Posts From December 2013

Spotlight On Tanzania And The Great Wildebeest Migration!

Check out this recent magazine article in Wild Travel that was written by Philip Briggs, world-renowned travel writer and author for Bradt Travel guidebooks, who has traveled with ADS as a guest in the past. The article was published in the latest November issue of Wild Travel. The article features Tanzania with a spotlight on Africa Dream Safaris, as our own Dawn Anderson recounts one of her most exciting safari memories!

Click on the following link access the magazine article: http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/pdf/ADS-WildTravelArticle_REV2.pdf

Also, here are a few spectacular great migration photos taken by our own Dawn Anderson who is featured in the magazine article. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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First Time Safari Advice

African safari tours are arguably the most complicated travel arrangements one ever has to make in their lifetime. No wonder there are so many buzz words we often hear people state when talking about planning an african safari including bucket list trip or once in a life time experience. I remember when planning my first safari over 20 years ago and being completely overwhelmed by the endless choices, options and warnings. Just getting there (about 21 hours of flight time from my home town here in Los Angeles) is daunting enough. The good news is that times have changed. In the last couple years, the safari industry in both South Africa and East Africa has made great strides in perfecting what we call the art of safari (i.e. making the whole african safari trip experience as safe, convenient and easy as possible). The infrastructure, lodging and tourism industry in general has been greatly improved. This is especially true in Tanzania where the travel sector of the economy has had double digit growth since 2008. My advice is to do plenty of planning of course but you can rest assured that there has been no better time to conduct a trip to Africa. Happy Travels! – By Michael @ ADS

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Moments That Took Our Breath Away!

From childhood into adulthood one is exposed of Africa through many venues; books, magazines, movies, etc. But nothing can prepare you for what the human eye sees, the constant change of emotions derived from changing feelings, sense of intoxicating aromas and a never ending Serengeti full with wonders of life. I will try to expose these emotions; however, I am confident that neither the following words nor pictures will fully capture the actual moments. Some of these moments were in:

o The constantly changing colors blending with terrain, vegetation and light of day

o The wakening of each day by singing birds, the shuffling of animals and the roar of the male Lion. Each communicating its own message of life, struggle and dominance

o The constant battle for survival with protecting parents of their young. The quick training that must quickly pass on for both predator and pray

o The stalking before the chase, the chase, evasions and final outcomes of the most skilled

o The parental loving attention and sharing of the fresh kill by a dominant family of Lions or Cheetahs

o The almost comical approach and participation by Hyenas, Jackals and Vultures as they ravage through the leftover of a kill or normal death. The Serengeti gives and takes with little trace of the carnage and the cycle continues

o The massiveness and vastness of the migration by wildebeest and zebras

o The cyclic and repeating migration, driven by the clock of nature, which taunts them with the promise of food for their survival

o The massiveness of elephants herds with their destructiveness of trees for food. No green training here. However, the family caring is so obvious

o The massive hippos in their “aromatic” pools, territorial and so protective of their young

o The huge crocodiles that bask in the warmth of the shores in stillness and full awareness

o The giraffes so majestic with an uncaring view of all that is a foot below them. With reward of fresh green leaves that only awaits them at the tips of the high branches made brilliant against the Blue sky

o The feeling of freedom and being alive as you stand in the vehicle, head sticking out on the top while being driven through the serenity of the Serengeti, fresh wind on your face

o The many people at the camps of Kusini, Swala, Lake Masik and Ngorongoro that made our returns a welcome with cooling towels, hot water to clean and relax our bodies, and the nourishing quality of food and drink to energize and prepare us for events to come

The above are just a few of the many treasures that are intermingled by many more animals that were unveiled through the keen eyes of a well-trained ADS guide and driver (Pokea): An expert not only in wildlife, but terrain, he managed to provide us with the utmost Safari experience. The ADS family may not be large in comparison to other providers, allowing them to focus on the quality of services and motivation to provide us with the best experience possible. The ADS family has exceeded our expectations exposing us with moments that took our breath away.

The last five days (December 29, 2012-January 3, 2013) were spent in the tranquility of the Palms resort located on Zanzibar Island. What a wonderful way to chill down and reflect on the safari adventure. The people of the Palms are to be commended for the service, exquisite cuisine, and the softening tranquility of the quiet surroundings.

If you can treat yourself and family to these experiences ADS will most certainly accommodate and exceed your expectations

Enjoy and share some of our photos

Leo Pavlow and Christiane Meyer
Safari Dates: December 19, 2012-December 29, 2012
Plymouth, Michigan

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Our Guide Was An Encyclopedia Of Knowledge

We had an absolutely amazing safari with Africa Dream Safaris, better than we ever dreamed possible. We loved having our own guide and vehicle, and the freedom to choose our own pace, according to the interesting sights and the weather. There were 4 of us, so we had room to spare for picture taking and for our daypacks as well as boxed lunches some days. From the moment we landed in Kilimanjaro, we were guided skillfully and patiently throughout our trip, even getting through customs smoothly with extra assistance from our guide.

