Posts From December 2011

We Took 10,000 Safari Photos

It’s been a week since we have been back, and I just can’t stop looking at our pictures. Between our two families we took 10,000 african safari photos, not including the endless amount of video. Everyone asks how our trip was and it’s always one word, AMAZING!

We were so happy with our Safari that Africa Dream Safari planned for us. We really loved our guides Englebert and Omari. They were so knowledgeable about the Serengeti and all the wildlife that live there. We were picked up every morning early and spent the whole day in the jeep watching, asking questions and singing.

The kids were so enthusiastic and engaged to the point they hardly sat down. They enjoyed the chocolate, biscuits, and drinks that were provided everyday along with the lunches. I think we saw every animal that lives in the Serengeti except for the nocturnal ones. Englebert and Omari never missed an animal they could spot a leopard in a tree from miles away. It became a game for my son to see if he could find one before them, this never happened.

Our highlights were the elephant charging the jeep (Omari quickly got us out of danger) and the three cheetah we saw take down a wilderbeast. Englebert and Omari felt like family and we were all so sad to say goodbye to them in the end. They took good care of us and we really appreciated their company.

The lodges we stayed at were all so beautiful, my particular favorite was the Crater Lodge, I think I could live there! The Bilila Lodge and The Escarpment Camp were right up there in comfort and beauty as well. We stayed at the tent in Seronera Sametu Camp, which was a nice change. There we met another special person, Jonas, He had such a nice demeanor and took great care of us, we all just genuinely took to his great smile and quiet kindness. Everywhere we stayed we were pleasantly surprised with how good the food was. Hospitality was awesome as well.

I Have recommended this trip to so many friends and hope someone will go on it and have the trip of a lifetime like we did.

The Deary Family
Campton, New Hampshire
December 2011

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New Years on Safari

WOW – what an amazing experience!

I can honestly say that each day I daydream about being back on our amazing adventure, I so did not want it to end. Wilfred was incredible. What a kind, funny man and an absolute wealth of information! We even tried to ask him questions that he would have to look into his library of books for to no avail, he was well versed on everything from weather, animals, history, insects, and plantlife, he did not miss a beat.

Of course, I should add that my travel partners were great as well. We laughed (full on belly laughs), learned and certainly shared experiences that will last us a lifetime.

I personally found the simplicity of nature in its purest state to be much needed food for my soul. I felt that I arrived in Tanzania, looking forward to an adventure, but returned with so much more than that. My experience could be classified as nothing less than simply amazing, and nourished my soul in ways I never anticipated.

Take care Dawn and again thanks for all your assistance to us!

Denise and Fred Hansen
Loveland, Colorado
December 2011

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Spending The Holidays in Tanzania

Our trip to Tanzania was built on 10 months of anticipation and very high expectations (partially from email notes like this one). We have been on many trips, but this experience far exceeded any other destination. It was hard to believe, but every day delivered a better day. The diversity of the locations provided something new to be seen every day. The animals and scenery can only be experienced. The pictures don’t come close in conveying the beauty (they are great for the memories).

From a planning and execution standpoint, the ADS team (both US and Tanzania) executed to ensure our best vacation we have ever had. Everything went great. Our driver, Arnold was terrific. He knows the bush like the back of his hand. He could always find a lion or a leopard that we would have never seen on our own. Arnold was an integral part of the success of the trip. You know when you have no surprises outside of the wonder of Tanzania, the team did their job. Thank you.

The Poole Family
Columbus, Ohio
Safari Dates: December 21 to December 30, 2011

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Tracy Parham

The safari through African Dream Safari’s was the trip of a lifetime. We did not really know what to expect and could not imagine that we would really see such beautiful creatures and depicted in the online and booklet pictures. To our amazing delight, the sights and experiences we had surpassed everything in the brochures. In a “short” 5 day safari trip in the northern and central Serengeti, we saw a huge variety of birds, animals and plant life including leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, elephants, and lions.

The most memorable experience was catching a lion pride of 10+ lions that had caught a buffalo earlier in the day. We saw vultures huddling in a tree and hyenas lurking nearby and knew something was up. Underneath in the bush were about 8 male lions and 2-3 females with their fresh kill. It was amazing to watch them coordinate the effort. Many were exhausted by their efforts to get to the meat. Others were sleeping (with one eye closed!) nearby rolling side to side with their swollen bellies. Gorgeous animals. We came back to them during our night drive and continued to watch them as the sun set.

