Tag: Retirement

The ADS Staff Were Incredible In Managing A Very Scary Situation

I traveled to Tanzania nine years ago with Africa Dream Safaris and was deeply moved by this unique experience. Seeing so many beautiful animals touched my soul and the gentle people of Tanzania captured my heart. At the time, I was very impressed with the ADS team both at home and in Africa. Their enthusiasm about Tanzania was palpable and their knowledge of the Serengeti was evident in every detail of my trip.

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African Dream Safaris Made Our Dream Come True!

From the moment we landed in Arusha till we left Arusha for home your staff was right on. Our adventure started as we were attempting to land in the bush and our landing was aborted due to a Giraffe on the runway! We realized right then and there that this was going to be a special experience.

After we landed we met our guide, Emmanuel, who quickly became our friend. He was knowledgeable, patient, understanding and considerate. We left the airport and almost immediately we began to see animals “up close and personal.” Zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles were everywhere. Giraffes were majestic and elephants were lumbering along as we drove.

We were “lucky” (based on Emanuel’s skill ) to spend some time watching a cheetah and her four cubs frolic under a tree. If that was not enough, our first lion sighting also took place on the first day.

We ate our box lunch and continued to drive to River Camp. Here the staff could not have been more accommodating. After a delicious dinner and a good sleep, we started out in the morning hoping to see a river crossing. We sat at a location for about an hour as it looked like the wildebeests were getting ready to cross. Then suddenly the herd moved off – that is when we saw the reason – a lion had a wildebeast in his jaws! We followed the lion who took the kill in to a bush.

We left and continued on our quest for a crossing. Again, patience was the key and sure enough, we were able to observe a crossing. What an experience! This was all before lunch! Since we were very close to River Camp we went back for lunch – the table was set outside under a tree. Back to our home away from home – the Landrover – looking for a leopard. Sure enough Emmanuel got us a leopard – in a tree very close to the road.

I do not know how he did this but we were able to get close to so many animals. Every day was better than the one before. Lions, cheetahs, leopards seemed to be waiting to meet us! While the drives between camps were long, they were interesting and gave us a real feel for the vastness of the Serengeti.

We were only missing a rhino to complete our wish list. In the crater, way off in the distance we observed a young rhino sleeping. Well we thought that was enough – not Emmanuel. He told us that as it cools down the rhino may start to move. We drove around for a while and returned to see the rhino still sleeping. Do not give up was our motto. Patience paid off – after about an hour the rhino woke up and started a slow but steady walk in our direction.

The rhino, as if on command, came to the road and walked right behind out vehicle! What a way end our Africa Dream Safari!!!

Janet and David C.
Beechhurst, New York
Safari Dates: October 10, 2015 to October 18, 2015

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The Tented Camps Were A Wonderful Part Of The Safari

We recently took our son and daughter-in-law to Tanzania on a safari with ADS. It turned out to be the trip of a life time! We saw so many animals. Of the 2 million wildebeest in Tanzania I think we saw 1.5 million of them. We saw more lions than we could keep track of. We were even fortunate enough to see the very rare African wild dogs and of course we saw many elephants, giraffe, zebras, warthogs, antelope, hippos, monkeys, baboons, cheetahs and leopards.

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If Africa is on Your Lifetime Agenda List…Go,Go,Go!

My sister posted about our recent safari but since I have so many emotions swirling inside I thought about adding my own two cents. Even though we have been back for a couple weeks I am still not quite “Out of Africa”. This is a trip that stays with one long after the journey is over.

An African Safari is not a trip for everyone, in fact our travel group dwindled from eight to four, when we chose Africa. One person said, “Africa? Can’t we just get a 4-wheeler and go to the zoo?”

Choosing Africa was the best travel decision we made, well, second only to choosing ADS as our tour company. When I first mentioned Africa to a friend she put me in touch with her friend’s daughter-in-law who had recently been on Safari. To say she raved about her trip would be an industrial-strength understatement. She provided Dawn Anderson’s name at ADS and that was the first step toward a magical adventure.

Dawn’s knowledge of Tanzania made the trip a breeze to plan, and if her middle name is not Patience it should be, given how deftly she fielded our (well, actually my sister’s) many questions. Although we went toward the end of the “wet” season we only had rain two evenings and a slight shower one day. The greenery and wild flowers this time of year were stunning.

To see as many animals as we did at close range was jaw dropping. With Claude guiding our way each day was more spectacular than the previous day. We saw a lot, we learned a lot and would love to return.

Incidentally, my husband may have set a Guinness book record for oldest person to go on safari at 3 months shy of his 89th birthday! The staff at each camp was especially attentive, watching over “Babu” to make sure he was okay. Okay he was…Babu loved the trip!

Barbara and Tony P.
Red Bluff, CA
Safari dates: May 18-27, 2015

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If The Garden of Eden Existed, This Must Have Been It.

Dear Mama Simba,

All who know you in Tanzania speak of you with such adulation and appreciation, and now we join their ranks. We so appreciate the nderstanding and thoroughness with which you listened to my fearful concerns and romantic hopes and then surpassed all expectation in going beyond fulfilling every wish.

We enjoyed talking with both Mattius and Timon on the ride from the airport and hearing of their families and backgrounds. Thank you and Africa Dream for the surprise Masai blanket and beaded bracelet gifts which welcomed us to the Moru Hotel. It took nearly a week for me to learn I was wearing the Tanzanian flag in the design, but it only helped me appreciate it more. We plan to hang it on the Christmas tree every year as a colorful reminder of Tanzania.

