Posts From September 2012

Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: When is the Great Migration?

 

One of the most common questions I get is “When is the Great Migration?” The answer is surprisingly straightforward, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Let me address that here!

“When is the Great Migration?”

The Great Migration is perpetual, and thus it is always going on without any beginning or end! But as the name accurately implies, the animals are still *moving*. Like a big lawnmower, the giant herds quickly exhaust their food resources and must keep moving to find more grass and water. The Serengeti National Park is wide and vast enough that it captures the bulk of the Great Migration within its boundaries all year long. So even though the migratory animals move around from one area of the Serengeti to another throughout the year, they do follow a fairly predictable pattern. The trick to finding the animals lies in understanding their patterns of movement. And we do! Therefore we strategically design your itinerary to put your where the most animals are, including the Great Migration, and thus setting you up for success no matter what time of year you ultimately go on safari.

Some noteworthy events include the great wildebeest calving that occurs during February, and the crossing of the great Mara River that can occur almost anytime during the dry season, usually crossing the river multiple times between late July and early November.

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Another common variation of the question, worth addressing here, goes something like this:  “My safari is during the dry season (July – Nov).  Don’t I need to visit Kenya to see The Great Migration?”

The short answer is “No”.  You can see The Great Migration by visiting Tanzania alone, but if you just go to Kenya without visiting Tanzania you may miss it!

The long answer:  If you look at a map, you can see that Tanzania borders Kenya, and that the Serengeti National Park butts up against the Northern border of Tanzania aka Southern border of Kenya. The Masai Mara is quite simply a small extension of the Northern Serengeti ecosystem, the part that lops over the Kenya border, and even though it is a large area, it is quite small in size compared to the vast Serengeti on the Tanzania side. It’s true that a (relatively) small portion of the Migration may spill over into Kenya’s Masai Mara during the dry season, August through September, but even during this time it is estimated at least 80% of the Migration is always on the Tanzania side. There is not a convenient way to cross the border from Tanzania to Kenya at the Mara, or vice versa. There is a gate “Sand River/Bologonja Gate” that links the Masai Mara to the Serengeti, but this is NOT an official border crossing between the two countries. It’s no secret that the Masai Mara has become overbuilt with many tourist lodges, and Tanzanian officials have been adamant about keeping the Sand River Gate closed “for environmental reasons”, which basically means keeping all those crowds of Kenya tourists at bay. Not a particularly convenient policy for people wanting to visit both countries, but it has been an invaluable strategy in keeping the Northern Serengeti in its pristine condition. There is another border crossing at the “Isebania/Sirari Gate” several miles away, but the trip consists of hours and hours of unpleasant transfer driving that has not always been the safest route.

So as stated previously, you can see The Great Migration by visiting Tanzania alone, but if you just go to Kenya without visiting Tanzania you may miss it. But don’t take our word for it. Per the latest research report in 2008, which was published in Serengeti III , Human Impacts on Ecosystem Dynamics:

-The use of the Maasai Mara Reserve and the Mara area by the Serengeti migratory wildebeest population had dropped by some 65%.

-The percentage of migratory wildebeest moving into Kenya was at its highest in 1984 when an estimated .866 million wildebeest or 68% of the total wildebeest population entered into Kenya. Since 1984, there has been a precipitous drop in the numbers of migratory wildebeest entering the Mara area and Kenya, which has never recovered.

-It is estimated that currently only .307 million or 27% of the wildebeest migration enter into Kenya during the dry season (July to October). The remaining 73% or .830 million of the migratory wildebeest remain in Tanzania and within Serengeti National Park during the dry season.

-In the absence of any evidence of major changes in rainfall, various explanations have been hypothesized as to reasons for this phenomenon including:

–Explosive growth in large scale (mechanized) agriculture on the borders of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve

–Small-scale cultivation and land subdivision in the Mara area

–Concentration of both pastoral settlements and tourist facilities within and around the Mara reserve

 

 

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A Private Safari In Tanzania

It has been a dream of mine to visit Africa ever since hearing stories from my aunt and uncle who worked for Radio Free Europe there decades ago. It took some convincing to get my wife to agree to the trip – not that she didn’t have a similar dream of taking an African safari because of her love of animals, but that she was nervous regarding occasional news reports of various uprisings and how it would impact the trip. After many months of broaching the subject, she finally agreed!