We saw everything we could have imagined, in abundance. We encountered dozens of elephants and baboons at a time, filling the road and crossing it, lion, zebra, and cheetah and zebra families, and beginning of the wildebeest migration. On our first day, a pair of cheetahs made a surprise raid on a warthog family, stealing one of the young. The distraught mother chased the other cheetah at an amazing pace. While watching a large group of baboons all around us, we spotted a male feasting on a small animal right next to us. Our guide, David, said it was rare for baboons to eat meat so openly, but he sat at the side of the road picking the carcass clean.

One elephant actually approached and circled our truck, stopping twice to let her infant nurse within a few feet of us, before ambling away. And we witnessed a large pack of hyenas try to approach a lion kill, only to be successfully driven off by 3 determined lionesses. Two hippos appeared to clash repeatedly in the water with their mouths open, although no blood appeared. We witnesses real and novel adventures every day, not just a long distance peek at wildlife! Also, Tanzania is a bird lover’s paradise, we was a wide variety of birds, including birds of prey, at close range. Some even landed on our vehicle.

Our guide, David, was the best we have ever known, very knowledgeably responding to every inquiry imaginable (a young person in our group was especially eager for understanding of not only wildlife, but Tanzanian culture and customs). He saw wildlife with his naked eye that we had trouble locating with binoculars, and was a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge about every creature we saw – and we saw it all! Not only the big five, but dozens of smaller animals, lizards, and birds as well. He filled us in on every detail about the various acacia trees, the baobab and sausage trees, and gave us advice when we visited a Masaii village. We stayed a long time watching some animals and never felt rushed to move on, as long as one of us was standing. And he frequently moved us into a better viewing position as animals moved about, no request necessary.

I would urge anyone interested in a Tanzanian safari to book with Africa Dream Safaris, which we will surely do when we return!

Gratefully, Diane & John Shoemaker
Holland, Michigan
Safari Dates: December 5, 2013 to December 15, 2013

Cheetah With Cubs

Cheetah Escapes With Baby Warthog

Mother Warthog Chasing Second Cheetah

Leopard Awakens

Lion Cubs Asleep By Road

Elephant Calf Nursing

Hippo Confrontation

Hippo Mom And Baby

Hornbill At Nest

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ADS Blew Us Away

My parents and I have been home for over two weeks and as we reflect on our many pictures we are still in disbelief! Africa Dream Safaris was a dream come true! Our Tanzania safari exceeded our expectations every single day! Throughout our 12 day visit we were fortunate to see all of the major African species. It is impossible to select a favorite memory or experience from our trip because so many were breathtaking!

We saw a cheetah hunt and kill an antelope and then watched as the mother called for her young to come eat. We were welcomed into two separate, very large lion prides and were able to observe cubs play and wrestle while the adolescents learned to hunt. We also saw a recently born zebra foal learning to stand and young elephant calves suckling their mothers. Aside from the common animals, we were also extremely fortunate to observe a few very rare species including the side-striped jackal, porcupine, cerval cat, and a large pack of wild dogs!

Awe-inspiring animals aside, ADS blew us away with their accommodations, welcoming staff, and knowledgeable driver guide. All of our accommodations were absolutely beautiful including the private tent which was pitched just a day before our arrival specifically for the three of us. The staff at all locations were kind, welcoming and very helpful! We were even fortunate enough to have wildlife visitors at each of our lodges – absolutely unbelievable!

Our driver guide (Peter Huka) was very kind, accommodating and informative! I vividly remember him saying “This is my goal” on several occasions in reference to finding various animals that were of our interest. He made our interests his priority and was sure to keep us comfortable throughout the safari.

While in Tanzania we also visited an indigenous Maasai tribe and the FAME hospital. Both of these experiences were life changing! The Maasai warrior welcomed us into his tribe and their home. He answered all of our questions openly and was very informative. They are truly beautiful people and we feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share some time with the tribe.

The FAME hospital opened our eyes to the state of medicine in Tanzania and has inspired us to act and help. We felt very privileged to meet Dr. Frank, the founder, and to see firsthand all of his hard work and efforts in motion helping the people of Tanzania.

Sharon, our time in Tanzania was unforgettable. We couldn’t feel more blessed to have found you & ADS!

Damian, Mickey and Ann
The Villages, Florida
Safari Dates: December 1, 2013 to December 12, 2013

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By Peter Huka – Safari with Ann T. Family From Florida

This is ADS driver-guide Peter Huka with my latest safari report. This time I had the pleasure of leading 3 guests from Florida named Ann, Damian and Michaeleen T. We started our safari on 02nd December 2013 in the Central Serengeti when I picked up the guests at the Seronera Airstrip at approximately 10.00am.

We did a game drive around the Seronera valley on the way to our accommodations at Sametu Camp. In the Seronera Valley we came across two leopards and a lioness and also a large herds of migratory zebras. During the afternoon near the famous Maasai Kopjes we found three lions with a zebra kill which was great to watch. We continued on our way to Sametu Camp arriving before sunset.

The following day we decided to explore the Western Corridor of the Serengeti in hopes of seeing the wildebeest migration. Thankfully, we were rewarded for our long drive as we got to see the migration around the Grumeti River. It was a beautiful day with the migration and many other species of animals including giraffes, elephants and gazelles.

