Tag: September

The Serengeti was Bursting With Life and Natures Beauty

Lynn – It has been such pleasure working with you to plan our safari. Now I am writing to say “Thank you!” to you, as well as everyone working behind the scenes, and to our incredible guide, for a fantastic safari experience in Tanzania. It was all that Ellen and I were seeking and then some.

We had previously been on safari in Botswana, and have also been to Zambia and South Africa. This time we wanted to visit either Tanzania or Kenya. When I contacted ADS, you really helped us decide on Tanzania. I frequently asked questions about everything and you always had the answers, and would present another point of view that we sometimes had not considered. You helped us select Tanzania – thanks Lynn-great choice!

Each time I called or e-mailed you with questions you were superb, getting back to me so quickly with everything we requested and more, plus lot of patience and quality suggestions. I was impressed with your service and had hoped that was an indicator of ADS company-wide, knowing that could only be determined at the conclusion of our safari. I am pleased to report that not only you, but everyone we met went above and beyond to ensure our joy, comfort, convenience and safety-and thanks to each and every one of you for your kindness and a job well done!! I am sorry it is over-we would have liked it to go on for months!!

As you know, our primary purpose was photography, and thanks to our incredible guide, we got the images we were seeking. He not only knew the wildlife, but had an intuitive sense of where and when the action would occur. He also had extensive knowledge about the wildlife & their habits, birds and landforms. Our guide was top-notch, in fact, we are confident he must be one of the top guides in all of Tanzania, he was that good.

The Serengeti itself was just beautiful, as it had rained recently, and it was quite green. It was bursting with life and natures beauty, as well as teeming with interesting wildlife. Our sightings included a lioness taking down a Cape Buffalo, mating lions, and wildebeest crossing the Mara River with crocs and vultures patiently waiting in the trees, streams and other nearby areas. We also saw a leopard, and many beautiful birds and antelope.

The three cheetah brothers were a very special sighting, as well as female cheetahs and lions with half grown cubs nearby. We witnessed a hugh hippo charge another group of hippos, sending gigantic waves through the previously calm river. Quite a commotion followed, with a bigger male going head to head with her. She was reprimanded in no uncertain terms, with a bloody neck to show for her incursion.

In Tarangerie we saw elephants taking mud baths and digging holes in the river bottom, for fresh drinking water-that was really interesting too! We also visited a swamp there, which looked to us like the “Garden of Eden”. We were able to locate a few boa constrictors in the trees, which I had really hope to see. Of course, by the end of our safari, we had seen all of the big 5 and much, much more. We had an incredibly rich and varied experience.

We debated about whether to visit a Maasi Village, because we had read that some people didn’t like it, and my traveling companion had been at one years ago, and she didn’t care for it either. But our guide said we would enjoy it, and we trusted his opinion so we went. And yes, we really really enjoyed it! One of the Chief’s sons gave us a tour, just for the 2 of us, and he talked extensively about their social customs as we sat in a small structure they sleep in, made of sticks, mud and other local materials. We learned about their lifestyle, his college experience,( thanks to a Missionary) and so much more-all very interesting. We were able to interact with one of his brothers, some children and several different women there, and we made a brief stop at the children’s school. You can see school building in the picture attached. The children were darling. What a wonderful experience we had, thanks to our guide’s recommendation.

Each of our tented camps were unique and we really enjoyed them. The service was great, they were all very clean and comfortable, and the employees went to great lengths to ensure our comfort & pleasure. We were especially pleased with the beds, which were all very comfortable, and when we had twin beds (verses 2 doubles) they were oversized (compared to those we had in Europe and South Africa), and were spaced far apart, giving us a bit of space, which we valued. They were also nicely appointed and super clean.

Food was good, especially dinners, but some camps, such as “Migration” had fabulous five star meals. Other camps had entertainment at night, with native singing, dances and apparel. Some camps had WIFI, so we were able to get on the internet, which was really nice.

One morning just before sunrise, while lying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off, I noticed there were twigs breaking outside the tent. I got up to take a peek and lo and behold!!! There were 5 or 6 elephants (mothers and young) tearing branches off the shrubs around our tent!! What a special moment that was! After about 15 minutes they quietly departed.

