Tag: September

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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Our 3rd Safari With ADS

We have worked with ADS for 3 safaris and have never been disappointed. ADS works with you from when you are on the ground until you depart. They will assist with unique needs, and always have safe drivers and the best guides.

Study in advance, learn about the differences between your lodging choices, learn a little language, and ENJOY! And maybe leave your fancy camera at home…just take in everything you see.

Mary Y. and Maury S.
Lexington, Texas
Safari Dates: September 16, 2015 to September 23, 2015

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What To Expect When Using ADS As Your Tour Company

Without a hint of change in his behavior in more than 30 minutes, the Wildebeest on point, without warning, leaps into the Mara River, working his way across, ever cautious of the hazards lurking beneath the murky water. It was the beginning for thousands of Wildebeest that would follow his lead over the next 12 minutes.

They crossed with great haste, swimming through the neck high water, with their hoofs slipping and sliding on the large boulders which littered the river, only slowing when they met firm ground on the far side of the Mara River. They created their own “river”, which flowed perpendicular to the Mara River, a truly wondrous sight to behold.

The Black Rhino lay sleeping, while a small herd of 5 elephants browsed 200 yards in the distance. The Elephant’s grazing path, from Acacia tree to Acacia tree, was leading them directly towards the slumbering Rhino. Many minutes passed, and the Elephant closed their distance to the Rhino…it was only a matter of time before the Rhino would detect them.

At 50 yards, the Rhino sensed their presence and rose to her feet, facing menacingly in the Elephant’s direction. As quickly as she rose to her feet, a small, heretofore unseen 6 week old baby Rhino appeared on her far side. Discretion being the better part of valor, the Rhino mother and her “tiny” offspring, gave way to the approaching Elephants, and briskly moved to the western horizon, avoiding a conflict which could have resulted in injury to her baby. A most unique find, and totally unexpected.

A mature Eland lies neck deep in a small stream trapped by a pride of Lion. It appears to have a broken, right front leg…its hind quarters are severely raked by lion claws, but it is determined to avoid the pride of 7 Lion which surround it. Periodically, it would would shift its position, in the hope of extracting itself from its dire predicament, but the pride would quickly counter, with a blocking move of their own. Although the Eland was extremely determined to live, its fate was sealed by the Lion the following day, as they were never going to relinquish such a plentiful bounty.

Most people on Safari would have been ecstatic to have experienced any one of the first three events I described above, during the course of their entire Safari. This was our 4th Safari with ADS, and our expectations were very high. Needless to say, we were not disappointed!

All of the happenings I described above, occurred on our first Safari day in the northern Serengeti…yes, the first day. What may appear as completely serendipitous events, could not have been witnessed without exceptional pre-Safari planning, and a Safari guide with a great deal of knowledge and experience of the African bush. These are attributes we have come to expect, and thoroughly appreciate, when using ADS for our Safari adventures.

Our primary goal of this Safari, was to partake in a Mara a River crossing. We witnessed two additional crossings, each possessing its own uniqueness and mayhem, as crocodiles attacked Wildebeest, as they jostled their way through the muddied waters.

Our first Wildebeest river crossing experience, was eerily calculated by our outstanding guide Arnold, predicting their movements throughout the morning as the Wildebeest browsed the Mara River grasses. We were only 1 of 3 vehicles which witnessed the thousands of Wildebeest which surged across the Mara that mid-day, a first time experience for us, which is deeply etched into our memories.

Exciting events continued to unfold for us throughout our 13 day Safari:

– 2 juvenile Green Mambas weaving their way through the thorns of an Acacia tree

– Numerous tree climbing Lions

– A pride of 10 Lions hunting a zebra mid-day, devouring it in 20 minutes

– A Cheetah mother, and 2 yearling cub stumbling upon some resting Lion, almost meeting an untimely end to their young lives

– A mother Leopard and her young cub lounging on a very large Kopje

– Martial Eagles predartory attack on Guinea Fowl and a newborn Thompson’s Gazelle

– 3 adorable newborn Lion cubs, experiencing their first weeks in the wilds of the Serengeti

– Encountering 4 new species of animals, including the Oryx, an almost mystical creature for this part of Tanzania.

My professional, wildlife photography portfolio, has practically doubled from this Safari alone, a further testament to ADS’s commitment to the wildlife/nature photographer, and their specific technical needs.

