Well…how to begin? Our trip that you so meticulously planned for us was simply amazing! Everything from meeting the delightful Joseph to the last day room at the Arusha Coffee Lodge was seamlessly thought out.
For anyone wondering whether or not the last part of the rainy season is a good time to visit the Serengeti, we can testify that for 2017 it was a great time to go. During our 10 day safari, we saw just a few rain sprinkles and only a couple short-lived downpours. The rain was a non issue for us. It kept down the dust, and everything was green and beautiful.
We didn’t know what we were in for when we boarded our flight to Arusha last November, but we arrived in a land of enchantment, generous hospitality, and heart-stopping drama in kingdom animalia. We absolutely loved our time in Tanzania, and have ADS to thank for every moment of that wonder. From Dawn’s precise pre-trip details to our warm welcome at the airport to our final goodbye in Zanzibar, we had the absolute trip of our lives.
We were so blessed to go on our first safari and could not have been more thrilled that we chose Africa Dream Safaris. We researched several companies prior to making our decision and never once had any regrets. It all started with our discussions with Dawn Anderson. Once we spoke to her, we were sold that ADS was the right company for us. Dawn answered all of our questions, no matter how trivial. She provided suggestions and insight that ensured every detail of our trip was handled. Dawn is the best ambassador for ADS with her exemplary customer service and desire to make our trip memorable.
I have dreamed of going to Africa ever since I was a little girl and watched my first Tarzan movie with Johnny Weissmuller. My dream started to become a reality when I inherited some money and booked my first safari with Sharon from ADS. Sharon was always there to answer all my questions and plan the perfect safari.
Our safari started on March 22, 2015 when we were met by Mathias at the Kilimanjaro airports. He put me at ease, and all my fears and anxiety disappeared.
Our first night was spent at the Mt Meru Hotel. What a hotel, this must be how the rich people live! We got up early for a hot breakfast on the veranda and then off with Mathias and Timan to the Arusha airport.
Once we landed at the Seronera airstrip in the central part of the Serengeti, we were met by Ally, our guide for the safari. He had a smile from ear to ear and was never far away from us. He answered all our questions, provided us with a wealth of information regarding the animals and the African culture. I especially enjoyed his sense of humor. His eyes were incredible and he was able to pick animals that were no bigger than a speck in the grass.
Before arriving at Seronera Sametu Camp, we saw a herd of elephants chase away a pair of lions, saw Thompson’s Gazelle, Grant’s Gazelle, Impala, Worthog, Zebra, hippos, Giraffe, Lions, Elephants, Baboon, Hyena, Hartebeest, Topi, Buffalo, Jackal, Cheetah and many types of birds. And that was just the first day!
The first time I saw Sametu Camp, I wondered what had I gotten myself into. I had only seen pictures of the camp, but I could never have imaged how wonderful staying in one would be. We were greeted by JJ with warm towels to wipe off the days dust and a glass of juice. The tent was amazing. While we were at supper, the staff would close up the tent, turn down the bed, pull down the mosquito netting, fill the shower with water and place hot water bottles in the bed. During the nights we heard lions outside the tent. I can’t begin to describe the feelings: fear, excitement, terror, trepidation. In the morning we found out the lions were on a rock formation not far from the tent.
These are some of the high lights from our 3 day stay at SAMETU CAMP:
1. Night drive. You need a special permit to do this.
2. Hot air balloon, we just hovered over the heads of buffaloes, trees and hippos.
3. Zebras, by the thousands waiting to get to a watering hole.
4. A lion stalk and kill a warthog.
5. Pride of 20 lions eating a zebra.
6. Countless numbers of animals including the elusive Serval cat
7. And of course JJ.
Then off to NDUTU LODGE in the South Serengeti for 2 nights. Highlights include:
1. Cheetahs and leopards
2. A cheetah stalking and killing a young hartebeest
3. Our first Bushy TV (camp fire)
4. Eating dinner and having Genets climbing around on the rafters
5. Exploring Lake Masek
Then off to LIONS PAW CAMP, but first a visit to a Maasia Village!
At Lions Paw Camp, where we were met by Edward, highlights include:
1. By day we explored the Ngorongoro crater and saw 8 rhinos and 2, yes 2 Caracal cats.
2. At night, I heard the buffalo eating grass outside the tent next to my head.
3. Lots of great scenic pictures
The game drives were long and dusty, but filled with excitement. We would get lost in following a leopard walk across the Serengeti or watching a cheetah stalk and kill a young hartebeest. Each day was filled with something new and exciting. I’m so glad we chose to use ADS for our safari needs and thankful they paired us up with our guide Ally.
I want to thank all the ADS staff for making my childhood dream come true.
One last note: I never did see Tarzan, but I have memories that will last a lifetime.
Marilyn and David C.
Safari Dates: March 22, 2015 to April 1, 2015
Randi and i became interested in a photo safari in the Serengeti after one of her colleagues had returned from a safari (with a different company) and shared some of her experiences and impressions as well as photographs. This interest was reinforced during a New Zealand vacation last year where we met a couple who had been to Tanzania and had an incredible experience with ADS. Despite these recommendations, I remained skeptical; I was persuaded, however, to read the ADS testimonials and contact Sharon Lyon to begin preliminary planning for what became the “trip of our lifetime!”
