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.
Safari Dates: September 15, 2014 to September 26, 2014
Words seem inadequate when it comes to describing our family safari with Africa Dream Safaris. From the moment two years ago when I began my research to the day I spoke with safari specialist Dawn, and then the day we met our driver/guide, Arnold, in Northern Tanzania, I knew we were in for an amazing adventure.
Together my husband and I along with our daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons, ages 8 and 10, embarked on this adventure confident that we were in good hands with ADS. I was only concerned about two things; how the boys would handle the two long plane rides and the long days spent in the “bush”. I needn’t have worried. They thoroughly entertained themselves on the KLM planes with the video monitors in the seat backs. They could follow our flight path so never asked “When will we be there?”
We spent on average six to seven hours each day in the land rover taking box lunches. Not once did either say they were bored and they only got out their electronic games on the last day while going through Lake Manyara. Arnold was wonderful with them and educated us all about the animals we were seeing. The Serengeti was our classroom with Arnold our teacher.
We arrived a day early so we could adjust to the time difference. Then it was off to St. Jude School. Our grandsons noted the children in this school spent much time outdoors which made an impression as it was now winter. They couldn’t help but notice lunch was being served outside. They also made note that children could run when changing activities or classrooms; something they are not allowed to do. As a former teacher, I was impressed with the joy that shone through on each child’s face. It was easy to feel the children’s excitement at being in this school.
The boys were thrilled to be on a small plane as we took off for Northern Tanzania. Arnold was waiting for us and our incredible safari began. That very first day we witnessed not one but two crossings as the wildebeests crossed the Mara River on their way to Kenya. For me it was the highlight of the trip as I have longed to see the crossing since my elementary school days. Sharing that moment with my family made it all the more special.
We spent some time going off road which gave us the opportunity to witness unbelievable encounters. We spent an hour one afternoon at a watering hole surrounded by 36 elephants. We watched the babies nurse and the adults sling mud and water on themselves. There was a special moment when one of the females turned and stepped slowly towards our vehicle. She stopped and for a moment was looking eye to eye with our grandsons who were sitting up top. As she turned to go back I couldn’t help but wonder what she was thinking. As a mother herself, was she making sure these children were in good hands? We were astonished at the grace and magnificence of these creatures.
Another day we became willing participants with a cheetah as he was on a hunt. Arnold said, “Hold on!” and off we went. We were mesmerized as we watched and Arnold explained exactly how the cheetah would kill and then eat the gazelle. We had no idea there was a sequence to the killing and eating. Knowing that we might see a kill was concerning before the trip but it was all so natural. We simply were observers of the “circle of life.”
Here are some comments from Alexander (10): “The Safari was fun because we went off road. I really liked seeing all the animals and staying at the Four Seasons Lodge. My favorite animal was the African Fish Eagle because I really like eagles and birds. I also liked the lions because they looked ferocious.” Another comment from Alexander came after we had driven through Arusha. He told his mom that he was very glad to live where he does.
Anthony’s (8) comments: “The safari was exciting because the trip was unusual. I really liked the plane ride. My favorite animal was the cheetah because we got to watch it attack and eat the gazelle. On the safari I really liked to see the environment the animals live in.”
As to the lodging, we were so impressed with each place we stayed. Each was unique and the staff was so accommodating. At Buffalo Tented Lodge we were treated to a Boma Dinner outside, a night safari, and a visit to a Maasai village. On the walking safari the boys wanted to hike to the top of the mountain. Their request was graciously granted. Once at the top they helped in starting a fire using sticks.
“A trip of a lifetime” seems rather cliche but it does sum it up very well. The Serengeti has a way of seeping into your very soul. We are so thankful for ADS and the wonderful driver/guides who make these trips possible. “Pora Pora!”
Connie M. on behalf of Jim, Amy, Mike, Alexander, and Anthony
Safari Dates: July 21, 2014 to August 1, 2014
ADS proudly sponsors The School of St. Jude – a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to the poorest and brightest children of Arusha region, Tanzania, East Africa. Here’s their monthly update:
Hundreds of students have decked out in colourful costumes to celebrate St Jude’s Day recently, showing their appreciation for the free, high-quality education they receive at the school.
Primary and secondary students did traditional African dances, including Maasai and other performances, which expressed their happiness at being able to study at St Jude’s and their dedication to their studies. Awards were given out to the best group performances on the day.
It is the third year that the event has been running and each year staff and students join together and dress up to demonstrate their sense of pride for their school. During the event’s mass, students carried baskets of goods onto the stage, which they will then distribute to needy people throughout the Arusha region.
“It makes them learn how fortunate they are to be at St Jude’s and also ensures they are in touch with and caring for other marginalised people in the community,” said Mr Peter Manjalla, the school’s Upper Primary Headmaster.
Australian Gemma Sisia set up the school in 2002 and each year it provides over 1800 Tanzanian students in Arusha a free, high-quality education so they can escape a life of poverty and gain the tools to succeed in life and the opportunity to become leaders. Students are currently learning a wide range of subjects to help them reach their career goals while ensuring they are well rounded individuals who will be able to contribute to the community in a positive way.
“I feel proud because St Jude’s helps me to succeed so I can pass my exams and become a doctor so I can treat people,” said Baba, a Standard 5 student.
All of St Jude’s academic staff are Tanzanian and it employs more than 400 people from the local area as well as more than 20 international volunteers.
“This is my first St Jude’s Day and it’s an opportunity for everyone at the school to come together,” said Josephine Bridges, ESL Teacher Mentor at the school’s secondary campus.
St Jude’s has a lot to celebrate as its first set of Form 6 students will graduate in May next year and are set to become future young leaders in their communities and in Tanzania.
If you’d like to learn more about St Jude’s, check out their website: schoolofstjude.org