We were given the name of a tour company that someone we spoke with had used. I researched that company on the Internet and eventually came upon another: Africa Dream Safaris. I liked what I read and particularly liked the option for a private safari in Tanzania – just us and the driver/guide. Our contact at ADS, Sharon Lyon, made the planning as easy as possible and provided lots of useful information.

Immediately upon arrival in Tanzania, the team assigned to take care of us were on hand and extremely helpful. They had our visa paperwork processed quickly – well ahead of the others arriving on the same flight – and in very little time we were taken to our vehicle and driven to the hotel. We had a wonderful tour guide in Arusha, who provided some insight into life there and drove us to various points of interest.

We were excited finally to take the small plane out to the Serengeti so we could start our customized safari. Our ADS driver/guide, David Chando, was wonderful and is a real asset to the ADS team. We are in awe of his ability to find the best viewing spots, such as the wildebeest migrating across the Mara River (which other groups had attempted but missed because they were in the wrong spot when it actually took place) and the lioness with a fresh kill and her two cubs providing us with wonderful photo and video opportunities. There were numerous other times when we felt we had the best, most proficient guide.

We had a wonderful 12-day stay at various tent camps and a couple of lodges. Each had different styles, but all were what we needed for a comfortable, enjoyable stay. The staff of the tent camps were welcoming, cheerful and professional – we felt very much at home despite only staying one or two nights at each.

Most of all the trip was about the animals. The safari provided spectacular views and incredible photographic opportunities. Zebras, wildebeest, elephants, impala, baboons and even lions came within touching distance of the vehicle, but they paid very little attention to us. It was rewarding to see these magnificent animals where they belong – content in their natural environment, unlike those at zoos, circuses and wildlife parks in other parts of the world. We were happy to help contribute to funding the continued conservation of the land and wild inhabitants of Tanzania.

We were sad to say “goodbye” to our driver/guide and the other wonderful staff who helped us along the way. Watching the video clips and viewing the many wonderful photographs we took (over 6,500 of them!), we find ourselves becoming nostalgic. We would certainly recommend this adventure to anyone considering an African safari and highly recommend Tanzania as the destination, Africa Dream Safaris as the tour company, and David Chando as driver/guide. Thank you to everyone who made this trip such a great lifetime memory.

Dave and Fiona Fiar
West Hartford, Connecticut
Trip Dates: September 5th to September 16th

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I Felt Totally Safe and Cared For

Tanzania was absolutely wonderful. Much more than I expected. I felt totally safe and cared for from the time I disembarked my flight at Kilimanjaro Airport and the ADS representative greeted me, throughout the entire trip, and my return back to the airport. This was important to me as I made the trip alone. The beautiful people of Tanzania are friendly, kind, and cheerful. The lodges and camps were all great and the staff exceptionally attentive.

My Guide, Claude, seemed as though he was selected just for me. He read me and my interests (which were everything), within the first hour, and we became fast friends. He was so knowledgeable, patient, considerate, and had a great sense of humor – a perfect companion guide. He went above and beyond to ensure that the experiences I had were all outstanding. Time after time he set the situation up for me to have the perfect experience, such as elephants crossing the Mara River and on and on.

I cannot get the sights, sounds, scents, and shapes of the Serengeti, the Crater, the animals, birds, flowers, and trees out of my mind. I feel totally rekindled and connected to nature as it is intended to be. Anyone considering this trip should not hesitate, as it truly is “the trip of a lifetime” with adventure, beauty and spiritual aspects every day. Photos do not do justice to the Serengeti, the Rift, or the Ngorongoro Crater, but here are a few photos anyway.

Thank you Sharon and to all of the ADS staff involved in making my trip a wonderful experience.

