Posts From February 2015

Guide Report – Thrilling Safari with the Habitat for Humanity Group

This is ADS driver-guides David Chando and Anglebert Pantaleo with our latest bush report from Tanzania. We have just concluded guiding a group of 10 persons who had just been in Ethiopia building houses for the Habitat for Humanity Charitable Organization.

We enjoyed an extraordinary safari (dates were February 13th, 2015 to February 21st, 2015) with lots of fun, and rare sightings. We covered the Central Serengeti with two nights at Seronera Sametu Camp, the Southern Plains of the Serengeti where we spent three nights at Ndutu Woodlands Camp, one night at Lions Paw Camp on the Ngorongoro Crater and a final night at Maramboi Camp in Tarangire National Park.

The Central Serengeti was great and we had an amazing sight of a pride of 17 lions feasting on a zebra just next to the road. Another highlight in this area was a mother cheetah with a cub of about eight months old near Sametu Kopjes. The baby cheetah was very playful and entertained our group.

We also visited the Moru kopjes in Southwest Serengeti where we found huge herds of zebras. These zebras seemed a little confused because they were heading north due to the lack of rains on the southern plains of the Serengeti. The Barafu kopjes and Gol kopjes in the East Serengeti were unusually dry for this time of year.

The southern plains of the Serengeti were extraordinary. We had sights of a mother cheetah with four cubs of about six months old in Hidden Valley and a coalition of two big male lions in the same area. Most of the migratory herds of wildebeest were in the woodlands near the Maswa game reserve and on the deep Southern Serengeti Plains around Matiti Hill (Twin Hills). There were lots of wildebeest babies even further south on the Makao and Kakesio plains.

We had a very exiting visit to Tarangire National Park at the end of our safari. We came across a big herd of over two hundred elephants together along the Tarangire River. They were migrating to areas outside of the park.

However, the highlight of the entire trip was coming across a pack of over twenty wild dogs in Tarangire National park near Gursi Swamp. The wild dog is critically endangered and it is extremely rare to see one. They were very healthy and it looked like they had just eaten. The alphas were in good shape and there was a good number of sub adults, which is an indication that they had puppies last year.

We are attaching some pictures of the trip and we hope you will enjoy viewing them.

A young cheetah (about eight months old) enjoying the sunrise view of the Serengeti plains near Sametu Kopjes in the East Serengeti.

A pride of 17 lions feasting on a Zebra in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti.

Migratory zebras at Moru Kopjes in the Southwest Serengeti.

Martial Eagle preying on a baby gazelle very close to Seronera Sametu Camp. The Martial Eagle is the largest raptor in the Serengeti with an eight foot wingspan.

Egyptian Geese with chicks at Sametu Marsh.

Male Lion in Hidden Valley, South Serengeti.

Baby Cheetahs of about six months old in Hidden Valley, South Serengeti.

Wild Dogs in Tarangire National Park near Gursi Swamp.

A lioness on a log in the Seronera Valley of the Serengeti.

Another beautiful picture of the young eight month old cheetah near Sametu Kopjes in the East Serengeti – Isn’t the view amazing?

Regards,

David Chando
ADS Driver-Guide

Anglebert Pantaleo
ADS Driver-Guide

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Our First Day Felt Like We Were On A Movie Set!

We were prepared to see all kinds of wildlife but nothing can prepare one for the feeling of turning a corner and seeing your first group of lions lying by the side of the road or a huge elephant walking so close to your car that you can hear him breathe. Our first day felt like we were on a movie set.

Our awesome guide Wilfred was like a walking encyclopedia and an exceptional and accommodating driver. One night during a fierce rain storm when the roads looked more like rivers, he navigated us without hesitation to our destination. We were enthralled to see many baby animals and stayed for over an hour to watch two lion cubs and their mama sunning and playing on a rock.

We were not prepared for the magnificent landscapes that Tanzania offers and the beatific and varied vistas. Many desktop pictures created! Another surprise was the exceptional food at the camps we stayed in. It was beyond our imagination how these fabulous meals were prepared, given the remote locations, but every meal was simply superb. Even for a vegetarian there was plenty to eat.

Kudos to Sharon and all the ADS staff for making this a trip of a lifetime!

Fran R. & Mark B.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Safari Dates: February 13, 2015 to February 20, 2015

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Babies, Babies and More Babies – My February 2015 Safari

Tanzania in February – what a trip! Africa Dream Safaris you nailed it. From our initial email inquiring about our trip, our planning emails and phone calls with Dawn, our trip itself and our welcome home, the entire ADS experience was amazing and beyond words. You have to be there in the moment and experience it yourself to understand.

It is difficult to pinpoint or describe what made this trip one of a lifetime. Our Driver/Guide worked with us to plan each day’s drive. He made sure we experienced all Tanzania has to offer in a safe, professional and authentic manner. Our safari vehicle was comfortable and accommodated the four of us nicely. Thanks ADS, Dawn, Pokea we enjoyed our trip.