In preparation for this safari, Randi and I read a number of travel books and articles. Despite this preparation, we were both surprised by what we found in Arusha; I was not expecting to find a modern urban city which Arusha certainly is becoming. We chose to spend an extra day there before beginning our safari to acclimate before “heading into the bush” and this was certainly welcome after nearly 24 hours traveling from Rochester, Minnesota to Africa.
Our guide, Emmanuel, met us after our short flight into the Serengeti and we were immediately immersed in Africa, its wonders and incredible animals. During our first game drive we saw cheetah, lions, and a second Mara River crossing by thousands of wildebeest. We saw an enormous Nile crocodile on the opposite bank of the Mara (thankfully); he was taking the sun and seemed to have recently had a large meal. In some instances, we were close enough to have touched the big cats who were unconcerned with our presence amongst them (I did not expect this); one large male lion appeared so exhausted that he completely ignored our presence.
Each succeeding day brought new joy and unanticipated contact with Africa and Serengeti. That we saw so much of hidden Africa is completely due to Emmanuel. How he was able to locate leopards in rocks and trees from the distances that he did amazed us. On a subsequent afternoon, we were overtaken by a pride of ten lions and Randi and I were awed as these magnificent predators wearily passed our stopped land cruiser, brushing close to the side as they passed. So close that I was able to count the fat black ticks on the back of one adolescent male. Nor can Randi and I forget the young leopard who, with two siblings, came out of the grass and stopped beside our vehicle. He looked up at me for a long moment and then moved away.
William N. and Randi H.
Safari Dates: September 2, 2013 to September 12, 2013
A trip to Africa on a safari was something that I had always dreamed of. When I talked to my husband about it, we decided to make the dream come true sooner than later. The first step to making this trip come alive was doing our research and figure out which safari company could best meet our needs of what we wanted to both see and do. There are so many companies out there to choose from, but there was something about Africa Dream Safari’s website that caught our eye. We read every detail on the website and requested a brochure. It was the best decision we made! Africa Dream Safari took care of everything, from the time we were picked up at the airport, to the time we were dropped off at the airport.
Sharon played an essential role in planning our itinerary, and now that we are home and looking back at our trip, there is not one thing we would have changed in that itinerary. She worked with us, giving us an itinerary that would give us the best experience of Tanzania. Her emails were always prompt and very informational. We also felt the Africa Dream Safari handbook was excellent in making sure we were entirely prepared for everything when out on safari.
Another person who played an extremely important role in the success of our trip was our guide Michael. We realized early on in our safari that without a superb guide our trip would not be the “trip of a lifetime”. Michael was a superb guide! Everyday he had something new to show us. We would be driving along and suddenly come to a stop and he would see a dark spec in the distance that ended up being something spectacular to watch. We may have seen some of the same animals each day, but each day brought something new and different to view.
Michael was very flexible with us in letting us watch the animals as long as we wanted or had suggestions for other viewing options. He was a joy to be with and everyday when we parted for the day, we thanked him for another incredible day. He was extremely knowledgeable about the animals, birds, trees, plants and his country. He was a fantastic guide!
Our itinerary consisted of a variety of lodges. We stayed at each lodge for two days, then would move on to a new lodge and a different area of Tanzania. We were able to see the beautiful countryside of Tanzania when traveling to our next destination. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to stay at so many different resorts.
Our favorites were the tented lodges, so we were happy to be able to stay at more than one tented lodge. The tents gave us the sense of being so much closer to nature and the animals. We still remember the thrill of seeing a Cape Buffalo right outside our tent, on our second night, while being escorted back to our tent from the dining tent. Or, watching the Zebra and Wildebeest off the deck of our tent. The tents were not like the camping we are used to, but instead had all the luxuries of home. The staff at all the lodges were extremely friendly and very welcoming.
After 10 days of safari, it was time for our trip to come to an end. This safari exceeded our expectations. There is not one animal that we wished we could has seen, and did not see….we saw it all. On our flight back home, we talked about what was each of our favorite parts of the trip. We both had a difficult time coming up with just one favorite part. This was a “trip of a lifetime” and we each had many favorite parts and Africa Dream Safari made it happen….Thank You!
Tina & Shawn L.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Safari Dates: March 11, 2013 to March 19, 2013
Lynn, We just wanted you to know that our trip couldn’t have been better. The accommodations were great, our guide was exceptional, and the people with Africa Dreams went beyond our expectations. We ran headlong into the Northern migration and could not believe the number of animals we saw. We were fortunate to see every animal of importance including 9 of the 22 Rhinos in the Crater in addition to many lions, leopards and even a cheetah with 2 cubs.
Also we were thankful we had booked with you as opposed to some others we had considered. At the last camp there was a group of 16 with Tack travel with 3 vehicles. They spent much less time out viewing game than we did. It was just so much better being able to come and go whenever you wanted. Thanks again and we will highly recommend you to everyone we know that is considering such a trip.
Dave and Margie Warner