Tag: Ohio

Take The Time To Do The Things You Never Had!

Africa was never on our radar or bucket list, but my dad had planted the seed with my brother and mentioned it to us and the search was on! Being recently retired there was never a hesitation in saying, yes!  Not knowing anyone who had been on a safari led to our search and exploring on our own. The goal was Africa with the 4 of us in a safari truck and to be able to see what we could see!

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Who Needs Roads Where We Traveled!

When we decided to go to Africa for a Safari we spent a month looking into different companies. We literally started from scratch not knowing a thing. We decided Africa Dream Safaris was the best choice. That had to be the understatement of the year. From the initial questions, conference calls, emails and phone calls, we were constantly impressed and excited.

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Our Trip To Tanzania And Zanzibar

Our safari was everything we had hoped it would be and more. Every detail was worked out by Dawn. We went in a few days early because of flights and Dawn arranged for us to stay at the African Tulip in Arusha. The accommodations were excellent and Anuj, the manager, bent over backwards to meet our every request.

Within a few hours of landing in the northern Serengeti we had seen zebras, wildebeests, elephants, giraffes, lions, many kinds of antelope, leaving us wondering what was left to see. Each day, however, brought new animals and new experiences.

Michael, our guide was incredible, the tented camps were excellent as was the food. Michael was able to find every animal on our list and then some. The days spent in Zanzibar were spent unwinding, sharing the incredible safari events, and enjoying the beautiful Indian Ocean.

We were extremely pleased that we chose ADS to plan and execute this fabulous trip.

Gary and Virginia G.
Port Clinton, Ohio
Safari Dates: September 23, 2014 to October 2, 2014

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Another Outstanding ADS Experience

A massive wildebeest herd fills the horizon. The occasional bird drifts by overhead. The ground is covered with sage-colored scrub brush and tufts of brighter green grass – a sign of recent rains. Barely the hint of a breeze blows by as the mid-afternoon sun blazes in a cloudless, pale blue sky.

All is hushed as we wait – one solitary safari vehicle surrounded by the vast glory of the African plain.

Suddenly, near the horizon, a flash of movement to the left, and then a cloud of dust. The wildebeest, calm and unconcerned just moments earlier, now scramble, confused and disorganized. The herd becomes a dark mass stampeding off to the right.

Within seconds, we are bouncing wildly in our vehicle as it rumbles over 300 yards of rough terrain to the center of the action. There, the two cheetahs we’ve been stalking for an hour skillfully, efficiently wrestle a one-year-old wildebeest to the ground. For several minutes, it’s all legs, tails and teeth amid grunts and shrieks.

The action slows… and the feast begins. The two cheetahs – likely brothers – take turns, one gorging while the other on alert for threats to their hard-earned prize.

Thanks to our excellent ADS guide, Wilfred, my family and I were in the right place at the right time to watch this scene unfold. He had shown time and again his knack for sensing drama about to happen. And he was a storehouse of knowledge about the animals, their habits and physiology.

Driving down the road from Gol Kopjes to Naabi Hill, Wilfred had spotted one male cheetah sitting up in the tall grass, and then another a short distance away – a coalition.

It only took his one comment, “These brothers are ready to hunt,” and we were all in for the adventure.

And so we stalked the cheetahs, watching one brother become the eager leader, and the other, a lazy follower. They slinked through the grass separately, covering the half-mile distance to their prey with frequent stops to lounge and covertly survey their surroundings. We heard the lead cat communicating in low growls the encouragement his brother needed to pursue their dinner.

And our patience paid off.

This was the fourth ADS safari for my husband, Don, and me, but it was extra special because our two adult children, Chris and Stephanie, were able to come with us. Each Tanzanian adventure has had highlights – but none as memorable as this. The day before, we’d seen another cheetah kill in the Ndutu Woodland, and a day later, a jackal bringing down a black stork for his supper down in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Oh, and who could forget the hour spent along the road to Big Marsh Valley watching two baby cheetahs – kittens really – tumbling over each other in play under their mother’s watchful eye? Soon after we left the babies, an adult male cheetah got friendly with us, leaping up on the hood of our vehicle and staring curiously at us through the windshield for a few interesting minutes before jumping down.

