Tag: November

A Perfectly Coordinated Adventure!

I travel frequently and this safari with Africa Dream Safaris was, without a doubt, the most incredible trip of my life! From the minute my plane landed in Tanzania and until I departed, the experience was amazing! The ADS staff who greeted me were so kind and so helpful! I was completely in awe during the entire trip at the level of coordination through every part of this amazing safari!

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All ADS Safari Goers Say This But We Had The Best Guide!

My husband and I just got back from a 10 night safari with ADS. It was even better than we had expected! The 2 nights in Arusha on the front end was a good decision, to rest up after long flights from the US. The Lake Duluti Coffee Lodge had very nice accommodations. This is where the culinary delights started and continued throughout the trip.

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An Exceptional Safari With A Fantastic Guide

I emailed ADS and received a prompt response from Sharon. After a few months of discussions Sharon provided us with an itinerary for a 10 day private safari. We wanted an authentic experience so we opted for the custom Hemmingway Camp option. This included 2 nights at River Camp in the Northern Serengeti, 4 nights in Seronera Sametu Camp in the Central Serengeti and 2 nights at Lions Paw Camp at Ngorongoro Crater. Our favourite location was the Central Serengeti and the Seronera Sametu Camp.

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We Particularly Enjoyed The Tented Camps

Our trip was unbelievable. Every time someone asks me about it my answer is “My expectations were high, but the trip exceeded my expectations”. We want to thank Africa Dream Safaris for the wonderful unexpected perks along the way. The Sundowner Cocktail Party was fabulous. Not only was the food and drink good, but we were visited by several lions nearby. The two cakes were great, especially the one at the tented camp. The gifts were very nice also and have been great to show our friends.

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Thank You ADS For The Most Spectacular Journey!

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.

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The Most Incredible Journey Of My Life!

On November 5th 2016, my friend of over 35 years and I boarded Qatar Airlines in Philadelphia on what was to become the most incredible journey of my life. To be honest, this was a trip that I was taking to accompany my friend in his quest to scratch one more line from his Bucket List, not mine.

You see I have flown over Five million miles during my 25 years of being a Surgeon, so boarding another flight that would take over 25 hours, did not put a BIG smile on my face…the only saving grace was that we were in First Class…BIG SMILE.

Upon our arrival at the Tanzania International Airport we were immediately greeted by the most gracious and helpful people from ADS. Big smiles on their faces, happy “Hello’s”, relieved from our luggage and taken through Security, Visas’ and all, within minutes…I knew that I wasn’t at LAX!!

We were then transported to our Hotel at Mount Meru all within an hour of landing. The picture below shows the “Bucket List” boy doing what he does best…the day before our safari was to begin.

The BIG Day arrives and we prepare to leave on what would become the most incredibly magnificent journey of my life…and believe me, I’ve had a few over the years. Our ADS Crew took care of our luggage and other essentials and off we went to the Arusha Airport for our flight to the top of the Serengeti where our Safari would begin.

As our flight took off from Arusha, all that I could think of was the movie and the beautiful music from “Out of Africa”…what an awesome sight. Once our 45-minute flight landed we were introduced to our ADS Guide David . The man that after 3 hours of being with I lovingly called “The Man injected with an animal GPS chip”.

His knowledge of everything, the land, the animals, the insects, the birds and their habits, astounded both Ray and me…he was a major contributor to the awe inspiring journey. We did not miss one creature that inhabited the Serengeti or the Ngorongoro Crater with David as our Guide.

I could continue to discuss the journey, but I think that you should see the outcome…so here we go…welcome to our African Dream Safari. To the Entire Team at ADS…ASANTE SANA for giving us the Gift of beautiful people with smiles as wide as the Crater Lake, sun rises and sets that surrounded us with warmth and beauty and Nature at its complete, unspoiled, untainted glory.

Here we go…just take in the beauty, magnificence and strength that surrounded us for 8 days.

Please move your car…Elephant Crossing!!!