Wendy and John M.
Thonton, Colorado
Safari Dates: February 12, 2015 to February 21, 2015

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Guide Report – Fantastic Game Drives With Kathy and Bette

Greetings from Arusha, Tanzania. I have just finished my most recent safari with my guests Kathy and Bette who are from Maryland, USA. While in the bush (February 11th to February 21st) we had a wonderful time together with some spectacular wildlife viewing especially for the predators including lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and even the rare wild dog. We stayed 3 nights at at Sametu Camp in the Central Serengeti, 3 nights at Lake Masek Tented Camp in the South Serengeti, 1 night in Ngorongoro at Lion’s Paw Tented Camp, 1 night at The Ngorongoro Manor, and lastly 2 nights in Tarangire National Park at Kikoti Tented Camp. I took some photos which I would like to share with you below:

These are my friends Bette and Kathy. We had a wonderful time for these 12 days through the whole Northern Circuit of Tanzania. We explored all the main highlights in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. Here we are having a Bush Breakfast after an early morning game drive along Sametu Kopjes in the Central Serengeti.

The Sametu Kopje Pride devouring a buffalo kill in the Central Serengeti. We counted 30 lions hiding in the nearby shade and bushes. This kill happened the past night and we stayed with them until they completely devoured it.

After getting enough of the lions, we headed back to camp and along the way we spotted this beautiful leopard with three kills up in an acacia tree. She made our day!

The next day we were watching a beautiful family of elephants as they crossed the road right in front of our vehicle. All of sudden, we saw in the distance a pride of lions hunting zebras. It was amazing! We rushed off to see the lions taking down a zebra. We stopped in the middle of the road with action happening on both sides of us.

On the same day after having enjoyed a picnic lunch, we came across this lone lioness walking our way. We followed her as she was roaring loudly. Later on we discovered she was calling her pride mates as they started coming out of the bushes. We counted 35 lions. They turned heading back in the direction of the lone lioness. So we had to turn back, as well! We couldn’t believe what we saw. The lone lioness had made a kill and she went to call the other members of the pride to share in the food. It was an awesome moment. This was in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti specifically in the Banagi area.

We stayed at the lovely Retima Hippo Pool long enough for Bette to get some really nice photos. Unfortunately, the hippos looked sad as the pool has been shrinking due to lack of rain. Kathy felt sad to see them like that. Thankfully, a few days later we had some brief showers, which were enough to fill most of the pool again.

Mother Cheetah with her three cubs on a morning game drive in the Lake Ndutu area of the South Serengeti.

Here is a beautiful shot of a herd of zebras drinking at a water hole in the Ndutu marsh area of the South Serengeti.

A spectacular Serengeti Sunset as we made our way to Lake Masek Camp in the South Serengeti.

A male lion resting very near Lake Masek Tented Camp.

A massive baboon troop at Lake Manyara National Park, which has the largest baboon troops in Africa!

Elephants in Tarangire National Park were enjoying wallowing in the mud. It also functions as a form of sun screen and helps to protect them from insects.

One of the little five – The leopard tortoise – in Tarangire National Park.

The highlight of our safari was this magnificent predator – The African wild dog. They topped our adventure as they are very rare and critically endagered. This large pack was near the Gursi Swamp in Tarangire National Park.

Thanks,

Emmanuel Kichao
ADS Driver-Guide

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Serengeti Safari – February 2015

We had an amazing time in Tanzania! Every member of the Africa Dream Safaris staff that we spoke with was helpful, informative and very pleasant. The food was good, the service was excellent and the animals were extraordinary! Here are a few pictures from my safari with the cheetah photo being our favorite.

Tami and Dan R.
Thornton, Colorado
Safari Dates: February 12, 2015 to February 21, 2015

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I Stand In Quiet Awe…

For anyone thinking about planning to take a similar trip, I would be doing you a injustice if I did not recommend African Dream Safari as your tour company and Ally as your guide. From the very first contact with Dawn it has been an amazing process and a great company to work with. I can’t imagine having experienced this with anyone else.

If you would like to read my day-by-day safari journal, you can access it here on this link: http://africanadventuresofpeepandpickles.com/

I have fallen in love with Africa all over again. Now, not just the animals, but the culture, the people…everything! I WILL go back one day. I will end with this quote:

“But when, fifty years from now, a lion walks into the red dawn and roars resoundingly, it will mean something to people and quicken their hearts whether they are Africans or Europeans, or whether they speak English, German, Russian or Swahili. They will stand in quiet awe as, for the first time in their lives, they watch twenty thousand zebras wander across the endless plains.” Bernhard Grzimek, 1959

I stand in quiet awe…

Debra H. and Richard P.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Safari Dates: February 1, 2015 to February 11, 2015

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GREEN vs. DRY Season Safari

I recently completed my third safari with Africa Dream Safaris. Two of them were in September and October during the dry season and the last one in January during the short wet season. Friends have asked which season I liked best and which would I pick to return. Good questions.

