Tag: December

A Marvelous Expedition to the Cradle of Humanity!

For our 30th wedding anniversary we knew a safari would be special. We singled out ADS because they specialize in Tanzania and offer a customized journey with private vehicle and an experienced driver-guide. From the beginning with Dawn as our safari director to the end with our driver in Tanzania, we felt secure that the planning, guidance and implementation of our trip was in capable and friendly hands.

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All ADS Safari Goers Say This But We Had The Best Guide!

My husband and I just got back from a 10 night safari with ADS. It was even better than we had expected! The 2 nights in Arusha on the front end was a good decision, to rest up after long flights from the US. The Lake Duluti Coffee Lodge had very nice accommodations. This is where the culinary delights started and continued throughout the trip.

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What A Grand Experience!

My husband and I visited the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater between Thanksgiving and Christmas at the beginning of the rainy season (no it didn’t rain). We stayed in Amsterdam for 2 nights and 2 nights in Arusha (The Coffee lodge). I strongly recommend this extra time because we were refreshed and ready to get up at the crack of dawn each day. At the Kilimanjaro airport we were quickly swept through the Visa and customs lines. It was seamlessly accomplished. Our contact guides in the city were wonderful and welcoming with a wealth of information to my relentless questions.

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My Heart Is Still Full From All The Experiences We Had.

December 11th we made the trip of a lifetime to the Serengeti. We were so excited for this trip, and after reading thru all the informative guides from ADS, we felt we were totally prepared and had an idea of what to expect on the trip. After a great night of rest at the hotel the first night, we boarded our flight in Arusha to set out for the Serengeti.

As scared as I was about such a tiny plane, the pilot, Harry immediately put us at ease, and we had an awesome flight. What I was not prepared for, was how awestruck I was when I saw the migration of the wildebeests and zebras from above. It was incredible and I still cannot find the right words for the feelings I had seeing it. I looked at my husband, and we both smiled, knowing this was going to be everything we hoped and more.

What I was impressed with most on the trip, was how perfectly orchestrated everything was. From the second we landed in Africa to our flight home, the staff at ADS was there to help and guide us. This was such a new experience, and quite honestly I was little paranoid about safety. (I can’t help myself, I blame it on 20 years of working in NYC – it’s exhilarating, but leaves you a little twitchy!) I soon realized, we were in good hands, and as long as we listened to our guide, we had nothing to fear! We just had to sit back, and enjoy the ride.

After we landed and said goodbye to Harry, we met Emanuel, who would be our guide for the next 7 days. We quickly began to call him Eagle Eyes, because he did not miss a THING.

We’d be driving along and Emanuel would stop, pull out the binoculars, and boom! Leopards in a tree. Or, boom! Cheetah cubs hiding in some bushes. Or, a rhino mom and her baby! Or, bat eared foxes! The best was when Emanuel stopped as we were driving in the late afternoon on our way to the Ndutu Lodge. Boom! DUNG BEETLE with a ball of dung and his bride riding on top. It does not get better than that!

I think a good guide makes sure you see all the obvious things, but a great guide goes above and beyond to make your trip fascinating! ADS has GREAT guides for sure. The most moving part of the trip for me was the migration – being in the middle of 100,000+ zebras and wildebeests, and watching them was awesome.

The elephants and their strong family structure was a close second. I was truly surprised at how graceful and silent they were. (And, of course as I told Dawn from ADS, the hyenas are my spirit animals! So I loved watching their cunning antics) For my husband, it was the lions. Seeing them, you really do understand why they are named the King of the Beasts. They are majestic, strong, and fearless.

Every day we returned covered in dust, exhausted and with the BIGGEST smiles on our faces possible. We had so much fun, learned so much, and met so many nice people, my heart is still full from all the experiences we had on this trip.

I do want to mention that anyone considering this trip should take the time to read all of the info ADS gives you. We knew what to pack, how to pack, what to wear, what we were going to eat, even what kind of camera lens to bring for the best experience possible. We saw other travelers who were not as prepared as we were, and it affects your experience. I really felt we had a top of the line experience with ADS. My husband is already planning our next trip to come back!

Nicole and Raymond V.
Morristown, New Jersey
Safari Dates: December 11, 2016 to December 19, 2016

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Our 5th Safari To Tanzania!

It’s hard to believe but we just finished our fifth safari with Africa Dream Safaris. We keep heading back to Africa because of the warmth of the people and the new experiences we always receive from nature. We keep going back with ADS because their service is excellent. We know that there will never be a problem from the minute we land at the airport to the time we are dropped back off at the airport. This trip to Africa included a climb up Kilimanjaro and ADS was most helpful in arranging transportation associated with the climb.