The “Visitors” View from the Family below.

Simba on the “lookout” for lunch.

We were astounded that the Zebras act as the “Safety Patrol” for the Wildebeest.

What beautiful eyes and strong features of these animals…

The female Lions below captured dinner.

The Giraffe in this picture is over 26 feet tall…OMG

Dad making sure his “Kittens” are behaving.

These are all Brothers….what beautiful faces. That’s Big Brother in the middle…Dad put him in charge of the boys.

One of the 12 Black Rhino’s left…how sad.

Ray and I took over 950 pictures….we wish that we could share all of them with you. Better yet put this on your “Bucket List” and call the guys at African Dream Safaris. I am a big fan of Albert Einstein…his quote sums it all up “Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

We will be back ADS!!!

BJ B., MD, PhD and Ray G.
Bristol, Pennsylvania
Safari Dates: November 5, 2016 to November 19, 2016

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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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Being The Only Humans To Witness A Lion Kill Was Remarkable

The last animal we saw on Wednesday evening was a lone buffalo. Arnold, our guide, commented that was odd, as they are usually in a group. We woke early and noticed some buffalo tracks outside our tent. Heading out at sunrise we passed by two huge hippos staring at each other and we wondered how that confrontation was going to play out. The sun was rising and we headed onward into the Serengeti.

Arnold noticed some action to our left and he headed in that direction. There were about seven lions digging into a very large buffalo, the cubs almost disappearing into the stomach. We parked about 20 yards from the scene and watched the drama of the lionesses chowing down and keeping an old skinny male from even a bite.

We looked into the sky to see my nephew and friend flying overhead in a balloon. After many photographs and about an hour of viewing we went on to continue the game Drive that included seeing wildebeests and Zebras crossing the Mara River, elephant families roaming and a lone giraffe trying to reunite with her family across a stream.

At midday we headed back to camp and passed by the lion kill from the morning. There were different lions from the same pride going after the meat, still keeping the old guy away.

After lunch we headed back out to find a lone young lion guarding the kill from the circling hyenas and jackals and vultures waiting their turn.

At dusk we saw a few lions stripping the ribs of meat and cracking bones. The old lion finally had his turn.

The next morning we headed out to go to the next camp and passed by the kill scene; all that was left were the horns, a piece of skull and a few vertebrae. We regretted not watching the actual kill which we figure happened about 4am before we came upon it, and the cleanup by the hyenas, jackals and birds.

What an amazing experience to witness and realize that this happens every day on this planet. Being the only humans to witness this as well as being so close to the action was unbelievable.

I’m attaching some photos of our experience from start to finish.

Jill U.
Carbondale, Colorado
Safari Dates: October 23, 2016 to November 1, 2016

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Our Dream Trip Was Realized

We just returned from a 9 day safari with ADS. We cannot thank the staff enough for the planning and attention to detail that we experienced. For a trip of this magnitude, there is an overload of information – and much of this is included in their client preparation packets.

We saw the wildlife in numbers that one couldn’t imagine. The pace of the trip was good, the selection of the lodges and camps were excellent and in the “right order”, and the all inclusive nature of the experience put us as ease throughout our vacation.

Our guide was bright, experienced, and flexible to our wishes. The food was too good. The physical demands were appropriate and manageable. Our dream trip was realized and we had begun planning our next visit to Tanzania on last day- a good sign!


Doug and Carolyn G.
Tiburon, California
Safari Dates: October 31, 2014 to November 9, 2014

Black Rhinos – Ngorongoro Crater

Lioness and cubs – Central Serengeti

Elephant at Mara River – North Serengeti

Sundowner at evening game drive – Buffalo Springs Camp, North Serengeti

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We Saw 4 Of The Big 5 On Our Very First Day!

Sharon at Africa Dream Safari put together the BEST safari for us! We travelled from the Northern part of the Serengeti to the Central and Southern portion into the Ngorongoro Crater and onward to Tarangire National Park. Every day was filled with excitement and we loved every second of it. All of our accommodations were very unique and fun. We saw 4 of the big 5 on our very first day. Giraffe’s everywhere! Trip of a life time!