Another surprise was the amazing number of babies. We traveled in early December for a special birthday celebration which turned out to be ideal. The weather was not too hot, there was plenty of green everywhere, it was not too crowded (especially in the North), and babies were everywhere! Baby lions lounging in the trees, baby baboons being cared for by adults, baby spider monkeys playing in the grasses, and the cutest baby elephants. One was surely only a day or two old walking gingerly and eating leaves. He was barely dry.

Our driver was wonderful and very knowledgeable. He said we were lucky to have seen so much in such a short time but we are sure it was also due to Vincent’s experience and persistence. We hated to leave him to go on to Zanzibar! He and the staff at the various luxury tents were wonderful. We had such 1:1 treatment and the food was great. Vincent managed to get a special birthday cake made and all the staff sang and danced for our special event.

Other highlights included the Maasai boma, the hot air balloon trip, and the snorkeling in the Indian Ocean. We traveled very light (one backpack for 10 days total) and had everything we needed. If you want to have an experience of a life time and see how others really do live, then this is the trip for you.

Tracy Parham
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
December 2011

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We Just Returned Home

We just returned home two days ago from our amazing trip. Thank you so much for all your planning efforts. The entire trip was so well organized, thanks to all the ADS staff and our driver Reggie. I can not begin to tell you what a wonderful person Reggie is as a guide and driver! Our daughter loved how he would talk with and to the animals, and all his stories.

The terrain and wildlife were beautiful and it will take me forever to go through the almost 5,000 pictures we took during the trip. It is hard to pin-point any one given experience or event, but to witness cheetahs (the “Three Brothers”) kill a wildebeest was definitely one of the best. And to end the trip in Zanzibar, was the perfect way to reflect on everything we did and saw on safari.

Tanzania is a beautiful country and the people are so warm and friendly.

Thanks again!

The Phelps Family
Westmont, Illinois
December 2011

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Cohen Family Trip

No details were overlooked, including a gorgeous sunset, hot showers, a crackling campfire, and a fantastic meal cooked just for us. After an excellent dinner, we were lulled to sleep by roaring lions. As if it couldn’t get any better, the next morning, our wake-up “calls” were mugs of steaming coffee and warm basins of water brought to each of our tents.

Cohen Family
Wilmette, Illinois
December 2011

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We saw 10 out of the 30 Black Rhino


Our safari was everything we had hoped for. Our Driver Guides Angelbert and Omarey were amazing. They found everything we told them we wanted to see and more! Their enthusiasm for the wildlife and the Serengeti was inspirational. Although it sometimes required long days to see everything we wanted to see, they were always enthusiastic about the long days. We did have some rainy nights on the trip which made driving the next a bit muddy, but our drivers got us through it without a hitch.

We saw 10 out of the 30 Black Rhino and 1 of the 5 Cheetah in the Ngorongoro Crater. We watched 3 Cheetah stalk and kill a wildebeest and went right into the middle of a heard of wildebeest and zebra on the Serengeti.

It was truly the Vacation of a lifetime! Thank you so much for making it happen!

Gregg Carroll and Family
Cortlandt Manor, New York
December 2011

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Quote of the Week: Susan and Martin Weintraub

The Leopard in the tree and the Lion in the lake bed are from Lake Ndutu in the South Serengeti. The Hyena is from the Ngorongoro crater. We had the time of our lives, and especially loved getting to know our guide. When Salma spoke to us on the last day of our safari, and asked us about our guide, I really didn’t have the words and tried not to cry. He did everything you said he would and much more. He worked hard to find animals (his eyesight was unbelievable); helped with photography; indulged my interest in bird watching when I finally mentioned it; took us to his boma; helped make choices based on what he got to know about us; educated us about any and everything we were or might have been curious about; had a terrific sense of humor; and made us feel special.

The entire safari experience, the accommodations, and the wonderful country and people of Tanzania were beyond anything I had expected. Every day was a beautiful, overpowering gift, and I never wanted it to end. When we finally decided to talk to our kids on the last night, they said they’d never heard me gush about any vacation. I treasure the few items we had time to purchase (and we were really out of time at the end), and, of course, the memories and photos.

Of course, I can’t imagine a better company than ADS. We could see the differences between it and the other companies while we were in Tanzania. I’m one who appreciates organization, and there wasn’t a single fault, slip-up, misstep, or half-done arrangement. On the contrary, everything was taken care of, plus I’m sure there were hundreds of details that I didn’t know anything about.

