Posts From April 2011

Springtime in the Serengeti

I just don’t know where to start regarding this trip.  I have been living in Europe for almost 25 years.  I have been wanting to go on a safari for a very long time, but for one reason or another it never happened. In the fall a couple of friends came to me and said they were planning on going on a safari for Spring Break, and they asked if I would like to join them.  I agreed without a hesitation.

Before I knew it, Spring was in the air, and the trip was around the corner. The talk centered around what clothes and other essentials to take.  Then finally the day arrived. We left Venice, changed planes a couple of times and arrived in Arusha.  We were met at the airport by the staff of ADS who helped us with the visas.  The next thing we knew we had our luggage and were on our way to the first hotel!  It was gorgeous!  We were surprised at the luxurious accommodations!  We ate lunch outside, did some shopping at the cultural center, and enjoyed a delicious dinner.  We ended our evening being entertained with the preparation of an Irish coffee.  It was the perfect ending for our first day!

The second day we took a short flight to the Central Serengeti.  We met our two guides.  They were fantastic!  They were so knowledgeable about all aspects of our trip.  The first animals we saw were hyenas!  We hadn’t been in the jeep for 3 minutes when we saw the first one!  He was walking toward our jeep, so we had to stop for photos.  He stopped near a ditch, and his friend made his appearance.  We were so happy to see animals.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning!

What did we see the first day?  Velvet monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, a leopard sleeping in a tree.  Out guide kept moving the jeep for the best views!  Next a giraffe, some guinea fowl, and then baboons, and all of this before our first box lunch!  He pulled out a map, and explained the areas we would be exploring that day.  We saw our first termites’ nest, then elephants, lions, gazelles and 2 more leopards!  As we were driving to our tented lodge we saw so many animals living harmoniously together:  birds, hippos, dik diks, monkeys, giraffes and LOTS of elephants!  When I thought about taking this trip, I really wanted to see the animals in their natural habitat.  I never imagined that we’d see so many animals on our first day of the safari!  We stood on the seats of the jeep with our heads out of the roof, looked wide-eyed at the animals, and enjoyed the breeze through our hair (make sure your hat is strapped on tightly!).

Animals, animals and more animals…..each day was special for different reasons.  Here are a few highlights: a leopard hunting a dik dik (he managed to get away safely!), hippo pool (they are huge!), monkeys in trees watching us, lions (mom with 2 cubs 1 day, then a pride of 8 the next day, then 2 males that were enjoying a zebra breakfast), zebras leading wildebeests on the great migration (they walked in lines!). We were able to drive in the middle of the Serengeti, get out of the jeep, and see zebras and wildebeests as far as we could see in EVERY direction.  It was as if we were a part of a National Geographic documentary!

One day we were on the look-out for big cats, and we were not disappointed! We came upon 4 cheetahs: mom and 3 cubs.  She was teaching them to hunt!  They had captured a baby gazelle (our guide thought it was a couple of days old).  Eventually they killed and ate it.

But the experience did not end there!  The mother went to sleep under our jeep, but this is still not the end.  One of the cubs jumped on the hood of our jeep!  He walked back and forth several times hitting the windshield. He played with the side mirror, and he stood up on the windshield.  All the while our guide was calmly telling us to remain quiet!  We took some incredible photos, and had a great story to tell!

We even managed to see some rhinos while we were in the Ngorongoro Crater.  There was a short rain shower, followed by a rainbow.  We thought that was the perfect ending for our morning!  But the adventure continued into the afternoon.  One of the last animals we saw that day was an elephant.  He was walking toward our jeep.  I snapped a photo, and he kept coming closer.  I snapped another photo and decided maybe I should not be standing on the seat (he was really getting close!).  At the last moment he turned, went around both of our jeeps and continued to walk.  It wasn’t until after I was looking at the pictures that I realized how incredibly big this elephant was!

I cannot say enough about this trip!  It surpassed anything that I ever imagined.  We were taken care of the entire time.  Our tour guides were the BEST!  The entire experience was incredible, but the guides made our experience unforgettable.  Their ability to locate the animals was unbelievable.

They shared their knowledge of the animals and their stories with us.  They would position the jeep so that the sun was at a perfect angle for our pictures.  They were up at the crack of dawn, guided us all day, and would get us to our lodge each evening.  We were patiently and kindly taken care of each day.  We couldn’t have been in better hands.  I would recommend this trip with African Dream Safari to anyone who is interested in going on a safari to the Serengeti!

