Tag: Group

Just Do It!

I love Africa and all that it offers, to both the heart and the soul. To me there is no place quite like it on Earth. It is hard to explain this to people who have never been, but it is truly life changing, and I love to share my experiences traveling there with my friends.

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Our 5th Safari To Tanzania!

Asante sana ADS!! – this was our Best trip yet!! And that is not an easy feat considering this was our fifth ADS safari. We have travelled with our daughter as a family three times, and this was the second time we have brought a group. Last time, a group of photographers, and this time a group of friends after a Habitat For Humanity Build in Ethiopia.

From our middle of the night airport meet & greet/visa assistance, to the midnight shuttle back to the airport ten days later, the ADS staff looked after everything. Africa Dream Safari’s did their absolute best to ensure we had an amazing and hassle free experience, with emphasis on Amazing!

First a Thank-you to Michael for your help in putting together an itinerary that was designed to provide us access to the migration, the Big Five, and a huge variety of other birds and animals – it did not disappoint.

We were a group of ten, eight who were first-timers to Tanzania, and we had two private safari vehicles. Our ADS driver guides, Anglebert & David were THE BEST! They worked with us to plan the each day, suggesting areas they felt would be best, given the rain, and migration situation. They always listened to our feedback, and as we have come to expect from ADS staff, were always willing and enthusiastic about early morning game drives. Anglebert and David were really outstanding, and treated us to long days, off the beaten path drives, and loads of game viewing. There were days we hardly saw another vehicle, and could enjoy the view and spend as much time as we liked with the animals without interruption.

Everyone in the group commented at some point about the game spotting skill demonstrated by the drivers. How do they manage to see things from so far away? How can they tell a leopard tail from a tree branch from 500 yards away? How can they actually know the names of all those birds? Always pleasant, endlessly answering our questions about the animals, birds and the plants, and willing to share their books on each, Anglebert and David are true professionals. They kept us safe, their knowledge of animal behavior not only found us the game, but would often put us in its path – so the animals walked right up to us. Anglebert, an accomplished photographer himself, would position our vehicle just right for the light and the best angle, so even the smallest point and shoot cameras got terrific shots.

It is absolutely true that a good driver-guide can absolutely change your safari experience. We have traveled with eight different ADS drivers, and have always been impressed at the terrific job they do. The company standards for hiring are obvious in the experience and education of the staff – The bonus you get as an ADS customer is in the passion, the work ethic, and the desire the guides bring with them. They are trained, educated, specialists who are committed to making your safari experience excellent in every way.

The highlight of this trip for us, was Anglebert managing to get us in front of a pack of more than 20 wild dogs. In five trips, this was the first time we have seen them, and they did not disappoint. (You might be surprised how many photographs can be taken in an hour) It was a thrill to even see the dogs, endangered and elusive, and then to have them hang around and cooperate for so long…Wow!

On previous trips we have tried almost everything as far as lodging goes, and have decided we like the tented camp experience best. We were treated to excellent food, great staff, and daily hot showers at four different camps this trip. The hot water bottles tucked into the beds at night and coffee delivered with wake up calls were big hits, much like the popcorn and campfire’s under the stars. But more importantly, we were in terrific locations for the best game viewing every day.

The camp staff were terrific, and made us a hot breakfast at 5:30 AM, and got our box lunches ready so we could head out each day before dawn. In the evenings, they were pleasant & willing to provide hot water for showers before dinner, regardless how late we turned up back at camp – which was mostly after dark.

Every time we travel with ADS, we are impressed with the exceptional service we encounter in the camps along the way. This trip a standout was Gilbert from Ndutu Woodlands Camp – who captivated our group by sharing personal stories around the campfire, of his life and childhood growing up as a Maasai.

This was our 5th trip to Tanzania, and no matter how many times you go, you cannot escape the excitement, or how addictive it can be. It is difficult to explain the overall experience to anyone who hasn’t done it, other than just to say – “YES!! JUST DO IT!!” Once you do, you will face the same challenges our group did after this trip…

Trying to explain to someone that you saw more than 50 lions before lunch that day, or that 17 of them were eating a zebra right beside your vehicle.

Or how totally cool it is to watch a young cheetah playfully race in circles around his mom, then climb a tree stump and pose perfectly for photo’s in the warm golden light of sunrise.

Trying to explain the smile that comes to your face as you watch a couple of little lion cubs chew on their mom’s tail & then tumble around playing tag while the sun rises behind them. (This is why you get up and get out before the sun comes up!)

Or how do you describe what it’s like to see a herd of more than 200 elephants on the move, or how fast your heart is beating as you try to sit quietly while they surround your vehicle, because your driver has managed to park you right where they end up crossing the road.

And how do you explain sitting around a campfire at night and looking up at the sky so full of stars, and so bright they don’t even look real.

All I can really say is – If you are even thinking about going to Tanzania, you cannot do better than to go with Africa Dream Safari’s, and go now – It will change your life! As it has our family’s’. Thank you Michael and all the ADS staff from the bottom of our hearts.