Jan Duggan
Wilmington, Massachusetts
Safari Dates: September 18th, 2012 to September 26th, 2012

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The Migration Crossings were the Highlight – September 2012

I just wanted to write and thank you for the amazing safari that you helped arrange for my wife Amy and myself. Tanzania and ADS delivered a truly memorable experience on all fronts. Our driver and guide, Arnold, was truly fantastic. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the wildlife, graciousness and hospitality were simply exceptional. We couldn’t have been happier with him as our guide to experiencing Tanzania. Lynn was also a wonderful facilitator in arranging the itinerary and in providing all the advice and help in preparing for the trip over the past year. Thanks Lynn! Both Arnold and Lynn are a credit to ADS. They definitely deliver a great experience to the clients.

September was a great time to visit the Serengeti, as it was not too crowded, and we got to witness the migration of the wildebeest herd up in the beautiful, green regions of the northern Serengeti. Due to the recent rains in Tanzania, the herd was crossing back into Tanzania early this year. Seeing the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara river was a spectacular sight. We were fortunate enough to witness it on 3 different occasions over 2 days. One of these was a massive crossing that lasted over 2 hours.

Our back of the envelope calculation was that at least 100,000 animals had crossed in that single crossing, and that was actually only about half of the animals that had assembled at the river’s edge. I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience, but then we saw the whole thing again each of the next 2 days! Arnold knew just when to be around the river to wait for the crossing. He was also brilliant at positioning the vehicle so the light was best for photographs. Along with the wildebeest herd, the northern serengeti was packed with wildlife. Thousands upon thousands of zebra and antelope of all variety.

Witnessing the migration crossings were definitely the highlight of the trip, but there was so much more to see as well. We also visited the Loliondo Conservation Region, the Lobo Valley, the central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge, and Tarangire National Park. All were special places with their own character.

The Loliondo region and Lobo Valley were beautiful wooded hilly regions with elephants, lion prides, and hundreds, if not thousands, of giraffes. The central Serengeti truly embodies the sense of “endless plain”. Seeing it in the dry season was fascinating, as there was a sparse beauty to it at this time of year. Fortunately there were still abundant antelope, lions, leopards, and cheetahs to view. Learning to spot them in the dry, yellow grasses was a great game to play.

It was also great to be in our private camp in the central Serengeti. We could hear lions mating throughout the night, and hyenas calling as they walked through the campsite. Pretty neat. The Ngorongoro crater was also not too crowded at this time of year, but still contained a great assortment of animals to view, including several pairs of rhinocerases (what’s the plural for rhinoceras? rhinoceri?). The crater itself is also a beautiful spot. Sunset on the crater rim was something special.

We also loved the time we spent at Tarangire National Park. This is a truly beautiful park with relatively few visitors, at least in September. We hardly ever saw more than 1 or 2 other vehicles on any of the game drives here. Watching all of the elephant families and herds coming to the Tarangire River to drink was beautiful. There are also large numbers of buffalos, zebras, giraffes, and antelopes, as well as several large prides of lions that follow them around waiting for their chance to hunt. My advice to anyone planning a safari trip would be to definitely include some time in Tarangire.

We’d also like to thank all of the people working in the various camps we stayed in during our trip (Lemala Mara, Buffalo Springs, the ADS private camp, Lemala Ngorongoro, and Swala Tarangire). The level of comfort, food, and service we encountered was fantastic. The people of Tanzania are incredibly warm, friendly, and hospitable. They all made the trip very special. Thanks again to Lynn, Arnold, and all the ADS people for making our trip such a memorable experience. Maybe one day we’ll be lucky enough to visit Tanzania again. If so, we’ll definitely use ADS again.

Regards,

Bruce and Amy Power
Berkeley, CA, USA
September 2012

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Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: What is the Food Going to be Like on Safari?

 

A topic that often gets discussed with prospective clients is the food that will be served during their trip, so thought I would address it here!

• What is the food like on safari?

Guests on safari are often surprised at the variety and sheer deliciousness of the meals served at the lodges while they are on safari, as well as their familiarity with commonly served items such as fresh fruit and vegetables,  chicken, beef, lamb and fish.  If one is conjuring up images of seeing zebra or wildebeest on the menu, that would be inaccurate to say the least!