Thanks for booking us with Liz, Jeff, Terry, and James for our flight to the Grameti Airfield. It was great fun to run into each other through the rest of the week. Their email addresses have yet to surface in the unpacking, but we hoped to keep in touch.

Thanks for choosing PoKea for our knowledgeable, thorough, experienced, thoughtful guide. He had an uncanny ability to find camouflaged animals and knew so many birds I gave up trying to keep track after about thirty. We had total confidence in his driving on muddy, rutty, almost impossible roads. At each lodge he insured that all our requests were met…that we had a room with a view (always glorious) and that we were close to security. We laughed when he doubted I could walk the half block up the hill to a lookout at the Serengeti ranger station…since I wanted to be close to the main building at lodges he assumed I was disabled. On our first fabulous Grameti game drive he found seventeen animals/reptiles and fourteen beautiful birds. What an amazing beginning!

Bob and I were blown away by the surprise private dinner at Mbalageti complete with personal beautiful bonfire, 14 flaming torches, bottle of wine, three attendants, and delicious dinner. What a wonderful romantic night! Thank you!

What an enchanting room you arranged for us there, with its glorious gnarly wood railing to the porch overlooking endless green and frolicking baboons, its spacious stone-walled bathroom with footed tub, and two four-poster mosquito net ensconced beds.

Maybe the best guidance you provided was in suggesting we go mid May after the rains and before the crowds (although sadly that could have been all through June this year). Whew, we missed the rain by a few days and entered a Serengeti lush with beautiful green and even wildflowers. Sincerely, Sharon, we felt we had come to the Cradle of Civilization and that if the Garden of Eden existed, this must have been it with amazing numbers of God’s creatures roaming freely as far as the eye could see. It was awe-inspiring and humbling to be there at that verdant time.

Returning to this, I see that I need to be more brief. All three Serena Lodges were fabulous with unique and exceptional design and architecture, delightful balconies with glorious views, delicious and bountiful food, and two offered wonderful African dancers, singers, and drummers. You made us feel like royalty with the generous fruit baskets, welcoming bottles of wine and champagne and the totally unexpected cuddly hot water bottles warming our Ngorongoro bed. We are great water drinkers as well, and so appreciated being able to bring in extra water bottles from the Land Cruiser in case we ran out in the room. African Dream really helped us not rack up lots of extra charges at each lodge. At each Serena Lodge we were provided rooms with absolutely prime locations near in to the main activities.

At Lake Masek Tented Lodge (Bob’s favorite) we were one of only three parties of guests and yet, rather than have us walk a few feet to the buffet, they dished up a private buffet on a huge tray and brought it to the table for only PaKea and us. Every host obviously went to the greatest lengths to make us feel like the most important guests in attendance. We woke up for the sunrise there, for the many pairs of Fishers lovebirds, and for incredibly lovely bird sounds we will treasure forever. We felt the closest to nature there.

Our final night at Lake Manyara Serena brought the biggest surprise as the clapping, singing, dancing entire kitchen staff wove their way to surround our table, bringing your wonderful farewell cake. John Massa treated us like King and Queen and helped us provide PoKea with a similar night when he can bring back his wife. My next email will concern John and his family.

Sharon, we cannot thank you enough for the phenomenal trip you designed for us. We are still working on the hundreds of photos we were able to take so freely by having our own private vehicle and exceptional guide. You have earned your Mama Simba title and all the respect and admiration it bestows. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mama Simba!


Jan and Bob F.
Palo Alto, California
Safari Dates: May 21, 2015 to June 1, 2015

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The Beauty Of The Serengeti During The Green Season – My Top 50 Safari Photos

A safari trip to Africa has always been on our “must take trip” list. When some friends went on an Africa Dream Safaris trip a few years ago, they highly recommended ADS. After retirement, we realized that it was time to make that trip a reality and we spent much time on the phone and emailing with Sharon with our endless questions. She answered all of them and put together a safari to meet our desires.

The date of our Tanzanian safari finally arrived and from the moment we landed in Arusha on April 8th until we departed on April 20th, we were in expert hands. When we met our guide Peter Huka, we knew we had hit the jackpot! Not only was he an incredible driver, he was an amazing spotter and knew absolutely all of the animals, birds, and even the insects. He was quite a teacher!

We had been a little hesitant about going on safari in April which is during the rainy season but we are very happy now that we made that choice. Not only did the rain not interfere with our game drives, it led to some quite exciting driving by Peter. We never got stuck though Peter did stop and help out some safari drivers from other companies that did. He stated “not very experienced” and we were so glad that our guide was experienced!

Another added benefit to doing a safari in April other than the beauty of the green grass on the Serengeti plains, was the lack of great numbers of tourists. This is not high season here so prices are lower too. Peter said that he guessed there were only 60-80 vehicles at that moment in the entire Serengeti National Park but that in high season it likely would be more than 300 vehicles…yikes! The place where it made a huge difference was at Ngorogoro Crater, which is a confined area. One morning we were in the crater for two hours before we saw another safari vehicle.

We were also quite pleased with our safari accommodations. Our favorite places were Seronera Sametu Tented Camp in the Central Serengeti and Lion’s Paw Tented Camp just inside the gates of the Ngorogoro Crater. The locations and service were excellent and unforgettable. We will always remember the excellent dinners, then requesting hot water to take showers after dinner, and then crawling into our luxurious bed warmed by hot water bottles to rest to the sounds of animals outside our tent…

There are countless wonderful memories from our safari and we tried to capture many of them by taking nearly 7000 photos. I was also able to keep a running journal on my notes app on my iPhone as we experienced our game drives so I wouldn’t forget a moment. I have posted eight journal entries from our ADS safari to babecks.blogspot.com and have included a few of my favorite photos there. Please check it out.