While the cheetah sightings were many – more than any previous safari – we encountered the full spectrum of African wildlife during our eight days in the bush: elephant herds (we counted roughly 460 elephants, including many babies, in one day at Tarangire Park), black rhino, hippo, lions, leopard, hyenas, giraffe, zebra, cape buffalo, birds of every size and color, and the rare caracal. We even saw a wildebeest giving birth.

Chris and I took thousands of photos, while Stephanie recorded the action. Her videos can be viewed below:

After full days of game viewing, we were always happy to get back to our lodgings for a relaxing shower, a delicious dinner and plenty of lively conversations about all we had seen. We never lacked for subject matter.

We combined stays at Sametu and Lion’s Paw camps with Lake Masek Lodge and Tarangire Treetops. The accommodations and meals were outstanding – topped only by the warm hospitality and service of the staff in each place.

One of our favorite things was eating dinner with Wilfred. Of course we knew about his expertise in animal behavior and navigating treacherous, flooded roads, but this is when we got to know about him and his family life.

We keep going back to Tanzania with ADS because we love the way they take care of every detail. From the greeting at the airport by our friendly host, Faith, to the final send-off going home, we find the ADS staff to be thoroughly professional and competent. Of course, the driver/guide has a lot to do with the safari experience, and Wilfred was outstanding.

My husband and I are hooked on Tanzania and definitely will go back. I have a feeling our kids will, too. We’ve loved every trip with ADS, and I know we’ll use the company again. We can’t imagine being in better hands.

Don, Laima, Stephanie and Christopher V.
Kettering, Ohio
Safari Dates: February 6, 2014 to February 15, 2014

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Serengeti – The Wild Treasure!

After enjoying a great lunch in the bushes of the Northern Serengeti, we got into the Safari Land Cruiser for our next excursion. We reached our target location, and spent time enjoying the beautiful landscape all around us. The rolling hills, stark plateaus, the umbrella trees served as the serene backdrop to what was going to happen next. GET DOWN, WE ARE MOVING! Malaki, our African Dream Safari guide, yelled to us as he shifted into gear and sped towards the river. Dozens of other Jeeps sped with us as we darted around small trees and dodged other jeeps to reach the banks of the River Mara. Here we were able to witness one of the most breathtaking spectacles of our journey through Africa…

All of the adventures we experienced came to fruition thanks to the Team from African Dream Safaris. I had spent almost a year researching and contacting multiple Luxury Safari Operators which finally led me to call Dawn Anderson. In the first moments while talking to Dawn, I knew I was talking to the right person. Dawn’s knowledge about the Serengeti could easily fill an encyclopedia, and she anticipates every need. The main reason Dawn stands above the rest is her ability to tailor to our groups’ needs in the truest sense. Her work helped to create the experience of a lifetime.

The locations we stayed at all were of exceptional quality and the staff gave us great service. Bushtop camp was beyond our expectation – with their manager Mr. Pantaleo, who is the best manager I have ever seen. He is very hospitable, helpful, full of knowledge, accommodating and above all, always there. The Migration camp was also a wonderful stay. Four season is definitely a great facility with panoramic views of the valley. Their buffet choices were great with selections including: African, Indian and Western. The Crater lodge had the best views of the crater. Their guest person, Mr. Ladslaus, went above and beyond to keep us comfortable.

ADS offers great excursion choices, and the guides they provide are the best in the business. Our guide Mr. Malaki had special eye for spotting animals, and he had extensive wealth of knowledge about animal behavior. He explained things as a professor delivering lecture in a classroom, he was exceptional. His driving skills, and timing allowed us to witness so many animals in their natural habitat. Mr. Malaki also took great care to explain the different cultures of Africa. He took us to visit a Masaai Village near the Ngrongoro Crater, and he even coordinated a trip to a Sikh Temple in Arusha.