Cheryl and Greg Stewart
Regina, Canada
February 12, 2015 to February 20, 2015

Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint

Serengeti Cheetah

Zebra with weaver birds

Lion cubs under our vehicle

Elephant Viewing – Tarangire National Park

Elephant Viewing – Ngorongoro Crater


African Wild Dog

Lions with zebra kill

Lioness with cubs

Our group in the Serengeti

Maasai Boma Dance



Spotted Hyena

Wild Dog

Golden Jackal

Black Backed Jackal

Bat eared Fox

Banded Mongoose

Dwarf Mongoose


Cape buffalo

Black rhino

Masai giraffe

Eland antelope

Thomson’s gazelle

Steinbok antelope

Dik-dik antelope

Martial Eagle

Secretary Bird

Kori Bustard

African Crowned Crane

Lappet Faced Vulture

Lilac Breasted Roller

European Roller

Superb Starling

Red Billed Hornbill

Green Bee-Eater

Red-and-yellow barbet

Long-tailed Widowbird

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Our Safari Experience Was Exceptional In Every Way.

From our initial inquiry to the end of our Safari experience, Africa Dream Safaris has proven to be a company that knows how to make your trip a seamless experience of exciting and memorable moments. Michael and his staff were quick to respond to our questions, filling us in on so many details that even we were surprised when we simply had nothing left on our list to digest!

On our arrival in Arusha we were met by Faith, from ADS who quickly got us through immigration (so happy that we arranged this, as the line up was extensive) and on to our hotel where we spent the first evening resting from our 20 hour flight. The following morning was Day 1 of our actual Safari where we again were met by Faith who had the Land Rovers all ready for our drive to the local airport where the bush plane was waiting for our excursion to the Serengeti.

Flying over the land we glanced at the landscape and noticed dark spots, interesting looking crop circles and endless plains. Little did we know that the dark spots were indeed wildebeest (by the number), crop circles were the enclosures made of sticks, reeds and mud that surround the Maasai’s homes to keep their livestock in and the predators out, and of course the endless plain is “The Serengeti”.

Upon landing we were met by our guide, Anglebert who was to remain with us for the entire Safari. If you were wondering how effective this is, I can tell you that having the consistency, the reliability, and the sheer knowledge and enthusiasm that he provided truly made our Safari the best possible experience we could imagine. In fact, upon our farewell, the entire group shed a few tears for this special man, and he responded with a few of his own.

I should point out that our Safari was a custom journey. We traveled with our good friends from Calgary, Alberta and designed this trip based on the best areas to be in during September to view the Great Migration. We had a Land Rover equipped with a pop up roof and tented cover that was absolutely perfect for taking pictures and also keeping the sun off of your heads. Most of our accommodations were in the North and Central part of the Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater area and finishing with Tarangire. Our accommodations were a combination of luxury lodges and what we would call ‘glamping’ – an upscale form of tenting.

Each camp was a unique experience, but I will say that the staff made each experience most memorable. I truly believe that there is no other company that will create a custom venture for you that will satisfy your every desire like Africa Dreams. They know how to finish like a champion. The Safari experience is like no other.

After one year of extensive planning and having expectations of seeing “The Big 5”, we were overwhelmed from our first day upon seeing so many different types of animals that we had to keep journals just to remember the names and the slight variations. Anglebert had keen eyes for the wildlife, and also a knowledge about each animal – their lifestyle, hunting habits, as well as local population, and that kept us interested and wanting to learn more. The first question I am asked after saying that is “If you see all of this on day one, aren’t the rest of the days a disappointment?” Oh my goodness that couldn’t be the furthest from the truth – after all each day is unique – the wildlife you see is different, or in different situations, and provide for unlimited viewing, entertainment, and photo opportunities.

One of the most memorable moments (and there are many), was our first encounter with lions. The male and female were both relaxing under a large bush when after a few minutes the female arose from her nap and began to circle the sleeping male. This of course was designed to wake him, and waken he did, as he mounted the female within a few seconds from his deep slumber and performed his deed within fifteen seconds. If you didn’t have the camera ready, you would have missed it. When he finished he gave a wonderful growl which was mirrored by the female. How exciting to see nature, and truly the circle of life come to fruition with this beautiful couple.

All of the animals were enchanting, but the giraffe was so captivating. They come in a variety of color depths – from very light brown to almost chocolate brown spots. We came across many different shades in our travels, but my favorite encounter was a lone dark brown giraffe reaching high into a sausage tree with his blue tongue to grasp those tender green leaves. We quietly watched as he maneuvered around those large bulbous succulent fruits that drop from the tree and release seeds as the pulp rots.

The elephants come to collect the fruits when they fall and we have seen the fruits gathered by the Maasai and taken to the market to sell. These fruits can be up to 36” long and are reported to be poisonous unless it is baked or the seeds are roasted. I also hear that in African herbal medicine the fruit is used to treat a variety of ailments/diseases as well as aid in the fermentation of beer!! Who knew!

So many of the small animals are not as easily spotted, or easy to capture on film as they seem to be in constant motion, but early one morning our guide spotted two little ears peeking up from the grasses. A few moments later this beautiful serval cat popped his head up and we got what we call “National Geographic” like photos of this gorgeous cat. Servals use their long ears to detect movement in the grasses, then stand and pounce on their prey – usually a small rodent or frog. He is stunning in his natural environment.

Most every morning we were up at 5 am and after a large warm breakfast we were met by our driver Anglebert who would suggest that we be ready to leave by 6 to capture the best movement and the best lighting for photography and viewing. Not knowing what was in store for us this morning we dragged ourselves into the jeep and obliged. We drove through the long grasses, on fairly rutted road to capture the most stunning sight as the sun was just lifting through the horizon. Our leopard was perched on a termite mound for quite some time, offering incredible still shots for our cameras.