We’ve always said this was going to be a “once in a lifetime” trip but now after our wonderful experience with ADS, we are starting to think that it might be fun to back to see the Mara River crossing someday. Always dreaming!

Thank you Sharon, Peter, and all of the Africa Dream Safaris team!!!

Gary and Bonnie B.
Santa Cruz, California
Safari Dates: April 8, 2015 to April 20, 2015

PS. Here is a link to a map file for our trip: http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/misc/BeckSafariMap.html . If all goes well, it should open google maps in your browser with our route in a different color for each day. There’s a list in the upper right of each date. For some reason, 4/18 is out of order. You can click on each date to turn it off or back on. And zooming works as well.

Gary, Peter and Bonnie

The Great Migration – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Young Lions – Ngorongoro Crater

Leopard With Cub – Seronera Valley – Central Serengeti

Mother Cheetah Hunting A Thomson’s Gazelle – Sametu Plains – East Serengeti

The Mother Cheetah Brought Her Cubs To The Kill

Black Rhinos – Ngorongoro Crater

An Elephant Next To Our Tent at Sametu Camp – East Serengeti

Great Wildebeest Migration At Gol Kopjes – East Serengeti

Great Wildebeest Migration – South Serengeti

Hippos – Retima Pool – Central Serengeti

Grant’s Gazelles and Elands – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Buffalo – Ngorongoro Crater

Blacnk Rhino – Ngorongoro Crater

Lake Magadi – Ngorongoro Crater

Angata Kiti Valley – East Serengeti

Bonnie at Nasera Rock – East Serengeti

A special surprise at Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Camp

Genet Cat at Ndutu Lodge

Mating Lions near Ndutu – South Serengeti

Black Backed Jackal – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Golden Jackal – Ngorongoro Crater

Side Stripped Jackal (note the white tail tip) – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Bat Eared Fox – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Spotted Hyena – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Elephants – Seronera Valley – Central Serengeti

Hippos – Retima Pool – Central Serengeti

Giraffe – Lemuta Kopjes – East Serengeti

Dik-Dik Antelope – Seronera Valley – Central Serengeti

Great Migration at Sametu Kopjes – East Serengeti

Maasai Village Excursion

Our First Hotel in Arusha – Mount Meru Hotel

Ngorongoro Crater

Serengeti Sunset

Leopard – Seronera Valley – Central Serengeti

Young Lions – Ngorongoro Crater

Cheetah – Ndutu Plains – South Serengeti

Lioness with Wildebeest Kill – Ngorongoro Crater

Baboons – Ngorongoro Crater

Vervet Monkeys – Seronera Valley – Central Serengeti

Secretary Birds

Long Crested Eagle

Tawny Eagle

Martial Eagle

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl

Barn Owl

Yellow Masked Weaver

Lilac Breasted Roller

Fischer’s Love Bird

Guinea Fowl and Banded Mongoose

Cattle Egrets


Camera Setup

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Tanzanian Splendor!

After a trip to South Africa 2 years ago, I knew I had to return to Africa to experience the wonders of the Serengeti. My search for a safari company ended when, at the suggestion of a friend, I discovered ADS. One phone conversation with Dawn Anderson convinced me that at last I had found the company that would make my dream come true!

During the year that passed before my departure for Tanzania, Dawn proved an invaluable source of assistance and was a delight to work with. With her wealth of knowledge and insightful suggestions, we mapped out my trip from beginning to end. She has the patience of a saint, a delightful sense of humor, and went above and beyond the norm to answer my endless questions and make sure I was well prepared for my journey. I was ready to travel by myself, but much to my delight, my two friends, Seena and Shanti, decided to join me on this great adventure once they learned of the fabulous itinerary Dawn and I had put together.

To say that ADS exceeded our expectations every step of the way is putting it mildly! From the moment we landed in Arusha and were greeted by Matias and Timan, we knew we were in good hands. Then it was on to the Serengeti where we met our guide, Russell, who quickly became our teacher, protector and friend for the duration of our safari. His enthusiasm was infectious, his patience and kindness unsurpassed, and his knowledge of the land, its animals, birds, plants, and the Tanzanian people was amazing! We were repeatedly astounded by his ability to spot not only game, but such tiny insects as safari ants, identify birds by their sounds, and predict animals’ movements. And he seemed to anticipate our every need!

We stayed at the tented camps Seronera Sametu, Lake Masek, and Lion’s Paw. In each camp we found the staff to be wonderful, friendly and helpful in every way, accommodations were comfortable, and food was great! Our last stop was at beautiful Gibb’s Farm, where we found luxurious cottages to be our accommodations, sumptuous food, and again, a delightful staff who worked hard to make sure our stay was nothing short of divine!

A few of my favorite moments:

-The pregnant cheetah who hung out on the hood of our vehicle for a long while, periodically peering in the windshield at Russell. He became our “cheetah man” forever after and we dubbed ourselves the “cheetah girls”!

-Lying in our comfy beds at night, surrounded by mosquito netting & warmed by hot water bottles, listening to the noises of the animals outside our tents…lions, hyenas, zebra and wildebeest making their presence known.

-Wake up calls featuring freshly brewed coffee and hot milk brought to our tents.

