After more than a year of planning and anticipation, our dream of an African safari became a reality when we were joined by our two adult sons and their wives in Tanzania for what can only be described as the trip of our lifetime!
My husband has wanted to travel to Africa and “see animals” since he was a small child. Visiting Africa was the number one item on his bucket list. After several months of research, he selected Africa Dream Safaris. The dream became a reality when we left Arusha September 30th.
Our 10 day safari was everything we dreamed of and more. Our guide Malaki ensured that we encountered amazing sights every single day! When we had seen the “big 5” on day 2, we wondered what the future days would hold for us. That was not a concern. We saw 86 different species of animals. We saw two leopards in a tree with a herd of elephants passing beneath them. Even on our last day on the return drive to Arusha we saw a female Gerenuk (Malaki had not seen the species in 5 years), and two cheetahs (mother and son) near the road.
Our most memorable sight was an amazing river crossing of wildebeest and zebra that lasted more than 30 minutes. Thundering wildebeest jumping off a cliff is an awe inspiring sight! The Serengeti is a special place. The Swahili definition of the word Serengeti (Endless Plain) is appropriate.
The camps were wonderful (6:00 am delivery of flavorful coffee to our tent exceeded our expectations). The people were extremely friendly and welcoming. The country is beautiful. A sunset with a Flat Top Acacia tree in the foreground is breath taking.
We would definitely recommend ADS. We had the trip of a lifetime. Dawn helped to ensure that we knew what to expect, and that we were prepared. Malaki made the trip so special – he was a wonderful guide who we will always remember. He had four engineers in the vehicle and he patiently answered our questions about the vehicle (fuel capacity, whether thorns from Whistling Acacia trees cause flat tires, etc.) as well as geography, animal habitats, etc. He helped us learn about the country, the people, and the animals of Tanzania. We have so many wonderful memories. Asante.
Mike and Susan H.
Safari Dates: September 30, 2014 to October 8, 2014
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.
December 22, 2015 to December 29, 2015
Words seem inadequate when it comes to describing our family safari with Africa Dream Safaris. From the moment two years ago when I began my research to the day I spoke with safari specialist Dawn, and then the day we met our driver/guide, Arnold, in Northern Tanzania, I knew we were in for an amazing adventure.
Together my husband and I along with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, ages 8 and 10, embarked on this adventure confident that we were in good hands with ADS. I was only concerned about two things; how the boys would handle the two long plane rides and the long days spent in the “bush”. I needn’t have worried. They thoroughly entertained themselves on the KLM planes with the video monitors in the seat backs. They could follow our flight path so never asked “When will we be there?”
We spent on average six to seven hours each day in the land rover taking box lunches. Not once did either say they were bored and they only got out their electronic games on the last day while going through Lake Manyara. Arnold was wonderful with them and educated us all about the animals we were seeing. The Serengeti was our classroom with Arnold our teacher.
We arrived a day early so we could adjust to the time difference. Then it was off to St. Jude School. Our grandsons noted the children in this school spent much time outdoors which made an impression as it was now winter. They couldn’t help but notice lunch was being served outside. They also made note that children could run when changing activities or classrooms; something they are not allowed to do. As a former teacher, I was impressed with the joy that shone through on each child’s face. It was easy to feel the children’s excitement at being in this school.
The boys were thrilled to be on a small plane as we took off for Northern Tanzania. Arnold was waiting for us and our incredible safari began. That very first day we witnessed not one but two crossings as the wildebeests crossed the Mara River on their way to Kenya. For me it was the highlight of the trip as I have longed to see the crossing since my elementary school days. Sharing that moment with my family made it all the more special.
We spent some time going off road which gave us the opportunity to witness unbelievable encounters. We spent an hour one afternoon at a watering hole surrounded by 36 elephants. We watched the babies nurse and the adults sling mud and water on themselves. There was a special moment when one of the females turned and stepped slowly towards our vehicle. She stopped and for a moment was looking eye to eye with our grandsons who were sitting up top. As she turned to go back I couldn’t help but wonder what she was thinking. As a mother herself, was she making sure these children were in good hands? We were astonished at the grace and magnificence of these creatures.
Another day we became willing participants with a cheetah as he was on a hunt. Arnold said, “Hold on!” and off we went. We were mesmerized as we watched and Arnold explained exactly how the cheetah would kill and then eat the gazelle. We had no idea there was a sequence to the killing and eating. Knowing that we might see a kill was concerning before the trip but it was all so natural. We simply were observers of the “circle of life.”
