Posts From September 2015

What To Expect When Using ADS As Your Tour Company

Without a hint of change in his behavior in more than 30 minutes, the Wildebeest on point, without warning, leaps into the Mara River, working his way across, ever cautious of the hazards lurking beneath the murky water. It was the beginning for thousands of Wildebeest that would follow his lead over the next 12 minutes.

They crossed with great haste, swimming through the neck high water, with their hoofs slipping and sliding on the large boulders which littered the river, only slowing when they met firm ground on the far side of the Mara River. They created their own “river”, which flowed perpendicular to the Mara River, a truly wondrous sight to behold.

The Black Rhino lay sleeping, while a small herd of 5 elephants browsed 200 yards in the distance. The Elephant’s grazing path, from Acacia tree to Acacia tree, was leading them directly towards the slumbering Rhino. Many minutes passed, and the Elephant closed their distance to the Rhino…it was only a matter of time before the Rhino would detect them.

At 50 yards, the Rhino sensed their presence and rose to her feet, facing menacingly in the Elephant’s direction. As quickly as she rose to her feet, a small, heretofore unseen 6 week old baby Rhino appeared on her far side. Discretion being the better part of valor, the Rhino mother and her “tiny” offspring, gave way to the approaching Elephants, and briskly moved to the western horizon, avoiding a conflict which could have resulted in injury to her baby. A most unique find, and totally unexpected.

A mature Eland lies neck deep in a small stream trapped by a pride of Lion. It appears to have a broken, right front leg…its hind quarters are severely raked by lion claws, but it is determined to avoid the pride of 7 Lion which surround it. Periodically, it would would shift its position, in the hope of extracting itself from its dire predicament, but the pride would quickly counter, with a blocking move of their own. Although the Eland was extremely determined to live, its fate was sealed by the Lion the following day, as they were never going to relinquish such a plentiful bounty.

Most people on Safari would have been ecstatic to have experienced any one of the first three events I described above, during the course of their entire Safari. This was our 4th Safari with ADS, and our expectations were very high. Needless to say, we were not disappointed!

All of the happenings I described above, occurred on our first Safari day in the northern Serengeti…yes, the first day. What may appear as completely serendipitous events, could not have been witnessed without exceptional pre-Safari planning, and a Safari guide with a great deal of knowledge and experience of the African bush. These are attributes we have come to expect, and thoroughly appreciate, when using ADS for our Safari adventures.

Our primary goal of this Safari, was to partake in a Mara a River crossing. We witnessed two additional crossings, each possessing its own uniqueness and mayhem, as crocodiles attacked Wildebeest, as they jostled their way through the muddied waters.

Our first Wildebeest river crossing experience, was eerily calculated by our outstanding guide Arnold, predicting their movements throughout the morning as the Wildebeest browsed the Mara River grasses. We were only 1 of 3 vehicles which witnessed the thousands of Wildebeest which surged across the Mara that mid-day, a first time experience for us, which is deeply etched into our memories.

Exciting events continued to unfold for us throughout our 13 day Safari:

– 2 juvenile Green Mambas weaving their way through the thorns of an Acacia tree

– Numerous tree climbing Lions

– A pride of 10 Lions hunting a zebra mid-day, devouring it in 20 minutes

– A Cheetah mother, and 2 yearling cub stumbling upon some resting Lion, almost meeting an untimely end to their young lives

– A mother Leopard and her young cub lounging on a very large Kopje

– Martial Eagles predartory attack on Guinea Fowl and a newborn Thompson’s Gazelle

– 3 adorable newborn Lion cubs, experiencing their first weeks in the wilds of the Serengeti

– Encountering 4 new species of animals, including the Oryx, an almost mystical creature for this part of Tanzania.

My professional, wildlife photography portfolio, has practically doubled from this Safari alone, a further testament to ADS’s commitment to the wildlife/nature photographer, and their specific technical needs.

All of our Lodge accommodations, from the Hatari Lodge in Arusha Park, to our standout favorite from our 4 Safaris, Swala, were outstanding. We can highly recommend the walking safari at Swala as well, which is truly an adventure all unto itself! From the Maasai Warriors which guard the tented lodges during the night, to the incredible dynamic vistas which expand before you on a daily basis, Tanzania is a truly an exotic and magical country which begs to be explored.

Asante Sana Arnold, and to all of the ADS staff for making our 4th Safari, the most memorable yet. (yet) as in we are already planning our 5th Safari with ADS. 🙂

Peter and Jody A.
Alpharetta, Georgia
Safari Dates: August 27, 2015 to September 9, 2015

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One Of Our Highlights Was Visiting A Maasai Village

From July 29 to August 9, 2015 my husband and I were able to make possible our dream of going on a photography safari. We want to thank Africa Dreams for making possible our humbling experience in Tanzania.

The experience started with the planning process and the advice of Dawn who was key in helping us to put together a magical blend of landscape, wildlife and culture. We went to Northern Tanzania, visited the Northern and Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire parks. We stopped at the Oldupai Gorge for an informal education session about the footprints of ancient human ancestors.