A typical dinner at many lodges/camps will consist of approximately 3-4 courses. You’ll be able to order a la carte off of a menu most of the time, and have a choice of an appetizer, soup or salad, main course (consisting of baked or grilled chicken, beef, lamb, or fish) often served with delicate sauces, vegetables and a starch (baked potatoes or cooked rice, etc.), followed by dessert such as a fruit torte or tiramisu and tea or coffee.

The buffets are also very good. For example, the international dinner buffet at Serena hotels usually consists of many (many) items. Salad bar with salads and vegetables such as fresh avacados; fresh fruits such as mango, watermelon, pineapple and passion fruit; fresh breads and cheeses; sliced meats or baked or grilled entrees (such as those listed in the first paragraph above), and a dessert bar with an assortment of fresh fruits, pastries, cakes, tortes, pies, etc.

Hot lunches may be lighter than dinners, but you’ll still have a variety of many of the various items listed above to choose from. Hot breakfasts usually consist of eggs cooked to order along with a breakfast meat such as sausage or bacon, along with a cold buffet of cereals, yogurts, breads, fruits and sliced meats.

You will always have the option of eating a hot breakfast and lunch at the lodge, but we do recommend going out early in the morning on most days and maybe even staying out all day on some days… in these cases we do recommend bringing a picnic breakfast and/or lunch with you. Usually the boxed meals feature items like roasted chicken (served cold), sandwiches, hardboiled eggs, bread, fruits, cheeses, coffee, tea, etc. If you want to enjoy an early hot breakfast at the lodge, they can usually be arranged around 7am or even earlier at some if requested ahead of time. Or you can go out for an early morning game drive at say 6am, and then come back to the lodge for a hot breakfast mid morning maybe around 9am. The options are endless!

• I have a special diet (ie. Vegetarian, gluten-free, food allergy, etc.) Will that be a problem?

Special diets are not usually any problem, as long as we know about them ahead of time. On our “Reservations Booking Form”, which you’ll fill out and return to us when you book the safari, there is a question that asks you to note whether or not you have a special diet. Please make a note there so we’ll be sure to alert the lodges ahead of time, so they are well prepared before you arrive with the right ingredients to make delicious meals for you that still fall within your dietary requirements.

 

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A Childhood Dream

Visiting Africa had been a dream since childhood, and it was only when I realized how easy planning a safari could be with ADS that I decided to go for it. The ADS staff guided our every step in the planning process and let us focus on just having a great trip. The safari itself exceeded our every expectation.

Our driver, David, was a true professional with an incredible depth of knowledge on African geography, culture, flora, and fauna. If we told David we wanted to spot a particular animal, he found it-against all odds. In fact, when we told him we’d like to see a snake, he located an African Rock Python sunning itself about 20 feet up in a tree (how did he do that?).

He knew just where to see reclusive leopards, and the perfect place for spotting a black rhino in the Ngorogoro Crater. In addition to David, all the other ADS staff were fantastic. Our private camp was an incredible experience-particularly the traditional African meal, which left us groaning (with pleasure) from overeating! Plus, we were thrilled to find a pride of 17 lions camped out a mere 100 meters from our tent. What an experience!

I’ve already told several friends about ADS and encouraged them to make their Africa dreams a reality sooner than later. ADS really deserves its fantastic reputation as an outfitter.

Jim, Barbara and Madeleine Hill
Saratoga Springs, New York
August 2012

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FAME Medical Admitting!

At 9:29 a.m. on August 30th, we were handed our approval letter from the Ministry of Health in Dar es Salaam. With all the required inspections of the new facility behind us and enough doctors and nurses to cover 24 hour care, we have been given official permission to upgrade from outpatient clinic to hospital. We can begin admitting patients at FAME Medical.

And to every single one of you who have helped us reach this moment in time….our deepest love and gratitude.

Susan, Frank & the FAME Team

Africa Dream Safaris is proud to be a major sponsor of FAME and Dr. Frank Artress since 2008 and was honored with the Tanzanian Humanitarian Award specifically because of our work with FAME. Our ongoing monthly donations help FAME fund their mobile medical clinic bringing medical care to children living in remote areas. Many medical conditions can be treated correctly with proper healthcare including respiratory infections, waterborne diseases and diabetes. We suspect many children with juvenile diabetes simply die in rural Tanzania due to limited access and resources.

