Posts From November 2011

Blue Photo Safaris


My name is James Blue – and it’s a pleasure to be included in the ADS blog. If you are a past client of ADS, here’s something I’m sure we’ll agree on: a safari in the Serengeti is an amazing experience – and Africa Dream Safaris is simply the best at delivering that experience. Their dedicated team is always striving to exceed expectations, and in my third year of working with them, they have earned my utmost trust, and I am sure your’s also.

If you’re looking for a private safari, one tailored exactly as you wish – their is no one better than ADS in providing that experience. That said, joining a small group of like minded photographers has it’s advantages too: In addition to the camaraderie and learning experience offered in a photo group, the quantity and quality of the photo ops increases due to our joint efforts. Our groups have a maximum size of 9 persons, divided 3 persons per vehicle. Our itineraries focus on the most select parts of the Serengeti – the best times to be there – and maximum photographic opportunities. We have two fantastic safaris offered in April, 2012, that have limited seats still available – please have a look and we hope you will consider joining us. Full details in links:

“Big Cats and the Great Migration” , April 16-25, 2012, includes a very exclusive “off road filming permit” for our entire group. Imagine holding the keys to the hidden side of the Serengeti – where only you could go and photograph wildlife up close – that’s what this safari offers! (only 2 spots left) We will have signs posted on our vehicles stating “Do Not Follow”, which should put the exclusivity of this safari into perspective.

“Photographic Serengeti”, April 6-15, 2012. This safari has an outstanding itinerary and offers a real value for such a quality experience.

My best to the extended family of ADS,


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I Took Over 3,000 Safari Photos

I want to take the time to thank you so much for developing such a great itinerary. We loved the Northern Serengeti. If we were to only do one area it would be the Northern Serengeti. And as you mentioned having some rain was fabulous.

Our favorite lodgings were the Serengeti Bushtop and the Camp in the Central Serengeti called Seronera Sametu Camp (not to be missed). Seronera Sametu Camp was located right in the middle of the migration (just an unbelievable experience). The friendly Buffalo Springs camp provided the unique night game drive which allowed us to see a lot of the night critters. They also had a daytime game drive where our guide could go wherever he wanted and we found lots of critters up close.

Swala Camp had a unique setting and a group of unique animals. They had excellent service and we enjoyed it also. I can’t say enough about our guide. We got to meet some other ADS travelers on the way and of course the conversation eventually gets around to how great your guide is. I’m happy to say we didn’t meet anyone with ADS that didn’t think they had the greatest guide. Thank goodness we chose a company who has extremely knowledgeable guides. Ours was a ranger for 17 years college educated, worked on the rhino project and knew the area like the back of his hand.

I also want to thank you for such a descriptive itinerary that was so accurate. We had talked to many people who had gone to Africa and each of them said to bring books to read in the camp during the middle of the day. We soon learned that African Dream Safari provided a much different experience. We usually went from 6am to 6pm. We got to see Africa.

Being a photographer I got to take over 3,000 photos. Now I’m hard at work at selecting the best. Having only four in the vehicle was great. When we looked at some of the other crammed vehicles I was so happy we were not with them. They would have made taking photos very difficult.

In summary we thank you and thank you some more. Your knowledge and wisdom in putting an itinerary together gave us an unforgettable trip.


Jim and Pat Whitticom
Montrose, Colorado
November 2011

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I left my heart in Tanzania

I have been back from my trip to Africa for about a month now, but I left my heart in Tanzania. My dream has always been to go on safari, and ADS made my dream a reality. The entire trip far exceeded my expectations, and was definitely the trip of a lifetime. I haven’t stopped talking about it since I got back, and am already starting to plan my next visit.

I was fortunate to work with Sharon from ADS to set up the trip. She provided great advice on the time of year to go in order to see the great migration and also some suggestions regarding the itinerary. My safari was with two girlfriends, one of whom took some persuading to join us. Having read the brochure and information that Sharon sent to me, my friend commented that if it lived up to the description she had read it would be an amazing adventure. And she was right! It was everything ADS said it would be.

