Posts From August 2014

Thanks ADS Dream Weavers For The Trip Of A Lifetime!

Now I know what Ernest Hemingway meant when he said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” For eleven magical days, we couldn’t wait to see what our expert guide, Godson, had in store for us as he carefully guided our trusty Cruiser along the endless trails of the Tanzanian wilderness.

The sheer abundance of wildlife awakened a childlike wonder within. Lion, leopard, hyena, elephant, giraffe, hippo, baboon, eland, topi, kudu, dik dik, and, of course, wildebeest and zebra appeared suddenly, as if out of no-where, yet they were everywhere. While some encounters were thrillingly illusive (cheetahs hidden away in the high grasses), others were breathtakingly close and even, momentarily pulse-raising, like the time we came face to face with a great bull elephant who had no intention of giving way to our Cruiser. Quickly, Godson diverted our vehicle off-road, giving this very determined giant plenty of room to pass, as well as providing us with a great photo-opportunity!

A much anticipated wildebeest crossing taught us early-on the value of patience and filled us with a deep sense of awe for Nature’s Ways. Nothing can rival such a thunderous mass of ruminants braving dangerous waters for another day of life. That experience moved me to tears.

Another great surprise was the incredible variety of raptors and birds! Ostrich, egret, guinea, stork, flamingo, kingfisher, and songbirds flashed their shimmering colors and amused us with their antics. How do they manage to perch between those claw-like thorns of the acacia trees?

Admittedly, I lived behind my camera for the first couple of days. Then the sheer abundance of life all around me demanded that I come out from behind the view finder and absorb those moments of encounter which no photo could ever do justice. It was a decision I will never regret. While I still brought home a couple of thousand pictures, I think of them as tools to sharpen the memories I’ve tucked away as my real treasure.

The elegantly appointed tented lodges and camps provided a big exclamation point to the end of each day! Smiling, attentive staff greeted us with cool, wet cloths, pleasant drinks, and a sincere welcome (“Karibu”), then whisked us off to our tents for warm, smoke-scented showers with waters heated over open flames. Later, gathered in the crisp coolness by a crackling bonfire, we toasted the sunset then lingered over intimate, candle-lit meals underneath the canvas roof of the dining tent. With the night skies awash in stars and our seclusion broken only by the roar of a lion in the distance, we knew we were having the experience of a lifetime.

Many thanks to ADS’s knowledgeable and cheerful Dawn Anderson who spent the past year indulging every one of our questions with promptness, patience and kindness and helped shape for us a fantastic travel adventure. Asante sana, Dawn!

Elizabeth S., Clark S. and Larry O.
Atlanta, Georgia
Safari Dates: July 26, 2014 to August 7, 2014

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More Americans Visiting Tanzania Then Ever – The Oprah Effect?

Exciting news was announced this week in Tanzania with regards to tourist arrivals from the United States. There was a 7 percent increase in tourists arriving into Tanzania from the United States from 2012 (65,110 American tourists) to 2013 (69,671 American tourists). America is now Tanzania’s second largest source of tourism.

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We Were Hoping To See A Great Migration River Crossing.

Planning a trip to Africa can be overwhelming at best. But, with the help of African Dream Safari, recommended by friends we truly had a dream of a vacation.

In choosing to visit Tanzania it was our hope to see the wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the migration. Knowing that wildlife activity cannot be predicted, we were not sure of exactly what we would (or wouldn’t see) during our travels.

To our amazement, and with the incredible perception of our guide, Thomson Malekia, we witnessed not one, nor two or three, but FOUR wildebeest crossings. Two of our crossings were private (with no others around at all), and two of the crossings were at sunrise. The enormity and the beauty of these events cannot be described adequately in words.

In addition to the wildebeest crossings (with a few zebras involved as well) we seemed to encounter something new and interesting around every turn in the road. Photos and video can only begin to capture the experience of the Serengeti – a truly amazing place.

Special thanks to ADS and Sharon Lyon for helping us to fulfill a travel dream, and for the special care given to us during this trip in its entirety (resplendent with surprise cake and song for Dan on his birthday proper).

Best wishes,

Jodi and Dan A.
Rockville, Maryland
Safari Dates: August 6, 2014 to August 14, 2014

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Best Graduation Present Imaginable!

Ever since I was young, my favorite animal has always been a cheetah and it has been a lifelong dream of mine to finally see some out in the wild. This sparked the idea of a safari as my graduate school graduation present and I could not be happier with this trip! From the moment we arrived in Africa we felt safe and welcomed by the ADS workers and the transition into new countries could not be easier.

From the moment we met with our driver, Claude, we knew he would be great and able to help us find everything we wanted to see. On our first day in the Serengeti we saw multiple lions and even a cheetah less than 20 feet from our vehicle! These were on top of the wild number of wildebeests we saw taking part in the great migration which is an amazing sight to see. (We saw so many other animals too, it just isn’t possible to name them all!)

Once we entered into the Central Serengeti, it seemed like lions were everywhere! We saw lions hunting, eating, sleeping and even playing with their young cubs. Lion cubs are probably at the top of the list of cutest animals you will ever see. Not only did we see lions but also numerous leopards as well- one walked not even 5 feet away from us (slightly frightening but absolutely amazing!) Our driver Claude knew I wanted to see as many cheetahs as possible so he went out of his way to make sure they were spotted- we saw 4 in one day which is very rare for such an elusive animal!

Although I have always been fascinated by the big cats, we saw so many other amazing animals as well- countless giraffes, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and any other animal you can imagine seeing in the Serengeti. It was definitely an amazing experience and something i believe everyone should get to do at least once (as for me- I think I may come back!)