Nina and Stuart R.
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Safari Dates: November 1, 2014 to 12, 2014

Beautiful cheetah with amazing brown eyes

Big Hippo Yawning

Lazy Zebra in the road

Sleeping lion on the kopjes

Dung beetle rolling down the road with his lady friend

With Ally, our super fun and knowledgeable guide. This is us having an amazing lunch at Lemala Kuria Tented Camp which was our favorite place that we stayed. It was just perfect and the staff was so warm and friendly and down to earth.

Adorable baby elephant. We could watch the elephants for hours!

Picnic lunch safari style in the Northern Serengeti National Park

The border of Kenya and Tanzania

Handsome young male lion

Momma lion protecting her kill from vultures and hyenas

Cuddling Momma lion with her youngster after a big meal

Walking Safari with our guide Moses at The Migration Tented Camp. No shots fired.

Sunrise balloon ride in The Central Serengeti. It was an absolutely wonderful ride with a champagne finish and a delicious breakfast in the bush

Mini migration with Wildabeest and Zebra

Cutest baby Vervet monkey!

Pool at Four Seasons with elephants at the watering hole

Beautiful Maasai women singing

Happy baby hippo playing with his Mom

Baobab tree in Tarangire National Park

The loveliest little lady named Naomi we met just outside of the Tarangire Park. She was selling her beaded jewelry which we loved.

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Helpful Tips & Recommendations From A Recent Safari Guest

We just returned from Africa (our trip dates were November 24, 2013 to December 1, 2013). This truly was a trip of lifetime for all of us—a group of 17 family members aged 10 to 80. The entire ADS staff (office, welcome, guides) was most helpful in answering questions, making recommendations, and just taking care of my every need and concern. This made the trip less stressful and I was fully prepared to take advantage of what a safari could offer. Recommendation – read the following information early on:

• Read the little guidebook given to you in your welcome packet. It’s truly packed with very useful information to include: timelines to prepare (packing, immunizations, etc) and keep you on track and tipping.

• Read the FAQ area of the ADS – there’s even more here to include a “Daypack” or items to carry with you in the jeep. Also, what to expect from a bush bathroom, and developing and living by your new mantra: “Pack light, Pack Smart” http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq.html

• Look at testimonials on the website and take a look at what people are wearing. This is a good guide for you on colors and type of clothing. The animals aren’t going to be impressed either way, so be comfortable and appropriate in your choice of clothing. Bring your ADS hat and tee-shirt, as you will need them.

Our journey started when we searched the Internet for the right company that could handle our large family group of 17 people. Once we found the ADS website and spoke with a real person (Dawn), we were hooked! The one-on-one interaction and concern given to our trip details was a huge factor in our choice of which company would be appropriate for us. ADS actually answered the phone, responded to our emails and provided the information we needed to make the decision to choose them.

We never looked back and were confident in knowing we chose the right company for this very important family trip. They even helped us with choosing the right (air) travel company familiar with this journey and its details. After our return from Africa, I can still say with absolute certainty: ADS specializes in just Africa safaris and was the absolute right choice for us! We received very specific information from people who actually have been on this journey—not a generic answer from a large company who doesn’t specialize in any area of the world (we looked into them, too).

We were met in Arusha by the ADS welcome team. We stored our Amsterdam luggage with them and they provided our group with an emergency cell phone
We had three jeeps and very patient tour guides (Francis, Elson, and Pokare) http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_DriverGuides.html . Each day, we swapped around to get a different experience.

All the guides listened to us and accommodated our desires to make our journey unique, special, and original. One guide had “eagle eyes” while another drove faster to see even more animals (our scout) and yet the other was slower and seemed more patient to wait until we were satisfied and took all the photos we wanted. With any of the guides, I never felt rushed at any time and they treated us with the utmost respect and tolerance. What the guides were able to accomplish for us in the just the first  four hours was to strategically position our jeeps so that we can witness a magical event: a great wildebeest crossing of the Mara River
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_GreatMigration.html .