Diane Anderson
April 2011

1 Comment
Read Full Post

My African Adventure

Our recent safari was fantastic, but I realized soon that seeing the animals was only part of the experience. As important for us was the service and attention to safety that Africa Dream Safaris provided us. Our questions and inquiries in the planning stages were immediately answered; we were met as we got off the plane for help in navigating the chaotic Visa process after we’d spent 24 hours traveling; we were given a cell phone to use in the event of an emergency; and the skill, professionalism and warm personality of our guide inspired confidence for the entire trip.

Our guide was phenomenal. So many times, he anticipated the movement of the animals and positioned our vehicle for maximum viewing. We had front row seats when others were struggling to see. He could spot animals when we could only see grass. We created our own roads in search of elusive animals and we were never disappointed. And with his guidance, we were able to see the big 5 within 3 days – now that was exciting! And every time he would say “hakuna matata” I would remind myself that he wasn’t quoting The Lion King, The Lion King had quoted him!

This was an incredible adventure and we booked the trip based on recommendations from friends who had gone last year. If we were to do another safari, it would only be with ADS because of how they took care of us, how flexible everyone was and the value of the experience. Thank you Africa Dream Safaris.

It’s the vacation you need if you want to:

• spot the “big 5” – leopards, rhinos, lions, cape buffalos, elephants in just 3 days;
• witness tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, in a single line that extends to forever, creating a shadow where the earth meets the sky;
• laugh at a pool of 200 hippos enjoying their early morning play;
• smile as the giraffes munch on the trees next to your tent;
• chuckle when mama elephant gives her calf a gentle nudge to get back in line;
• admire the gentle and swift leaps of the Thompson gazelle and the Grant gazelle and be able to tell the difference;
• marvel at the “step in time” movements of flamingos as they search for food;
• escort a lioness to a nearby rock as she takes the road and forces you to the side;
• witness mother leopards and cheetahs teaching their young cubs the art of survival;
• study how an ostrich body can be supported by such scrawny legs;
• watch in amazement at the effortless synchronized swimming of pelicans;
• giggle like a 12 year old the first time you spot the blue balled monkeys – they are brilliant blue, trust me;
• observe the taunts of lion cubs as they play with each other, mother watching from a distance

Probably as memorable as the sights were the sounds we heard. The loud crunch of teeth on bones and laughing cackle of hyenas as they completely and recklessly devoured a fresh kill; the mating roars of both the male and female lions – 3 times in 20 minutes, 20 feet from the truck; the movement of tiny legs as the dung beetles rolled their new home; the muffled hoof beats of running wildebeests as they crossed the road in front of us; the flap of the vulture’s wings as they challenged hyenas for carcass remains; the gentle swish of water as the giant crocodile took an early morning glide; the snorts, grunts and groans from the warthogs, wildebeests, and hippos, but my favorite – the zebra that mimicked a pesky barking dog; the rhythmic breathing and munching of the elephants who nibbled on the grass alongside our tent in the middle of the night, and the knock knock of their tusks along our tent posts. (Not to be confused with my own, irregular, trembling breathing and cursing. I remember saying “I never thought I would go like this”.)

We traversed the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania with their “vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests” in a one and a half ton, 7 passenger Land Rover with the canvas top rolled back for maximum viewing. We stood and looked out over the top whenever we could, and I became one with my hat very early on. There were just two of us on our own private safari, and I’m glad it was just us – it would have made “nature breaks” all the more challenging. We traveled light – just 3 changes of clothes in our carry-on luggage; we had laundry mid-trip. Foolishly, in about hour 6 of the first day, I asked if I could just get out and take a little walk to stretch my legs. Clearly, I’d already lost my mind – no, I couldn’t go out for a little walk – I was in one of the world’s largest playgrounds for some of the world’s largest and fiercest animals. So for the next nine days, I took my walk between the other 6 seats in the vehicle.

As much as this was about spotting and watching the movements of magnificent animals, it was also a huge lesson about culture for me. Included in the safari was a visit to a Maasai village or boma. I’ve long had a distant fascination with these nomadic people, and I was really excited for this. The homes are made of grass and cow dung and the beds are suspended animal skins. Young women are the builders. The village we visited had about 15 homes, all in a circle, all with their openings facing south to protect against strong winds. The herd of cattle and goats are brought into the middle of the boma for safe keeping.

