Tag: Romantic

Romantic Safari Getaways

What could be more romantic, adventurous and memorable than an african safari getaway? Over the past 20 years, we’ve hosted more honeymoon and anniversary safaris than we can count. Each of these private romantic vacations was custom-tailored to ensure that each and every desire was fulfilled. This collection of safari stories and trip enhancements offers a glimpse into the infinite possibilities for creating the trip of a lifetime for two.

No Comments
Read Full Post

Our Safari Far Exceeded Our Wishes, Dreams and Hopes.

Our 65th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary just happened to fall within a year of each other. Because of that, we decided to take a look at our Bucket List, and that’s when traveling to Africa became a realistic dream for us. An acquaintance of ours recommended Africa Dream Safari, and from the very first contact with Dawn Anderson and the website, we realized we were on our way to a private, luxury safari in Tanzania for four.

As luck would have it, our relatives Tom and Danni, would be sharing the trip with us. The planning process ended up taking two years. Knowing we wanted February, which is a popular time, many of our desired accommodations had already been booked. Once we decided to take our time, everything fell into place perfectly.

We arrived in Kilimanjaro, and were met by Mathius and Timan, our ADS greeters. Our entrance, transport, and briefing was handled by them, which made the process very smooth and entirely stress free. Our ride to Arusha was informative, and Mathius presented all of us with gifts made locally in Tanzania.

The Mount Meru Resort was lovely, and our three nights there gave us time to adjust, rest, and settle into the ambiance of Tanzania. Our first and second days there were planned through ADS; a visit to the Tanzanite Factory Experience, The Cultural Center, and The Arusha National Park. Our greeters were with us the first day, and even stopped to purchase us some local fresh roasted corn to try. It was most unusual, and we decided it resembled a combination of boiled corn on the cob and popcorn. Thompson was our guide the second day. He provided an excellent tour of the park while finding many species of animals and birds, and a beautiful, restful overlook for our lunch. It served as an exemplary introduction to our safari.

ADS planned one short flight from Arusha to Seranera in the Serengeti National Park, where we met our guide Francis, and we were then his passengers for the next ten days. Upon realizing the vastness of the Serengeti, there were some metaphoric comparisons we made between the ocean and the plains. It was as if we were on a boat, bumping along, the dust being our wake, the horizon in the distance encircling us.

Our sightings were numerous, and consistently different, yet singly paramount. Lionesses with cubs, lions and lionesses in new relationships, cheetahs with cubs, a cheetah killing a gazelle, and elephant and giraffe families all occurred daily. Herds of roaming buffalo always precipitated another verse of “Home on the Range.” Hippos meandering at a close proximity, while verbally and physically playing in the water all day long, was surely always entertaining and amazing.

At the Ngorongora Crater, it was very different from the Serengeti. After descending into the crater, we spotted many of the same animals in small numbers, comparatively. It was a true melting pot where the animals and birds lived for life, protected. We found it a wonder there weren’t more there. The wildlife was phenomenal throughout the trip, and we ended up locating over 80 species of birds. We had purchased the book, Wildlife of East Africa, a suggestion from ADS, which provided us with pictures, descriptions, and an accounting of what we came upon.

The zebra and wildebeest migrations added an intense and overwhelming magic to our safari, and is truly impossible to articulate. The Serengeti could absolutely be the 8th Wonder of the World. Fortunately, we experienced many of them, and all were unique in their own way. It was the birthing time for both species, and there were abundant babies around. Many wildebeest’s births took place, and we witnessed the natural beauty of them.

Gazelle’s, both Grant’s and Thompson’s, jumped and scooted everywhere along with warthogs, and hyaenas, and ostrich. Both rhinos and leopards were spotted, but in lesser numbers. Regardless of where we were, at any given time, we were surrounded by peacefulness, and quiet, unless the animals were communicating.

The Four Seasons Lodge, Lake Masek, Kusini, and Lemala were where we stayed during the progression of our safari. They were all different, and inviting in their own ways. Ensuite, private bathrooms, and hot and cold running water were priorities for us, and ADS made it happen.

Francis made our safari the trip of a lifetime. His gentle nature, humor, and knowledge were consistent throughout. He often found sightings and alerted other guides via 2-way radio. He allowed us to “check the tires,” as often as necessary, kept our box lunches safe and sound, provided snacks, drinks, wipes, and all the comforts we needed daily. Our Land Cruiser was very comfortable and had binoculars for each passenger. The cruiser seated 8, and only having 5 gave us plenty of room to move around, pop through the roof, and view without feeling crowded.

Francis joined us for some dinners, during which we learned more about life in Tanzania. He shared some of his personal and fascinating life with us, including much of his country’s history, and the politics of it all. The people of Tanzania are generally very congenial and accepting of their lives. With Francis’ guidance, we came to realize and understand that the animals rule the Serengeti, and are respected by all. Survival of the fittest is exemplified, and the eco-system is balanced. The safari goers are in the zoo cruiser, while the wildlife roam freely in their territory. Poachers remain a threat, but the government appears to be putting more in place to control them.

We bid farewell to Francis reluctantly, and returned to Arusha and Mount Meru Resort for a couple of days before departing. It provided a well embraced debriefing for us to absorb where we had been and what we had seen. Our safari was remarkable in every way, and in so many additional ways that are too innumerable to mention. It far exceeded our wishes, dreams, and hopes, and the memories will be with us forever. Viewing Kilimanjaro as we departed was a sight, glowing through the clouds that gave us yet another chill.