You may be asking yourself “How can I help?” The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a real positive impact. Please consider a $50 donation to help Dr. Frank and Susan meet operational expenses for their Mobile Medical Service, purchasing laboratory equipment to provide more comprehensive diagnostic services, and completing the next phase of the medical project which involves expanding the existing Outpatient Clinic into a small hospital. The facility will include 12 inpatient beds and a major and minor Operating Room.

Africa Dream Safaris will match dollar for dollar any $50 donation thus turning your contribution into $100, which has real significant purchasing power in Tanzania. Please click here to contribute to FAME and to learn more about the organization. Make sure to enter ‘Africa Dream Safaris’ in the designation field to ensure that your $50 donation is matched correctly.

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Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: Will my cell phone work in Tanzania?

One question I am frequently asked by clients prior to their safari is “will my cell phone work in Tanzania?”  Often times people just want the option to periodically touch base with family, friends or even work colleagues back home.

Guests need to check directly with their cell phone service provider to see if their personal cell phones will work in Tanzania. The ability to use a personal cell phone is a direct function of what coverage each guest’s personal cell phone company can provide, and may also be influenced by the specific phone device. It’s important to check before trying to use one’s personal US cell phone in Tanzania because even though it may “work”, one wouldn’t want to be surprised later with some nasty roaming fees or other expensive international charges.

Guests can also use a Tanzanian cell phone, which seems to work out as the best option for most people. As part of our standard procedure, Africa Dream Safaris will lend each family or group a “local” Tanzanian company cell phone during their time in Tanzania so they have a way to contact our staff in the event of an emergency. The phone comes pre-loaded with approx $10 worth of “time”, which is plenty of credit to make several calls within Tanzania. They can use this phone to make outgoing calls to the US, but be aware the international fees to make these calls are pretty expensive and causes the pre-loaded credit to run out pretty quickly.  An alternative would be to have the clients’ family or friends call them directly on the Tanzania cell phone, as it will be free for them to receive calls and probably a lot less expensive for someone in the States to call Tanzania than vice versa. They can buy more time as they go in the form of calling cards, which are typically available for sale in Arusha and at many of the lodge gift shops.

The clients will be given this cell phone immediately upon arrival in Tanzania. Then… they can send an email from the hotel or make a quick call to a family member or friend to give out the number. These seems to be the easiest way to get the cell phone number out there to family and friends.

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If you want to maximize game viewing, ADS is the way to go!

What an experience, it seems like words alone can’t do it justice! When planning our trip to Africa, we searched for many long hours and compared a number of different safari outfits. However something about Africa Dream Safaris (ADS) made it stand out from the rest. Perhaps it was the excellent reviews, the amazing testimonials, or the dedicated attention provided by our sales representative Sharon Lyon; something just kept us coming back. Now we know first-hand what that something is and why ADS receives such praise. By sharing our journey, we hope to give you a glimpse into that special something that made ADS the perfect choice for our African safari!

From the first moment you get off the plane at Kilimanjaro, ADS is there to assist you by expediting the Customs process. We were then escorted to Mt Meru Resort, an amazing five star resort with all the amenities of home plus many more. The resort was an excellent place to stay and get some sleep after such a long flight. Of course it was hard for us to sleep too well with all the excitement of knowing that the next morning would be the start of our safari. The next morning we started off with a delicious buffet-style breakfast. The food was very delicious and always fresh. A trend that carried throughout our trip at all of our lodges and even with the picnic baskets we took on the road.

Our safari journey began with a short drive to the Arusha airport where we caught our flight that would take us into the breathtaking wilderness of the Serengeti. The flight was about an hour, during which we got to see the vast landscape of Tanzania. As our flight made its descent towards the air strip, we got our first glimpse of African wildlife as we spotted elephants, impalas, and hippos. After landing, we were greeted by the sights of all the different safari outfits and the excited travelers who, like us, were beginning their safari experience. We were soon greeted by our very own ADS driver and guide, Miko.