One night we heard lions, others we heard hyneas, but we were never afraid and our safety was not compromised. The wildlife never bothered us in our tents, plus there were always 2 Maasi guarding us at night, and though they only have spears, no guns, they are true warriors. Fortunately though, they prefer to scare wildlife away, rather that harm them. What an idyllic environment we were so fortunate to be a part of, if only for 10 nights.

What a great time we had!! It cannot be overstated!! ADS is a company that does everything it can to make sure your safari is to your satisfaction, not just when they are selling it to you, but all the way through to its conclusion. ADS has many great employees who will look out for you and your interests all along the way, not just one great employee who sells you the tour. I also like that ADS is so honest about things in advance, such as the box lunches or the Maasi VIllage. Not many would be so frank!! It was also interesting that you gave us a phone for the duration of our safari, and told us to call if anything was not happening as expected, and that you would “fix” it immediately. Amazing customer service!! I would highly recommend ADS. In fact, we plan return to Tanzania in a few years with ADS, it was that fabulous! Thanks again everyone!!

Sincerely,

Karren Kraemer and Ellen Werner
Helendale, California
September 2011

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Wow!! Recent Photos of the Migration Crossing the Mara River

Elise and I wanted to thank you for an amazing safari. It exceeded all of our expectations.  Each day we enjoyed a new thrill. To top it off, our guide/driver was outstanding, and a joy to spend time with. He is very knowledgeable and was unbelievably attentive. Particularly enjoyed visiting the Masai village near Buffalo Springs and seeing the Wildebeest crossing. In addition to the safari – seeing how people live in a third world country with basically nothing, is a real eye opener. We are already thinking about our next trip (plan on bringing the kids) and look forward to planning it with you.

Thanks again,

Greg and Elise Gubitz
Caledon, Canada
September 2011

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We Didn’t Expect To Get So Close

We began our ADS safari with an extra day in Arusha to recover from the 24 hour airline trip. We spent several hours in and around Arusha which was a wonderful introduction to life in a large Tanzanian city–an unexpected bonus! Another unanticipated perk was a private dinner for us in a gazebo on the hotel grounds–as in “The Bachelor”! When checking out of our hotel to head into the bush, the desk clerk told us, “You will see much more than you expect.” His words were prophetic–we simply couldn’t envision the amount of wildlife we would encounter.

As our bush plane landed at the Kogatende airstrip, zebra and ostrich scattered. We met our ADS driver, who as the days went on would begin to feel like a family member. We were disappointed too learn that we wouldn’t be able to cross the Mara River into the Lamai triangle, as scheduled, due to high water. When we parked near the river and saw a Land Cruiser (not ADS) which had been swept off the ford lying on it’s side in the churning water (home to hippos and crocodiles), we had to admit that the itinerary change was a good one. Later that day we were fortunate to see two wildebeest migration crossings (one containing about 700 animals).

Each day was an education as we saw additional species of animals and an ever-changing landscape. Like many tourists, we looked forward to seeing big cats and we were not disappointed. We saw many lions, numerous leopards, and a number of chetahs, and we saw all three species with kills. An outstanding aspect of the big-cat viewing was that we saw them right up close!

We got great pictures even though the only photo equipment we took was a little point-and-shoot pocket camera. What you see on game drives involves a certain amount of luck, but our skilled ADS driver was able to take much of the chance out of it.

We typically spent 8-10 hours a day in the Land Cruiser (our preference) so there was ample time for conversation. We enjoyed chatting with our driver about many topics including Tanzanian history, tribal culture, and language. Of course he had an encyclopedic knowledge of wildlife and delivered great sightings on every game drive.

Although we’re generally healthy, we had some specific travel issues which ADS addressed in a very personalized way. From the moment we landed at Kilimanjaro to the time we ended our vacation, ADS staff members supported all aspects of our experience. Even a jacket I misplaced on the third day of the safari was waiting for me when we got back to Arusha!

P.S. Our safari was a “notch up” for us in terms of adventure travel. We spent the 10 days prior to departure worrying about mosquitoes, malaria, our ability to tolerate anti-malaria medicine, food borne illness, etc. We could have saved ourselves a lot of worrying. We basically had no problems and the food was excellent!