But their practices are very difficult for me to comprehend – their diet consists primarily of milk, meat and blood; they circumcise both boys and girls in their mid/late teens; they drink of the same pond where they and the animals bathe and play. English and math are the only 2 subjects taught in the pre-school we visited, with the boys and girls separated on different sides of the room. When the cattle have exhausted the grazing opportunities on the surrounding land, the Maasai leave and find another area to make home for a while.

Prior to the official start of our safari, we met with Jennifer, originally from East Lansing. Kathy knows her parents from church and Jennifer has now started an NGO (nonprofit) in Arusha to help teach women how to make beaded sandals. If all goes as planned, these women will now earn and manage their own money so they won’t have to turn their children over to an orphanage for care. In addition, as part of the NGO, a preschool with 58 children was starting the week we were there. The sights, sounds and smells Jennifer exposed us to will have a lasting impression upon me forever. is the website for her NGO.

Pam and Kathy
Lancing, Michigan
April 2011

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Gina Cross

My adventure with African Dream Safaris was already [a few] months ago. There are times when I can’t remember what I did just a few days ago, so it’s amazing to me how much of each day on the safari is still imprinted on my memory – as if it were yesterday!

The flight into the central Serengeti, excitedly spotting the first giraffes and elephants from the altitude of the plane, meeting our Guides, and then settling into our vehicles for the drives was just the start. And the vehicles were equipped with excellent binoculars – we each had our own! We were so excited to see our first animal – a hyena – right by the road. We had no idea what was to come. A few monkeys and elephants later, there it was – a leopard sleeping in the tree – so close to the road I barely needed to use my zoom – except to study the spots! And this was all before lunch. A second leopard relaxing on the trunk of a fallen tree was our surprise in the afternoon. The week continued much the same.

Zebras playing in a big puddle of water, a pair of leopards guarding their kill, a mother cheetah teaching her three cubs how to hunt, kill, and then eat a baby gazelle, a failed chase by a male lion to catch a baby wildebeest, baby lion cubs playing while the adults basked in the sun, these are just a few more spectacular things we saw. My favorite was looking eye to eye with a cheetah cub that had jumped on the hood of our van after feasting on its recent kill. He played with the windshield wiper, and stuck his head in our window! I almost wanted to pet his head once my fear subsided a bit. He just looked so cute (see the photos). At one point we were surrounded on all sides by herds of zebras and wildebeests walking, trotting, and running, playfully kicking each other as they migrated towards the water. We drove alongside a mean honey badger and a busy dung beetle, and saw and discovered so much more.

Most of this was made possible by our outstanding guides we had and the way that ADS organizes its drives. Both guides knew exactly where to go and when to see the best action. One of them had grown up in and around the Serengeti. We went at our own pace – no restaurant or lodge expecting us at any particular time. If we saw something amazing or curious, we could stay and watch whatever it was until we were done watching, or the animals had left or fallen asleep – the schedule was completely up to us. My group was all about the animals so we were on the road by 6:30am, ate lunch from a box (always delicious and plentiful), used “bush” bathrooms when the guides felt it was safe, and returned to or arrived at our lodge for the evening around 6 or 6:30pm. Twice we added a boxed breakfast and left at 6am. The best action in the wild is in these early morning hours.

The lodges were wonderful and the staffs were courteous and gracious. I’m usually a budget traveler, so for me this was an expensive trip – but I’ve never regretted spending the extra money. I’ve yet to tire of my photos, my journal, talking to my friends, and like I said earlier – the memories are still fresh in my mind.

This was my second safari. By lunch on the first day I told my companions that we had already surpassed anything I had seen on the first one. This was a trip of a lifetime!

Gina Cross
April 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

Our Second African Dream Safari

Having completed our second African Dream Safaris we are so pleased the way your guides cared for us. The consistency of your operation and the skill of your staff there in Arusha is superb. We couldn’t ask for a better guide for tracking the animals, and just generally taking care of us. We were extremely pleased with all the accommodations throughout the trip.

We saw not only the big five, but the migration live and in color, three lions in a single tree, lions mating, a lion hunt that resulted in a wart hog being attacked by a female lion and the resulting escape, which was truly amazing. The list goes on and on. We have the pictures!

On a scale of 1-10 African Dream Safaris is a TEN! Patty and I wish to thank you Dawn, and all connected with ADS for making the safaris so memorable.

Al and Patty Gerrans
Houston, Texas
April 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: JoAnn MoragneEl

What an absolutely amazing adventure I had with Africa Dream Safaris! Everything about the trip was beyond Fantastic.