All of our Lodge accommodations, from the Hatari Lodge in Arusha Park, to our standout favorite from our 4 Safaris, Swala, were outstanding. We can highly recommend the walking safari at Swala as well, which is truly an adventure all unto itself! From the Maasai Warriors which guard the tented lodges during the night, to the incredible dynamic vistas which expand before you on a daily basis, Tanzania is a truly an exotic and magical country which begs to be explored.

Asante Sana Arnold, and to all of the ADS staff for making our 4th Safari, the most memorable yet. (yet) as in we are already planning our 5th Safari with ADS. 🙂

Peter and Jody A.
Alpharetta, Georgia
Safari Dates: August 27, 2015 to September 9, 2015

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On Safari with the Author of Bradt Travel Guide to Tanzania

Africa Dream Safaris was delighted to host Philip Briggs and his wife Ariadne Van Zandbergen for a 15-day safari. Philip was in Tanzania doing research for the latest editions of the Bradt Tanzania Travel Guides. Philip Briggs is the author of the prestigious and well-respected BRADT Travel Guides. Philip’s published works include Bradt Guides to Tanzania, Northern Tanzania Safaris, and East African Wildlife, as well as many several other books about Africa. Many loyal fans follow Philip’s travel advice and recommendations very closely when planning their own dream safari vacations. And rightfully so…Philip has traveled extensively in Tanzania for many years and offers an unparalleled perspective from which to judge any African Safari company. So, needless to say we were thrilled when he came back with a glowing review for Africa Dream Safaris!

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We Saw 86 Different Species Of Animals!

My husband has wanted to travel to Africa and “see animals” since he was a small child. Visiting Africa was the number one item on his bucket list. After several months of research, he selected Africa Dream Safaris. The dream became a reality when we left Arusha September 30th.

Our 10 day safari was everything we dreamed of and more. Our guide Malaki ensured that we encountered amazing sights every single day! When we had seen the “big 5” on day 2, we wondered what the future days would hold for us. That was not a concern. We saw 86 different species of animals. We saw two leopards in a tree with a herd of elephants passing beneath them. Even on our last day on the return drive to Arusha we saw a female Gerenuk (Malaki had not seen the species in 5 years), and two cheetahs (mother and son) near the road.

Our most memorable sight was an amazing river crossing of wildebeest and zebra that lasted more than 30 minutes. Thundering wildebeest jumping off a cliff is an awe inspiring sight! The Serengeti is a special place. The Swahili definition of the word Serengeti (Endless Plain) is appropriate.

The camps were wonderful (6:00 am delivery of flavorful coffee to our tent exceeded our expectations). The people were extremely friendly and welcoming. The country is beautiful. A sunset with a Flat Top Acacia tree in the foreground is breath taking.

We would definitely recommend ADS. We had the trip of a lifetime. Dawn helped to ensure that we knew what to expect, and that we were prepared. Malaki made the trip so special – he was a wonderful guide who we will always remember. He had four engineers in the vehicle and he patiently answered our questions about the vehicle (fuel capacity, whether thorns from Whistling Acacia trees cause flat tires, etc.) as well as geography, animal habitats, etc. He helped us learn about the country, the people, and the animals of Tanzania. We have so many wonderful memories. Asante.

Mike and Susan H.
Columbus, Indiana
Safari Dates: September 30, 2014 to October 8, 2014

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Our African Dream Safari

Our group traveled from the U.S. to Amsterdam where we explored that city for two days and nights, and then flew on to Africa. We arrived at the Arusha airport in the early evening where the ADS staff met us and escorted us through the necessary processing into the country. They then drove us to the Mt. Meru resort hotel for our first night’s stay in Arusha, Tanzania. The hotel was luxurious and the staff upbeat, polite and accommodating in every way.

Our group of eight spent an extra day at the hotel/resort to refresh after the long trip. We began our safari adventure with a smooth bush flight to the North Serengeti. The flight gave us an aerial view of the African mountains, volcano craters, and the plains. The very first day of our adventure was unbelievable. My words will not do justice to the thrills and excitement we all felt repeatedly as we observed Africa’s wild life in the beautiful and natural Serengeti.

