Spectacular Photos from Tanzania
We are recovering at home today from our whirlwind tour of Tanzania. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for both Shawn and me. From the time our plane touched down in Tanzania to the time we were taken back to the airport, out trip was fantastic! It is more than obvious that Africa Dream Safaris provides the highest level of customer service available for trips like this, as we felt always that we were 110% taken care of, and that we were always safe and in the hands of people we could trust and who cared about our experience.
The places you arranged for us to stay and the itinerary you suggested for the dry season was perfect. I would not have changed a thing! When talking with other people there who were on safari trips with other companies, it was readily apparent that we were being managed much more efficiently, and that our level of experience while on safari was much better than anyone else we spoke with. I also noticed many other people struggling in their “pop-up” vehicles to see wildlife or get photos, so I was very happy we had the roll-top safari vehicle that ADS always uses.
Our driver certainly made our trip very enjoyable and productive each day. He is a wonderful, caring, intelligent, thoughtful and obviously very experienced safari guide. I almost couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get a person like him to be our guide! He kept us “on track” every day and made sure that we filled our days with new discoveries and experiences, and worked hard each day for us to be sure we would see all of the animals “up close”, as well as learn about the local ecosystems. He filled our days with amazing encounters of all kinds, including the “big 5″ and a river crossing, and also filled our minds with new information. I didn’t realize I could learn so much from one person in a little more than 8 days! We came to adore him before we left and felt that we had truly made a good friend. We would probably like to send him a small gift sometime in the next several weeks, if you could tell me where to send it.
I must also thank you for your correspondence sent to us prior to our trip and all of the information you sent to help us with planning and packing. We had everything we needed for a perfect safari and thankfully did not pack too much! Your advice regarding the travel issues, clothing to take, and what supplies we would need (and not need) while there were “spot on.” I must say one of the best tidbits of advice was taking a multiple outlet cord for plugging in our chargers. I bought a small travel version for about $10 to take along, and it made it much easier to keep everything charged up at the places that had limited generator time and limited outlets. (that should be a “must take” on your list)
We very much enjoyed every tent camp and every lodge we stayed in while there, but the “shining star” was the Swala camp. We also very much enjoyed the location and food at the Buffalo camp. The private luxury camping was also a highlight. We received extremely good service everywhere we stayed, (we have no complaints!) and I almost always ended up tipping a little more because we really felt that everyone was going the extra mile for us to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable.
I would make sure that you encourage all of your clients to do the Private Luxury camping, because we enjoyed those nights of seclusion with the Hyenas howling and the wildlife all around us so much! (one hyena came to sniff around our tent and howl us to sleep both nights. It was really great!)
Two other things that we enjoyed very much were the Safari walk at the Buffalo Camp (very interactive and educational!) and the Maasai Village visit. I had read in your last e-mail that some people had reported having bad experiences while visiting the Maasai villages, but that was not the case for us. Our guide encouraged us to consider the village visit, and he took us to a remote village close to the Buffalo Camp. The Maasai people there were warm and inviting, and really went out of their way to spend alot of time interacting with us, including teaching us about their culture and way of life, and dancing and singing for us. The Maasai Warriors threw spears and we took video of them. When we showed them pictures and video on our cameras they were very excited and they laughed while watching each other.
Before we knew it, we had them playing with our cameras and they took a lot of neat photos of each other, of us, and of the village that we will always treasure. The close interaction with these young men that were friendly and joyous was heart warming. Nobody “pressured” us to buy anything. Our guide told us before going there that the women did sell beaded work, and that they would set some things out for us to look at and purchase if we liked. They had quite a bit to choose from! Shawn did buy several pieces of beautiful jewelry there, but again we did not feel that we had to purchase anything. I tipped our Maasai village guide, who spoke perfect English, as suggested in your ADS guide, but after I left I felt maybe I should have given him more to maybe help out their small village a little.
It was a really positive experience for us, and we left feeling that we had really made a rare cultural connection with the people of this small village. I’m glad we had the opportunity to understand them as individuals and their Maasai culture better, and I hope they could see we were not there only as “tourists,” as many visitors probably are.
Again, we appreciate your help and all of the ADS staff for making this the most wonderful vacation experience ever for us. Going there has truly changed us, and the time there will be unforgettable in years to come. We are already thinking about possibly going back sometime in the future during the rainy season to see the difference and learn a little more about Tanzania.
ASANTE SANA from both of us!!
Mark and Shawn Pitts