I have to give this answer. “It all depends.” All of my safaris have been different. Yes, there were some similarities, but each season holds surprises and great beauty. Each season provides experiences you will never forget.

The dry September/October Season is the time to watch the Wildebeests crossings at the Mara River. That frenzy is quite similar to their rushing about in the dusty Hidden Valley during the short wet Season. There are vast numbers of them at both times but during the wet you experience the herds spread out on the plains from horizon to horizon which is quite indescribable.

During the dry, you can see how well the animals are camouflaged in the golden brown grass. You experience the animals’ constant hunt for water and learn how that leaves them vulnerable.

In the wet, the deep grasses hide both the predators and their quarry. The great vulnerability now is that they are giving birth and are trying to protect their babies from danger. The predators were more numerous with us spotting 36 hyenas at one watering hole.

The beauty of the dry for me lies in the harshness and the heat. The beauty of the short wet season is the abundance of birds and flowers. You could easily turn into a “birder” at this time of year. In our lodge at Ndutu many birders were able to set their cameras up on their front porches and photograph birds of all types in comfort.

It’s so hard to choose one over the other. Perhaps I just have to go back a few more times in order to decide. If I do, it will definitely be with ADS because one of the things I have learned is how to take full advantage of the services they provide.

We always use the same guide so we are not always starting out from scratch each trip. Meeting up with Wilfred each time is like getting back together with a friend. He knows how we like to spend our time. Same with the ground staff…we see many of the same faces each time as they stay with ADS for years. I am sure we have asked them all a thousand questions but they always answer with a smile.

We are up and out of camp every morning at dawn and do not return until dusk. The best animal action is usually in the morning and evening because the animals rest in the heat of the day. Staying out also means you get further away from the bulk of the tours and often do not see another vehicle for hours.

Biggest lesson Wilfred taught us was staying put. Yes, waiting…and waiting. If the animal is hungry or has babies to feed waiting pays off. Sooner of later something is going to happen and it is going to happen too fast for you to drive back to it. We have had jeeps wait with us for a few minutes…loaded with expensive camera equipment but short on patience. They drive off and leave the action behind. Relax, grab a snack and wait.

Bottom line is that you will have an amazing experience in any season.

Link to my October 2012 safari: http://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=9981

Link to my January 2015 safari: http://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=25408

Chris C.
Raleigh, North Carolina

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

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Meet Bam-Bam

At the Four Seasons Lodge in the Serengeti, I left our door open for 5 minutes while unpacking. This baboon (we nicknamed Bam-Bam) came in and took an apple and smashed a tangerine on the floor! What a great story I had to tell!

Thanks for making this a trip of a lifetime!

Bonnie W.
Marina Del Rey, California

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My 3rd Safari With ADS!

I am so happy I ignored my friends’ warnings and stuck with my scheduled safari in Tanzania this January. To address the elephant in the room (so to speak)…there is NO Ebola problem in Tanzania.

My companion for my third ADS safari was my sister-in-law who was looking forward to her first. Our trip with Africa Dream Safaris was perfect. From the moment we stepped off the plane to the hour we were delivered back to the airport we were pampered. We never once felt any need to worry about our surroundings, so always felt totally safe.

We stayed in two tented camps and one lodge. Each had its own unique charms and all were of the highest quality. Beds were comfy and the food was good. Bonus in the camps is that water is heated over a wood fire so smells wonderfully smoky as you shower. We would return again to any of them.

Our driver, Wilfred Foue, is very knowledgeable and cheerfully answered our hundreds of questions even if we had asked them the day before. We stumped him once on the last day, but as we ‘high fived’, we encouraged him to just make something up! His knack for spotting game was impressive.

We were up at dawn every day and stayed out on our game drives until dusk forced us back to our lodgings. Unlike many of the other tour operators, dawn drives are encouraged with ADS. Many folks we met had to wait until after breakfast to set out. There is a lot of action underway in these early hours and it is a shame to miss it. Also, there is nothing as breath taking as watching the mists clear and the dawn break on the Serengeti.

We saw all of the ‘Big Five’ several times and witnessed two cheetah kills. Over our boxed breakfasts in the jeep, we watched a lioness hunting for her meal one day and a cheetah hunting the next. On another day we spotted a baby leopard waiting for Mom to return with food. Many of our meals were spent this way…quietly waiting for the action to begin. When a Mom is hungry and looking to feed her cubs something is going to happen. It’s only a question of being as patient as the cat is.