And, we witnessed this twice in the first 4 hours from two different groups of thousands of wildebeests and zebra! Even our guides were taking pictures which emphasized just how special and rare this moment was!

We all agreed that if we had to return after just one day—we would be content to have witnessed “enough” and had already exceeded any expectations from any member in our group. But we had 6 more days to go! And each following day built upon this great, first impression of what wild Africa should be. Each day was just as magical and packed with animal sightings and cultural experiences (including a Maasai village) that will be with us for a lifetime! We saw mammals, birds, fish, and even reptiles. We heard wonderful, strange noises at night and woke up early to catch even more sightings.

Note that we never really saw a lot of other people because we left so early in the morning. This was an obvious benefit. But it also allowed us to see even more animals being active rather than hiding in camouflage or shady areas from the heat of the day. Each day, we saw at least a hundred DIFFERENT types of animals and hundreds of thousands in number. This was totally due to the expert efforts of our guides/drivers. I highly recommend you consider this company for your African Dream Safari of a lifetime.

More Recommendations: Packing. Pack for Amsterdam and Africa separately taking into concern weight limits and locations of your journey.

• Amsterdam luggage: should be a regular sized piece of luggage (50 pounds limit in most cases). You can be reasonably sure to check this piece of luggage. Note that 25% of luggage is lost at the Kilimanjaro airport. Even if this happened to you, you won’t need this piece of luggage until AFTER your safari. You can let the ADS people know and they can locate this luggage while you are on Safari, if necessary. Also, the ADS folks in Arusha will store your Amsterdam luggage for you for free while you are on safari (no need to store your luggage in an Amsterdam airport locker-but this is also an option at additional cost).

• Africa luggage: you will want to pack light, pack smart for this one. Since 25% of luggage is lost at the Kilimanjaro airport, you will want to consider this as your carry-on option. Most major airlines limit this to about 26 pounds (but will they really check?). Most importantly, make sure it conforms to SIZE limits, and then take into consideration that you are limited to 35 pounds for the bush plane at the beginning of your Africa journey (you drive out at the end). For our group-they did not weigh our luggage for either the major airline or the bush plane. If you stay at one location for 2 days, this will be a great opportunity for laundry to be done for you. At some places, this is inclusive of the price. For others, it’s an extra, nominal charge—but you’re worth it and it’s worth it to you to bring less clothes and travel light. I fully took advantage of this. If you are looking for a backpack style luggage, this might be more practical as there can be lots of stairs at the camps that would hinder any luggage with wheels AND it will easily fit in your overhead bin for carry-on. Also, know that every place we were at have porters that can also move your luggage for you (don’t forget to tip!).


• Pack a Day Pack (see recommendations online and make this your own): https://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=4388

• You’ll want to bring convenient wipe-type products not only for the “bush bathroom” event (if it even happens) http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_BushBathrooms.html , but you’ll also find them for your face and skin (refreshing) and I’ve even seen them for mosquito repellant and sunscreen too. This packaging format is not only convenient, but more lightweight and easy to put in your daypack and to use while bouncing around in a Jeep. Since you’ll have most of this in your “carry-on” other type bottle packaging is limited to 3 ounces or less.

• You want to bring something for the dust, such as a bandana http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_Dust.html . What these bandanas also were used for were gifts to the Maasai (I gave a red one to a beautiful little girl and she was in heaven) or other people you may meet along the way. So, bring more than one. They effectively cut the dust from your mouth and nose, and otherwise the sweat from around your neck area.

• Bring a journal or something to chronicle your journey and something to write with. We even had a competition of who could count more, different animals each day, and total for the safari. I didn’t win, but the youngest in our group was the overall winner! This one worked well (for any age): African Safari Journal and Field Guide: A Wildlife Guide, Trip Organizer, Map Directory, Safari Directory, Phrase Book, Safari Diary and Wildlife Checklist – All-in-One by Mark W. Nolting (Author) , Duncan Butchart (Illustrator). It has lots of information, guides and pictures of the animals you will see and lots of blank pages to write about your journey.