After getting absolutely perfect shots of him there, he began a short trek across the yellow grasses to sit for another photo opportunity, then meandered through the grasses to a tree in the vicinity and began circling the tree. Anglebert had told us to keep our camera focused on the tree, not the animal, so we were able to get shots of this magnificent creature clawing his way up the tree and then securing a comfortable spot to lay his head down and rest…the pictures can’t describe how beautiful he was as he lay so smoothly on that tree branch. Nature has a way of making each animal so unique that they have the ability to hunt and capture food for sustenance but also have the characteristics to keep themselves hidden from other predators…so beautiful.

I mentioned earlier in my writing about how the staff was so instrumental in making your evening at the camps so special. We had one jovial man by the name of JJ who upon asking what we might be having for dinner one evening he responded with a straight face that we were to have “Acacia Tree Soup” followed by “Cape Buffalo Stew”….then he laughed his face off and told us he was just joking! We had such fun with him though and he spent part of his evening teaching us all some Swahili so that we could surprise Anglebert with our knowledge.

We now consider Swahili our second language thanks to JJ who taught us several words that evening. We tested our words out the next day with Anglebert when I said in my loudest voice – “sismama tafadhali” which means stop please. Anglebert practically blew out the brakes when he heard me speak Swahili, then started laughing realizing that we really did pick something up while at camp that evening. Patti, (our friends we were traveling with) said “twende” – which means, let’s go – got Anglebert on the road once again – this time with a little smile on his face.

Lemala Kuria Hills was also a favorite – not only for it’s beauty in this natural setting, but also for it’s staff who with the guidance of Tabby, the resident manager, arranged for a special “sundowner” for us in the evening. She led us to a large “kopjes” formation (rock outcropping) where there were several large colorful pillows spread out for seating with ‘tables’ of wood stumps where we were to place our drinks. Here we were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while watching the sun go down…absolutely stunning evening. So many of the other guests at the camp were envious of our private setting that they ended up joining us on the kopje. Moses was especially attentive to my husband who was spoiled with his favorite Jim Beam and seven up.

There are so many animal experiences which are worthy of mention, however our stop at the Maasai village was a highlight of our trip. I’m not sure how long these wonderful people will be able to maintain their traditional values and customs, but I feel very privileged to have been to see their “bomas” which are their traditional homes made by the women of the community consisting of sticks, grass and cow dung.

We were met by the Chief’s son who took us to a traditional dance where I was invited to dance with the women who presented me with a gorgeous beaded necklace – about 4” wide. The idea was to be able to flip the necklace up and down while jumping – this is much harder than it looks and I brought them all to laughing hysterically as I attempted to jump and flip the necklace with enthusiasm. (Note to self – this would be a great time to wear a sports bra).

Our guide Anglebert had talked about the Maasai with us before we met them, and told us about many of their customs, but seeing it in person is a life changing experience. The Maasai are nomadic people who live customarily in Northern Tanzania and Kenya. Their dress is very distinctive wearing colorful shukas (blanket like garments in a variety of bold colors) along with gorgeous beading around their necks and on their ears. The beading patterns that they wear are determined by age, so you can imagine how ornate some of the older women were.

The young girls are responsible for rising early (before their mothers) to collect firewood and water for their family. The older women are the creators of the traditional home (boma) which are only large enough for sleeping and cooking. We were told by the Chief’s son that the small goats are also welcome in the home. Inside the boma it was very dark with a small fire burning which kept the temperature to a balmy 100 degrees. We were immediately finding sweat rolling down our cheeks as he was explaining how the bomas protected them from the heat of the day.

The women and children work on beading most of the afternoon as a social time while the young men – ages 7 to 16 are taught to tend to the livestock and are found walking up to ten miles per day locating grazing areas for their animals. The wealth of the Maasai is determined by how many cows he has. The more cows, the more wives he can choose. When we finished our tour with the Chief’s son he mentioned that we might purchase some beaded jewelry from his wife – but if we purchased from one wife we must also purchase something from the other – otherwise he might be in trouble not providing for the other wife’s welfare. We left with some lovely bracelets – one from each wife.

Our final stop was at the Tarangire Tree Tops Tented Lodge – something that I have been looking forward to for years. This special camp is situated in the northern part of Tarangire National Park. From the moment you arrive you know you are in a magical spot. The large baobab tree which is in the center of the reception area is a sight to behold – running right through the roof, and measuring over 20 feet at the base. It is beautifully furnished with comfortable sitting areasand a large square fire pit in the center of the main building.

This camp has a water hole for animals right outside of the main building where every evening you can capture zebra, elephant, baboons by the hundreds, and waterbucks. Our dinners here were fine dining at it’s best – while sitting in a large ‘boma’ style area under a massive baobab tree, complete with white linen and crystal and a warm fire to add to the atmosphere.

On our final evening the staff made a special table with the words “karibu” (welcome) spelled out in leaves and seeds as we dined by the pool in front of the water hole. After finishing our meal we were to go on a night safari drive but before we left we were delighted with a serenade by all of the staff who presented us with a ‘farewell cake’ and danced and sang African songs around our table for several minutes. This lovely gesture by Africa Dream Safaris was certainly putting the ‘icing on the cake’ here! It brought tears to our eyes as we knew our Safari was coming to a close.

Our Safari experience was exceptional in every way. The overall agenda, the guide, Anglebert, and our seamless travel from airport to safari and back were all due to the careful attention of Africa Dream Safaris whom I believe are ‘specialists’ in making this a trip of a lifetime for anyone.