-Watching the pride of lions for 2 hours who were within sight of our tents at Seronera Sametu.

-Seeing so many mama animals and their babies…they were everywhere!

-The sundowner campfire and sunset at Lion’s Paw camp.

-Visiting the Masai boma.

-My visit to the F.A.M.E. facilities in Karatu.

-The morning spent with the Hadza people (bushmen). A rare treat that seemed like it came right out of National Geographic!

My experiences went way beyond seeing the breathtakingly beautiful land, wonderful animals, plants, and birds of the Serengeti, Ngorongora crater and conservation area, and encountering the people who reside in glorious yet at times harsh settings. I truly could see the “circle of life” playing out right before my eyes as I took in all this incredible land has to offer. The wonders of Tanzania and its people will remain in my heart forever, my life changed in indescribable ways by this journey. I shall be forever grateful…and I shall return.

Asante sana to all the people at ADS…each of you have touched my life and made my dream come true!

Chere K.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Safari Dates: February 24, 2015 to March 8, 2015

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Babies, Babies and More Babies – My February 2015 Safari

Tanzania in February – what a trip! Africa Dream Safaris you nailed it. From our initial email inquiring about our trip, our planning emails and phone calls with Dawn, our trip itself and our welcome home, the entire ADS experience was amazing and beyond words. You have to be there in the moment and experience it yourself to understand.

It is difficult to pinpoint or describe what made this trip one of a lifetime. Our Driver/Guide worked with us to plan each day’s drive. He made sure we experienced all Tanzania has to offer in a safe, professional and authentic manner. Our safari vehicle was comfortable and accommodated the four of us nicely. Thanks ADS, Dawn, Pokea we enjoyed our trip.

Wendy and John M.
Thonton, Colorado
Safari Dates: February 12, 2015 to February 21, 2015

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Our Tanzania Safari – A Celebration Of 3 Retirements And A Birthday!

Jambo! We’ve recently returned from a trip of a lifetime, a number 1 bucket list item celebrating 3 retirements and a birthday. Thanks to ADS, the adventure was everything we hoped for and more!

Planning for the safari began 2 years before our trip. Since I retired first, the research and details became my project. After checking out several private safari companies, upon meeting with friends that had just returned from an ADS safari, and after speaking on several occasions with Dawn Anderson, we decided that ADS best met our needs. The four of us included amateur photography buffs and two elementary school teachers. Dawn was magnificent in meshing our varied interests and needs. She guided us through every step leading up to our safari.

We elected to travel directly to Tanzania and arrived tired but excited after nearly 30 hours in transit. Faith and Timon were there to meet and greet us, shepherd us through visa lines, and take us to the Mount Meru Resort. We elected to stay 2 nights in order to get some R & R and explore Arusha. The grounds and accommodations were lovely—We wisely opted to get massages. An unexpected surprise was a special dinner under the gazebo with a cake acknowledging the occasion of our retirements. Faith and Timon’s graciousness made our introduction to Tanzania so easy.

The next day we were off to take a short flight to the Serengeti. Francis, our driver/guide, was there to greet us and off we went to the Mara River. On our drive we saw nearly all the wildlife that we had come to see. Mara River Camp was a revelation. From being greeted by the staff with scented towels and refreshing juice to our luxury tents with comfortable furnishings and ensuite bathroom to incredible meals (prepared in a tiny kitchen), we couldn’t believe our good fortune. Conversing with the other guests was delightful. We spent the night listening to the voices of zebra, wildebeest, gazelles, and warthogs as they grazed along our tents and even peeked at them from our “window.”

Onward to the Lobo Valley to gaze upon open plains that are reminiscent of our mid-west. We reveled in its beauty and that of the giant granite kopjes where we spied lions and cheetahs napping. Our next lodging was at Buffalo Tented Lodge—our most luxurious accommodation. Its high elevation provided us with magnificent vistas. The meals were delicious—rivaling the best restaurants back home. The birthday girl was serenaded in both Swahili and English and presented with a yummy birthday cake.

A special highlight was the visit to a Maasai village. We were escorted by Seketo, the chief’s son, who also happens to be employed at Buffalo. Because of its remote location, we had a “private” tour that afforded us much time to see how the proud, hardworking Maasai live. Their homes reminded us of how the Native Americans constructed their homes. Children begin early to tend to goats and cattle or to their younger siblings. I enjoyed participating with the women in their traditional a cappella singing and dancing.

On the drive through the Central Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Highlands we observed in close proximity lions and their cubs and a trio of cheetahs stalking and taking down a zebra. Included were worthwhile stops at the Serengeti Information Center and Oldupai Gorge where James and Mary Leake spent many years uncovering the “Cradle of Mankind.”

Lion’s Paw Tented Camp is ideally situated because it’s nearest the entrance to the Crater. We loved its remoteness and the nice touches to make it warm and cozy—soft blankets (that we used on our drives), heater, and hot water bottles to warm the bed. It was one of our favorite accommodations.

Because of our location, we were one of the first to reach the Crater. In relative isolation, we saw 2 different lion prides – one of which comprised 12—a rare sight to see one so large. We saw lionesses working together to stalk prey and cubs playing mischievously. We saw hippos resting in the green marshland and hundreds of flamingos.

On our drive to the Tarangire, we incorporated a visit to the Foundation for African Medicine & Education (F.A.M.E.), another highlight of our trip. Dr. Frank Artress and his wife, Susan Gustafson, have made it their mission to improve the quality and accessibility to medical care in this underserved community. It is quite inspiring to see what they have built. They couldn’t have been more gracious with their time. To discover that they also hailed from California was quite a coincidence.