On our 3rd day on safari, we departed Sametu Camp and headed for our Private Camp at Naabi Hill. We drove through Sametu Kopjes en route and we found a big pride of 17 lions there. Later in the day, we drove through the Makoma Hill area and we were lucky to see many highlights including two cheetahs, elephants, lions, topis and giraffes. We then headed to our Private Camp and Naabi Hill.

The area immediately around Naabi Hill was unusually dry for this time of year so the following day we decided to drive about 1-hour to the northwest to Moru Kopjes and Lake Magadi. The Moru Kopjes area is absolutely beautiful. It is one of my favorite areas of the Serengeti and it was nice because we found some large family groups of elephants and buffaloes.

We then departed our Camp and Naabi Hill for 2 final nights in the South Serengeti at Lake Masek Tented Lodge. The highlight here in the Masek / Ndutu area was watching a mother cheetah with two cubs hunting. Her first and second attempt to hunt a Thomson gazelle were unsuccessful but she didn’t give up. Her third attempt proved successful and she was able to chase down and kill a Thomson gazelle. Surely this was great to witness!

The last day in the South Serengeti we went around the big swamp where we saw a pride of lions before departing to the Ngorongoro Crater which was also very nice. After two nights on the Crater rim, we proceeded to Lake Manyara National Park and then finally Tarangire National Park and Kikoti Camp.

We were very lucky in Tarangire to have so many exciting wildlife encounters. We saw a leopard cub, several lions and a large pack of wild dogs. There were 23 wild dogs total and it was the highlight of the safari and perhaps the year! Wild dogs are critically endangered in Northern Tanzania and sightings of them are extremely rare.

The following are photos to share with you.

– Cheetah with a kill around Central Serengeti.

– Three lionesses with a zebra kill near Sametu camp.

– Wildebeest Migration – Western Serengeti.

– Zebra with a new born baby.

– Male lion on the rock – Maasai Kopjes.

– Two cheetah cubs playing around ndutu area.

– Cheetah killed a Thomson gazelle in the ndutu area.

– Lion cubs playing around the marsh at ndutu. They were about 4 to 5 months old.

– A leopard cub on the tree around Silale Swamp.

– My clients having a great time at the Moru Maasai painting – Central Serengeti.

– Hunting dogs at Tarangire near Silale Swamp.

Thanks,
Peter Huka.
ADS Guide.

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By Patrick Clement with Terry and Kaye from Illinois

Jambo! My name is Patrick and I am professional Tanzanian guide with Africa Dream Safari. I am back home at our offices in Arusha now after having concluded a safari with two guests from Illinois named Terry and Kaye K. My safari with Terry and Kaye started on December 4, 2013. I picked them up at the Seronera Airstrip upon landing on the Regional Air flight. We enjoyed a total of 7 nights on safari with 2 nights at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge in the Central Serengeti, 3 nights at Ndutu Lodge in the South Serengeti and 2 nights at the Crater at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Follows are a few pictures with descriptions from the adventure!

– The early morning is the best time for wildlife viewing. Three spotted hyenas are shown down on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater scent marking their territory. Hyenas are the most abundant predator in both the Ngorongoro Crate and the nearby Serengeti.

-A lioness enjoying herself on the top of an acacia tree around the Nyasirori area of the western corridor, where parts of the great wildebeest migration was currently ranging.

-A cheetah with his kill in the Ndutu area of the South Serengeti trying to feed quickly to avoid the disturbance from hyenas, lions, jackals, vultures and other scavengers. It is very common in the Serengeti for cheetahs to quickly loose their hard earned kill to other more powerful carnivores.

-Another cheetah on the top of a termite mound on the way to Naabi hill around ‘vilima Saba’ enjoying the good scenery of the Serengeti.

-A yawning lioness on the top of a acacia tree again in the Nyasirori area around the Western Corridor.

-Vervet monkeys grooming themselves at Lake Manyara National Park.

-This leopard was approaching very close to our vehicle and everybody in the vehicle was freezing. It was a great sighting in the Seronera Valley, Central Serengeti.

Thanks,
Patrick Clement.
ADS Guide.

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IT. WAS. AMAZING.

I left for Tanzania expecting to get to spend an amazing vacation on safari, but what I didn’t know was that I would come home with a completely new perspective. Tanzania opened my eyes and changed me in so many ways. The experience was unreal. I have never been exposed to so much natural beauty and culture as I did in the 2 weeks I spent with African Dream Safaris.

First off, our entire vacation was perfectly planned and stress free. Sharon, from the moment I stepped off the plane until our guides said goodbye to us at the airport on our last day, we didn’t have to worry about anything. Everyone we met on our trip was far beyond hospitable and happy to take care of us and answer all of our questions (I had a lot!). Our guide was the most wonderful, knowledgeable, friendly man and he became part of our “family”.

Every place we stayed at was more beautiful and breath-taking than the one before. We traveled during the slower season, so each place we stayed at was peaceful. From tents on the ridge of the Ngorogoro crater, beautiful white houses overlooking a coffee plantation, luxurious tents on top of a kopi, to a 5-star hotel overlooking a watering hole… I could watch animals drink from a watering hole outside of my bathroom window while I took a bath or wake up in the morning to elephants rustling around outside my tent.