We saw so many lions and got to experience multiple different behaviors as they roamed their lands. The most memorable was when we saw a lioness keeping a watchful eye on her three cubs as they played around her.Thanks to Mr. Malaki we spotted three leopards. Leopards are very hard to see because they are very shy from the sounds of jeeps and us humans. Mr. Malaki spotted one above us on a rock and we had a great picture opportunity. We saw many Hippos in Retina Pond, and one of them opened its mouth fully and showed us the largest mouth span of any carnivore on the planet.

Luckily on the 6th day of safari we were able to see 2 rhino’s – The tanks of Serengeti. We saw them at Ngrongoro Crater in their glory among many other animals. Elephants are a staple on the Serengeti and they showed us true happiness. They moved in families and played in the mud and ponds, swinging their trunks all over the place. Their size also showed us their strength and power, as they left a path of destruction while they ate branches and uprooted trees during their travels.

Coming back full circle to the earlier story we were able to see the Migration of Wildebeest – the largest number of animals on the Serengeti. They have an amazing cycle of life that begins with the baby learning how to walk and run within minutes of being born. And their death that keeps the hunters of the Serengeti with full bellies. Their stampede and river crossing causes the earth to shake as huge dust clouds spill over the landscape. The Wildebeest move as one unit across a crocodile filled river; those who choose the right path around the stones survive, others are food for the beasts of the river and the vulture who fly overhead. Click here to see my Wildebeest Migration Video.

To ADS, our guides, all the staff involved, and especially Mr. Malaki and Dawn Anderson – we would like to say THANK YOU for working tirelessly to give us the experience of a lifetime.

Digvijay and Parminder S.
Canfield, Ohio
Safari Dates: July 24, 2014 to August 1, 2014

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No More Going To The Zoo For Me!

This was one of our most memorable vacations ever. We would like to thank Dawn first for custom planning this wonderful safari for us. It was great dealing with her because she has basically first-hand experience of all the places that we eventually visited. The entire tour was perfectly organized and every place we stayed was very comfortable and unique with picturesque surroundings, pleasant staff and sumptuous food.

Obviously the highlight of the trip was seeing the animals, and we were not disappointed at all. We pretty much saw all the animals in the first 2 days, and the credit goes to our great guide/driver named Malaki who had this knack of ‘finding’ animals. Malaki was a gem – very pleasant and extremely knowledgeable and as a matter of fact, we started calling him “Professor”!

We could see all the BIG 5 – lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino! It wasn’t just seeing the animals, we had the opportunity to study their behavior and to see how beautifully they co-exist. It is so much fun seeing them so happy, healthy and playful in their OWN natural surroundings. No more going to the zoo for me!

Furthermore we were fortunate to witness the incredible and magnificent migration – truly a once in a lifetime experience! This is a vacation every one of us should take and I would highly recommend African Dream Safaris without any hesitation! Special thanks to Dawn who made this happen!

Go with ADS and you will be saying – “Hakuna Matata” throughout your trip!

Arvind and Rekha P.
Canfield, Ohio
Safari Dates: July 23, 2014 to July 31, 2014

PS. Here are our shots of the BIG 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo in respective order!

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Every Day Was Kila Kitu Sawa Sawa!

We have been back from our 15 days in Tanzania for just over a week now. Our daughter is off to grad school and in less than 2 weeks, our son heads off for his graduate program. The safari trip was a terrific time together and the source of many great shared memories we can all take with us as these new stages begin.

We were fortunate enough to see three river crossings, enumerable wildebeests and zebras, the ‘big-5’ supplemented by cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, hippos, and many birds (our favorite was the lilac breasted roller pictured here).

In looking back on all the things we saw and did, the people and the baby animals stand out. A big thanks to Dawn for her help in planning the ultimate trip and to David for his expert driving, game spotting, bird identifying and for his friendship forged over our days together. He really made the trip special and every day was kila kitu sawa sawa (swahili for everything is perfect).

