Tag: October

Amazing!

It is hard to put in words the amazing trip we had in Tanzania. This was our first trip to Africa and we didn’t know what to expect.

Within 5 minutes of landing, near the Mara river in the Northern Serengeti, we were face-to-face with a giraffe…and that is how the trip continued! All I can say is that every day was exciting, fantastic and an experience of a lifetime.

We spent 11 days in the bush and enjoyed every minute of the time with our guide Russell. We often spent 9, 10 and 11 hours a day on game drives and I can’t even begin to list everything we saw. Let’s just say I took over 1600 pictures and our friends traveling with us took over 6,000!

I think if you are reading this blog you are interested in a few things about traveling to Africa. I have listed our experience with each:

• ADS – Sharon and the ADS team paid attention to every detail of our trip often recommending changes in our itinerary to maximize the number and variety of animals we encountered on our trip. Over the 11 days we saw two wildebeest river crossings, the big 5 and on some occasions other animals we never expected to see. We saw the rare Egyptian Vulture, a mother and baby rhinoceros (very close up…within 50 feet), a white tailed mongoose, a bush baby (on a night safari), and a tree python. ADS did a great job in making sure we saw everything.

• Our Guide – What can I say about Russell. He had eyes like an eagle (spotting a leopard in a tree from 300 yards without binoculars), a great personality and his knowledge of the animals, the landscape and culture was fantastic. He made us feel very comfortable and we enjoyed our time with him.

• The ADS Vehicle – ADS vehicles are the best. They are clean, comfortable and well stocked with everything you need for your game drive. Each night Russell would wash the car and clean it, inside and out, so when we started our game drive the next day everything was fresh and clean. Note that this is not the case with other safari companies in Tanzania. We were glad we chose ADS.

• Accommodations – All of the accommodations were great rivaling 5 star US Hotels. The staff were extremely friendly and made our time in Africa fantastic. This was not roughing it…and it was incredible the level of luxury and service provided considering we were in the middle of Africa.

• Food – The food was great. Buffet style is common for many of your meals, but several locations (Swala and Lemara) served gourmet food in wonderful settings. We enjoyed many meals looking over the Serengeti as the sun set. Your food on the road is great and you won’t go hungry.

• Wildlife – We saw everything. I was not expecting to see lions, elephants, rhinoceros, giraffe, topi, wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, bush buck, élan, gazelle, ostrich, hyenas and many more right next to our vehicle. I purchased a zoom lens for the trip and often didn’t need it for my pictures. We also spotted over 150 different species of birds.

We have attached a few pictures of our trip. We hope that you have as wonderful of a trip as we had (and you will if you choose ADS)! Enjoy.

David and Renee C.
San Jose, California
Safari Dates: October 8, 2013 to October 18, 2013

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Viewing The Wildlife Privately Was A Huge Bonus For Us

Words and pictures will never quite express our feelings and memories from our recent trek to Tanzania. From the very first contact with Africa Dream Safaris, with our safari specialist, Dawn Anderson, to the final trip to the airport to go (sadly) home, every detail was attended to. Not only were our questions answered in a timely manner, but they were answered with full explanations which better helped us to prepare for the safari.

We began talking about the trip in January of 2013, making the final commitment in April to go on our trip in late September of the same year to coincide with our 30 year anniversary and our son’s plan to study abroad at the University of Dar es Salaam. We began our trip with a two day extension to spend some time in the Mount Kilimanjaro area. We flew from Dar es Salaam (where we had been visiting with our son) to Arusha on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

We were greeted warmly by ADS staff and whisked up to Ndarakwai Ranch. While there we enjoyed the stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a walking safari, a night game drive, and a day hike excursion on the Shira Trail. The food was superb and the accomodations were delightful, including the nightly visit of the bush baby to the dining tent! On Sunday we left the ranch to travel back to Arusha for shopping at the Cultural Heritage Center and a one night stay at the beautiful Mt. Meru resort. ADS staff picked us up on Monday morning and transported us to the Arusha airport for our early morning departure to the Serengeti. At last, our long awaited safari was beginning!