We met other Africa Dream Safari groups that we bonded with at several locations by an evening fire, at breakfast in the morning and on our Safari itself who had the same experience and were loving every moment.Thank you again for the ultimate travel experience, and thank you to Anglebert for sharing his love of this fabulous country. Kwaheri (goodbye).


Glenn & Debbie B.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Safari Dates: September 11, 2014 to September 20, 2014

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Africa Dreams Luxury Safari September 2014

With three other couples, we traveled to Africa to see the Serengeti and see what Africa had to offer. With Africa Dreams Safari (ADS), we found the best tour company Africa had to offer! This was our first trip to Africa and our personal trip began a little earlier than the other couples because we went to see the Mountain Gorillas near Kigali, Rwanda. I mention this because the recommendation that ADS provided as to how we would meet up with the other couples in the middle of the Serengeti was outstanding and showed the depth of knowledge ADS has about Africa. The Coastal Air connections ADS suggested went exactly as planned–it was definitely a unique experience with the pilot meeting us outside security, walking us through security and immigration to the plane, and then helping us stash our baggage before “she” flew us on to our destination!

Our ADS adventure began at Kogatende (Mara River), a small dirt airstrip where we were met by our ADS guides, Anglebert and Elson. It did not take long for us to realize what superb guides they were! Our adventure began, after a picnic lunch and a patient wait, with literally thousands of Wildebeests plunging into the river for the Great Migration! To actually see the crossing from just a few meters away and to hear the sounds of these magnificent animals as they swam for their lives was phenomenal.

We divided our group between two vehicles. We rearranged ourselves each day so we traveled with each member of our group and all had the advantage of both guides. One of the days, we split with the women in one vehicle and men in the other! The guides drew straws to see who got who! Our guides were knowledgeable and made every day fun and educational.

Anglebert and Elson taught us how to look for animals hidden in the bush. And they found so many we might have overlooked! They taught us to wait patiently, quietly, so that we could observe behaviors that we never expected to see. You don’t really know how much the guides tell you is to make you happy and how much is fact, but they seemed to enjoy our group. I believe we were very low maintenance and simply followed their suggestions they said benefited not only us but them–even when they advised us that we should get up very early in the morning to begin our day’s trek—it really makes sense because of the animals sleeping to avoid the mid-day heat.

We saw Elephants grazing and knocking down the Acacia trees, honeymooning Lions, several Hippo pools, the elusive Dik-Dik and Klipspringer, Zebras, Hyenas, Warthogs, Thomson and Grant’s Gazelles, Giraffes, Leopards and Cheetahs with their kills, Waterbucks, Elands, Topis, a Rhino with her baby, and so much more! And the birds—what can you say! Everything went amazingly to plan and we got to experience everything we were supposed to and more. The guides said that we were very fortunate to see the Rhino and her baby and a Caracal cat as these are a rarity. To say we saw so much more than we ever expected is no exaggeration and we quickly ran out of superlatives to describe our adventures.

Additionally, our accommodations, ranging from exclusive and luxurious at Serengeti Bushtops Camp and Ngorongoro Manor Lodge to more rustic at Seronera Sametu and Ngorongoro Lions’s Paw Tented Camp were wonderful and had excellent staff! At each, we were met by management with small towels to wipe off the grime of the day, quickly followed by a small pick-me-up to stave off our thirst until we could get to the bar which had a nice variety of beverages. Tent camping with real beds, hot showers (including the ones where hot water was delivered to a gravity shower), absolutely excellent! This coupled with the opportunity to watch a sunrise or a sunset followed by a display of stars unaffected by city lights is an experience not to be missed.

The recommended side trip off the Serengeti to Buffalo Springs Luxury Camp allowed a several hour Night Game drive so we could experience dusk becoming night and view the animals that came out at night–a lioness on a hunt, a Crested Porcupine, and although we had seen leopards earlier in the trip, we got to watch one tearing into its recently killed prey while poised in the top of a tree. The next day featured a visit to a Masai village and was extremely interesting in terms of the insight provided into the life and culture of this African group.

The only mildly negative thing we could say concerned the Buffalo Springs facility which really didn’t quite match up to the rest of them in two respects. I fully understand why (the night ride) we wanted to be out of the park and that ride was excellent. The initial problem was solely one of our perceptions of what management should be like. It had nothing to do with the facility or the non-management staff. The person we later found was the manager seemed totally disengaged and seemed to care less whether we were there or no. We initially thought he was a boyfriend or another visitor but later found out that he was the manager. The rest of the staff was great. The night we arrived it was quite windy and unfortunately because of the location of the tents on the mountainside, the tents were quite noisy which could not be helped, but bothered some couples. Apparently there was also an issue with regard to getting water for the night ride but we were not part of that so cannot speak to it.

All in all it was an absolutely fantastic trip. I do not know how we could have improved what we did and saw and we greatly appreciate the knowledge and experience provided by ADS that allowed this adventure to happen. Kudos to ADS—we recommend them highly.

Jerry and Katherine W.
West Monroe, Louisiana
Safari Dates: August 15, 2014 to August 24, 2014

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A Place Everyone Should See At Least Once In Their Life.

Several months ago, we were invited to round out a group of six for a 10-day trip through the bush with Africa Dream Safaris and it took us all of 2 minutes to decide that we would never forgive ourselves if we declined. We just returned home from the trip tired but thrilled – it was an outstanding adventure and a very well coordinated one.