Our ADS driver guides, Ellison and Emmanuel, knew exactly where to take us to see the most animals in the least amount of time. They told us we’d need patience for good observations, but we didn’t have to wait long to see a Mara River crossing by a significantly large herd of zebras and wildebeests. We also saw some crocodiles in and out of the water, but no attacks during the crossing. What a thrill to see this magnificent event in its entirety so early in our itinerary.

On this first day we also saw lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos and cape buffalos. All of these sightings were up close and personal, made possible by our experienced and talented ADS driver guides. Each day brought new and different sightings. We observed the plains covered for miles with the migrating animals, and there were so many we almost came to think seeing huge herds of wildebeests and zebras to be routine.

Our accommodations at the Serengeti Bushtops camp on our first night in the bush were surprisingly first class. Both the facilities and the food were excellent. Plenty of hot water and electricity were available 24 hours in all of our camps. The staff was uniformly positive and service oriented. At Bushtops, I began my learning of a few Swahili phrases with Richard, a very outgoing and friendly member of the camp staff.

Awaking from a restful night in our tent, we discovered a few zebra wandering right outside. After a delicious full breakfast, our day in the wild commenced early and we spent all day viewing more and more of Africa’s wild creatures. One pride of lionesses numbered at least fifteen resting animals, and soon we saw two male lions atop the kopjes (a stony outcrop). We also spied a male leopard perched high on the kopjes. What a magnificent creature.

The next days were filled with sightings of more lions, huge numbers of giraffes (we saw a neck fight) large and small herds of elephants both on the plains and in the forests where the damage to trees was significant. Hippos were abundant in many pools and rivers and the antelope, gazelles, hartebeests, warthogs, hyenas and jackals became more abundant as we explored further into the plains. We even saw a black and white Colobus monkey running in a small forest, a very rare sight in this part of the Serengeti.

Our guides pointed out numerous birds such as vultures, storks, secretary birds, hawks and eagles. We even saw a huge owl. We saw ostriches, one that was performing a mating dance for a female, as well as flamingoes and many others I won’t name. And, we were able to drive very close to two resting cheetahs. As we watched, they ambled down through the brush to the edge of an open area filled with gazelles and antelope. They didn’t immediately give chase, but we knew they would sometime soon.

I’ve talked lots about our good viewing fortune, but I’ve reserved until now the one sighting in the Serengeti that all in our group treasures. As we drove past another kopjes, we spotted a black rhino meandering through the tall grass, only a short distance from our vehicle. We were able to see and photo this endangered creature from within 100 feet and closer as we followed her through the area. Many visitors don’t benefit from this sighting in the Serengeti. Ellison said this was only his second sighting of a rhino in the area after eight years as a driver guide. He told us there still are no more than 20 living in the area. What a thrill!!

During our eight days in the wild, we never ceased to marvel at the numbers and variety of animals that we observed. We spent two nights at the Migration Camp, also a very nice camp, and two nights at the more primitive Seonara Sametu Camp, still a wonderful camp. It was a thrilling experience to hear the animals visit our camps during the night. Our last bush night at the Lion’s paw camp was the most primitive, though the staff was always available to respond to our tiniest need and the experience was wonderfully wild, listening to hyenas howl and lions huff just outside.

Our final days were spent visiting Olduvai Gorge (site of the Louis and Mary Leakey discoveries of early humans) and the Ngorongoro Crater. In this conservation area, we saw more of the animals we’d been observing, though in the crater their behavior is less frantic than in the Serengeti. Here we observed lions, especially thrilled by two large males in open grass.

More elephants and giraffes were seen in the forest, flamingos and hippos in the salt lakes and the fresh water ponds, monkeys and multitudes of baboons, lions, and many more. And then again, we were fortunate to spot more black rhinos (they are more easily sighted in this contained ecosystem). We saw a mother and young rhino very close to our vehicle, and several sightings a bit further away in other locations in the crater.

Our last day included a stop and tour at the Foundation For African Medicine and Education (FAME) facilities in Karatu. This is a worthwhile charity providing medical care and education for Tanzanians. Our last night on Safari was at the luxurious Ngorongoro Manor lodge where the staff and facilities are all very first class.

We also visited Lake Manyara on our way back to Arusha and saw velvet and blue monkeys, waterbuck, numerous birds and fowl, baboons, hippos and flamingoes. Our last day in Africa was spent relaxing at the Mt. Meru resort before departing for Arusha and our flight back to the U.S. On the drive, our driver guide told us we were among the luckiest guests he has served, having seen all that we did, and now there is a clear sighting of Mt. Kilimanjaro fully to the peak. We stopped to take photos, of course, and then, back to the airport and the hardest part of the trip being…our long, long, return flight home.

