Posts From February 2014

Shake, Rattle and Roll

For those who have not experienced an ADS safari, you may be asking why ADS (African Dream Safari)? Well after taken a Safari with them I discovered that this is a highly profession company with very competent employees who become your friends while in Tanzania. The experience from the time we arrived in Arusha was truly a once in a life time opportunity. It was obvious that Sharon “Mama Simba” Lyon had done her job by establishing a wonderful itinerary, accommodations, side trips and other details of our stay. Our meet and greet people at the airport took us expertly through the visa and customs process with ease. The next day they handled our flight to the Central Serengeti in the same expeditious manner.

Our guide met us at the airstrip in the Central Serengeti and off we went on what would prove to be the experience of a life time. We soon discovered Claude was not an ordinary guide. He was respectful to the clients’ needs, his vehicle, the animals and other safari companies. This guide anticipated providing the client with exceptional opportunities to take pictures.

Like I have read in the ADS newsletters, our guide like other ADS guides, is very knowledgeable in the birds (even migratory birds), animals, trees, vegetation and the various tribes & people of Tanzania. If he did not know an answer he would say so and look it up so by the end of the day he had the answer.

In the days ahead we experienced many opportunities to view the great migration of wildebeest, the big five and other many other animals. We saw a mother cheetah drinking water with her five cubs, a herd of cape buffalo surrounding two lions as they were attempting to seek a single buffalo as prey, 7 leopards (one “shy one” decided to come to our vehicle providing us with great photo opportunities), four male lions on the hunt, hippos, rhinos, and many other animals.

We also saw hyenas eating a zebra and a cheetah feasting on a small impala. By the end of the trip our vehicle was affectionately known as shake, rattle and roll. While Claude soon became known to us as Claude the Magnificent.

If you go on safari rise and start your day at a 6 AM and stay out late. By doing this you will be rewarded with some of the best photo opportunities. As truly amateur photographers we needed all the help mother nature could provide.

We also enjoyed our side trips to Oldupai Gorge (not Olduvai) where Louis and Mary Leaky, paleoanthropologists, discovered the first fossilized Proconsul skull and made other discoveries, our Maasi walking safari and our visit to the home of an Iraqw family to see a typical underground home of these people that were lost when Tanzania left British rule. Daniel our host brought out a wedding dress made of an cured animal hide and beads. Each bead color had a meaning and each design of beads told a story of the family. This dress is worn at family gatherings and special events

ADS is not only a great safari but an educational experience. Our 14 days in Tanzania will always be a wonderful memory that we can relive through our photographs.

Asante sana,

Debi and Bob S.
Surprise, Arizona
Safari Dates: January 26, 2014 to February 6, 2014

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Driver-Guide Bush Report for February 2014

Jambo and warm greetings from Arusha, Tanzania. This is my guide report for February 2014 along with a few snapshots I managed to take while guiding this past safari.

I just returned from guiding a safari from February 7th, 2014 to February 15th, 2014. I was with a family of four from Ohio named Stephanie, Laima, Chris, and Don. This was Don and Laima’s 4th safari to Tanzania. We enjoyed 2 nights at Sametu Camp in the Central Serengeti, 3 nights at Lake Masek Tented Lodge in the South Serengeti, 1 night at Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw Camp, 1 night at Bougainvillea Lodge near Lake Manyara and a final night at Tree Tops Lodge in Tarangire National Park.

We have had good rains this year in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystems and the resulting green grass has attracted much of the migration to the open plains of the Southern and Eastern Serengeti. The migration herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle were abundant in the Ndutu area, Gol Kopjes, Kusini plains and hidden valley. The following are some of the highlights/sightings we encountered during the course of our safari:

– Unusual sighting when a cheetah climbed on our vehicle bonnet perhaps for a good vantage point in between Ndutu and hidden valley in the South Serengeti.

This was near Barafu Kojes in the Eastern Serengeti when these lions decided to climb an acacia tree.