• You don’t need to bring your own binoculars (less weight to carry) as each person has their own pair provided to them (each jeep seat) and are stronger and clearer than anything you’ll want to bring with you.

Again, I highly recommend you consider this company for your African Dream Safari of a lifetime.

Todd and Alexander
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Safari Dates: November 24, 2013 to December 1, 2013

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Amazing Africa!

Our African Safari was beyond what any of us expected! We had heard so many stories about how amazing Africa was but it is difficult to understand until you actually see it yourself! Our trip was absolutely incredible!!

The people were so friendly, constantly going out of their way to make our stay unforgettable. The organization and planning was great making it simple for us to enjoy our trip and the reason we were there. We were able to enjoy boxed lunches often and not miss a single part of the action, which helped make the most of our visit.

The places that we stayed at were beautiful! Our favorite places being the Serengeti Bushtop Tented Camps and The Ngorogoro Crater Lodge. The food was fresh and delicious with many options and the places were each decorated with a little African touch that was very neat. But the reason you go to the Serengeti is to see the animals and beautiful landscape!

We were able to get so close to the animals and really watch them in their natural habitat. Our driver, David, was so knowledgeable. He answered all of our millions of questions. He educated us on the animals, the plants and also the people that live in Africa. He constantly would spot something that we would have never seen if it weren’t for him. He was very professional and determined to make our trip one we would never forget.

We could not have asked for a better trip! We cannot find one thing wrong because everything went so smoothly. Now we are constantly looking at our photos and sharing our stories with others! This is a trip that is a must on everyone’s list and we were very happy we were able to enjoy all that Tanzania had to offer!

Mark and Tracy Varshawsky
Oxnard, California
Safari Dates: November 14, 2012 to November 22, 2012

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Our Safari November 9 to November 21, 2013

Our safari experience with ADS was truly incredible, and enjoyable. From our initial inquiry and booking with Sharon through being returned to the airport, everything was handled in an efficient, and friendly manner. The meet and greet staff in Arusha were most helpful in getting us settled and prepared for the upcoming adventure, and in taking us back to the airport. Our driver/guide/concierge/porter Francis Peter was very patient and accommodating, and we always felt safe and comfortable wherever we went.

Having opted for the extra day at Mt. Meru Resort at the front end of our safari after the long day(s) of flying, our itinerary was 2 nights each at Mt. Meru Resort, Buffalo Luxury Camp, a Private Luxury Camp, Ngorongoro Serena Crater Lodge, and Kikoti Tented Camp, with game drives in Northern and Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park.

All of the camps and lodges were very well run, comfortable, and exceeded our expectations, and offered a variety of experiences. The meals were abundant and tasty with a variety of choices from very familiar to more local offerings. The attention given us at the private camp was a real treat. In addition to the daily game drives, we were able to visit a Maasai village, go on a night game drive and two private walking safaris complete with Maasai guides and armed escorts, and take a sunrise hot air balloon ride.

Although we were there during what turned out to be an extremely dry time, Francis managed to take us to where the animals were. The number and variety of animals that could be seen together at one time, and the diversity of the landscape especially surprised us. He was very good at spotting and approaching the wildlife so that we could watch and take pictures, and willingly shared his knowledge of the nature and culture of the areas we visited.

The animals and landscapes are what we went to see and were more than satisfied with, but we will also always remember our exposure to “African massage, bush TV, wake up calls, and checking a tire”. Our advice to anyone thinking about going on safari is to go sooner than later. Opportunities are and will continue to be changing.