But this trip, for any who ask, is the event of a lifetime. In every single aspect this is an adventure we are blessed and thankful to have made.

Linda and Ted S.
Huddleston, Virginia
Safari Dates: September 17, 2014 to September 27, 2014


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For Those Wondering If A Private Safari Is For You…

Wow! How do you begin to describe the incredible Tanzania safari we made recently with ADS. Everything from the beginning planning stages through to helping us make arrangements to get to Southern Africa for the second part of our Africa experience was handled in the most professional way. We particularly appreciated the patience and timely answers to our many questions.

We did have concerns that we would have some problems because my wife is an above knee amputee and her prosthesis requires several hours of charging each night. We need not have worried because every camp we visited was aware of her needs and arrangements had been made well ahead of time.

We were amazed at the amount of training that the guides have received. Our guide could answer nearly every question we asked from identifying an animal (including even the genus and species) to describing diet preferences and gestation periods. When we arrived we weren’t “birders” but after seeing the hundreds of different birds identified for us we have a whole new appreciation for the diversity of bird life in Tanzania.

For those wondering if a private safari is for you, the answer is a definite YES. It was so nice to be able to stop when we wanted, spend whatever time at a particular viewing we wanted, and never have to struggle to find a good spot to get a photo.

Pokea, our guide was absolutely great. If we told him “let’s go find a lion” (or cheetah, leopard, elephant hippo etc) off we would go and pretty soon we’d find ourselves closer to our animal than we ever dreamed we would be. Even Pokea was excited when we spotted a pack of Africa wild dogs, as he had not seen them in Tanzania for over 3 years. Our pack walked calmly within 5 feet of us.

What else can we say? We thought that this would be a once in a lifetime trip, but after our experience in Tanzania and with ADS, there’s little doubt that we will be making a return trip in a year or two. The pictures say it all. Enjoy!

Bill and Sue D.
Friendswood, Texas
Safari Dates: August 30, 2014 to September 10, 2014

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A Private Safari – The Only Way to Experience Tanzania

Our travels have taken us all over the world and this was undeniably the most stress-free vacation we have experienced thanks to David (our guide) and Michael and Lynn of Africa Dream Safaris. There was, however, one thing that ADS could not prepare us for — the mesmerizing beauty and tranquil peace of Tanzania.

First, we enjoyed superior accommodations, service, and food at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha before climbing into our plane headed for the Northern Serengeti. Our first glimpses of animals and terrain were from the plane…wldebeests, zebras, rivers, grasslands, and kopjes…an ostrich on the airstrip as we landed at one of the airfields on our way to Kogatende…we were ecstatic!!

Upon landing, David, our driver/guide, greeted us and we liked him immediately. He explained what we were going to do that afternoon and off we went…the adventure was to continue for 12 days. On a general note, David was an excellent match for us. He made us feel safe and secure at all times which was a major factor. He listened to our needs and responded accordingly and always with a cheerful smile and patience…no matter how crazy we may have sounded!! We set our own schedule each day and liked the ability to enjoy the activities/scenery that WE wanted and were not forced to succumb to a group decision.

Animals…we had the privilege of seeing two adult black rhinos and a baby rhino, leopards including one in a tree with its kill, lions with cubs and a lion with its kill, a Secretary Bird killing and eating a snake, birds of prey, hippos, elephants, safari ants, buffaloes, wildebeests and zebra in three river crossings (two were mini-crossings as we nick-named them), cheetahs, dwarf mongoose, and oh my, the list goes on.

The Tanzanian terrain is gripping…flowing rivers, endless grasslands, rising kopjes, the great rift valley, the crater…and the sunrises and sunsets…inspiring.

David taught us about the animals and their connection to their habitat and importance in the chain of life. He also proved to be an excellent driver while maneuvering our jeep during a downpour and navigating through the mud and what seemed to be bottomless water holes.

Two highlights of our trip included visits to the School of St. Jude in Arusha and the Foundation for African Medicine and Education (F.A.M.E.) in Karatu. We were impressed with both and encourage safari guests to take the time to visit and learn about both of these worthwhile and inspiring educational facilities and programs.

