Posts From July 2012

African Dream Safaris – A kaleidoscope of vision and experience

Our little West Aussie family of four. Us almost 50. Son in his last year at University. Daughter sitting her final school exams in November. Transitions. A holiday with a difference. A pause before the sprint to the end. A Safari.

An African Dream Safari but…but the ADS office is on the other side of the world. Two long haul flights, 24 hours of non stop travel, Nairobi international airport, quick hop to JRO, midnight African road rules and exhausted to bed.

Tanzania. Cheerful and welcoming. Colours, hard work, busy city, A voice calls ‘Look, white person’, pure happiness on a young face at receiving a football, orphanage struggles and we have still only got as far as Arusha.

Cessna Caravan, snow capped Kilimanjaro way above the clouds, Norongoro collapsed caldera, vast grassland plains, winding Mara reflecting in the sunlight and the Safari begins. First impressions. Impala, Hippo and Giraffe wandering across the airstrip holding up air traffic. Vultures ever present in the trees. Lilac breasted roller.

Ellson, our guide was magnificent. Calm, warm, friendly, an encyclopaedia of knowledge. Everything from the smallest Lovebird to the biggest Elephant was worthy of his considerable knowledge. The patterns on the Giraffe, zigzag of the Zebra stripes and relative plainness of the DickDick. The Black Mamba (the One cigarette snake i.e. enjoy it because it will be your last). The walking safari highlight, the Massai guides making a fire rubbing sticks in a few minutes. Antelope, elephant and giraffe at a safe distance, not forgetting the huge python trail.

The migration. The hillside moves. Barking zebra. Honking Wilderbeast. Hundreds of thousands.

A rhino. Still a few left. A bull elephant, ears flapping we’re in the way, Ellson says I think we’ll move NOW. Cranky and grouchy buffalo, Ellson says I don’t think we will go any closer. The Pride herding the zebra over towards the concealed Lioness, the Kill. Ellson manoeuvring for the best view.

Luxury tenting true to its word. Smoke infused hot water showers, campfires, glowing sunsets, beer and wine to restore the soul, fine dining and meeting new friends from the corners of the Globe. Stars before sunrise, early morning chill.

Roar of the flame. Hot air balloon floating between trees and skimming along at giraffe head height. Roar of the flame. Fire and smoke burning the tall and rank grasses. Sunset magic fading rich red onto the hazy horizon.

Cheetah on the hunt, Lion-King on his kopje, One then two then I don’t believe it eight lioness concealed in the grass, (Ellson says NO, do not get out of the vehicle), Leopards yellow eyes looking down from just up there. Hyena and Vultures arguing over the scraps. Red flash of the Weaver, Blue metallic Starling, Emerald green Lovebird, Golden yellow bee catcher, Pink flamingo, Crested Crane, Bustard and so the dazzle goes on.

Back in Oz. What a trip! Sublime. But more than that, land of spectacle, land of contrasts, land of sunsets, land of the energy, land of surprise, land of wilderness, land of the Safari. Revitalised with thanks to ADS.

Jim, Helen, Alistair and Abbey Leighton
Albany, Western Australia, July 2012

1 Comment
Read Full Post

The First River Crossing for 2012

We are delighted to announce that the first major wildebeest crossing of the Mara River occurred on July 26th about 20 minutes upriver from the bridge at the Kogatende Ranger Post.  Several lucky ADS guests with impeccable timing landed at the Kogatende Airstrip on the morning of July 26th and were treated to a massive crossing of tens of thousands of wildebeest. Our guides reported that the wildebeest crossing took a whopping 1 hour and 20 minutes with several successful hunts by the resident crocodiles. Talk about winning the safari lottery!

This was a very unusual year in that the record amounts of rainfall in the green season delayed the wildebeest from departing the southern plains by one full month. This is quite extraordinary taking into consideration that the migration arrived two months early, which calculate out to the wildebeest spending almost seven months on the plains this year (from mid October to mid May).