Our driver/guide, Claude, met us as we got off the plane, quickly introduced himself, gave us traditional Maasai gifts as anniversary gifts, and helped us with our luggage. Within minutes we were settled comfortably in our safari vehicle and had entered a land full of animals only seen in zoos before. Our first stop was at the Mara River to catch the very tail end of a wildebeest crossing. We would end up being entertained both this day and the next as we watched the herds gather at the very edge for quite some time, only to change their minds and disperse and regather later in the day.

Our first day of safari was quite successful as we saw a partial river crossing, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, a cheetah with two young cubs, and countless birds and antelope of various species. We stayed the first night (Monday) at Lemala Kuria Hills, which was a place of abundant beauty. We were surprised during dinner with an anniversary cake with our names on it and it was presented with a song by the kitchen/dining staff!

Our safari continued with a two night stay at Buffalo Springs Camp. During the next two days, the wonders of the Serengeti continued to reveal themselves as we saw a rhino with a young baby, a cheetah just after she had killed an oribi, a lion pride of 11 lions, and continued abundant sightings of zebras, giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, and water buffalo.

During our two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) at Buffalo Springs we enjoyed a walking safari to the top of a hill behind the camp, a night game drive, and a traditional bush dinner served from an overlook area away from the main dining area. The food was delicious and the hospitality extended was remarkable. We felt as if we were personal friends/guests of Mark and Neil rather than international travelers. On Thursday we visited the local Maasai village before beginning our drive to the Seronera Sametu Camp. The village visit was both fun and educational and we came away with a renewed appreciation for the Maasai traditions and work ethic.

As we drove to the Seronera Sametu camp, where we would spend the next two nights (Thursday and Friday) we continued to see a great number of zebras, giraffes, elephants, water buffalo, hippos, and various antelope and birds. Jonas, and the staff at the Sametu camp, were very attentive and excited to hear about the things we had seen.

On Friday we were thrilled to watch a mother leopard with two young cubs and a recent kill. It wasn’t long before the mother and one young ran off but we were able to watch the other cub eat the kill for quite some time. Eventually a baboon family ventured into the area and chased off the last cub who dropped the meat and ran up a different tree. This whole event was thrilling to watch.

On Saturday we departed the Sametu camp with the desire to see an adult male lion – this was about the only thing we had not seen at this point. It wasn’t long before Claude was able to follow the tracks to a grasslands area and one beautiful male lion popped us as we were driving by. It was almost surreal how he just raised up at the perfect time as he was completely hidden in the grass prior to popping up. As we stayed and watched him, we discovered that there were another 15 lions also hidden in the grass. As we stayed and watched this beautiful pride, all 16 lions moved about and we were able to enjoy this in the quiet beauty of the early morning.

From there we ventured to the Oldubai Gorge and the Ngorongoro Crater and a one night stay (Saturday) at Lion’s Paw Camp. The crater was unbelievaby beautiful and filled with abundant wildlife viewings. On Sunday morning we were able to watch the drama unfold as two packs of hyenas enclosed on a water buffalo herd, killing one of it’s young. It was a back and forth fight as the hyenas would attack the baby and the adults would then chase the hyenas off. The hyenas would come back, attack again, only to be chased off once more. This lasted for over an hour, until the baby water buffalo was too badly injured and the adults were too exhausted to continue the fight.

From there we traveled to Lake Manyara and finally back to Arusha. We had a day room at the Mt. Meru Resort, a pre-arranged dinner at 5:00 and a 5:30 departure for the airport. The ADS staff saw us safely to the airport check in. Although we have many great memories and pictures from the trip, it is hard to summarize them in a short article – we felt we could have written a book!

A large part of the success of this trip goes to our driver/guide, Claude. He was attentive to our every need and desire, was excited to teach us about the wildlife and vegetation of the Serengeti. He provided us with wonderful picnic areas and he was able to use his knowledge to find the wildlife away from the other safari vehicles. This luxury of being able to view the wildlife privately and for extended periods of time was a huge bonus for us. All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime!