I could never have dreamed of how many animals we saw on our safari. To put it into perspective, in the first 20 minutes of our first drive, I asked our guide to stop so I could look at herd of gazelles out on the horizon. Later that day we got to experience the 2 cheetahs stalk and kill a baby warthog. Witnessing nature in action like that is something I will never forget. By the end of our safari seeing a family of giraffes up next to our car was normal.

We saw every animal you could possibly imagine and then some. My personal favorites were the zebras. We saw thousands and thousands everywhere we went but they never stopped being fascinating and beautiful to me. One of our last drives we stumbled upon over 200 elephants, surrounding and walking around our truck. You could see them for miles! We also got to see black rhino in the Ngorogoro crater, which was a real treat.

Every day was another incredible adventure… One day we got to go on a peaceful hot air balloon safari and watch the sunrise. When we landed, we had a delicious and beautiful breakfast prepared for under a tree overlooking the mountains and herds of water buffalo. One day we spent time in a Masai village talking to and learning about their culture. I even got to learn how to do traditional Masai dances.

Overall, I will look back on this trip as an experience that has completely changed my worldview. It was the most surreal, beautiful, humbling, educational, and incredible 2 weeks of my life. I have no doubt in my mind that I will come back to Tanzania someday.

Aside from this, I can’t thank you enough for planning the this trip for us. Everything about it was perfect. I talk for hours on end when people ask me about my experience. I still can’t believe all the things I experienced and saw and did. I am only 19 years old, so it is kind of a problem because I have such a yearning to travel and experience other cultures and countries now.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a million times.

Hannah K.
Holland, MI
Safari Dates: December 3, 2013 – December 15, 2013

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Serengeti Lion Project – Report for December 2013

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. So what new adventures have our favorite lions been up to lately? Continue reading below for our latest report! To access past reports, visit our Serengeti Lion Project webpage.

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By Ingela Jansson / Field Biologist with the Serengeti Lion Project

Hi Africa Dream Safari Readers,

Some of you may have heard from me earlier as I reported on your selected lion prides in Serengeti. After some years of silence I’m again sharing the lion reporting with my colleague Daniel. From me you won’t hear about your favorite prides, instead I’ll give you some tales from my work in neighboring Ngorongoro. Since late 2010 I’m fully engaged in lion research and conservation in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). I continue the regular monitoring of the easily seen lions in the Crater and in the Ndutu/Masek area – this is the easy task. Much more challenging is learning about the elusive lions that reside in the Maasai inhabited parts of Ngorongoro. I work closely with the local communities, and have currently six local Maasai employed to assist gathering lion observation data, as well as data on predators’ impact on the pastoralist Maasai population. Much could be told about the work here, but for this report I wanted to acquaint you with Puyol and his mates…

To learn more about how lions live in this human/livestock occupied landscape we have been permitted to attach GPS collars on up to six lions. In mid-February this year we set out to find, immobilize, and collar a couple of lions. I’d called in Daniel to help me, and “equipped” him with two sharp-eyed Maasai (Julius and Roimen) for easier lion spotting and local area knowledge. While I took the night shift calling for shy lions near the Eyasi rift, Daniel and team made daytime searches for the less shy lions in the Twin Hill region. Just after morning tea on the 14th Feb. Daniel calls to say they found 5 lions; 2 males and 3 females. Great news! Me, Ernest (the veterinarian) and my two Maasai assistants (Mudi and Koley) headed off immediately.

Once there I identified the three females as the 3 years old Hara, Helen and Athena from the Big Marsh pride. For whatever reason they had left their natal pride, including their two same-aged sisters. Presuming that these females would return “home”, into the area of Ndutu where Maasai and livestock are not permitted, these females were no good candidates for a collar. The two males, however, were. They were the two gorgeous blond-maned nomadic males that we’d first seen and identified in May 2012. I gave Hamisi (driver guide at Ndutu lodge and local lion expert, a.k.a. Kaka Simba) the honorable task to name them. Being a football (soccer) fan, Hamisi named them Puyol and Ramos – defenders of the Barcelona football team – and we gained hopes they may become good lion pride defenders in the years to come. We estimate Puyol and Ramos to be born in 2008. It is likely they are brothers or cousins, but being just two they could also be two solitary, unrelated nomads that have hooked up for life. Their origin is unknown to us, although I’m hoping we can find it out by analyzing genetic samples from them.

Puyol and Ramos in embrace in a field of flowering Cordifolia:

I let Ernest choose whichever of the males to dart, and soon Puyol had the pink-tufted dart syringe in his butt. As usual it stirred some commotion among the lions. Helen found the intriguing syringe with pink tuft and pulled it from Puyol, chewing it to completely demolish the expensive equipment. Cats are cats… After shooing away the other lazy, well-fed lions, we had about an hour to work on Puyol; fitting GPS collar, measuring, sampling and weighing. As all that was done, and drugs had worn off, Puyol joined his mates again who were resting a few hundred meters away.

Puyol immobilized and here weighed by Koley, Mudi, Ingela, Roimen and Julius. Puyol is some of the largest lion I’ve ever seen; his tail base as thick as my arm, and he weighs (if we can trust a non-perfect scale) around 235 kg. Mind you, perhaps 25% of that was his latest large meal.

