Group Lodge safari to Lake Manyara/Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire

Part 1

A huge thank you to all of you who planned our Tanzania Safari from Jan. 29th -Feb.8th. It was a fantastic trip with perfect weather, lovely accommodations and a great guide/driver Ephata. From the time we were met at the Kilimanjaro airport and whisked through the long visa line and out to meet our guide, we were taken care of like "queens." Four ladies could not have had a more exciting and breathtaking adventure. We will certainly recommend your company to everyone. This was a trip of a lifetime, just as we had always heard. The balloon ride over the Serengeti at sunrise was a real highlight too. There are so many superlatives about the safari that only photos tell the entire story. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Carolyn Davis, Evelyn Gates, Elizabeth Whitten, Toni Hardin

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Part 2

There were so many great things about the safari that I failed to mention in my first email. Having an extra
day and night at the Arusha Coffee Plantation before we started the safari was the best plann ing you could have done for us.
The second best thing was having a day room there on our last day! This allowed us to get ourselves organized, repack and slow down before those long flights home. I also failed to mention that Ephata took us to a Maasai school for a visit. We carried a duffel bag of school supplies and made a monetary donation. The school was Esilalei School, on the way from Arusha to Lake Manyara.  We had no idea the school situation was so inferior to what we have and take for granted in the United States. Since our return we have looked up the school on the internet, and I plan to show the video to our school here in Clarksdale.

I must also tell you that we saw the Big Five, plus black rhino, a leopard with her cubs, a cheetah with 4 cubs, wildebeest calving with new born, migration of the wildebeest and zebra, so much more!!! Then the elephants just outside our room at the Tarangire Lodge made the trip complete. They had a waterhole just behind our room and were playing. We were up close and personal with the herd of elephants! Being four ladies, we loved being in lodges and traveling alone and not being on a tour '¦
The lodges were all different but very African and so much service was provided in every respect. I could write a journal, but you know how wonderful your accommodations are for your travelers. Thank you again.

Carolyn Davis, Jan-Feb 2013

Group Lodge Safari in Kenya to Amboseli/Nakuru/Maasai Mara Group Lodge Safari in Tanzania to Lake Manyara/Serengeti/Ngorongoro/Tarangire

Hi Allana,
We just want to thank you for your work in booking our safari for us! We had the most amazing time! It was better than we could have ever expected. Even though we ended up being a day late because of a cancelled flight, everything was taken care of, we caught up to the g roup the next day, and we still saw so much. We never expected to see SO MANY animals! We saw four of the big five on our very first game drive, and the fifth, a rhino, on our second day. Our guides were great, especially Hillary in Tanzania. He was so friendly and knowledgeable, and we learned so much from him! He was also great at spotting animals that we never would have seen, like leopards in trees! One day in Ngorongoro, he spotted a male lion behind his kill, a buffalo, far off in the distance. As we watched, the herd of buffalo chased the lion off. Eventually, the herd started moving away and hyenas and jackals took over the kill. Hillary told us if we kept watching, the lion would come back to claim his kill, and sure enough, he did!It was wonder ful to watch!

One of the biggest highlights of our trip was in the Serengeti, where we watched a pack of seventeen lioness spot and hunt a pack of zebra and take one down! They gathered under a tree while one jumped up and spotted the herd of zebra. When she jumped down, they all started making a big circle moving towards the herd, and they were walking literally inches from our jeep! Even though hearing the dying cries of the zebra was one of the most awful sounds I've ever heard, it was breathtaking to be there and watch it all from the beginning.

We also came across a group of about two-year old lion cubs laying right beside the road in the Ngorongoro crater, and one of the males looked straight up at me, from just a few feet beside the jeep. He star ted straight into my camera while I snapped pictures!

We got so many incredible photos on this safari, and the whole experience is something we will never forget! I am already looking forward to going back someday! The others in our tour group went thro ugh other companies, and all of them said they would book through Africa Adventure Company if they were to go again. We just had so much more information and were better prepared than any of the other tourists. We have been recommending your company to eve ryone, and telling everyone they need to go on safari at least once!
Thank you again for helping us go on the vacation of a lifetime!!