Thank you to ADS, Dawn, Cathy King, and Francis, for a dream that came true.

Jamie and Sandy
Bonita Springs, Florida
Safari Dates: February 12, 2014 to February 20, 2014

No Comments
Read Full Post

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

When Rob and I got married ten years ago we agreed that we would go to Africa for our 10th anniversary. For many years we talked and dreamed and two years ago we got serious and started searching for a company to supply us with our anniversary trip. When we first saw the ADS website we thought a private safari would way too expensive for us but, on a whim, I inquired anyway. Dawn Anderson replied almost immediately with an incredibly impressive brochure and a price that was so close to the “budget” group safaris that we were sold.

As the days flew by we kept saying “this time next year we’ll be in Africa” . . . “this time in six months we’ll be in Africa” . . . We were so excited and kept reading the ADS newsletters but we didn’t dare to hope that our trip would be so wonderful. But then we found ourselves saying “this time next week we’ll be in Africa” . . . and suddenly we were there!

From the ADS agent who met us at the airport, to the gentlemen who took us to our hotel that night, to the help at the regional airport, to our amazing and incredibly knowledgable guide, Patrick every single detail was taken care of. We literally didn’t have to think or worry about anything but watching for animals and wondering what incredible food waited for us in those yummy lunch boxes or at the lodge that night. (We are both engineers and are sticklers about details and about time so for us not to worry about these things is saying a lot!)

In our wistful thinking leading up to the trip we thought we might see a few animals but they would be at a long distance. So I bought my husband a very fancy camera for his birthday earlier in the year with a very powerful zoom lens. Imagine our excitement when we could almost reach out and touch these beautiful creatures. Other than a very shy leopard and a somewhat elusive rhino at the crater we scarcely had to use our zoom! What a thrill to have a male lion walk right up to your truck and snarl at you because you were in the shade of “his” bush! How incredible to see the wildebeast and zebra that blackened the plains they were so numerous!

Nothing in our dreams included elephants and their babies that would walk alongside your truck and treat you to a show while they shot water and dust over their backs! And the hippos! Who knew we’d be up close and personal with hippos while they got into a tiff and their voices echoed down the valley created by the Mara river? We had no clue that zebras “bark” or that hyenas are named “laughing hyenas” for a very good reason! And that was just during the day! During the nights we were treated with visits from elephants, giraffes, elands and lions – right outside (or under in the case of the lions) our room!

Our guide, Patrick, knew the name of every bird and every creature. I took notes on it all in my journal and Patrick was always patient for me – not driving off until he had located the animal in his guidebook so I could spell it correctly. Patrick told us about the “big five” (elephant, lion, cape buffalo, rhino and leopard) and then he made it his mission to make sure we saw all five – which we did! We weren’t sure if Patrick was a kindred spirit or if he could read our minds but he always was taking us places and showing us things that we wanted to see without us saying a word.

The lodges were wonderful and the people as friendly as any I’ve experienced in my travels around the world. We loved the Maasai people and enjoyed talking with them both in their traditional bomas as well as at the lodges where they worked. The lodge managers were great people with interesting stories and were constantly surprising us with their hospitality.

Our experience with ADS has been nothing but spectacular and, as the title says, it was beyond our wildest dreams of how great a safari can be. While we were out and about we saw some of the other big group safari companies with people crammed into vehicles following each other in a line like the animals we saw. We were so pleased we were with with a company that allowed us the freedom to be where we wanted and do what we wanted. Thank you ADS!!!!! Our 10th anniversary was more special than we could have ever imagined!

Robert and Dawn A.
Avon, Indiana
Safari Dates: October 18, 2013 to October 28, 2013

1 Comment
Read Full Post

My Honeymoon Safari To Tanzania

We have to start out saying what an amazing time we had! We’ve traveled around the world and our safari was, by far, the best trip we have ever been on!

We booked our safari in the spring of 2012 (for travel in April/May 2013)  through Sharon at the U.S. office for our honeymoon. Sharon was so helpful from the get-go, explaining the difference in lodge and camping types and assisting us in picking the dates, type, and duration that was best for us.

We arrived through London to Nairobi in Mount Kilimanjaro and were immediately welcomed by our ADS representative. We sped through customs and were quickly in a van on our way to the airstrip in Arusha. Within the afternoon, we were on a plane on our way to the Central Serengeti airstrip to meet our guide Francis. Right away, we knew Francis would be an amazing guide as he had a picnic lunch waiting for us in the car (and we were starving!).

The first day was absolutely breathtaking. The landscapes were beyond description, the savannahs were endless, and the sky was a cloudless, bright blue. Right out of the gate, we were amazed by the sheer number and volume of animals. We obviously knew we’d see lots of animals, but we were shocked that we’d leave our hotel and run into a lone hippopotamus, or a family of giraffes.

To say that each day was as good as the last would be inappropriate. Everyday seemed to bring something completely new and exciting that all of us, including Francis, didn’t expect. On day 2, we saw a leopard in a tree with a half-eaten gazelle. And according to everyone we excitedly told a leopard was a very rare sight indeed!

On day 3, while out on a run near the Gol Kopjes, we came across two black main lion brothers patrolling their area. We were able to be witness to the lions roaring as they marked their territory. It was an amazing, and awe-inspiring sight.