We ended our safari exploring the Tarangire and staying at Maramboi Tented Lodge. By this time, unlimited hot water was a real treat! At our final dinner, we were entertained by a singing procession of staff who presented us with a good-bye cake!

Finally, thank you to the ADS staff for matching us with Francis. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the terrain and wildlife and his ability to see and point out animals provided us with an excellent vantage point for viewing and photography. We enjoyed our daily debriefing, planning for the next day’s adventures, and learning more about him. He is a natural teacher and was an integral part of realizing our dream safari.

Asante sana,

Paula and Bob S.
Los Angeles, California
Safari Dates: September 2-16, 2014

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Our Safari Experience Was Exceptional In Every Way.

From our initial inquiry to the end of our Safari experience, Africa Dream Safaris has proven to be a company that knows how to make your trip a seamless experience of exciting and memorable moments. Michael and his staff were quick to respond to our questions, filling us in on so many details that even we were surprised when we simply had nothing left on our list to digest!

On our arrival in Arusha we were met by Faith, from ADS who quickly got us through immigration (so happy that we arranged this, as the line up was extensive) and on to our hotel where we spent the first evening resting from our 20 hour flight. The following morning was Day 1 of our actual Safari where we again were met by Faith who had the Land Rovers all ready for our drive to the local airport where the bush plane was waiting for our excursion to the Serengeti.

Flying over the land we glanced at the landscape and noticed dark spots, interesting looking crop circles and endless plains. Little did we know that the dark spots were indeed wildebeest (by the number), crop circles were the enclosures made of sticks, reeds and mud that surround the Maasai’s homes to keep their livestock in and the predators out, and of course the endless plain is “The Serengeti”.

Upon landing we were met by our guide, Anglebert who was to remain with us for the entire Safari. If you were wondering how effective this is, I can tell you that having the consistency, the reliability, and the sheer knowledge and enthusiasm that he provided truly made our Safari the best possible experience we could imagine. In fact, upon our farewell, the entire group shed a few tears for this special man, and he responded with a few of his own.

I should point out that our Safari was a custom journey. We traveled with our good friends from Calgary, Alberta and designed this trip based on the best areas to be in during September to view the Great Migration. We had a Land Rover equipped with a pop up roof and tented cover that was absolutely perfect for taking pictures and also keeping the sun off of your heads. Most of our accommodations were in the North and Central part of the Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater area and finishing with Tarangire. Our accommodations were a combination of luxury lodges and what we would call ‘glamping’ – an upscale form of tenting.

Each camp was a unique experience, but I will say that the staff made each experience most memorable. I truly believe that there is no other company that will create a custom venture for you that will satisfy your every desire like Africa Dreams. They know how to finish like a champion. The Safari experience is like no other.

After one year of extensive planning and having expectations of seeing “The Big 5”, we were overwhelmed from our first day upon seeing so many different types of animals that we had to keep journals just to remember the names and the slight variations. Anglebert had keen eyes for the wildlife, and also a knowledge about each animal – their lifestyle, hunting habits, as well as local population, and that kept us interested and wanting to learn more. The first question I am asked after saying that is “If you see all of this on day one, aren’t the rest of the days a disappointment?” Oh my goodness that couldn’t be the furthest from the truth – after all each day is unique – the wildlife you see is different, or in different situations, and provide for unlimited viewing, entertainment, and photo opportunities.

One of the most memorable moments (and there are many), was our first encounter with lions. The male and female were both relaxing under a large bush when after a few minutes the female arose from her nap and began to circle the sleeping male. This of course was designed to wake him, and waken he did, as he mounted the female within a few seconds from his deep slumber and performed his deed within fifteen seconds. If you didn’t have the camera ready, you would have missed it. When he finished he gave a wonderful growl which was mirrored by the female. How exciting to see nature, and truly the circle of life come to fruition with this beautiful couple.

All of the animals were enchanting, but the giraffe was so captivating. They come in a variety of color depths – from very light brown to almost chocolate brown spots. We came across many different shades in our travels, but my favorite encounter was a lone dark brown giraffe reaching high into a sausage tree with his blue tongue to grasp those tender green leaves. We quietly watched as he maneuvered around those large bulbous succulent fruits that drop from the tree and release seeds as the pulp rots.

The elephants come to collect the fruits when they fall and we have seen the fruits gathered by the Maasai and taken to the market to sell. These fruits can be up to 36” long and are reported to be poisonous unless it is baked or the seeds are roasted. I also hear that in African herbal medicine the fruit is used to treat a variety of ailments/diseases as well as aid in the fermentation of beer!! Who knew!

So many of the small animals are not as easily spotted, or easy to capture on film as they seem to be in constant motion, but early one morning our guide spotted two little ears peeking up from the grasses. A few moments later this beautiful serval cat popped his head up and we got what we call “National Geographic” like photos of this gorgeous cat. Servals use their long ears to detect movement in the grasses, then stand and pounce on their prey – usually a small rodent or frog. He is stunning in his natural environment.

Most every morning we were up at 5 am and after a large warm breakfast we were met by our driver Anglebert who would suggest that we be ready to leave by 6 to capture the best movement and the best lighting for photography and viewing. Not knowing what was in store for us this morning we dragged ourselves into the jeep and obliged. We drove through the long grasses, on fairly rutted road to capture the most stunning sight as the sun was just lifting through the horizon. Our leopard was perched on a termite mound for quite some time, offering incredible still shots for our cameras.

