Posts From September 2011

The Most Breathtaking and Thrilling Experience

My husband and I have traveled all over the world both separately and together and our safari through Africa Dream Safaris was by far the most breathtaking and thrilling experience. As you know, we planned the safari 1 year prior and while we got excited to read about other ADS client’s safaris we were anxiously awaiting our chance to make our memories.

After all the anticipation and dreams of Africa, we realized shortly after arriving that everything we envisioned was going to be surpassed. From the second we stepped off the plane in Kilimanjaro to the time we left mainland Tanzania our trip was carefully planned, well thought out and not a detail was missing.

Our guide was the best! He was warm, knowledgeable and had a keen sense of where the animals were headed. We were continually impressed by his ability to navigate the extreme terrain and spot animals all while being in engaged in a conversation with us. We were in awe of the animals and the ever changing landscape. Our encounters with the wildlife were so close that we could hear them eat and breathe and that is something we will cherish and long to hear again.

Our accommodations throughout were unrivaled in service, detail, comfort and natural beauty. The feeling that comes with waking up and seeing zebra and wildebeest grazing near your tent is one that must be experienced because the description will fall short. How do we explain what it’s like to have two male lions roaring at each other for territory outside our tent or what it’s like to flash your light outside and see two cape buffalo staring back at you? How do you describe what it’s like to sip on a beverage while looking out into the bush and in one view see elephants, zebra, antelope, vervet monkeys and waterbuck? Our encounters and experiences are too many to list in a simple email but hopefully we have conveyed the pure joy that we felt and our deep gratitude for the experience.

Africa has a scent, fresh and crisp but at times combined with the smell of red earth and animal musk, other times combined with dung and spice, earth real and raw.

We long to delight our senses in Africa again.

Asante Sana,

Karina & David Reuter
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 2011

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National Geographic Adventure

Our safari in Tanzania with African Dream Safaris was an incredibly amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every aspect of the trip was incredible in its own right. Starting from the planning phase, our consultant, Lynn was extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and so friendly. She helped us out with all of the details, last minute questions, and customized our trip to our particular wishes. She even went as far as contacting our family after ensuring a safe arrival in Tanzania. We cannot say enough about Lynn’s support and guidance!

On to the safari aspect, it truly is hard to put in words. Everything from the animals, lodges, food, service, and VIP service was top-notch. Camps such as Swala, Buffalo Springs Tented Camp, Seronera Sametu, and of course the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge are worth special mention, each in their own unique ways. The caretakers/ managers of each camp went out of their ways to make us feel at home from the moment of arrival to departure. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating, and we felt completely safe the entire trip. The food and drinks were amazing. From eating breakfast with the elephants drinking from their watering hole in front of us at Swala, to butler service at Ngorongoro Crater lodge, to fun filled dinners with our newly-found friends at Seronera Sametu, the experiences were unforgettable.

As far as the animal exposure, even our guide called it a “blessed” safari. Every day was like an adventure out of National Geographic. Watching the animals in their various environments was awe-inspiring. Everywhere you looked seemed like a postcard in the making. Particularly interesting was the vast difference in the fauna and surroundings of the various locations- from the dry Central Serengeti and the impressive kopje structures, to the plush Northern Serengeti, to the swamps and woodlands of Tarangire and Lake Masek, and of course the Ngorongoro Crater which has it all.

Our timing at the end of the dry season in September seemed ideal for us from a game-spotting and comfort perspective. We were able to see literally hundreds of zebra, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, hyenas, buffalo, baboons, hippos many species of birds, lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, hyraxes- of all ages (babies included).

Some trip highlights included ostriches mating, a giraffe mating attempt, lions feeding their cubs, hippo pools, cheetahs with their cubs, leopards with their cubs in trees feeding, baboons on the hood of our vehicle, elephants with their young, tree-climbing lions, and spottings of 8 rhino. Perhaps the most exciting single event was the crossing at the Mara river, where hundreds of wildebeests rushed to swim across and gallop right in front of us. We even saw crocodiles feeding. Our trip to Zanzibar for a few days at the end was a nice relaxing touch as well.

Our guide, Michael, was also amazing. He was able to spot animals in the distance all over the place while driving us safely around all day. His knowledge of the natural world including the animals and the environment was truly astounding. He was extremely nice and accommodating as well and we never felt rushed. He would look out for great picture-taking opportunities and go out of his way to make our experience unforgettable.