Day 5 started out as a slow day, but near the mid-afternoon, we happened across a honey badger! Francis started excitedly yelling, “honey badger! Honey badger!” as he swerved to follow it around and around. It circled frantically, darting every which way trying to shake us as we finally caught sight of it from about 10 feet away. It was only after it went underground that we understood how rare a honey badger sighting is – in his 8 years leading safaris, Francis had only seen a honey badger once before, and that was only 3 years earlier. We were ecstatic!

On day 7, as we were heading back to Lake Masek Lodge, we happened across an elephant blocking the road as he scratched his behind on a tree. We had to off road to pass the elephant, but we were soon confronted with three elephants (an adult and two juveniles) playing and splashing in a large watering hole about 300 feet away. We watched as all three elephants played in the water – swimming around, splashing each other, and spraying water every which way. It was heartwarming to see them having such a grand old time.

On day 8, we began the morning following two cheetahs as they appeared to be stalking prey. To avoid freaking them out, we followed at a safe distance for almost two hours. We were almost despairing two hours later, thinking maybe we were wrong. When suddenly, one of the males began trotting, then jogging, then running as we sighted a baby wildebeest in the distance it had seen from miles away. In awe, we watched as the lead cheetah got up to full speed, grabbed hold of the wildebeest and took it down. As we drove closer, one cheetah had hold of the neck and was slowly suffocating the prey, while the other had his jaws clenched tightly around the hind quarters. Slowly, the animal died and the two cheetahs ate their way through most of it.

We spent our last two days in the bush in the Ngorongoro Crater – which was amazing in so many ways. It truly is a microcosm of the Serengeti. The views, from the morning fog to the dense afternoon cluster of animals were amazing. We truly appreciated the concentration of animals after spending so many days in the Serengeti and understanding how truly inspiring it was.

In addition to all of the nature beauty, we also enjoyed every lodge/camp we stayed at. The people were so beyond nice, helpful, and celebratory of our big event! We frequently came home from game drives to bottles of champagne, special seating for dinner, or romantic decorations.

Our trip was amazing, and every day truly was different and phenomenal in so many ways. Every day we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. We can’t wait to go back in 5-10 years and see everything we did see again as well as several new sights!

Stacey and Brian B.
Safari Dates: April 30, 2013 to May 12, 2013
New York, New York

Read Full Post

My Husband Was Hesitant But We Made A Believer Of Him The First Day

Bob and I are happy to tell anyone and everyone about our trip. As you know it was my dream trip and you and the rest of your team made it all come true. From the very first day each place we stayed was better than the last.

The tent camping was everything I had hoped and more! I woke one night and heard an elephant trumpeting so got up and unzipped the tent and stepped out onto our porch and there was an elephant standing there eating the tree in the yard not 6 feet away!! Course I quickly stepped back into the tent and zipped back up!!

I kept a journal of all the animals we saw each day and some days I have 20 or more different ones. The big three are the rhino, the cheetah and the leopard and our guide told us many people do not get to see them as they are endangered and few in the wild but we got to see all of them with more than one sighting of each. We were also fortunate enough to be in the right spot at the right time and saw the start of the great migration.

What you see on discovery channel with all the sounds and sights does not begin to compare with being right there in the middle of a million or more wildebeest and zebras running full tilt onto the plains. Our guide was wonderful and knew all the names of animals, birds and plants and had many books so I could see and read about them. I could go on and on and if anyone would like to talk to me about it we would be glad to help. As you know Bob was very hesitant to take this trip but we made a believer of him the very first day and he was so happy we went!

Sue and Bob S.
Birmingham, Alabama
Safari Dates: May 17, 2013 to May 27, 2013

No Comments
Read Full Post

Our 40th Wedding Anniversary in Tanzania

Dave and I would like to thank you for organizing our trip of a lfetime to help us celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary. After more than a year of planning and reading the ADS newsletter and testimonials our expectations were high but thanks to you Dawn, ADS and Raphael Mollel they were highly exceeded. The Maasai necklace and warrior club were a pleasant surprise and one that we were honored to receive and will treasure always. The cake at the Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge and Plantation Lodge was very much appreciated and a special thank you for the upgrade to the Eucalyptus Suite at the Plantation Lodge.

We throughly enjoyed all of our accommodations but the private luxury camp at Naabi Hill was outstanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The staff was so attentive, friendly and welcoming. The meals were fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can’t believe the freshness and the variety that was prepared in the bush. David had his dream come true on the first night there. We heard the lions roar about 20 times and were told that there were 3 of them conversing about 100 yards away. Talk about your heart beating.

Visiting in the green season was incredible so lush and the animals were active. Being in the middle of the Great Migration was an experience we will never forget. We did have a few showers every day but nothing to spoil our safari. Saw 92 lions 2 leopards (one up close and personal) and 18 cheetahs and of course all of the beautiful birds hippos, giraffes, grazers and monkies.

The best experience was while we were in Ndutu. Raphael came across a mother cheetah and 3 cubs. They were chasing each other around a tree and then stopped and came toward us. OMG next thing one jumped on our hood then two were on our back tire and the fourth on the hood. This was the icing on the cake and my dreams came true. We were the only vehicle for about 20 minutes so we had them all to ourselves. I cannot say enough about Raphael. We hit it off the minute he met us at the airstrip. He was always friendly, courteous, professional and attentive to our expectations, needs and desires to see the animals. A skillful driver who always maneuvered us to the best position in viewing the animals. Most of the time we didn’t need to use our zoom. His eyesight was phenomenal in spotting the animals. Also his knowledge of the Serengeti, Crater, floral, fauna and Maasai was superior. ADS should be proud to have him as an employee and we highly recommend him as a driver/guide. We throughly enjoyed our hot air balloon ride. What a thrill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, better end as I can go on and on and on. We would recommend Africa Dream Safaris to anyone. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this dream come true.