Lindsey and Scott Epp, Mar 2013

Safari to Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro/Serengeti

The trip was fabulous from start to fini sh. Ephata is an outstanding guide (can see why he won guide of the year previously) and the animal viewing was spectacular. All of the accommodations were very nice as well.
I'll just start at the beginning and try to be brief. Ha.
The Serena Mountain Village was extremely nice, and the food there is outstanding. We were so glad that we were able to get there in the early afternoon to enjoy it, rather than arriving in the evening. That allowed us to take a late lunch in place of dinner, which worked out perfectly. And we had time to take a hike
around Lake Duluti, and somehow ended up being accompanied by two guides -- one from the hotel, one from the park. It was quite entertaining. We were glad to be able to get out and have a walk.
Ephata picked us up the next morning, and we were off to Lake Manyara. He told us about the coffee plantations, the towns we passed through, the Maasai. We had some good elephant encounters in Lake Manyara, but didn't see any lions there. The Kirurumu Manyara Lodge was qui te interesting. We were not expecting a two-story room!...
The Ngorongoro Crater was amazing. It quickly became apparent that while we had seen a wide range of animals on our trip to Botswana (except rhino), the sheer numbers of animals in Tanzania was astounding. We saw 28 different lions in the crater (some mating!) nine rhinoceros, about a dozen elephants including one fairly close encounter with a huge tusker, hyena, jackals, herds of buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra,
gazelles and other antelope, and b irds, notably the flamingos on the lake and the strutting male kori bustards, all puffed up and looking for love.
The lodge at the crater was comfortable, and the view over the crater was great. We watched more animals with binoculars from our deck.
'¦Before we got to our first camp in the Serengeti, we came across a family of cheetah -- a mother and four adolescents. She looked to be stalking a herd of gazelle but they somehow took notice of her and ran. She made an effort to flank them, but to no avail . The next day, we saw another cheetah and her four cubs. The cubs were extremely curious about the safari vehicles and began crawling onto the hoods and back tires, and even stood up to look into the raised roofs. I was a little spooked by that, but Ephat a if assured me there was nothing to worry about. On another drive, we saw yet another cheetah family, a mother and two cubs. This mother was watching a lone gazelle that was quite a ways off, so she was not all that interested. Then a wildebeest calf who had been separated from its mother started wandering right toward her.
When the calf bawled, she looked up and began crawling toward it. When the calf saw her and tried to run, that was it. She closed the distance in a few seconds. After she had suffocated the calf, the cheetah cubs took turns acting as if they were making the kill.
Other highlights were the tree -climbing lions. We saw one group of three mothers, each with two cubs, several times during our stay at Dunia. Once, the mothers had left the cub s when they went off to hunt. Ephata said they wouldn't leave them too long, and the cubs would run to them once they saw them coming back. He was right. It was quite a homecoming sight to see.
As much as the lions seem to like to climb trees, they are r eally not that good at it, especially coming down. We saw one big female fall about 15 feet (she was ok) and a cub fall as he tried to make his way down
All in all, in the crater and in the Serengeti, we saw 62 different lions, including one pride of 13. We saw a herd of about 60 elephants in the Serengeti and two or three smaller groups. We saw bachelor herds of impala and breeding herds, we saw a hippo pool packed with hippo flesh and a big crocodile sunning himself nearby just waiting for an opportunity . We saw many giraffe, including two young males shoving each other around and a family that came very close to the dining tent at Dunia, effectively joining us for breakfast. We saw a family of banded mongoose, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, and baboons, w arthogs, ostrich, and bat-eared foxes. For the first time, we saw topi, which Ephata said are only in the Serengeti,
though some do migrate into Kenya. We didn't see any rhino in the Serengeti, and we saw only two leopards and they were in trees at some di stance. But we saw more beautiful birds, including Fischer's love birds.
We were most impressed with seeing the cheetah kill, the lions, the huge herds of wildebeest, including those trotting in long, single-file lines to their next destination, and the elephants. Because of the abundance of wildlife and the time we had, we could enjoy just observing the animals at any given point without
feeling like we had to find something we hadn't seen.
Everyone at the Olakira and Dunia camps were accommodating. For sleeping comfort and food, Dunia was better. The bed at Olakira was somehow lopsided. While the food at Olakira was very good, the food at Dunia was exceptional. The menus were varied and flavorful and the presentation was beautiful. I don't know how those guys do it, and I regret not taking a tour of the cooking tent.
As for the conservation efforts, if I had not read the booklet in the tents, I would not have known about them. I made note of this to Peter at Dunia. I would suggest they tell guests ab out it when they arrive, or at least mention it and recommend that the guests read more about it in the booklet. Reading materials in the tent is something that Dan would never do, and I'm sure he's not the only one.
We did decide, after all, to take th e balloon ride, and are so glad we did. It was so much fun, so
peaceful. The pilot was very professional, thorough, and instilled nothing but confidence. In the air, he was a good guide, and also explained the workings of the balloon, which was quite inter esting. The champagne
toast and breakfast afterward was all nicely done'¦
Thanks again for all of your help. We really appreciated your prompt responses to our inquiries and all the effort you made to help us combine the two aspects of our trip. We had a w onderful time.
Kind regards,