Throughout our safari, we had the opportunity to see other tour groups and operators. There is no doubt that there is a huge difference in the experience provided by ADS compared to the others. A private safari is invaluable- providing the flexibility for timing, location, and duration of the game drives, meals, and rest. The large open topped Land Cruisers were ideal for comfort, viewing, and picture taking, and the refrigerator within was a very nice amenity. Other companies had vehicles with people crammed inside and mileage limitations which we believe would significantly detract from the overall experience.

All in all, our trip in Tanzania with ADS was an amazing experience which will never be forgotten. All of our friends who hear our stories and see our pictures (a few of which are attached) are amazed, and we whole-heartedly recommend them to sign up with ADS. Thank you again for such an incredible experience!


David and Julie Capiola
New York, New York
September 2011

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Stripe Facts

Most of us know that the stripe pattern of a zebra is much like our fingerprints – no two are alike and even the left side is different from the right.

Different species also have distinctly different stripe patterns, in other words you can tell their “nationality”; if you see a zebra with a grid iron pattern on its rump and stripes all the way down it’s legs, you’ll be in Angola, Namibia or South Africa looking at the Mountain Zebra, spot one with very narrow stripes and an apparent bull’s eye on its rump and you’ll be looking at the massive Grevy’s Zebra in the arid areas of Ethiopia, Somalia or Kenya. While on safari with ADS in Tanzania, you’ll see the Burchell’s Zebra. This zebra has shadow stripes which run between the black stripes on its torso. Interestingly the completeness and boldness of its stripe pattern decreases as you move further south from the equator.

I’ve periodically watched a large group of zebra explode from a water hole in a cloud of dust, only to later re-group into individual families and trot off into the sunset. How do they find each other when they all seem to look exactly the same-at least to us anyway? Incredibly in addition to their smell, zebra are able to recognize other individuals based on their stripe pattern. The question is how can we possibly know this strange fact?

The stripe pattern of a mare is such a critical component of a newborn foal being able to imprint on its mother, that they mare will shield the youngster from other zebras for the first few hours of its life so it cannot imprint on the “wrong zebra”. It is thought that the particular stripe pattern on the face (between the eyes and nose) and shoulder are the most important. 

When you’re on safari with ADS and are looking at these striped beauties, sooner or later you’re bound to wonder Hmmmm “are they black with white stripes or white with black stripe”. Curious? Keep an eye open for my next posting which also includes a fascinating fact about a zebra’s built-in air-conditioning system.

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The Serengeti was Bursting With Life and Natures Beauty

Lynn – It has been such pleasure working with you to plan our safari. Now I am writing to say “Thank you!” to you, as well as everyone working behind the scenes, and to our incredible guide, for a fantastic safari experience in Tanzania. It was all that Ellen and I were seeking and then some.

We had previously been on safari in Botswana, and have also been to Zambia and South Africa. This time we wanted to visit either Tanzania or Kenya. When I contacted ADS, you really helped us decide on Tanzania. I frequently asked questions about everything and you always had the answers, and would present another point of view that we sometimes had not considered. You helped us select Tanzania – thanks Lynn-great choice!

Each time I called or e-mailed you with questions you were superb, getting back to me so quickly with everything we requested and more, plus lot of patience and quality suggestions. I was impressed with your service and had hoped that was an indicator of ADS company-wide, knowing that could only be determined at the conclusion of our safari. I am pleased to report that not only you, but everyone we met went above and beyond to ensure our joy, comfort, convenience and safety-and thanks to each and every one of you for your kindness and a job well done!! I am sorry it is over-we would have liked it to go on for months!!

As you know, our primary purpose was photography, and thanks to our incredible guide, we got the images we were seeking. He not only knew the wildlife, but had an intuitive sense of where and when the action would occur. He also had extensive knowledge about the wildlife & their habits, birds and landforms. Our guide was top-notch, in fact, we are confident he must be one of the top guides in all of Tanzania, he was that good.

The Serengeti itself was just beautiful, as it had rained recently, and it was quite green. It was bursting with life and natures beauty, as well as teeming with interesting wildlife. Our sightings included a lioness taking down a Cape Buffalo, mating lions, and wildebeest crossing the Mara River with crocs and vultures patiently waiting in the trees, streams and other nearby areas. We also saw a leopard, and many beautiful birds and antelope.