Margaret and Dave F.
Westland, Michigan
Safari Dates: April 4, 2013 to April 14, 2013

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Going Out On A Limb

Well, I hope you got decent reports on us as guests, because we sure had wonderful hosts! Francis is just a fantastic guide, driver and all-around wonderful person– we loved him! And boy, is he a great driver– despite the rains, he always got us back to the lodges/tents safely. The ADS meet and greet guys in Arusha were great, too, as was Jonas. Thank you for the Maasai club and necklace– so special and thoughtful– very appropriate for our 25th anniversary!

Asante sana!

Victoria Russell and Family
Los Angeles, California
December 24, 2012 to January 5, 2013

Read Full Post

We Left Our Hearts In Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post

The Perfect Way To Celebrate Our 45th Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post

Witnessing the Great Migration

Thank you, thank you, thank you for not only living up to all the testimonials, but for going above and beyond our expectations. You turned our dream “trip of a lifetime” into a reality. We have been home for a month and have yet to come down from the natural high we’ve been on since our ADS safari. At the risk of sounding like all who have gone before, here is our recap of our ADS experience.

We began planning our trip over a year ago. After much research of Africa safari tour companies, National Geographic’s recommendation led us to Africa Dream Safaris. We checked out the website and contacted ADS. Dawn Anderson was the warm and friendly voice at the other end of the telephone who was also extremely knowledgeable in answering our many questions. Everything that ADS had to offer was just what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a private safari for just the two of us as we would be celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary on August 3rd. We also knew that witnessing the Great Migration was a hope and a dream for us. We gave Dawn our dates for a 12-day safari and she put together the most perfect itinerary that would put us in the right place at the right time for both the migration and our anniversary.

We were now living and breathing Africa. The wealth of information provided to us from ADS was invaluable as we read through the ADS Handbook from cover to cover and checked the “What To Bring on Safari” list once, twice and over again. No question was left unanswered, including Dawn’s list for “What To Put In Your Day Pack”. The planning and anticipation became part of the fun as Dawn’s unending help and guidance began to ease my “trip”adation.

Finally, July 26, 2012 arrived and it was time to pack all of our khaki clothes into our khaki carry-on bags. We flew Delta to Amsterdam and stayed overnight at an airport hotel just to get a good night’s sleep. The next morning we boarded the KLM flight to the JRO Airport in Arusha. Upon our arrival Saturday, July 28th, there stood our ADS representatives, a welcome sight from all the chaos. They whisked us through visa and immigration, we collected our additional two checked bags, filled with donations of school and medical supplies, and were out the door while everyone else stood on long lines.

We were met by another ADS representative upon arrival at the Mt. Meru Resort. So far, ADS was proving to be a perfectly orchestrated symphony of caring people. We were given a welcome package, a fully loaded cell phone for emergencies and a briefing for the next day’s schedule, which was to include a tour of the St. Jude’s School and the Cultural Heritage Center in Arusha. Our driver/guide, Ali or Ollie (not sure of spelling), picked us up on Sunday morning. We toured the school with a lovely young lady named Tiffany and were very impressed with the work they are doing. Although no students were present, we received a, much appreciated, e-mail photo of students with the school supplies we donated and a “thank you”.

The Mt. Meru Resort was ideal for the “R & R” we needed after traveling through so many time zones. On Monday morning Ali/Ollie delivered us to the Arusha Airstrip for our flight to the Northern Serengeti. He was really terrific and waited with us until we were on board and taking off. As we neared the Kogatende Airstrip to land, this was to be the moment of truth.

Would the Wildebeest Migration be there? It was, as if “on cue”…there they were below us, looking like a trail of thousands of ants running in the same direction towards the Mara River. Could our timing have been better?

It was perfect! Francis, our driver/guide and soon to be a good friend, met us upon landing. He loaded our bags into the vehicle and we headed toward the Mara River. There, in answer to our hopes and dreams, were the Wildebeests, by the thousands, covering the landscape and following their leaders down the rocky embankment into the swirling waters. Some of them jumped, first with hesitation, holding up the line, while others jumped in with wild abandonment. We were grateful that there were no crocodiles.

They made it to the other side as we watched with a lump in our throats and tears in our eyes. What an incredible sight and sound. It was magnificent and from that point on, the magnificence never stopped.

Francis was not only a wonderful driver navigating the bumpy roads and off-roads for hours on end, but he was amazing knowing just how to get us to the right place at the right time and positioning the vehicle for the best photo shot. He was happy to share his knowledge of Tanzania, it’s wildlife and it’s terrain with good nature and always a smile. He never tired of our many questions, nor of the game drives that took us far and wide. He delighted in our photos and my constant requests to wait as I took “Just one more”. He kept us well-fed and well-hydrated with plentiful picnic breakfasts, lunches and a cooler full of bottled water. He always managed to find us a decent restroom so we never had to “check the tires”.

We saw the “Big Five”, the “Serengeti Seven”, the “Migration Collection” and some of the “Rare, Bizarre and Quirky”. We lunched as a pride of lions snoozed under a tree. We had a picnic breakfast early one morning at the kopjes and encountered two lionesses and their four cubs. We observed and photographed them for over an hour. We came within 50 feet of a leopard in a tree and were mesmerized as it came down from the tree and walked in front of us.