Upon our arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were met by Faith – a very sweet lady. She had everything under control for us and the next thing we knew we were at our hotel for the night. The next morning, she had us on our way via air to Grumeti. On our touch down at Grumeti, wildebeests were scurrying alongside the plane. We definitely weren’t in Illinois anymore! Stepping off the plane, we found Rafael “Rafa” Mollel, our driver-guide and soon-to-be new friend waiting for us with our home on wheels for the next 9 days. And off we went.

By day’s end, we had seen such an unbelievable variety of animals that I couldn’t imagine that the next day could be anywhere near as good but it always was. And Rafa was a wealth of knowledge on just about everything – the animals and their behavior, the plant life, the geography, etc. It was much, much more than just seeing animals – it was an education on the Serengeti.

Over the 10-day period, we noted down that we had seen at least 11 different carnivores (including 13 or so lions chowing down on an eland, several cheetahs, and a couple of leopards), 4 different primates, 5 different reptiles (including a 12-foot python that appeared right next to our vehicle while we had our focus on a pride of lions), 4 different raptors, 10 different antelopes & other ruminants, 8 other hoofed mammals (including 33 elephants in one spot and 10 black rhinos at a distance), 19 different birds, and 10 different types of trees (including several baobabs) – simply amazing! And then there was the scenery – the endless plains, the kopjes, the watering holes and rivers. Everywhere you looked, it was postcard beautiful. A place everyone should see at least once in their life.

During the trip, we stayed at 6 different places including a tented camp, a couple of tented lodges, and some luxury hotels – all were great in their own way and very different from anything we had ever experienced before. We’ve camped many times but had never heard a lion growl 20 feet from our tent before and we’ve stayed at many a nice hotel but this was the first time we’d ever shared the pool-side lounge chairs with a baboon. What fun!!!

A big thanks to Dawn who handled everything for us in the States, to Faith who took such good care of us in Arusha before we set off and after our return, and especially to Rafa who made the trip so memorable for us each and every day.

Oh, and the Tusker, Kilimanjaro, and Safari beers are all good.

Lawrence and Marcia O.
St. Charles, Illinois
Safari dates: May 23, 2014 to June 01, 2014

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We Saw 84 Lions, 9 Cheetahs and 7 Leopards!

We’re still enjoying our safari ‘high’ and are very excited to share our adventure with you!

The trip you planned for us was a fabulous overview of all of Tanzania. We started at the Ngorongoro Crater, turned south to beautiful Tarangire, traveled through the central Serengeti, headed north to track the wildebeest herds along the Mara River and concluded our adventure in the Lobo game reserve.

After our group of ten arrived at the Ndutu airstrip, we were met by our guides Arnold Mushi and Thomson Maleki who were fabulous! They were always eager to find exciting animal encounters, eternally patient with our unceasing photography demands and full of detailed information about any animal/bird/reptile we saw. Arnold would frequently shout out, “How is everybody??” and we would enthusiastically respond! The bar was set extremely high right off the bat as we saw not only a lioness hunting warthog, but a group of ten lion cubs who came down to the water to drink right in front of us! Absolutely magical!!

Though a few of our days were long and we covered many km, when we arrived at each camp there were smiling faces, eucalyptus-scented cloths to wipe away the trail dust and a chilled beverage to refresh us! Each camp was more amazing than the last. Our ‘tent’ accommodations were absolutely top notch with all the comforts of home. Our favorites were Lion’s Paw at the Ngoronogoro Crater and Swala.

At Lion’s Paw, our sundowner was the perfect place to watch a beautiful sunset before we enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by Jonas and his staff before we snuggled into our beds in the chilly air. The hot water bottles awaiting us were the perfect touch!

At Swala, we were delighted to have front row seats for a controlled burn of the grass during dinner and lions roaring virtually in our ears at night. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the crazy antics of an African Harrier Hawk as he hung upside down in a nearby tree. Chris and his crew were spectacular hosts.

Our stay at Seronera Sametu was highlighted by a ‘close encounter’ with a lioness who was stalking buffalo near camp. She popped up out of the tall grass and gave my husband and one of the camp guards quite a start! Very exciting!!

Our trek to LeMala Mara was chock full of African wildlife; the hippos crowding the hippo pools of the Mara River and seeing a lion family devour a freshly killed wildebeest were truly memorable sights.

Our final days were spent at the beautiful Buffalo Luxury camp. My daughter, a budding artist, loved that they had drawing supplies available in the lounge so she could put some of the amazing animals we saw down on paper. Our host, Chris, took us on a wonderful walking safari and even organized a hilltop sundowner for our last evening. The food was spectacular (loved those loaf-sized dinner rolls) and they even baked a birthday cake to help celebrate a special birthday for Kathi. Another truly memorable experience was the opportunity to visit a nearby Maasai village and learn about their lifestyle. They welcomed us warmly and we thoroughly enjoyed their melodic singing, jumping and dancing!

Our animal encounters were amazing! All in all we saw 84 lions, 9 cheetahs and 7 leopards along with countless elephants, giraffe, hippo, monkeys, wildebeest, Tomi’s and many beautiful birds. As a group, we took over 10,000 photos! Despite what we thought Africa would be like, it was so much MORE than we expected and the fabulous planning and attention to every detail sets Africa Dream Safaris apart. It was truly the trip of a lifetime!

As Arnold would say, “Every day is a good day… in the bush!!”

Thank you Sharon for putting together our adventure, we sincerely hope it is not too long before we can return to the magic of Africa.

Asante Sana!!