The three cheetah brothers were a very special sighting, as well as female cheetahs and lions with half grown cubs nearby. We witnessed a hugh hippo charge another group of hippos, sending gigantic waves through the previously calm river. Quite a commotion followed, with a bigger male going head to head with her. She was reprimanded in no uncertain terms, with a bloody neck to show for her incursion.

In Tarangerie we saw elephants taking mud baths and digging holes in the river bottom, for fresh drinking water-that was really interesting too! We also visited a swamp there, which looked to us like the “Garden of Eden”. We were able to locate a few boa constrictors in the trees, which I had really hope to see. Of course, by the end of our safari, we had seen all of the big 5 and much, much more. We had an incredibly rich and varied experience.

We debated about whether to visit a Maasi Village, because we had read that some people didn’t like it, and my traveling companion had been at one years ago, and she didn’t care for it either. But our guide said we would enjoy it, and we trusted his opinion so we went. And yes, we really really enjoyed it! One of the Chief’s sons gave us a tour, just for the 2 of us, and he talked extensively about their social customs as we sat in a small structure they sleep in, made of sticks, mud and other local materials. We learned about their lifestyle, his college experience,( thanks to a Missionary) and so much more-all very interesting. We were able to interact with one of his brothers, some children and several different women there, and we made a brief stop at the children’s school. You can see school building in the picture attached. The children were darling. What a wonderful experience we had, thanks to our guide’s recommendation.

Each of our tented camps were unique and we really enjoyed them. The service was great, they were all very clean and comfortable, and the employees went to great lengths to ensure our comfort & pleasure. We were especially pleased with the beds, which were all very comfortable, and when we had twin beds (verses 2 doubles) they were oversized (compared to those we had in Europe and South Africa), and were spaced far apart, giving us a bit of space, which we valued. They were also nicely appointed and super clean.

Food was good, especially dinners, but some camps, such as “Migration” had fabulous five star meals. Other camps had entertainment at night, with native singing, dances and apparel. Some camps had WIFI, so we were able to get on the internet, which was really nice.

One morning just before sunrise, while lying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off, I noticed there were twigs breaking outside the tent. I got up to take a peek and lo and behold!!! There were 5 or 6 elephants (mothers and young) tearing branches off the shrubs around our tent!! What a special moment that was! After about 15 minutes they quietly departed.

One night we heard lions, others we heard hyneas, but we were never afraid and our safety was not compromised. The wildlife never bothered us in our tents, plus there were always 2 Maasi guarding us at night, and though they only have spears, no guns, they are true warriors. Fortunately though, they prefer to scare wildlife away, rather that harm them. What an idyllic environment we were so fortunate to be a part of, if only for 10 nights.

What a great time we had!! It cannot be overstated!! ADS is a company that does everything it can to make sure your safari is to your satisfaction, not just when they are selling it to you, but all the way through to its conclusion. ADS has many great employees who will look out for you and your interests all along the way, not just one great employee who sells you the tour. I also like that ADS is so honest about things in advance, such as the box lunches or the Maasi VIllage. Not many would be so frank!! It was also interesting that you gave us a phone for the duration of our safari, and told us to call if anything was not happening as expected, and that you would “fix” it immediately. Amazing customer service!! I would highly recommend ADS. In fact, we plan return to Tanzania in a few years with ADS, it was that fabulous! Thanks again everyone!!


Karren Kraemer and Ellen Werner
Helendale, California
September 2011

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Spectacular Photos from Tanzania

We are recovering at home today from our whirlwind tour of Tanzania. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for both Shawn and me. From the time our plane touched down in Tanzania to the time we were taken back to the airport, out trip was fantastic! It is more than obvious that Africa Dream Safaris provides the highest level of customer service available for trips like this, as we felt always that we were 110% taken care of, and that we were always safe and in the hands of people we could trust and who cared about our experience.

The places you arranged for us to stay and the itinerary you suggested for the dry season was perfect. I would not have changed a thing! When talking with other people there who were on safari trips with other companies, it was readily apparent that we were being managed much more efficiently, and that our level of experience while on safari was much better than anyone else we spoke with. I also noticed many other people struggling in their “pop-up” vehicles to see wildlife or get photos, so I was very happy we had the roll-top safari vehicle that ADS always uses.

