Tag: South Carolina

Another Epic Adventure!

I recently returned from another fabulous safari with ADS….my fourth! As I basked once again in the beauty of Tanzania and its people, I couldn’t help but wonder how can anything surpass such glory?! To travel to this haven of natural wonder four times is such a blessing. To watch the circle of life play out in front of one’s eyes is truly amazing. To do so on a private safari with ADS makes for an incomparable experience…every time! There’s just no other way to go!

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I’m Addicted!

This was my third safari to Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris and once again, it was fabulous! I have now been to Tanzania in February during the green season, September during the dry season, and this time in April. Each safari has been different, special, and always perfect thanks to the work of the people at ADS!

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We Were So Pleased We Chose A Private Safari Instead Of A Group One.

My wife and I finished our 10 day Tanzanian Safari to Serengeti Plains, Ngorongora Crater and Lake Manyara in early February. It was an amazing experience – more so than we imagined it would be. Africa Dream Safaris organized every detail perfectly. Any questions we had were immediately answered. In fact, the company provided a very detailed book before the safari filled with information about what to expect and what to take with us. One concern I had before the trip was what to do about toileting while on safari. This turned out to be a nonissue as our guide stopped every few hours at bathroom facilities

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Thanks To ADS Our Trip Was Flawless

This is going to be challenging to write as words can in no way begin to describe the experiences my husband and I had on our safari in Tanzania. We booked a 9 day safari July 13 to July 22 with African Dream Safaris after an extremely thorough online search of safari outfitters. The decision to book with ADS turned out to be the perfect choice! I had read so many of the “This Week in Tanzania” travelogues leading up to our departure… my expectations were very high. I thought there would be no way that the actual experience would even be close to what I was imagining. Turns out I was wrong.

After our short flight to the Serengeti from Arusha we were met by our driver-guide, Bernard. Bernard is a wonderful, knowledgeable and extremely gifted driver-guide. After introductions and stowing of luggage, we were off on our first wildlife viewing drive. There were wildebeests, ostriches, impalas, klipspringer and elephants everywhere! After enjoying several hours of animal viewing we decided to stop for lunch.

Bernard drove up to a rocky area (kopje) where 3 female lions and 9 cubs were sunning themselves. We ate our lunch and observed the lions, which were only 15-20 feet away from us. It was absolutely amazing to watch this pride of lions scramble around on the rocks as we took pictures and finished our lunch. The word “surreal” is so overused, but it is exactly right for this instance… and really the whole trip.

After leaving the lions we came across a herd of elephants cooling off in the Mara River. Along the bank of the river were gazelles, zebras and hippos. On the way to the Mara River Camp we saw many monkeys and gazelles. After our first day I was thinking that we experienced so much, it couldn’t possibly continue at that level. Again, I was so wrong.

We had decided to start each day as early as possible (usually leaving the camp at 6:30am) so that we could see the animals at their most active. You MUST do this if you go on safari! Our first full day began with a spectacular sunrise, followed closely by an encounter with 4 young lions trotting along the river near a large herd of giraffe and zebra.

As we were watching the scene unfold, Bernard got a call that the wildebeest were crossing the Mara River! We had to quickly decide whether to continue with the lions or drive to the river. We chose to drive to the river and made it in time to see the spectacular wildebeest crossing. Again, there are no words that can possibly describe this experience.

One side note, when we were driving off to see the wildebeest, a group of 15-20 giraffes started running full-out next to our vehicle. That is an image that I will never forget. Simply magical! Shortly after the wildebeest crossing we came upon a leopard in a tree! We watched as the leopard jumped from the tree and began stalking some impala.

We followed the leopard for awhile until we came upon 4 more lions guarding a recent Topi kill. Vultures and spotted hyenas were also getting in on the action. It is absolutely amazing that all of this happened before 10:00 in the morning! The afternoon was spent by the river observing hippos, crocodiles, thousands of wildebeest, zebra, impala, buffalo, warthogs, jackals, eland, and the list goes on.

