Posts From February 2011

Trip of a Lifetime

We’ve been back now for about three days from our safari and still can’t stop talking about it or waking up thinking about everything we saw.   Words simply can’t describe how amazing it was.   When people say a safari is a “trip of a lifetime,” I now know what they mean.  We saw animals and sights that I thought I would only ever see on Planet Earth or National Geographic.  Yet, there we were – parked within a few feet of lionesses noisily growling and feeding together – or next to baby elephants playfully charging each other.

Two things amazed me most on the safari – the volume of animals we saw and the close proximity we got to them.  On a ten-day safari we must have seen 20 cheetah, 50 or 60 lions, herds of 50 or more elephants, 5 leopards, several rhino, and countless giraffe, ostrich, zebras, warthogs, and wildebeest.  We also saw babies of everything, which we could have watched for hours.  One morning, we sat and watched two cheetah cubs jumping and playing for at least 30 minutes.  They would stalk one another through the bushes, leaping at each other and rolling in the dirt.  Once in a while the mom would get in on the action and run at them playfully.  We got very close to almost all of the animals. Looking into the deep, amber colored eyes of a lioness lounging next to our jeep was something I won’t forget.  Nor will I forget being within about 50 yards of a herd of 46 elephants who turned and all stared at us when we pulled up, circling around their babies – before relaxing and going back to eating and playing while we intently watched.

We chose to stay at tented camps, all of which were fantastic.  We loved to be able to hear the animals at night.   Our favorite accommodation by far was the private camping.  We pulled up to the campsite in Ndutu – beautiful green grass and acacia trees and two tents – set up just for us.  Having dinner and sitting under the campfire with drinks afterwards looking up at the stars while hyenas whooped and lions grunted in the distance was almost surreal.  Rama, the camp manager, was perfect in anticipating our every need and we had a great time talking with him each day.  We also very much enjoyed the Kusini and Ngorongoro Lemala Camps.  At Kusini one night while sitting at the campfire sipping wine and stargazing with the camp managers, we could hear two large prides of lions within a kilometer of each side of the camp roaring.  At Lemala, a hungry elephant hung out behind our tent all night eating from the nearby trees.  Absolutely incredible!

Finally – and most importantly – I wanted to comment on our guide.  His experience, expertise, and warm personality absolutely made our trip the amazing experience it was.  He had almost 20 years of experience in guiding and it certainly showed.  He knew in-depth information on every animal and bird we saw and made the drive and viewing more interesting and exciting because of it.  He also didn’t just drive and try and spot animals as it seemed like drivers from some other companies were doing – he was constantly working with other drivers to see what was out there each day and find the best areas and animals for us to view.  As a result, we got to see everything we wanted, and much more.

Thank you to Dawn and Africa Dream Safaris for an incredible trip that we will never forget. We hope to see you again soon – Dave and I are already thinking about a return trip in a few years for our anniversary!

Moira and David Funcheon
Chicago, Illinois
February 2011

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Amazing Safari Pictures

Special thanks to Shane and Heidi for sharing their beautiful pictures from their honeymoon safari they conducted with Africa Dream Safaris. There are some excellent lodge and camp pictures in addition to all the great animal shots. Of course, we particularly liked the Private Camping shots. It’s nice to see our guests enjoying our special Bush Camping experience! See the link below to view Shane and Heidi’s pictures:

Also, a special thank you to Steve and Leah Gluskoter and family for their beautiful photo book they produced while on their safari with ADS. It’s wonderful to see 3 generations together on such an amazing adventure. The book can viewed digitally on the following website:

2-Week Old Lion Cub - December 2010
2-Week Old Lion Cub – December 2010


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Our 20th Wedding Anniversary

We wanted to take a minute after we returned from our safari to thank you and the entire ADS Staff for their part in our safari experience. It is hard to know what expectations to have on a trip like this. We have travelled to various parts of the world but had no real idea of what to expect on our trip to Tanzania. We had planned this trip to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary and believed it would be an “once-in-a-lifetime” type trip. As the trip got closer and closer, our expectations and excitement continued to grow.

I am glad to report that from the moment we stepped off the plane in Kilimanjaro and met Salma from ADS, every expectation we had was surpassed by the ADS Staff and our experiences. On Day 1, we flew to Seronera and met our guide. He was easy going, knowledgeable and by the end of the afternoon, we felt like we’d known him for years. Within 10 minutes of leaving the airport strip, we were in the middle of a herd of 15+ elephants and 15+ hippos. We were stunned by how close we were to the animals and their care-free, natural behavior even though we were just feet away.

Later that evening, after we finished our day (having seen much more after the elephants and hippos) and were having dinner at the Mbuzi Mawe Tent Camp, we talked about all the testimonial emails from previous clients of ADS and how they all seemed to make sense now. While the trip was expensive, with one day completed, we both agreed it was already worth it. We had six more days of our safari and each one was just as good as Day 1 (if not better). It is still hard to believe that you can get VIP treatment while on safari!

Included are two of the many photos that we took:

1. CHEETAHS WITH KILL; while we were in the Ndutu area, we came across 4 cheetahs. We watch and followed them as they stalked, hunted and finally killed a wildebeest. After the kill, we were within feet of them as they took turns eating and resting.

2. LION WITH KILL; again in the Ndutu area, we came across a female lion with her 3 cubs. We watch and followed as she hunted down a baby wildebeest and took it back to her cubs.

