Posts From August 2012

Our 2nd Safari with ADS

This was our second african safari with ADS and we thought our first trip could never be topped…we were wrong. Our trip was during the dry season in August because our priority was to see the great migration river crossing. Our guide Reggie was simply awesome and his keen sense of animals was incredible. His anticipation of where animals might be and his awareness of events that may occur was amazing. We started each day at 6 AM and didn’t return to our lodge/tent camping until 6 PM daily. We kept count of all the lions we saw and ended with 99 different lions.

Our 9-day safari only had 2 nights in a lodge with the rest in various tented camping sites. Tented accommodations were incredible and luxurious. Dinners were amazing and we threw our diets out the window. Bonfires for Happy Hour every night, spectacular sunsets and sleeping with the sounds of lions, wildebeest and zebras in our ears was magical.

Seeing the wildebeest migration make THREE separate crossings during the first two days across the Mara Mara River was exhilarating. Crocodiles closed in to stop two of the crossings midstream, but not before we heard the thundering sound and saw the wild chaos of thousands of wildebeest stampeding. WOW !!!

We patiently watched a pride of 9 lions stalk a warthog before it ran away in haste. We followed the pride as it came upon a herd of wildebeest, waited as the females surrounded the herd and just when we thought a chase was in order…a jackal appeared from the middle of the wildebeest herd. It sensed danger and came forward within a few feet of the lead lion lying low in the grass. It barked loudly and was chased away by the lead lion, but by doing so, the wildebeest scampered off in haste.

Many cute moments included seeing lion cubs up close playing with their mother and poking their heads up through the tall grass. Baby elephants are adorable as they hug close to their mothers and imitate many of their mom’s mannerisms. And then watching them slide down a river embankment on their knees was a treat.

A real rare treat was seeing 3 different leopards with one very, very close on the ground. Seeing them in the trees while their “kill” stashed in the branches above was special. Beautiful cats with pretty faces.

A couple real-close encounters with animals were quite thrilling. We came across 2 elderly male lions in a remote area that nuzzled on our vehicle and used it as shade…that’s close. Another moment was a herd of elephants where one large female came so close that when she raised her trunk, I actually had to step back because I thought for sure she was going to touch me through the open roof.

I haven’t forgotten the other animals we saw…majestic giraffes as the flow across the plains, the elusive black rhino, playful Tommie gazelles, bashful hyenas, cheetah brothers just hanging out after a kill and many, many more.

We also brought various school supplies with us from the U.S. and Reggie brought us to a remote schoolhouse to donate them. The teachers were very appreciative and shared with us the daily school routine. The students were excited on seeing us and were not shy on getting their pictures taken.

The people of Tanzania were kind, friendly and very gracious hosts everywhere we went. We will miss them and the treasure of a vacation that Africa Dream Safaris provided us.

Steve, Jody, Matthew J.
Northville, Michigan
August 2012

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Three Generations on Safari in Tanzania!

Safari Photo by Brit Huckabay with wildebeest migration in background. From left to right: Hunter Huckabay, Crosby Huckabay and Callie Huckabay (sun glasses) with Grayson Huckabay seen through the window.

Dear Lynn,

The entire Huckabay tribe joins me in thanking you for an absolutely wonderful safari! I don’t mean to sound sappy, but it really was like living out a dream that Prestine and I had cherished for years. Ever since our first safari in 2004, we have wanted to take our children and grandchildren on the same kind of adventure–but we just did not think it was possible. Thanks to the careful planning and hard work that you and Prestine did together, it became possible and we were able to enjoy that dream as a living reality–and to build happy memories that will last for a lifetime.

We cannot say enough good things about African Dream Safari, and your attention to every detail. Every where we went, we were met and cared for by representatives of your company, and they left no stone unturned in meeting our needs and doing all they could to make everyone happy. That did not happen by coincidence or accident, and we thank you. As you and Prestine worked out details of the trip, I felt that you were taking a deep personal interest in us, and almost adopting us as a family. We felt your personal touch in all that happened, and we thank you for that.

All of our drivers (Pokea, Petros, and Thomson) were excellent–each with his own particular personality and special skills– and we came to love each one. Each of the lodges and hotels was different and special in its own way. The game drives were productive and thrilling–“awesome” as the kids say. Prestine and I rotated from land cruiser to land cruiser each day, so that we could experience each group. Our big payoff came in hearing the excited cries from our kids and grand kids as they saw the Big 5 plus gillions of wildebeestes, zebras, gazelles–not to mention giraffes, hippos, hyenas, crocodiles —we even saw a couple of honey badgers! Every day was mind blowing–and we loved it.