Susan and Martin Weintraub
December 2010

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December Family Safari

I have told so many of my friends about the absolutely amazing vacation we had with African Dream Safaris. I hope some of them call you because everybody, if they have the opportunity to get to Africa, should go. I’d like to give special appreciation to our guides, Petro and Michael, who were friendly, informative and so accommodating.

We were two families traveling together, ten total, and they managed to satisfy all our wishes. We’d tell them what we wanted to see and the next day they would accomplish it. From nursing lions to playing leopards, they knew where to find the animals that would send our hearts racing and illicit exclamation of, “Oh my gosh, can you believe we are here witnessing this!”

Though we were on safari during the green season, our guides managed to bring more color to each experience by relating personal stories and providing interesting information about the animals, birds and vegetation. From grunting hippos to hyenas eating freshly killed prey, they spotted everything that they thought would be of interest to us.

And, your staff in Arusha were so helpful when I left my camera on one of our short, internal flights on the day before we were due to leave. You can imagine how upset I was that all those once-in-a-lifetime memories were gone. But, you all managed to track it down and I was able to have all my pictures in hand before we left for home. Send my thanks to everyone.

There were so many exciting moments but I would like to share two which stand out in my mind. The first was seeing a pair of necking giraffes. It was a dance of nature that defies description. I could never put the gracefulness and beauty of their actions into words but it was awesome. I never thought about where the term “necking” came from but let me tell you, human beings have nothing on giraffes. I did manage to capture the moment on video and have shared it with many friends who can’t believe the magnificence of it.

The other thrilling moment was meeting the gaze of male lion who walked about two feet from our vehicle. We could almost reach out and touch him. It ranks as one of the most breath-taking and heart-racing encounters I’ve had in my life. But let me reiterate that though it was thrilling, I was never worried about our safety. Our guides were very professional and I trusted them completely.

Finally, please send all my thanks to the many people who helped make our stays at all our accommodations so comfortable. While we stayed at the luxurious Bilila Lodge, the president of Tanzania was also there. So cool. We took an afternoon during our stay there to relax by the pool and enjoy the many diversions on the property.

While at Sametu tented camp, we enjoyed showering under the stars and hearing lions groan in the bushes behind our tents. I would recommend to anyone going to Africa through ADS, to combine a wide range of accommodations because each place we stayed had their own special charm. At all the places we stayed, EVERYONE was friendly and attentive.

Finally, a special thanks to you, Dawn, for always promptly responding to our many questions. concerns and planning the most incredible vacation for us.


The Brody Family
Wilmette, IL
December 2011

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Quote of the Week: Leah Gluskoter and Family

We returned home from our Africa Dream Safari just about one month ago, but the glow has been very slow to subside. Our expectations were exceeded in all regards. We were a party of five, two grandparents, two parents, and an eight year old grandson. From the perspective of the grandparents, seeing Tanzania through the eyes of our grandson was an experience to be treasured – forever.

The safari was truly a trip of a lifetime, a unique experience. We were most happy with all the tented camps and lodges where we stayed. However, our two day stay over Christmas at Buffalo Springs in the Northern Serengeti was most memorable. The management and staff there were especially kind and provided us with genuine warmth as well as great service.

Perhaps the single most important factor in our enjoyment of the trip, was our interaction with our driver/guide. He immediately grasped just what it was that we hoped to accomplish during the safari, including photographing at both dawn and dusk and made sure that it happened. He was patient, concerned as to our comfort and safety, and most knowledgeable as to the identity of all things animal and vegetable. He was also terrific at spotting flora and fauna. It gave us great personal satisfaction if one of our party spotted some animal or bird before he did. It did not happen often.

As far as animal encounters, we were thrilled to experience a two week old lion cub who walked under our vehicle, a leopard finishing breakfast just adjacent to the vehicle, and a herd of cape buffalo chasing four lions away from a recent kill of one of the herd. Those were in addition to all the other thousands: probably tens of thousands of other animals including ,elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, cheetahs, kudu, and many others. I left out zebras, wildebeests, and impala although there were more of those than all other species combined.

Attached are several photos taken on our trip and a book of photographs has been produced and is available on It can be viewed on that web site. If you do look at it be sure to open the full page view.