Alice and Mark P.
Prospect, Ohio
Safari Dates: September 27, 2013 to October 6, 2013

 

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A Dream Come True

It has always been a dream of mine, since I was a child, to visit Africa. I would tell friends “if I could go anywhere, I would love to go on an African Photo Safari”. Well…… my husband was listening. One day about a year and a half ago, he gave me a small stuffed lion toy and a travel book on African Safari’s, and told me to start planning. And believe me, I began my research that day!!!

Luckily, I came upon the Africa Dream Safaris web site. After much research comparing Safari tours to Safari Tours, I soon discovered that ADS rose far above the other tour operators. It is wonderful to have your own vehicle, driver/guide and to realize that it truly is all about what you want to see and do! And now after returning from our Safari, I am very happy to say that ADS did not let us down!! Our Safari was simply the most amazing trip of my/our life!!!! It definitely was a dream come true!

Our Safari began when we landed at an Airstrip near the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti. From minutes to within an hour, we saw Wildebeest, Zebras, Giraffes, Impala, Waterbuck, Crocodiles, Hippos and many species of birds. At lunchtime, we ate under a beautiful tree and talked about what we might see next.

Just as we began to drive off in our Rover, our amazing guide, Russell, stopped driving, pulled out his binoculars and looked toward a grove of trees. He smiled broadly and then took off. When we finally drove out of the trees into a clearing, we saw what he had seen…. a Mother Rhinoceros and her baby! This was all within 3 hours after landing in the Serengeti!!!

When Russell, our driver, spotted animals, he always made sure that we had the perfect angle/lighting for our photos and viewing, but always showed complete respect and gave the animals the distance they needed to not feel threatened. Russell’s knowledge about Tanzania, its parks, and what “lives” there (animals/birds/plants/people) and its history was remarkable! It is safe to say, that without Russell, we never would have experienced a Safari like we did.

When we left home for our safari, I was sure that we would see a lot of animals, but what we saw far exceeded any expectation I could have possibly imagined! I thought we would drive along and “here and there” see an animal or two. Instead, mainly due to “Hawkeye” Russell, our wonderful guide and friend, it seemed we were constantly spotting an animal or a bird, or something! There was never a boring minute!

We were fortunate to see two Wildebeest crossings, one on the Mara River and one on the Grumeti River. And we saw hundreds/thousands of animals close enough that sometimes they were almost too close (haha!! ) to frame in my 80-400mm lens. I highly recommend that you bring 2 cameras if possible. We had one camera with an 80-400mm zoom lens and one camera with an 18-200mm lens. It seemed that what one camera /lens couldn’t completely capture, the other did! And I would also recommend that you bring lots of SD cards! I am a “photoholic”  , and I took well over 6500 pictures by myself, and with both cameras, my husband and I took a total of over 7500 pictures!

We saw “The Big 5” (numerous times), 2 of “The Little 5” and even made up our own “The Ugly Five” and “The Fake Five”!! (Explanation: when you are looking intently for animals, sometimes your imagination can get the best of you, and a stump may look like a monkey or a log in a river like a croc! We definitely had a few good laughs at ourselves! Just some of the wildlife that we saw while on Safari were: Wildebeest, Zebras, Hippos, Crocodiles, Giraffes, Elephants, Cape Buffalo, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Jackals, Klipspringers, Steinbok, Orbi, Bushbuck, Dik-Dik, Kudu, Waterbuck, Hyaenas, Baboons, Colbus Monkeys, Rhinoceros, Python, Ostrich, Impalas, Gazelles, Warthogs, Topi, Eland, Bushbaby………….. and over 150 species of birds! I’m still amazed at all that we saw!

The lodgings and camps were wonderful! The accommodations that we stayed at were Lemala Kuria, Buffalo Springs, Mbalageti, Seronera Sametu, Lion’s Paw and Swala. “If it looks like a tent, it must be a tent”, does not hold true here. Some of our accommodations may have looked like a tent from the outside, but upon entering you walked into a beautifully decorated and comfortable room with a king sized bed, wardrobe, couch, chairs, desk and a fully functional bathroom.