We did experience the great beers–Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Tusker and Safari. Our three college students tried to drink it all–and though they put a serious dent in the beer supply, I think there is some left. This is not to say that the adults did not enjoy it as well–my personal favorite was Serengeti. Of course the South African wines are some of the best in the world–and we enjoyed our share of them.

Thank you for planning and executing every detail which made us comfortable and happy. The first day in Arusha, when we had a chance to rest up from the long flight and visit a school to bring supplies to those children was special. It touched us all. And when the safari was over, we especially appreciated the nice touch of having a day room back at the Mt. Meru Hotel so that we could clean up and change into our travel clothes. We also enjoyed a delicious light meal at the hotel before heading to the airport–again a tribute to your thoughtful planning.

As an added bonus, Prestine and I thoroughly enjoyed being anointed “Babu” and “Bibi” by our drivers and receiving special treatment the entire time–it was great!

My only regret, Lynn, is that we did not get to see you in person–and I hope someday, somewhere–we will make up for that. Certainly if you ever come to our part of the world, we will be delighted to show you some southern hospitality as our guest! Thank you again for all you did for us–all of the Huckabays join me in sending our best wishes and love. God bless you.

Hunter Huckabay and Family
Chattanooga, Tennessee
July 2012

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Meet Experienced ADS Guide – Reggie

In this video, an ADS guest films their guide Reggie talking about his experience working for Africa Dream Safaris. With over 14 years of experience in the bush, he tells a story of how he handled a close encounter with a female lion on one of his safari adventures with a vehicle filled with eager and excited guests.

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Confused by Vaccinations? Don’t Be. Here’s the Skinny!

Confused by african safari vaccinations? You are not alone! This may be the most common question I get from clients as they are preparing for their upcoming safari!

Although we ALWAYS recommend you visit with your own doctor or travel clinic before making any decisions, here’s my own special cliff notes version to help the casual safari traveler navigate through the waves of conflicting information out there:

Lucky for us Tanzania is an easy country to travel to and not much is required in terms of vaccinations.  As far as what vaccinations you *should get*, ultimately the decision is up to you, I can only tell you what I would personally choose for myself (that’s my quick disclaimer!) That being said, personally I would get a “Hepatitis A” vaccination, a “tetanus booster” (only as needed) and “polio” vaccination (only as needed, many people have already had this one as a child). I would also get a prescription for “anti-malaria medicine” (Malarone is a good one) and a broad spectrum anti-biotic such as “Cipro” (to bring with you as a precaution, to combat a common annoyance we like to call “traveler’s diarrhea”).

A few words about a couple specific vaccinations that I am commonly asked about:

**Yellow Fever: There is a lot of conflicting information out there about the Yellow Fever vaccination and whether or not it is required. Basically, a Yellow Fever vaccination is NOT required as long as you are traveling to Tanzania directly from the US or Europe (most of our clients fall into this category, and consequently most clients do not need to get a yellow fever vaccination). You can even see from the CDC website that a Yellow Fever vaccination is “generally not recommended” for travelers to Tanzania only.  However, if you transit through a yellow fever endemic country such as Kenya or Ethiopia on your way to Tanzania, and remain in transit in one of these countries for over 12 hours, then a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Tanzania. Also, if you have other countries besides the US or Europe on your travel itinerary, check to see if you need a Yellow Fever vaccination for those countries. For example, A Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into South Africa for anyone traveling to South Africa after visiting East Africa.

**Typhoid: Typhoid is a very low risk situation while on safari and a vaccination against Typhoid is generally not recommended for the casual safari traveler. Typhoid is generally spread by food or water poisoning in unsanitary conditions, and may be a problem in rural villages of developing countries. But since you are staying in very nice lodges and only drinking bottled water you can rest assured it is all safe for your consumption.

Travel clinics will generally take a very conservative approach to vaccinations and you may feel like a pin cushion by the time you leave! Nothing wrong with that viewpoint either and the decision is obviously yours, but the casual safari traveler just isn’t at high risk for many illnesses. Of course, if you were working with sick people in a medical clinic in Tanzania or if you were going to be living in a remote Tanzanian village for several months and drinking tap water, my recommendations would be different.

Please also make sure to discuss any medications or vaccinations with your personal physician to ensure you can take them safely. For example, some types of anti malaria medications conflict with some types of heart medication. Not something you want to find out while you are out on safari!