Leah Gluskoter and Family
December 2010

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Thank You Africa Dream Safaris

We returned from our amazing trip to Tanzania three weeks ago, and are still basking in the astounding beauty of all that we witnessed. The Africa Dream Safaris website promised a trip of a lifetime, and they did not disappoint! After our long journey from Chicago, we stayed at the beautiful Mount Meru Resort, where after just one night’s rest we were ready to begin our adventure.

After a short but beautiful plane ride, we arrived in the Central Serengeti and were greeted by Michael and Petro, our fabulous guides. Our group of ten loaded into two comfortable vehicles and within what seemed like just minutes we saw our first animal – a leopard lazily sleeping in a tree! On that very first day, we were treated to zebras, giraffes, elephants and hippos. Amazed, we challenged our guides to try and make the coming days in the bush even half that fantastic!

We spent the next three nights at the gorgeous Bilila Lodge, and the days among lion cubs nursing, cheetahs climbing trees and each other, wildebeest and hyenas roaming in large groups, and too many birds to remember. A pre-sunrise game drive one morning took our collective breath away. There is simply nothing that compares to watching the sun come up over the African plains!

We then spent two nights camping in the bush, an experience that we will never forget. The Lake Masek Tented Lodge is breathtaking, with tents looking out over the beautiful lake. Choosing between a wonderful outdoor shower just one step outside our tent or a steaming bath inside was the only decision we had to make.

The next night we camped at the Seronera Sametu Camp, where there are only five tents. Our group took them all! No details were overlooked here, including a gorgeous sunset, hot showers, a crackling campfire, and a fantastic meal cooked just for us. After an excellent dinner, we were lulled to sleep by roaring lions. As if it couldn’t get any better, the next morning, our wake-up “calls” were mugs of steaming coffee and warm basins of water brought to each of our tents.

No trip to the Serengeti would be complete without a visit to Ngorongoro Crater. The beauty in the crater is dramatic and the vast array of animals is amazing. We spent our last night at the Manor at Ngorongoro, a gorgeous five-star hideaway set on a coffee plantation overlooking the Ngorongoro highlands.

We were treated to so many things while in Africa – sightings of more animals than we could have ever imagined, people who were gracious and lovely, breathtaking landscapes and the opportunity to experience a piece of paradise on earth. Thank you African Dreams Safari for this experience, thank you Dawn for your excellent guidance, and a special thank you to Michael and Petro, who always knew just where to take us to see all that Africa has to offer!

The Cohen Family
Chicago, Illinois
December 2011

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A Story of Inspiration – A Recent Experience at FAME

I got a call from my dear friend Joseph. He is my communication connection to many Maasai friends. My little friend, Yasi, was very sick and repeatedly vomiting up the medicine she had been given for malaria and giardia. I had Joseph tell the mother to bring her to the FAME Clinic where I was confident she would be provided the resources to get well.

Severely dehydrated and malnourished upon her arrival, Dr. Frank explained that she needed to be put on an IV drip immediately. Unfortunately, she was so dehydrated and her veins so small, they could not get the line in. After many attempts all over her body they finally got the IV into a vein in her head. She stayed in the observation room at FAME throughout the day, receiving fluids and medication to treat the malaria and giardia.

I checked in on them from time to time and Yasi was resting peacefully, with her mother sitting on the bed next to her. Monica, a FAME Nurse Assistant who is also Maasai, went to great lengths to explain everything that was happening to the Mother in her tribal language. After returning a second day for IV fluids and medicine, Yasi looked so much better.

It was time to discuss what should be done about her malnutrition. You see, Yasi is almost 4 years old and her weight is just over 17 lbs. Pooling our resources, we learned of a program in a city roughly two hours away, where she could be placed on a special feeding program over a 10-day period. With FAME offering to finance her stay, the next step was returning to her boma, explaining the situation to Norkoranga’s father, and securing his permission to enroll mother and child in the program. He agreed and thanked me for my help.

Ten days later we received news that mother and child were doing well and could be discharged from the program. Babu, the head security guard at FAME Medical, who is also Maasai, agreed to accompany me to the boma to translate. As a Maasai male, I felt his voice would be helpful. When we arrived all the women and children came out to greet us. We were invited for food in Norkorianga’s mothers home, where Babu explained each and every thing he learned about good nutrition and Yasi’s needs to Norkorianga’s mother and Yasi’s two uncles. Using their Mother Tongue, he talked about the importance of good nutrition in making children strong so their body can fight illnesses, and they thanked us for helping Yasi to get well. I

In Tanzania, as in most of the world, it takes a network of people to make things happen. Family, friends, coworkers and medical personnel all worked together for the good of Yasi. She is back home now and doing great!