From then on we have continued following Puyol’s whereabouts through the regularly incoming messages (GPS-collar – Iridium satellite – base station – email – lion researcher). I have scheduled his collar to take hourly positions at night and one position at noon. Combining that information with field visits we are learning lots about lions’ behavior; where they move and rest, and where and what they eat.

The area Puyol considers home fills with activity in the dry season, as Maasai and their livestock moves in to the Olduvai-Masek area that provides a rare permanent water supply. Most of this area is not the kind of African savannah we’d like to think of. This is a non-inviting place; mainly woodland of a “boring“ kind of Acacia, interspersed with large clumps of waist-tall Cordifolia (whose seed particles gets into your eyes and makes you itch all over), and terribly dusty with fine volcanic dust. Wasn’t it for Puyol’s radio signals, or clusters of recent GPS positions I would never opt to enter here.


Incidence of late with Puyol &Co
On Nov 12th me and Roimen, one of our Maasai scouts, went to check out the lion scene in Ndutu/Masek area. I dropped off Roimen to work on foot; searching lion spoors and other signs, and talking to Maasai about any recent predator-livestock attacks. The following day I went radio tracking for Puyol, I pick up the signal and pursue it to some dense impenetrable thickets. I couldn’t even see the tail-tip of a lion, but signals tell me Puyol was right there.

Later I meet up with Roimen who tells me about his spoor-tracking exercise this morning. He’d followed fresh spoors, stained with blood and leading into thickets – the same thickets I’d got Puyol’s signals from. The following morning we search for Puyol again and find him still in the very same place. Not so good, as it further indicated that he was wounded. To find out how badly, and if there was anything that could/should be done we had get a visual of the lion. Not a chance while he hid in the thickets, so we tried to lure him out by playing up a recording of a bleating buffalo calf. Ramos popped his blond-maned head up and approached the sound, accompanied by his current “mistress” Marlene. Puyol, however, remained in the bushes. Even more worrisome; as he didn’t come out for this attractive call indicated that he was quite injured. Had he been in a fight with other lions (perhaps even squabbling w Ramos over Marlene), or worse; been speared by Maasai??

Other duties occupied the next day, so me and Roimen returned on the 16th. We had coordinated with a veterinarian in case it was decided the lion needed treatment. The last GPS position that had come in from Puyol’s collar was from the morning of the 15th, showing that he hadn’t moved from the bush. Later positions were slow coming in, often an effect of poor satellite communication while in dense vegetation. As we reach Puyol’s long resting place I get no radio tracking signal. There could be two reasons for this; either Puyol had left, or he was still in there but collar had failed or been chewed by hyenas. I leave Roimen to check out the spoors in the area while I go to check internet yet again for any collar updates. While the modern technique failed, traditional spoor tracking lead the way. As I return Roimen waives me in, and with him leading the way we follow spoors of Puyol as he’d moved off. After a couple of kilometers of Roimen running swiftly through the bush, following the very obvious lion prints on dusty ground, and me chugging behind clumsily in a noisy landrover, we reached a hillcrest and I gain radio signal. Shifting over to modern tracking, we weave our way through the bush. Within a kilometer the booming radio signal tells us that Puyol is right near. “Pale!” whispers Roimen and points to a pair of well concealed paws inside a dense clump of Cordifolia. Because we still needed to know if and how badly injured Puyol was, I drove up irritatingly close. Puyol stood up and on a sore left front leg limped away to nearby bush – but was otherwise in good shape. Great – we no longer needed to worry about him!

Two weeks later I’m back to check on Puyol. Since last visit the GPS positions had shown that the limp male had regained normal movement patterns. Now back into Puyol’s favourite, but un-inviting woodlands we track him down to widespread clumps of Cordifolia. Upon arriving we can hardly make out Puyol’s blond mane in the yellow colored vegetation. Then Ramos even blonder frame pops up, then a female, and another, and finally also a little cub. A constellation I wasn’t familiar with. Flicking through the lion ID cards I eventually found a match; the adult female was Nayomi and the 1.5 year old female was Nadine. The 3 months old male cub was seen for the first time and we named him Nanook. Before I had only seen and identified Nayomi and Nadine from photos provided by tourists. Seeing her in real was good, and great to know they were alive and well, and had even increased with a cub!

Puyol with the ca. 3 months old male that we named Nanook (The Master of bears in Inuvit mythology). For Nayomi and her group (can’t really call it a pride as she seems to be a solitary female) we give them names starting with NA, as she was first seen and identified in the Naibardad area (also called Twin Hill).


It has been really interesting to see how Puyol &Co have managed to live here among all potential conflict with the Maasai and livestock. Lions are not vegetarians, and livestock is certainly part of the lions’ menu. Retaliatory killings are a too common cause of death for lions in such landscapes. But Puyol and Ramos, and their two prides are living on well. Apart from being the resident males to the small group of Nayomi and offspring, they also continue as the males for the Matiti pride (which I named the Hara, Helen and Athena group). They reproduced successfully, and though I have only seen them on a couple of occasions during the dry season, they seem to get on really well. In fact, they are doing better compared with the neighboring lions in an area where Maasai and livestock are not permitted.