The ideal conditions (good grazing and standing water) and weather have caused the wildebeest calving to start right on time this February. We watched a live birth for 10 minutes. It took only 4 minutes for this infant to stand up and another 5 minutes to walk after consuming colostrum from the mother.

A coalition of two male cheetahs struggling to pull down a 1 year old wildebeest calf after stalking for about 1-hour. This was in the Gol Kopjes, East Serengeti.

A mother cheetah with 2 playful cubs less than 1.5 month old between Ndutu plains and Kusini in the Southwestern Serengeti.

Another live kill we witnessed is shown here. It was sad to watch when two brother cheetahs caught a few days old wildebeest calf. While one brother was strangulating the calf, the second cheetah already began to eat.

It was a little far however a caracal is a rare sighting in the bush. This was around Gol Kopjes in the East Serengeti.

It was not only one lioness which did this, it was a pride of 12 lions including their cubs that killed an average sized giraffe at the big marsh in Ndutu, South Serengeti.

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Congratulations to ADS Safari Consultant Sharon Lyon

It’s all about animals (and not just the wild ones) for Sharon Lyon, a U.S. based safari consultant here at Africa Dream Safaris. For those of you who don’t know Sharon, she is incredibly passionate about safaris, wildlife and Tanzania having been on over fifty (yes, that is ’50’) safaris to East Africa with one record setting safari focusing on the Serengeti for sixty straight days!

What you might not know is that Sharon also has a passion for raising dogs, in particular the Chinese Crested breed. This passion culminated a few days ago when Sharon’s co-owned dog named ‘Trinity’ beat out 37 other top rivals and won Best of Breed at the famous Westminster Dog Show. Wow! Congratulations Sharon and Trinity!

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The School Of St Jude Thanks You!

We would like to thank ADS clients John & Delane Marynawski who recently visited The School of St Jude on February 8th and donated several items including the soccer equipment show in the picture above. We urge all ADS clients to visit the school campus for a quick tour, say hi to the children and learn how this amazing operation is providing free education to Tanzania’s brightest kids. This quick tour can be done either before or after your safari. Please contact your safari consultant if you are interested.

ADS as Proud Sponsor

The School of St Jude and Africa Dream Safaris are working together to help impoverished children in Tanzania to receive a free, high-quality education, while strengthening ADS’ humanitarian involvement in the East African community. Our monthly donation will buy 2,000 hot, nutritious meals per month for the students. Tanzania is a developing country where one-third of its population lives below the poverty line, on less than $1.25 per day. A majority of children in Tanzanian schools do not receive lunch or any food, so they cannot focus on learning when they’re hungry. St Jude’s provides daily meals for students, as well as breakfast and dinner for the over 1,100 students who live in their boarding houses. All produce is sourced from the local community.

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A Collection Of ADS Vehicle Shots

I thought it would be fun to share a collection of ADS vehicle photos we have saved over the years to demonstrate just how close one can get to the wildlife in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

Also, check out this video of a ‘curious’ lion pride on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater. The relatively small crater floor (roughly circular and about 10 miles in diameter) is almost a self enclosed ecosystem and contains plenty of grazing and browse along with permanent water sources. The resulting herbivore population (mainly zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and gazelle) supports 3 – 4 lion prides whose individuals rarely leave the crater floor for the duration of their lives.

Due to constant exposure to tourist vehicles, generation after generation of lions have become habituated to safari vehicles. While game driving the floor of the crater on a warm and sunny day, it is a common occurrence to have several lions retreat to the shade of your vehicle. However, having lions actively and curiously interacting with the vehicle as shown in the video is certainly very unusual but it does demonstrate why a few years back the park authorities banned open sided vehicles from from entering the crater.

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Our Safari Far Exceeded Our Wishes, Dreams and Hopes.