We sincerely enjoyed all our accommodations…from the elegance and refinement of Serengeti Bushtops, Migration Tented Lodge, Ngorongoro Manor, and Swala Tented Lodge to the down-home comfort of Lion’s Paw and Sametu Camp. Each location had a personality and character of its own which we appreciated. The staff were always friendly and accommodating and attentive to our needs.

We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to enjoy a private safari…the only way to experience Tanzania. Life is grand indeed!

Margaret and Gerry B.
Lubbock, Texas
Safari Dates: September 25, 2014 to October 8, 2014

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Absolutely Amazing Safari With Africa Dream Safaris

Every moment of our 10-day custom safari with Africa Dream Safaris was first class and beyond our expectations. We travelled with close friends from Calgary. Throughout the planning stage, Michael answered all of our many questions with great detail.

Our arrival and departure accompanied by with Faith and Tman were handled with ease. Both were so friendly, well informed and very helpful. Being expedited through customs in Arusha was super.

Words cannot express our gratitude to Anglebert, our guide, with the “eagle” eyes. He is such a kind, enthusiastic and knowledgeable man, who simply made our trip the very best experience imaginable. Every time that we were encouraged to get up early and be out on safari, we would see something exciting and amazing.

Anglebert had the answers to all of our questions about the animals and Tanzania – we simply could not come up with a question that he could not answer. His knowledge of the animals, the history and habitat is simply incredible. We would be driving along the rutted and bumpy roads, when Anglebert would pull over, get out the binoculars and calmly say, “just checking”. We would then head off in the direction that he had been looking to experience yet another breathtaking and amazing sight. Over the course of our trip, we enjoyed several meals together and had lots of laughs and giggles. By the time that our safari was over, we had all developed a very close and wonderful friendship with Anglebert, and all of us shed tears when saying goodbye.

We first met Anglebert at the Northern Serengeti airport after our quick flight from the Arusha airport. Within fifteen minutes of leaving the Serengeti airport, we saw several giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, baboons, impalas and an Agama lizard (brilliant blue and pink color). In the afternoon, we saw a large herd of elephants in the water, grazing on the trees, all within very close proximity to our vehicle. On the way to Lemala Kuria Hills, we saw ostriches, crocodiles and vervet monkies. By the end of Day 1, we thought that we had pretty much seen it all. We had no idea what was to come. Below, is a brief summary of some of the highlights of our days on safari.

An early Day 2 started out with our finding the very elusive serval cat within 5 minutes of our departure from the camp. A short while later, we came across 5 lion cubs resting at the top of a kopje. It looked like they were under strict orders to stay in place until their “moms” returned. We witnessed vultures sitting around a dying wildebeest, waiting for their meal. There were the very aggressive looking Cape buffalo, shy klipspringers, herds of Thomson gazelles, carrion storks and beautiful scenery.

On Day 3, we witnessed over 200,000 wildebeest getting ready to cross the Mara River (after waiting for a long time, we decided to move on to another area where they were building up, and then, of course, they finally started to cross at the first location, but it was a very short lived crossing as one of the wildebeest was taken down by a crocodile). As we moved on, we found a male and female lion sleeping peacefully under a bush. After some time, the female woke up, paced around the male causing him to also wake up. They then proceeded to mate – that was an amazing and very quick event.

Later on, we came across our first sighting of hippos – many of them in the water and on the shore. They are definitely a very smelly, but interesting, creature to watch. On our way to Migration Tented Lodge, we saw a male lion just walking along the side of the road – definitely king of the Serengeti. During the night, when staying at Migration, we could hear hippos bellowing and lions roaring.

Sadly, we saw the skulls of 3 elephants very close together, which would indicate that they were the victims of poaching. Our first spotting of a leopard came after our visit to the Retina hippo pool. Later that day, we had a better viewing of another leopard posed on a kopje rock. She spent some time watching a female lion hunting very close by.

When in the Central Serengeti, we viewed fifteen lions crossing the Central Serengeti at sunrise, with the head female in the lead and the male at the rear. They were heading to water. It was a beautiful sight. We were able to watch them for a long time, drinking water, playing and lazing around.

