This trip was simply spectacular. From the Serengeti itself to the animals to the camps and lodges to the service, everything was amazing. My wife and I started thinking about this trip 10 years ago, started actively saving for it 5 years ago, decided on timing a year ago, booked in Fall of 2022 for May 2023 and we keep asking ourselves the same question – “Why did we wait so long?”.
From a planning standpoint, Sharon, Michael, Jeff and the entire ADS team were incredibly helpful. Their experience with Tanzania and the parks was evident from the outset and their responsiveness was as good as it gets. Sharon helped us settle on a timeframe that worked for our schedules, created an amazing itinerary taking care of all the details for arrival, transport, lodging and everything else in country.
Michael was cheerful, understanding and super helpful working through the details on payment given the prevalence of online security issues in today’s society. When we decided to add an extra night shortly before the trip, Sharon helped with arranging the extra night, transportation to the Cultural and Heritage Center and transportation back to the airport.
The amount of information Sharon provided to help us prepare, plan, and pack so that we were comfortable, safe and healthy was awesome. As a passionate photographer, I had so many questions since this was our first safari.
Photographic ambassador Jeff Smith was so generous with his time and knowledge helping me with recommendations for gear and how to pack it. He answered every email enthusiastically and I’m so happy with the images I was able to capture. And to make sure we could communicate, Michael setup a WhatsApp group for my wife, myself and the ADS team in Tanzania and the US.
We arrived to VIP treatment and were taken great care of even though the flight was delayed. Our driver/guide Ellison met us in the Serengeti our first morning. He was so friendly and welcoming. We no sooner left the airstrip and the animal sightings started. Actually, as a bird lover, it started even before as Ellison helped identify a couple of birds before we got in the jeep.
From there, it was the most incredible array of wildlife, landscapes and plants imaginable. Ellison’s immense knowledge of animal and plant life, geography and history was only outshined by his humor, grace, patience and sheer joy of getting to share his “backyard” with us.
The jeep was comfortable and stocked with water and soda each day and having it to just ourselves meant no waiting for other guests in the morning, no fighting about schedules and lunches and no concern about getting a great view or picture.
And animals – boy did we see animals. Uncountable numbers of zebra, wildebeest, gazelles and other antelope; dozens of lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo and hippos; leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, crocodiles, hyenas, baboons, warthogs and so many more – 34 different animal species in all between the Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater and Manyara.
We learned about their habits, their diet, their preferred hunting styles and times and more. We also identified over 120 bird species, from the giant ostrich to the little plovers – from the graceful crowned cranes to the goofy secretary bird, 5 different eagle species, oxpeckers feeding on hippos, rhinos, giraffe and more. It’s truly a paradise for animal and bird lovers.
The tented camps and lodges were amazing. The living quarters were wonderful, with comfortable beds, ample power to charge devices and cameras, writing desk and chairs for relaxing. With a completely flexible schedule that often started early in the morning, staff prepared box breakfasts or opened the kitchen early to ensure we had food. Box lunches had more food than we could eat and dinners that were filling and delicious. The staff were so friendly and eager to ensure we were comfortable and enjoying ourselves. A nice selection of wines and cocktails were also available.
With all of that, I still say it’s difficult to describe how truly wonderful this trip was. If I can offer any advice, it would do this sooner than later and do it with Africa Dream Safaris. We’re already planning our next trip and it won’t take 10 or even 5 years till we go back.
Scott and Maureen L.
Rotonda West, Florida
Safari Dates: May 17, 2023 to May 27, 2023