We also met so many other Tanzanians whose good humor and helpful way made the travel that much more enjoyable, including Faith and Simon in Arusha, Jonas at Sametu Camp, Edward at Lion’s Paw, and Raymond at Swala. Assante sana!

As for animal babies, some big stand-outs were elephants still learning to use their trunks and mimicking the actions of their older siblings. One of the youngest we saw resorted to dunking half of her face in the pool to get a drink the old-fashioned way (pictured below)!

At one of the kopjes we came upon 3 very young lion cubs without any baby sitter present. We could have watched for hours as they already started showing the ‘king of the beasts’ attitude while staring out at us from the rocks.

While we had hoped to see a black rhino in the Serengeti, the chance to see both mom and baby was really special. To get back to them required some expert 4-wheeling from David. We were rewarded with close-up views of these endangered animals which included curious youngster who walked around and watched while mom napped.

On our way toward Sametu Camp, we saw our first jackals. The pair seemed to be heading off to hunt as evening was approaching. Up the road a bit was a termite mount with 5 jackal puppies playing outside. As we approached they made for home, though their curiosity overcame fear as they watched us and then started playing as though we weren’t there. Big ears and wide eyes overwhelm little bodies at this age.

As we headed out from Tarangire for the drive back to Arusha, we saw our 7th and 8th cheetah, a mom and cub. They looked very regal laying across their rock vantage point ignoring us as they hung out.

On a final note about the babies, we were impressed by how young some of the Maasai boys are who are out watching over the family herds of cattle, sheep and/or goats. Some of them look to be about 5 or 6 as they follow in their father’s footsteps surrounded by the wild.

There are so many memories and animal anecdotes from the trip and too many to share here. Thanks again to Africa Dream Safaris and particularly to Dawn and David for making the plan and executing the plan out on safari.

Scott, Audri, Nicole and Jackson H.
Westerville, Ohio
Safari Dates: August 2, 2014 to August 14, 2014

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I Chose A Private Safari That Gave Us Total Control Of Our Agenda.

Two year before our African vacation my wife Jenny and two granddaughters, Haley and Morgan, were watching an episode of “The Amazing Race”. The Maasai warriors were performing their traditional dance. Mesmerized by this performance Haley, 15 years old, and Morgan,12 years old, asked, “Can we go and see them?” With Grandpa wrapped around their little fingers, I said “Yes, we can!”

This commitment, without any understanding of what I was getting us into, led to several months of fact-finding and research. Having never been outside of the United States or ever attempted travel this complex, I was completely lost.

My research uncovered many choices that had to be made: safari tour (8-12 people) or a private custom safari with just our family; location in Africa; time of the year; financial constraints; and children considerations. I finally chose a private, custom safari that gave us total control of our agenda and timing that could be altered if we needed to address the girls’ needs…or ours. Later I found that this was a crucial decision that made all the difference to us.

Having decided on a private tour, I needed to find an outfitter that offered them, and as luck would have it, I came across Africa Dream Safaris and Dawn Anderson. From my first phone call to our return home, she was with us the entire year and a half. Dawn answered all our questions…and there were hundreds; offered many options; made schedule changes at the spur of the moment; and gave advice throughout the process on every aspect of the trip. She was the catalyst for our successful adventure.

Our trip was in June, a wonderful time of the year for seeing wildlife and babies. Oh, the babies! The weather was fantastic and the Serengeti was still green and alive. The food was delicious. Jenny, a vegetarian, was accommodated throughout the trip. With the personal touches we received, you would have thought we owned the Company! At every stop we received cool drinks to quench our thirst, wet towels to wash the trail dust from our faces, and personal notes, hoping we were having a good time.

Our adventures were numerous and memorable. We ate lunch one day six feet from two cheetahs and their three cubs. Another day we saw a complete lion hunt from beginning to end.