Ronald and Nancy Goodman
Ankeny, Iowa
September 2011

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Quote of the Week: George Filliter Family

Now is as good a time as any for me to express my admiration for the planning that went into the most wonderful trip I have ever taken. Let me give you my impressions. As we were flying to Kilimanjaro we all wondered how we would identify the person picking us up and this is when we realized how fortunate we were. We were met as soon as we disembarked by Pieter and escorted through the customs line as if we were top rated diplomats! He then helped us get our luggage and whipped us off to meet Monika and Charles.

Now Monika and Charles were fantastic. They got us to the hotel, which by the way was amazing, gave us directions and then picked us up the next morning where we went to the Tanzanite store and visited the cultural centre. On the final morning we were again picked up by these two who got us to the regional airport and whisked us through the line ensuring that we got on the right plane.

Upon our arrival in the Serengeti we were met by our guide. I am afraid that there simply are not enough words in the English language to describe this man. Over the 12 days with him he became our friend, our translator, our confidant, our advisor, our driver and of course our guide. Simply put he is AMAZING. Someone should check his eyes. His ability to see wildlife at a distance was amazing. And, he had an innate ability to sense the location of animals and in fact on one occasion I became convinced that he had the ability to speak to the animals. As a consequence we saw 90 lions, 10 leopards and 11 cheetahs, not to mention numerous other species and he identified over 35 species of birds. We saw the big five early on and Erin and I have the most amazing pictures. I am at the moment going through the over 2000 that I took and will send you some in the near future.

In talking with the other guests at each of the lodges we realized that we were allowed to experience Tanzania at a far different level than anyone else. I really hope and in fact ask that you ensure that our guide as well as Monika, Pieter and Charles are all advised of our complete and total satisfaction.

George Filliter, Erin Filliter and Barbara Baird

Fredericton, Canada

September 2011

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We saw at least five cheetahs, up close and personal

Judy and I are still basking the glow of our trip to Tanzania. No, it did not fulfill our expectations. Rather, it far exceeded them. No stone was left unturned. Every detail was meticulously covered from the first meeting at the airport in Arusha to being carefully ushered through the confusion of departure. The good news only gets better. Although we were somewhat concerned about the tented facilities, we quickly discovered that each had a personality of its own and offered a unique luxuriousness. In every place we stayed the food was wonderful, the service superb, the beds perfect, and the sense of being cared about and cared for was complete. Our Masai warriors protected us from the animals at night. Our guide opened our eyes to them in the morning.

A safari in Tanzania is not simply a cruise on placid seas. There are a few million bumps in the road. But the comfort we felt in our land rover made the trip the most exciting excursion we have ever done. Judy and I have travelled all over the world during the last twenty years or so. We have had many guides in the most developed and undeveloped nations. Our Guide in Tanzania was the most wonderful of all. Your literature says the guide will quickly become your best friend. He became our younger brother, our protector, our translator, our teacher.

There was almost nothing he did not know about his country or about the animals we had come to see. And not only did he open our eyes to the vast world of wildebeests, antelopes, and cats, but he also introduced us to the world of birds and the beauty of the flowers. Our guide has a marvelous sense of humor and the patience of a saint. Only once, in 12 days, were we on time. He quickly understood that leaving at six a.m. sharp meant leaving at six-twenty, that ending any photo shoot always involved about five more pictures. His English skills were marvelous but he still seemed to love learning some of our antiquated English slang. He was always gracious, kind, and accommodating. He clearly enjoyed sharing the culture of Tanzania with us as well as sharing some of his personal life, his hopes and dreams.

This was our second safari. The last was 23 years ago with a very upscale and famous company. But Africa Dream Safaris was, by far the best. We saw five leopards. At least five cheetahs, up close and personal. We loved the abundant Giraffes. And of course we enjoyed visiting with all the Lions, Dik Diks, Elands, Topis, Wildebeests, Zebras, Elephants, Impalas. We grew to love the Warthogs, the Jackals, and even the Spotted Hyenas. We took about 3,471 photos. So far, we have been able to reduce the number to 1,326. Every one is a winner.