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Our Most Fabulous Ever Vacation!

Margaret and I wanted a big celebration for our 25th wedding anniversary and we eventually settled on a ten day Tanzania Safari created by Africa Dream Safaris. We wanted luxury as well as game drives and so ADS selected the most stunning lodges for our trip. There were no issues with altering the trip to make it exactly how we wanted it, but what we didn’t realize is that the whole trip would be far better than we’d even imagined!

Although our trip officially started at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, for us it began with a flight from Arusha to the north west Serengeti – and even on this flight we saw Zebra and Ostrich on the edge of the runway!

Russell, our ADS driver, met us when we landed, and drove us to our first lodging at Bushtops Serengeti. But this first drive was through the beautiful Serengeti, seeing Zebra, Giraffe, Hippos, Wildebeest, Buffalo, and even Lions; so even before we’d “arrived” we’d had an amazing drive.

Our second days drive took us temporarily into Kenya and offered our first views of Elephants. At first we saw one Elephant in the distance; then later a family group very active just yards away!

Throughout our Safari, this kept occurring – we’d see a great view of animals, and later a better view, and then even better still. Multiple times our view went from needing the provided binoculars, to being so close that a phone camera took National Geographic quality photos!

On our third day we transferred from the North East Serengeti to Central, at the Elewana Pioneer camp. Here our lodging was more tented but still very luxurious with king size bed, private shower, electric lighting…

The transfer drive was amazing as we drove through typical Serengeti plains, to more forested areas, hilly areas – and all the time seeing a constant variety of animals including our first Leopard, again just a few feet from the road. We were stunned too by the sight of eight Lions in a tree.

The Pioneer camp offered very fast internet too, giving a chance to share our experience with friends and family.

Another day, another drive – our first Cheetahs, Baboons trying to chase a Leopard from it’s tree, a pride of 16 Lions, and Elephants on top of rocks!

Our next lodge was Singita Faru Faru in the private Grumeti reserve, which forced us to separate from Russell and the ADS vehicle, and switch to the lodges transport. This change meant sharing the vehicle with other people, being unable to stand for the best views; but instead the vehicle was able to go off the roads which gave our very closest views of animals.

In the Grumeti reserve we also took an interesting walking tour, and an early morning balloon ride which included flying over a herd of more than 100 Elephants.

From Grumeti we flew to Manyara and met back with Russell who drove us to our last lodging at the incredible Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. We clearly had saved the best for last as this lodge has amazing cottage style rooms, constant friendship from the staff, and spectacular views of the crater!

Our drive into the Ngorongoro Crater was exhilarating and once again there were game views almost everywhere. We saw our only Black Rhino view here, rather too distant for good photos but with a calf to make the view more special. Also here we saw our only kill – a “cackle” of Hyena trapped and drowned a lost Buffalo calf but then a nearby Lion pride moved in and took over the kill, dragging it from the water.

Our final day driving from Ngorongoro back to Arusha detoured through the Lake Manyara Park for final views of Zebra, Buffalo, Elephants, Baboons, as well as hundreds of Pelicans.

Other than the end of our trip, there really were no negatives. We’d been concerned before we left USA about insects / bites, about how distant our views would be, about weather / temperature. None of these were an issue.

Insects were almost non-existent on the game drives and lodgings, except at Singita Faru Faru where they were very noticeable at dinner – the choice was lights that attracted them, or darkness with no way to see what you were eating! For some reason many flying insects also got into our room, though the net around our bed kept them from being too annoying.

Temperatures were perfect; during the hot day time the canopy of our ADS vehicle kept us shaded – at night because our Lodgings were all 4,000-5,000 feet altitude, temperatures dropped to very comfortable low 60s or even 50s. On our early morning drive at the Grumeti reserve we definitely needed the provided blankets.

As for the views, almost all animals were seen at least some of the time less than 50 feet from the vehicle – and some views were much closer. I was very pleased with my Nikon Coolpix P900 camera with it’s 2000mm equivalent maximum zoom, but I was also very pleased with the video and photos I was able to take from my iPhone, sometimes.

Our two days at the Singita lodging gave us a flavor of what Safari trips are like from companies other than ADS. With ADS, Russell was our personal driver and guide; he took us where and when we wanted and was a constant friend, providing a major enhancement to our vacation.

We would have been less thrilled with having to share our drives, obey set times and have less control over our days. Additionally, the experience of driving rather than flying from one lodging to another seemed to be a significant benefit in being able to see the changing terrain from one part of Serengeti to another.