After getting absolutely perfect shots of him there, he began a short trek across the yellow grasses to sit for another photo opportunity, then meandered through the grasses to a tree in the vicinity and began circling the tree. Anglebert had told us to keep our camera focused on the tree, not the animal, so we were able to get shots of this magnificent creature clawing his way up the tree and then securing a comfortable spot to lay his head down and rest…the pictures can’t describe how beautiful he was as he lay so smoothly on that tree branch. Nature has a way of making each animal so unique that they have the ability to hunt and capture food for sustenance but also have the characteristics to keep themselves hidden from other predators…so beautiful.

I mentioned earlier in my writing about how the staff was so instrumental in making your evening at the camps so special. We had one jovial man by the name of JJ who upon asking what we might be having for dinner one evening he responded with a straight face that we were to have “Acacia Tree Soup” followed by “Cape Buffalo Stew”….then he laughed his face off and told us he was just joking! We had such fun with him though and he spent part of his evening teaching us all some Swahili so that we could surprise Anglebert with our knowledge.

We now consider Swahili our second language thanks to JJ who taught us several words that evening. We tested our words out the next day with Anglebert when I said in my loudest voice – “sismama tafadhali” which means stop please. Anglebert practically blew out the brakes when he heard me speak Swahili, then started laughing realizing that we really did pick something up while at camp that evening. Patti, (our friends we were traveling with) said “twende” – which means, let’s go – got Anglebert on the road once again – this time with a little smile on his face.

Lemala Kuria Hills was also a favorite – not only for it’s beauty in this natural setting, but also for it’s staff who with the guidance of Tabby, the resident manager, arranged for a special “sundowner” for us in the evening. She led us to a large “kopjes” formation (rock outcropping) where there were several large colorful pillows spread out for seating with ‘tables’ of wood stumps where we were to place our drinks. Here we were treated to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while watching the sun go down…absolutely stunning evening. So many of the other guests at the camp were envious of our private setting that they ended up joining us on the kopje. Moses was especially attentive to my husband who was spoiled with his favorite Jim Beam and seven up.

There are so many animal experiences which are worthy of mention, however our stop at the Maasai village was a highlight of our trip. I’m not sure how long these wonderful people will be able to maintain their traditional values and customs, but I feel very privileged to have been to see their “bomas” which are their traditional homes made by the women of the community consisting of sticks, grass and cow dung.

We were met by the Chief’s son who took us to a traditional dance where I was invited to dance with the women who presented me with a gorgeous beaded necklace – about 4” wide. The idea was to be able to flip the necklace up and down while jumping – this is much harder than it looks and I brought them all to laughing hysterically as I attempted to jump and flip the necklace with enthusiasm. (Note to self – this would be a great time to wear a sports bra).

Our guide Anglebert had talked about the Maasai with us before we met them, and told us about many of their customs, but seeing it in person is a life changing experience. The Maasai are nomadic people who live customarily in Northern Tanzania and Kenya. Their dress is very distinctive wearing colorful shukas (blanket like garments in a variety of bold colors) along with gorgeous beading around their necks and on their ears. The beading patterns that they wear are determined by age, so you can imagine how ornate some of the older women were.

The young girls are responsible for rising early (before their mothers) to collect firewood and water for their family. The older women are the creators of the traditional home (boma) which are only large enough for sleeping and cooking. We were told by the Chief’s son that the small goats are also welcome in the home. Inside the boma it was very dark with a small fire burning which kept the temperature to a balmy 100 degrees. We were immediately finding sweat rolling down our cheeks as he was explaining how the bomas protected them from the heat of the day.

The women and children work on beading most of the afternoon as a social time while the young men – ages 7 to 16 are taught to tend to the livestock and are found walking up to ten miles per day locating grazing areas for their animals. The wealth of the Maasai is determined by how many cows he has. The more cows, the more wives he can choose. When we finished our tour with the Chief’s son he mentioned that we might purchase some beaded jewelry from his wife – but if we purchased from one wife we must also purchase something from the other – otherwise he might be in trouble not providing for the other wife’s welfare. We left with some lovely bracelets – one from each wife.

Our final stop was at the Tarangire Tree Tops Tented Lodge – something that I have been looking forward to for years. This special camp is situated in the northern part of Tarangire National Park. From the moment you arrive you know you are in a magical spot. The large baobab tree which is in the center of the reception area is a sight to behold – running right through the roof, and measuring over 20 feet at the base. It is beautifully furnished with comfortable sitting areasand a large square fire pit in the center of the main building.

This camp has a water hole for animals right outside of the main building where every evening you can capture zebra, elephant, baboons by the hundreds, and waterbucks. Our dinners here were fine dining at it’s best – while sitting in a large ‘boma’ style area under a massive baobab tree, complete with white linen and crystal and a warm fire to add to the atmosphere.

On our final evening the staff made a special table with the words “karibu” (welcome) spelled out in leaves and seeds as we dined by the pool in front of the water hole. After finishing our meal we were to go on a night safari drive but before we left we were delighted with a serenade by all of the staff who presented us with a ‘farewell cake’ and danced and sang African songs around our table for several minutes. This lovely gesture by Africa Dream Safaris was certainly putting the ‘icing on the cake’ here! It brought tears to our eyes as we knew our Safari was coming to a close.

Our Safari experience was exceptional in every way. The overall agenda, the guide, Anglebert, and our seamless travel from airport to safari and back were all due to the careful attention of Africa Dream Safaris whom I believe are ‘specialists’ in making this a trip of a lifetime for anyone.