Shortly after that, we came across another 14 lions feasting on the remains of a freshly killed hartebeest. Several of them we so totally full, that they had virtually passed out, lying on their backs with their feet in the air. Another short drive away, and we found a cheetah posing for us on a large rock. She left the rock and roamed through the grasses, seemingly on the hunt. We managed to see several cheetahs over the entire trip.

Later on that day, we saw 4 lions on the hunt for a zebra. There was a very large herd, but their hunt was not successful. We were interested to learn that cheetahs are successful hunters 80% of the time, whereas leopards have a 50% success rate, and lions are only successful 20% of the time.

We also saw jackals, topis, impalas, banded mongoose, warthogs, dik-diks, kudu, waterbucks, oribi, a monitor lizard, crocodiles, eland, ostriches and many very interesting types of birds.

Another highlight was stopping at a Masai village: seeing the boma, watching their dancing, touring their village, being invited into one of their mud huts, hearing the 4-7 year olds, at their tiny school, reciting their numbers and singing a song, looking at the colorful shukas and seeing the beautiful beaded jewelry that the women and children create.

The scenery at the Ngorongoro crater was so varied – from a desert landscape to a tropical oasis. It also was beautiful at sunrise and sunset. We found two female lions with their very tiny cubs (3-4 months old) wandering down the road, with the babies playing in the grasses. The very hard part of that day was seeing a pack of hyenas hunt and kill a wildebeest. It is the cycle of nature, but so very hard to view. The pink flamingos reflecting in the water that they were standing in, was also an awesome sight. We saw a very rare caracal cat that day too.

Later on, we finally found our black rhinos, chomping on the crater grasses. They were still quite a way from the road, but finding them did complete our list of the “Big 7”. Our cameras had 200X zooms, where Greg’s camera had a 600X zoom – he was kind enough to share some of his super rhino photos with us.

On our second day at Tarangire Tented Lodge, Anglebert asked what we still wanted to see. Debbie, my dear friend, stated that she wanted to find a leopard in a tree. Well, after about 15 minute from the camp, we found a beautiful leopard posing on a termite mound (not in a tree, but close). After taking many photos of her, she decided to move to a grass mound, where we took many more photos of her.

On her route to the grass mound, she walked around our vehicle and right under another Africa Dream Safaris’ vehicle beside us (we got to know Dawn and Greg from Boston and their guide, Peter, while staying at Migration and Seronara Sametu). Then she headed off to scout out a tree – no success, she did not climb it.

We decided to go have our breakfast at a nearby picnic sight, and then go back to see if we could again find her. We did find her, and within minutes, she had picked her tree, circled it, sprayed it and climbed it with great ease – it was one of those “goose bump” moments. She took her time getting comfortable in the boughs of the tree (again many more photos taken), and finally laid her head down to take a nap. After a long time watching her, we headed down the road, and big surprise, saw a lion in the boughs of a tree, looking for something to hunt. Another short while later, we came across a fresh zebra carcass across the boughs of a tree (the leopard that had hunted the zebra was nowhere in sight).

Our last day of safari started with a wonderful breakfast at Tarangire Tree Tops Tented Lodge and ended with a very nice lunch with Anglebert at the Arusha Coffee Plantation. Lunch was a very special treat and great way to wrap up our memorable time on safari.

Our accommodations over the complete trip were excellent:

Lemala Kuria Hills was a 10/10 with respect to the beautiful location, luxury accommodations, the wonderful staff (Tabi, Diana and Moses), who were so friendly and accommodating, with fabulous meals and a very special “sunset” with cocktails, hor d’oeuvres and colorful cushions set up on a large kopje close to the main lodge.

Migration Tented Lodge was again a beautiful location, luxury accommodations and great staff. The meals were delicious. There were lots of hyrax running around the grounds – very interesting creatures.

Seronara Sametu Camp was a delightful “glamping” experience, where we thoroughly enjoyed DJ and JJ (JJ spent some time teaching us a few words of Swahili, which was a big surpise for Anglebert the next day). Sametu Camp felt like being surrounded by nature and gave us true sense of the Serengeti. The food was excellent. At night, we could hear the Cape buffalo munching the grasses right outside our tent. At sunrise, one definitely had to step carefully around the “buffalo patties” left on the pathway to the main lodge

Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Tented Camp was a very similar experience to the Seronera Sametu Camp. We really enjoyed Edward at that camp, the sunset fire, great food and loved the great proximity of the Camp to the floor of the Crater.

