Author: C Weisberger
Date of Trip: September 2011
In September we went on Safari with Africa Dream Safaris. This was a private safari with a couple of our close friends. We flew KLM to Amsterdam and thence to Arusha. We were met just after deplaning by the ADS representatives and escorted through all the arrival formalities. We were rapidly on our way to luxury hotel the company had ready for us that nite. Early in the next AM we were escorted to the small Arusha airport and flew up to the Kogatende airstrip near the Mara River at the northern border of Tanzania. Our driver met us with the private LandCruiser and we were off for the 8 days/nites of our safari. Within minutes we were surrounded by wildlife and seeing animals and sights we had hoped for. We rapidly got used to seeing ourselves close by wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and various antelope. We saw many lions, leopard and cheetahs as well as other predators. Each day brought additional sights and adventures. We stayed in very nice tent camps and the food and facilities in these camps were excellent. Especially nice were Buffalo Springs Tented Lodge and Swala Tented lodge(in Tarangire). We stayed in two Lemala tented camps and these were quite comparable to each other. The Lemala Ngorongoro is inside the gate of the park and allowed us rapid morning access to the Ngorongoro crater. Our guide/driver had an excellent personality and was helpful and instructive. The vehicle was comfortable and had a refrigerator. The top was a roll top rather than pop top used by most of the others. Our daily adventures were at our leisure as the schedule was entirely ours. We usually left early and had a picnic lunch returning to the camps for dinner. A twilight game drive from Buffalo Springs was an outstanding experience. Much activity goes on in the twilight and at night and is worth trying to experience. We took thousands of photos and many minutes of video. Having a ‘superzoom’ camera and an HD video camera with large optical zoom were wonderful ideas. We brought those as well as a semipro DSLR with 300mm zoom and all got heavy use and wonderful results. The HD camera brought back incredibly sharp motion images and the still photos by all the cameras were great. Having the 20X or greater zoomability on the point and shoot cameras was very useful.
For clothing we wore travel shirts and pants that breathed and were rapidly wash and dry. The clothes would easily dry overnite. Large brim hats and sunblock were essentials.
At the end of the trip we were escorted back to the Kilimanjaro Airport for our flight back to Amsterday and home. The safari was one of the best travel experiences we’ve had. While the private safari was more expensive than group safari’s that are available, it allowed us more freedom to arrange our days to our own interests. We highly recommend this experience to nature lovers and photographers.