It has long been a dream of my sister, husband & I to safari in Africa & I diligently researched many, many companies with which to take our tour. ADS has many awards from the Tanzanian government & National Geographic on their outstanding work on safari and within the Tanzanian community. I had the good fortune to work with Sharon Lyons (Mama Simba), Arnold (our world class guide & driver) as well as the camp hosts & workers.
Upon our arrival in the Western Serengeti, our game drive had gems as we were right in the midst of the Great Migration! Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles & impala were in the hundreds of thousand with elephants, giraffe & mongoose in the hundreds. It is an amazing sight to be surrounded by over a million wildebeest plaintively bleating, running & fighting! Mbalagetti Lodge was beautiful, sitting on the edge of the Dutwa Plain with an outstanding view from the dining veranda, pool & spa. I particularly enjoyed the “whoop-whoop” of the hyenas close by at night.
We moved on to Central Serengeti where, starting out in early morning, we were treated to hyenas with a kill and lionesses with their kill. We enjoyed watching the large number of creatures that feed from a single kill (lionesses, hyena, jackals, white-backed vultures and Lappett vultures to name a few). It sounds cliché, but for someone who has watched hours of National Geographic’s Wild Discovery, it was surreal to be so close to the action. Our stay at the Sametu Camp could have been miserable because of the nightly rain, but Jonas & the crew made our return each night enjoyable with fabulous, fresh meals, hot showers & a hot water bottle for the cold night. Our lodging was luxurious for a tent & we enjoyed the stay. Our hot air balloon ride over the Central Serengeti was magical and serene!
The Central Serengeti is certainly “cat central” and during the 3 day period we viewed: 3 leopards, 8 cheetah, 27 lionesses, 15 male lions, and 16 cubs! We spent hours at the Masaii Kopje watching a large pride feed, then relax & play. We even had the good fortune to see a lioness up a tree! A stop at the Lion Research Center was extremely interesting & the researchers shared their identification files as well as information gleaned from years of painstaking observation – definitely an organization worthy of our donations. Leaving the research station, we sighted a Serval cat and bat eared fox which are very rare during daylight. The following day while driving to Ngorogoro Crater we were treated to a fight between two massive male hippos, and herds of elephants (some with 18+ members) knocking over trees so their babies could reach the most succulent leaves at the top – impressive!
Ngorogoro Crater was awe-inspiring! Driving on the plains, the dormant volcano is easy to see in the distance, but driving down into the caldera was magical! I loved the lush landscaping at the top of the crater with the huge plain in the center. More resident animals are found here – the beautiful black rhino was tops on my list and we saw one the moment we drove down! After such an exciting start to this region’s gems, we all absolutely loved Lion’s Paw Camp & Edward was another host that treated us like royalty! The luxury tents amid the dense foliage with bird calls in the air was a treat for the soul.
We saw more wildlife than even we could imagine, enjoyed all the stories of Arnold & appreciated the expert care taken by our hosts in the camps – it really was a trip of a lifetime! Thank you Sharon, Faith and everyone who assisted with this trip. Every day is a good day in the bush!
Candice and Michael Y. and Patricia R.
Bay Point, California
Safari Dates: June 1-12, 2014
Several months ago, we were invited to round out a group of six for a 10-day trip through the bush with Africa Dream Safaris and it took us all of 2 minutes to decide that we would never forgive ourselves if we declined. We just returned home from the trip tired but thrilled – it was an outstanding adventure and a very well coordinated one.
Upon our arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, we were met by Faith – a very sweet lady. She had everything under control for us and the next thing we knew we were at our hotel for the night. The next morning, she had us on our way via air to Grumeti. On our touch down at Grumeti, wildebeests were scurrying alongside the plane. We definitely weren’t in Illinois anymore! Stepping off the plane, we found Rafael “Rafa” Mollel, our driver-guide and soon-to-be new friend waiting for us with our home on wheels for the next 9 days. And off we went.
By day’s end, we had seen such an unbelievable variety of animals that I couldn’t imagine that the next day could be anywhere near as good but it always was. And Rafa was a wealth of knowledge on just about everything – the animals and their behavior, the plant life, the geography, etc. It was much, much more than just seeing animals – it was an education on the Serengeti.
Over the 10-day period, we noted down that we had seen at least 11 different carnivores (including 13 or so lions chowing down on an eland, several cheetahs, and a couple of leopards), 4 different primates, 5 different reptiles (including a 12-foot python that appeared right next to our vehicle while we had our focus on a pride of lions), 4 different raptors, 10 different antelopes & other ruminants, 8 other hoofed mammals (including 33 elephants in one spot and 10 black rhinos at a distance), 19 different birds, and 10 different types of trees (including several baobabs) – simply amazing! And then there was the scenery – the endless plains, the kopjes, the watering holes and rivers. Everywhere you looked, it was postcard beautiful. A place everyone should see at least once in their life.
During the trip, we stayed at 6 different places including a tented camp, a couple of tented lodges, and some luxury hotels – all were great in their own way and very different from anything we had ever experienced before. We’ve camped many times but had never heard a lion growl 20 feet from our tent before and we’ve stayed at many a nice hotel but this was the first time we’d ever shared the pool-side lounge chairs with a baboon. What fun!!!
A big thanks to Dawn who handled everything for us in the States, to Faith who took such good care of us in Arusha before we set off and after our return, and especially to Rafa who made the trip so memorable for us each and every day.
Oh, and the Tusker, Kilimanjaro, and Safari beers are all good.
Lawrence and Marcia O.
St. Charles, Illinois
Safari dates: May 23, 2014 to June 01, 2014
Our family had the opportunity to take this trip come up with fairly short notice, fortunately Sharon and the ADS team were equal to the challenge – putting together a 2 week safari with only 5 weeks’ notice.
From the lodging to the guide we were assigned, everything worked. From the time we landed until we left the ADS team did everything they could to ensure we felt safe and comfortable. They were even able to accommodate us traveling with a 10 year old.
I chose ADS after researching several other outfits, and by far, it was the best choice I made. Highpoints included over 100 lions, 11 cheetahs, 3 leopards, and 3 black rhinos. Other groups we talked did not see a fraction of what we did. Our son was treated as an equal decision maker by everyone we interacted with, and they made sure this experience will be remembered his entire life.
Thank you, ADS! You exceeded our dreams and expectations!
Dale, Deelaina & Garrett M.
Safari Dates: May 25, 2014 to June 5, 2014