We can’t sing enough praise for our guide Miko. He was an excellent guide and helped add so much to our experience while on the safari. He was very knowledgeable about the animals and the history of the area in general. His ability to spot animals from a long distance and by sound alone was uncanny. The rest of the day was spent driving into the northern part of the Serengeti and provided some very memorable moments.

The first of these moments was when we witnessed a herd of elephants cross the Mara River. The baby elephants were so cool to watch as they wrestled with each other. Later, on our drive, we came across a pride of lions on some rocks. Among the young lions was a majestic male lion, which was not afraid to smile and show his teeth to the camera. Our luck continued the rest of the day as we spotted all sorts of wildlife, from zebras to beautiful African birds. However, the best spotting came in the late afternoon, with our first sighting of a cheetah. What made this cheetah so memorable was that she had cubs with her, not just one or two, but five cubs. With so much excitement and awe in the first day, we couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the trip had in store for us.

We eventually had to start making our way to the first of our safari lodges, Buffalo Springs Lodge. While all the places we stayed during our safari exceeded our expectation, Buffalo Springs managed to shine the brightest. The staff really stood out to us here, as they were very friendly and went way above and beyond to ensure our stay was comfortable and enjoyable. The food was amazing and we were able to enjoy the company of our driver, Miko, who was happy to answer all of our questions and to tell us more about the country he loved so much.

One of the best perks of Buffalo Springs is their night game drive. The night game drive gave us a chance to experience wildlife that would not normally be present or perhaps active during the day. A memorable part of this game drive was the hyenas, about thirty total, we got to see in action around a carcass. While Buffalo Springs was our favorite lodge, the trend of friendly staffs, excellent food, and breathtaking views from our accommodations continued with all of our lodges. The other lodges we stayed at included, Seronera Sametu Camp, the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, and Kikoti Tented Lodge.

The following day we got to experience some of the local culture by visiting a Maasai village. We were taken on a walking tour of the village by one of their young scholars. He talked about their culture and their beliefs. We were amazed by all the vibrant colors of the clothing that the Maasai wore. Later after the tour, we got to watch the young men and women of the village perform a dance and we even got the opportunity to join in on the dance.

During our trip, we got the opportunity to see and discover so much wildlife. We could talk for hours and write hundreds of pages of our experience and still not do it justice. Starting this safari, we had big expectations of what we hoped to see. Within the first couple days into the safari, we had seen almost everything on our list, leaving the rest of the trip as a bonus.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of our trip came on the fourth day of our safari. Late in the evening we had approached a leopard sighting, when a commotion was herd. The safari vehicles raced over to check it out and to our amazement was a leopard that had just killed a Thomson’s gazelle and carried it up a tree. Miko helped get us a great view of the leopard with the kill while a couple hyenas were at the bottom of the tree looking out for some scraps.

Our luck with the three big cats (lions, leopards, and cheetahs) would continue on with us spotting all three big cats in the same day on two separate occasions. Going into the trip, we were concerned with how close we would get to the animals. While some animals required a good pair of binoculars to spot, we had plenty of chances to see animals right outside of our vehicle. We got close-ups of such animals as lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, baboons, and various gazelles, just to name a few.

While nothing beats the Serengeti, in our book, we had other great days at places like Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire National Park. The highlight of the Ngorongoro Crater, and one of the perks of ADS, was being the first vehicle into the park. This early start allowed us to maximize our time spent in the crater. The crater offered a chance for us to immerse ourselves amongst thousands of wildebeest and zebras as they migrated across the vast plains of the crater. During lunch at the crater, we got the opportunity to picnic while only a hundred yards away slept a pride of lions.

As for Lake Manyara, traveling through the park felt like we were making an excursion through a wild jungle. This park gave us the opportunity to see vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, and baboons up close and in action. The last part of our trip took us to Tarangire National Park. This park by far offered the best views of elephants all trip. We saw a huge number of elephants, numbering in the hundreds. We also got the opportunity to see lions around a cape buffalo carcass. At the end of the day, we were treated with the site of a mother cheetah with her cub. The cheetah made her way down to us and stopped no more than ten yards away from our vehicle giving us the perfect photo opportunity.