Don and Judy Gluckman
Pikesville, Maryland
September 2011

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Quote of the Week: Janice and Cal Weisberger

Safari, the word conjures visions of Tarzan and Ramar of the Jungle. We had always wanted to go to Africa to see the wild spaces. We did copious research and chose ADS because of superb reviews and word of mouth from friends who’d travelled with ADS. We were not disappointed. We are experienced travelers and have not been treated better on any of our many trips overseas. We were met promptly at JRO and helped through the visa process. We were off to our hotel in good time.

The next morning we were met by our guide at Kogatende airport and within minutes of beginning our game drive had already seen many different species and a wildebeest crossing of the Mara River. The days only got better from there.  The daily game drives constantly produced new adventures. We were amazed how quickly we came to be used to wildebeest, zebra and giraffe around us. We never ceased to be excited by the great cats. Lions, leopard and cheetah always held our attention. The realities of life and death for the animals of the Serengeti became clear to us. We wondered at how the elephants and other species came together to protect their young. We watched a small herd of Thomson’s gazelles protect itself from a nocturnal prowling leopard. This was on our evening game drive from Buffalo Springs.  The power, grace and determination of the leopard had us in awe.

The accommodations at all our venues were excellent. We took a break from tent camps at Bilila Lodge and were amazed at the level of luxury in the bush this provided. The tent camps were fantastic especially Swala at the end of a long drive in Tarangire.

Our safari with ADS ranks with the best travel experiences we’ve had. We would certainly choose to travel with ADS again. The service at all periods of our planning and actual trip was superb. The people of Tanzania were warm and friendly and great hosts. Thank you ADS and Asante Sana to all the folks of ADS and the Tanzanian people for giving us one of the great experiences of our traveling lives.

Janice and Cal Weisberger
Santa Monica, California
September 2011

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Quote of the Week: Diana Gammon and Donna Knox

Fulfilling our “Africa Dream” truly began with our first contact with Africa Dream Safaris. Knowing that the choice of Safari company would make or break our experience, we did a lot of research and communicated with several companies. From our first contact with our sales consultant at Africa Dream Safaris, we knew we had found the perfect fit. Over a period of several months, she got to know us and helped us plan a safari that was tailored exclusively to meet our needs.

At each point along the way, everything was meticulously planned and executed. When we arrived in Dar es Salaam and then in Arusha, feeling somewhat overwhelmed, there were our ADS reps, welcoming us with smiles, taking care of all the details, including giving us a cell phone in case we needed to contact them while on safari!

Our driver was attentive, professional and had the most amazing eyesight. Each day he made a point of showing us something different and we saw far more wildlife than we had ever dreamed of. Being on a private safari meant total flexibility – one day we spent over an hour watching 2 lion cubs play and tussle like kittens right beside our jeep. Another day we drove deep into the bush to find the elusive oryx. Although we were “in the back of beyond”, at all times we felt safe, and when we observed some of the other safari companies in operation, we were very glad we had chosen ADS.

Our accommodations were superb and fully met our expectations. A special memory was our 3 days at the Tented Migration Camp – a magical setting and wonderful hospitality.

There were so many golden moments –the wildebeest crossing the Mara River as the sun rose, a herd of elephant passing single file within arm’s length of our jeep, giraffes “necking”, sipping wine at sunset on our veranda at Swala as the zebra and antelope wandered past to gather at the water hole.

We cannot say enough about our experience. This was a trip of a lifetime, so, of course, we wanted everything to be perfect – and it was. To all the staff at ADS – Asante Sana! You greatly exceeded our expectations and made this truly an African Dream.

Diana Gammon and Donna Knox
September 2010

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Quote of the Week: Max Gottesman

Wow…the absolute trip of a lifetime! All of our expectations were met and exceeded. From arrival to departure, from our amazing guide, airport staff and Arusha staff, everything went perfectly. We saw every animal that we hoped to see including the wildebeest crossing 1-hour after our plane set down. A cheetah kill and the rhinos. We saw an abundance of every animal imaginable because our guide was so experienced and only wanted to please us.

Our fairy book accommodations went from incredible to unbelievable and just kept getting better. Arriving at our destinations tired and hungry and being greeted by warm and caring staffs with wet cold towels to wipe our dirty warm faces was half the fun of the trip.