Tarangire Tree Tops Tented Lodge was a tied favorite with Lemala Kuria Hills, with again a 10/10. Jonathon, the Manager, and John, our Server, looked after us all so well. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful. The luxury tents were beautiful with lovely decks to sit out on. The watering hole where zebra, elephants, waterbuck and baboons came daily to drink from was very entertaining. Dining out under the stars in a boma with a roaring fire and white linens and crystal was great. Dining out by the pool, again with white linens and crystal and great food were very much enjoyed.

The special last night, with “Karibu” (welcome) spelled out with red beads, and the African song and dance done by the lodge staff was wonderful. They also served us a delicious cake with “Goodbye” spelled out in the icing. At the end of dinner, we were treated to a night safari – there are lots of different and interesting creatures out at night – we especially liked the African kangaroo. Another big treat, at the end of each day, was being greeted by staff at the various camps with cold cloths and glasses of refreshing juice.

The experience with African Dreams was truly the “trip of a lifetime” made so wonderful by firstly and mostly by Anglebert, a guide who could not be more dedicated, knowledgeable and personable. Anglebert is truly an incredible guide and a very special person. We also thoroughly appreciated the Africa Dream Safaris attention to detail, the little things provided, such as binoculars for each person, photo bean bags and a cooler stocked with beverages and snacks, the wonderful staff at each of our locations, the excellent cuisine, included and optional laundry service and just great overall service.

We would definitely recommend Africa Dream Safaris to anyone thinking of going on safari.

Asante sana!

Patti and Rob D.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Safari Dates: September 11, 2014 to September 20, 2014

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Our Guide Could Spot Animals That Seemed To Be Miles Away

My husband Larry and I just returned from the most wonderful 10 day safari with our fabulous guide, Simon. He took such good care of us the entire trip and made sure we had a great safari. We missed the river crossing, but still saw thousands of animals. Simon could spot animals that seemed to be miles away. Our accommodations were absolutely fabulous and the food and service unbelievable. Our agent, Dawn, was so helpful and answered all of our many questions. Again we can’t say enough good things about ADS…they are the best.

Jane and Larry J.
Houston, Texas
Safari Dates: September 15, 2014 to September 26, 2014

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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 Trip To Tanzania And Zanzibar

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

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

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

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

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

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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).

Fondly,

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

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We Crossed Rivers And Streams, Craters And Valleys, Kopjes And Plains…

To say we really enjoyed Tanzania and our safari is an understatement!!!

Thanks for organizing such a memorable safari experience for us. Everything went as planned which is a nice compliment to everyone who is involved in your operation. Now that we have completed our safari, we can really appreciate all the logistics that have to occur to make a great trip happen. Plus the local Arusha staff did a great job taking care of us too. Also, the small ADS book you sent was very helpful, as were the animal checklists at the back!

Arnold was an amazing tour guide, and a really nice guy. Besides being a guide, he did an outstanding job being a driver, mechanic, finding animals, organizing our picnics, and keeping the vehicle so clean. Did he mention we got a flat tire right in front of 8 lions? He really went above and beyond to fix that tire for us.

We saw many, many animals and will send you some pics once everything settles down. Arnold always got us a ‘front row seat’ so to speak, meaning we have some great pics and memories of animals up close.

We met the friendly and helpful local people who couldn’t do enough for us. We met some wonderful people who dedicated themselves to helping the students of St. Jude’s School. We saw animals, more animals, and even more animals. We were in awe of the animals’ lives and interactions with one another. We visited an amazing Masai Village. The scenery throughout Tanzania was beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset.

We crossed rivers and streams, mountains, craters and valleys, and kopjes and plains. The migration story was fascinating and we saw and learned about the circle of life. Our stays at the tents and lodges were relaxing and indulgent. Each of these elements alone were fascinating and worth a trip half way around the world, but the real safari magic happened when all of these pieces came together to create one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had in our lives. Thank you, Africa Dream Safaris!!!!

This was a life-changing experience for sure, and what an awesome time all of us had there.

Thanks again for everything, including the Masai blanket and the spectacular farewell cake and dance/ceremony at the hotel on our last night in the bush. If we know anyone else who is interested in a safari we will be sure to give them your contact info.

Asante sana,

Peter M. and Gary L.
Washington D.C.
Safari Dates: September 29, 2014 to October 9, 2014

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