And there is nothing better than falling asleep to the sound of animals all around you! And the staff at each of the places we stayed were all so warm and friendly, and always attentive to our needs. My only wish?… that I could have had more hours in a day to enjoy my 9 to 11 hour Safari drives with enough time leftover to still have been able to enjoy all of the many amenities that were offered at our lodgings, especially watching more “Bush TV”!!

If I could go back and do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Our adventure was a trip of a lifetime and was made possible by careful preparations made by ADS stateside (Sharon and Michael) and in Tanzania by Russell and the ADS staff. Thank you!! Thank you!! (Asante) for making my/our dream of an African Safari come true!!!! And, a special thank you to my husband Jim for the best gift ever!!

Below are some of the pictures we took while on Safari. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Thank you!!!

Pam and Jim B.
San Jose, CA
Safari Dates: October 8th – 18th, 2013

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The Reality Was Even Better Than The Dream!

Breath-taking…Amazing…Inspiring…Magnificent…just a few of the words that describe our October 16-28 safari created with ADS’s phenomenal planner Dawn and put into action with Guide Extraordinaire Simon.

Seeing the “Big 5” plus dozens or other animals up-close-and-personal during our first few days in the Northern Serengeti, without hordes of other vehicles, was a much more intimate and rewarding experience than we ever imagined.

Then, as we journeyed through the Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire, every hour brought surprises: a “new” animal or bird; an animal we had seen before, but with slightly different coloring for this new habitat; a herd/family playing, moving, eating; a carnivore with a kill; an animal coming closer to the vehicle than before.

We truly enjoyed traveling a parallel – and sometimes intersecting — route with ADS guests Dawn and Rob from Indiana and their Guide Patrick. Having Simon and Patrick share information as they surveyed a kopje from various sides, investigated different sides of the river, or evaluated different sections of a game loop, gave us extraordinary viewing advantages. Plus, having new friends to share experiences was wonderful.

Our sightings include: lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, Nile crocodiles, cheetah, warthog, hyena, jackal, mongoose, python, impala, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, eland, Klipspringer, waterbuck, topi, gnu, reedbuck, dik-dik, rock hyrax, baboon, vervet monkey, ostrich, pink flamingoes, lizards, and many, many raptors and birds.

Our comfy accommodations were staffed by warm and thoughtful folks intent on providing exceptional service to make us feel special. Favorite memories include:

• A 5:15am wake up call at Lemala Mara accompanied by a symphony of bird songs and coffee in bed.

• The awe-inspiring view of the Serengeti plains fading into infinity from our Loliondo hill perch at Buffalo Springs.

• The antics of an exceedingly acrobatic Baboon trying to join us for breakfast at Mbuzi Mawe.

• Watching “Bush TV” and enjoying a glass of South African wine as the sun dropped below the rim of the Crater at Lion’s Paw.

• Dining under the stars at Kikoti and being walked back to our tent under the watchful eye of a Maasai Warrior.

Walt Disney said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” We could have “built” the most wonderful safari itinerary, but without the knowledge, skill, creativity, and sharp-eyes of the ADS Team, it would never have become a reality.

Larry and Jane M.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Safari Dates: October 16, 2013 to October 28, 2013

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Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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.
Avon, Indiana
Safari Dates: October 18, 2013 to October 28, 2013

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A Wonderful Experience For Our Family Of Ten

The trip was beyond amazing and we could never have imagined what we would see. A zoo will never again be any kind of experience. To see the various animals sharing the same space was something we never imagined. As our guide Michael said, “the animals know when the lions are hungry and hunting!” And, the vastness of the Serengeti was unexpected. It seemed you could see forever in any direction.

The first days, when we were near Buffalo Lodge in the North Serengeti, we went all day and only saw a handful of other people, pleasingly surprising. We all preferred that to the Central Serengeti where there were so many more vehicles trying to see the sites that some times it seemed like a traffic jam. The night and early morning game drives let us see different animals and different experiences. Such as when a giraffe nearly walked right into our van, and the lions mating.