Thank you Michael for creating our special trip, and Russell for making it so wonderful!

Ian and Margaret C.
Winter Garden, FL
Safari Dates: November 28, 2016 to December 7, 2016

P.S. It’s hard sometimes when watching a Safari program on television to get a realistic idea of what a Safari drive is like. So here I’ve put together a few videos taken during our trip, using just my iPhone (so these views are close to the truck, not zoomed in from far away!) You can see that the terrain is sometimes grass plain, sometimes more full of trees, sometimes no animals visible and sometimes you have to stop because the animals are blocking the road!

Driving in the Serengeti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXkr2o-6gW4

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We Knew We Had To Bring Our Children For A 2nd Safari

With ADS’s help, my wife and I had first visited Tanzania in January 2011. We were speechless at the Serengeti beauty, the animals, the accommodations and the whole trip! Immediately, we knew we had to bring our children.

This experience was something that they would remember their entire lives and the planning began. We were finally able to organize the family safari for December 2015 and it was awesome. Once again, ADS did a fantastic job. From the moment we touched down in Kilimanjaro to the moment we left, ADS had organized the entire trip to perfection.

We’d tried to describe to the kids what we had experienced in our first trip, but words cannot do it justice. As the bush plane landed at Ndutu, our kids were glued to the airplane windows watching the zebras, wildebeests and giraffes grazing along the runway. You could see it in their eyes, this would be a trip like nothing they’d ever experienced before.

Our guides, Anglebert and Emmanuel, were exceptional. Their knowledge of the terrain, animals, culture and country was a huge part of the trip. By the end of the first day, we felt like we’d known them for years and they were friends of the family. Our accommodations (all three tent camps) were outstanding.

You can’t believe that you could be treated so well out in the bush! ADS did a great job organizing our trip and should we be able to visit Tanzania again…ADS will be our first call!

With much gratitude for your efforts,

Bill and Sarah V.
Evansville, Indiana
December 22, 2015 to December 29, 2015

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Africa Dream Safari Does It Again!

After a life-time of desire the dream came true; Our private luxury trip with ADS started with seeing Leopards, Lions, Elephants, Zebras, Gazelles and Giraffes –all within the first hour of being with Simon, our driver! As we watched other tour groups looking at lions from afar we were right up alongside of them!

While in the Crater we were fortunate to see 4 rhinos, at the marsh we watched a male lion drag his kill to eat in the shade and a mother Cheetah teach her 2 cubs to hunt. At each corner we were met by something truly amazing! After seeing other tour groups with up to 7 people in one vehicle we were convinced we had made the right decision in choosing a private tour with ADS.

Since we have returned home and shared our experience with others we have been asked if we were ever afraid or if there were any problems we encountered during our trip and we proudly answer NO – ADS created the perfect trip! We trusted them with our dream and they came through in every way possible for us.

Asante Simon, Sharon, and all the staff for putting together our DREAM TRIP of a life time!

Sue and Don J.
Sherwood, WI
Safari Dates: December 1, 2013 to December 10, 2013

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Moments That Took Our Breath Away!

From childhood into adulthood one is exposed of Africa through many venues; books, magazines, movies, etc. But nothing can prepare you for what the human eye sees, the constant change of emotions derived from changing feelings, sense of intoxicating aromas and a never ending Serengeti full with wonders of life. I will try to expose these emotions; however, I am confident that neither the following words nor pictures will fully capture the actual moments. Some of these moments were in:

o The constantly changing colors blending with terrain, vegetation and light of day

o The wakening of each day by singing birds, the shuffling of animals and the roar of the male Lion. Each communicating its own message of life, struggle and dominance

o The constant battle for survival with protecting parents of their young. The quick training that must quickly pass on for both predator and pray

o The stalking before the chase, the chase, evasions and final outcomes of the most skilled

o The parental loving attention and sharing of the fresh kill by a dominant family of Lions or Cheetahs

o The almost comical approach and participation by Hyenas, Jackals and Vultures as they ravage through the leftover of a kill or normal death. The Serengeti gives and takes with little trace of the carnage and the cycle continues

o The massiveness and vastness of the migration by wildebeest and zebras

o The cyclic and repeating migration, driven by the clock of nature, which taunts them with the promise of food for their survival

o The massiveness of elephants herds with their destructiveness of trees for food. No green training here. However, the family caring is so obvious

o The massive hippos in their “aromatic” pools, territorial and so protective of their young

o The huge crocodiles that bask in the warmth of the shores in stillness and full awareness

o The giraffes so majestic with an uncaring view of all that is a foot below them. With reward of fresh green leaves that only awaits them at the tips of the high branches made brilliant against the Blue sky

o The feeling of freedom and being alive as you stand in the vehicle, head sticking out on the top while being driven through the serenity of the Serengeti, fresh wind on your face

o The many people at the camps of Kusini, Swala, Lake Masik and Ngorongoro that made our returns a welcome with cooling towels, hot water to clean and relax our bodies, and the nourishing quality of food and drink to energize and prepare us for events to come