Special thanks and gratitude has to go to our guide Arnold. We very quickly became friends and he is the reason the trip was so enjoyable and unforgettable. He knew all the habits of the wildlife and was able to find incredible sights for us to enjoy. From the first day when we saw the wilder beast migration river crossing to the last day finding a final pride of lions. He quickly got to know us and we were soon joking and chatting like old friends. He understood that we wanted to see as many cats as possible especially leopards and lions.

Not only did we see 108 lions and 9 leopards, but he made it possible for us to have unique and special sightings. We had breakfast one morning while watching three lionesses and their cubs play and then lunch under a tree with a leopard.

We trusted him implicitly, so if he said we are going to wait for ten minutes in order to see elephants bathing, or a leopard jump down from a tree, we waited. And he was always right. Our safety was always his first concern and then making sure we took amazing pictures. His culinary skills were also appreciated for our breakfasts and lunches in the bush.

The tented camp accommodations also exceeded our expectations. The staff in all the camps were friendly and made sure that we needed nothing, from the wake up calls with fresh coffee, cookies and pastries to delicious dinners and hot showers. Our favorite camp was Seronera Sametu Camp. This was the true Africa experience, only four tents in the middle of the Serengeti. We went to sleep to the sounds of hyenas and lions hunting. Jonus, our host at the camp, made us feel so welcome and comfortable.

I could go on and on about how wonderful the whole experience in Africa was, but you must experience it for yourself. I highly recommend ADS when planning your safari, they are very professional, and will ensure that you have the trip of a lifetime.

Kerrie Page
Morristown, New Jersey
November 2011

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Serengeti Lion Project – Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!!

This Big Cat news just in!  The dedicated researchers at one of our very favorite wildlife conservation groups, the Serengeti Lion Project, has been cooking up some special new projects including this fascinating new study using HIDDEN CAMERAS to study the Serengeti wildlife!  Check out these images to see what the Serengeti wildlife is up to when no one else is around!  This report and accompanying photos come to us courtesy of Serengeti Lion researcher Ali Swanson – thanks Ali!  Read on to learn more about this exciting new camera project, why it’s important and how YOU can help!


Over the 30 years, Dr. Craig Packer and the Serengeti Lion Project have discovered a lot about lions – everything from why they have manes to why they live in groups.  Now we’re turning our sights to understanding how the “king of beasts” coexists with his competitors.  Whereas lions completely overwhelm leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, hyenas often thrive amongst lions – even though lions steal more food from hyenas than the other way around! So how do lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs manage to co-exist in so many parts of Africa – even though they will kill each other if they get the chance?

To answer this question, Ph.D. candidate Ali Swanson has set out 200 camera traps on a 1,000km2 grid  – covering the same area so our 23 radio-collared lion prides. We use these photographs to measure how competing carnivores use their habitat in space and time, trying to understand what behavioral and environmental characteristics promote (or inhibit) carnivore coexistence.  It hasn’t always been easy – in our first year we lost over 50 cameras to hungry hyenas and angry elephants!  But we’ve gotten creative in learning how to protect our cameras (think power tools) – and we’ve captured some breathtaking secret snapshots of the Serengeti’s most elusive animals.

Our “problem” right now is that we’re drowning in an ocean of data. The cameras capture >1,000,000 images each year, but without any internet access at the field station, our discoveries get stranded in the Serengeti for months on end, waiting to be hand-carried home.  If you’d like to help us get the Serengeti online, please visit to learn more about the project and how you can contribute.  We also invite you to follow along with us on our scientific journey through our Facebook Page and website.

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Quote of the Week: Joyce Mitchell

Life begins at 70. What better way to celebrate than to go on African Safari, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. Africa Dream Safaris fit into our lives perfectly. You said you would give us an experience tailored to our tastes and you did.

Everyday was a new adventure and as free from the maddening crowds as possible. Our guide said if we were willing to get up early, we could drive far enough to avoid the safari companies who didn’t stray far from the lodges. We had many personal and private encounters with the beautiful country and its exotic animals. We became educated daily because our guide was so knowledgeable.