Our guides became friends. They were well informed, and answered endless questions about the wildlife, social, economic and political life in Tanzania. We enjoyed the meals that we shared with them.

And, the accommodations were outstanding, exceeding our expectations. The only improvement opportunity would have been to have more time at the lodge at the Ngorongoro Crater. Thanks for your help in planning our trip. We had a wonderful time sharing this experience as a family and would certainly recommend the trip to anyone.

Hoping to return some day!

Andrea B. and Family
Farmington, Connecticut
Safari Dates: October 15, 2013 to October 21, 2013

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We Were Treated Like VIP’s

What can we say that has not been said by other ADS guests? From the moment we arrived until our sad goodbyes at the airport, we were treated like VIP’s.

One can see many animals on safari but it’s the guide that makes the trip. Our guide, Elson, was wonderful. His ability to spot the animals, lying under the tree or hiding in grass, was incredible. One member of our family was interested in birds and Elson knew the names of all of them. During the 9 days she was able to spot almost 100 different species. He had a great sense of humor as well, especially when we pointed out our favorite animal, the Serengeti Stickebeest! We saw them everywhere.

We saw several crossings at the Mara River. The wildebeests came down to the water and back up the bank, again and again, before they finally crossed. One person described their bellowing as “yes”, “no”, “yes”, “no”! It seemed as if the entire migration was outside our tent the night we spent at Lemala Mara River Camp. What a great way to start our safari.

Lions and cubs, elephants and babies, cheetahs, leopards, you name it we saw them, the big 5 and our own “small 5”. We were also lucky enough to spot a pack of 10 African Hunting Dogs, 2 Serval cats and a Bush Baby.

We also visited the FAME hospital and saw what wonderful work Dr. Frank and Susan are doing there. We were so impressed we are considering going back to volunteer there.

When we planned our safari we thought it would be a once in a lifetime event, but it was so fabulous that we can’t wait to go back again. Tanzania is truly a magical place.

Charles and Debbie Pitman
Safari Dates: October 1st to October 11th, 2012
Silverthorne, Colorado

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We Are Forever Changed

Hello Lynn,

We are pretty-much back to normal here in Santa Fe, but I have to say that we are forever changed by our Tanzania experience. We were exceedingly pleased with all aspects of the trip, and your planning proved to be a major factor for the successful logistics and overall magnificence of the trip. By getting us out into the bush [in these really special camps], we were able to experience the wildlife as few others can.

We were particularly grateful to have Pokea as our guide. He is amazingly knowledgeable, and he took us to locations were the action was really happening. His patience [with our unending questions] was very welcome. Pokea is an amazing asset to your company. And of course, the itinerary was second to none.

With the custom aspects of our travel, we were able to focus on our particular interests, and Pokea was more than willing to provide us with outstanding service for our requests. The Ras Nungwi Zanzibar R&R at the end was very special too.

I have attached a few photos that I hope you might like. Please don’t hesitate to count on us if you need an endorsement or recommendation. We have only the highest praise for you and your ADS company! Thank you again.

Ken Apt and Mary Morris
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Safari Dates: September 30, 2012 to October 13, 2012

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We counted 17 lions in one pride!

Landed at the airstrip and 2 hours later we’ve got the Wildebeest migration in full swing. The next day, our first full day, we get Lion and Leopard. The next photo is a view from our patio. I know it’s a tent, but I’ve stayed in a lot of hotel rooms that were miserable by comparison. I’ve also drank in a lot of bars that could not match the quality and selection of the drinks at Buffalo Springs. A very pleasant camp run by wonderful people, and a lovely area, we wished we could stay another day.

Nice lion action the next day. Note the nursing cub. No problem finding Cape Buffalo. These two were part of a large herd. Somewhere under that “flock” of vultures is a carcass of some kind. A little later we found another carcass that the lions were not done with yet. We counted 17 lions, I think. Dana’s favorite was the Giraffes.