We want to thank everyone at ADS, especially Sharon Lyon for helping answer the hundreds of questions leading up to our trip. She was always quick with responses and very friendly. She helped answer any concerns we had and made the booking of the trip so much easier than expected. We felt very well prepared going into this trip thanks in large part to Sharon’s friendly advice and wealth of knowledge.

We’d also like to thank our guide and driver Miko, whose expertise and passion for the job made our safari experience so much more enjoyable. If we ever end up going back on a safari, we will definitely choose African Dream Safaris. We don’t see how any tour group can offer more than what ADS gave us. Long after the other safari outfits had returned to the lodges, we were still out in the park seeing stuff like a leopard with a kill in a tree. If you want to maximize your time spent game driving, ADS is the way to go. Thanks again for an unforgettable trip!

Sincerely,

Bradley Parks and David Rivenbark
Manchester, Tennessee
Safari Dates: August 26, 2012 to September 3, 2012

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Awesome Africa!

Reading the AD newsletters makes you realize that Africa Dream sets their clients expectations high and then consistently surpasses them.  Our trip was no exception.  Our guide, Reggie, showed us so much on our first afternoon that we did not know how there could be much more in the ten days to come.  Nevertheless, he delivered time after time.

First, there was a buffalo stand-off with a lion in a tree.  Then, there was a hippo out of the water followed by a large herd of elephants which were not only close but also crossed the road immediately in back of our land cruiser.  Several times he spotted leopards and lions in trees, including a pride of eight.  Of course, there were zebra, wildebeest, topi, baboons, ostrich, gazelles, giraffe, and many other animals. This was in the first afternoon.

I thought to myself that seeing a lion on a kill would be nice but too much to ask.  Well, the very next day we saw hyenas finishing off a kill.  A few days after that we saw a handsome male lion on a kill with more than thirty predators waiting their turn.  When he walked away the frenzied free-for-all among the hyenas was fun to watch.  Very quickly that wildebeest carcass was gone and if we’d come into Ngorongoro Crater after breakfast as some tours do, we would have missed it.  Okay, now we’d seen a bonus, more than one could ask for, right?

Wrong.  The big thing left to see was a predator making a kill and that is exactly what happened hours later.  We watched a single lioness patiently stalk a wildebeest.  Reggie said she was waiting for the wildebeest to not be paying attention.  Sure enough, after more than fifteen minutes of our waiting, another wildebeest challenged him to a fight and in seconds the lioness was on him.  Her skill at overcoming an animal much larger than herself was fascinating.  Reggie got it all on our video camera.

Time and time again, Reggie demonstrated his understanding of animal behavior by positioning us in the ideal spot.  The male lion crossed the road directly in back of our land cruiser when he finished eating.  Several times we were able to watch elephants extremely close.

When my husband’s joking response to the first distant giraffes was “Reggie, I want to see their eyelashes”, Reggie delivered by finding giraffes feeding next to the road.  Two black rhinos crossed immediately in front of us because Reggie anticipated what they would do and signaled other cars not to move so we’d maintain a rhino-friendly gap.  We were able to drive right into the migration and sit there surrounded by wildebeest and zebras.  It was awesome.  A cheetah with three cubs was a bonus as were the sleeping lions on the kopjes.

Our accommodations were all outstanding but we especially enjoyed the tented places and Gibbs Farm.  Reggie’s response to my husband’s health problem on day two was superb and saved our trip.  My only regret was that my husband’s health problems prevented all but one early morning departure – something both Reggie and I would have preferred.

Thanks Africa Dream for making dreams come true.

Bobbie and Rich Kinsinger
Dousman, Wisconsin
June 2012

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ADS Guest Spots Rare Gerenuk Antelope On Safari

We have been procrastinating writing about our September 2012 adventure with ADS as it is impossible to put the most EXTRAODINARY trip ever into words. There are not powerful enough words to describe how all your senses are overwhelmed during a safari. However, we will try.