As an avid fan of Discovery Channel I had definite ideas of the kinds of animals I wanted to see as well as what they would be doing. Each of us was asked what animals we wanted to see by our guide. My request was for lions. Then I saw a breathtaking male lion the very next day. Then I said I wanted to see a whole pride. The next day I saw a small pride. Then I said I wanted to see a lion take down his dinner. The next day I saw a male lion eating his prey. We day after that I saw a large pride feasting on a wildebeest! If I didn’t know better I would think that ADS people went out the night before, planted the animals and waited for their safari clients to see them the next morning! Without a doubt, we had the best guides in the universe.

What was even more impressive than their vast knowledge about the animals and their habitat, was their amazing abnormal eyesight-which was way past 20/20. I was with a group of seven other friends, split between 2 vehicles. It didn’t matter which vehicle we were in because both guides were knowledgeable about the plants and animals that we saw. One minute we’d be driving along and then the driver would stop and tell us to look in a particular direction for an animal. It would take us 10 minutes fiddling with our binoculars to find what he’d found with the naked eye. I’m already looking forward to a return visit because my first visit was UNFORGETTABLE! The company AFRICA DREAM SAFARI was most assuredly aptly named.

JoAnn MoragneEl
April 2011

A graceful giraffe gliding through the Seronera River Valley.


A majestic male lion surveying his domain.


A young cheetah that was curious enough about his audience to jump onto the bonnet of the vehicle to check them out and say hello!

No Comments
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Patti and Joel Velasco

From the time we contacted Africa Dream Safaris to the time we boarded the plane for home in Kilimanjaro, we were treated like royalty. Our safari was one of the most amazing trips we have ever been on. ADS made our 20 year anniversary a special event!

Our guide was incredible with the most amazing eyesight! He worked tirelessly to find the animals, interesting places to see, and was totally flexible to what we wanted to see and do. He was not only knowledgeable about the animals but also the environment and history of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.. We started our days at 6:00 so we could take advantage of the movement of the animals and experience the spectacular sunrise over the Serengeti. We had breakfast and lunch in some of the most beautiful locations. Our favorite had to be breakfast in the middle of the wildebeest and zebra migration. Nothing like sitting at the table, drinking coffee, and watching the animals stroll close by!!

One of our favorite animals was the lions. Taking the advice of our guide, our patience paid off and we were lucky enough to see two kills. It was unbelievable watching 4 female lions and 6 young cubs eating their breakfast!. Afterwards, we could not believe that the cubs and two females decided to use our Land Rover for shade. Imagine having lions walk by the vehicle and crawl under to get out of the sun!!

Cheetahs and Leopards were on our list to see and we were not disappointed. Our guide was able to spot these animals when we could not see anything. The thrill of having a cheetah and a leopard pose for us to take pictures was incredible. Being up close to these elusive animals was beyond imagination.

Our lodges were fantastic, unique and the staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. From drinks by the pool watching the sun set to special desserts and songs for our anniversary, they made this an incredible experience. Management at all but one of the lodges stopped to speak to us personally and ensure our expectations were met! We even met other Americans and people from all over the world and had a terrific time discussing our daily adventures!

Everyone who sees our pictures is amazed. Our guide was wonderful at maneuvering the Land Rover and suggesting angles so that we captured the best shots.

We had a chance to compare other safari companies during our excursion and were overjoyed that we chose ADS for our first trip to Tanzania. We cannot say thank you enough for providing a trip that far exceeded our expectations and resulted in wonderful everlasting memories.

Patti and Joel Velasco
April 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

I Will Never Be Able To Enjoy A Zoo Again

As it is now several months from returning from one of most amazing trips in our live, it still feels like yesterday when my husband and I (along with two of our friends) were standing in a safari vehicle in awe of the beautiful wildlife. I am still in the process of going through over 1,000 photos – stopping and remembering as each photo was taken. The Mark Twain quote that is at the end of Africa Dream Safaris’ video clip, “Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take…but by the moments that take our breath away” is very profound. And I can truly say I’ve experienced that moment!

The amount of planning and attention to detail that the entire staff of Africa Dream Safaris (ADS) is superb! From the initial planning process with Dawn Anderson stepping us through ever last bit (it was about 1-year in the planning stages) to saying goodbye at the airport curbside in Kilimanjaro – it was about as worry-free travel as it could be and it made the long journey from San Francisco to Kilimanjaro almost effortless. (Also, special kudos to the Arusha team who had to help with a flight segment from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro!!!). The information that is sent (in the planning binder and the handy-dandy “handbook”) is spot-on! I couldn’t study each of them enough and even with questions, all were answered by ADS!