A big buck Impala with his harem. Hunter decides to “get down” with the Masai. According to Ally, our guide, he does not see African Wild Dogs even once a year. You don’t see Elephants next to the average swimming poor. Treetops, another magical place. Cheetahs! Another uncommon sighting.

Hope you like the photos as much as I loved my safari!

Joe Whittington
Hampton Falls, New Hampshire
Safari Dates: October 3, 2012 to October 11, 2012

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A private safari with ADS makes for a more intimate, enjoyable experience.

My wife and I have just returned from our safari and are still basking in the glory and spectacle that is Tanzania. Our trip from October 9, 2012 through October 17, 2012 coordinated and planned by ADS was the most memorable and rewarding trip thus far in our lives.

From a game viewing standpoint, our trip greatly exceeded our expectations. Within minutes of landing at Kogatende Airport our guide, Pokea, had placed us in a location where we could view multiple crossings of the Mara River by massive populations of both wildebeest and zebra. Thankfully, the pressure was off and then the viewing of the Great Migration could be scratched off my wife’s bucket list. By the end of the first day, my wife and I were incredulous as to the amount and variation of species we had the privilege of viewing. Even more incredulous was the fact that the next day’s game viewing was more spectacular than the previous day. This scenario played out through the duration of our safari. My only hope is the visual images we experienced would be captured by our photographic efforts.

Again, I cannot express the magnitude beauty, and grace of these animals in their natural procession and habitat. Just the ability to view numerous prides of lions with suckling cubs, cheetahs with cubs, leopards feeding on a kill in an acacia tree, herds of elephants with young as well as giraffes, hippos, buffalo, black rhino, assorted and varied types of antelope all made for an experience that was beyond belief.

It was a veritable Noah’s Ark. In addition to the more publicized animals, we had the good fortune to see some of the harder to see species such as the martial eagle lunching on a monitor lizard, Egyptian vulture, side striped jackal, and serval cat.

The logistics and arrangements made by ADS were impeccable accomplished without the slightest error or delay. Everything from customs and visa clearance at JRO airport, ADS meet and greet staff, interval flights, and drop off at JRO airport at the conclusion of our journey was seamless and timely. The ADS staff and staff at the lodges we stayed were nothing short of perfection. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable of all flora and fauna and displayed a great respect for nature and Tanzanian environment. All lodge staff could not do enough to make our stay the best we could experience.

In conclusion, anyone contemplating an African safari should look no further than ADS. Their contact staff and people on the ground in Tanzania were nothing short of remarkable and provide you the means for a trip of a lifetime. There is more than one aspect of ADS that I have yet to reveal, saving the best for last so to speak: all ADS safaris are private (unless you are traveling with friends). This means you have a well equipped and comfortable vehicle plus knowledgeable and conscientious guide to yourselves. That is to say, you are not sharing the vehicle with anyone! This makes for a much more intimate, enjoyable experience.

Again, thanks for everything Sharon & ADS, especially the end of the trip cake that was presented to us on our final night at Lion’s Paw.

Sincerely,

Randy and Rhonda Soth
Hallandale, Florida
Safari Dates: October 9, 2012 through October 17, 2012

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ADS Trip to Tanzania

After a few weeks of daydreaming of Africa and reviewing photos, we are finally settled back into our daily routines. We had the most wonderful and life-enriching safari organized by Africa Dream Safaris (ADS). It was, with no doubt, the best trip we have ever had in our lives. With less than a year of advance planning with Sharon Lyon of ADS, our trip came together without a single hitch or even the slightest problem. ADS delivered on every aspect of trip they said they would. Sharon provided excellent advice and discussed various last minute issues prior to our departure. She was always helpful and courteous.

Our safari began with flawless flights and entry into Tanzania. We had an extra day for shopping and night lodging. With a short flight to the Mara River – Kogatende Airstrip, we met our guide, Anglebert. He had us in the mix of wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and hippos within fifteen minutes on the road. We cannot say enough positive and good things about Anglebert. We hit it off soon after our arrival and the fun began. He has a keen eye for spotting wildlife and for photography. He was always getting us into great positions for photographs. Besides deftly handling the Landcruiser over some pretty rough terrain, he was insightful about Tanzania’s animals, plants, parks, government, and the like. We came away with a great learning experience, especially with lessons in patience. We had the opportunity to view three spectacular and exciting wildebeest and zebra river crossings on the Mara River thanks to Anglebert.