Our driver certainly made our trip very enjoyable and productive each day. He is a wonderful, caring, intelligent, thoughtful and obviously very experienced safari guide. I almost couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get a person like him to be our guide! He kept us “on track” every day and made sure that we filled our days with new discoveries and experiences, and worked hard each day for us to be sure we would see all of the animals “up close”, as well as learn about the local ecosystems. He filled our days with amazing encounters of all kinds, including the “big 5” and a river crossing, and also filled our minds with new information. I didn’t realize I could learn so much from one person in a little more than 8 days! We came to adore him before we left and felt that we had truly made a good friend. We would probably like to send him a small gift sometime in the next several weeks, if you could tell me where to send it.

I must also thank you for your correspondence sent to us prior to our trip and all of the information you sent to help us with planning and packing. We had everything we needed for a perfect safari and thankfully did not pack too much! Your advice regarding the travel issues, clothing to take, and what supplies we would need (and not need) while there were “spot on.” I must say one of the best tidbits of advice was taking a multiple outlet cord for plugging in our chargers. I bought a small travel version for about $10 to take along, and it made it much easier to keep everything charged up at the places that had limited generator time and limited outlets. (that should be a “must take” on your list)

We very much enjoyed every tent camp and every lodge we stayed in while there, but the “shining star” was the Swala camp. We also very much enjoyed the location and food at the Buffalo camp. The private luxury camping was also a highlight. We received extremely good service everywhere we stayed, (we have no complaints!) and I almost always ended up tipping a little more because we really felt that everyone was going the extra mile for us to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable.

I would make sure that you encourage all of your clients to do the Private Luxury camping, because we enjoyed those nights of seclusion with the Hyenas howling and the wildlife all around us so much!  (one hyena came to sniff around our tent and howl us to sleep both nights. It was really great!)

Two other things that we enjoyed very much were the Safari walk at the Buffalo Camp (very interactive and educational!) and the Maasai Village visit. I had read in your last e-mail that some people had reported having bad experiences while visiting the Maasai villages, but that was not the case for us. Our guide encouraged us to consider the village visit, and he took us to a remote village close to the Buffalo Camp. The Maasai people there were warm and inviting, and really went out of their way to spend alot of time interacting with us, including teaching us about their culture and way of life, and dancing and singing for us. The Maasai Warriors threw spears and we took video of them. When we showed them pictures and video on our cameras they were very excited and they laughed while watching each other.

Before we knew it, we had them playing with our cameras and they took a lot of neat photos of each other, of us, and of the village that we will always treasure. The close interaction with these young men that were friendly and joyous was heart warming. Nobody “pressured” us to buy anything. Our guide told us before going there that the women did sell beaded work, and that they would set some things out for us to look at and purchase if we liked. They had quite a bit to choose from! Shawn did buy several pieces of beautiful jewelry there, but again we did not feel that we had to purchase anything. I tipped our Maasai village guide, who spoke perfect English, as suggested in your ADS guide, but after I left I felt maybe I should have given him more to maybe help out their small village a little.

It was a really positive experience for us, and we left feeling that we had really made a rare cultural connection with the people of this small village. I’m glad we had the opportunity to understand them as individuals and their Maasai culture better, and I hope they could see we were not there only as “tourists,” as many visitors probably are.

Again, we appreciate your help and all of the ADS staff for making this the most wonderful vacation experience ever for us. Going there has truly changed us, and the time there will be unforgettable in years to come. We are already thinking about possibly going back sometime in the future during the rainy season to see the difference and learn a little more about Tanzania.

ASANTE SANA from both of us!!

Mark and Shawn Pitts
Frederick, Maryland
September 2011

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Peace House Update – September 2011

Peace House Secondary School with the help of generous supporters has started phase II of their construction project. The expansion includes two classroom wings. The additional space will include new humanities classrooms, science lab, lecture hall, music room and art gallery. After the construction is completed, Peace House Secondary School will provide advance level secondary classes. Secondary classes are the highest level before college (university level education) in the Tanzania educational system.

To make a donation to the Peace House of for more information, please visit . Your donations to Peace House Africa go directly to helping vulnerable children including AIDS orphans receive an invaluable education. In Tanzania like many countries in Africa, a strong education simply means HOPE. Every contribution makes a BIG difference: $35 covers the cost of school uniform; $75 purchases one desk and chair; $160 provides a dorm room bunk bed; $450 provides all meals for a student for one year and $1,200 sponsors one student for an entire year.