Again, after the second day I was amazed that it could have been as good, if not better, than the first day. I thought certainly it would have to be downhill from there. Are you beginning to see the pattern? Boy, was I wrong!

We spent part of a morning watching a lioness move her three newborn cubs from an area of tall grass to a rocky kopje about 500 meters away. The little cubs were just swinging from their mother’s mouth as she trotted along the trail. There was also an afternoon when we watched a 14 foot crocodile defending its kill from several other crocodiles in a small pond. It was a pretty intense battle!

One highlight of the trip (in a trip FULL of highlights) was the night game drive during our stay at the Buffalo Luxury Camp. We headed out about 9:00 with a driver-guide and a spotter. As we drove the spotter swept his spotlight back and forth, looking for eyes in the darkness. We came upon a male lion laying down in the grass, and as we watched two small cubs ran up and started leaping about on his head trying to get him to play. There was a large pride in the grass a few meters away. We thought to only stay out for an hour or so, but we saw so many incredible animals that we were out until after 11:00! If the opportunity for a night drive presents itself… GO!

We did see the Big 5! The black rhinoceros proved to be the most elusive, but we saw one in the Ngorongoro Crater. Over the course of our safari we were fortunate to have many leopard and cheetah sightings, as well as an abundance of buffalo, lions, zebras, hippos, giraffes, gazelles, elephants, and the list goes on and on. For every animal I name, there are 10 I am not mentioning. That is no exaggeration… I just don’t want to write a huge list of animals with no details about the experience.

We stayed in 5 different accommodations, and each one was incredible! Our accommodations included the Mount Meru Resort, Mara River Camp, Buffalo Luxury Camp, Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena Lodge and the Bougainvillea Lodge. The staff at each location were so friendly and welcoming, the food was excellent (including the box lunches which we had every day) and the rooms were amazingly comfortable. I could write several more pages raving about each of the accommodations!

African Dream Safaris made everything about this journey a pleasure! The planning is meticulously done so that the trip itself is seamless. We felt honored to be able to experience the Serengeti on this amazing adventure. Thanks to African Dream Safaris, our trip was flawless. On this point, I am absolutely correct.

Jacki and Brad B.
Greenville, South Carolina
Safari Dates: July 13, 2016 to July 21, 2016

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The Number One Trip Of Our Lives!

From the moment our plane touched down in Tanzania, Africa Dream Safaris exceeded every expectation we had. Marcus took care of all paperwork at the airport with no hassles. He and Timon then drove us safely to Mount Meru hotel, answering every question we could think of asking.

After getting us settled in our hotel for the night, they drove us to the Arusha air strip the next morning for our flight to the Western Corridor of the country. They made sure everything was taken care of during ever aspect of that part of our trip. Our flight to the Western Corridor was beautiful with a very professional pilot.

After landing, our guide, Peter, picked us up, and away we went for the adventure of our lives. Our first day was amazing! We even told our guide that there was NO WAY the next day could measure up, but how wrong we were. Every day was better than the last. We saw over one hundred lions, thousands of wildebeests, zebras, antelopes, gazelles, and topis.

The great migration was unbelievable—–animals as far as you could see in both directions! We even saw eight of the 500 cheetah in the Serengeti, eight leopards, a serval, seven of the 33 endangered rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater, hundreds of hippos, elephants baboons,and monkeys. Every day was new and exciting. We saw more animals that we ever thought possible.

Our guide, Peter, was excellent. He spotted almost every animal around and worked extremely hard to make sure we saw everything possible. We even saw mating lions, lions dining on a zebra (twice). We never got to see an actual kill, but saw lions stalking topis and cheetahs on the hunt. I think we saw every type of animal in the Serengeti.

Our visit to a Maasai village was fascinating and a favorite part of the trip. The Maasai culture amazed me! Our guide in the village was a chief’s son (a fourth wife’s child and one of thirty five of the Chief’s children), who had been educated in Arusha, but had decided to return to his village. He gave us a first class tour of his village. The kindergarten children melted my heart. I will never forget the very young Maasai children taking the goats and cows out to graze each day. They walked miles with the herds, then returned each night—-with lions all around! The shoes worn by the Maasai (I call them tire shoes) were made of TIRES! They could walk miles in them!