Chris, Mark, Mason & Kylie (Naperville, Illinois)
Mark, Kathi, Liz & Robby (Avondale, Pennsylvania)
Bob & Ruth Ann (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Safari Dates: July 14, 2013 to July 29, 2013

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Our Tanzanian Adventure

In the summer of 2012, we started planning our long-dreamed of African adventure with our travel companions, Frances and HN. Frances located ADS on the internet, and despite concerns about their reviews being too good to be true, we booked our photo safari through Sharon at ADS’s US office. We opted for a mix of tented luxury camps and lodges for our 12 day safari. Sharon was extremely helpful in planning the trip and making the arrangements. We flew KLM to Arusha (Kilimanjaro) airport and arrived tired but excited on May 2. We were met at the airport and whisked through Tanzanian immigration without delay. The ADS meet and greet team picked us up and transported us to our hotel in Arusha for a pre-safari briefing and a night’s sleep in the luxurious Mt. Meru Hotel.

The following morning, we flew to the Grumeti airstrip in the northwest Serengeti where we met our driver/guide, Maiko George. We started on our first game drive with Maiko and saw croc’s and hippo’s in the Grumeti River, impala, topi, a lioness, colobus monkeys, and warthogs before we’d driven a mile or two. Continuing on, we saw Cape buffalo, zebras, giraffes, baboons,ostriches and all manner of beautiful birds before arriving at the Kirawira Tented lodge for our first night in the field. Our accommodations were luxurious and the food and service were 5-star.

We thought we might have peaked on our first day’s game drive, but we were so mistaken. Each of the following eleven days seemed to best the previous days with up close and personal sightings of lions, leopards, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, black rhinos, Grants and Thompsons gazelles, eland, jackals, hippos, hyenas, and the most incredible variety of birds.

Traveling at the end of the rainy season and before the start of the high season was perfect. We encountered just a few other safari vehicles at each locale, and never seemed to be crowded or in competition with them. At Kirawira, Mbuzi Mawe, and Lake Masek camps and at The Plantation, we were the only guests and were treated to royal service.

Maiko, our so-named Alpha Guide, was an expert at spotting, positioning us, and identifying all animals, birds, trees, and flowers. He consistently put us on animals before other safari guides who seemed happy to follow his lead. He was helpful to the extreme as he organized every step of our lodging arrangements and daily game drives. He had box breakfasts with coffee and tea, and boxed lunches with cold drinks as needed for our game drives. He made sure that our dietary restrictions were satisfied.

Our safari vehicle was spotless inside and out each morning. We’re certain he got to bed late and had to rise early to take care of details, but he kept his energy level and sense of humor throughout. Our final view of Maiko was him waving us goodbye through the window at the airport as we proceeded through immigration and security for our flight home.

So we, at the risk of writing another too-good-to be-true review, join the list of others in sounding the praises of ADS. This safari was the trip of a lifetime and exceeded our expectations in every respect from start to finish.

Carol and Bob B.
Lake Jackson, Texas
Safari Dates: May 2, 2013 to May 13, 2013


H. N. and Frances B.
Clute, Texas
Safari Dates: May 2, 2013 to May 13, 2013

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It was Africa, it was a safari and it was a dream come true.

I can’t believe I was really there. We were a group of 6, 4 of us form the US and 2 from Australia. We met 2 years ago on river cruise in Europe so this was a reunion trip for us, 18 months in the making!

Within minutes of leaving the airport we saw impala; within a half hour we saw zebra and giraffes with babies! We woke up the first morning to a giraffe at sunrise, you now those pictures you see in magazines. What an experience see the great migration and the river crossing. We were told there are 1.7 million wildebeest; we think we saw a million of them!

We did a night game drive and couldn’t get enough of the bush babies jumping from tree to tree! We arrived first or maybe second as a vehicle passed us, to the Ngorongoro Crater. There were a lot of animals playing around. We saw 4 of the “Big 5”, only the buffalo was missing. We had the privilege of following 2 black rhinos (we had been lucky to see 2 others in the Serengeti).

Seeing all of the elephants, giraffes and zebras in Tarangire Park was amazing. I read you could see 100-400 elephants a day here. I think we did. At one point one of the people in our group counted 56 of them standing together.

Here we also experienced the love of a mother for her child. We came upon a mother elephant and her baby, separated by the road. The baby was obviously ill and could hardly move. She was trying to get it to cross the road by her. When she saw that we might come between them (we were stopped several meters away) she started to charge us. Wilfred quickly maneuvered the vehicle so we off t he side. She continued in a sideways movement across the road towards her baby not leaving her eyes off of us. We watched as the baby slowly moved across the road and the plain trying to follow the mother to the herd.

Although we never saw a kill we did see the aftermath…the cheetah in a tree eating, and lions eating their take down. We were on safari during the dry season, we were fortunate to have very few other vehicles around; often we were the only one. The camps were wonderful, especially the talking bush showers after a dusty hot day out. Two of the nights we were the only ones at the camps so it was like having experienced 3 private camps instead of one.

Sandy Jacobson
Wallace, North Carolina
Safari Dates: October 15, 2012 to October 25, 2012

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Ron, Pam, Don & Angie

Our safari certainly was an African Dream Safari. The preparation we received from ADS ensured our visit would be comfortable and worry free. We were impressed by the guidance we received with regard, how to pack, what to bring, tipping advice, emergency contacts, and a “did you remember to . . .” checklist just before our departure day. ” The staff at ADS was always easily accessible and available to answer any questions we had regarding our trip. All of the ADS staff from planning to completion were extremely warm and friendly and focused on meeting our needs. Even after arriving 20 hours late, a smiling ADS representative was at the airport to greet us and quickly processed us through our entry into Tanzania.