Africa Dream Safaris is proud to be a major sponsor of Peace House.  Monthly donations by Africa Dream Safaris help the Peace House provide vulnerable children with the opportunity to receive a quality education in a nurturing environment. Financial support by African Dream Safaris focuses on the Peace House School, which is a unique boarding school for over 240 AIDS orphans.

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Dawn Anderson – A Short Biography

“Not one American in fifty thousand has any idea of the potential strength of Africa.” Eugene White

A visit to Africa can change your life. It has certainly changed mine!

I grew up on a farm in the rural Midwest. Over the years of my childhood, I was constantly immersed in the great outdoors. I had many animal companions during this time, everything from dogs to horses, and developed an early love for animals and an appreciation for nature that has become an inseparable part of my core.

After high school, I went on to study in Manhattan, KS and graduated at the top of my class with an Engineering degree from Kansas State University. Immediately after graduation I went on to attend and graduate from Trane’s prestigious Graduate Training Program in LaCrosse WI. Over the next several years I became very focused on building a successful career and climbing the Corporate ladder. I traveled extensively and met many interesting people. On the surface I was successfully navigating through the fast-paced corporate environment, but at a deeper level was having some difficulty connecting with my work.  *Something* seemed to be missing. Well, I’m happy to say I found *it* when I went to Africa!

When I first stepped foot in the Serengeti, something clicked. I was inspired beyond measure by the vastness of this authentic wilderness, and completely captivated by the profound beauty, inherent peace and sheer magnificence that I found in this place. I promptly walked away from the tedious Corporate world of my previous life to pursue my passion for Africa.

The rest is history! I have now been back to Tanzania on several intensive research safaris and developed close working relationships with various conservation professionals, including the world-renowned Serengeti Lion Project. Writing and photography are my other two passions, and I have found sheer delight in applying them both to my travels to Africa. I am also a published author, spanning a wide range of audiences with a variety of work from children’s books to essays about the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire ecosystems. I have also been privileged to teach continuing education classes about East Africa at JCCC College. My favorite animal is the cheetah, and it is a real passion of mine to help ensure this graceful cat continues to live and thrive in its natural habitat in the wild. When I’m not traveling, behind my camera or at my desk, you are likely to find me outside riding my horses or running with my two collies.

I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to visit many beautiful places in this world, but nothing rivals my experiences in Africa. Over my years of travel within Africa, my passion for this place continues to grow and develop. It started out with my falling in love with the beauty of Tanzania’s wildlife and people, and with the desire to be immersed in Africa myself. But this passion, although still very present and constantly burning, has also matured into an overriding desire to share my Africa with other people. Africa is not just a place on the map, it is an experience.  And it’s not just any experience… it’s a profound, earth-shaking, mind-blowing, life-changing type of experience.  You’ll see!

“I know this all sounds a bit much, but if I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway

Dawn Anderson


Direct Toll Free:  866-457-9977

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Wow!! Recent Photos of the Migration Crossing the Mara River

Elise and I wanted to thank you for an amazing safari. It exceeded all of our expectations.  Each day we enjoyed a new thrill. To top it off, our guide/driver was outstanding, and a joy to spend time with. He is very knowledgeable and was unbelievably attentive. Particularly enjoyed visiting the Masai village near Buffalo Springs and seeing the Wildebeest crossing. In addition to the safari – seeing how people live in a third world country with basically nothing, is a real eye opener. We are already thinking about our next trip (plan on bringing the kids) and look forward to planning it with you.

Thanks again,

Greg and Elise Gubitz
Caledon, Canada
September 2011

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The Lion Lady’s – Experience

The Ultimate Africa Dream Safari to Tanzania: The Lion Lady® will plan and design your own Custom Private Safari for you and your family or friends. Tailored specifically for your interests, I will use my extensive background and experience to customize YOUR Perfect, ULTIMATE Africa Dream Safari to Tanzania!

Why should you consider having me, The Lion Lady® plan your safari?
As Vice President of Sales & a Sales Consultant, I am a valued member of the Africa Dream Safaris team. My trips include extensive research safaris, humanitarian missions and leading special interest groups.

My first time to Africa was in 1996, to fulfill a “once in a lifetime” dream.  My dream turned into a life-long passion for Tanzania’s wildlife, the captivating beauty, peace and inspiration I found on the Serengeti Plains. I have returned to Africa several times each year since 1996, now well over 50 times, most of which were custom safaris specifically in Tanzania, spent 3 months in one year and as many as four personal /professional trips in a six month period of time.