No Comments
Read Full Post

Africa should be on Everyone’s Bucket List

From the moment we started our research on what safari company we would choose to create a ‘trip of a lifetime’ for our family, I was immediately attracted by the way in which African Dream Safaris (ADS) made us, as the prospective client, an important part of the trip design and outcome. We were impressed by the detailed information supplied and the weekly updates that immersed us in the adventure of other people’s previous trips and photos. This was a major decision-maker when becoming a client, particularly when we selected a company half way across the world.

We live in Australia and you would think that the time difference would concern us when working together at such a distance. However, there was not one email that wasn’t answered in a thorough and timely manner, with clear information, details that surpassed our expectations. This never wavered throughout the long planning stages of our special surprise to our sons and their girlfriends.

It has to be said that working with Lynn Newby-Fraser made the planning of this amazing trip very easy. I believe she was as passionate about making our trip the ultimate surprise for our adult children and their girlfriends at Christmas 2011 as we were. If we had any concerns or difficulties, even if the problem didn’t relate to our safari or ADS in any way (and notably not the responsibility of ADS), Lynn would nonetheless make every effort to find a solution. Nothing was ever too much effort. Lynn never failed us on any detail, solution or on-going support throughout.

I can certainly give her and her team (in the background, as all teams work) the highest accolades for so many things, least to say their care for their clients and making sure that the trip is as good as they promise. Trust me ADS is not just good, they are professionals in what they do . . . they are ‘brilliant’, they have staff that actually want to be part of your process right to the end and this is what we all want, let’s face it!

The trip itself took place at the beginning of July 2012 and I have plenty to say about the outcome of our surprise “African 8 day trip into the Serengeti”, least to say that it was perfect in every way. Francis, our driver and companion, was a delight. His knowledge of this amazing country was outstanding. His ability to identify and name wildlife was well studied and never boring. Francis was fun and funny and remained that way regardless of the long days he spend behind the wheel. Francis dedicated all his day to making sure we got the most out of ours.

We would start early and finish our days in the early evening, never bored, never tired (until our heads hit the pillow), and always happy, all of us filled with more “wow’s” of the day. Not one day went past without the word “wow” being uttered many times over. How good Gerard and I felt when we knew our gift was an overwhelming success.

I remember wondering if my ‘fantasy’ of how this trip would turn out would meet up with the reality of the actual experience . . . it did and more! Thank you Lynn for following up every step of the way. Africa is something that should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’. It’s an amazing place and I know that ADS made our experience something we will never forget.

Barb & Gerard Savage (and on behalf of Tim, Jess, Dan & Hannah)
Melbourne, Australia
July 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post

Mal d’ Afrique

Mal d’Afrique, or that restless urge one experiences after spending time in Africa to make a return visit, had crept into our souls after our first safari to Kenya and Tanzania in 2007. We found our conversations involving, “…when we return to Africa…” and “…next time….” So it was that we mentioned our desire to return to Africa to our friends, Rick and Jeannine, and a plan was cemented for a return in 2012. We investigated dozens of safari companies, but Africa Dream Safaris came very highly rated. We just cannot adequately express the significance of the choice to opt for a private safari but were clearly reminded of that choice each time we passed the packed caravans of safari vehicles from other companies.

Our adventure began exactly five years to the day after our first safari but could not have been more different. From the moment we landed in Arusha and were whisked through the visa process and customs before most people had even retrieved their bags to the final moments when our driver dragged us kicking and screaming back to the airport, every detail had been thought out by ADS.

Our planning began one year in advance when Lynn, our safari planner, contacted us. Lynn’s enthusiasm for everything Africa and her experience with providing her clients with details before they even realized they needed them, made our planning so easy. She provided us with valuable information to help us better prepare for this wonderful adventure. Her monthly and later weekly updates were eagerly awaited.

Perhaps the absolute highlight of our trip was not the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa that flooded our senses every waking moment—and even some unwaking ones when lions roared throughout the night. Rather, it was our amazing safari guide /driver, Russell. He never ceased to amaze us with his knowledge of wildlife. Not only did he know the habits of the “big five” and where to locate each of them (yes, he did find us a rhinoceros!), but he also pointed out marching army aunts, tiny bejeweled birds, and pug marks on the dirt tracks, each of which became a lesson to us. He was tireless in response to all of our needs.