Our lodges were all first class. We stayed in Mbalageti, Serena Serengeti (my daughter;s favorite), Lake Masek tented lodge, Ngorongoro Serena, and Plantation Lodge. My favorite was the Lake Masek tented lodge. Hippos bathed in the lake all day and at night you could hear them walking by the tents eating grass, returning to the lake at daybreak. Our food was very good. You could always find something delicious for dinner. Our box lunches and breakfasts were also very good (although too much food!). On my next trip, I will stay in all ADS tented lodges. Our guide took us by the Sametu ADS lodge and it was quite impressive, very intimate with excellent staff.

African Dream Safaris went above and beyond all expectations to make this trip our NUMBER ONE TRIP OF OUR LIVES! Many thanks to Dawn, Marcus, Timon (whom we found out was a Maasai tribe member. He entertained us with numerous stories!), all of the staff at our lodges, and especially our guide, Peter (THE BEST OF THE BEST!!!). We will return to this beautiful country again! Thanks ADS for giving us the TRIP OF A LIFETIME!

Cindy H.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Safari Dates: May 29, 2015 to June 8, 2015

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One Trip Was Not Enough

After our first Africa Dream Safari 2 ½ years ago in the dry season, we could not wait for another adventure in the green season. Again we were delighted with the tented camps, crater lodge, excellent food, the abundant wildlife, our knowledgeable driver- guide, Michael, and the delightful Tanzanian people we met along the way.

While staying in Arusha an extra day, we enjoyed a tour of this rapidly growing city. Visiting St. Jude’s School was inspirational!

On safari we were again treated to an exciting array of wildlife. Our safari included seventy lions, ten cheetahs, eleven black rhinos, numerous giraffes, troupes of baboons and Velvet Monkeys, hippos, elephants everywhere, and the great migration of zebra and wildebeest as far as the eye could see. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, below is a small sample.

We had been told by an acquaintance that if a person had only one trip to take, it would be to Tanzania. Now we are believers! And ADS is the best way to do it!!

Katherine and Howard E.
Lexington, South Carolina
Safari Dates: March 5, 2015 to March 13, 2015

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Tanzanian Splendor!

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

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

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

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

A few of my favorite moments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Visiting the Masai boma.

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

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

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

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

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

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Detailed Trip Report, Tips and Recommendations

We just returned from our fantastic trip to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. My wife and I, along with our 2 boys (18 and 16), had a truly wonderful trip and we are already missing the animals and landscape. I’ve been thinking: Is Swahili that difficult to learn and can I find a job there? Although we do a considerable amount of adventure photography (our last trip was underwater photography of whale sharks), I’ve never been out of the Western Hemisphere, so I was somewhat anxious about making the flight and personal connections in Tanzania. However, all of that anxiety was unnecessary as Africa Dream Safari organized this trip perfectly.

Before we go into details and give some suggestions, I should say that we wanted to do a lot of photography and Dawn suggested renting a good camera and lens. In addition to my reasonably good Nikon D90 with a 70-­‐210 F2.8 lens, I rented a D800 and an 80-­‐400 F 4.5-­‐5.6 lens (key decision), because we often had several people wanting to take pictures at the same time. The D800 has to capability of taking 36-­‐ megapixel images; thus, the images made by this camera are wonderful. Also, bring one wide-­‐angle lens for those scenic shots.

Because I was shooting fine JPEG and RAW images simultaneously, I used a lot of memory with each mage I took. I had 8 SD cards (ranging from 8 GB to 64 GB) and could fill them every day, so bringing a laptop computer is another important decision to download the images. Make sure you bring the cable that connects your camera to the computer so you can download the images. I forgot my cord, but fortunately my Mac has an SD card slot. Also, bring a copy of your camera’s users manual – I had to resort to it several times during the trip. Downloading the pdf to the computer is a nice way to save weight. Our driver-­‐ guide had 2 good beanbags in his LandRover, so don’t bring your own or go buy beans in the Arusha market (like I did).

