Beautiful, Wild and Perfect!

Kristi and I first contacted ADS nearly ten years ago. The packet that we received in the mail lived on our bookshelf, through multiple moves and life changes, as a reminder of a dream. We watched the Hemingway experience video over and over and I must admit I had some doubts that the experience could live up to their depiction. I am excited to say that it was everything they said it could be and more! Placing our faith in ADS to plan and coordinate our August 2023 Dream Safari was the most perfect choice we could have possibly made.

From the moment we arrived, we were totally cared for and made to feel like family. While others exiting the plane at Kilimanjaro were queued in security and immigration lines, we were escorted to a quiet lounge where ADS provided us cold drinks and handled all the details. This was such a gift late at night after 20 hours of travel.

We were met outside by our welcome crew that drove us to Arusha in an ADS Landcruiser, which I loved. Instantly we were out of travel mode and into safari mode. We talked about what would happen next and the day after, we shared what we hoped to see, and they shared their favorite animals, we talked about Tanzania and its people, we felt so welcome and at home.

We arrived late at the lodge and the staff was ready to greet us with a delicious dinner before we grabbed a few hours’ sleep in preparation for the experience ahead.

The flight from Arusha to the Serengeti was not just any flight, it was the beginning of the game drive! We had a stop at Manyara on the way which felt like a scene cut straight from a Hollywood classic.

The small plane banked low over Lake Manyara and a flock of Flamingos took off in our path, while just ahead Pumba scattered across the landing strip! It was beautiful and exciting, and just a little taste of what would come.

Our destination was not Manyara (yet), it was the Northern Serengeti where we arrived a short flight later after enjoying a quick airborne tour of many of the places we’d later see from the ground.

We were greeted at Kogatende Airstrip by our guide, Ellison. There was a lot of activity at the airstrip and Ellison guided us to all that we needed to be comfortable and get ready to begin.

As we began our first game drive we were immediately overwhelmed by a huge herd of Wildebeest and Zebras. Ellison suggested we follow them, “Maybe we’ll see something special.” Oh, we did!

Less than an hour off the plane we were watching a huge river crossing, Wildebeest were snatched from the river by Nile Crocodiles, Zebras skillfully navigated the waters, Hippos basked in the sun on a distant bank, Vultures fought over a zebra carcass, Elephants crossed the road…Yes, this was all the first couple of hours.

Traveling as a couple we knew our guide could make or break the experience, and when we met Ellison, we knew it was going to be an amazing trip! He immediately felt like an old friend and his guidance, knowledge, humor, and joy were such a special part of our experience.

We learned so much from him, probably most importantly he showed us that these events were special, even for a guide that did this for a living.

This was the way the days would go. Moment after moment of magnificent and new experiences. The abundance of wildlife in Tanzania was jaw dropping. Whether in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, or Tarangire, each day brought something new and exciting.

As we moved through the days and various locations I often thought, “Surely nothing can top yesterday,” but there was always something special waiting to reveal itself and surprise and amaze us.

We decided to add on a Balloon safari in the Northern Serengeti and a visit to a Masai village near Ngorongoro. Both were amazing experiences that we would not have wanted to miss. Having 12 days made this possible and really nice, providing a unique and memorable experience while not leaving us feeling rushed to complete our itinerary.

I simply cannot deliver enough praise for the ADS team. Ellison was so amazing, and I left feeling like I have made a lifelong friend. Ester was equally awesome and made us feel so welcome.

I often looked at other groups and thought “They really just aren’t having the same experience we are.” We will be forever grateful for everything they did and for the beautiful people they are.

During our twelve days we were fortunate to stay at two different lodges in Arusha and five different tented camps. Each was special in their own way. I won’t go through each in detail but wanted to share with the ADS team how exceptional the staff was at the Hemingway Camps.

Our absolute favorite camp was Seronera Sametu Camp. The staff here, and the quality of the food and lodging was simply on a different level than all the other camps. Each of the other camps had things they did well, but Sametu did everything great (Mara River Camp was a close second in the service department)! In contrast, Maramboi really fell short compared to our experiences at the Hemingway Camps and Mbuzi Mawe. There was absolutely nothing wrong at Maramboi it just wasn’t the same kind of friendly atmosphere and family dynamic we felt at the other camps.

Maramboi camp was also very slow with service in the morning and did not have breakfast or breakfast boxes and lunch boxes prepared in time for us to depart camp before sunrise to get an early start. Every other camp went out of their way to accommodate our schedule which was leave before sunrise and return just after sunset.

We stayed at Lake Duluti Lodge upon arrival in Arusha but we were literally only there for 8 hours so no real feedback there, but I will say that the Arusha Coffee Lodge was absolutely amazing.

We left Tanzania with so much love and respect for the people, the animals, the land, and ADS. You truly delivered the trip of a lifetime!

Love and peace,

Bobby and Kristi T.
Saugus, Massachusetts
Safari Dates: August 09, 2023 to August 20, 2023

5 Comments Leave a Comment

  1. Great write up and pictures … some of them are so well composed. Really excellent. ADS is outstanding … can’t say enough good things about them. We celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary and it was memorable. Your blog brings back memories of good times -:) Ravi

    1. Ravi, Thanks for sharing a link to your site….great descriptions of your experience and you got a beautiful and diverse portfolio of photos to match. Well done!

  2. Any advice you could shoot my way would be greatly appreciated. My husband and I are headed to Tanzania through AD in February of 2025 for 10 days. We are contemplating a few days following in Zanzibar. The clock is ticking …cannot wait!

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