A Cheetah demonstrated her stealth and speed in capturing a Thompson Gazelle to feed her two cubs. We delighted at the sight of a one week old baby Elephant with her elders. We could barely tear ourselves away from the rollicking of the baboons and vervet monkeys. Seeing Giraffes was always a “high” and the Zebras were a favorite. We never tired of or took for granted any sighting. It was non-stop adventure and awe.

Our itinerary took us from the remote Northern Serengeti to the Central Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater to Lake Manyara and Tarangire. Most of the time we were out all day with early morning wake up calls of “Jambo” and a tray of coffee and cookies delivered to our tent by the Maasai who escorted us to dinner the night before. We enjoyed a glimpse into the life of a Maasai with a tour of one of their villages in the Loliondo Region of the Northern Serengeti.

They sang and danced for us and we bought some of their beautiful craftwork for gifts and souvenirs. With Dawn’s expert help, we experienced a wonderful variety of accommodations and enjoyed the company of other travelers during sundowners and dinners in the evening. The two Lemala Tented Camps, one at the Mara River and the other at the Ngorongoro Crater were ideally located and made a great “Out of Africa” adventure.

Buffalo Springs Tented Lodge was a wonderful choice located in the Northern Serengeti high on the hills of Loliondo with stunning views of the valley below. The warm and friendly staff welcomed us with a song and a dance. Upon arrival, at each accommodation, we were greeted with fresh scented, ice cold towels and glasses of ice cold mango juice, which was delightful after a dusty, yet exhilarating, day.

The Bilila Lodge was pure luxury right in the middle of the Central Serengeti. Our beautiful, luxurious suite looked out on a natural watering hole where Zebra, Eland and Baboon, just to name a few, gathered to drink.

This was the perfect setting for celebrating our anniversary. Francis joined us for dinner that night and, with ADS, commemorated our anniversary with a cake and a song delivered by the entire restaurant staff. Gifts from ADS, crafted by the Maasai, were a complete surprise and very much appreciated. Thank you, ADS! Plantation Lodge, a coffee plantation, was
casual elegance with green lush grounds located between the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire. We had a beautiful suite and the service was impeccable.

From this location we were able to tour the FAME Clinic and their new hospital. We met and dined with Dr. Frank Artress and his lovely wife, Susan. Their hard work and commitment to the people of Tanzania is wonderful and inspiring. We gave them the medical donations we had brought and hope to be able to do more in the future.

Our last two night’s accommodation was at Swala Tented Lodge, which we highly recommend as the best place to end a safari. It was located in a remote corner of Tarengire National Park. Luxury-in-a-tent and every detail perfectly thought out defines Swala Tented Lodge. The staff were absolutely wonderful and extremely attentive in making us feel most welcome. We even had lions roaring right outside our tent at night to enhance this perfect ambiance in the bush.

So many times during our safari it was confirmed to us that choosing ADS was the right decision, especially when we passed another vehicle with eight people packed inside. When the day came to return to Arusha for our flight home, we discovered that KLM had changed our seating and separated us by 44 rows.

Juliet, at ADS Tanzania Headquarters, came to our rescue and KLM returned us to our original seats together. Thank you, Juliet! When it was time to board our flight we looked back and waved good-bye to Francis, waiting to make sure we were ok. He had become our friend and now, sadly, we had to leave. Thank you, Francis! My husband and I have vowed to come back to this magical place with it’s warm, friendly people, magnificent plains lush with animal life and nature at it’s best. It gets into your soul and becomes a part of you. Thank you, Dawn Anderson! Thank you, ADS and the entire staff for the wonderful, incredible safari experience that will forever be our “trip of a lifetime”.


Ronnie and Martin Roitman
Monarch Beach, California
August 2012

Read Full Post

A Magical Symphony for the Senses

Lisa and I have been back for four days now and we still cannot stop talking about how incredible our safari to Tanzania was. When combined with ADS’ attention to detail, the people, parks, conservation areas, animals, and accommodations of Tanzania really became a magical symphony for the senses. I could easily copy and paste from almost any other travelogue or testimonial because based on our experience, everything said by others is undoubtedly true and bears repeating. Here are some key highlights from our trip …

Day 1 – We landed in Tanzania where a visa expert had us processed in minutes while hundreds of others floundered around the passport control line. The local ADS crew was standing by with our bags and gave us a warm welcome, informative ride to the swank Mt. Meru Hotel in Arusha, a safari briefing and a lovely welcome gift in the form of a Masai beaded -bracelet which Lisa wore every day of the trip. It became immediately obvious to us that it would be unnecessary to think or worry about a single detail during our trip as everything was taken care of for us, including check-in.

Day 2 – After a relaxing evening, we spent an extra day in Arusha to recover from jet lag. The ADS team took us on a leisurely afternoon tour of the city which was very informative and interesting. We returned to the hotel for some poolside lounging. That evening, a private dining area was set up for us outside under a pergola and a special meal was prepared so we could celebrate Lisa’s birthday and our anniversary – the reasons for our trip. This was one of the many unexpected and thoughtful touches provided by the ADS team throughout our Tanzanian adventure.

Day 3 – We took an early flight into the bush as it was finally safari time!! We had one stop for a passenger pick-up at Lobo airstrip where we were joined by two crying women who were ending their trip. Lisa and I thought they were nuts until about day 5 when we both realized we too might have the same reaction on our way home. On final approach to Grumeti airport, we were glued to the window of the aircraft as a huge zoo emerged below us. After landing, we were greeted immediately by the highlight of our trip – our guide.