On 20th Sept. 2013 I tracked Puyol to the full Matiti pride. Here is Hara surrounded by their six cubs. Helen, Athena, Ramos and Puyol are just nearby.

Rainy season is here, and I look forward to more and better sightings of the lions in this region. Many cubs to be identified. Their elusiveness tends to wear off as the Maasai and livestock moves on, leaving the area to only wildlife and tourists, and us researchers.

Ingela Jansson
Serengeti Lion Project

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By Ellison, Pokea and Francis – The Last Wildebeest Crossing

Jambo! This is ADS driver-guides Ellison, Pokea and Francis reporting from Tanzania with our bush report. This time there were 3 of us guides joining together since we were with a large family from Santa Fe, New Mexico. There were a total of 17 adults and children in the family group. It was a wonderful experience to be with such a large and happy family group over the course of the safari. Our adventure started on November 19th and ended on November 30th and we enjoyed visiting many different areas including the North, Central and South Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park. Overall, the trip was fantastic through all the areas we visited. We had an opportunity to take a few wonderful photos, which we would like to share with you. Kindly enjoy.

Thanks,
Ellison, Pokea, and Francis.
ADS Guides

– We could not believe we saw such a large migration crossing so late in the season. This is because all the reports had indicated that the wildebeest and zebra herds had headed south early this year. To our surprise, there had been some rain showers to the North which caused the migration to head back North in November and recross the Mara River.




– We saw this large lion pride around Simba Kopjes in the Central Serengeti. There were about 25 lions with some on the Kopjes and some down in the tall grass. It was depressing that they killed just a small warthog. We didn’t know how they could share such a small meal as the food intake of just one mature lion is 20kgs of meat per kill.





– This is what we found around Lobo Hills in the North Serengeti. Lobo Hills has been a nice site for the big cats and other animals but also the scenery and vegetation area awesome. We saw a mother cheetah and five cubs. The five cubs were very active. Some were climbing trees and some were moving very close to our vehicles.



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By Simon Sige – Huge Python In The Serengeti

Greetings…my name is Simon Sige and I am a driver-guide with ADS. I have just finished up my latest safari to the Northern Tanzania Game Circuit and am now back home in Arusha. Follows is my latest safari report for my trip with Don and Sue from Wisconsin, USA. The safari dates were December 2nd, 2013 to December 10th, 2013 and the itinerary featured 6 nights in the Serengeti and 2 nights at Ngorongoro Crater at the following lodges: Four Seasons Lodge, Lake Masek Camp, Kusini Camp, Lion’s Paw Camp and the Ngorongoro Manor Lodge.

My safari with Don and Sue was simply awesome. We experienced all kinds of weather from rain and strong winds to dry conditions including dust and sunshine. The excursions with the clients were wonderful, the wildlife viewing superb and we also had a great experience in all lodges including Lion’s Paw Camp in the Ngorongoro Crater. The following are some of the photos I took during the safari.

Thanks,
Simon Sige.
ADS Guide.

– Wow! This was a huge Python we found crossing the road in the Kusini Plains, which is a very unusual sighting.

– Mother Cheetah teaching her cubs to hunt in the South Serengeti. This is young dik-dik, the smallest antelope in the Serengeti.

– Male lion dragging its kill in the Ndutu area of the South Serengeti.

-Lions resting under the tree after the big meal – at Ndutu.

-A cheetah wandering through the woodlands near Lake Masek, South Serengeti in the early morning hoping for a good day.

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Helpful Tips & Recommendations From A Recent Safari Guest

We just returned from Africa (our trip dates were November 24, 2013 to December 1, 2013). This truly was a trip of lifetime for all of us—a group of 17 family members aged 10 to 80. The entire ADS staff (office, welcome, guides) was most helpful in answering questions, making recommendations, and just taking care of my every need and concern. This made the trip less stressful and I was fully prepared to take advantage of what a safari could offer. Recommendation – read the following information early on:

• Read the little guidebook given to you in your welcome packet. It’s truly packed with very useful information to include: timelines to prepare (packing, immunizations, etc) and keep you on track and tipping.

• Read the FAQ area of the ADS – there’s even more here to include a “Daypack” or items to carry with you in the jeep. Also, what to expect from a bush bathroom, and developing and living by your new mantra: “Pack light, Pack Smart” http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq.html

• Look at testimonials on the website and take a look at what people are wearing. This is a good guide for you on colors and type of clothing. The animals aren’t going to be impressed either way, so be comfortable and appropriate in your choice of clothing. Bring your ADS hat and tee-shirt, as you will need them.

Our journey started when we searched the Internet for the right company that could handle our large family group of 17 people. Once we found the ADS website and spoke with a real person (Dawn), we were hooked! The one-on-one interaction and concern given to our trip details was a huge factor in our choice of which company would be appropriate for us. ADS actually answered the phone, responded to our emails and provided the information we needed to make the decision to choose them.