The above are just a few of the many treasures that are intermingled by many more animals that were unveiled through the keen eyes of a well-trained ADS guide and driver (Pokea): An expert not only in wildlife, but terrain, he managed to provide us with the utmost Safari experience. The ADS family may not be large in comparison to other providers, allowing them to focus on the quality of services and motivation to provide us with the best experience possible. The ADS family has exceeded our expectations exposing us with moments that took our breath away.

The last five days (December 29, 2012-January 3, 2013) were spent in the tranquility of the Palms resort located on Zanzibar Island. What a wonderful way to chill down and reflect on the safari adventure. The people of the Palms are to be commended for the service, exquisite cuisine, and the softening tranquility of the quiet surroundings.

If you can treat yourself and family to these experiences ADS will most certainly accommodate and exceed your expectations

Enjoy and share some of our photos

Leo Pavlow and Christiane Meyer
Safari Dates: December 19, 2012-December 29, 2012
Plymouth, Michigan

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Our Guide Was An Encyclopedia Of Knowledge

We had an absolutely amazing safari with Africa Dream Safaris, better than we ever dreamed possible. We loved having our own guide and vehicle, and the freedom to choose our own pace, according to the interesting sights and the weather. There were 4 of us, so we had room to spare for picture taking and for our daypacks as well as boxed lunches some days. From the moment we landed in Kilimanjaro, we were guided skillfully and patiently throughout our trip, even getting through customs smoothly with extra assistance from our guide.

We saw everything we could have imagined, in abundance. We encountered dozens of elephants and baboons at a time, filling the road and crossing it, lion, zebra, and cheetah and zebra families, and beginning of the wildebeest migration. On our first day, a pair of cheetahs made a surprise raid on a warthog family, stealing one of the young. The distraught mother chased the other cheetah at an amazing pace. While watching a large group of baboons all around us, we spotted a male feasting on a small animal right next to us. Our guide, David, said it was rare for baboons to eat meat so openly, but he sat at the side of the road picking the carcass clean.

One elephant actually approached and circled our truck, stopping twice to let her infant nurse within a few feet of us, before ambling away. And we witnessed a large pack of hyenas try to approach a lion kill, only to be successfully driven off by 3 determined lionesses. Two hippos appeared to clash repeatedly in the water with their mouths open, although no blood appeared. We witnesses real and novel adventures every day, not just a long distance peek at wildlife! Also, Tanzania is a bird lover’s paradise, we was a wide variety of birds, including birds of prey, at close range. Some even landed on our vehicle.

Our guide, David, was the best we have ever known, very knowledgeably responding to every inquiry imaginable (a young person in our group was especially eager for understanding of not only wildlife, but Tanzanian culture and customs). He saw wildlife with his naked eye that we had trouble locating with binoculars, and was a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge about every creature we saw – and we saw it all! Not only the big five, but dozens of smaller animals, lizards, and birds as well. He filled us in on every detail about the various acacia trees, the baobab and sausage trees, and gave us advice when we visited a Masaii village. We stayed a long time watching some animals and never felt rushed to move on, as long as one of us was standing. And he frequently moved us into a better viewing position as animals moved about, no request necessary.

I would urge anyone interested in a Tanzanian safari to book with Africa Dream Safaris, which we will surely do when we return!

Gratefully, Diane & John Shoemaker
Holland, Michigan
Safari Dates: December 5, 2013 to December 15, 2013

Cheetah With Cubs

Cheetah Escapes With Baby Warthog

Mother Warthog Chasing Second Cheetah

Leopard Awakens

Lion Cubs Asleep By Road

Elephant Calf Nursing

Hippo Confrontation

Hippo Mom And Baby

Hornbill At Nest

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ADS Blew Us Away

My parents and I have been home for over two weeks and as we reflect on our many pictures we are still in disbelief! Africa Dream Safaris was a dream come true! Our Tanzania safari exceeded our expectations every single day! Throughout our 12 day visit we were fortunate to see all of the major African species. It is impossible to select a favorite memory or experience from our trip because so many were breathtaking!