This man proved to be one of the warmest, funniest, and most knowledgeable people we have ever met. Within 15 minutes of being out in the bush, he spotted a lion that we watched from 5 feet away! We literally had chills because THIS is why we came to Africa – to experience up-close all the wildlife and natural beauty. In the first half of the day, we snapped over 200 photos of lions, zebra, giraffe, topi, eland, buffalo, elephant and ostrich.

We regained our composure at lunch on some rocks overlooking a vast plain where were were provided an introduction to the Serengeti and a detailed description of what we could expect on our safari. We continued our game drive all the way back to the Soroi lodge, where just before sundown we stumbled upon a billion (okay, maybe just a few thousand) wildebeest in migration running across the road in front of us. Awesome!! The Soroi was a magnificent property and our room was pure colonial luxury. We had an amazing dinner including a surprise birthday cake for Lisa and were then off to bed for an early game drive.

Day 4 – We awoke for a 6:30 breakfast and then were off to the bush. Our second day provided extremely diverse wildlife viewing again including hippos, monkeys, baboons, crocodiles, turtles, impala, gazelle, lizards and oh yes, the wildebeest. We marveled at how the landscape is ever-changing and always awe inspiring, from the lush tree-packed areas around the rivers, to the vast plains, to the sporadic rocky outcroppings that emerge – the countryside is simply breath taking. We went back to the lodge by 4 p.m. so we could enjoy our spectacular balcony view, outdoor shower, beautiful sunset, and another great dinner.

Day 5 – After a 6:00 am wake-up call and breakfast, we game drove our way to the central Serengeti. Not long into our day, we had a close encounter with a huge elephant. Noticing an unusually large amount of droppings on the road, our guide had a hunch that more elephants were looming, so we drove a few more minutes and – sure enough – stumbled upon a herd of 40+ elephants! We spent an hour just watching them – it was an absolute joy to watch these creatures unencumbered by artificial boundaries.

We continued through areas of dense game which included zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and giraffe, then stopped for lunch at the Serengeti Visitor Center and took an informative walking tour. In the afternoon, we found ourselves driving among the kopjes gawking at lions of every size and shape. The day ended with our guide spotting a cheetah from at least a ½ mile away (we still have no idea how he spots these creatures). After taking a few dozen photos we looked 5 yards to the right and found a cheetah cub sitting in a rut below the grass line. That was good for about another 50 photos!

We arrived at our private camp just before sunset and were greeted by a friendly staff, warm towel and cold drink. The decision to camp was not one we made lightly as this usually isn’t our speed. Suffice to say, we would do it again in a heartbeat as it was one of the highlights of the trip and provided the most amazing views of the sunset and night sky. Dinner was followed by a camp-fire chat and a visit from a “friendly” hyena that was eventually chased away. We drifted into sleep accompanied by the sounds of the “friendly” hyena and tons of other game in the area.

Day 6 – We had a 5:30 breakfast in the Serengeti and headed out on another “fishing” adventure. In the morning we spotted a hyena trailing a few lions, a pair of cheetah unsuccessfully stalking prey, and two lions mating – now that was quite a show! Shortly after we spotted another lion stalking a group of zebra drinking by the river. Our guide instinctively knew this would result in a kill, so he drove us a little distance away so we could have prime viewing of the entire event unfolding. That was by far the most exhilarating show of the trip!

We went back to the camp for a delicious lunch and siesta, and then headed back out in the afternoon to watch a pride of lions frolicking and a leopard return to the impala it had stashed in a tree – mission accomplished. We had another great dinner at the camp with warm birthday wishes and another cake for Lisa! We were briefly awakened at 2 a.m. when a zebra stampede moved through the camp, but quickly fell back asleep to the softer sounds of night in Serengeti.

Day 7 – We woke up very refreshed and compared notes about the stampede and accompanying cacophony. We thanked the crew for a great stay and headed back out to game dive our way to the Bilila Lodge. We checked on our leopard friend again before we left the neighborhood and spent some time with the pride of lions from the day before. We drove us past some ancient Masai cave paintings and we had a great lunch on a large outcropping where there was a musical rock – the “gong rock” – that was totally fun to play.

Our guide wisely thought we would enjoy spending a little more time at the lodge after camping in the Serengeti, so we arrived at Bilila around 2:30 – he was right. Bilila is a beautiful full-service property with amazing views, great food and delicious drinks.

Day 8 –We decided to sleep in since we were only staying one night, and began our leisurely drive towards Ngorongoro Crater at 8:30 am. We saw the usual diverse array of wildlife including a huge python that we spotted off the road. It is really true what everyone says – there is always something new and unexpected to see in the Serengeti. We stopped for lunch at the Serengeti Park exit and continued down to Oldupai Gorge. We visited the museum and listened to a presentation. It was amazing to witness this cradle of humanity first-hand.

After the requisite photo ops, we continued towards the Crater. On the way we delighted in the change of landscape and in the sightings of Masai villages as we climbed to the top of the Crater. Crater Lodge was beyond amazing and to describe it is to short change it. The staff was super professional and we had our own butler. Our room was magnificent and bigger than most apartments in Chicago, complete with a wood burning stove to combat the chill from the altitude. Champagne greeted us upon arrival and dinner was served to us in our room with rose petals scattered all around. This was a very nice end to a long day’s drive from the central Serengeti.

