Tag: Florida

It was Truly A Trip Of A Lifetime

Becky and I returned from Tanzania and our Trip of A Lifetime on January 24, 2020. It was an amazing adventure, and we will carry our memories of it for the rest of our lives. We love wildlife and bird-watching and had talked about a safari to Africa for 20 years. We even attended a couple of travel shows about Africa, but couldn’t really figure out how to start and where do we go? How do you coordinate this? Is it safe? So, we procrastinated. Until, we met our new neighbors.

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How many people can say they ate breakfast surrounded by a pride of lions?

Extraordinary! Unbelievable! Amazing! Fabulous! A dream came true. The minute I stepped out of the bush plane on Serengeti soil in the Lobo Valley an indescribable feeling of peace and serenity encompassed me. Our guide Arnold greeted us with his contagious smile and wit. I continue to enjoy (nearly 5 months later) the burden-free peacefulness and serenity felt those amazing days during September 2019.

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It Really Was An African Dream Safari

Check! A word I was to hear many times spoken by our wonderful guide, Deda, from African Dream Safaris as we spotted animals and birds. A group of our close friends traveled to Tanzania for a 9 day safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. My friend Nancy and I came armed with pamphlets and books of the wildlife to document our sightings. Deda joined in by shouting “Check” as we marked off the animals in our list. Deda and Wilfred shared their expertise of the habits of the wild animals, and as a result of their patience and knowledge, our group was able to witness nature in action daily.

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Every Day Was Filled With Unexpected Surprises And Adventure

AFRICA DREAM SAFARIS has not been selected by the National Geographic as the world’s best Safari Outfitters, and the best safari value without reason. From the first contact with Dawn at ADS to our final departure from Kilimanjaro airport, every detail of the safari was beautifully crafted and synchronized to give the highest degree of satisfaction and pleasure.

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Two Words “LIFE CHANGING”!

It was much, much more than a safari, it was life changing is so many ways. Oh how true this was all 10 days of our Safari. When our friends Nancy and Lenny asked us if we wanted to go on a Safari with them, we had no idea what to expect. This would be their third safari with ADS. They tried to tell us what to expect and we watched every video on the ADS website and read all the blogs! It still was beyond our wildest dreams.

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The Flying Leopard!

We landed at the Kilimanjaro Airport and were met by African Dream Safari representatives and, from that moment on, they took care of every single detail. After spending two nights in Arusha we flew to the Grameti Airstrip in the Western Serengeti and met Bennett, our driver-guide, who immediately became our friend. He quickly honed in to what we really wanted to see and do over the next eight days. It became obvious that he had an uncanny ability to know where our favorite wildlife were and he took us there. Although we saw thousands of migrating wildebeest and zebras, most of the pictures which follow are of single, or just a few, of a given species. We were amazed at how close Bennett could get our vehicle to the animals and/or get the animals to come to us.

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Potential Safari Adventurer

I’ll make it simple. Go to Africa, Go to Tanzania, go with Africa Dream Safaris. Period. Going on a safari has been a life long dream of my wife and mine and our emotions and expectations were soaring as the days neared. Now I sit at my computer in Miami, with the task of articulating the adventure we just returned from. Well here it goes.

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Our Best Vacation Ever!

On the 30th of March 2017, my wife and I left the United States on a Bucket List trip to Africa. Our Guide and Guardian Angel of our Dream was Africa Dream Safaris. This proved to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Throughout our trip, we had occasion to talk with many people on safari and compare what we had vs what they had and by far, ADS is the best.

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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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