You arranged an amazing and very memorable trip that we will never forget. The warm and wonderful people of Tanzania and ADS will never be forgotten. Thank you for all your suggestions, emails and helping in arranging our safari. I will certainly recommend you and ADS to anyone who asks. Asante Sana.

Max Gottesman
September 2010

Max himself meeting with several members of the Maasai Tribe as they gather together in song.

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Quote of the Week: Denise Cross

I had the best and most amazing time that I’ve ever had in my entire life. I loved each and every minute of the trip and I felt so happy and content and peaceful the entire time I was there. I’m sure you hear some people say that it was “life-changing” and I have to agree that it certainly was that way for me. I hated to leave and I can’t wait to go back.

Thank you so much…to you and Africa Dream Safari’s for doing a wonderful job planning my trip of a life time!!! I have nothing but positive things to say about how great everything was. The people were lovely and everything went so smoothly….it was effortless for us and we just sat back and enjoyed every minute of every day. Our guide was very friendly and easy-going and we hit it off right away. He was fun and liked to joke around, which was great, but he was also good at doing his best to answer any questions that we had. He was a good guide and I enjoyed spending time with him every day.

On our very first day we were fortunate enough to witness the migration of the wildebeest and then we proceeded to see so many other animals that we thought that it couldn’t get any better than that!! But, every day we were amazed at how special each day was and how every day was the “best” day in it’s own special way. I loved Buffalo Springs and all of the wonderful people there. It was a gorgeous location and the tents and lodge were amazing….so beautiful! And I was so happy that we had a chance at doing the night drive…..that was special and different and, as an added bonus, we got to spend some more time with Sukato. When we went to his village the next day he invited us into his boma to meet his wife and new baby…….that was an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We took tons of pictures of the children and it brings a lot of joy just to look at them and see the smiles on their faces as we showed them their own pictures….they giggled and laughed….it was great!!!

I LOVED classic camping….I found it to be thrilling and wonderful and peaceful and all things good! On one of the nights there I heard a lion roar/grunt numerous times and that same night I unzipped my tent just enough to stick my head and shoulders out with my flashlight and, about 30 or 40 feet in front of me I saw 5 or 6 sets of hyena eyes starring back at me…..it was sooooooo exciting! The staff was great and we got a great tour of the chef’s kitchen…the food was delicious!

While in the Crater, we were fortunate enough to see (from a distance) 3 Black Rhinos…..that was very exciting! And, I was thrilled when, on our last day of Safari, we saw over 400 elephants……it was amazing! Overall, we saw lots of lions, about 5 leopards, and 2 cheetah. We saw so many animals every single day that I just couldn’t believe it. And, I couldn’t believe how close we got to them…..we were right beside so many of them….the lions, a leopard, hyena, ostrich, baboons, monkeys, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, etc, etc, etc……my mind is still trying to process all of it. It was the most amazing experience of my entire life and I felt so happy while I was there.

Denise Cross
September 2010

A young lion cub acting especially brave towards his older (and much bigger) brother.

 

The smiling faces of native Maasai children.

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Quote of the Week: Leslie Grossman

Whatever expectations I had before leaving were totally blown out of the water once we got to Kilimanjaro… [The ADS staff] are so competent and caring and made me feel so welcome. And that just set the tone for the rest of the trip. [Our guide] is a remarkable man. I gather from all the customer comments that all of your guides are wonderful, and I know my only experience was with [our guide], but my gosh, he is amazing. His passion for and love of his country and its fauna and flora is his gift to those of us privileged to have him as a guide and mentor. I felt totally safe, totally taken care of, totally in awe of the amount of animals [our guide] was able to find, he has a 6th sense for that. We spoke with [non-ADS] people in the lodges who hadn’t seen nearly the amount of animals that we had […] After having dreamed of going to Africa for as long as I have memory, your amazing company and staff made this woman’s dream come true!! How do I thank someone for that? Words seem so small, but they are all I have, so from my entire being, heart and soul I thank you so much.