Thank you ADS for a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Dan and Marti W.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Safari Dates: November 9-21, 2013


Ostrich with chicks, Tarangire
Resting Leopard
Young Lion With Toy
Superb Starling
Lion prints in the pathway from overnight, Kikoti Camp
Lilac-breasted Roller on Acacia
Grey Crowned Cranes
Elephant with Youngster
Banded Mongooses on the move
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We Left Our Hearts In Africa

The trip and experience of a lifetime is how we have been describing our recent safari in gorgeous Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris. Each day was a new adventure with Anglebert our driver/ guide. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable about the animals and birds, the history and culture of Tanzania, but he was also skilled at reading animal behavior and predicting what they might do next, affording us opportunity for wonderful viewing and photography.

Our safari with ADS started on Nov. 1, 2012 in the Northern Serengeti after a short flight from Arusha. Even from the air we could we could see herds of zebra, wildebeest, elephants, and Cape buffalo. Within hours of meeting Angelbert at the Kogatende airstrip we were fortunate to see a herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River as a lioness waited in the thickets on the other side. We found her later in a thicket with one of her kills.

Our first two nights stay were at Buffalo Springs tented camp where we received a warm welcome. The staff made us feel at home and protected, and we loved waking up each morning to a “ good morning” with coffee and hot chocolate being brought to our tent before we left for an early morning game drive. The “tents” here were very deluxe. Ours had a leather loveseat and chair, a king size, beautifully furnished bed, and a tiled bathroom complete with all the amenities.

The next morning we went to a Masai Boma where we were given a guided tour of the Boma and were instructed in Masai culture. Our time there ended with the men and women dancing and singing for us. That evening we took a night game drive starting in the late afternoon.

The wildlife was particularly abundant here. We saw a herd of 24 giraffe, a pride of 22 lions, Thompson gazelle, Topi, Eland, Reedbuck, Water Buck, Elephant, Mongoose, Baboon, Vervet monkey and a large herd of Cape buffalo, which thankfully were on the other side of a narrow deep ravine, as they looked ready to charge our vehicle. We also saw our first Serval Cat, and a pack of five Wild Dogs.

We chose to take a walking safari at Buffalo Springs too. It was a little unnerving walking in places where we had seen wild game even though we had two Masai warriors with us in addition to our guide Moses. He was very knowledgeable in the animals, plants and birds we came across. We even got to watch a pair of Dung Beetles rolling their dung ball and then burying it. While game driving here we came upon two poachers late in the afternoon who had killed an eland. Angelbert reported it to the park rangers, who came promptly to check it out.

November 4 we game drove in the Loliondo and Lobo Valley area. One of our first sightings of the morning was a leopard who walked out from under a small bridge we were crossing. Later that morning we saw Cheetah, Ostrich, and Bat Eared Fox. We visited the Retima Hippo Pool, and though we had seen hippos in the rivers we had been near, we had never imagined or seen such a huge number of Hippos in one place. It was fascinating to watch them and the area lent itself to great photo opportunities. Later as we ate our boxed lunches Angelbert introduced us to Tangeweezi, a soft drink that tasted like a combination of Mountain Dew and Ginger ale. We really enjoyed it.

Our next two nights we stayed at Seronera Sametu tented camp. Jonas, one of the staff, greeted us each time we arrived at camp with hot moist towels, fresh mango juice, and his beautiful smile. Once again our tent accommodations were amazing and comfortable. Had it not been for mosquito netting around our bed and the sounds of lions, and hyena in the night, we would have thought we were in a resort hotel somewhere.

The next morning we ate our breakfast in the Land Rover as we watched a mother cheetah and her 5-month-old cubs eating their breakfast of gazelle. Throughout the day we toured many of the kopjes. We climbed one to see the Masai drawings on the rocks. Later at Lake Magati we saw innumerable flamingo. We later saw a large herd of wildebeest thundering across the plain and stopped a while to watch them. Angelbert positioned us so that they were running at us. For added entertainment, two young impala bucks fought each other nearby.