My greatest experience was our visit to the Maasai village. This process involved a meeting of the elders prior to entering the village. As we crossed a muddy field the chief and several warriors with spears approached. Haley elbowed me and whispered that these people have nothing, are wild and dirty, and have flies all over them. She asked if we were safe. We spent several hours in the village. The chief explained community life in the village and how they all pitched in to help each other. We danced with them, visited inside their huts, and had an altogether insightful day into their lives, so different from ours. As we left across that same muddy field, Haley said to me, “Grandpa, I have never seen people so happy. I think I could live here.”

This was a life changing experience for us, particularly my granddaughters. Haley wants to have her honeymoon here and Morgan said she can’t wait to return. God willing, we will all return in 2015.

Our experience is etched into our hearts and souls, a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation, thanks to the wonderful guides and people at Africa Dream Safaris.

Bill, Jennie, Haley and Morgan C.
Mainville, Ohioa
Safari Dates: June 14, 2014 to June 24, 2014

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Truly A Bucket List Vacation

Well, after a long, very long trip back home, we are finally re-adjusted and have assimilated everything we had experienced and as we begin to share our experiences with everyone, the excitement continues to build as if we were still on our wonderful trip.

First of all, a very big thank you to Sharon for arranging a wonderful itinerary. We wanted to experience a diversified safari and that is exactly what she planned for us. We had planned a 10 day safari in addition to a 2 night stay in Arusha. We stayed at Sametu Camp for 3 nights, Lake Masek for 3 nights, Lion’s Paw for 2 nights and The Manor for 1 night. We actually were the only guests at Sametu, Lion’s Paw and The Manor which was quite nice because we got to ‘mingle’ with the wonderful people who made our stay at their camp so comfortable and enjoyable.

Upon arriving in Kilimanjaro, we were greeted and taken to Meru Resort where we were briefed with all the information we needed to begin our journey. We enjoyed a room service snack and got to bed as soon as possible so we could begin our next day exploring Arusha. We toured the Poli Village and did some shopping at the Cultural Heritage shop.

We had a lovely buffet dinner at Meru Resort and then up to our room to start the separating of our luggage to meet the 33# weight limit for the plane ride into the Serengeti (we put the non-essentials in our carry-on bags and left them with the ADS representatives to be retrieved for our return trip back home).

After breakfast we shared a ride to the airport with another couple that had just arrived the night before. After our luggage was cleared for the 33 pound weight limit (whew!) we, along with a few more passengers, took off for the Serengeti. Our plane ride to the Seronera Airstrip was a beautiful experience that gave us a taste of what to expect.

We landed and met our guide, Raphael who turned out to be absolutely fantastic. I know, I have read, that everyone thinks their guide was the best and that probably is very true but Raphael not only did his job of making sure we saw ‘everything’ we had hoped to see and taught us so much about all the animals and birds and trees, his company, his humor, his Tanzanian outlook on life was so very special. Fortunately, we have many pictures so that we will never forget him.

On our game drive from the airstrip to Sametu Camp we saw 34 species of animals and/or birds. We had a little rain that cleared up quickly and then a beautiful rainbow. Amazing! The next day we began our game drive at 6:00 am; we saw an additional 19 new animals and/or birds but had not seen a giraffe. Raphael assured us we would see some the next day but just as we were coming to Sametu Camp, there they were and actually, there was a giraffe ‘in’ our camp eating a tree next to the tent next to ours along with a couple elephants just roaming around.

And every day, thereafter, we continued to see something new. We saw cheetahs, rhinos, impalas, gazelles, dik diks, hippos, buffalo, baboons, lizards, crocodiles, jackals – we saw practically everything there was to see. We saw a leopard up in a tree eating his kill while another leopard and a hyena waited patiently for some sharing; not exactly any sharing going on, just an accidental drop of a leg and a piece of meat that was quickly taken away.