We also brought a video camera and a drone to fly over the animals. (***Note: Subsequent to this safari, the Tanzanian government has now banned the use of drones***) The drone is capable of taking jpeg images and video. The drone enabled us to get a hot air balloon view anytime we wanted for less than the cost of a 1-­‐hour balloon ride for 3 people. Interestingly, we were not the only people using drones for photography. Our driver-­‐guide enthusiastically, but safely, encouraged the use of the drone. We have many spectacular aerial images of animals in their habitat. Although viewing the animals from the roadside is wonderful, the aerial images give an entirely new view of the animals in their environment.

International flights: We took Delta to Amsterdam and Delta (KLM) to the Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. Delta was much less expensive than flying KLM, but used the same aircraft. All of the flights had excellent in-­‐seat entertainment. Our single checked bag made it without issue.

Kilimanjaro Airport reception: Faith (who is a wonderful person and very pregnant at the time) met us at the airport and got us through the visa line quickly. We were taken by van to the Mount Meru Resort – a 1-­‐hour drive. At the entrance, they check under the vans and cars with mirrors to make sure the place is safe. The hotel is nice, but since it is the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, the pool was just a little too cold four our taste. We took an extra day to recover from our 24-hour journey, so we just slept late at the hotel and then went for an Africa Dream Safari provided drive around Arusha. Arusha is a large city with significant poverty; it is amazing that Tanzania has been able to keep the Serengeti from being converted to farmland just like the American Plains were.

Getting to the Arusha Regional Airport to the Grumeti Airstrip: Faith met us at the hotel and helped us with the hotel checkout. She also arranged for us to leave a bag of clean clothes with the local Africa Dream Safari people.

Flight from Arusha Regional Airport to the Grumeti Airstrip (Western Serengeti): We flew with Regional Air on a Cessna Caravan C 208 B, which holds only 11 people. All of our checked bags were weighed as we were allotted some 30 pounds of luggage each. The carry-­‐on baggage was very small (basically your cameras). This plane does not have any overhead storage, obviously. The Arusha Airport landing strip is over 5000 feet long – plenty long for this type of aircraft. (Of note, Ethiopian Airlines landed a 767 on this landing strip in December of 2013. One more reason not to take Ethiopian Airlines.) The Cessna Caravan C 208 B is a twin-­‐engine turboprop aircraft with an excellent overall safety record.

Grumeti Airstrip: Hard packed landing strip on a flat area of the Western Serengeti. Again, no safety problems; however, one of our bags (the one with the drone) was accidentally loaded onto another aircraft. We got the bag later in the day. The landing was great as we could see wildebeests, warthogs and hippos all around the airport. We were met at the airstrip by our driver-‐guide, Inglebert.

Game drives: The drives start immediately upon arrival to the airstrip. Inglebert turns out to be a pleasant chap, terrific guide and excellent photographer. He is quite knowledgeable about the ecosystem, the animals and their habits. Having a knowledgeable Swahili-­‐speaking guide is key as they radio each other with the locations of the various animals. This guaranteed us a concentrated game viewing experience. It may have been luck, but we saw 3 rhinos, 3 leopards, a python, and over 50 lions on our 6-­‐day tour.

Speaking of lions, we saw lionesses in trees teaching cubs to climb, one group of seven lion cubs and another of 11 lion cubs. We also saw 2 lionesses make 3 wildebeest kills in less than 1-hour; apparently, they were “playing”. But we came for the migration and we saw hundreds of thousands of wildebeests and additional large groups of zebras, buffalos, impalas, and gazelles.

Key tip to the photographers – relax, you will get to see everything up close. Some days are designed for lions whereas other days for leopards. Trust Inglebert. But beware; he will give you a full day of animal viewing. Our game drives started at 6 am sharp, so we were usually up at 5 am, and we often didn’t reach the lodge until 6 pm many evenings. We were all happy to have taken the extra day in Arusha; otherwise, I think the first day’s game drive would have been difficult due to fatigue.