It’s worth noting that some family doctors are not very familiar with travel abroad and may not carry all the vaccinations you need, in which case you’ll likely need to pay a visit to your local travel clinic (most major cities have one).

If you choose to get some or all of the vaccinations, please try to schedule them several weeks ahead of your trip. Best not to save this type of thing for the very last minute!

For even more information on vaccinations, visit the subject at the Company’s FAQ section:  Safari Health

So don’t let the subject of vaccinations scare you!  Travel to Tanzania doesn’t require much except for an appropriate amount of awareness and maybe a few precautionary pricks.  But trust me, it’s SO worth it.

NOTE:  *This advice represents personal opinion only and is no substitute for a doctor or nurse’s professional recommendations.  Africa Dream Safaris always recommends that each guest seek advice from a local Travel Clinic and/or Doctor regarding what vaccinations and medications are appropriate for each individual’s situation.*

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VIP Visa Service – Updated August 27, 2012

For the vast majority of our Africa Safaris Tours we are proud to offer VIP Tanzania Visa service where Kilimanjaro International Airport is your first point of entry into Tanzania, East Africa. This service is highly recommended as after the long flight you will surely appreciate the quick processing of your visa allowing you to begin your african safari before the overwhelming majority of other passengers. Please note that the Tanzanian Government has instituted new security procedures for passengers arriving into Kilimanjaro Airport including the issuance of a new visa application form with additional informational fields. Due to these new procedures we are requesting that you fill out the new visa application form in advance and bring with you to Tanzania in order to help expedite the issuance of your visas. Simply tuck the completed form in your passport and give to our private security officer upon arrival. These new visa forms are sent to all guests the month prior to the start date of your trip. Please contact your African Safari Specialist with any questions.

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‘Pop Up’ Gina – A Cheetah Video

Check out this thrilling video submitted from Gina Cross, one of our returning safari guests, who has the courage to ‘pop up’ and capture the ending of this amazing video. It’s quite extraordinary how habituated several cheetahs in the Serengeti have become to safari vehicles over the years. This trait is passed down from mother to offspring as young cheetah grow up in the presence of vehicles just as soon as they are old enough to their den. We have been seeing this behavior for at least ten years though it has become more pronounced over the last couple of green seasons.

There are a handful of cheetahs in the Serengeti that our guides know by sight that will exhibit this behavior of jumping on vehicles quite regularly. Our guide Anglebert, featured in the video, is especially adept at getting several cheetahs that he knows quite well to jump on the bonnet of his vehicle. It probably doesn’t hurt that his favorite animal also happens to be the cheetah!

Make sure to watch at about 2 minutes and 53 seconds into the video when the cheetah starts calling to the rest of its family. A cheetah’s vocalization is quite different then other big cats in that it chirps with a bird like call to communicate.  It’s really extraordinary to catch this chirping on video in this fashion. Also, watch at about 3 minutes as the cheetah jumps down from the vehicle to reunite with the rest of her family. Awesome!

Thanks again Gina Cross for sharing this video (and also to Ann Eilert who took the photographs below from a second ADS vehicle). We were certainly impressed to see Gina had the courage to ‘pop up’ as Anglebert said!

Close up shot below of the cheetah peering into the front windshield.

‘Pop Up’?

Way to go Gina!

Have a look under the rear bumper!

Here is ADS guide Anglebert posing with his favorite cheetah. It looks like another rough day in the office!

ADS guides JP and Anglebert content with a great day in the bush!

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Safari News – August 10, 2012

Here is the latest update from our guests and guides currently on safari within the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, East Africa. As reported previously on July 27, 2012, we received our very first reports of the famous wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti. This legendary event is the culmination of the migration’s northward journey which began this year about one full month late in early May. We also are receiving reports from guides and feedback from returning african safari guests indicating large herds are still present in the Western Serengeti including the Grumeti Game Reserve. We expect these animals to continue to shift northwards over the course of the dry season. The summer season is certainly one of the busiest tourist seasons in Tanzania with hundreds of african safari tours departing each day from Arusha. Thankfully the Serengeti is such a massive area that it is still possible in many places to enjoy the day out on a game drive without seeing a single other tourist (perhaps just one or two other ADS vehicles). It certainly helps knowing the secret spots!

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Witnessing the Great Migration

Thank you, thank you, thank you for not only living up to all the testimonials, but for going above and beyond our expectations. You turned our dream “trip of a lifetime” into a reality. We have been home for a month and have yet to come down from the natural high we’ve been on since our ADS safari. At the risk of sounding like all who have gone before, here is our recap of our ADS experience.