We had planned to go back to camp early today as we were both quite tired, but we were so glad we didn’t when we saw two male cheetahs that had spotted each other from afar. As they approached each other they recognized that they were brothers and nuzzled each other. Shortly after, Angelbert spotted 3 female lion stalking a herd of wildebeest. One charged too soon and the wildebeest got away. We followed one of the lionesses as she tiredly walked the road next to our Land Rover and stopped to drink heavily from a rain puddle.

Jonas’ lion stories at supper that night we pretty frightening and as he walked us to our tent that night we could hear lions!

November 6 we started our game drive today at 6:30am and headed for the Southern Serengeti. In early light we saw a cheetah take down a gazelle. Angelbert was so adept at observing and interpreting animal behavior. We had been watching a herd of zebra going down to a lake to drink. He noticed that the stallion of the herd suddenly held his head high. Sure enough, there were four lions hiding in a thicket near the water’s edge. It was fascinating to sit close by and see all this.

Later, after Angelbert spotted a leopard tortoise, he saw a male cheetah. Over the period of about an hour we were able to get within a few feet of this male cheetah. We watched him mark his territory, take a nap, walk to another set of low rock, climb up and look out over the plain. This rock was about the same height and size of our Land Rover. The cheetah hardly even looked at us as Angelbert backed our Land Rover up against the rock, had us pop our heads out the top and took our picture with the cheetah a mere 6-8 feet away. Just before we stopped for a picnic lunch we saw a pride of lions napping on and in the shade of Gol Kopjes. We were again able to get within several feet of the black maned male.

Our next two nights were at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. This lodge is amazing in its construction of local stone, and its location on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. Our room looked out over the crater. While completely different in the type of lodging we had experienced in the other camps, we really enjoyed our stay here. Our room was large and comfortable, and we could get internet access at the bar which allowed us to update our family and friends at home about our amazing experience so far, and that we had not made it on the menu of the local predators so far. (This had been a concern of our 90 years plus parents).

We enjoyed the nightly entertainment before dinner, which featured local acrobats, a music/ dance group and a performance by the local Masai in their brightly colored clothing and beaded jewelry. The sunsets and sunrises over the crater were breathtaking! We enjoyed our game drives in the crater each day. The crater floor is abundant in wildlife.

In addition to lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, warthog, wildebeest, zebra, impala, gazelle, baboon, flamingo, ostrich, and hyena, we saw black backed jackal. We saw the black rhino from a distance, and even though Angelbert worked hard all day to get a closer sighting, they were not cooperating that day. As in other parts of Tanzania we were able to see a large variety of beautiful birds. The end of our second day in the crater ended with a Cape buffalo kill by two lion.

Nov. 8 we headed out of the Ngorongoro Crater area and toward Taranguire National Park. Along the way were took a short tour of a local Masai market where goats and sheep as well as clothing, fruits and vegetables were being sold. We also stopped briefly at a local arts and crafts market so that we could purchase a few souvenirs. Later we stopped at FAME (Foundation for African Medicine and Education). We were very impressed with the work here by Dr. Frank and his wife. They are certainly providing much needed medical care for the local people in a beautiful new facility. We admire ADS for supporting this work.

After eating our boxed lunches at the entrance of Tarangire National Park we began our game drive. While the temperatures so far on our safari had been temperate, we noticed that it was warmer and more humid here. We also experienced Tsetse flies for the first time. This was the one experience of our whole trip that I could have done without. They seemed to find me especially tasty. While we still saw a large variety of animals here, the numbers were down due to the rains coming early this year and many animals having already left the park.

We did have many close encounters with elephants, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We also enjoyed seeing the enormous Baobab trees and the giant termite mounds. Our final two nights we stayed at Kikoti Tented Camp. These “tents” are up on stilts and also beautifully decorated. Ours faced the evening sunsets, which were absolutely gorgeous. We were able to take time here to sit around the campfire at night and share safari experiences with other travelers. The local Masai sang, danced and jumped for us and then had us join in. They also demonstrated how to build a fire by rubbing two sticks together. The night before we were to depart, the staff presented us with a “Good Bye” cake and sang Hakuna Matata to us.