After a day of jet-lag recovery in Arusha and a sight-seeing tour which included a visit to the ADS sponsored Shanga crafts workshop, we flew from Arusha to Katenga airstrip in the northern Serengeti. During our flight we observed thousands of migrating wildebeests, which looked like lines of tiny ants from the air, and had to be cleared from the runway before we could land. Russell was awaiting our landing and quickly piled us in our vehicle to rush to the Mara River area where the herd would make their crossing.

Our timing was amazing as we arrived to see wildebeests as far as the eye could discern bottled up on the river bank awaiting that urge (or maybe it was a push) that would propel the migration across this challenging crossing. Within minutes of our arrival, as if they had been awaiting us, the first animal crossed followed by the rest of the herd. For the next hour we watched in amazement as the flood of animals made the perilous jump into the dangerous rocks, hungry crocodiles, and swift current to cross. We had a private front row seat to this amazing event of nature. Little were we to know that this would set the precedence for the next twelve days as Russell always managed to have us in the right place at the right time.

We enjoyed the variety of accommodations from lodges, to tented lodges, to the private luxury camp. The tented lodges offered an opportunity to experience a unique mixture of lodge type accommodations and outdoor camping while the lodge at Ngorongoro offered entertainment and high-end accommodations. Yet it was the private luxury camping that ADS provided that was far and above our favorite.

Plopped down in a scenic location surrounded by wildlife and catered by a professional team and equipped with all the comforts of home, it really did put an entirely new perspective on the term “camping out.” Never did we feel closer to nature than listening to the snuffling cape buffalo, the whooping of the hyenas, and the rumbling growls of lions not too far in the distance. Our butler, Kdeva, a Masaai, awoke us with a gentle “Jambo” and a cup of hot Tanzanian coffee and made sure we had plenty of hot water to wash up. We were glad that we had included this in our agenda.

So many photos; so many memories. Words cannot do justice to the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa. The playful cheetah cub practicing his attack skills on a cardboard box, a pride of seventeen lions and lionesses ravaging a cape buffalo carcass, the wild dogs of Tarangire bullying a zebra, and a huge flock of gaudy emerald green yellow-collared love birds flittering across the grass are all images that dominate our thoughts.

Did we cure our Mal d’Afrique? No, we have been back less than a week and we already find our conversations involving, “…when we return to Africa…” and “…next time….” Yes, we are already dreaming of our third safari with Africa Dream Safaris, of course!

Bob and Diane Brodel
Hampton, Virginia
July 2012

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Summer in the Serengeti

Dear Lynn, We want to express our thanks and appreciation for your effort, care and personalised service for our recent african safari trip to Tanzania . As you know this has been a long time in the planning stages but once we were in touch with you everything right down to the last detail and question has been taken care of. African Dream Safari provided excellent customer service and obviously listens to their clients regarding any concerns.

The moment we entered into the Arusha airport, Kayfus met us and expedited our customs and luggage transfer. Then we were introduced to Emmanuel and the first leg of our incredible journey began by delivering us to Mt Meru Resort-definitely a five star resort. He ensured all our immediate needs as well as presenting us with a personal gift for the ladies-a lovely bracelet that I love and will wear eagerly and explain where it came from. He also was there for the return part of our trip ensuring that everything was taken care of.

We were lodged in first class accommodations. All five lodges provided wonderful clean, comfortable accommodations and safety was a top priority at all of them. The meals, including the boxed lunches, were delicious, healthy and plentiful. The lodge staff also went out of their way to provide excellent service and always with a smile and sense of humour. There were times when there was new staff being trained and they worked so hard to understand and speak English but also willing to teach us a few words. They seem very proud of their efforts and rightly so.

I need to address our guide personally. Thomson was absolutely brilliant. He has many skills that made our trip a trip of a lifetime. His knowledge, love and respect of the animals and their behaviour were remarkable and are what made our safari so successful. His ability to drive with our safety in mind but also sight the obvious, the hidden, the rare and the very small animals was extraordinary. He was concerned for our comfort, safety and our personal goals regarding the animals and their behaviour.