Even with the flight from Arusha to the Serengeti airstrip was amazing – seeing jeep trails, animals from the air and the stunning geography. As we landed on the dirt airstrip warthogs running across the runway greeted us. Within an hour of getting in the safari jeep, we saw lions hunting, a leopard, and zebra – now that’s an amazing way to start a safari! Our spectacular guide, Fazal, saw our excitement and said that we would be in for more “ah ha” moments…he was certainly right!

We joked that he must have had a magical button on his steering wheel that had all of the animals – because as we would be in conversation about a specific species, low and behold…it would appear within a ½ hour of mention. We had our list (along with the one printed in the back of handbook) of animals we wanted to see. He made the entire experience very memorable and in speaking to others in the tented lodges in the evening, we really realized how special of a guide we had! He pretty much knows every watering hole, rock out crop and tree that the animals frequent.

Me, not being the “camping” type – enjoyed the luxury tented lodges. I can sort of boast that I “camped” in the Serengeti, but after revealing the photos of the two beautiful tented lodges we stayed at (Mbuzi Mawe and Lake Masek), I would be quickly corrected that “I wasn’t really roughing it.” The last night in the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was beyond opulent. I actually don’t think there’s a word that could do it justice. My only disappointment of this entire safari is that we couldn’t stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge longer!

At all of the places, the staff was friendly and the scenery was amazing. It did take me about 2-3 nights to get a good nights sleep – not because I wasn’t comfortable, rather I wanted to stay up and hear all of the animal noises and didn’t want to miss anything. We had vervet monkeys run up and across our tents, two elephants come very close for their evening dinner off nearby bushes and frequent post-dinner encounters with buffalo grazing. The food was very enjoyable. Taking boxed meals for breakfast & lunch was handy and it did allow us to stay in the field longer. It was nice to actually pull off and eat picnic style. Only once did we loose part of our lunch from a very bold vervet monkey who jumped into the vehicle and took off with a bag of apples.

I will never be able to really enjoy zoos again – being able to get so close to all of the animals! I loved that we would actually not be rushed and spend time observing personalities and traits of the animals. Very often we would be the first vehicle observing an animal (and the other tour safari vehicles would see us and make a bee-line to us). But more often, we would be the only vehicle around – not seeing another vehicle for hours! The variety and closeness to the animals is something I’ll never forget. In Ngorongoro Crater, two lions (one male, one female) were napping in the middle of the road and when vehicles pulled up to observer, they got up not to walk away, but to take advantage of the shade the vehicles could provide. I still won’t forget looking down on top of a lion’s head, holding my breath, to just listen to it breathe.

The remoteness was something to get used to – thinking it would be a very long walk if we broke down. ADS’s vehicles are beautifully maintained and we would giggle each morning, as the clean vehicle would pick us up only to know that we would find a huge mud puddle within an hour. Three times, we came to the aid of other vehicles that were broken down. Our extraordinary guide was like “MacGyver” (for those of you who remember this TV series – the guy who could fix his way out of anything).

I love telling this story about coming to the aid of a vehicle that clearly had a broken radiator (water puddle under the hood). It was before lunch, so we had our boxed lunches uneaten. Fazal asked if he could take a few hardboiled eggs to the broken vehicle. That’s fine – we’ll give them food – we thought…but as we watched Fazal, he was peeling the hardboiled eggs and cutting them up. He began stuffing the eggs in the radiator hose, poured water and asked the other driver to start the car to rev the engine. Water continued to pour out from underneath, but Fazal didn’t give up. He tried this a few more times, with several more eggs. Then the water stopped dripping. Fazal explained that as the heat of the engine increased, it made the eggs congeal and plug the hole in the radiator. So there…now you know if you have a broken radiator – just toss in a few eggs. Or as he said, elephant dung would have worked, too. (Didn’t have any of that near by). The other vehicle went merrily on their way, with a few extra water bottles from us and thankful they weren’t spending the night stranded.

Timing of our safari was in the spring – in the midst of the Great Migration. It is indeed “Great”. The temperatures were very pleasant and being from the Bay Area, knew we wouldn’t tolerate high summer heat. We are so glad that we used ADS for this trip! I can’t wait to get back to Tanzania again. I loved it so much, I am planning on a Kilimanjaro climbing trek and then treating myself to a post-climb safari. I’ll be back in touch with ADS!