Here are some comments from Alexander (10): “The Safari was fun because we went off road. I really liked seeing all the animals and staying at the Four Seasons Lodge. My favorite animal was the African Fish Eagle because I really like eagles and birds. I also liked the lions because they looked ferocious.” Another comment from Alexander came after we had driven through Arusha. He told his mom that he was very glad to live where he does.
Anthony’s (8) comments: “The safari was exciting because the trip was unusual. I really liked the plane ride. My favorite animal was the cheetah because we got to watch it attack and eat the gazelle. On the safari I really liked to see the environment the animals live in.”
As to the lodging, we were so impressed with each place we stayed. Each was unique and the staff was so accommodating. At Buffalo Tented Lodge we were treated to a Boma Dinner outside, a night safari, and a visit to a Maasai village. On the walking safari the boys wanted to hike to the top of the mountain. Their request was graciously granted. Once at the top they helped in starting a fire using sticks.
“A trip of a lifetime” seems rather cliche but it does sum it up very well. The Serengeti has a way of seeping into your very soul. We are so thankful for ADS and the wonderful driver/guides who make these trips possible. “Pora Pora!”
Connie M. on behalf of Jim, Amy, Mike, Alexander, and Anthony
Safari Dates: July 21, 2014 to August 1, 2014
We send thanks and congratulations for a job well done. The 8 day itinerary and the execution by your staff gave us an unbelievable experience and the knowledge that our money was well spent.
Faith met us at the Kilimanjaro airport with a smile on her face and a professional, calming manor. She got us to and through Arusha and managed a quick check in to the hotel – all this with a new baby due in 2 or 3 weeks.
Our driver-guide Ally met us as we got off the plane at Grumeti airstrip. The rest is history! Ally is certainly one of the smartest and personable men we have ever known. His love of the land and its creatures was admirable and contagious. His actions left no doubt he took his responsibilities as a teacher and a protector seriously and joyfully. He taught us patience is indeed a virtue. Animal’s actions are predictable – to the expert – we learned to relax and enjoy the fact that something grand was going to be seen. Many of our best pictures and videos are a direct result of Ally’s patience.
We enjoyed meeting wonderful people, workers and travelers alike. Many shared their joy of the visit to Africa and many shared their hope and expectation of a better life ahead. The wide spread use of the English language was a surprise to us. Parents sacrifice to send the children to school. They know education is a key to the better life.
The late May date was perfect – comfortable weather and good road conditions. Your equipment was good and Ally cleaned it every day. The camps were comfortable, clean and exciting. The food was very good – yes, very good.
Carl & Barbara M.
Safari Dates: May 15, 2014 to May 22, 2014
When Rob and I got married ten years ago we agreed that we would go to Africa for our 10th anniversary. For many years we talked and dreamed and two years ago we got serious and started searching for a company to supply us with our anniversary trip. When we first saw the ADS website we thought a private safari would way too expensive for us but, on a whim, I inquired anyway. Dawn Anderson replied almost immediately with an incredibly impressive brochure and a price that was so close to the “budget” group safaris that we were sold.
As the days flew by we kept saying “this time next year we’ll be in Africa” . . . “this time in six months we’ll be in Africa” . . . We were so excited and kept reading the ADS newsletters but we didn’t dare to hope that our trip would be so wonderful. But then we found ourselves saying “this time next week we’ll be in Africa” . . . and suddenly we were there!
From the ADS agent who met us at the airport, to the gentlemen who took us to our hotel that night, to the help at the regional airport, to our amazing and incredibly knowledgable guide, Patrick every single detail was taken care of. We literally didn’t have to think or worry about anything but watching for animals and wondering what incredible food waited for us in those yummy lunch boxes or at the lodge that night. (We are both engineers and are sticklers about details and about time so for us not to worry about these things is saying a lot!)
In our wistful thinking leading up to the trip we thought we might see a few animals but they would be at a long distance. So I bought my husband a very fancy camera for his birthday earlier in the year with a very powerful zoom lens. Imagine our excitement when we could almost reach out and touch these beautiful creatures. Other than a very shy leopard and a somewhat elusive rhino at the crater we scarcely had to use our zoom! What a thrill to have a male lion walk right up to your truck and snarl at you because you were in the shade of “his” bush! How incredible to see the wildebeast and zebra that blackened the plains they were so numerous!
Nothing in our dreams included elephants and their babies that would walk alongside your truck and treat you to a show while they shot water and dust over their backs! And the hippos! Who knew we’d be up close and personal with hippos while they got into a tiff and their voices echoed down the valley created by the Mara river? We had no clue that zebras “bark” or that hyenas are named “laughing hyenas” for a very good reason! And that was just during the day! During the nights we were treated with visits from elephants, giraffes, elands and lions – right outside (or under in the case of the lions) our room!