Kristin E., Rita R., and Patricia A.
Safari Dates: May 24, 2014 to June 3, 2014
Medord, New Jersey

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To Anyone Wanting The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Our safari was the adventure of a lifetime!! Everything about our trip was perfect – from Dawn’s assistance in creating our itinerary, to being greeted at the airport by Faith and being delivered to the airport on our departure. The safari was expertly designed to make sure the four of us had the best possible experience.

We began our adventure with three nights at the Mount Meru Resort. This allowed us time to visit the Cultural Center in Arusha and to recover somewhat from our 20 plus hour plane rides from California. Our actual safari began with a short flight from Arusha to the Grumeti airstrip where we were met by our guide Russell. He brought box lunches for us and we were off on our first game drive. We saw lions, giraffes and of course wildebeests during our first hour!

We spent two nights at the Kirawira Tented Lodge where the facilities and service were wonderful. It was the perfect way to ease into tent camps with our tiled shower, beautiful hard wood floors and of course the flush toilet. During the days we went on game drives and saw all of the “big five” except rhinos which we did see toward the end of our trip.

We also took a balloon ride and were able to see herds of wildebeests as well as gazelles and elephants. Russell suggested that we change the day and location of our balloon trip so we would see more animals and he made all the arrangements. This was one advantage of a private safari!

We spent a total of five nights between two ADS tented camps – Seronera Sametu Camp and Lion’s Paw Tented Camp. Again the service and facilities were excellent. We did have to request hot water for our shower but is was hot and there was plenty of it. There was no hair dryer at these camps so my hair had to air dry – at least it was clean and my husband said I looked fine! It was much cooler at Lion’s Paw and I had to borrow a jacket from the other couple.

In addition to wildlife, we saw the Kopjes (large rocks), Maasai paintings and climbed up Gong Rock for a beautiful panorama of the Serengeti. We also visited Olduvai Gorge and museum and had a short lecture by a museum guide. Before we left to go to the Ngorongoro Crater, we decided to add on a visit to a Maasai village. Once again, Russell made the arrangements for us. The village was very interesting and worth the visit. However, it was commercialized and the Maasai really wanted to sell us expensive beaded items. We visited their school and the children sang the ABC song in English for us.

We spent our last two nights at The Manor at Ngorongoro. This was absolutely beautiful. The rooms were like duplexes and had fabulous views of the grounds. One afternoon the maid drew a bubble bath for two with flower petals on top and she also started our fireplace each night. However, we did not relax as planned. Instead, we chose to visit FAME which is a rural medical clinic and to visit the Hadzabe people and the Datonga tribe.

We paid a fee for a local guide and he accompanied us to Hadzabe and Datonga living areas. These groups of people have agreed to have tourists visit them and to share some of their culture with us. In exchange, they receive some help from the government based on their needs. The Hadzabe really seemed to enjoy watching us try to start a fire with sticks and to shoot with a bow and arrow. They also shared some tubers with us and even offered to share smoking their pipe with marijuana in it. It was quite an experience!!

This was a wonderful experience for the four of us. Our guide Russell was the best. He taught us a lot about the animals and their habits and ensured that we had the best views for picture taking. He also arranged to minimize the need to use “the bushes” and we were often able to use regular bathrooms that were cleaner than a lot of our rest stops.

All the tented facilities were outstanding and provided excellent service. We were even surprised by hot water bottles in our bed at Lion’s Paw Camp. One night we had buffalos outside our tent hitting against the supports and chewing grass. That added some excitement to our night! We were careful about the water but did not worry about the food at the camps. None of us got major diarrhea and we only got a few bites by mosquitoes or tsetse flies.

We would definitely recommend African Dream Safaris to anyone wanting the adventure of a lifetime!!!

Barbara and Ralph Handly
Fresno, California
Safari Dates: May 26, 2014 to June 6, 2014

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Asti and her Five Cubs

For those guests with safaris coming up this year, keep an eye out for a mother cheetah named Asti and her five cubs currently ranging in the eastern regions of the Central Serengeti (specifically in the plains and valleys around Sametu Kopjes.) It’s very difficult for mother cheetahs to raise large litters to independence, which happens at roughly 18 months.

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ADS Safari Book Update

The ADS, customized Safari books have been very well received, and have produced excellent reviews.

“The book turned out better than expected. Picture quality couldn’t be better and as my wife and I reviewed it page by page it took us back to the safari we enjoyed so immensely.”

“Wow, what a beautiful job you did! I have to also say – you made my photos look spectacular! It’s so nice having your editorial pieces in there as well – and all your amazing photographs. We cannot thank you enough for your time, patience and hard work!”

Your personalized book is still offered at the introductory price of $100.00. It is produced in a very large format of 13×10 inches, which allows for many photos to be larger than 8×10 inch prints. As noted above, I work directly with you on its compilation, to ensure you are completely satisfied with the final product.

The introductory price will soon expire, so take advantage of having your Safari dreams preserved through your own personalized Safari Book. Please email me for more information or see our prior posting here: http://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=19551

Peter Arebalo
Email: parebalo@me.com

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Hadzabe Cultural Excursion – The Last Hunter-Gatherers In Africa

A special thanks to Mazie B. from New Orleans for submitting this fascinating video she took while visiting the Hadzabe people during her safari with ADS.

The Hadza people, or Hadzabe, are an ethnic group in Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley. The Hadzabe number just under 1000. Some 300–400 Hadzabe live as hunter-gatherers, much as they have for thousands or even tens of thousands of years; they are the last functioning hunter-gatherers in Africa. The Hadzabe are not closely related to any other people. While traditionally considered an East African branch of the Khoisan peoples, primarily because their language has clicks, modern genetic research suggests that they may be more closely related to the Pygmies. The Hadzabe language appears to be an isolate, unrelated to any other.

Click here to view Mazie’s review of her safari to Tanzania this May.

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