Leslie Grossman
September- October 2008

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Quote of the Week: Jackie Cooper

I was looking forward to seeing some wonderful African birds on our trip, and bought a book to “study up” beforehand. I am an intermediate “birder” and was so grateful to our guide for his knowledge of the birds of Tanzania. I saw 105 species I had never seen before! We had a private tour, and were able to stop (engine off/ no shaking – which we appreciated!) at every opportunity to look at the birds, take photos, and refer to our guidebooks. Obviously, we loved all the larger animals as well – but what a treat to see the beautiful small creatures of Africa. It added another dimension to our fantastic trip. My favorites: the Kori Bustard in mating form (neck puffed, tail up) and the Lilac-breasted roller. That’s what I loved about Africa Dream Safaris – the ability to “tailor” our trip to our interests!

Jackie Cooper
September 2008

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Quote of the Week: Jeff and Mary Pines

We would like to thank you and all of the staff at Africa Dream Safaris for making our first African experience so wonderful. We were awestruck at every turn – each location brought new sights and adventures. We appreciated the meticulous attention to detail – from the planning stages, through the local staff in Tanzania who met us in Arusha and immediately made us feel welcome, and throughout our exceptional safari. We were especially interested in exploring the birdlife and our guide far exceeded our expectations by introducing us to over 140 new species of birds. We also enjoyed learning about the many kinds of plants and animals native to Tanzania and their relationship to the people and environment. At each of our overnight accommodations we were greeted warmly and treated to delicious meals, gorgeous scenery, and helpful staff. The opportunities to meet and visit with individuals from several different cultures made our experience truly authentic. The balloon safari and walking safaris provided us the chance to see the wildlife from a different perspective. We would highly recommend Africa Dream Safaris to anyone considering a trip to Northern Tanzania.

Jeff and Mary Pines
August-September 2008

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Quote of the Week: Colleen and Roland Baker

The trip was like no other! From day one, from the moment we left the airport, we were amazed by where we were and by what we saw and by the amazing wonderful Tanzanians. Gosh, it was just over the top, all the way through. We have to acknowledge our guide….just amazing how full of information that young man is, and so patient, and almost having a 6th sense as to where the animals are. He has a wonderful sense of humor too. We saw amazing animals…..a leopard dangling on a tree branch, another leopard sleeping out in the open on a kopje with her 2 babies nearby, a black rhino, a teeny teeny baby elephant with mother, young male lions under a bush eating a water buffalo (that crunching sound will stay with us forever!), a pride of 10-11 lions sleeping under bushes after gorging themselves on a zebra (only the skeleton remained) and a water buffalo (half of it remained), a cheetah on a termite hill, a herd of wildebeest running through the dried lake at the Crater, the bazillions of wildebeest up at the Mara River, and all those birds everywhere. […] This trip has provided us with stories for a lifetime….we only hope we don’t tire out our audiences. Thank you so much for everything.

Colleen and Roland Baker
September 2008

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Quote of the Week: Linda and Mike G.

The plane ride from Arusha to the Northern Serengeti was a scene we will never forget. Having that included with the trip was spectacular. We got to see a whole new perspective of Tanzania and visualize where we will soon explore. The second we landed, [our guide] greeted us with a big smile. We started driving and ended up seeing zebras, giraffes, baboons, buffalo, wildebeest, leopards and lions within two hours. We couldn’t believe it and we jokingly asked [our guide] “now what are we going to see, we weren’t expecting this all in one day, let alone our first day?” Not only did we see all the animals on our handy checklist that ADS provided us, we also saw how the ecosystem revolved on how the plant life was not only beautiful landscape but provided survival to the animals. Just watching the cycle of life with animals among animals and animals among the natural habitat of the land was intriguing. [Our guide] knew everything! We were impressed by his knowledge of everything around us. At the end of our trip we consider him a friend. He was so kind and accommodating.

I can’t say enough about the animals we saw…I could write pages and pages and that is why I highly recommend for whoever is even thinking of going with ADS, you will just have to find out for yourself. The pictures alone on the website and the pictures we took on our own are a testament to what you really see. […] Thank you so much for providing us a trip of a life time and memories that will always last. We look forward to another trip to Tanzania with ADS!

Linda and Mike G.
Aug/Sept 2008


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