We saw a cheetah hunt and kill an antelope and then watched as the mother called for her young to come eat. We were welcomed into two separate, very large lion prides and were able to observe cubs play and wrestle while the adolescents learned to hunt. We also saw a recently born zebra foal learning to stand and young elephant calves suckling their mothers. Aside from the common animals, we were also extremely fortunate to observe a few very rare species including the side-striped jackal, porcupine, cerval cat, and a large pack of wild dogs!

Awe-inspiring animals aside, ADS blew us away with their accommodations, welcoming staff, and knowledgeable driver guide. All of our accommodations were absolutely beautiful including the private tent which was pitched just a day before our arrival specifically for the three of us. The staff at all locations were kind, welcoming and very helpful! We were even fortunate enough to have wildlife visitors at each of our lodges – absolutely unbelievable!

Our driver guide (Peter Huka) was very kind, accommodating and informative! I vividly remember him saying “This is my goal” on several occasions in reference to finding various animals that were of our interest. He made our interests his priority and was sure to keep us comfortable throughout the safari.

While in Tanzania we also visited an indigenous Maasai tribe and the FAME hospital. Both of these experiences were life changing! The Maasai warrior welcomed us into his tribe and their home. He answered all of our questions openly and was very informative. They are truly beautiful people and we feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share some time with the tribe.

The FAME hospital opened our eyes to the state of medicine in Tanzania and has inspired us to act and help. We felt very privileged to meet Dr. Frank, the founder, and to see firsthand all of his hard work and efforts in motion helping the people of Tanzania.

Sharon, our time in Tanzania was unforgettable. We couldn’t feel more blessed to have found you & ADS!

Damian, Mickey and Ann
The Villages, Florida
Safari Dates: December 1, 2013 to December 12, 2013

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I left for Tanzania expecting to get to spend an amazing vacation on safari, but what I didn’t know was that I would come home with a completely new perspective. Tanzania opened my eyes and changed me in so many ways. The experience was unreal. I have never been exposed to so much natural beauty and culture as I did in the 2 weeks I spent with African Dream Safaris.

First off, our entire vacation was perfectly planned and stress free. Sharon, from the moment I stepped off the plane until our guides said goodbye to us at the airport on our last day, we didn’t have to worry about anything. Everyone we met on our trip was far beyond hospitable and happy to take care of us and answer all of our questions (I had a lot!). Our guide was the most wonderful, knowledgeable, friendly man and he became part of our “family”.

Every place we stayed at was more beautiful and breath-taking than the one before. We traveled during the slower season, so each place we stayed at was peaceful. From tents on the ridge of the Ngorogoro crater, beautiful white houses overlooking a coffee plantation, luxurious tents on top of a kopi, to a 5-star hotel overlooking a watering hole… I could watch animals drink from a watering hole outside of my bathroom window while I took a bath or wake up in the morning to elephants rustling around outside my tent.

I could never have dreamed of how many animals we saw on our safari. To put it into perspective, in the first 20 minutes of our first drive, I asked our guide to stop so I could look at herd of gazelles out on the horizon. Later that day we got to experience the 2 cheetahs stalk and kill a baby warthog. Witnessing nature in action like that is something I will never forget. By the end of our safari seeing a family of giraffes up next to our car was normal.

We saw every animal you could possibly imagine and then some. My personal favorites were the zebras. We saw thousands and thousands everywhere we went but they never stopped being fascinating and beautiful to me. One of our last drives we stumbled upon over 200 elephants, surrounding and walking around our truck. You could see them for miles! We also got to see black rhino in the Ngorogoro crater, which was a real treat.

Every day was another incredible adventure… One day we got to go on a peaceful hot air balloon safari and watch the sunrise. When we landed, we had a delicious and beautiful breakfast prepared for under a tree overlooking the mountains and herds of water buffalo. One day we spent time in a Masai village talking to and learning about their culture. I even got to learn how to do traditional Masai dances.

Overall, I will look back on this trip as an experience that has completely changed my worldview. It was the most surreal, beautiful, humbling, educational, and incredible 2 weeks of my life. I have no doubt in my mind that I will come back to Tanzania someday.

Aside from this, I can’t thank you enough for planning the this trip for us. Everything about it was perfect. I talk for hours on end when people ask me about my experience. I still can’t believe all the things I experienced and saw and did. I am only 19 years old, so it is kind of a problem because I have such a yearning to travel and experience other cultures and countries now.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a million times.

Hannah K.
Holland, MI
Safari Dates: December 3, 2013 – December 15, 2013

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