Our 65th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary just happened to fall within a year of each other. Because of that, we decided to take a look at our Bucket List, and that’s when traveling to Africa became a realistic dream for us. An acquaintance of ours recommended Africa Dream Safari, and from the very first contact with Dawn Anderson and the website, we realized we were on our way to a private, luxury safari in Tanzania for four.

As luck would have it, our relatives Tom and Danni, would be sharing the trip with us. The planning process ended up taking two years. Knowing we wanted February, which is a popular time, many of our desired accommodations had already been booked. Once we decided to take our time, everything fell into place perfectly.

We arrived in Kilimanjaro, and were met by Mathius and Timan, our ADS greeters. Our entrance, transport, and briefing was handled by them, which made the process very smooth and entirely stress free. Our ride to Arusha was informative, and Mathius presented all of us with gifts made locally in Tanzania.

The Mount Meru Resort was lovely, and our three nights there gave us time to adjust, rest, and settle into the ambiance of Tanzania. Our first and second days there were planned through ADS; a visit to the Tanzanite Factory Experience, The Cultural Center, and The Arusha National Park. Our greeters were with us the first day, and even stopped to purchase us some local fresh roasted corn to try. It was most unusual, and we decided it resembled a combination of boiled corn on the cob and popcorn. Thompson was our guide the second day. He provided an excellent tour of the park while finding many species of animals and birds, and a beautiful, restful overlook for our lunch. It served as an exemplary introduction to our safari.

ADS planned one short flight from Arusha to Seranera in the Serengeti National Park, where we met our guide Francis, and we were then his passengers for the next ten days. Upon realizing the vastness of the Serengeti, there were some metaphoric comparisons we made between the ocean and the plains. It was as if we were on a boat, bumping along, the dust being our wake, the horizon in the distance encircling us.

Our sightings were numerous, and consistently different, yet singly paramount. Lionesses with cubs, lions and lionesses in new relationships, cheetahs with cubs, a cheetah killing a gazelle, and elephant and giraffe families all occurred daily. Herds of roaming buffalo always precipitated another verse of “Home on the Range.” Hippos meandering at a close proximity, while verbally and physically playing in the water all day long, was surely always entertaining and amazing.

At the Ngorongora Crater, it was very different from the Serengeti. After descending into the crater, we spotted many of the same animals in small numbers, comparatively. It was a true melting pot where the animals and birds lived for life, protected. We found it a wonder there weren’t more there. The wildlife was phenomenal throughout the trip, and we ended up locating over 80 species of birds. We had purchased the book, Wildlife of East Africa, a suggestion from ADS, which provided us with pictures, descriptions, and an accounting of what we came upon.

The zebra and wildebeest migrations added an intense and overwhelming magic to our safari, and is truly impossible to articulate. The Serengeti could absolutely be the 8th Wonder of the World. Fortunately, we experienced many of them, and all were unique in their own way. It was the birthing time for both species, and there were abundant babies around. Many wildebeest’s births took place, and we witnessed the natural beauty of them.

Gazelle’s, both Grant’s and Thompson’s, jumped and scooted everywhere along with warthogs, and hyaenas, and ostrich. Both rhinos and leopards were spotted, but in lesser numbers. Regardless of where we were, at any given time, we were surrounded by peacefulness, and quiet, unless the animals were communicating.

The Four Seasons Lodge, Lake Masek, Kusini, and Lemala were where we stayed during the progression of our safari. They were all different, and inviting in their own ways. Ensuite, private bathrooms, and hot and cold running water were priorities for us, and ADS made it happen.

Francis made our safari the trip of a lifetime. His gentle nature, humor, and knowledge were consistent throughout. He often found sightings and alerted other guides via 2-way radio. He allowed us to “check the tires,” as often as necessary, kept our box lunches safe and sound, provided snacks, drinks, wipes, and all the comforts we needed daily. Our Land Cruiser was very comfortable and had binoculars for each passenger. The cruiser seated 8, and only having 5 gave us plenty of room to move around, pop through the roof, and view without feeling crowded.