Kindest Regards,

Nanette Nanjo-Jones
Pacifica, California
April 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

Tracey’s Green Season Safari

I have been home for a while now and the imprint of Tanzania is still vividly etched in my mind’s eye. From the moment we touched down at Kilimanjaro International Airport to the time we departed, ADS was with us all the way. From the caring and helpful ground crew, to the luxurious lodging, and most of all to our fantastic and absolutely best guides, JP and Angelbert, the trip was a dream come true.

JP and Angelbert have to be the top guides. They were charming, funny, and very patient with our “extra” large group. Their expert knowledge of the animals, birds, plant life, and Tanzanian history provided us with a complete view of their country. Their passion for their homeland was contagious.

When I set out on this adventure I had hoped to see a few animals in the wild. Such as a few lions, elephants, and maybe a hippo or two…but what I did see was truly unbelievable. I saw lions sleeping, relaxing in the shade, caring for young, and feasting, elephants galore from mamas to babies and lone males wandering the crater, hippos at the pool and running through our breakfast camp that added a bit of unexpected excitement. Standing in the middle of the wildebeest migration was a thrill worth doing twice and watching a mother cheetah “teach” her three cubs to hunt and then relax under and on our jeep is indescribable. The final thrill with the animals was our chance encounter with a lone male elephant in the Ngorongoro Crater. He came up over the hill, ears flapping, and walking at full speed toward us. He came close enough to touch as he passed by our jeep.

I would love to someday return to Tanzania for another ADS safari, but if I am not able I know I had THE trip of a lifetime. Many thanks to my traveling companions (the Aviano Gang), JP, Angelbert, and ADS!

Tracey A. Medeiros
April 2012

No Comments
Read Full Post

Our Serengeti Plains trip with African Dream Safaris

Our Serengeti Plains trip with African Dream Safaris

Our group of 4 toured the Serengeti Plains with African Dream Safaris arriving April 11, 2011and departing April 18, 2011. The experience was everything I had hoped for and more. Dawn Anderson set pretty high expectations with the suggested itinerary. It was even better than that.

Our flight contained a bonus – an overview of the Serengeti with stops at Manyara, Kogatende and Grumeti, before Seronera. Our guide met us at the airplane. He matched up well with our group. Peter was skilled at finding game animals, helped to interpret their social interactions, and we often spoke of the inter-relationships between the animals and their environment. He also had a keen eye for birds, which he could quickly identify; I liked that! In addition, Peter was a good traveling companion to our group. We had a wide variety of conversations traveling, and in the evenings. He kept things light, informative, and had a good sense of humor. We were comfortable with him and enjoyed his company.

We saw more animals than I thought we would. Around Seronera, we saw a large variety of animals. Peter could spot leopards in a tree when others could not (including one in a sausage tree ½ mile from the Seronera airport). The hippos at Retima Pool in the morning and experiencing about 100 elephants walking down through a large meadow and passing so close to our vehicle we could almost touch them were highlights. The herds of impala cavorted and had mock battles in the morning in the same area. The giraffes were majestic.

We got some great shots of warthogs towards Moru Kopjes. And driving down the dusty main highway (it has not rained in a while) to Naabi Hill, we encountered our first serious wildebeest, with a herd about a mile long crossing the road, single file, in front of us. Quite a site!

Gol Kopjes was dry, and the big herds had already left the area. The remaining Grant’s and Thompson Gazelles looked sleek and clean. The lions, cheetahs and hyenas looked healthy and well fed. One morning we watched as a pride of lions confronted and chased off another female lion that may have wanted to join the pride.

In the Miti Mitatu area, we encounter the large, as far as the eye can see herds of wildebeest and zebras. We learn that there is a symbiotic relationship: the zebra have good eyesight, the wildebeest have a good sense of smell. We watched cheetahs (the 3 brothers) make a mad charge into the wildebeest, but fail to make a kill. Worn out from their efforts, they lay down and we leave. We do see them the next day – Peter says they are looking hungry, so apparently they did not make a kill.

We later watched a mother cheetah with 3 cubs who have found a young Thompson Gazelle. She watches while her young take turns chasing the animal and try to kill it – Nature in action. And on Saturday, after driving through the big herds for some time, we encounter a pride of lions in the open plain near a waterhole. They have fed (a young male has a potbelly from overeating) and are now sleeping. Since it is noontime, we crack open our box lunches and eat lunch in the middle of a pride of lions. We look at each other and remark “No one will believe us.” It seemed like every day, Peter would come up with another scene different or better than the day before.