We began planning our trip over a year ago. After much research of Africa safari tour companies, National Geographic’s recommendation led us to Africa Dream Safaris. We checked out the website and contacted ADS. Dawn Anderson was the warm and friendly voice at the other end of the telephone who was also extremely knowledgeable in answering our many questions. Everything that ADS had to offer was just what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a private safari for just the two of us as we would be celebrating our 15th Wedding Anniversary on August 3rd. We also knew that witnessing the Great Migration was a hope and a dream for us. We gave Dawn our dates for a 12-day safari and she put together the most perfect itinerary that would put us in the right place at the right time for both the migration and our anniversary.

We were now living and breathing Africa. The wealth of information provided to us from ADS was invaluable as we read through the ADS Handbook from cover to cover and checked the “What To Bring on Safari” list once, twice and over again. No question was left unanswered, including Dawn’s list for “What To Put In Your Day Pack”. The planning and anticipation became part of the fun as Dawn’s unending help and guidance began to ease my “trip”adation.

Finally, July 26, 2012 arrived and it was time to pack all of our khaki clothes into our khaki carry-on bags. We flew Delta to Amsterdam and stayed overnight at an airport hotel just to get a good night’s sleep. The next morning we boarded the KLM flight to the JRO Airport in Arusha. Upon our arrival Saturday, July 28th, there stood our ADS representatives, a welcome sight from all the chaos. They whisked us through visa and immigration, we collected our additional two checked bags, filled with donations of school and medical supplies, and were out the door while everyone else stood on long lines.

We were met by another ADS representative upon arrival at the Mt. Meru Resort. So far, ADS was proving to be a perfectly orchestrated symphony of caring people. We were given a welcome package, a fully loaded cell phone for emergencies and a briefing for the next day’s schedule, which was to include a tour of the St. Jude’s School and the Cultural Heritage Center in Arusha. Our driver/guide, Ali or Ollie (not sure of spelling), picked us up on Sunday morning. We toured the school with a lovely young lady named Tiffany and were very impressed with the work they are doing. Although no students were present, we received a, much appreciated, e-mail photo of students with the school supplies we donated and a “thank you”.

The Mt. Meru Resort was ideal for the “R & R” we needed after traveling through so many time zones. On Monday morning Ali/Ollie delivered us to the Arusha Airstrip for our flight to the Northern Serengeti. He was really terrific and waited with us until we were on board and taking off. As we neared the Kogatende Airstrip to land, this was to be the moment of truth.

Would the Wildebeest Migration be there? It was, as if “on cue”…there they were below us, looking like a trail of thousands of ants running in the same direction towards the Mara River. Could our timing have been better?

It was perfect! Francis, our driver/guide and soon to be a good friend, met us upon landing. He loaded our bags into the vehicle and we headed toward the Mara River. There, in answer to our hopes and dreams, were the Wildebeests, by the thousands, covering the landscape and following their leaders down the rocky embankment into the swirling waters. Some of them jumped, first with hesitation, holding up the line, while others jumped in with wild abandonment. We were grateful that there were no crocodiles.

They made it to the other side as we watched with a lump in our throats and tears in our eyes. What an incredible sight and sound. It was magnificent and from that point on, the magnificence never stopped.

Francis was not only a wonderful driver navigating the bumpy roads and off-roads for hours on end, but he was amazing knowing just how to get us to the right place at the right time and positioning the vehicle for the best photo shot. He was happy to share his knowledge of Tanzania, it’s wildlife and it’s terrain with good nature and always a smile. He never tired of our many questions, nor of the game drives that took us far and wide. He delighted in our photos and my constant requests to wait as I took “Just one more”. He kept us well-fed and well-hydrated with plentiful picnic breakfasts, lunches and a cooler full of bottled water. He always managed to find us a decent restroom so we never had to “check the tires”.

We saw the “Big Five”, the “Serengeti Seven”, the “Migration Collection” and some of the “Rare, Bizarre and Quirky”. We lunched as a pride of lions snoozed under a tree. We had a picnic breakfast early one morning at the kopjes and encountered two lionesses and their four cubs. We observed and photographed them for over an hour. We came within 50 feet of a leopard in a tree and were mesmerized as it came down from the tree and walked in front of us.

A Cheetah demonstrated her stealth and speed in capturing a Thompson Gazelle to feed her two cubs. We delighted at the sight of a one week old baby Elephant with her elders. We could barely tear ourselves away from the rollicking of the baboons and vervet monkeys. Seeing Giraffes was always a “high” and the Zebras were a favorite. We never tired of or took for granted any sighting. It was non-stop adventure and awe.