The undoubted highlight of the journey was our flight in the balloon over the Seronera Valley and the visit to a Masai Village near Lobo valley. The tented camps and lodges offered the combination of the rustic flavor of the African Savanna with the adequate comfort to rest from long game drives and the African massage form the unpaved roads. We met amazing people everywhere that made our trip completely rewarding.

Our guide Peter was amazing, shared his vast knowledge of not only the wildlife but also of the birds and trees. We started our game drives before the sun raised and were able to keep going almost until the sunsets. Within the first few hours we spotted tons of animals, we saw thousands wildebeest crossing the Mara river, graceful impalas, colorful zebras, majestic elephants with their flapping ears, hippos floundering in the shallows of the water, tall yet gentle giraffes, bushbucks, ostriches, baboons, warthogs, lions, many different kinds of beautiful birds, and few cheetahs, leopards and rhinos!

The most adorable were the baby animals! It was so amazing seeing the largest cats and wild action so close. We saw a group of elephants that was not happy to see some lions in their territory and chased them, crocodiles attacking some wildebeest when crossing the river and more. It was a truly exhilarating experience!

To us this was the trip of our life that touched our hearts in a profound way. An experience we will never forget. We met people that are forever now etched in our memory. This was a truly dreamed journey difficult to put into words that not even 10.000 pictures we took can describe. Many thanks Africa Dreams team!

Ana and Gabriel C.
Alexandria, Virginia
Safari Dates: July 29, 2015 to August 9, 2015

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The Mythical Unicorn Returns To Tarangire National Park

Well, it’s not really a unicorn but they might as well be considering how rare this particular antelope species has become in Northern Tanzania. It’s been several years since any of our guests on safari have spotted a fringe-eared oryx in either the Serengeti or Tarangire National Parks. Needless to say, we were all delighted here at ADS when we heard a small group of oryx had been spotted in Tarangire. A big thanks to Peter A. who just returned from Tarangire and sent us these pictures as proof this rare antelope still persists in the Tarangire ecosystem.

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On Safari with the Author of Bradt Travel Guide to Tanzania

Africa Dream Safaris was delighted to host Philip Briggs and his wife Ariadne Van Zandbergen for a 15-day safari. Philip was in Tanzania doing research for the latest editions of the Bradt Tanzania Travel Guides. Philip Briggs is the author of the prestigious and well-respected BRADT Travel Guides. Philip’s published works include Bradt Guides to Tanzania, Northern Tanzania Safaris, and East African Wildlife, as well as many several other books about Africa. Many loyal fans follow Philip’s travel advice and recommendations very closely when planning their own dream safari vacations. And rightfully so…Philip has traveled extensively in Tanzania for many years and offers an unparalleled perspective from which to judge any African Safari company. So, needless to say we were thrilled when he came back with a glowing review for Africa Dream Safaris!

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After All Its Just Cookies

As my friend and I stood in our African Dreams jeep after an incredible day with the wonderful animals in the Ngorongora Crater waiting for Tommy (Thompson) our guide to get our exit papers from the Crater we heard a loud thump on the hood of the jeep. As we turned around to look and see what created the noise the large baboon leaped from the front of the jeep to the back top of the jeep over our heads.

Kathy immediately started to grab for her camera, which was our go-to for everything we saw and before she could grab either her phone or camera the baboon came in to the jeep from back top to the front area seats where I was half standing up. Kathy told him in no uncertain terms NO- NO -NO. However, I think he only understood Swahili and paid absolutely no attention to her commands.

As the Baboon jumped from the back roof top in to the front area I suddenly was looking straight in to the round yellow eyes of a 3-4 foot baboon standing approximately 5 inches away from his face. We stared at each other, I think both somewhat questionable as to what to do. I was not sure if he was going to bite me, scratch me or continue jumping around the inside of the jeep.

Reflecting back on the incident I say “we” were somewhat questionable as to what to do, the Baboon had no questions as to his moves at all. As we stood there, which for me was like 5 minutes, really only lasting seconds, out of the corner of my eye I saw a very long arm reach to the seat next to me and gently secure a package of unopened shortbread cookies (provided by African Dreams in the jeep) and before I could blink, the baboon was up and gone over the top of the jeep.

Minutes later, driving out it was not difficult to find the visitor to our jeep as he sat in the road with cookies all over his face.

Thank you to our wonderful, educated, dependable informative guide Tommy and all of the incredible animals that gave us an experience of a lifetime.

And…thank you African Dreams for the trip of a lifetime and the cookies – gave me an exciting second, up close and personal.

Nancy L.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Safari Dates: July 2, 2015 to July 14, 2015

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Elephant Numbers In Serengeti Increase Though Other Areas On the Decline

In a recent Tanzanian wildlife census the Serengeti National Park recorded an impressive 98% increase in elephants. The census recorded 6,087 elephants compared to just 3,068 elephants counted in 2009. The nearby Tarangire National Park also recorded a solid 64 percent increase from 2,561 elephants in 2009 to 4,202 elephants today. Tarangire National Park now boasts one of the highest elephant concentrations of any game reserve in Africa with roughly 3 elephants per square mile.