Mbalageti Lodge: Of all of our accommodations, this was my favorite camp. These “tents” have cement floors, rock and concrete walls, and metal roofs. Although tarps separate the living area from the bedrooms, there are doors and rock walls separating the bathrooms. The rooms are equipped with wooden furnature, leather couches, and a TV /DVD. Various DVD’s are available for viewing, but we never turned on the TV. The rooms also have a small refrigerator with complimentary water, sodas and beer. The view from the attached wooden deck is spectacular.

The camp is well positioned for the May-June part of the migration. Obviously, this lodge is in the bush and animals can, and do, wander through the camp. After dark you are required to have a guide to leave the tent. The tents all have bathrooms with hot water; hair dryers, towels, soap and shampoo are provided. Apparently, the water is heated by solar power, so take your showers at night. The warm water supply in the morning is limited. Beds are very nice and comfortable. The electricity is turned off in the mid afternoon and from midnight to 5 am, so charge your electronics appropriately. Locking safe is available. The lodge has a pool, but the water was just too cold. Dinner was great. Breakfast was a boxed meal as was lunch. Both were excellent.

Serengeti Serena Lodge. Not a tented camp, but rustic and very nice. My son particularly appreciated the WiFi. The camp is well positioned for the central and north Serengeti with its resident lions and leopards. The views from the rooms and throughout the lodge are spectacular. Obviously, this lodge is in the bush and animals can, and do, wander through the camp. After dark you are required to have a guide to leave the tent. This camp has a resident leopard that killed a dik‐dik outside our room one evening. We were disappointed as to not have recorded the action digitally, but we heard it. However, the kill was made at 6 pm – during the daytime before you are required to have a Maasai walk around the camp with you. Watch small children carefully at all camps – especially this one. Apparently, this leopard left her cub in a lodge room in 2012; I guess she couldn’t find any daycare that day. Bathrooms are very well equipped; hair dryers, towels, soap and shampoo are provided. Beds are very nice and comfortable. The electricity is available throughout the day and night. Locking safe is available. The lodge has a pool, but the water was just too cold. Dinner was great. Breakfast was a boxed meal as was lunch. Both were excellent.

Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Tented Camp: The most tent‐like experience of all three lodges. The view is spectacular. The camp is well positioned in the Ngorongoro Crater, so you get an early jump on the animals for those great early morning photos. This camp is at altitude, so it is cold at night and in the morning‐but I really didn’t need the long underwear – only a fleece jacket. No gloves are needed either. Obviously, this lodge is in the bush and animals can, and do, wander through the camp. After dark you are required to have a guide to leave the tent. Bathrooms are very well equipped; hair dryers, towels, soap and shampoo are provided. Unlike the other 2 camps, the toilet is behind a tarp – not a door. Also, the shower is actually a real camp shower – someone filling up the reservoir with 40 liters of hot water. Beds are very nice and comfortable. The electricity is available throughout the day and night. Locking safe is not available. Dinner was great as was breakfast. Lunch was an excellent boxed lunch.

Last day: After a 3-hour morning game drive where we watched lions devouring a fresh wildebeest kill, Inglebert drove us 3.5 hours from the Ngorongoro Crater to the Mount Meru Resort where we used 2 different day-rooms to shower and repack. Our clean clothes were waiting for us at the resort. We ate dinner at the hotel at 5 pm and were whisked away to the Kilimanjaro Airport by an Africa Dream Safari representative. We were dropped off at the departure door and we made our own way to the KLM counter. One exit form needs to be completed for each person prior to boarding your flight. KLM was very strict as to what could be considered hand luggage, so we ended up checking 4 bags back to the US (we only checked 1 bag coming to Arusha). Getting through emigration was easy; however, none of the bathrooms were working in the boarding area, so some of us had to leave and redo the process all over again. Our 4 checked bags made it to our destination without issue.

