My wife and I have been traveling to Africa since 1967 and during the last 24 months we have traveled to Africa 4 times, once to travel the Coptic trail in Ethiopia, and 3 times on Photographic safaris. We travel by ourselves, and arrange trips with the help of someone on the tour operator’s side. We are very familiar with tour operators, from the United States, as well as Africa. We are concerned with the entire journey, including the camps, the food, accommodations, driver/guides, and the operator’s ability to meet our needs. Furthermore, the cost of the trip is something we are very conscious of.
This trip was a photographic safari, and 3 people traveled together, my wife, our South African Wildlife Photographer friend, and myself. The purpose of this trip was to see and photograph the calving of wildebeests, in the Serengeti. The trip was arranged with African Dream Safaris, through our South African friend, and my wife, Myra, and numerous emails occurred. While African Dream Safaris has its World Headquarters in the United States, our communications seemed to always be through the people in Tanzania, and they were always appropriate, helpful, and candid.
The trip was arranged about 12 months prior to leaving, and this was simple, and very well done. The communications from African Dream Safaris were excellent, including the final itinerary, and getting the necessary Tanzanian visa forms, and having them filled out saved us a great deal of time…getting through the immigration melee was really easy…and that was great.
We were met in Arusha upon landing, and driven to Arusha National Park and our first night stay at the Hatari Camp. This accommodation was fine, and we had a nice day, as we continued to get our internal body clock organized. African Dream Safaris had recommended staying in the National Park in contrast to Arusha, and the camp was more than pleasant. We were able to sleep well, travel through the National Park, and then get on a plane that flew us to the Serengeti and the Lake Masek tented camp.
Lake Masek Camp had been recommended and really met our needs. Our driver, who stayed with us the entire journey, drove to the Masek Tent camp from Arusha. In Tanzania, most of the Safari operators have their own vehicles, and your driver stays with you the entire time. The driver is not an employee of the camp site. Our driver-guide was really nice, accommodating, helpful, and was in tune with our need to move our vehicle into different positions in order to get the best photographic shot. And, often we just waited and sat watching the animals, and the driver was fine with this. We had a large amount of photographic gear, which was easily placed into the vehicles, and was readily accessible.
The camps that were recommended and chosen were very good, and the first one in the Serengeti was the Lake Masek tented camp. The accommodation was a large, clean, and nice tent with an outdoor shower. The tent was a short walk to the dinning area, which had indoor and outdoor places to eat. The food, breakfast and dinner primarily, were well done, sufficient in quantity, and very tasty.
Each morning, our breakfast was more than sufficient, and everything was ready so that we could get an early start on the day. This camp was chosen by African Dream Safaris, and was perfect for us. We stayed in camp for four nights, and the time spent in one camp, enabled us to travel around the Serengeti easily. When we traveled great distances, we were able to pack our lunches. Our driver named Francis was friendly, accommodating, helpful, and participated as needed as we decided our itinerary.
After the Serengeti, we traveled to the Ngorongoro Crater, and stayed in the only tented camp within the park, Lion’s Paw Tented Camp. The food was very good, and, despite being the only guests of the camp, our hosts were lovely, and accommodating. This was an excellent choice was made by African Dream Safaris, because, being inside the Park, enabled us to get up early, eat breakfast, and get down into the crater early. This really helped avoid the morning traffic of people coming from various sites outside the crater. We stayed two nights at Lion’s Paw Camp, and then drove to Arusha, stopping in an Iraqw village, and met an elder. We also stopped at Lake Manyara National Park which was lovely.
The trip was made easy, and the information supplied by African Dream Safaris, before we arrived, gave us what you need: contact numbers, items to avoid, the costs, how to tip, and what you should be aware of. The people, who represented the Africa Dream Safaris were friendly, verbal, approachable, professional, knowledgeable, and very helpful. We asked to find out about buying some appropriate African art pieces, and they got is to the Cultural Heritage Gallery in Arusha without problem.
I would without hesitation recommend them as a tour operator, which is knowledgeable, helpful, and their employees like what they are doing. The cost of this trip was more than reasonable, and do not be afraid to compare the trips prices. My wife would travel with them again, without hesitation.
Jerry and Myra D.
Safari Dates: February 1, 2016 to February 10, 2016