The next day, after a fascinating flight to the Serengeti, we were greeted by our driver-guide, Ellson. Ellson’s knowledge of the East Africa animals was exceptional. Not only was he knowledgeable, he knew exactly where we might find them; and we did! On our adventure, Ellson helped us identify more than 120 different species of animals and birds. We came home with many exceptional photographs including the rare Serval cat and African wild dogs.

The food and accommodations throughout our trip far exceeded our expectations. Our group most enjoyed our “Private Luxury Camp”. The camp was set up in a beautiful, very peaceful location. We could watch herds of cape buffalo and gazelles in the distance from our “front porch.” At night, we could hear the hyenas laughing and one visited our campsite. On the second day of our stay there, we had our very own “camp giraffe.” This Private Camp is our most memorable part of this great vacation.

We were very happy we choose your company and highly recommend it to others. Your attention to detail and concern for us having the best experience possible was demonstrated by the entire Africa Dream Safari staff. We can’t thank you enough for the trip of a lifetime.

Asante Sana and warm regards,

Ron, Pam, Don and Angie
Midland, Michigan
February 2012

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Africa Dream Safaris Testimonial

Krabill Family (October 1-11, 2011)
Larry, Kathy, Laura, Michele, Elizabeth, Marqui, Virginia and Logan

I have started this letter several times and can’t find sufficient words to express the joy, gratitude and overwhelming awe we all experienced on safari, due almost entirely to Africa Dream Safaris. Maybe our best advice would be to change your name – Africa Dream Safaris does not do your company justice.

As Marqui recently wrote, “I have seen and experienced beauty, thrills and culture that I only dreamed about before. In fact, my wildest dreams were too dull for the adventure and majestic beauty we beheld in Tanzania.” I am, by nature and occupation, a skeptic and particularly distrustful of advertisements. Even a few days before leaving for safari, I worried that Africa Dream Safaris could not deliver the experience and service it had promised. Well, I am happy to report that I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, ADS under-promised and over-delivered at every turn.

First, our ADS representative, Sharon Lyon, planned the trip down to every detail. She answered our countless questions before our departure for Tanzania, always patiently and with good humor, allaying our many concerns and providing suggestions and invaluable pre-trip guidance.

Second, four members of our group were delayed on the way to Amsterdam and ADS representatives in both the U.S. and Tanzania (at 1:00 a.m. Tanzania time) answered calls, and gave us assurances that any adjustments could be addressed – luckily, we made the flight to Tanzania and all eight members of our family arrived together as scheduled.

Third, the meet and greet staff at the airport held our hands throughout the visa and customs process and got us out of the airport and to the hotel without us lifting a finger (well, except to be fingerprinted for our visas). We were never concerned and everything was taken care of for us every step of the way. This was just the beginning of ADS exceeding our expectations and even our highest hopes. When we arrived at the Mount Meru Hotel, the suites each couple received could have housed our entire group.

The next morning, we were escorted by our meet and greet staff to the Arusha airport. We had been concerned about the weight restrictions on the flight from Arusha to the Serengeti, particularly because my sister Elizabeth was bringing her wheelchair and walker in addition to her luggage. (Yes, one of the many “special needs” of our group was my sister’s handicap, which was never an issue during our entire trip.

In fact, Elizabeth’s handicap was less of an obstacle and more seamlessly addressed in Tanzania by ADS than in most other places that we’ve traveled as a family – including in the US). Rather than us having to deal with the air carrier about our additional needs or the weight restrictions, ADS arranged a charter flight for just the eight of us at no extra cost! The pilot circled around the landing site a few times so that we could see the wildlife from the air before even touching down in the Serengeti. (Logan is still sure he saw a rhino from the plane.)

Upon arrival in the Northern Serengeti, as promised by ADS, we were greeted on the tarmac by our guides, Peter and Mellel (“Raphael”). They were both so genuine, kind, informative and helpful from the moment we met them that every person in our group instantly connected with both of them. Not only were Peter and Mellel extremely knowledgeable about every animal, bird, tree, flower and location we saw, they were fun to be with, were always striving to ensure that we were having the best time possible, and were excellent “spotters” – finding wildlife that we would have never seen on our own.

In fact, on several occasions, other non-ADS guides were simply going to drive away from a location because they could not see the leopard or other animal our guides had spotted, and either we told the other tourists how to find them or the other guide had to ask Peter or Mellel for help so they could show their group. Peter and Mellel also understood animal habits and behavior so well that they always knew where to be and when. For instance, we stopped for lunch our second day in the Serengeti on a hill under a tree by the Mara River, while wildebeests amassed on the opposite river bank.

Several other safari operators started gathering down the road where it appeared the wildebeests might cross. We started to second-guess our guides, wondering if we should move to where the other cars were waiting. Well, within fifteen minutes after we had finished lunch, the wildebeests began crossing the river immediately in front of our location. Peter and Mellel sped us down to the river bank, and we were the first cars to arrive as the wildebeests began emerging from the river.

Soon, wildebeests were streaming on either side of our cars. It was exhilarating! It was probably the most exciting thing we saw and we didn’t even think we would be there for any of the migration! We enjoyed every minute we were with our guides from the moment we arrived in the Serengeti to the night they dropped us off at the airport for our return flight home. They truly made our safari the amazing adventure it was and we cannot thank them and ADS enough for giving us the opportunity to meet and befriend two such wonderful people.