We never looked back and were confident in knowing we chose the right company for this very important family trip. They even helped us with choosing the right (air) travel company familiar with this journey and its details. After our return from Africa, I can still say with absolute certainty: ADS specializes in just Africa safaris and was the absolute right choice for us! We received very specific information from people who actually have been on this journey—not a generic answer from a large company who doesn’t specialize in any area of the world (we looked into them, too).

We were met in Arusha by the ADS welcome team. We stored our Amsterdam luggage with them and they provided our group with an emergency cell phone
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_Communication.html
We had three jeeps and very patient tour guides (Francis, Elson, and Pokare) http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_DriverGuides.html . Each day, we swapped around to get a different experience.

All the guides listened to us and accommodated our desires to make our journey unique, special, and original. One guide had “eagle eyes” while another drove faster to see even more animals (our scout) and yet the other was slower and seemed more patient to wait until we were satisfied and took all the photos we wanted. With any of the guides, I never felt rushed at any time and they treated us with the utmost respect and tolerance. What the guides were able to accomplish for us in the just the first  four hours was to strategically position our jeeps so that we can witness a magical event: a great wildebeest crossing of the Mara River
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_GreatMigration.html .

And, we witnessed this twice in the first 4 hours from two different groups of thousands of wildebeests and zebra! Even our guides were taking pictures which emphasized just how special and rare this moment was!

We all agreed that if we had to return after just one day—we would be content to have witnessed “enough” and had already exceeded any expectations from any member in our group. But we had 6 more days to go! And each following day built upon this great, first impression of what wild Africa should be. Each day was just as magical and packed with animal sightings and cultural experiences (including a Maasai village) that will be with us for a lifetime! We saw mammals, birds, fish, and even reptiles. We heard wonderful, strange noises at night and woke up early to catch even more sightings.

Note that we never really saw a lot of other people because we left so early in the morning. This was an obvious benefit. But it also allowed us to see even more animals being active rather than hiding in camouflage or shady areas from the heat of the day. Each day, we saw at least a hundred DIFFERENT types of animals and hundreds of thousands in number. This was totally due to the expert efforts of our guides/drivers. I highly recommend you consider this company for your African Dream Safari of a lifetime.

More Recommendations: Packing. Pack for Amsterdam and Africa separately taking into concern weight limits and locations of your journey.

• Amsterdam luggage: should be a regular sized piece of luggage (50 pounds limit in most cases). You can be reasonably sure to check this piece of luggage. Note that 25% of luggage is lost at the Kilimanjaro airport. Even if this happened to you, you won’t need this piece of luggage until AFTER your safari. You can let the ADS people know and they can locate this luggage while you are on Safari, if necessary. Also, the ADS folks in Arusha will store your Amsterdam luggage for you for free while you are on safari (no need to store your luggage in an Amsterdam airport locker-but this is also an option at additional cost).

• Africa luggage: you will want to pack light, pack smart for this one. Since 25% of luggage is lost at the Kilimanjaro airport, you will want to consider this as your carry-on option. Most major airlines limit this to about 26 pounds (but will they really check?). Most importantly, make sure it conforms to SIZE limits, and then take into consideration that you are limited to 35 pounds for the bush plane at the beginning of your Africa journey (you drive out at the end). For our group-they did not weigh our luggage for either the major airline or the bush plane. If you stay at one location for 2 days, this will be a great opportunity for laundry to be done for you. At some places, this is inclusive of the price. For others, it’s an extra, nominal charge—but you’re worth it and it’s worth it to you to bring less clothes and travel light. I fully took advantage of this. If you are looking for a backpack style luggage, this might be more practical as there can be lots of stairs at the camps that would hinder any luggage with wheels AND it will easily fit in your overhead bin for carry-on. Also, know that every place we were at have porters that can also move your luggage for you (don’t forget to tip!).

Supplies

• Pack a Day Pack (see recommendations online and make this your own): http://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=4388

• You’ll want to bring convenient wipe-type products not only for the “bush bathroom” event (if it even happens) http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_BushBathrooms.html , but you’ll also find them for your face and skin (refreshing) and I’ve even seen them for mosquito repellant and sunscreen too. This packaging format is not only convenient, but more lightweight and easy to put in your daypack and to use while bouncing around in a Jeep. Since you’ll have most of this in your “carry-on” other type bottle packaging is limited to 3 ounces or less.

• You want to bring something for the dust, such as a bandana http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/faq_Dust.html . What these bandanas also were used for were gifts to the Maasai (I gave a red one to a beautiful little girl and she was in heaven) or other people you may meet along the way. So, bring more than one. They effectively cut the dust from your mouth and nose, and otherwise the sweat from around your neck area.

• Bring a journal or something to chronicle your journey and something to write with. We even had a competition of who could count more, different animals each day, and total for the safari. I didn’t win, but the youngest in our group was the overall winner! This one worked well (for any age): African Safari Journal and Field Guide: A Wildlife Guide, Trip Organizer, Map Directory, Safari Directory, Phrase Book, Safari Diary and Wildlife Checklist – All-in-One by Mark W. Nolting (Author) , Duncan Butchart (Illustrator). It has lots of information, guides and pictures of the animals you will see and lots of blank pages to write about your journey.