Our itinerary took us from the remote Northern Serengeti to the Central Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater to Lake Manyara and Tarangire. Most of the time we were out all day with early morning wake up calls of “Jambo” and a tray of coffee and cookies delivered to our tent by the Maasai who escorted us to dinner the night before. We enjoyed a glimpse into the life of a Maasai with a tour of one of their villages in the Loliondo Region of the Northern Serengeti.

They sang and danced for us and we bought some of their beautiful craftwork for gifts and souvenirs. With Dawn’s expert help, we experienced a wonderful variety of accommodations and enjoyed the company of other travelers during sundowners and dinners in the evening. The two Lemala Tented Camps, one at the Mara River and the other at the Ngorongoro Crater were ideally located and made a great “Out of Africa” adventure.

Buffalo Springs Tented Lodge was a wonderful choice located in the Northern Serengeti high on the hills of Loliondo with stunning views of the valley below. The warm and friendly staff welcomed us with a song and a dance. Upon arrival, at each accommodation, we were greeted with fresh scented, ice cold towels and glasses of ice cold mango juice, which was delightful after a dusty, yet exhilarating, day.

The Bilila Lodge was pure luxury right in the middle of the Central Serengeti. Our beautiful, luxurious suite looked out on a natural watering hole where Zebra, Eland and Baboon, just to name a few, gathered to drink.

This was the perfect setting for celebrating our anniversary. Francis joined us for dinner that night and, with ADS, commemorated our anniversary with a cake and a song delivered by the entire restaurant staff. Gifts from ADS, crafted by the Maasai, were a complete surprise and very much appreciated. Thank you, ADS! Plantation Lodge, a coffee plantation, was
casual elegance with green lush grounds located between the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire. We had a beautiful suite and the service was impeccable.

From this location we were able to tour the FAME Clinic and their new hospital. We met and dined with Dr. Frank Artress and his lovely wife, Susan. Their hard work and commitment to the people of Tanzania is wonderful and inspiring. We gave them the medical donations we had brought and hope to be able to do more in the future.

Our last two night’s accommodation was at Swala Tented Lodge, which we highly recommend as the best place to end a safari. It was located in a remote corner of Tarengire National Park. Luxury-in-a-tent and every detail perfectly thought out defines Swala Tented Lodge. The staff were absolutely wonderful and extremely attentive in making us feel most welcome. We even had lions roaring right outside our tent at night to enhance this perfect ambiance in the bush.

So many times during our safari it was confirmed to us that choosing ADS was the right decision, especially when we passed another vehicle with eight people packed inside. When the day came to return to Arusha for our flight home, we discovered that KLM had changed our seating and separated us by 44 rows.

Juliet, at ADS Tanzania Headquarters, came to our rescue and KLM returned us to our original seats together. Thank you, Juliet! When it was time to board our flight we looked back and waved good-bye to Francis, waiting to make sure we were ok. He had become our friend and now, sadly, we had to leave. Thank you, Francis! My husband and I have vowed to come back to this magical place with it’s warm, friendly people, magnificent plains lush with animal life and nature at it’s best. It gets into your soul and becomes a part of you. Thank you, Dawn Anderson! Thank you, ADS and the entire staff for the wonderful, incredible safari experience that will forever be our “trip of a lifetime”.


Ronnie and Martin Roitman
Monarch Beach, California
August 2012

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Tales from the Bush, FAME Medical Tanzania

It was Friday afternoon. 48 patients had already been attended at the FAME Outpatient Clinic in Karatu, Tanzania (just outside the world famous Ngorongoro Crater). Four were still being monitored, on IV drips. Our Medical Receptionist, Jacob, received a call from a neighbor. His little boy had fallen into a sharp piece of wood and was bleeding from the head. Jacob arranged for little Baltazari to be transported up to FAME .

He arrived with his mother, bleeding, scared and in pain. Jacob carried him into the Clinic, where Dr. Mwaluko examined the injury, a puncture wound to the scalp just above his right ear. The source of the bleeding was unclear but indicative of a laceration of the temporal artery. After sedating him, he was taken to the procedure room where teams suspicions were confirmed. Dr. Mwaluko successfully ligated the artery and stopped the bleeding much to the relief of everyone.

In rural Tanzania, it is not uncommon at all for neighbors to become ambulance drivers, for doctors and nurses to find themselves providing emergency medical care to family, friends, colleagues and, in this case, the child of a colleague. In locations like ours, there are no other options. It is truly the human spirit at work.

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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