Francis joined us for some dinners, during which we learned more about life in Tanzania. He shared some of his personal and fascinating life with us, including much of his country’s history, and the politics of it all. The people of Tanzania are generally very congenial and accepting of their lives. With Francis’ guidance, we came to realize and understand that the animals rule the Serengeti, and are respected by all. Survival of the fittest is exemplified, and the eco-system is balanced. The safari goers are in the zoo cruiser, while the wildlife roam freely in their territory. Poachers remain a threat, but the government appears to be putting more in place to control them.

We bid farewell to Francis reluctantly, and returned to Arusha and Mount Meru Resort for a couple of days before departing. It provided a well embraced debriefing for us to absorb where we had been and what we had seen. Our safari was remarkable in every way, and in so many additional ways that are too innumerable to mention. It far exceeded our wishes, dreams, and hopes, and the memories will be with us forever. Viewing Kilimanjaro as we departed was a sight, glowing through the clouds that gave us yet another chill.

Thank you to ADS, Dawn, Cathy King, and Francis, for a dream that came true.

Jamie and Sandy
Bonita Springs, Florida
Safari Dates: February 12, 2014 to February 20, 2014

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Our Trip Went Like Clockwork.

Our ADS adventure was more then we ever dreamed of experiencing. Our memories will be with us forever! We loved the camp sites and lodges. They were some of the most unique accommodations we have ever experienced.

The daily safaris were a lifetime experience. Never would you think that you would see the huge number of large animals and the variety of animals.

Our trip went like clockwork. Everything was well planned for us and we just sat back enjoyed the experience. We travel often and no trip will ever live up to this one!

Donna & Norb B.
Dubuque, Iowa
Safari Dates: February 4, 2014 to February 12, 2014

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Our Private Safari with ADS: Captivated by Nature and Tanzania!

If you read no further this sentence, remember this:  IF A SAFARI IS ON YOUR WISH-LIST, TANZANIA IS THE PLACE TO GO AND ADS ARE THE PEOPLE TO MAKE IT HAPPPEN!  We can’t say enough good things about Africa Dream Safaris!  We had an exciting, comfortable, and safe trip to Tanzania thanks to ADS – and came away loving its amazing wildlife, beautiful landscape and engaging, high-spirited people.   We were totally prepared by Dawn Anderson, the ADS representative in the U.S.  – she addressed our every question and  need with unending patience.  She offers truly expert help because she’s been to EVERY area for safari and place we might stay – she really knows the ground!

ADS helps you understand your wide range of options, and is ultimately flexible: you select everything from early planning through helping direct the action each day: drive or fly, areas to visit, and level of luxury in your lodgings and food, and the daily agenda on the ground. While we chose to stay in some lodges too, our favorite place to stay was the Lake Masek Tented Camp – a small luxury camp that was personal and lovely. And where Hippos visited at night!  Staying in luxury tented camps is a wonderful experience – they are intimate and close to nature, but in a very comfortable way.

Our trip arriving January 30 and departing February 13 2014 was a perfect time of year – Tanzania was lush and green – but before the long rainy season.  The weather was pleasant, and we NEVER SAW INSECTS.  ADS took care of us from the minute we landed in Tanzania and in every way after that.  We started our odyssey with 2 nights in Arusha where two ADS guides, Faith and Immanuel, instantly helped us start to understand Tanzania, its people, its beauties and challenges.

Once on safari, it was just we two with Immanuel our guide/driver for all 8 days of our safari. He was extremely knowledgeable and got us up close to more wildlife than we could ever have imagined  – explaining the animals, birds reptiles – and everything about them-  behaviors, life cycles, habitats and of course the Serengeti  ecosystem.

The beauty of going with ADS is you aren’t locked into the pre-set, well-trodden paths of larger tour groups – our guide Immanuel was free to decide the best areas to explore each day, within our larger trip outline.  We spent lots of time alone and off road, tracking animals as they stalked their prey, for example!  Immanuel stopped at any moment when we wanted a photo:  no problem, just stop when you want as long as you’d like. He made it clear he was there for OUR experience.