I have been very active with safaris & mission trips to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Swaziland, Malawi, Cape Verde Islands, Gore Island, South Africa, The Gambia, Senegal, Botswana, Victoria Falls and Zambia

I have traveled several times with the United Nations to Refugee Camps and Internally Displaced Camps as a peace advocate for the less fortunate, documenting the refugee camp in Kakuma in northern Kenya where all of the refugees from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Congolese, Sudanese and Somalia’s enter the country for safety. I personally have been in the war zone several times in Gulu, northern Uganda also as a peace advocate, helping refugees and internally displaced people. I have first -hand knowledge and experience, keeping current and up to date regarding the political climate and happenings in those countries as well. I am also involved with The JESUS Film Project and have visited my World Vision Sponsor children in Gulu, Uganda, several times.

With over 35 years in the hospitality industry, including working for a high end luxury resort destination hotelier on the east coast, I gained priceless in-depth experience that I use now, to satisfy all of my safari clients needs. I have an in-depth background in hotel management, hotel design, remodeling, renovations, and customer service and customer satisfaction. This comes in particularly useful when I personally visit and inspect all of the properties we recommend. I see first -hand new properties, make sure that the other properties are still well maintained, see what changes have been made, properties renovated, scheduled future upgrades and to insure that the quality of service, food and hospitality is continuing to be of those standards that we expect. I also evaluate the level of service that we offer, our fleet of stretch land rovers, vehicle maintenance, all of our staff and expert guides, making sure that we continue to provide everything essential to making your safari a wonderful experience that will exceed your expectations.

As a Specialized Safari Guide, I focus on the Predators of the Serengeti, with a specialized emphasis on the Leopards. I am called Mama Simba (The Lion Lady) and Mama Chui (The Leopard Lady) in Tanzania, recognized, known by and have personal relationships with many guides, managers and staff from many tour companies, lodges and camps. I am also a world renowned African Wildlife and African Cultural Photographer. I have done slide show presentations to people from all around the world for several consecutive years, have had many professional one person exhibits and had 50- 20×30 and 30×50 photographs on exhibit at The Oakland Zoo (January 2007-April 2007). I also taught a course at the local college titled “Everything You Need to Know before You Go on Safari”.

I utilize all of my unique expertise; insight and passion, as I share Africa’s special qualities with other people, by helping them plan, LIVE and fulfill their own dream safari. I love what I do and would do it whether I got paid or not.

It is not about making the sale; it’s not about me making money. It is about sharing a passion for a country and its people who I love, admire and respect and I want you to as well. I do not promise what I cannot deliver and I am not here to twist your arm to get you to come on safari with me or to have me plan your safari regardless of whether it is a good fit or not.

It is about believing and knowing, what I can do and what Africa Dream Safaris can do for you and whether or not, what we have to offer, will fulfill all of your dreams and desires for your Tanzania dream safari experience.

With all of this being said, I am looking forward to hearing from you and continuing to refine your safari plans to fit every need and desire you have. I know that you will enjoy and cherish your safari memories as much as I have mine and I can deliver your Africa Dream Safari that will exceed your expectations.

Sharon Lyon – AKA The Lion Lady

Africa Dream Safaris – V.P. Sales

Direct Toll Free – 800-987-0809

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A Short Biography of Lynn Newby-Fraser

I was born to a family whose European roots were planted in Africa over 400 years ago and I have spent most of my life in South Africa growing up in two major cities: Johannesburg and Durban.  Throughout my life I have been captivated by the animals and beauty of Africa and in 2010 I achieved a lifelong goal when I graduated at the top of my class as a certified wildlife guide with the prestigious Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGHASA). I also recently passed The Advanced Course in Behavior of African Mammals taught in Namibia by the world-renowned wildlife specialist Dr. Richard D. Estes.

