It has been my dream for years to go on an African Safari, but the only roadblock to fulfilling this has been my hesitant husband who does not like to travel too far from home and is reluctant to be too far from a golf course. However, with some cajoling and my volunteering to do all the planning, I finally convinced him it was probably in his best interest to accompany me to Africa.
I searched long and hard to find a reputable company and talked to many people in the DC area about their experiences. Some had good experiences, but not all of them. However after lots of hours on the internet and conversations, I zeroed in on Africa Dream Safaris. ADS came highly recommended to us by three couples. And they were right. We definitely picked the best Safari outfit in Tanzania. Perhaps the best testimonial to our complete satisfaction is seeing the enthusiasm on my husband's face each day before we started and the excited conversations we had at days end when we recounted all that we had seen.
Plans from the beginning to the end were perfect. We lodged in three different locations and they were all were unbelievable. From the time we landed at Kilimanjaro until our return trip to the states, ADS took excellent care of us. Our Safari into the bush was like a movie - every day was a new adventure. Even though our guide briefed us what we were doing each day, we never knew what we might encounter. And thanks to our wonderful guide, Francis, we were never disappointed.
If I were asked to describe Africa Dreams Safari to someone, I would answer with three words: creative, organized and efficient. Our particular trip was created by the ADS staff after talking with us and asking probing questions to ascertain what we wanted to see and do and then offering proposals to us until we reached an agreement on an itinerary. From the planning stage until we returned home, ADS had organized their staff to meet our every need and "then some". Everything went like clockwork and we marveled at their efficiency. As a matter of fact their efficiency was the factor that turned my husband's reluctance around 180 degrees.
Our accommodations were awesome and all possessed a staff that was friendly, courteous and eager to please. We looked forward to mealtimes as the menus were varied and the service excellent. The food was well-prepared and tasty. In fact, the entire evenings were delightful. Two of our three locations had views that were spectacular. We had never witnessed sunsets so beautiful. And who could forget looking up and observing thousands and thousands of stars in the heavens, something truly special for us city-dwellers.
Both my husband and I agree that without a good guide, our safari would have suffered considerably. We were blessed to have Francis as our guide and no one could have asked for a better one than him. His knowledge of the area was vast and he kept us informed throughout each day. His excursions were well thought out, yet he was flexible to alter his planned route if we wanted to remain longer at a particular site or skip one completely.
Each morning he would be waiting for us, packed and ready with all provisions for the day. He would announce what was in store for us that day and what he hoped for us to see. He was careful to explain what he could do and what he could not do and we always felt we were in good hands. He was very patient with us and very mindful of those of us who were not feeling well and needed frequent rest stops.
Francis possessed uncanny eyesight. He could see a small speck of a sandy brown object at 500 yards and tell us what animal it was; he was never wrong. He seemed to sense the animals' presence before we saw them and he would patiently wait for us to get the perfect photograph. We saw a leopard, a rare sight. We heard hippos snort and sing to each other. We were able to hear the hyenas laugh as they fought over a kill. We learned much about elephants and their love of family. At times we thought we were in Jurassic Park when we watched those stately giraffes walk.
Francis became more than a guide - he became our friend. On our last night with him we invited him to dinner and then afterwards we put on a skit for him depicting our idiosyncrasies on the trip. We all had great laughs that night.
We were sad we had to leave this beautiful country with the most awesome wildlife, but as we said our goodbyes, we knew in our hearts we took a bit of Africa home with us. Our memories and our photos will always keep this adventure with us. And best of all my dream came true!
Diane and Skip Perrine