November 10 found us regretting we had to leave beautiful Tanzania with its warm, friendly people, beautiful landscape and amazing animals. Anglebert drove us back to Arusha for our flight home, and after a few hours to shower, pack and rest at the Mount Meru Hotel, he brought us to the airport and even waited there to make sure we had to problems with our departure.

We highly recommend Angelbert as a driver/ guide. How he stays so patient and happy through what were usually 10-12 hour days, drove safely on difficult roads, and still managed to spot the animals was unbelievable! He was so kind and helpful, and has an amazing knowledge of the animals, birds, history, and culture of Tanzania.

We also highly recommend Sharon Lyons who was so helpful in planning our trip, making us aware of all necessary paperwork, and changes, and answering our questions. Africa Dream Safaris helped us plan the safari of our dreams and then made it happen. We are recommending you to all who will listen. We definitely left a part of our hearts in Africa and hope to return one day.

Doug and Jan Van Drie
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Safari Dates: November 1, 2012 to November 10, 2012

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The Perfect Way To Celebrate Our 45th Anniversary

We decided a safari was the perfect way to celebrate our 45th anniversary. We have wanted to go to Africa for years but for a variety of reasons never got around to it. We quickly found out that deciding to go was the easy part – choosing a company to travel with was an almost overwhelming problem. We are avid photographers – amateur, but serious. We are also experienced travelers – but Africa was an entirely different concept for us. We wanted a tour company that would handle a lot of things for us but give us flexibility, allow us go where we wanted to safely, but more than anything, go at our own pace. After a lot of research, we chose Africa Dream Safaris. After spending 11 days in Africa and watching other tour operators, we clearly made the right choice.

The first step was determining where and when to go. After several discussions with Sharon Lyon, we learned that where we went depended on when – and vice versa. She did an incredible job of helping us match up what we wanted to experience and when we could go with where to schedule our trip. So we booked it and then waited for the big adventure to start.

When we arrived in Tanzania, we were met by an ADS representative and for the rest of our time in Africa we were never without someone to help us. After a brief stay in Arusha, we flew into a camp by the Mara River and our adventure began. We met our driver/guide for the next 10 days, Omary. He turned out to be an amazing match for us and was a significant reason for our trip’s phenomenal success. Not only did he have incredible knowledge of the Serengeti, the wildlife and the plants but he had a great feel for lighting, backdrops, scenery, etc. He even had a good sense of humor – by the second day we had established our “missions” for the trip – including giving him one of a “mature male lion on a rock”. This became our quest – but by day 8 he had delivered! He told us on day one we were family – by the end of the trip we knew he really meant it.

We elected to stay in “bush camps”, preferring that to being in a lodge. In every camp, we were met on arrival by the staff with warm facecloths and drinks. In each camp we had comfortable accommodations – whether part of a permanent camp or a tent on the ground. The service we received rivaled many 5 star European destinations we have experienced. And every person we met seemed genuinely interested in our comfort, safety and ensuring we enjoyed the trip and the accommodations.

And last, but not least, was the Serengeti. We were totally unprepared for the experience. By the second day, we decided that if we had to end the trip, our expectations would have been exceeded. The enormous variety and quantity of wildlife was astounding. We saw dozens of lions, numerous cheetahs, hundreds of elephants and giraffes – the list goes on. We saw the wildebeest crossing the Mara River (one of Omary’s missions). We had lunch on a Kopje overlooking a migration of zebra a mile wide stretching from one horizon to the other. We had a whole pride of lions walk within feet of our truck. We watched a leopard descend from a tree and disappear in the grass only to reappear right by our truck. The flexibility we had allowed us to do this; other tour operators had left when the leopard didn’t move. The list goes on and on.

This was a truly memorable experience. We wanted to make it memorable since we would only be able to do this once and already we are figuring out how to do it “one moretime” .

Gary and Nancy Prade
Castle Rock, Colorado
Safari Dates: November 6, 2012 to November 16, 2012

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