We saw a mother lion with her cubs playing with her and its siblings. Wildebeests were in masses everywhere. We watched a Dung Beetle roll the dung into a perfectly formed ball with her eggs inside for nourishment that she later buried for protection. We witnessed the mating of lions, elephants and monkeys. We watched a Crowned Crane (one of our favorite birds) court his beloved in a beautiful display of prancing and wing flapping. Even though there were so many pregnant zebras, we unfortunately did not see a birth; but we did see many baby zebra running and playing.

We watched a lion just about 15 feet from our vehicle eating a zebra with about 8 hyenas waiting patiently for the remains. We also waited patiently, 1 ½ hours, for the lion to relinquish the zebra to the hyenas so we could see how they can totally devour an animal, bones and all, in just a few minutes but the lion was proving that he was the ‘king of the jungle’ and just sat next to the zebra and rested in between his feasting.

We even tried to persuade him to leave but he was ever so smart, he just grabbed the neck of the zebra and pulled it another 4-5 feet away from us and actually did that one more time for an additional 4-5 feet away from us. We never did get to see the hyenas in action that day, but the next day we did witness a wildebeest being consumed by about 14 hyenas in minutes. Not a trace left.

We could go on and on about our safari adventure; the box breakfasts and lunches, the tasty dinners, especially the soups, the 40 liter showers, the bumpy roads, the changeable but beautiful weather in the distance, the Maasi Village visit, the scenery, the beautiful sunsets, the magnificent star filled night sky, the accommodations and not to forget all the wonderful, joyful Tanzanian people.

Africa Dream Safaris delivered everything we could have hoped for, from the very first emailed we received back from our initial inquiry to their last welcome home email and call. It truly was a ‘bucket list’ vacation with many life changing moments to carry throughout one’s life. We are so grateful that we were able to make Tanzania a part of our life memories. ASANTE SANA!

Rae Marie and Richard P.
Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Safari Dates: March 21, 2014 to March 30, 2014

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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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Africa Has A Way Of Getting Into Your Heart And Soul.

Amazing trip! Dawn was awesome to work with. She was very patient and answered all of my questions, which were many! She made sure it was our vacation and met all my requests. I really wanted to be in Africa during the full moon and wanted specific tented camps during our stay.

Dawn worked really hard to get everything booked just as I wanted. The first night on our safari we ate dinner under the full moon! It was perfect! We loved everything about our safari. Our guide was awesome and taught us so much about the environment, the animals and the people of Africa.

Our guide Ally told us at the beginning that Africa has a way of getting into your heart and soul. He was absolutely right! We were very sad to see our trip end but we walked away with incredible memories and a vacation of a life time.

One of my most favorite memories was the first morning of our safari waking up to hot coffee being served to our tent. We went outside on the deck to drink the coffee and as soon as we sat down a beautiful giraffe came strolling by right in front of us as if he was saying good morning and welcome to Africa! We had many special moments.

We were fortunate enough to see a lion kill a gazelle. We saw the entire thing from the hunting to the stalking to the kill. It was fascinating. I could not get over the patience of the lion during this process and how she searched for the perfect tree after she caught the gazelle to lay down and begin her feast. We also saw a lion family, the father, mother and two cubes. It was neat watching the family interact, the cubs playing with their mother and the mother taking the cubs to her freshly killed wildebeest to let them eat.

I could not get over the massive amounts of animals we encountered during our safari and how the different animals coexist with each other. You would see zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelles, topies, cape buffalo and hartebeest (and some I am sure I forgot) all in one view. What an incredible sight!

We witnessed part of the great migration as thousand of wildebeest moved in search of green grasses. That was truly amazing. We really enjoyed watching the monkeys and baboons with their babies on their backs, they were very funny. On an early morning drive we saw a bunch of hippos in a single line running down a rapid flowing stream making all their hippo noises! Then watched how they got very territorial with their space as the stream opened up to a pool of water.