We met other Africa Dream Safari groups that we bonded with at several locations by an evening fire, at breakfast in the morning and on our Safari itself who had the same experience and were loving every moment.Thank you again for the ultimate travel experience, and thank you to Anglebert for sharing his love of this fabulous country. Kwaheri (goodbye).


Glenn & Debbie B.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Safari Dates: September 11, 2014 to September 20, 2014

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We Enjoyed Meeting Wonderful People, Workers And Travelers Alike.

We send thanks and congratulations for a job well done. The 8 day itinerary and the execution by your staff gave us an unbelievable experience and the knowledge that our money was well spent.

Faith met us at the Kilimanjaro airport with a smile on her face and a professional, calming manor. She got us to and through Arusha and managed a quick check in to the hotel – all this with a new baby due in 2 or 3 weeks.

Our driver-guide Ally met us as we got off the plane at Grumeti airstrip. The rest is history! Ally is certainly one of the smartest and personable men we have ever known. His love of the land and its creatures was admirable and contagious. His actions left no doubt he took his responsibilities as a teacher and a protector seriously and joyfully. He taught us patience is indeed a virtue. Animal’s actions are predictable – to the expert – we learned to relax and enjoy the fact that something grand was going to be seen. Many of our best pictures and videos are a direct result of Ally’s patience.

We enjoyed meeting wonderful people, workers and travelers alike. Many shared their joy of the visit to Africa and many shared their hope and expectation of a better life ahead. The wide spread use of the English language was a surprise to us. Parents sacrifice to send the children to school. They know education is a key to the better life.

The late May date was perfect – comfortable weather and good road conditions. Your equipment was good and Ally cleaned it every day. The camps were comfortable, clean and exciting. The food was very good – yes, very good.

Carl & Barbara M.
Avon, Indiana
Safari Dates: May 15, 2014 to May 22, 2014

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I Cannot Imagine A Trip Being Better Planned Or Executed

From beginning to end, we had a wonderful experience with Africa Dream Safaris. Dawn Anderson helped plan the ideal itinerary for us, which took into account our need to observe the Jewish Sabbath as well as to eat only fish and vegetarian foods. Things started off beautifully when Faith picked us up as we deplaned and whisked us through Immigration before taking us to the Arusha hotel.

Our first full day in Tanzania started off very rainy, but as soon as the plane cleared the Ngorongoro area, we were treated to a stunning view of the Serengeti plains. John, our driver guide, met us at the Grumeti airstrip. He proved to be an informative, interesting guide who was attuned to our interests.

I am an avid amateur photographer, and John helped position our vehicle for great photo opportunities for the wildlife, birds, and scenery. We also enjoyed talking with him about the Tanzanian people and culture, the animals and birds we saw, and a variety of wide-ranging topics. He is an exceptionally intelligent and nice young man, and we were glad to get to know him.

Our accommodations were all very comfortable, albeit quite different. We stayed at the Mbalageti Tented Lodge for our first two days in the Serengeti and enjoyed the spectacular views and delicious on-site meals. The wildebeest migration was underway, so we saw thousands of wildebeest as well as their zebra tag-alongs and the crocodiles waiting in the Grumeti River.

We then spent two nights at the Four Seasons Lodge with a luxurious room overlooking the watering hole. I’d planned to spend much of the Sabbath reading, but we were so intrigued by the behaviors of the wildlife visiting the watering hole (elephants, cape buffalo, antelope, zebras, giraffes) and interested in talking with the on-site naturalist in the Discovery Center that I didn’t even open the book I’d brought!

We then journeyed to the Seronera Sametu Camp and enjoyed the personal attention of the staff as well as delicious food. And there was great wildlife viewing there too: we saw lions and many elephant and heard hyenas and cape buffalo at night. During the time in the Central Serengeti, we saw cheetahs and leopards in addition to many lions, elephants, zebras, antelopes, hippos and warthogs. Owing to the time of the year, there were many baby animals to see.

Leaving the Central Serengeti, we journeyed to the Ngorongoro Crater which felt like the Garden of Eden with its stunning scenery and many birds and animals, especially with the yellow and purple wildflowers in bloom. We stayed at the Lion’s Paw Tented Camp which had beautiful views, great cuisine (especially the soup and the mushroom stroganoff), and superb location.

Because we were staying on the crater rim, we were able to be in the crater early in the morning and saw a pride of lions including three very playful cubs. By the time other tourists were down in the crater and we saw the lions again, they were all taking their catnaps! We also were able to see many different animals with their young (zebras, wildebeest, cape buffalo, elands, hyenas), courting birds, four of the rhinoceroses that live in the crater, and huge “retired” bull elephants.

We ended the trip at the Manor at Ngorogoro, one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, and a visit to Lake Manyara. While many people were dismissive of Lake Manyara, we enjoyed seeing the tropical rain forest and the different birds and animals there. In a classic example of it being a small world, we ran into a church mission group there and it turned out that the pastor leading the trip was the son of one of my father’s colleagues and his wife had been a college friend of my husband’s late first wife.

All in all, our safari was a spectacular experience and we are so glad we took the trip with Africa Dream Safaris. I cannot imagine a trip being better planned or executed, service more attentive, or a better guide than we had in John.

Now all that remains is to organize the 6,000 photographs that Lenn and I took into commemorative books so that we can share our experience more fully with our family and friends. Thank you!