After much research we chose ADS which turned out to be the best choice for a truly wonderful adventure. Dawn Anderson was remarkable from start to finish in planning our adventure for the two couples in our party. It really makes a difference to have a company with offices here in the United States and offices in Tanzania. Dawn was only a phone call away during all the planning and preparation. She never made you feel like any question was out of the ordinary. She was even able to pull off a last minute request for a driver (Russell who was also excellent) to take us to visit a medical doctor and his family our church sponsors. While travelling to and from the small village we saw many animals in the wild including the very rare Gerenuk which even Russell had never seen!

After flying to the Northern Serengeti we were greeted by the fantastic guide: Raphael Mollel. There cannot be a more skilled, patient, intelligent, professional and gentle guide! He surprised you day after day with all the animals he could spot, his knowledge of wildlife and just plain fun to be around. His command of the English language is phenomenal. He was able to give us ring side seats at the Mara River crossing of wildebeest’s and zebra’s, close up views of the “big five”, “ugly five”, beautiful birds, varieties of unique trees, many natural instincts that all animals engage in, a monkey joining for a couple minutes in our vehicle, Mesa rituals and historical facts, his life experiences living in Tanzania and other laughs and experiences too funny and embarrassing to mention here!

Each member of the ADS team from our airport arrival, help in filling out legal paperwork, the instructions from the “Meet and Greet Teams”, along with those mentioned above are professional and a cut above the rest. Having a small group of four along with a personalized itinerary was perfect. During our two weeks on safari we meet other travelers with other safari companies and none compare in our minds to ADS. They are the “BEST”.

Bob and Cindy Sandberg
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Safari Dates: September 7, 2012 to September 16, 2012

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A Wonderful Family Vacation!

Dear Sharon and the ADS team,

Jambo! Thank you for making our African safari such a memorable experience. From the smallest details (covering our luggage in the truck to keep the dust out) to the larger ones (whisking us through the chaos of Kilimanjaro Airport when we arrived in Africa), you guys dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.

We had no choice but to relax and have a wonderful vacation! All the ADS personnel we dealt with were very professional and knowledgeable. The highlight of our experience was our driver, Reggie. He is superb and served as our guide, teacher and guardian.

We would recommend ADS to anyone thinking of doing a safari (in a heartbeat!). Thanks again for helping us make our dream a reality.

Thankfully yours,
The Alduino Family (Susan, Peter, Nicole and Matthew)
Yorktown Heights, New York
August 2012

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Thanks for Memories – Our Safari in September 2012

My husband and I took a luxury safari with ADS in Sept. 2012. Since I am not a travel writer I will keep it short and to the point. WOW!!! Says it all. Dawn Anderson put a trip of our lifetime together for us and Francis our guide in Tanzania put the finishing touches on our spectacular Serengeti/ Ngorongoro crater tour. We only hope that down the road we can book once more with ADS. In the meantime thanks for the memories.

Gerd and Susan Grave
New Port Richey, Florida
Safari Dates: September 9, 2012 to September 15 2012

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September Cheetah Report – Just in from the Serengeti

The latest news from the safari capital of Africa has just been released. Here is a link to the September 2012 Serengeti Cheetah Report prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by Helen, the on-site researcher for the Serengeti Cheetah Project. You won’t find this information anywhere else.

Africa Dream Safaris helps fund the Serengeti Cheetah Project’s ongoing conservation efforts. In turn, periodic reports are prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by the on-site researchers for the Serengeti Cheetah Project.

There’s lots of exciting cheetah news in this latest issue directly from the bush. There have been several new arrivals as well as quite a few cubs reaching independence and having to start making their own way in the world and a few funny cheetah stories!

Read about the new camera traps in the Serengeti and inquisitive cheetah cubs having a bit of fun with them. There is also a story of what happens when a mother with 4 almost fully grown (one-year old) cubs defends its kill against a single spotted hyena. Who will win…the family of cheetahs or the single spotted hyena? Lastly, read about ‘Tiramisu’ and ‘Pecan’ who at 14 years old are the two oldest cheetahs in the study area.

Click here for the current Serengeti Cheetah Report.

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