One of the places we stayed (Four Seasons Bilila) had a huge watering hole right in front of the swimming pool. Each day herds of elephants would come up and drink out of the watering hole. It was fun watching the baby elephants squeeze in between all the huge elephants to be able to get their small trunks close enough to the water to get a drink. We counted 28 elephants around the watering hole one night as we watched the sun go down.

I cannot forget to mention all the amazing birds in Africa. Some of the birds were extremely large and most of them were very colorful. The visit to the Maasai village was fascinating. They welcomed us with open arms, gave us a tour through one of their homes and performed a special dance with their jumping and rhythmic vocals.

All the tented camps were exactly as described and pictured on the internet. We really enjoyed getting to meet the local people who worked at the camps. Each camp brought a different experience and varying degrees of animals roaming the camps. The quiet mornings were so peaceful and the sunsets were like no other.

We always felt safe and our guide was there every step of the way. I researched a lot of safari outfitters and chose Africa Dream Safaris as a result of my interactions with Dawn and the positive testimonies from other ADS travelers. It truly was a “dream” vacation one we will always cherish. Thanks Dawn for putting together a wonderful trip.

Terrie and John M.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Safari Dates: July 20, 2013 to August 2, 2013

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Spending The Holidays in Tanzania

Our trip to Tanzania was built on 10 months of anticipation and very high expectations (partially from email notes like this one). We have been on many trips, but this experience far exceeded any other destination. It was hard to believe, but every day delivered a better day. The diversity of the locations provided something new to be seen every day. The animals and scenery can only be experienced. The pictures don’t come close in conveying the beauty (they are great for the memories).

From a planning and execution standpoint, the ADS team (both US and Tanzania) executed to ensure our best vacation we have ever had. Everything went great. Our driver, Arnold was terrific. He knows the bush like the back of his hand. He could always find a lion or a leopard that we would have never seen on our own. Arnold was an integral part of the success of the trip. You know when you have no surprises outside of the wonder of Tanzania, the team did their job. Thank you.

The Poole Family
Columbus, Ohio
Safari Dates: December 21 to December 30, 2011

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Our Safari with ADS was truly an Incredible Experience

Like everyone, we wanted the very best safari experience. We visited the websites of numerous safari outfitters and read reviews posted by their clients. Most of these websites were poorly designed and lacked vital information. Many of their clients’ reviews complained about sharing a vehicle with strangers, poor food, and mediocre accommodations. Fortunately, we then visited the ADS website. It was, by far, the most informative and easily navigated safari website. The ADS website promised our own private vehicle and great accommodations.  Africa Dream Safaris delivered on those promises and more.

The driver/guide is critical to a successful safari. Our driver/guide knew exactly where to find the wildlife we requested at each area visited. He would often reposition the vehicle to give us the best views and camera angles. His vehicle, by the way, was clean, comfortable, and offered excellent viewing with its canvas convertible top. He enriched our trip with his knowledge of the wildlife and their surroundings. He was engaging and attentive to our every need.

The game drives during our 11 day safari were excellent. We saw almost everything: lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, cheetahs, leopards, and much more. And we saw them all again and again each day and at each area visited (Northern Serengeti, Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire). We were fortunate enough to witness a herd of wildebeests crossing the Mara River and were surprised to encounter numerous varieties of unusual birds, such as Barefaced “Go Away” birds and Hornbills, and colorful birds such as Lilac Breasted Rollers, Superb Starlings, and Fisher’s Lovebirds. Mary Ann’s favorite was the giraffe. For me, the great cats were the stars of the show.

Our safari was more than just game drives, however. The visit to a Maasai village was quite the cultural experience. The young Maasai warriors had a great time taking pictures of each other with my camera. We also enjoyed the learning opportunities presented at the Oldupai Gorge, the cradle of mankind, and the Great Rift Valley, a fracture in the African tectonic plate.

Our safari with ADS was truly an incredible experience. We can’t wait to go back. We strongly recommend ADS for everyone’s African adventure.

Denny and Mary Ann Dowling
Cincinnati, Ohio
October 2011

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