We’ve long found 3 questions from Coach Lou Holtz have invaluable life wisdom applied to ourselves and others: Can I trust you? Do you care about me as a person? Are you committed to excellence? For ADS, a resounding YES to all three questions. Their trustworthiness is truly part of the ‘dream’!
Everyone involved from start to finish showed such personal care for us and our experience, it touched our hearts in unforgettable ways. The ADS commitment to excellence is comprehensive and real. It was 5 star from their website, planning, support, organization, airport pickup, expert guide, safety (vehicle, driving, food, animal protocols) to the absolutely overall flawless execution. In all three questions ADS earned our trust, respect, admiration and profound gratitude.
One of the best perspectives on our trip actually came from a question at a rest stop during our dream safari. A man from a crowded vehicle with another company, incredulously asked “You mean it’s just you and your wife, no one else?” My answer was simple, “yes, it’s so personal and fantastic – – private is what ADS does”. ‘Private’ is the technically accurate description but more than that, for us it translated to an intimate experience of wildlife sightings, the land and conversations with our guide not otherwise possible.
There were so many highlights it seems impossible to choose among them but here are some of them.
When we had to cancel in 2017 (the day before our flight), Sharon Lyon was a Godsend in helping us through it not just administratively, but with such personal and genuine caring it brought tears to our eyes.
Mathias and Ali met us in Arusha and sealed our on-the-ground-confidence instantly. We had a huge luxurious suite and thoroughly enjoyed the Mt Meru Hotel staff, accommodations and food.
Landing at the Kogatende Airfield seeing all the safari vehicles waiting and the wildebeests scattering — the dream was now real!
Our guide Patrick was consummate professional and a blessing beyond words. He quickly touched our hearts and became family for us. He is a wonderful combination of character, competence and care. His knowledge, eagle-eyed spottings and knowledge of where to go without other vehicles brought the experience to life. His personal standards were so high we simply let go of any concerns, trusted him completely and immersed ourselves in the experience.
Safety is obviously a big deal on safari and his skilled, safe driving was stellar and consistent! We watched with admiration how many details small and large he ensured were perfect. Even when we were resting, he was working behind the scenes. He was always on time, fully prepared and eager for the day. After an evening rain storm and a day of lots of mud on the roads, the next morning the vehicle was spotless clean inside and out. Not exactly a lot of car washes out in the bush, so we were both amazed and appreciative of his extra efforts.
We will forever treasure our times and laughter together at meals and around the fire pit as well as on the drives. We are privileged to have had such an expert guide and honored to call him our friend.
Seeing and observing all the incredible animals & birds day after day while soaking in the magnificent scenery and open spaces filled us with awe. We saw the big 5 and just added more from there. We watched for some time a small herd of elephants in very close proximity to pride of lions with a fresh zebra kill. Amazing! Watching two lionesses and their two tiny cubs took our breath away.
The many close encounters of elephants, lions, giraffes, baboons, a black spitting cobra, 3 wildebeest crossings at the Mara River and marveling at the Serengeti endless plains literally with no other humans in sights are etched in our memories as rare privilege.
Meeting the staffs at the tented camps (Mara River Camp, Migration Tented Camp, Seronera Sametu Camp and Ngorongoro Lions Paw) was a highlight each day. They were phenomenal and we will always consider them extended family. The tents were perfectly prepared, immaculately clean and luxurious.
The food was not only safe, it was delicious and healthy. Even with 5:30AM game drive departures, the camp crew prepared a full hot breakfast along with our box lunches . . . and a full set of smiles. They generously and patiently helped us with our Swahili which made our experience more and more meaningful as our safari adventure unfolded.
We were provided 3 special sunset dinners proving to be absolutely unforgettable. The one at Sametu outside next to a specially prepared fire pit was extraordinary. All three were wonderful surprises, presented with the kind of heartfelt, genuine care creating lifelong memories.
A visit to the Massai boma: Such an enlightening visit. We met the chief and his brother provided the guided tour. His mastery of English enhanced our learning of the fascinating Massai culture. They were open and gracious. It was a not-to-miss experience.
The Coffee Plantation Lodge was the perfect transition location at the end. It was a tranquil, beautiful oasis . . . reminiscent of “Out of Africa”.
Our heads are full of new knowledge, our hearts full and humbled by new friendships, and our souls stirred by the many blessings we experienced. The awe of Tanzania is in its Nature, the treasure is in its People.
ADS made all of this possible. From the bottom of our hearts, Asante Sana!
Donna L. and Clayton J.
Kansas City, Missouri
Safari Dates: August 29, 2018 to September 07, 2018