One of our exceptional experiences was during a lunch stop. We were sitting among the trees overlooking a huge expanse of land. There were many elephants within about a half mile of us. We watched as one elephant family came toward us and then wandered off in another direction. Then came another group who went to the side and behind us toward the river. Several other elephant families went in other directions. The last group was headed across to the left of us, then changed and crossed to the right within 20 yards of us. Our guide said to be very still and very quiet and be ready to head for the truck of need be. As long as we respected the elephants’ space, they passed peacefully. Seeing them free and able to choose their own path was so wonderful.

Later in the day we watched a pride of young lions playing after they’d eaten. Two were rolling around when along came another, awkwardly falling on top of the other two, playing like kittens.

One day we watch four female lions as they stalked some zebras. It was as if they had strategized ahead of time. We observed them for about and hour and a half…one establishing her position, the next lion separately establishing her spot, the third independently finding her spot and then the fourth. Only one lion moved at a time. It was so fascinating.

Joyce Mitchell
November 2010

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A/C Units in the Serengeti…

In my “Wildlife Notes” posting of 9/30 I introduced you to some interesting facts about zebra stripes. I also suggested that you keep an eye open for my next posting which would include a fascinating fact about a zebra’s built-in air-conditioning system (Watch out Trane and Carrier).

Over the decades, there has been a lot of discussion and resulting theories as to why a zebra has stripes. Perhaps the most popular current theory pertains to “disruptive camouflage” which basically means that when a zebra herd is clustered together the mix of black and white stripes becomes somewhat of a blur making it difficult for a predator to separate the individuals and effectively select a target.

Recent experiments have shown that the skin in the area under the black stripes of a zebra has a significantly higher number of blood capillaries than the skin in the area under the white stripes.

We all know from those long-ago science classes that warm air rises and with the black stripes “attracting” heat and getting hotter than the white stripes, pressure above the black stripes is lower than the pressure above the white stripes. As a result there is a pressure gradient and resulting “wind” which “blows” from the white stripes to the black stripes creating a mini air cooling system. The capillaries in turn, carry this cooler blood through the rest of the body. Pretty neat!!

With zebras typically living in arid and semi-arid areas where there is little shade and accompanying hot temperatures, this theory makes a lot of sense to me.

The picture below shows a typical arid area in which zebras can be found.  With a black mat, this type of photo looks really good framed too. Take one when you’re on safari with ADS -with over 250,000 zebra in the Serengeti alone you’ll have lots of opportunity.

Zebras in arid sands

This picture gives a close up of zebra air conditioning.

The Serengeti's version of a Trane


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What do we do in an emergency? That is a question that I get asked on a regular basis.

We provide each booked client with an emergency contact list of our key staff in USA and also in Tanzania. We recommend you leave a copy of it at home with your loved ones IN CASE OF EMERGENCY!! We try to have everything covered and will take care of you and your loved ones whether or not they are on safari or still at home in USA

So this is how it really works.

Early one morning, I received a call from one of my colleagues, who had determined that a husband of a client of mine has an emergency at home, of unknown nature. It was up to me as their safari booking agent, to call him back and determine the nature of the emergency
“Hi Buster this is Sharon with ADS and I am the one who is in charge of your wife’s safari booking. I understand you have an emergency and I am calling to find out what the nature of your emergency is before I contact her at Kusini Camp, which is where she is right now”

“I am 3 minutes away from the emergency room and I am having a heart attack and I wanted to tell my wife I love her in case I do not make it”

I said let me pray for you Buster”God please be with Buster in this hour of his need may he feel your comforting arms surrounding him may he feel the wings of your angels protecting him, Lift him up God and heal him now, in Jesus name, may he be at peace knowing you are in control Lord and YOU will never leave him as you promised to be with us always. Lord, give the doctors and nurses wisdom when they see him at the hospital, that they will know what treatment he needs. In Jesus name Amen:” Buster I have to tell you that I know your wife would say “I love you too Buster” I made him promise to call me and keep me informed and I told him I would contact his wife in the meantime.

I cried and prayed!! And called my boss to let him know the nature of the EMEREGEMCY!!! It was now up to him to contact Kusini and have Busters wife call me for details. I prayed and called all my prayer warriors to pray for Buster. I did not want to deliver any bad news to his wife.