• You don’t need to bring your own binoculars (less weight to carry) as each person has their own pair provided to them (each jeep seat) and are stronger and clearer than anything you’ll want to bring with you.

Again, I highly recommend you consider this company for your African Dream Safari of a lifetime.

Todd and Alexander
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Safari Dates: November 24, 2013 to December 1, 2013

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Amazing – I Think I Am In Jurassic Park!

As you know Naomi and I traveled with our 22 year old gran daughter, Malori, on your 8 day Tanzania Safari from December 17-25th. The first words out of her mouth were “Amazing – I think I am in Jurassic Park”. This was our second trip to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater and it was still amazing for us also.

The Sametu Tented Camp and the Lions Paw Camp were just what we wanted – outstanding service and facilities while being in the bush. It felt like we were in the movie- Out of Africa.

Your description of the trip was very accurate and extremely helpful in our planning. Yes we saw all the major animals up close and personal almost all on the first day. Our trip to a Masai village and the walk in the bush with a couple of Masai (children) guides was also very worthwhile and interesting. Weather turned out perfect cool night and warm sunny days.

Service from the airport pick up to our drop off when we left was all very well done. Your idea of an extra night in Arusha before starting out safari worked out extremely well as we had a rested start.

The breakfast and dinner meals, especially at your tented camps were all very good and they even tried hard to handle the Gluten free needs of Naomi and Malori. The box lunches are OK but nothing to rave about. We also tasted about 7 different African beers – lots of fun.

We certainly will recommend your services to our friends who might be interested in a safari.

Harris, Naomi and Malori
San Francisco, California
Safari Dates: December 17, 2013 to December 25, 2013

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I Was Taken Aback By The Hospitality And Friendliness Of Everyone

My experience, both in Tanzania and with African Dream Safaris, was absolutely incredible. My dreams of traveling to Africa began when I was a little girl, and I was extremely blessed to see them come true at only 18 years of age. Not only was I immediately impressed by the beauty of Tanzania when I stepped off the plane, but I was truly taken aback by the hospitality and friendliness of everyone from Africa Dream Safaris that we worked with throughout the entire trip.

Our guide assigned to help us through the airport process and get us to our hotel was not only friendly, but also efficient. That was easily the quickest I have ever made it through customs, and definitely the most painless. Our trip out of the airport on our way back to the United States was equally enjoyable. Sharon, every place we stayed in was not only beautiful and comfortable, but also surrounded by wildlife.

We could hear animals moving around outside during the night, and we would often spot their foot prints the next day. Not to mention the food! The food at every location was delicious and plentiful. Our guide, David, truly helped us experience the wildlife around us to the fullest. He pointed out well-camoflauged animals, insects and birds that we never would have spotted otherwise. He also did an incredible job of manuevering the sometimes difficult roads, and taught us about local culture.

We even learned some Swahili! I saw every animal I could have imagined in Tanzania. We saw hundreds of elephants, huge troupes of baboons, and even the rare black rhino–among countless other creatures! I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience in Tanzania with Africa Dream Safaris. Not only will I be returning someday for another safari with this wonderful company, but I would recommend it to any family or friends who are interested in the adventure of a lifetime.

Nicole G.
Holland, Michigan
Safari Dates: December 5, 2013 to December 15, 2013

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Starting a Ripple that Reaches Far and Wide

ADS proudly sponsors the School of St. Jude – a charity funded school in Tanzania that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to over 1,600 of the poorest, brightest children of the Arusha region. Each month we receive an update on St. Jude’s progress. This month, two teachers reflect on how the school has impacted their lives…

When a teacher receives a job at St Jude’s it has a big impact on their life. At St Jude’s teachers are provided with stable employment, amazing resources and a competitive salary. On top of that they receive health insurance, daily nutritious meals and transport to and from work.

All teachers are supported through ongoing professional development through a teacher mentor program. International teacher mentors volunteer their time to help local teachers learn educational techniques from all over the world and ensure they can perfect their English.

With so many extremely under resourced schools in Tanzania and with a high unemployment rate, all of our teachers are aware of the positive impact their job has on their overall life. A stable job also means that all of our teachers’ families benefit too. “Many Tanzanian people are poor. There are some families who take their kids to local primary school, they can’t afford it. The salary helped not only me but also my family. I can help my parents and some children also needed my help. There are children out there who sometimes don’t have money to buy their school uniforms or books, I can’t help them that much but I can afford to buy one school uniform. If I was not working here, if I am not working here, it means I could not afford to pay bills,” says Amina, Maths Teacher, Lower Primary.

Listen to our teachers talk about how working at St Jude’s has impacted on their lives:

Teachers play such a vital role in turning our students into future leaders. They do an amazing job working hard to create brilliant minds and successful, well-rounded adults.

“I think that with the education that they have received at St Jude’s, they’re going to stand out in the crowd because they’ve got something that’s different from other children. So, I think by getting the education here it’s going to help the whole community. Not only Arusha, but all over Tanzania,” says Julieth, a St Jude’s teacher. This is just another part of the ripple effect caused by educating one of the poorest and brightest students in the Arusha region. Please consider starting your own ripple today by sponsoring a student or teacher:

{ schoolofstjude.org/Donations/sponsorships.html }

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