He had the patience needed to deal with six of us who had different expectations and outlooks. He had an excellent sense of humour and it made for a good time driving and looking for the animals. Thomson is also well respected by his peers and it was evident many times when our paths crossed with other companies and drivers. Our questions and conversations indicate that he is dedicated to the animals’ well being and protection in the bigger scheme of things within the country of Tanzania . All in all an impressive person and we will think of him often. Thank you Thomson!

We have included a few favourite pictures-it was hard to choose. We wish we had a picture to describe all the feelings and emotions felt on this trip of a lifetime. Thank you for all you have done to make it so wonderful!

Marg & Glyn Cook
July 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post

Father and Daughter Journey to Tanzania

My name is Caroline. I would like to share my experience of doing safari in Tanzania with my dad. He set the trip up through African Dream Safaris. We arrived by plane on a dirt airstrip near the Mara River. After meeting our guide, Pokea, we were off on safari. Safari means you are riding in a vehicle looking for animals that you have only seen in a zoo. The first animals I saw were the hippos and then the antelopes followed by my first zebra encounter. Lions, elephants, giraffes and wildebeasts more numerous than you could imagine followed. I think the coolest animal we saw was the leopard in the tree and the cheetahs hunting in the grass. My personal favorite animal is the giraffe. They tower over everything and walk like they are stepping on marshmallows. We saw a lot of hippos but they were hard to photograph as they were always in the water. Giraffes are easy to take pictures of and maybe that is another reason that I like them.

Our camps varied as we traveled through the Serengeti. My favorite camp was Serengeti Soroi. We had a thatched roof, a pool on the ledge and views that stretched out before us. Everyone at all the camps made us feel special. The meals varied with different amounts of salad, fish and meat, and deserts but all were good. I liked the pumpking soup with almond the best.

Now that I am back home, it is like a dream that we went to Africa and did safari. It was the best trip I have ever had. My safari made me realize how much the world has to offer and how you need to try new adventures. I don’t know if I will ever equal this trip but I am glad that I had the opportunity to do it and I’m glad I went with my dad.

Sincerely,

Caroline
Oneida, Wisconsin
July 2012

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Quote from Mrs. Gustafason of FAME

“For us, African Dream Safaris is a shining star in the tourism industry. With what Africa Dream Safari has donated this year alone, FAME Medical can purchase enough medicine to treat 2700 children diagnosed with pneumonia. This is an african safari company that sees the big picture – the importance of providing clients with an awe inspiring wildlife experience, while at the same time making a very tangible difference in the day-to-day lives of the Tanzanian people.” – Susan Gustafson, founder of Fountation for African Medicine and Education

No Comments
Read Full Post

ADS Joins Pinterest!

With an ever-growing archive of breathtaking photography that we gather from our staff in Tanzania and guests as they return from their safari adventures, we thought it’d be a great idea to join Pinterest – the fastest growing photo-sharing social network. Each day, we’ll be pinning images of awe-inspiring African landscapes,  wildlife close-ups, and Tanzanian culture as a way to share ADS adventures with a larger community. Please join us and get inspired to share with us your own travel inspiration! You can follow us at: pinterest.com/adssafari

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Thank you ADS for fulfilling a lifelong dream

When people ask us what our favorite part of the safari was, we answer our guide Claude! That is because of his expert knowledge and abilities that truly enhanced our safari and made each and every day as exciting as the first.

But let’s back up and see how we got to this point. We began our search for a safari provider by going on the internet. After a lot of reading we narrowed our search down to three providers, and then two. When we engaged Sharon Lyon on the phone several times with our many questions and she understood our interests, it became clear to us that ADS was going to be our choice. We really liked the straightforward business plan of ADS, with the costs being clear as to what was included and what wasn’t. We were able to make our final decision once we realized that the other option under consideration simply could not match the value we were after.

Just prior to the safari we decided to learn more about birding. Wow, what a treat birding turned out to be and so enriched our safari! Our guide Claude was an extremely capable birder and with his help we identified 186 species. What made it even more fun was the neat adventures that the birding led us to. For example, one day we were going our usual way, on the alert and watching for anything and everything, when we spotted a White-browed Coucal sitting in a tree. We headed for a better look and decided to enjoy the shade of the tree for our picnic lunch. While there, out of the corner of an eye, were a cheetah and her five small cubs passing into the grass.