Day 9 – We were up at 5:30 am, grabbed some coffee and claimed bragging rights as we were first to enter the Crater that day. The view from above the Crater is matched only by the spectacular diversity of wildlife that unfolds from within. The terrain changes are just as diverse. We had an amazing breakfast overlooking a hippo pool and were treated to the last of the big 5 – an awesome close encounter with a black rhino that crossed directly in front of our vehicle. Of course, our guide had spotted two rhino earlier (with his unaided eyes) which were literally black specs at over a thousand yards, but proved to have the characteristic horns when viewed through binoculars.

We watched some lions frolicking around and caught sight of another rhino as we were headed to our lunch picnic spot – awesome! On our final rest stop within the Crater, a very precocious monkey jumped into our vehicle and stole an apple because we inadvertently left the cooler opened – oops! We headed back to lodge for some afternoon tea and were pleasantly surprised that a hot bubble bath had been drawn – adorned with rose petals! We had another delicious dinner – this time in the opulent dining room next to the fireplace – followed by another tasty cake and cheerful birthday song! We were off to bed for an early drive to Lake Manyara where we would fly out to Faru Faru for a few days to end the safari.

Days 10-12 – After some coffee and saying goodbye to our excellent butler and the staff, we took a slow drive down the fog enshrouded mountain road – and, of course, came across a leopard! We arrived at Manyara airport and exchanged goodbyes and well wishes with our guide. Though we were sad to be parting with our new friend, we felt confident we would see him again as we already were talking about our next trip to Tanzania.

Our plane arrived on-time and we were shuttled off to Sasakwa airstrip for the private Grumeti Reserve. We were met there by a friendly member of the Faru Faru staff who shuttled us to a resort that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. I’ll simply say that Sharon from ADS was right – this was the perfect way to end a safari, completely immersed in unpretentious luxury with a staff that was exceptional. We spent three incredible days here, experienced amazing cuisine, met interesting people, went on exciting game drives – a cheetah hunt and kill comes to mind – and enjoyed incredible sunsets. We were totally rested and relaxed when it came time to head home.

Day 13 – It was now our turn to get teary eyed as we were about to head home. We had a beautiful flight back to Arusha and could appreciate the Serengeti even more now that we knew what was contained in the landscape beneath us. Once again the ADS staff was there on arrival, shuttled us to the Cultural Heritage Center for some souvenir shopping, got us situated at Mt. Meru Hotel for lunch and made sure we got back to Kilimanjaro in a timely manner for the trip home. We spent the next 30 hours reflecting on our incredible trip and how there was literally nothing we would have done differently.

People who know us have heard us say that the birth of our daughter is the first thing in life that has truly exceeded our expectations. The safari that ADS arranged for Lisa and me is the second. We both agree that this was by far the best trip we have ever taken. We cannot wait to do this again with our daughter. Thanks again Sharon and the rest of the ADS Team!

Michael and Lisa Boffa
Chicago, Illinois
June 2012


1 Comment
Read Full Post

Grateful to See So Much . . .

Before going to Africa through Africa Dream Safaris, we read over and over from testimonials how wonderful everyone’s experiences had been. It just seemed to be too good to be true. But we are now believers! We are thankful to have had the opportunity to go to Africa and experience the sights and sounds of such a beautiful and pristine place. From the moment we met David, our guide, in the Seronera Valley, we knew we were in for a treat. David had an incredible knowledge of the animals and geography, keen eyes and a sense of where the game was.

People ask, what was your favorite animal or experience? We enjoyed it all! The animals were amazing, but so was the scenery. The Serengeti Plains stretch in front of you and seem to just go on forever. It was just breath taking! Our favorite sightings were of three black rhinos, a mother cheetah and her cubs, and the endless troops of goofy baboons! We could sit for hours watching the hippos at the Retina Pool or the multiple age pride of lions playing under a shade tree. The elephants were fascinating to watch, from the grace of the adults to the little ones just learning to forage and eat.

The sheer magnitude of animals of the Great Migration in the Hidden Valley was magnificent! We drove for 2 hours in a seemingly endless sea of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and birds!

In the Ngorongoro Crater, we listened as hyenas called to one another – come here!!! Building from just three to eleven, they banded together to work through the wildebeest and zebras in hopes of an evening meal. Fascinating!

We must also mention the peace and tranquility that we enjoyed. Yes, we were up and out most mornings by 6:00 a.m. and stayed out on game drives until after 6:00 p.m. each day, but we found so much joy in watching the animals coexist with each other in the quiet beauty of the bush.

If you by chance stay at the Seronera Sametu Camp, you will certainly enjoy being cared for by Jonas and his staff. “Good Morning”, will be his gentle wakeup call right outside your tent while bringing you hot coffee and tea. His personal attention to our needs was such a treat and made this camp a truly special place!

On our last night at the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge we were having a quiet dinner when we noticed a commotion coming from the kitchen area. The staff were parading and singing and we assumed someone was having an anniversary or birthday. As the marchers came closer we began to get the feeling that we we the intended recipients of their good cheer! Turns out that David had treated us to a farewell dessert cake! We enjoyed a portion and sent the remainder to the buffet. It was a nice gesture and expression of thoughtfulness on his part!

Also, I just wanted to touch on the airport check in at JRO. It was excellent. We entered the arrival area and met our host who tended to our every need. She even had the blue cards completed and we were quickly checked through immigration and customs. I did feel somewhat guilty being whisked to the front of the line and being processed so quickly. Then the meet and greet staff welcomed us and took us from there to Arusha in short order. A very nice way to end a long day of travel!