On Saturday, we drive to Matiti Mountain, seeing innumerable animals and birds as we pass thru the woodlands. We have our box breakfast and tea sitting on the mountainside with the dik-dik, looking out over the green Matiti Plains. We drive 5 miles out onto the plain and visit a dead wildebeest that the buzzards and marabou storks have congregated at. The social interaction of the buzzard community is intense—much squawking, fighting, even landing on each other out of the blue.

On our trip back to Seronera to catch the plane, we travel via Kusini airstrip, then towards Moru Kopjes, and on to Seronera. We do see game all the way to Kusini, along with lions and hyenas at various times. In the area of the Simiyu River, we encounter very large herds of Wildebeests. It is impressive to see several hundred thousand of the animals all about you. Appears they are on the move. We are sorry to be leaving!

Our accommodations were excellent. Mbuzi Mawe was super. I particularly liked the Private Luxury Camp since it was just our group. It was fun sitting with our sundowners around a campfire looking out over the endless plain. The staff, food and service were excellent. Lake Masek was Kathy’s favorite as we could sit on the veranda before dinner and watch the giraffes and zebras parade by with the hippos grunting in the lake. The doves provided a musical background. Food was excellent at all the lodges and camps.

It was a superb trip. You may add our names and phone number to the ADS reference list. We would be happy to share our experiences with others.

David and Kathy Cook
San Mateo, California
April 2011

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Our April Adventure

Absolutely incredible! This was the most amazing trip we have ever experienced. Our April safari definitely exceeded our expectations. The accommodations were great and the game viewing was phenomenal. Our guides were excellent and with their expertise we had 90 big cat sightings (73 lions, 12 cheetahs, and 5 leopards). We even experienced a Cheetah kill. We experienced the BIG 5 beyond our dreams. There aren’t enough words to explain the feeling we had when our guides drove us into the middle of the migration in the southeastern Serengeti……..WOW. Wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as far as the eye could see, in every direction. We will never forget it.

ADS and our contact person prepared us well for our April adventure. There were no unexpected problems. Our Driver/Guides, as mentioned before, were a big part of our experience. Their knowledge and ability to find game was a great asset. Every day was a new adventure in game viewing and landscape. We laughed, learned, sang, dined together and felt like we were good friends at the end of our trip.

We highly recommend ADS to anyone thinking of going on an African Safari. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do it again.

Mark & Dana Hagenbaugh
April 2011

No Comments
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Bobby and Tricia Mohon

First of all, without any knowledge of how to choose a Safari company, we made the right choice by choosing Africa Dream Safaris. They went out of their way to make sure our trip was the experience of a lifetime. They even helped us celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary by providing us with gifts, champagne and serenading us with song. It was so special.

I can’t say enough about our guide. He was wonderful, and always professional. After returning from a long day of game viewing, we would share stories of what we had seen with other hotel guests. They were usually jealous because our guide had taken us to see things that they had not seen. We experienced a cheetah on the hood of our car, male lions eating a fresh zebra carcass, a mother lion and her cubs, baby elephants, and so much more. We actually got to see black rhinos mating! I can’t imagine seeing any more wildlife than we did. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the different types of wildlife, and there was no time that we did not feel safe in his care – even when getting within 10-15 feet of some animals!

The hotel accommodations were wonderful. I especially loved the tented lodges. They had all the modern amenities, but with the feeling of being outdoors in a tent. One night we heard elephants and lions outside. It was amazing! We actually picked the perfect time of the year to travel on safari, early April. I was a little concerned because it was supposed to be the rainy season, but the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We had rain one day for about an hour (it even hailed!) but that was all. We didn’t experience the crowds that we heard about at other times. We were alone on most of our excursions, which made the wildlife viewing more enjoyable.

Bobby made all the arrangements with our safari consultant beforehand. She helped him with planning every step of the way. I was also impressed by our follow-up interview. Africa Dream Safaris is very concerned that everyone has the best experience possible. Thank you for helping us with our trip of a lifetime!

Bobby and Tricia Mohon
Magnolia, Texas

No Comments
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Ann Eilert – Aviano, Italy

I have just returned from an absolutely fantastic trip with ADS to Tanzania, and it was so incredible – so amazing – I just have to share! First let me mention that this was not my first, but third time to be blessed in visiting this beautiful part of the world. I was once again simply in awe at the sheer wonder of it all – the raw natural beauty which is so rarely seen and experienced – something one simply cannot take for granted in this modern world that we live in today. Something deep within seems to draw me back to Africa, and hopefully this trip will not be my last! I could go on and on about all that we saw and yet never do the trip justice in just a few paragraphs, so I will instead simply mention a few of my personal highlights.