Beyond our ADS representative, our meet and greet staff and our guides, the accommodations provided by ADS consistently exceeded our expectations. We stayed at a variety of places, and everyone in our group enjoyed all of the lodging. One amazing thing about the accommodations was that ADS managed to arrange lodging with enough variety to meet the disparate desires of every member of our very diverse group.

In particular, we stayed at two Lemala tented camps, which were probably Virginia and Logan’s favorites because they felt so intimate and close to nature; Buffalo Springs, with its amazing food and wonderful staff who bent over backwards to ensure that our slightest whim was satisfied – we think Elizabeth may now be married to one of the staff there who carried her up and down the only set of stairs we encountered during our entire trip, like a husband carrying his new bride over the threshold; Bilila, an absolutely incredible haven of luxury in the middle of the Serengeti, complete with our own individual plunge pools, dik diks grazing outside each enormous suite, and baboon viewing from the bathtubs in our rooms; and finally Swala where lions roared nearby during dinner and elephants sauntered by the porch of our tents as we drank the coffee that came with our “wake-up call.” Every one of the lodges was unique, and combined helped make our “luxury safari” more opulent than we had dreamed possible.

And, last but not least (and I only left it for last because it is not entirely attributable to ADS), the game viewing was amazing! As I mentioned, we saw wildebeests (about 4,000) crossing the Mara River. We saw eight leopards, including one with a dead aardvark in a tree, and three in one tree with a dead gazelle. With the group of three, one of the leopards ended up knocking the gazelle out of the tree and all three then dragged it to a different tree and brought it up again while we watched.

We saw at least five cheetah, one black rhino, and countless lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra, hippos, crocs, impala, wildebeest, hyena, cape buffalo, ostrich, baboon, vervet monkeys, topis, reedbuck, waterbuck, dik dik, and klipspringers, not to mention tons of the most incredible birds I’ve ever seen – and I am not a bird person, or wasn’t before this trip. We got incredible photos, again with many thanks to Peter and Mellel who both knew how to position the car to get the best view and best light for every shot!

Our only criticism of ADS – and it is a serious one – is that you have made it impossible for us to fully enjoy any other family vacation that is not in Tanzania. Any other place would pale in comparison to our trip-of-a-lifetime dream safari. Thank you, ADS!!

Laura Krabill and Family
Raleigh, North Carolina
October 1 to October 11, 2011

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It Truly Was The Trip Of A Lifetime

Hi there. Well, I can’t stop talking about our trip and can’t wait until I am able to do it again! Here are a couple of pictures that I thought showed some really incredible things. Trying to choose from over 2,000 wasn’t easy and there are so many more that show other really amazing things.

A few highlights were seeing a cheetah eating its fresh kill (thankfully we missed that chase), we must have come upon it just after. It was difficult for me to watch and hear every noise of her meal however it was also fascinating at the same time. One picture shows the meal with her periodically getting up from eating to check for other animals trying to steal it, the other shows her licking her lips from eating, red stained fur and all.

At one hippo pool tons of hippos were swarming around and these two were playing or fighting, either way it made for a great picture.

Another great sighting was a leopard lounging in a tree with its dinner draped over another branch. The meal is on the left and the leopard is on the right in the tree.

We had a male and female lion walk right up to our truck and lay down beside it in the Ngorongoro Crater to get some shade. That was pretty amazing. The picture doesn’t do it justice but to have two huge animals that could rip us to shreds just peacefully lying down next to us was something I will never forget.

And of course, my all-time favorite animals are the male lions, we saw quite a few and trying to pick my favorite picture was impossible however this one with the mouth open was irresistible. They seem to be very lazy animals but like I said before I could watch them sleep all day and when they move it’s like winning the million dollar lotto!!!

I could go on and on so I’ll wrap it up to say that it truly was the trip of a lifetime. For a girl who loves to travel and experience new things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top this one. You were dead on with all your planning and suggestions and we loved every bit of it. We did the Maasai Village as well and that was a lot of fun. I can’t say enough about the trip, the accommodations, the people of Tanzania, our guide, and of course the animals. African Dream Safari’s was the perfect choice and all of you made the trip the best.

I included a picture of our group so you can finally put the names together with faces. From the left (Ileana, Nate, Nancy and me).

Thank you, thank you, thank you, so much.

Lisa Baligian
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
May 2011

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A Dozen Elephants Visited Our Lodge Pool

Lynn, this trip was the most fabulous we’ve ever taken! I don’t think we can ever duplicate or match it for it beauty of Tanzania, its people and its animals. Our accommodations were outstanding…truly first rate. We were spoiled especially by the Crater Lodge staff! But each lodge was unique. We were thrilled when a dozen elephants visited the pond behind Bilila Lodge. Then, at Kusini Tented Camp, the camp director treated us to a short astronomy lesson of the stars and constellations in the beautiful night sky; no light pollution! What a marvelous view of the Milky Way.

Our safari guides were kind, courteous and so well informed…and so proud of their country! We felt very safe and comfortable with them and learned so much from them. The idea of our group using two vehicles turned out to be a very good suggestion…not just from the standpoint of having extra room for viewing the animals but because one vehicle could always return to the lodge early while the other could stay out longer for those of us who could not get enough of the animals and scenery. Every aspect of the trip was wonderful…and we’ve got lots of photos to remember it by.

Thanks for all your careful planning on our behalf. It was a dream come true for us.

Ouida and Wayne Drinkwater
Ridgeland, Mississippi
March 2011

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