Finally, a note of appreciation to both you and Beverley. You two planned a spectacular trip and I wouldn’t have changed a thing! The whole trip just seemed to fit so nicely together. Starting in the tent camp with it’s small, intimate setting and progressing south through the Serengeti and on to more luxurious accommodations of the Ndutu and Ngorongoro Lodges, it was just perfect! We appreciate your knowledge and expertise and your responding to all the little detailed questions that we had!

All the best to you and everyone at ADS and again and thank you for your part in our incredible trip!

Harry and Beveryl Crosby
Staunton, Virginia
January 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post

Truly a Trip of a Lifetime

Our trip to Tanzania in October 2011 was truly a trip of a lifetime. I had wanted to go on an African safari for a very long time and once we decided to go in celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary, I was baffled as to how to put the trip together. Friends of ours recommended African Dream Safaris and we are so grateful they did.

We highly recommend ADS. Sharon and Michael both helped us put our itinerary together and they did a spectacular job tailoring the trip to our needs, especially my husband’s delicate back. They absolutely take care of everything – you just have to pay and show up. Every member of the ADS “team” both in the US and in Tanzania was wonderful.

Our trip by far surpassed all our hopes and expectations. It was fun, exhilarating, adventurous, interesting, beautiful, relaxing (in Zanzibar) and quite a learning experience. The animals were awesome, the scenery was magnificent and the people were unbelievably welcoming (Jambo!).

We loved our guide, Anglebert, and can’t complement him enough. Our exceptional safari experience was due to him. He is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic and his focus was making sure we were having the best time possible. His eyesight was unbelievable – he could spot animals from afar and could also anticipate where the best viewing would be. He also helped us with our photos and made suggestions on getting the right shot. Besides all that, we really enjoyed being with him and our time together was precious.

Our favorite accommodations were Buffalo Springs Tented Lodge, with their warm, welcoming, devoted staff, and Private Classic camping. It was an amazing experience to “camp” in the middle of the Central Serengeti and hear lions roar from our tent. The camp staff made us feel like royalty and we would recommend this to all. We also loved ending the trip in Zanzibar where we relaxed, snorkeled and were pampered for three days before returning home.

We followed ADS’s recommendations to get an early start in the morning and be patient while observing the animals and were rewarded with incredible experiences. We saw the wildebeests cross the Mara River twice (on successive days) which was thrilling. The sheer numbers and variety of wildlife we saw each and every day was staggering. We saw lions eight out of our nine days but there was one day where we saw lions eating, drinking, hunting, sleeping, mating and nursing their cubs.

Tanzania is truly a magical place. Thank you ADS for our fabulous, dazzling, breathtaking and astonishing trip.

Ellen and Gary Michel
Los Angeles, California
October 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

A Memorable Honeymoon in Tanzania

I wanted to contact you and tell you thank you so very much for helping us plan the trip of a lifetime. I cannot put into words how amazing our trip was and how beautiful the sites were that we saw!! We loved every second of everyday we were there and hated the moment we had to depart.

We truly believe our guide made the trip extra special – there was not one animal that we wanted to see that we were not able to get up close and personal with by the end of the trip. He was so knowledgeable about the land and all the animals – he was constantly educating us and entertaining us with his stories. He was very personable and we felt as if he was a true friend of ours by the time we departed.

We want to thank everyone at ADS for making our honeymoon so very special. We have been entertaining all of our friends and families with stories and pictures since we returned. We started planning our next trip and saving our funds so that we will be able to extend our stay on our next trip – we cannot wait to return. Thank you so very much for your help all the way through the process. We have attached some of our favorite photos for you to see – of course it was so very hard to narrow down. Thank you again and I look forward to contacting you to let you know we are ready for our next trip!

Kristen Payne and Jason Deweese
Columbus, Georgia
July 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Mary and Tom Luetkehans

Tom and I recently returned from our safari trip with ADS. This was a trip we had dreamed of for many years, and we decided that it would be a wonderful way to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I guess the best way to sum up our adventure is…Wow! We were so delighted with the whole ADS team. We felt like they took great care of us every step of the way – starting long ago in our planning phase with our ADS Sales Consultant, to the ADS rep who met us at the Kilimanjaro airport, to our absolutely wonderful guide, who spent hours tirelessly driving us through the wilderness and spotting all kinds of animals with unbelievable skill. And as so many have already attested, the animals were completely amazing. We were in the western Serengeti during the wildebeest migration, and it was just magnificent. The lines of running wildebeest stretched to the horizons. Along with that, we saw zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, cheetahs and so many, many more animals that we had only seen in books or zoos before. We felt so privileged to be able to watch these beautiful creatures interacting in their natural environment – and even interacting with us in a way. It was such an amazing sensation to be standing in our land cruiser while an elephant almost near enough to touch looked directly in our eyes.

Our lodgings were wonderful as well. Most of our tented lodges were out in the wilderness where we could hear the animal sounds as we fell asleep. The rooms were charming, the food was delicious, the views were outstanding and every member the staff and each place we stayed was so friendly and gracious. We took walking tours with guides at two of the lodges, and they were wonderful. It was so exciting to be able to take a walk in the long grass of the Serengeti! Actually, there was only one aspect of our trip that was not what we expected…we had planned this trip as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but now we can’t wait to go back again! We are already envisioning our next safari during the wet season when the wildebeest are giving birth, and when we are ready to go we will without doubt return to ADS. They made this trip everything we had hoped for and more. Asante sana!

Mary and Tom Luetkehans
May 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post