Lynn Feuerbach, March 2013

Safari to Arusha/Tarangire/Gibbs Farm/Ngorongoro/Serengeti

Some feedback on our trip to Tanzania.
1- Our guide, Jabshir, was a wonderful, knowledgeable, gentle man who was with us right until we departed the center of Serengeti on Thursday. We could not have asked for a better guide. . .he was truly
a key part of making our stay there incredibly exciting, informative and well worth our while.
2-The staff everywhere we stayed could not have been more helpful. . .and after a small disaster at the
Serena Lake Manyara, Mustafa, the manager there, saved our bacon by assisting us in finding Ronnie's
missing passport and money (in her new duffle -bag). Phew! He was our hero for sure!
3-The Exploreans Ngo rongoro Lodge was truly the most outstanding of all of our accommodation s. . From the size of our room to the food that was served each day.
4-We came to Tanzania for the animals and we got them.. .the thousands of animals, birds, scenery.
Truly spectacular!
5-The assistance provided to us arriving and leaving Tanzania was comforting and made our entire stay practically worry free.

Ronnie Heller, Jan-Feb 2013

Kibale Forest/Queen Elizabeth Park/Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in UgandaVolcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Hello Allana,
Now that we are finally over our jetlag and before we forget all the details of our amazing trip, Angela and I wanted to share our thoughts with you about our visit to Uganda and Rwanda. First of all, we want to say that once again the Africa Adventure Company delivered just what was promised. Our guide, Sula, was terrific. And the time we got to spend with the chimps and gorillas is something we will never forget.
From the minute we met Sula at the Entebbe airport, we knew we were in good hands. Sula is an incredible driver who navigated the very rough roads in both Uganda and Rwanda with great skill. He is also fantastic at finding wildlife that other guides couldn't. He was initially a bit shy and reserved, but by the end of our tour we had developed a good rapport with him.
The 11 hours we spent with the chimps in the Kibale Forest was a wonderful experience. We started the
day in the dark with our excellent guide, Harriet. She quickly located the chimps as they were c oming down from their nests in the trees to begin their day. We watched them feed, groom each other, play, rest, and
then pick up and move to another location to repeat the process. We followed a group of about 30 chimps
as they moved throughout the very dense forest. At one point, a chimp approached to within a couple of feet of me before heading off on his way. While I was enjoying this, I failed to notice another chimp in a
tree directly over my head. Just then, he (or she) decided to let go and I g ot covered with chimp poop! This
'christening' did not spoil my day, but Angela and our friend, Cheryl, did keep their distance from me for
the rest of the day.
We spent the next couple of days in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The boat trip on the Kazinga Channel was fun and allowed us to get up close and personal with hippos, buffalos, monitor lizards, a crocodile, and
a late-afternoon thunder and lightning storm. Our stay at the Ishasha Wilderness Camp was highlighted by a visit of a full-grown male lion while we were enjoying a gourmet dinner under the stars.
He walked in from the parking lot, stopped briefly to look at us over his shoulder, and then calmly walked away in the direction of our tent. We were all stunned and looked at each other to v erify what we had just seen.
Thanks to Sula, we were the only group in the area who got to see the tree -climbing lions, on two different occasions. The first time, it was a lioness and her chubby cub. The next day, it was five lions in one tree.
The wildlife in the Ishasha region was impressive. The buffalo, kob, and topi were plentiful and beautiful. From Ishasha, we went on to Bwindi and then to the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to visit the
gorillas. Both treks were wonderful. The gorillas let us get incredibly close and seemed to be quite
comfortable having humans nearby. Although the gorillas are large powerful animals, we never felt uncomfortable or in any danger being close to them. In Rwanda, the head silverback of the Amahoro group kept a watchful eye on us as we visited the rest of his extended family. We watched as a mother patiently nursed her young baby. The guides 'spoke' to the gorillas and asked them to pose for our numerous
photos. It was a privilege to share a couple of h ours with these magnificent animals.
After our trek in Bwindi, we took the Buhoma community walking tour. We really enjoyed visiting the local tea pickers, hydroelectric power plant, medicine man, banana beer and gin maker, the Batwa community, and the Bwindi hospital. We were so impressed by the work of this community organization that we have decided to help with the construction of additional rainwater collection tanks in Buhoma.
'¦We have to say that this was quite a different experience from the s afari we took with Africa Adventure Company two years ago in Tanzania. Sitting in a Land Rover, with a guide whose foot was always on the gas pedal and ready to move was a great way to view the wildlife in the Serengeti and Ngorngoro Crater, but being on foot with nothing between us and only a few feet away from wild chimps and gorillas was an experience we will never forget! Thank you all once again for helping to make this trip for Angela and me a once-in-a lifetime thrill!