In addition to my passion about wildlife, I bring Africa Dream Safaris to you from an African perspective. I studied at the University of Cape Town, South Africa before embarking on a five year adventure aboard a 46′ yacht reaching such ports as St. Helena Island, the Amazon, Venezuela, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Israel and Turkey among others.  My personal achievements include earning a 5th Degree Black Belt in the martial arts and being inaugurated into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2004 as “Female Instructor of the Year” as well receiving the “Female Filipino Martial Arts Instructor of the Year” in 2006. I have traveled extensively, from crossing the Atlantic in the aforementioned yacht, to hiking in the rainforests of Borneo and Brazil and on the glaciers of South Island, (New Zealand), swimming with sharks in Polynesia and white-water rafting in Nepal as well as studying the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. I have also been on safaris in many African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Kenya  – and yet, to me, nowhere is as beautiful or compelling as the game-filled plains of the Serengeti.

I am the Director of Operations at Africa Dream Safaris however my greatest pleasure is being able to use my knowledge and experience to help clients plan a safari and enjoy the extraordinary beauty and magnificent wildlife of Tanzania.  Accordingly I continue to work with a select number of safari clients each month.

In the words of R. Elliot “If You Visit Only Two Continents in Your Lifetime, Visit Africa Twice”.


At the Waterhole
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Video of the Great Migration crossing the Mara River

We have seen quite a few extraordinary photos this dry season of various Mara River Crossings. Accordingly, we thought this would be a great time to re-post this video taken by ADS guests last September in the Northern Serengeti. Special thanks to Jack Weinberg and David Breliant for submitting this timeless video capturing the raw power of the wildebeest migration. It is truly awe inspiring!

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The Lion Lady Safari – September 2011

My last safari was just a few weeks ago,  and I must say “I love my job”!!! This morning (Friday) I am headed back on safari and I get so excited (even after almost 60 safaris), because I know what lies ahead, is yet another adventure to be embraced!! Even though, I have been on safari every month, I have spent the majority of my safaris, during the green season, now I look forward to adding, once again, to the depth of my experience in the dry season.

The last safari assignment included behind the scenes involvement (similar to hotel/restaurants mystery shoppers in USA) helping to identify areas of improvement & solving minor issues before they become major complaints. Also inspecting new properties and older ones, making sure they continue to meet our growing list of clients needs. This is just one way that ADS stays proactive, on top of and ahead of things & always looking for ways to improve our clients overall safari experience. Of course, knowing current weather conditions & its effect of altering traditional animal patterns and their approximate locations, is also imperative as it is constantly changing. This is the typical up to date, in the field experience & information we base our itinerary recommendations on for your continued successful wildlife intensive safari viewing.

Words to describe every experience from the most recent safari, escape me at the moment,  so I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Below are a few highlights from the early September trip.




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We Didn’t Expect To Get So Close

We began our ADS safari with an extra day in Arusha to recover from the 24 hour airline trip. We spent several hours in and around Arusha which was a wonderful introduction to life in a large Tanzanian city–an unexpected bonus! Another unanticipated perk was a private dinner for us in a gazebo on the hotel grounds–as in “The Bachelor”! When checking out of our hotel to head into the bush, the desk clerk told us, “You will see much more than you expect.” His words were prophetic–we simply couldn’t envision the amount of wildlife we would encounter.

As our bush plane landed at the Kogatende airstrip, zebra and ostrich scattered. We met our ADS driver, who as the days went on would begin to feel like a family member. We were disappointed too learn that we wouldn’t be able to cross the Mara River into the Lamai triangle, as scheduled, due to high water. When we parked near the river and saw a Land Cruiser (not ADS) which had been swept off the ford lying on it’s side in the churning water (home to hippos and crocodiles), we had to admit that the itinerary change was a good one. Later that day we were fortunate to see two wildebeest migration crossings (one containing about 700 animals).

Each day was an education as we saw additional species of animals and an ever-changing landscape. Like many tourists, we looked forward to seeing big cats and we were not disappointed. We saw many lions, numerous leopards, and a number of chetahs, and we saw all three species with kills. An outstanding aspect of the big-cat viewing was that we saw them right up close!

We got great pictures even though the only photo equipment we took was a little point-and-shoot pocket camera. What you see on game drives involves a certain amount of luck, but our skilled ADS driver was able to take much of the chance out of it.

We typically spent 8-10 hours a day in the Land Cruiser (our preference) so there was ample time for conversation. We enjoyed chatting with our driver about many topics including Tanzanian history, tribal culture, and language. Of course he had an encyclopedic knowledge of wildlife and delivered great sightings on every game drive.

