo, warthogs, jackals, mongoose, dwarf mongoose, baboons, monkeys, sixteen types of African antelope, hippos, three black rhino, cheetahs, more leopards, lots of baby animals, diverse birdlife and even a fat cheetah who had just had breakfast. Not to mention the open savannah, the acacia filled landscapes and beautiful sunrises and sunsets!
All of the accommodations were great, with the most hospitable and welcoming staffs. Karibu! We stayed at Kuria Hills (impressive eco-lodge with solar power and self-sustaining water), Migration Camp (baboons in the trees and loud hippos in the river) Seronera Sametu (rustic and authentic Africa), Lions Paw (close to the crater), Ngorongoro Manor (very nice) and Swala Tented Camp, our favorite.
They were all impressive in different ways. The people were very welcoming, the service was great, and everyone wanted to make sure we had a good time.
Tips: Use Dawn’s packing lists, they were perfect, even if you are not a photographer, get at least a point and shoot with a telephoto lens, take the balloon ride, the boxed breakfasts, lunches and picnics were all a real treat and delicious, there were more bathrooms than we expected, we got up for early game driving just about every day, but Russell suggested on a day or two that we leave slightly later. This was great advice, we always felt rested. We were expecting hot and dusty, but we arrived with some early October rains, and almost everything was green, cool, and lush, so a very light windbreaker was the only thing extra we would have brought.
We will always cherish our memories of Tanzania, and are grateful to the quality experience provided by African Dream Safaris. If you truly want a once in a lifetime experience, this is the trip for you, and we could not recommend ADS more highly.
Susan and Wes H.
Safari Dates: October 16, 2017 – October 29, 2017