And NOT TO BE MISSED – we stayed for 6 days after our safari on Zanzibar at the all-inclusive luxury resort The Palms – which can only be described as heaven on earth. The Palms had the best service we’ve ever experienced and while there we dined on ambrosia –prepared by a French-trained chef using local ingredients, often directly from the sea (lobster every day!!).

By getting to know guides personally, seeing Arusha and cities and towns on Zanzibar, and visiting markets, a coffee estate, spice farm, and a Masai BOMA, we gained an appreciation for Tanzania, and East-central Africa, that the safari alone would never have given us. This fantastic journey gave us a whole new feeling for Africa – and was all arranged for us, along with the transfers, guides, drivers and an unending amount of personal care and attention by ADS – both in the U.S. and on the ground in Tanzania. REMEMBER – DON’T TAKE A FIXED GROUP TOUR SAFARI, LET ADS TAKE YOU ON A SAFARI MADE-FOR-YOU!

Christine F. and Oscar G.
Alexander, Virginia
Safari Dates: January 30, 2014 to February 13, 2014

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My Favorite Safari Sighting Was Watching A Cheetah Hunting

What A Trip!!! The safari and all the staff, both in the field and off, exceeded our expectations. When we arrived in Kilimanjaro, we were met at the doors by Faith. She was terrific in expediting our entry into Tanzania.

Then we met our safaris guide, Simon. He was THE BEST!!!! Simon introduced Sally and me to the Serengeti and all the animals, birds and lore that it holds. I attached several of my favorite photos. My personal favorite is the cheetah chasing the wildebeest and zebra looking for the day’s meal. We were able to watch the chase, the kill and the skill the cheetah’s displayed in getting their dinner.

I took over 1000 pictures with many favorites including all the major animals and birds. The tented camps including Sametu Camp and Lion’s Paw Camp were wonderful with Jonas and DC two of our camp staff favorites. I would highly recommend the tent camping for anyone taking a safari. After a day out in the field, it was such a pleasure to be in one of the camps. Sitting outside around the fire or in the tented room enjoying a drink and sharing the day’s adventures, was the perfect way to end the day.

I would recommend ADS to anyone going to Africa. Sharon was very helpful in planning the trip and coordinating the schedule. The Manor of Ngorongoro was the PERFECT place to end the trip. Don’t miss that final place to stay!!!!!

Feel free to contact us for any referrals for future safaris adventurers. We would be glad to help.

Thanks.

Ted and Sally B.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Safari Dates: January 29, 2014 to February 4, 2014

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The Ultimate African Safari Trip

I had a client ask me the other day what I would recommend if planning the ultimate african safari with the following parameters: 1) unlimited budget 2) ability to travel during any month, 3) option to go anywhere in Africa and 4) desire to maximize quantity, quality and diversity of wildlife viewing. Though a pretty straight forward question, this got me thinking about all the african safari tours I have been on or planned for guests over the years and what really stood out from each one as an extraordinary highlight. Of course, this is simply one person’s humble travel opinion but here is what I would recommend. I would focus on the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and travel at the end of the green season (March or April). This is the time of plenty in the Serengeti. Many of the animals give birth during this period and everything is a beautiful shade of green. Wildlife concentrations are at their highest while tourist concentrations are at a seasonal low. For the first part of the african safari, I would choose a private mobile camp right at the heart of the Serengeti plains at a beautiful location called Naabi Hill for 4 nights. From there I would travel to the nearby Ngorongoro Crater and stay 2 nights at the world famous Crater Lodge. From the Crater, I would fly to the Grumeti Game Reserve and spend my last 3 nights in the most luxurious lodge in all of Africa, Sasaskwa Lodge of the Singita portfolio. Now that would surely be the best African Safari!

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