Roberta and Lenn G.
Nashville, Tennessee
Safari Dates: May 13, 2014 to May 22, 2014

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We Watched Lions Hunting Wildebeest…Exhilarating!

My childhood friend for over 50 years and two more ladies were celebrating our 60’s on this safari. We truly feel we had the most amazing experience. We were amazed by the diversity and sheer number of animals, almost like being on Noah’s Arc.

As stated in many of the previous testimonials, ADS did a wonderful job planning our Safari, arrival and departure at the airport were flawless, lodges were excellent, plenty of food. Our guide Michael was PERFECT. Not only was he knowledgeable about the animals, trees, tribes, and birds he wanted to be sure we had the best position and lighting for photographs. He was fun, very respectful and always had the vehicle clean!

On the second day of Safari we had seen so much that we could have left then and been very happy with the experience; however, there was still much more to come. Before leaving on Safari I was not sure about taking photos of a kill – boy was I wrong. On the second day we were only a few feet away from a lion that took down a wildebeest, seeing this in person is something I shall never forget, very exhilarating.

I would definitely recommend ADS for your Safari. Hopefully my photos will tell more than my writing.

Cindy S.
Granite Bay, California
Safari Dates: May 4, 2014 to May 15, 2014

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This Adventure Topped Them All!

Those ten days of our ADS safari were the most exciting days of my life! That’s really saying something big! I have traveled to a number of countries during my 73 years, and I’ve seen things that really amazed me. This adventure topped them all!

For one thing, it is rare that we have an opportunity to just submerge into focusing exclusively on nature for ten days. From early in the morning until early evening, we could sit in that Land Cruiser and watch it all happening right before our eyes….wildebeests, zebras, cheetahs, warthogs, hippos, gazelles, giraffes, leopards, baboons, and so many more animals. Every view was breathtaking!

Patrick, our guide/driver, was a critical part of making this such an incredible trip for us! His experience (10 years with ADS) was evidenced every day. Not only could he spot animals very far away, he knew their behavior enough to know where to move the vehicle so that we could get the best photographs. He was constantly telling us about the animals’ behaviors, habits, and movements. It was like getting a crash coarse in the whole ecosystem in Tanzania. A totally fascinating experience!!

May was a perfect time to go, because it wasn’t crowded. ADS, with their expert advance planning, made this company the best choice! ADS is the only company I would ever use to go on safari in Tanzania!

Videography is my hobby, so I made a 34 minute video that I put online on Vimeo. You don’t need to be a member of Vimeo to see it, and there is no cost to see it. Just click the link below, and it will take you to my Vimeo page. (In the last two weeks, the video on Vimeo has had: 358 downloads and 219 plays in 12 countries.)

Mazie B.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Safari Dates: May 20, 2014 to May 30, 2014

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After A year In The Planning We Are Back With Many Memories

“How was it?” The one word that keeps coming up is “different”. So different from any other trip we have taken. As it should have been. When pressed, I guess some aspects were as I would have expected-but wouldn’t fully fathom until experienced.

1) The vastness of the Serengeti: When you learn it means “endless plain” in Massi, you agree with the appropriateness of the term. As you are viewing some of the vistas, it just overwhelms you with how it goes on and on.

2) The animals: I expected to see the usual ones-lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes; and hoped to see the rarer ones, rhinos, leopard, cheetah (and did). But it is impossible to imagine ahead of time the sheer numbers. Even though we missed the peak migration crossing the river since it occurred a couple of weeks earlier than usual, still being in the midst of a few hundred thousand wildebeests or 10 or 20 thousand zebras is difficult to comprehend ahead of time.

And yes, we have all seen elephants and lions before-but it is quite different when one saunters right in front of your front bumper and marks his territory by peeing on the vehicle 10 feet in front of yours.

3) The people: you will hear the people of Tanzania are friendly and they were. The one term we kept coming back to was “welcoming”. The staff at the lodges were so friendly – open – and willing to engage.

But the 2 critical persons needed for the trip exceeded what I could have expected. The ADS handbook describes the “meet and greet staff” who will escort you through the process of getting through immigration. Faith, our meet and greet staff person, certainly did that. What we didn’t foresee was how she became our on the ground quarterback (and friend). After taking us to the hotel she said “have a bite to eat, go crash and we will talk tomorrow.”

As a side note; you MUST have a very good reason not to spend an additional night in Arusha. The upfront extra day made all the difference in the world. The following morning she was there to ensure getting to the plane goes off without a hitch, just as she was there when we returned to make sure all was copacetic. At every step she ensured things were perfect.

Finally, our guide/driver/companion: As we set up the trip, my wife noted she really hoped to also see some birds. As expected Peter, our guide, was great finding/showing the animals. Especially persistent in trying to find some special ones. “There are some rare Colubus monkeys only in this place, let’s see if we can find them”. He did.

Or going in and around 20 small hillocks where a cheetah and her cub had been spotted the day before, until he finally found them. But back to the birds. I am not a “birder”, but those of you who are, or who live with one, know what I mean. Peter is a birder and he and my wife wonderfully bonded. Yes, he could find and point them out, but beyond that they shared the excitement in the different birds-“look Peter, see the color of his eyes”. Peter had both a book on the birds as well one on the animals of Tanzania available for us to reference.

The trip really was special, and yes so very different! ADS made sure that all of our needs were met big or small.

Asante Sana Sharon and ADS for a job well done!

Andrea and Bill S.
Marblehead, Massachusetts
Safari Dates: May 16, 2014 to May 27, 2014

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