You know how the literature says you should be the first into the Ngorongoro Crater in the morning? Well, ADS positioned us perfectly, and we actually were the first in. To our delight, our guide took us right to a spot where we enjoyed the next forty minutes of watching two rhinos all by ourselves.

After several days we realized how superior our safari was to others we observed. We had the best vehicle, the most conscientious driver, we were first on lions several times, first on the rhinos, observed four snakes, saw many animal interactions as we were paced just right not to ever be in a hurry.

Every day was new and exciting. With our guide’s knowledge we were able to learn about animal behaviors, how to identify giraffe gender, where to be at what time of day to see the most things, and even could discuss plant life and geology. Thank you ADS for fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Heimke Family
July 7-17, 2012
Anchorage, Alaska

3 Comments
Read Full Post

Serengeti Lion Report – July 2012

Africa Dream Safaris helps fund the Serengeti Lion Project’s ongoing conservation efforts. In turn, periodic reports are prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by the on-site researchers for the Serengeti Lion Project. So you won’t find this info anywhere else!

Since there are MANY lion prides in the Serengeti, we picked 6 specific study prides to focus on. Talk about having the inside scoop! These Serengeti Lion Project researchers live, sleep, and work out in the bush every single day, so they are able to offer invaluable information about the location and adventures of our favorite lions.

Reading like a soap opera at times, we think you will also enjoy the real-life drama and adventures of these awesome animals as they live, hunt, and raise their families together in the harsh African wilderness.

Please see below for the current report for July 2012:

The Transect Pride is still going strong with their many young lions. Last time I wrote there were six adult females and 17 yearlings. They all seem to still be alive and healthy though one of the yearlings might be missing. It’s too early to tell yet since they often are in a terrain where they are difficult to observe and a lion can easily go unseen.

 

To see all the 23 lions in the Transect Pride together is an impressive sight.

The other day I was driving off road locking for this pride. I’d just spotted them in a tree not far away. But to get to them I had to cross a dry creek with very tall grasses and scrub. I wasn’t sure how deep the creek was so I had to get out of the car and investigate. I walked to the front of the car and a bit ahead of it to make sure I wouldn’t get stuck if I drove further. It seemed fine and I got into the car again. As soon as I shut the door a lion shot out of the grass near the car and ran away. It came from very near the car and I must have been close to stepping on it on my little walk. The lion had probably been lying there surprised and probably a bit scared as I got out just next to it. When I closed the door it took the chance to escape.

New cubs have been seen in the Maasai Kopjes Pride. Stan saw the collared female, Mato Keo, carrying two very small cubs between the rocks at Maasai Kopjes. Lately this pride hasn’t been very successful in raising cubs so we hope for these ones to grow up and live a healthy life.

A while ago I saw some of the females in this pride by a zebra kill. One of their resident males, Dogger, was with them too. He was already full and didn’t eat any at the time. Still, he wouldn’t let the females eat from the zebra. The only one he’d let eat was a cub who was also using the carcass as shade from the gazing sun, hiding under the ribs. One of the females, Mutant, approached the male in a soliciting fashion. Normally a male would be flattered by this but maybe she was just bluffing and wanted to taste the meat. The male saw through the bluff and responded by giving her a bite on the back. This rather small female responded with exploding rage, turned around and slapped the male, twice her size, on his shoulder so hard his mane stood straight up. Her claws had dug into his skin and she pulled it hard before letting go. It all happened in a split second and in loud growls. The other females were on their feet and about to come for her aid but the fight had already stopped. All lions lay down again and the cub was hiding in the tall grass, terrified.

 

Mutant teaching Dogger a lesson.

Being out here full time, basically living with lions and getting to know their society helps you understand what you see much better. One good example of that happened earlier this year. A film team was out filming me and Craig Packer working. We were identifying a group of the Cub Valley Pride’s lions resting in the shade of a tree. An adult male was slowly approaching. It was Malin, a coalition member and cousin to Dogger just mentioned above.