– Pam McClendon, FAME Volunteer Coordinator

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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Peace House Update – December 2011

Peace House Secondary students successfully completed another school year. The Form 2 students’ test scores launched the school into the top 3% in the region! Now all students are enjoying a welcomed break from their studies until classes resume in January. Although Peace House students are orphaned (having lost one or both parents) or otherwise vulnerable, they still have strong ties to their communities. This break allows them to reconnect with grandparents, guardians, siblings and friends. It also maintains their cultural connection and strengthens their sense of social responsibility as Tanzanian citizens. To this end, many senior PHS students planned to spend their break tutoring local primary schoolchildren or volunteering in community service projects. As Peace House Africa envisions educating students to become the future leaders and change-makers of Tanzania, we are proud to see them already making efforts to “give-back” to their communities.

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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Looking for Holiday Gift Ideas – Here’s One From Lynn

If you have a heart for animals, one of the most heart-warming options for helping to preserve Africa’s wildlife heritage lies with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, more commonly known as the “Elephant Orphanage”.

Based in Nairobi, the trust not only rescues and rehabilitates baby elephants (absolutely the cutest little things you have EVER seen) and other wildlife but they have a mobile veterinarian vehicle that treats animals injured by snares, an anti poaching unit and an outreach service that provides medical and educational services to nearby villages.

You may have seen the “orphanage” featured on animal planet. It is a wonderful organization established by a most remarkable woman, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, to honor the memory of her husband David. Read her remarkable bio and all about the Trust at:

With children often losing interest in a gift not too long after the wrapping has been thrown away, letting your child or grandchild visit the website and choose an “orphan” that they wish to “sponsor” makes for an unusual and inspiring holiday or birthday gift. For a nominal donation of $50, a newsletter will be sent to your preferred email address once a month updating you on the progress of your adopted “orphan” and including photographs that are bound to warm your heart.

And for families traveling on safari, in addition to our Junior Game Ranger Program, this is another way to engage your child/children in the excitement and pleasure of your upcoming trip.

Here’s the links to the Trust and I hope you enjoy the photos which I took when visiting the Trust.  I’ve been a sponsor for some years now and have proudly watched several of “my eles” blossom from distraught and injured infant calves to healthy, confident teenagers who are happily back in the wilds of Tsavo National Park.

With park revenue in Kenya suffering due to the wave of crime and resulting decline in tourist revenue, poaching is unfortunately again rife. Your sponsorship can help…and you might just fall in love. I did!


Dinner Time...


Apparently fingers taste good too...


Baby Makena
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A Tribute to Daniel

The Holidays are a time to celebrate family and friendship, as well as remembering special times with loved ones we’ve lost.

Louise, a previous ADS client, shared a special safari experience with her husband Daniel this past April. One month later, Daniel suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Our hearts go out to Louise and their family for their tragic loss. With bittersweet sentiment, we are also thankful Daniel could share a wonderful safari experience with his wife and friends shortly before his passing, and what an honor for us here at ADS to share any part in this memory. It is with humble gratitude we pay this tribute to Daniel.

Here is what Daniel wrote to me immediately after the safari was over:


“Ann got us seven from Aviano to take the Serengeti safari from April 8th to today, April 17th.  We all have found the whole package overwhelming and more than anything we had hoped for. Our guides, J.P. and Angelbert, made the safari with their knowledge, humor, and warmth. We leave them as friends and wish you to extend our greetings […] The variety of sites to view the animals in the spacious and open jeeps were perfect. Also, the different lodgings were fun and comfortable. We especially liked the different tent sites and miss Jonas’ camp and his work. I believe the best outdoor food was there. Martin and his Arusha Coffee Lodge were the perfect start to the trip.

In short, my wife-Louise- and I finally did what we had planned for years. Thank you.”

(A few weeks later he wrote again…)

“After a month, I still feel the immense Serengeti and the peaceful nights at the campsites. Always having wanted to sense the cave drawings of wildebeests coupled with pre-historic man, the safari plus the visit to Dr. Leakey’s research area took me to the point of understanding and experiencing what basic life was and is on the Serengeti. It was a fabulously done trip for Louise and me.”

Daniel Thompson





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