Again, thank you for a great experience. We will recommend you to all who will ask!!


Bill and Sarah Vieth
Evansville, Indiana
February 2011

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February – The Calving Season

It’s been a rather dry February this year and the migration appears to have split up into smaller herds and are currently scattered throughout the woodlands but in the past week, the rains have started again over some areas of the southern and eastern Serengeti creating swathes of green and calling the herds back out onto the plains.

Yesterday a decent size herd was located grazing at the southern base of Naabi Hill and stretching towards the Gol Kopjes. The herds we came across were almost exclusively made up of males and I am guessing that the females with their newborn calves are staying in the far south near Maswa and Matiti.

Gol Kopjes is still quite dry and dusty but didn’t disappoint for cats. ADS favourite pride, the Gol Kopje pride, is thriving and we came across a lioness babysitting six cubs from two different litters, all taking refuge from the hot midday sun under a large rock. Several cheetahs were also easily spotted yesterday in the Gol during a short game during midday.

Up in the Seronera, not a single wildebeest to be seen anywhere but plenty of zebra herds around Seronera River and impalas throughout the woodlands to the benefit of the large Seronera predators. During a morning game drive on Sunday, a leopard and her cub were spotted feeding on an impala kill and also a lioness with a fresh zebra kill just south of Maasai Kopjes.

In the far eastern plains around the Gol Mountains, it was green but fairly dusty and small herds of wildebeest with very young calves were spotted along Angata Kiti.We came across several wildebeest and zebra carcasses and I had hoped to spot the wild dog pack that frequent the area but no luck on this trip.I received a call this evening from an ADS camp crew member that the wild dog pack that I had been searching for was spotted in Piaya today by a Maasai, just north of where we had camped. Although I missed them on this safari, its great to know that they are there and thriving.

The wildebeest calving begun in earnest during the the second week of February this year though we are still seeing scattered births over wide parts of the southern and eastern Serengeti. We have had quite a few lucky clients last week out on their african safaris get some really great shots of baby wildebeest being born and even a couple gazelle births, as well, which are arguably even more precious!

Sunrise Angata Kiti - February 2011
Sunrise Angata Kiti – February 2011


Gol Kopjes Lion - February 2011
Gol Kopjes Lion – February 2011


Nasera Rock - February 2011
Nasera Rock – February 2011


Gol Kopjes Cheetah - February 2011
Gol Kopjes Cheetah – February 2011

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Quote of the Week: Jim Childress and Barbara Payne

From the dramatic migration of the wildebeests and zebras, to a cheetah running down a Thomson’s Gazelle, a leopard high in an acacia tree with her cub, a herd of topis chasing a caracal into a kopje, and an amazing natural parade of the grazers and predators of the Serengeti, our trip was fabulous. With our guide’s help, particularly with his willingness to make it a priority, we were also able to identify 240 species of birds. He taught us to say, “ndege tu”, so that when other guides would ask what we were looking at, we could say “only birds” in Swahili.

ADS did a great job of both making it easy for us to negotiate the details of travel in Tanzania and of delivering a trip that was personalized to our tastes. The private luxury camping was a highlight, and the sound of three lions roaring through the night all around our campsite is something we will not soon forget.

Jim Childress and Barbara Payne
February 2011

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Quote of the Week: Deyanne & Bill Nesh

Well, unfortunately, we’re back in the States and have adjusted to the time change.  I say ‘unfortunately’ because we had such a wonderful time on our safari that we didn’t want it to end.  Prior to booking this trip, I had done all my research (for months) and decided to use Africa Dream Safaris.  Three of my friends also wanted to join us on this trip.  They put down their money on my say so alone.  I did feel a little pressure.  I read all the testimonials sent before our safari and loved them.  But they almost sounded too good to be true.  I was only hoping that our trip would be half as good as all the ones I was reading about.  Well, I needn’t have worried.

This was one of the most amazing trips we had been on.  And I don’t say that lightly, as we have done some extensive travel to many remote areas of the world.  I feel like I’m just repeating what all the other testimonials have said before, but it’s all true.  Our guide was incredible.  We saw the big five plus more animals than I can name.  Just when we thought there was nothing left to see, there was.  Every day brought a new experiences, new animals, new adventures!

In the Crater, our guide kept us away from all the other jeeps, while still finding all the animals.  We were the only jeep on the road, when two Black Rhinos crossed the road right in front of us!  We saw a pride of lions, cubs, single male lions, the elusive leopard, cheetahs so close you could touch them (but, of course, we didn’t), baboons everywhere, serval cats, hyenas coming out of their den with babies.  The list goes on and on.

Besides all the animals, our guide took great care of us, doing everything he could to make our trip the trip of a lifetime.  A highlight for me was the Private Luxury Camp.  The crew there was sensational!  We loved hearing the lions and hyenas at night as we slept in our tents, to say nothing of being woken up with a fresh cup of hot tea and coffee in bed.  The food was incredible and we loved the entire experience.  The entire trip, start to finish, was better than we ever could have hoped for.

I can’t thank you and your entire staff for giving us such wonderful memories!  You know without a doubt the trip was incredible when our three friends, who came on this safari with us, are talking about going on another safari with other interested people, and, of course, using Africa Dream Safaris.  Why mess with perfection!  Our sincere thank you to everyone who made our trip a dream come true!

Deyanne and Bill Nesh
February 2011

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