We stayed at a mix of tent camps, tented lodges and permanent structured lodges during our sixteen days in Tanzania. We would say our best experience was at the ADS private camp, which we wished we had added a couple more nights. All of our camp and lodge accommodations were wonderful and the food and service was delightful. Most notable was the professional manner in which each camp or lodge treated us. Each place we stayed the staff knew our names as we got out of our vehicle. That kind of treatment made us feel truly welcomed! One special event for us was a night at the Crater Lodge when a visiting astronomer put on a show for the folks staying there. He pointed out so many stars, planets and constellations we thought we were back in college.

We tried just about everything ADS had to suggest or offer on this trip from the hot-air balloon safari to a Masai village tour. We had a walking safari with the Masai and a night safari – not at the same time, mind you! We had a private guided tour of the Leakeys’ dig site at Olduvai Gorge, thanks to Anglebert. We visited the F.A.M.E. facility and stopped at a local primary school to give away supplies to the students and teachers. All in all, this trip was rewarding and fulfilling.

Saying we saw many wild animals would be an understatement. Each day, which started at predawn, we were off and within minutes we would be looking at some animal. We took over five thousand photos and still had time to take in each moment of viewing with awe. One day we came upon a female cheetah and her two cubs with no one else around. We watched them watch us. They played all around the Landcruiser for about fifteen minutes before they scurried off. A short time later we came upon a pride of sixteen lions that had just finished eating a kill. Again, we were the only people around to see this event. Everyday, Anglebert was able to get us into a viewing situation that seemed to match or exceed the previous day’s experience. The best event was on our last day as we were leaving Swala Camp. Anglebert spotted a rare African wild dog that led us to a pack of fourteen dogs resting under trees nearby. We watched the dogs for about an hour. There was so much to see, and hear, and smell all the time that the entire experience was worth the cost of the trip. It was just plain magical!

Finally, enough cannot be said about the professional ADS staff with whom we had contact. A special thanks to Emmanuel for getting us about in Arusha. Thanks to Anglebert and Juliette for getting us into the Arusha National Park for a half-day tour before we left Tanzania. For those who are looking or thinking about an African safari experience of a lifetime, we would recommend talking to Sharon Lyon with Africa Dream Safaris.

Steven and Suzanne Olmstead
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Safari Dates: 25 Sept. thru 10 Oct., 2012

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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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An African Safari For My 60th Birthday

Where to begin…this trip was a gift to my husband for his 60th birthday, but ended up being a gift to me as well. It was to date the best vacation we have ever taken! From the minute we landed in Arusha to the minute we left 12 days later, Africa Dream had every detail well planned out for us.

Our guide, J.P., was the absolute best!! We were fortunate enough to see EVERYTHING! Leopards, Cheetah with her two cubs, Rhino’s, Wild Dogs, many lions, elephant, giraffe, zebra, etc., etc., etc. It was amazing! Also, the accommodations were fantastic!

While staying at Swala Tented Lodge we were walking (with our guide) back to our room one evening and were met by five or six bachelor elephants. On another occasion, we were having our lunch boxes and a monkey, with her baby holding on, jumped on our table and grabbed Phil’s apple and brownie and then took off. Several other monkeys took off after her trying to steal the apple. It was so funny! We are animal lovers and there is nothing like seeing them in their natural environment.

The people of Africa are some of the nicest people we have ever met. They try so hard to make sure everything is perfect and they are so grateful for everything. It was truly a hard place to leave. We also visited villages and were amazed by the culture. My dream job would be to travel around Africa and help plan vacations for others to experience what we experienced. It was truly amazing and we are already talking about our next trip back.

Thank you Africa Dream Safaris and hats off to your amazing staff!