Eric and Angela Norman, Jan 2013

Safari to Aberdare and the Maasai MaraSafari to Ngorongoro CraterNdarakwai Ranch

Elena'”and other AAC team members:
We returned last night from our safari and I needed to let you know just how incredible it was. Perhaps more importantly, I wanted to let you know how important your advice and guidance (not to mention patience) were to this amazing experience. It was everything we could have hoped for and more'¦and your recommended stops (Sala's Camp, Ngorongoro, Ndarakwai) were just sp ectacular. As you so accurately predicted, the tented camps were not only a totally different experience but also really 'made' the trip. We all agreed that among all of the traveling we have done, both Sala's and Ndarakwai were easily two of the most extraordinary places we have ever been '”and places we would return to in a heartbeat. And all of
your carefully plotted logistics worked to perfection. Further, Jobshir, our driver/guide in Tanzania was a font of knowledge and a pleasure to travel with.
So..on behalf of all 5 of us, MANY thanks for all of your help and guidance. It was a pleasure to work with you and your patience and knowledge really made all the difference in the world. We'll definitely be recommending you to our friends and via Trip A dvisor!
All the best

Stan Soloway, Feb 2013

Group Lodge Safari to Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and TarangireIsland Getaway to Zanzibar Island

My husband and I are back from our safari in Tanzania and I just wanted to send an emai l to tell everyone at the Africa Adventure Company what a wonderful time we had. We couldn't imagine it going any better than it did.
First of all, I want to thank you, Ian. You're willingness to customize our itinerary and your quick responses to my que stions through email made me very confident with you and the AAC right from the beginning.
Once we got to Tanzania the local tour operators were fantastic. The safari exceeded our expectations. We saw so many great things: lions and leopards within 10 fe et of our jeep, lions sleeping in trees, lions mating, elephants with tusks that nearly touched the ground...I could go on and on.
Coming home to a travel book sent by the AAC was a nice touch too. Once the jet lag wore off I could start thinking about t he next time we'd be going to Africa. I know that at some point in the next 5 years or so, we will be going back to Africa. And it will be with the Africa Adventure Company for sure. If I come across anyone who is looking for a tour operator, I would not h esitate to send them your way.
Thanks again for setting us up with a trip of a lifetime.

Lindsay and Kenny White, Jan 2013

EAST AFRICA January-March 2013 Royal Egyptian Tour and Tanzania Lodge Safari

Hi Allana, I have been meaning to send this email to you for the past couple of weeks. I just wanted to thank you for setting up an awesome vacation. Going to Egypt and visiting the temples, walking into the tombs at the Valley of the Kings, and then climbing through the Pyramids at Giza was fantastic. Each of my guides were terrific. It was a great experience. Then the safari - Wow! Mkenda has a nose for animals. I don't think there was any animal we didn't see at least several times. And most of the time it was right up close. Several times it felt like we were participating in a National Geographic special. One day we spent an hour parked right near three zebras as a pride of eleven lions stalked them. It was pretty cool. The tactics employed by the lions as they moved to flank the zebras was what we might see in a narrated special and here it was happening right in front of us. When the attack finally came the zeb ras were lucky enough to escape. I am sure the lions were disappointed but given how beautiful the zebras were I can't say I was.

But the trip was everything I could have asked for. I really appreciated having someone meet me as I disembarked from my plane and walk me through Customs, or bring me to the next terminal after assisting in getting my ticket. It made all my transfers simple and stress free.

So thank you for the time you spent setting it up. I understand that it is your job, but you carried it out flawlessly. I will certainly provide the company's name, and your name, to anyone wishing a recommendation on an African safari. Regards,