Although we’re generally healthy, we had some specific travel issues which ADS addressed in a very personalized way. From the moment we landed at Kilimanjaro to the time we ended our vacation, ADS staff members supported all aspects of our experience. Even a jacket I misplaced on the third day of the safari was waiting for me when we got back to Arusha!

P.S. Our safari was a “notch up” for us in terms of adventure travel. We spent the 10 days prior to departure worrying about mosquitoes, malaria, our ability to tolerate anti-malaria medicine, food borne illness, etc. We could have saved ourselves a lot of worrying. We basically had no problems and the food was excellent!

Ronald and Nancy Goodman
Ankeny, Iowa
September 2011

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An Inspirational Story of Hope – Providing Children with Basic Medical Care

Tanzania is a country of striking contrasts. Endowed with spectacular natural resources and home to the greatest wildlife viewing areas in Africa, Tanzania is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty is critically severe and access to medical care is limited particularly in rural areas. Did you know that an estimated 1 out of 9 children in Tanzania die before their 5th birthday?  Sadly their deaths are often the result of preventable or treatable diseases, including malaria, diarrheal disease, acute respiratory infections, low-birth weight and AIDS.

But, there is HOPE! There are truly great people doing wonderful things in Tanzania. Meet Dr. Frank Artress and Susan Gustafson. They are the founders of FAME, The Foundation for African Medicine and Education. Their mobile medical clinic is penetrating deeper and deeper in the bush to provide medical care to children that have never been vaccinated before or let alone seen a doctor! This is the real deal…real people having a real impact on the lives of children in Africa. Please take a few minutes of your time to watch this amazing short documentary video, which chronicles Dr. Frank and his wife Susan’s journey in Tanzania. You won’t believe it! This is truly extraordinary!

Africa Dream Safaris is proud to be a major sponsor of FAME and Dr. Frank Artress since 2008 and was honored with the Tanzanian Humanitarian Award specifically because of our work with FAME. Our ongoing monthly donations help FAME fund their mobile medical clinic bringing medical care to children living in remote areas. Many medical conditions can be treated correctly with proper healthcare including respiratory infections, waterborne diseases and diabetes. We suspect many children with juvenile diabetes simply die in rural Tanzania due to limited access and resources.

You may be asking yourself “How can I help?” The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a real positive impact. Please consider a $50 donation to help Dr. Frank and Susan meet operational expenses for their Mobile Medical Service, purchasing laboratory equipment to provide more comprehensive diagnostic services, and completing the next phase of the medical project which involves expanding the existing Outpatient Clinic into a small hospital. The facility will include 12 inpatient beds and a major and minor Operating Room.

Africa Dream Safaris will match dollar for dollar any $50 donation thus turning your contribution into $100, which has real significant purchasing power in Tanzania. Please click here to contribute to FAME and to learn more about the organization. Make sure to enter ‘Africa Dream Safaris’ in the designation field to ensure that your $50 donation is matched correctly.

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The Lion Lady Introduction

Years ago I went to Africa to fulfill a once in a lifetime dream. I have not fulfilled that dream. I was captured by the spirit of Africa, the soul of Africa. My soul caught on fire and Africa is now my passion. Many times I have gone to Africa, only to leave before I’m ready. I thought that my thirst to be amongst the animals would be quenched, but I am more thirsty than ever.
When I am in the bush with the animals, I am one with them. I am one of them. Each time an animal looks into my lens, I see into their soul, connect with their spirit, I become a part of them and they become a part of me. They are my energy, my inspiration, my passion, and the fire that ignites my spirit and soul. My song is of Africa, The Serengeti, and the animals that are free to roam “the endless plains”. I realize that I, again, have left another part of me in the Serengeti and now I call the Serengeti “my home”, too.
Every year my desire to return to Africa has increased. It has become a passion, a need, something I must do. If I had to sell everything so I could go, I would. I used to believe, that going to Africa was,” a once in a lifetime dream”.
As seemingly insignificant moments in my life all come together, and I step back and look at the big picture, I see that, I was born to become, and now am, The Lion Lady®. I now recognize that there has been the yearning, the passion, the dream, through out my life. I now realize that it always was much bigger than I ever thought or that I could ever comprehend. I feel energized and fully alive when I think and talk about Africa. Africa is my calling.
In Africa, they call me mama simba, the lion lady. Not just because I am a female and my last name is Lyon, but because, I am an African Wildlife Photographer & I am The Lion Lady®.

Let the fire of your soul become the light of your path!!!

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