Our guide, Patrick, knew the name of every bird and every creature. I took notes on it all in my journal and Patrick was always patient for me – not driving off until he had located the animal in his guidebook so I could spell it correctly. Patrick told us about the “big five” (elephant, lion, cape buffalo, rhino and leopard) and then he made it his mission to make sure we saw all five – which we did! We weren’t sure if Patrick was a kindred spirit or if he could read our minds but he always was taking us places and showing us things that we wanted to see without us saying a word.
The lodges were wonderful and the people as friendly as any I’ve experienced in my travels around the world. We loved the Maasai people and enjoyed talking with them both in their traditional bomas as well as at the lodges where they worked. The lodge managers were great people with interesting stories and were constantly surprising us with their hospitality.
Our experience with ADS has been nothing but spectacular and, as the title says, it was beyond our wildest dreams of how great a safari can be. While we were out and about we saw some of the other big group safari companies with people crammed into vehicles following each other in a line like the animals we saw. We were so pleased we were with with a company that allowed us the freedom to be where we wanted and do what we wanted. Thank you ADS!!!!! Our 10th anniversary was more special than we could have ever imagined!
Robert and Dawn A.
Safari Dates: October 18, 2013 to October 28, 2013
We would highly recommend booking a safari with Africa Dream Safaris. From the moment we landed in Tanzania, there was someone there to greet us, get us through immigration and to our hotel. They answered all our questions and ensured we had a lovely dinner, even though we arrived quite late.
The next day they drove us to the Arusha airport and the safari began. We have been to several countries in Africa, however, for the sheer number of animals a safari in Tanzania cannot be beat. We visited the South, Central, and Western Serengeti, as well as Ngorongoro Crater. We saw literally thousands and thousands of animals.
Sharon advised on where we should stay to see the migration and she was right on target. It was unbelievable to see the huge herds of wildebeests and zebras and believe me, you have to see it to comprehend the how large it is.
We had 95 lion, 15 cheetah, and 12 leopard sightings. We saw a mother cheetah with three cubs and three mother lions with 10 cubs. We saw all the big five, plus animals we had never seen before to include porcupines, colobus monkeys, and a leopard tortoise.
The lodges were quite nice and the camping was fun. At one of the camps, one of our hosts tried his best to teach us Swahili. Our driver David was extremely knowledgeable and found all the animals we told him we were interested in seeing. He consistently knew where the animals would wander or where to place the land cruiser to get the best pictures. We would definitely arrange another safari with Africa Dream Safaris.
Tony, Amanda, Matthew and Hayley Bedwell
New Palestine, Indiana
We wanted to take a minute after we returned from our safari to thank you and the entire ADS Staff for their part in our safari experience. It is hard to know what expectations to have on a trip like this. We have travelled to various parts of the world but had no real idea of what to expect on our trip to Tanzania. We had planned this trip to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary and believed it would be an “once-in-a-lifetime” type trip. As the trip got closer and closer, our expectations and excitement continued to grow.
I am glad to report that from the moment we stepped off the plane in Kilimanjaro and met Salma from ADS, every expectation we had was surpassed by the ADS Staff and our experiences. On Day 1, we flew to Seronera and met our guide. He was easy going, knowledgeable and by the end of the afternoon, we felt like we’d known him for years. Within 10 minutes of leaving the airport strip, we were in the middle of a herd of 15+ elephants and 15+ hippos. We were stunned by how close we were to the animals and their care-free, natural behavior even though we were just feet away.
Later that evening, after we finished our day (having seen much more after the elephants and hippos) and were having dinner at the Mbuzi Mawe Tent Camp, we talked about all the testimonial emails from previous clients of ADS and how they all seemed to make sense now. While the trip was expensive, with one day completed, we both agreed it was already worth it. We had six more days of our safari and each one was just as good as Day 1 (if not better). It is still hard to believe that you can get VIP treatment while on safari!
Included are two of the many photos that we took:
1. CHEETAHS WITH KILL; while we were in the Ndutu area, we came across 4 cheetahs. We watch and followed them as they stalked, hunted and finally killed a wildebeest. After the kill, we were within feet of them as they took turns eating and resting.
2. LION WITH KILL; again in the Ndutu area, we came across a female lion with her 3 cubs. We watch and followed as she hunted down a baby wildebeest and took it back to her cubs.
Again, thank you for a great experience. We will recommend you to all who will ask!!
Bill and Sarah Vieth