Electricity: You will need an EU plug adaptor as the American plug type will not work. Bring a power strip to charge multiple items at the same time. The voltage in Tanzania is 220 volts; whereas, in the US it is 110 volts. All of our cell phones, computers, and rechargeable camera charged without a converter. Things like hair driers made for the US market are not designed for that voltage and will burn up. If you insist on bringing your own hair dryers or curling irons you will also need to use a converter. We did use an inverter in the LandRover to charge the camera batteries during our long game drives. Of note, none of the lodges had AA batteries and the AAA batteries looked old, so bring a good supply of newly purchased batteries from home.

Disease and Health Issues: All of the rooms come equipped with mosquito netting, but we didn’t see many mosquitoes. We sprayed all of our clothes with Permethrin prior to departure and we rarely needed to use DEET containing substances. Red ants are found outside and can be painful so don’t play with them (sounds obvious, but they are intoxicating to watch and fun to provoke).

Consider bringing some medication designed to relieve itching due to bites and stings. Only one brief case of traveler’s diarrhea occurred, which resolved quickly with Lomotil and ciprofloxacin. Consider making an appointment with your physician to get a week supply of ciprofloxacin just in case the traveler’s diarrhea gets you too; Lomotil is available over-­‐the-­‐counter. The roads are hard – packed dirt and very ruff – it’s called the Serengeti massage, so bring some Tylenol and/or Advil. The sun can be bright, so bring sunscreen. The hats provided by Africa Dream Safari proved to be key at preventing sunburn.

Money and tips: It is difficult not to tip well after seeing the poverty in Arusha and in the Maasai villages. Bring more cash than you think you will need. I never used my credit card due to possible fraud issues, but I ended up with just $7 in my pocket when we arrived in the US.

You pay for all of your drinks including water at dinner (except at Lion’s Paw; drinks, including alcohol, are complementary). Take a lot of 1‐dollar bills with you to tip baggage‐porters and the Maasai to lead you to and from dinner in the dark. It is not much to us, but I think it makes a significant contribution to them. I blew through 100 $1 bills easily in just 8 days. Tip $10‐20 per day per group at each of the lodges. They all have tip boxes (except Lion’s Paw). Tip your driver guide $70/day – use $100 bills when possible.

Jay, Abby, Alex and Collin R.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Safari Dates: June 2, 2014 to June 9, 2014

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A Family Adventure – Crocs, Wildebeest and the Big 5

Africa Dream Safaris provided a spectacular safari.  We were a varied group, with travelers from 22 years old to 65 years old. Judy (my cousin) was a list keeper and note taker, and she listed 41 animals and about 110 birds that were identified during our safari. Our guide, made sure that we saw the “big five” and some of the “little five”.  He has eagle eyes!

In the northern Serengeti we witnessed the wildebeest migration and the famous crossing of the Mara River.  The crocs were also in attendance at the crossing!

Not only did we see many, many animals on safari but we saw the majority of them very up close and personal.  We shared the road with a pride of lions.  We stopped along the side of the road to watch and the fearless lionesses and the cubs walked right past us. When a herd of elephants crossed the road we were surrounded by the huge animals.  We were close enough to smell the hyenas. Giraffes looked at us as curiously as we looked at them and then strolled by.

The cultural and educational stops were worthy also.  The visit to the F.A.M.E clinic and hospital was especially interesting to those of us with a medical background.  We’ve investigated the project since we arrived home to find out more about their mission. Emily (our 22 year old anthropology student) enjoyed the Olduvai Gorge Tour. Judy was especially amazed by the Maasai village visit. George and Judy were interested in the Maasai shepherds, coffee plantations and the fields of maize and rice.

We loved the mix of rustic and luxury that the tented camps give.  The Bilila Luxury Lodge was a welcome haven in the middle of the safari, and Swala Tented Lodge was hands down our favorite. Thanks to ADS for giving our family the opportunity to enjoy each other on a spectacular adventure of Tanzania.

Rebecca and John McKay and Family
Greer, South Carolina
July 2011

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