30 minutes passed and I saw Busters number come up on my phone, but it was the nurse saying they were checking Buster in to the hospital and told me the name of the hospital and the doctor’s name. I thanked her and asked that she continue to keep me informed. I told her to let Buster know we were calling Kusini to get in touch with his wife and not to worry.

30 minutes passed Busters number showed up again “HI Sharon its Buster here, have you gotten in touch with my wife? The doctor says he wants to operate and I just wanted to talk to her before he does”.

“We are trying but I know time is of the essence when it comes to these things and I believe it is important to let the doctor proceed as soon as possible with what he needs to do. “I hear buster asking the doctor for 30 more minutes) I then say
“Buster, realistically I will not hear from your wife until later today, as it is past midnight now at Kusini and everyone must be in bed and it is now apparent that no one is listening for the satellite phone and they will probably not get the message until they wake up at 5 or 6 am., a few hours from now. So just know that God is with you and guiding the doctors and you will be in Gods care and there is no better place to be, your wife loves you and knows you love her Buster may I please speak with the doctor and I am going to pray for him too”. “Hi Doctor I told Buster time was of the essence and he should let you operate as soon as possible & I told him I’d pray for you as well” “Dear Lord God give the doctor guidance and wisdom while he is operating on Buster and taking care of him show him what needs to be done and how to do it and we pray for Busters full and speedy recovery in Jesus name amen.”

“Please keep me posted Dr we are still trying to get in touch with his wife but probably will not hear for a few hours.” Dr said had called me in about 2-3 hours once surgery was over.
I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. And yes I did shed a few tears as well.

One Hour 1/2 later the phone rang – buster’s number – it was Buster- AMENA “ I made it Praise God thanks for being there “ I said Amen it’s a miracle “ he said yes I know” Praise the Lord” I then asked Buster to please continue to keep me posted

A few hours later Busters number = this time Busters brother in law told me “ the doctor cut him open was in for 13 minutes found no damage and no blockage- Sewed him up – declared all pipes and pumps all clear and working well” I said Amena it’s a miracle and he said “that’s is what Buster said as well’

AMEENA!! Please do not underestimate the power of prayer!!

So Busters wife called at 7:51pm PST and I was able to give her the good news that her husband had been in and was now out of surgery and he had a miracle as there was no damage at all no blockage, no bypass surgery, all is well and Buster loves you!! As I relayed the story- she thanked me for praying for Buster – she said that would have been all she could have done. I said” It was all I knew to do!!”

So Buster and I now have this thing a special connection- I was there when he was in need and I am so thankful that I was.

He called me the other day to see how I was and I said more importantly “How are you” He told me he was still doing great and thanked me again for being “the calm in his storm” I said I was so happy to know that I was there for him and that I can be there for others if the need be –after all, I am just a tool – God is the one who does the work”

Let’s just say this is not quite a typical day in the life of a safari sales person!!!!!

But it goes without saying “never a dull moment in the life of a safari sales person”

Many Blessings

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Cheetah vs. Bat-Eared Fox – New Cheetah Report Posted

Here is a link to the latest Serengeti Cheetah Report prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by Helen, the on-site researcher for the Serengeti Cheetah Project. You won’t find this information anywhere else. Africa Dream Safaris helps fund the Serengeti Cheetah Project’s ongoing conservation efforts. In turn, periodic reports are prepared exclusively for Africa Dream Safaris by the on-site researchers for the Serengeti Cheetah Project.

There’s lots of exciting cheetah news in this latest issue directly from the bush. There have been several new arrivals as well as quite a few cubs reaching independence and having to start making their own way in the world and a few funny cheetah stories! Read about the mischievous encounters of the famous Ndutu cheetah named Emily and her two cubs as they get into a pickle with one of Ndutu’s other local residents, the bat-eared fox.

Ndutu is located in the South Serengeti right on the border of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area and offers exceptional cheetah viewing during the green season. The Ndutu area consists of a patch of acacia fringe woodlands that surround two lakes (Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek). These woodlands are in turn completely surrounded by the main Serengeti plains. Ndutu, a transitional zone or ecotone, is where two distinctly different habitats merge and where various species of flora and fauna from both habitats can coexist.

Click here for the current Serengeti Cheetah Report.

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