Butch Casey, Jan 2013

SOUTHERN AFRICA January-March 2013

Kalahari/Deception Valley/ Okavango Delta

Hi Kyle,
WE had 2 rare sightings this trip.
At Tubu Tree we went to air strip first day where Impala congregate. Impala at one end of runway -some were showing mild alarm signs but not consistent. At the other end impala were in the typical alarm stance, looking into area of thick brush, some a flash we heard loud distress calls and snorting as large group of impala charged out of the brush with Kudu following.
Our guide, Brooks thought it was a leopard...we headed in immediately -no big cats....a huge rock python was constricting an impala-which sadly was not dead yet. Brooks got so excited and took hundreds of pics....was not a pretty sight but appreciated how rare this was. It was close to sunset-so we left the sensitive area and had sundowner.
The next morning we went there first-lots of hyena tracks in the area. Went to exact same spot, no impala or snake...but hyena tracks everywhere. You could see where impala was dragged well as the snake 's tracks-normal size so he had not swallowed impala. I kid you not, as soon as Brooks turned off engine, a spotted hyena came out from behind the bush (impala and snake has been in front of that bush).
Sniffed the area, realized that there was a party there and he was not invited. He was only a few feet from us, he sniffed our tires and then wandered off. So we had the end of the story.
We had heavy rains at Little Vumb ura every night and in spite of the flooded and often deeply trenched roads, we only missed one game drive.
One afternoon we came upon 3 lionesses asleep in the middle of a dry portion of road....there were 5 more including cubs under bush right beside the road....amazing how soundly the sleep! We watched a while and then make new road around them to continue....later we got very very s tuck-pulled out by pick up truck...near or just after sunset but Brooks wanted to check on the lions.....very near where they slept were all 8 lionesses-one had climbed up a tree and another was starting up. The rest came over to truck, some lying down beside truck. Of course you know the what the rare sighting was - lions climbing a tree.
FYI-saw 20 lions (5 black maned lions/15 lioness with cubs); 23 wild dogs including 12 in deception valley
(another rare sighting); 8 spotted hyenas....not too shabby as Brooks would say!
Talk to you soon.

Pam Hall, Feb 2013

Private Game Reserves near Kruger Visit to Cape Town

Dear Elena and team, I would like to report a successful trip for the Babin Family to South Africa and back. We loved Mala Mala and our guide Ranger Greg Baldwin!! He was exactly the kind of ranger we would like! He not only found the Big Five for us to see, but also helped us to see both big and small. He never seemed to be in a hurry and didn't rush us when we were taking pictures. He even backed up the Range Rover when my 10 - year old wanted to get a better view of a glow -worm. He arranged and helped stage a bush breakfast to celebrate my upcoming birthday. And, we had more than one Sundowner. Yeah!! We also enjoyed our guide in Cape Town, David Bristow. He was a wonderful and intelligent host while viewing the plants and terrain around Cape Town, the cheetah conservation project, and even personally showed us where to shop to outfit our family! We found all that we wanted from Converse sneakers to Legos. He even gave a hand to Fritz, our surfing instructor, to help guide the young ones. We hope that we will be able to return to Cape Town several more times and take more safaris. But, this was a wonderful way to make sure we have no regrets if another trip doesn't materialize. Sincerely yours,

Sharon Babin, Mar 2013

Visit Victoria Falls and Cape TownSafari in Botswana to Okavango DeltaLuxury cruise along the Chobe River in Botswana

Dear Team Africa Adventure,
We returned home on Tuesday and have been tr ying to catch up at the office and at home. However it's long overdue that we send a note of thanks to the entire Team for all you did to provide us with such a memorable vacation in Africa. The trip far, far exceeded our expectations.
ï‚· Throughout the planning process and leading up to our departure, you were responsive, helpful and very professional. You are so organized. We really appreciated that.
ï‚· The execution of our trip was flawless. At ever y point in the trip, when someone was to meet us, they were there. We never had to look for a contact because they were always where they should be.
ï‚· BRAVO on initiating the changes in our flight schedule in order to avoid issues related to Air
Botswana. That saved the day and allowed us to stick to our schedule.
ï‚· Wilderness Air and Safari did a great job as a seamless extension of you in Africa. They were on top of every movement and coordinated all pickups and flights perfectly.
ï‚· Thank you for arranging Esther as our guide in Victoria Falls. She is an absolute gem of a
person'¦very knowledgeable and a dream to be with.
ï‚· We will certainly recommend you to anyone we know that plans to make a trip to Africa.
The Zambezi Queen cruise was a wonderful experience. It is a first class luxury ship with a staff that goes above and beyond in service. The cabins are spacious, the food and beverages are first class and the relaxing atmosphere is a pleasant contrast to the typical safari experience.
We highly recommend you give this option to your clients who are looking to end their vacation with some R&R, or take a relaxing break as they move between safari camps.
'¦When deciding to make this trip, we assumed we would check -off that line on the "bucket list" and move onto the next. We did check -off that line, but now added anot her because we can't to go back! Diane and I want to thank you for all you did. You are true professionals and do your jobs like the experts we heard you were.
We look forward to working with you again in the future.

Don and Diane Silberstein, Mar 2013