We witnessed from start to finish as a mother cheetah taught her three young cubs the fine art of the hunt as she allowed them to stalk a young gazelle. It took more than just a little patience on her part, but the chase finally ended in the cubs’ favor and they were rewarded with a much needed meal. They then rested under our vehicles with one cub eventually “hopping up” on the hood of one of our vehicles for an exciting “up close and personal” face to face encounter for all!

We watched a male lion, having obviously already eaten his fill that morning on a freshly killed zebra, attempt to stalk and kill a young baby wildebeest. He had the little guy literally in his grasp, but the feisty little fellow eluded the lion and miraculously lived to see another day!

We witnessed firsthand as a “family” of no less than nine lionesses and cubs feasted on a Wildebeest kill in the cool morning shade of the kopjes where they lived.

We watched a young female leopard, after first walking directly under our vehicle (Yes, she was THAT close!) set out to stalk (by SCENT, not by sight) two small reedbuck which were hiding in the thick reeds nearby. We were able to observe firsthand the hunt through our binoculars (provided by ADS) as her stalking attempt slowly unfolded – and in both cases she (unfortunately for her) overshot her prey’s location in the marsh – and they bounded quickly away to safety.

Animal activity was abounding…and we were humble witnesses to it all. It was, simply put – AMAZING.

I MUST not fail to mention that we would NEVER have been able to have such an incredible and memorable safari experience without our two wonderful Tanzanian ADS guides! We had 8 people in our party split between two vehicles, and you can be sure that we “mixed it up” each and every day, knowing it didn’t matter in the least which vehicle we might find ourselves. BOTH guides were professional, experienced, well-read and truly knowledgeable in their understanding of animal behavior. You could tell they bent over backwards to see that we were having a wonderful experience, and they became great companions and friends to us all. They were truly instrumental in making our trip as successful and enjoyable as it was.

So in closing, I just wish to thank ADS for planning such an exceptional experience for us all! Every aspect of this trip highly met and/or exceeded expectation, with an emphasis on the latter. In my book, it truly was (and I don’t say this lightly, based on past experiences) the trip of a lifetime!

Ann Eilert – Aviano, Italy
April 2011

1 Comment
Read Full Post

Quote of the Week: Jim Schmidt & Karla Marshall

From the moment we contacted Africa Dream Safaris, we knew we selected the right group to design our personalized safari with our friends Chris and Nanette. Their responsiveness, customer service and attention to detail and was outstanding. Our safari in April with ADS spanned the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. From the moment we stepped off the plane in Kilimanjaro to the plane ride home, every detail was handled with the utmost care and attention to detail. Our very likeable and incredibly knowledgeable driver-guide, who soon became a cherished friend, delivered beyond expectations and our expectations were very high as we anticipated this epic adventure for over a year. The tented accommodations were very comfortable and while staying at the Lake Masek Tented Lodge on the banks of Lake Masek, we often heard snorting hippos in the water just below. The Crater Lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater was luxurious yet really fit the surroundings. From cool beverages and towels to welcome us upon are arrival to the drawn bathtub with rose petals when we returned from safari, the experience there made us wish we were staying longer. While enjoying appetizers and cocktails on the outside terrace overlooking the amazing crater, our decision in selecting ADS was again reinforced as we traded stories about our safari experiences with guests who hadn’t booked with ADS.

Over the course of our two weeks, were able to enjoy the experience of observing many different kinds of wildlife up close including lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, elephants, hippos, black rhinos, giraffes, zebras, dik diks, warthogs, gazelles and even stood in the middle of one million wildebeests. Although there are so many we could easily recount, two memories we will always have is an adult lion slowly walking by our stopped Land Rover and hearing its tail “thump” the vehicle door as it checked us out and walked on by –and– watching several baboons while they sat on the hood and top canvas of our vehicle as they peered in at us. While we saw other vehicles during our time in the bush, we also had many times our driver-guide took us to places for which there were no other vehicles or people. It never felt crowded and in fact one day as we were driving across the Serengeti, it occurred to us we had not seen another vehicle or another human for over two hours. ADS also arranged for our hot-air balloon flight across the Serengeti. At times the balloon only floated at tree-top level as we quietly floated over pools of hippos and grazing giraffes.

Africa Dream Safaris is the right partner for this kind of adventure — our experiences and memories on this trip will last a life time.

Jim Schmidt & Karla Marshall
April 2011

1 Comment
Read Full Post