To the film team this probably didn’t look like anything dramatic, it looked like a male going to join some lazy lions under a tree. But Craig and I were holding our breaths. Knowing the history of this pride and the male coalition we knew that the sub-adults under the tree were not fathered by the male approaching them. The females were probably going to be fine but one of the sub-adults was a male and could be killed if he didn’t watch out. The young male woke up and saw the big male approaching. Watching him getting closer and closer his urine started running uncontrolled, wetting his pants out of fear. Luckily for him Malin stopped short of the tree and the young male snuck away, keeping a low profile in the tall grass.

 

Malin approaching.

The Naabi Pride is doing well raising their cubs in the difficult areas around Naabi Hill. The male coalition with old Porky and younger Narnia used to stay with this pride more or less full time. But lately they have been seen with the females Sasha and Splash from the Simba East Pride. This is interesting since the cubs of these females now are grown and are trying a life on their own. The future will show if they will start a new pride or eventually settle with their mothers. Sidney, though, will surely not return to the natal pride as he is a male and will have to find other prides with females to mate with. And then there are the females Skvimp Sarah and Sonia who are still busy raising their cubs. For now they stay away from the rest of this pride. But one day Porky was seen with Skvimp too. That time her cubs were staying away, a wise decision since Porky would surely have tried to kill them, not being his offspring.

 

The Simba East Pride by a water hole. C-Boy and Hildur in the background.

So the Simba East pride will be very interesting to follow the next few months. Will the older females mate and have cubs with Porky and Narnia? Will the pride stay apart and form three different prides or will they reunite? Will Porky and Narnia take over the whole pride and replace C-Boy and Hildur? Will the smaller cubs be able to stay away from the new males and stay alive?

For some weeks time Little My’s signal was heard from a palm tree thicket by the Seronera River. We suspected she was denning there with new cubs. Now we’ve confirmed that The Mukoma Gypsies Pride has six new little members and the proud mothers are Little My and Snork. In May this pride was seen next to the main road. I could tell something was going on straight away because the females were upset. Suddenly there were lots of loud growling and the females chased a young male away. He got a little beaten up but nothing serious. He took shelter in a drainage channel from the road. The females came down there with their cubs to drink, not far from the hiding place. When they left he came out and I could see that it was one of the sub-adult males born in the pride. He probably wanted to be with the pride again and eat their food. But the females couldn’t accept that since they have six new mouths to feed now.

 

The Mukoma Hill Pride searching the plains for prey.

The Mukoma Hill and the Mukoma Mischief Prides have been difficult to see lately. The mischiefs have been wondering widely around both beyond the east and the west of our study area. The Mukoma Hills on the other hand have been more stationary but on top of the Oldanyo Rongai Hill and thus impossible for us to see. We’ve had to do with locating them there with their signal from the collar. A couple of times though, they have been seen with two new males. These males were unknown to us before and are born outside of our study area. They are now named Nisse and Sotis.

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Client Photography Tip – A Tripod “To Go”!

Richard Kinsinger and his wife Bobbie recently returned from their ADS safari adventure in May.  Prior to leaving for their safari, Richard had indicated he was a serious photographer and asked me if I would recommend bringing along a tripod.  I shared with him my own experience, that I had not personally found a tripod very useful because of it’s inherently immobile nature.  Most of safari photography tends to be focused on wild animals of course, which are moving targets and which need to be photographed from the safety of a vehicle.  But Richard was determined to find a way to steady his camera anyway, and came up with a very ingenious camera mounting system that we’d like to share with you here!  The following explanation features Richard’s description of his camera mounting system and a few accompanying photographs to help illustrate. A big THANK YOU to Richard and Bobbie for sharing their clever idea with us here!