Sadly, most other protected areas in Africa and even those in Southern Tanzania are experiencing significant declines in elephant numbers due to the alarming rise in illegal elephant poaching. Recently, an elephant orphanage was established in Tanzania to rescue baby elephants that were orphaned due to poaching. Click here to read our last week’s newsletter about this wonderful orphanage and learn how you can help these graceful giants.

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The Most Extraordinary Memory Of My Life

For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of visiting the Serengeti, and the realization of that dream was more than I could have ever imagined from the moment we decided on African Dreams as our Safari operator to the very last second of the trip. Nearly one month has passed, and my Safari with African Dreams is still as fresh in my mind as when I was bouncing around in our Land Cruiser roaming the back roads of the Serengeti!

We were two women traveling together, and I cannot say enough about how wonderful Africa Dreams treated us, how efficient and pleasant everyone was who greeted us, their willingness to make certain we had everything we needed, and particularly our guide, Tommy (Thompson), who made certain we were comfortable and safe during our Safari. I am sure everyone says their guide is the absolute best, so I am no exception.

Tommy was the absolute best! He was personable, had a great sense of humor, was extremely knowledgeable of African Wildlife and particularly the roads and terrain of entire Serengeti, which made our adventure that much more enjoyable. Additionally, having our own private vehicle and driver for the two weeks we were on Safari was outstanding!

Around every turn, rock, and bush it seemed there were lions, cheetahs, elephant herds, hippos, giraffe, crocks, birds, monkeys, baboons, hyenas, buffalo, impala, gazelle, and countless other animals and birds…and of course the millions of Wildebeest and Zebra that were constantly in motion…trying to drink and cross at the rivers while sidestepping the crocs waiting and watching. What a sight to behold! We even encountered a Pangolin, which we were told are very elusive and bring good luck!

One of the many highlights for me was the abundance of new babies…some as young as a few weeks…some much older …but all so cute and curious…which reinforces my faith in the fact that Mother Nature is watching over life on the Plains.

Our accommodations were just what the Doctor ordered…with a welcome drink and refreshing cool towels when we pulled up to our camp after a long day on the road and then hot showers, wonderful food, spectacular sunsets, and comfortable beds! Each camp had a wonderful community area that provided a relaxing atmosphere to unwind and talk about the day’s adventures.

My traveling companion had a birthday during our trip, and the camp prepared a lovely birthday cake and a grand celebration for her! How wonderful was that! I particularly enjoyed the evening bonfire at each camp, which the camp directors bill as “Bush TV”, which was the perfect end to every perfect day!

My Africa Dreams experience was truly a dream come true and the most extraordinary memory of my life.

Thank you Africa Dreams so much for the memories!

Kathleen O.
Glenbrook, Nevada
Safari Dates: July 2, 2015 to July 14, 2015

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Baby Elephant Orphanage Opens in Arusha, Tanzania

We are delighted to announce the opening of the first ever baby elephant orphanage in Tanzania. The orphanage will be open to the public starting in January 2016. Guests traveling with Africa Dream Safaris can visit the facility on their final safari day. The facility will be open to the public for 1-hour each day from 11.30am to 12.30pm.

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Fell in Love with Africa

As our plane circled over a grassy runway in the Serengeti my husband and I and his parents saw our first African animals in abundance. Giraffe striding gracefully, zebra grazing and baboons running across our path as we landed. All the planning, decision making, and long travel melted away as excitement and awe overtook us.

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Thanks Sharon and ADS For A Memorable Second Safari

We have just completed our second safari with ADS and with our outstanding guide, Francis. Last time we went at the end of January during the green season. This time we went in August which is the dry season. This time we traveled with our niece and nephew and their 2 kids, 11 and 13. It was great seeing all of this again through their eyes. Although it was all very exciting for us-it was such fun watching them take it all in for the first time.

We started out in the North by the Mara River. The wildebeest are up there now for the water and it was an amazing sight. Wildebeest as far as the eye can see. We also had an extremely rare sighting-a baby rhino!!! This was a first, even for Francis who has been at this for some time. We felt very honored.

This was also our first experience with the semi-permanent camps and I will say we were a little apprehensive about, what we loving called, shower-in-a-bucket. Let me assure you, many of our favorite times were at Sametu Camp where we wanted to move in. J.J. and Kidevu made us feel so welcome and treated us like family from the moment we got there to the moment we, sadly, had to leave.

At Mara River Camp, Gilbert and Tony extended hospitality that made us feel right at home and oh so comfortable. These places will be memories we will talk about forever.

This trip varied from our January one in that we saw babies of just about every species. We saw mamas nursing, mamas grooming, mamas hiding their babies, we even saw young male elephants jousting. We saw two lion cubs playing with what looked to be a mud flap off a vehicle. One of the cubs came over and started to gnaw our tire-guess he wanted another toy.

Once again we saw the Big 5 and all their babies. Hopefully on our next trip the babies will be all grown up.

Nancy and Lenny M.
The Villages, Florida
Safari Dates: August 12, 2015 to August 21, 2015

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