Phil & Melanie Osterhout
Drumright, Oklahoma
Safari Dates: October 8, 2012 to October 18, 2012

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Our Second African Dream Safari

Even before our first safari was over my husband and I had decided to return to the Serengeti and there was no question at all that we would go with Africa Dream Safaris. Naturally we were a little worried that a second safari to the same place might not be as great as the first trip, but we were so wrong! The ADS folks made sure we had our original guide, Wilfred.

This was an advantage since we had meshed so well on our first trip. He knew we would be first out of the lodge at 6 am and would not be back until whenever we had to be. We planned our second safari to cover areas of the Serengeti that we had not visited the first time.

We started with three days near the Mara River hoping to catch a crossing. It started out with one day of watching the wildebeests walk to the river, pause then walk away. Hmmm . this was a lot like last time!

However, bright and early the next morning we caught a wild crossing with the animals leaping off one steep river bank then climbing up the far side which had an impossible looking grade. Downstream we spied a rock covered with every possible scavenger waiting for whatever food swept past.

The next morning we watched a crossing that lasted for more than an hour. It is hard to describe the chaos of these crossings. The animals leap onto each other, crash into rocks, slip and slide as they all try to squeeze through the same narrow passage. It all seemed crazily impossible to get across this river until we spotted a herd of zebras a bit upstream choose an area of calmer water and lazily trot across. Smart zebras.

The Western Corridor was absolutely amazing. Though it was not supposed to be the prime time for this area, we were fortunate with the rains and had no problem with game sightings. We watched a pond of hippos challenging for dominance right next to a pool loaded with too many crocs to count. We spotted a crocodile eating an adult zebra and the size of his mouthful of teeth reminded us that this was indeed a prehistoric monster. There were ostrich families, ostriches mating as well as antelope fights and cheetahs hunting. We seldom saw another vehicle on the roads. Our lodge room even had its shower out on the deck so we could spot game as we washed up.

Our last two days were back on familiar turf in the Seronera area where we hoped to see the big cats in action. Almost immediately we followed a large pride of lions teaching their young to hunt and really not doing such a great job. Missed cornering the zebras at the water hole twice.

The last day was one of our most memorable. This may sound strange since it involved staying with a cheetah mom and her cubs all day long. We spotted them around 7 a.m. and Wilfred said she and the cubs were hungry and something would have to happen soon. We decided to wait and see. There was a second ADS truck on site so the drivers decided to switch out so we could see if there were anything else happening nearby. They would call each other if Mom started to hunt. We spent the time watching the cubs climb trees and play together. They nursed and napped while Mom kept a steady eye on the horizon.

I have to admit that by one o’clock I was ready to bail but my husband and Wilfred convinced me to give it another hour while we ate our lunch. Thank goodness they did because a herd of gazelles meandered by and things happened very quickly. We learned how fast a cheetah could move .WOW! Mom and babies were soon feasting. We stayed until a hyena moved in and claimed the carcass, stealing it away from the cheetahs as well as the waiting jackals and the buzzards circling above.

The safari was over too quickly. Regular days without game drives are not as much fun as wondering what is just around the next corner. We might need safari number three and I cannot think of a better group than Africa Dream Safaris to trust with the arrangements. I have to say that most evenings in the lodges we could overhear other groups talking about their day and seldom did anyone have the range of experiences we did. They are the best!

Chris and Terrence Campbell
Raleigh, North Carolina
Safari Dates: October 6, 2012 to October 14, 2012

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Africa Dream Safari Does It Right!

Africa Dream Safari does it right! And the other companies know it. I felt like all the other tour companies would follow our jeep around or persist that our driver stop and tell them where to look. It is a good feeling to know you are traveling with the best!!

Oh and our driver was the best:

• we saw the big 5 multiple times
• the crossing
• he spotted a leopard at dusk – this is almost impossible
• Honey Badger
• 3 lions in trees

So my recommendation is to put your trust in ADS and your driver – they know what they are doing. And you have to do the early morning drive with a box breakfast those are some of our most memorable moments. I can’t wait to go back.

Pete Muscarella
Oak Forest, Illinois
October 2011

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