“The pipe clamp arrangement for camera support really worked great. I carried two pieces in my camera case – a screw-tightened pipe clamp fitted with a 3/8-inch tripod thread, and a standard tripod ball head with quick-release camera mount. In the car I fixed these two pieces together and clamped the combination to the roof rail on either side of the roof opening. Each camera lens was fitted with a tripod ring and quick-release plate, so it was a quick operation to mount the camera with any lens to the roof. As long as Reggie turned off the car engine this provided a very stable camera mount. And the ball head allowed me to pan and tilt for repointing and video work. The simple pipe clamp allowed me to switch to the opposite side of the car when the action changed.  The clamp part is here:

I used a Manfrotto 035 clamp with a 3-8ths mounting screw (tripod standard) at about $40, but any clamp for mounting lighting fixtures could be adapted. The tripod ball head is here:

Again I used a Manfrotto product, MH054M0, but all tripod manufacturers have similar products. The base of this unit has a female 3-8ths socket to receive the mounting screw from the clamp. The main ball head knob loosens (or tightens) the ball socket which then rotates freely in any direction. The unit at the top is a Manfrotto quick-release clamp which gave me quick fastening or unfastening of my camera from the car roof. The clamp and ball head together are shown here:

And the whole system mounted from a pipe standing in for the Land Cruiser roof rail is here:

The height of the system was perfect for me (6 ft 2 in) standing on the car floor, but a shorter person would probably need to stand on a car seat. Mounting or dismounting the camera from the rig was a one-second operation. Switching the rig from one side of the car to the other was 10-15 seconds. With the car engine off this was a very steady camera mount. Reggie and I had a standing challenge to do an inventory of giraffe eyelashes.

In the full resolution version of this shot you can count 235 long lashes on this tall Tanzanian beauty – even before she put on her mascara.”

Rich Kinsinger

3 Comments
Read Full Post

Thanks For Making A True Dream Safari!

I can’t begin to describe to you what an impression this adventure had on both Adrian and myself. It definitely exceeded our expectations!

We want to commend you, Thomson, and the whole ADS team for delivering everything you promised us and so much more! We were thrilled from our very 1st day of arrival to our very last minute at Mt.Meru Lodge. ADS really knows how to do it right! Our Lodges/tented camps were fantastic! The service was impeccable and the people, so friendly and happy to help. We literally had no complaints on our whole trip-nothing!

Thomson was such a pleasure to have as our Guide. All of us really enjoyed his sense of humor and lovely easy going personality. What a wonderful guy! He was extremely knowledgeable, patient and so respectful of the wildlife and their environment. We always felt safe and comfortable while game driving with Thomson. We couldn’t have had a better person for our safari! He was a gem!

We also certainly appreciate all of your help and information that you gave us Lynn. All our questions and more were answered so promptly and completely. This was a huge trip for us, and we were anxious about so many little things before we went, but you put our minds at ease and we were very comfortable knowing ADS was going to be there for us in every way! Even to our very last evening at Kikoti tented camp-our goodbye cake from the ADS team, delivered by their happy staff singing “Jambo”! We all loved it and shared it with the rest of the camps guests.

We will definitely (and already have been) recommending ADS to our friends and family. We just can’t say enough about what a wonderful company ADS is!

Many thanks again Lynn for all of your assistance and to the ADS team for making our safari a true Dream Safari!

Julie and Adrian Allegri
Trip Dates: July 8, 2012 to July 20, 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post

A Leopard’s Return

It was a wonderful experience – the people, animals, landscape, lodgings, and food were extraordinary. We feel so lucky to have had the chance to make this trip – memories that we can keep for a life time.

The best moment was seeing the Great Migration. We were in the north Serengeti in mid-July and the animals were moving north. Our guide found one particular spot along a river where thousands of wildebeest and zebras were moving north. The endless parade was mesmerizing as we watched them run down into the river valley and cross the river. We stopped for a long time to take it all in.

The next best moment was on the last full day of the trip on a game drive in Tarangire NP. We were out early in the morning. Our guide identified a dead gazelle straddling a tree limb up in a tree maybe 20 feet off the ground. Our guide was convinced that a leopard had killed the gazelle during the night and carried it up the tree to return for it with her cubs. Sure enough we identified a leopard moving through the grass towards the tree. Initially she was reluctant to climb the tree because of our presence. However, eventually she climbed the tree and carried it down to her waiting cubs. They quickly carried the gazelle further away to eat in solitude. Fortunately we were close enough that everybody had excellent pictures of the event.

George Shortle and Family
Santa Barbara, California
July 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post