At lunch one day, Wilfred spotted what he thought were two female lions lazing under a bush. As we got closer we noticed little heads begin to pop up as a litter of four newborns with their eyes still closed stumbled in and out looking for a meal.

Big animals are exciting of course, but the treat in January is this is the time when about 500,000 Wildebeests are giving birth in the South. On a chill morning after rain in the Ngorongoro Crater, we saw birthing all around us. It seemed like one moment there were no babies then all of a sudden we would see them popping up to their feet. These amazing babies begin to walk immediately and within minutes can run…wobbly sometimes, but moving well. Soon each herd seemed to have thirty or forty new members.

We had an amazing ten-day experience. I would not hesitate to tell anyone I know to go to Tanzania on safari with ADS. Plan it now and enjoy this gorgeous country. It is an unforgettable experience.

Feel free to visit my website to see some more photos from my safari.

Chris C.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Safari Dates: January 18, 2015 to January 28, 2015

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Guide Report – Fantastic Game Drives With Ralph and Brian

Greetings from Arusha, Tanzania. This is ADS guide David Chando with my most recent safari report. My safari this time was with two persons named Ralph and Brian from La Jolla, California. I picked up my guests on January 16, 2015 from the central serengeti airstrip when they first arrived on regional airlines in the mid morning. We enjoyed an amazing safari adventure over the next 10 nights with some very impressive wildlife sightings including the famous wildebeest migration during the calving season. We were lucky to see wildebeest being born and lion cubs among many other highlights including a family of cheetahs, dozens of lions and hyenas, large herds of elephants and giraffes and the beautiful scenery of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro ecosystems during the green season.

Our safari focused on the four main game viewing areas during this time of year including the central serengeti, east serengeti, south serengeti and ngorongoro crater. We had a lovely mix of tented camps and lodges with 2 nights at Four Seasons Lodge in the central serengeti, 3 nights at Lake Masek Camp in the south serengeti, 3 nights at Kusini Camp in the southwest serengeti and 2 nights at the Crater Lodge on the rim of the ngorongoro caldera. Below are some of the pictures I would like to share with you.

Elephants coming very close to our vehicle in the Central Serengeti.

A beautiful lion pride in the southwest serengeti in the Kusini area resting on what we call Simba Kopjes.

Another picture of the lion pride. One of the lions was heading towards the wildebeest and zebra.

Zebras at one of my favorite places in the south serengeti called Hidden Valley. This is a beautiful area very far from other roads and other tourists. There are usually some watering holes here that attract game during the green season.

Giraffes forming a circle around an acacia tree to browse at the tender leaves.

Wow! This part of the Serengeti used to be a farming area! The picture was taken in Kusini. This is a sunflower, which is one of the cash crops of the Sukuma people south of lake victoria. I assume the seed came from an elephant by chance who brought the seed inside Serengeti.

Baby wildebeest in the Kusini area of the South Serengeti.

Elephants marching down one of the main roads in the Seronera area of the Central Serengeti.

Tree climbing lions in the Seonera Valley, Central Serengeti.

Wildebeest migration in the Ndutu area of the South Serengeti.

Zebras at the beautiful Lake Ndutu, South Serengeti.

Mother cheetah with 3 large cubs in the Ndutu area of South Serengeti.

Black-backed jackals in the East Serengeti.

Elephants in the Masek Woodlands, South Serengeti.

Spotted hyenas hunting wildebeest.

Young male lion in the Seonera Valley of Central Serengeti.

We watched this wildebeest being born in the Ngorongoro Crater – WOW!

Thanks,

David Chando
ADS Driver-Guide

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Mount Meru Resort: The Best Arusha Has to Offer

Mount Meru Resort is Arusha’s one and only 5-star resort! Situated at the foothills of Mount Meru, the Resort lies on 15 acres of lush landscape and offers discerning guests a welcome blast of luxury and modern conveniences when they need it the most, while maintaining an old-world charm that still celebrates the exotic flair of Africa and warm hospitality of the Tanzanian culture.

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We Felt Welcome And “In Good Hands”

We had very high expectations of our trip of a lifetime based on everything we had heard and read about Africa Dream Safaris. What we actually experienced exceeded our expectations. From our arrival to our departure we felt welcome and “in good hands”.

Our driver/guide, Francis, was friendly, knowledgeable and engaging. It was obvious from the first day he loves his job and the animals of the Serengeti. One day we came upon a herd of 40-50 elephants, from babies to bulls. Francis seemed to be as transfixed as the rest of us by their presence and majesty as they surrounded our vehicle. He later told us the elephant was his favorite animal and he never grew tired of watching them.

The accommodations were first rate and the staff was anticipatory of our every request. The four camps where we stayed were clean, comfortable and staffed with friendly and helpful people. All in all it was an experience we will always cherish and highly recommend to others.

John R. and Barbara B.
Boise, Idaho
Safari Dates: September 27, 2014 to October 6, 2014

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