Posts From January 2013

By Arnold Mushi – The Great Safari!

Good morning from Tanzania! My name is Arnold Mushi and I am a professional guide with Africa Dream Safaris though everyone here just calls us ADS. I just came back from my latest trip ending on 29th January 2013. This trip covered two parks, Serengeti National Park (with focus on the Central, Eastern and Southern areas including the Ndutu and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas), and Ngorongoro Crater.

I had two guests on this safari and we all very much enjoyed this great adventure. It was a thrilling safari. I have been a guide for over 10 years now and I still look forward to every safari. This last trip was incredible for the animal viewing. We had 2 nights at Seronera Sametu Camp, 3 nights Camping on the Serengeti plains at Naabi Hill, 2 nights at Lake Masek Lodge and ended with 2 nights at the Ngorongoro Crater.   Below I would love to share some great sightings we came across:

It was in Gol kopjes to the east of Naabi Hill were we saw these two cheetahs on their honeymoon.

This male Cheetah was marking his home range to warn other male cheetahs.

These two male lions were up in the sausage tree running from the sun and flies in the Moru Kopjes of the Southwest Serengeti.

This big male lion was advertising his presence to other males in Gol Kopjes.

This is the great wildebeest migration. We came across the largest concentrations around Simiyu and Moru Kopjes.

Zebra shown here with beautiful sun rays. In the back ground is the famous Lake Magadi in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Crowned Cranes pictured here in Seronera Valley, Central Serengeti.

One of the legendary black-maned lions of the Ngorongoro Crater. We saw many large male lions during this safari.

As they say last but not least, the mighty elephant, one of my favorite animals.


Arnold Mushi
ADS Driver-Guide
January 30, 2013

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By Wilfred Fue – Sightings from Tanzania

Hello! My name is Wilfred Fue and I am a driver guide with Africa Dream Safaris. I would like to share with you an interesting wildlife sighting that occurred on my most recent safari this January between a family of cheetahs and a spotted hyena. This amazing event happened in the East Serengeti in an area between Sametu Kopjes and Gol Kopjes.

Leopards and lions are usually the only big cats known to climb trees due to their retractable claws, but here we spotted 3 young cheetah cubs who looked like expert climbers. This later proved to be advantageous when they spotted a gazelle in the distance. Their mother was able to stalk and chase down the gazelle enabling a successful hunt. The cheetah family succeeded to consume about 60% of the gazelle before a more powerful spotted hyena picked up the scent and quickly scavenged the kill from the cheetahs.

As my friend Ellison also said in his posting, some of the guides for ADS including myself were given small size cameras that fit in our shirt pockets. We plan on using them to take a couple pictures while on safari of some of the more interesting animals we encounter or some unusual animal behavior. We received computer training and we can post the pictures to this blog immediately after we finish our safaris. It’s very exciting as we are the first company in Tanzania doing this! You can post comments below too and I will try to respond when not in the bush.

Here the cheetahs are climbing the tree.

Lunchtime for the cheetah family after a successful hunt.

The spotted hyena scavenges the partially eaten gazelle from the cheetah family.

My guests and I enjoying lunch!

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By Peter Meena – Awesome Black Rhino Sighting!

Jambo Everyone! This is ADS driver-guide Peter Meena but many of my guests know me as Petro, which is my nickname. I have been a guide in Tanzania since 1993. Despite my 20 years of experience at being a guide in the Serengeti, I always see something different and exciting on every safari. This is one of the reasons why I love being a guide not to mention that the Serengeti has to be the most amazing wildlife sanctuary in the world. The concentration and diversity of animals always surpasses the expectations of my guests.

On my most recent safari from 16-January 2013 through 25-January 2013, I had the pleasure of leading two guests on safari named Jim and Nancy. We spent 9 nights in the bush divided between 3 national parks including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park.

One of the highlights for me was this very rare sighting of a black rhino crossing the main road between Naabi Hill and Seronera. It was an amazing sight!  This was near the famous Simba Kopjes, a great hangout for lions too. The male rhino looked to be heading back towards Moru Kopjes.

The rhinos in the Serengeti were almost wiped out from poaching many years ago but thankfully a few survived in the Moru Kopjes area of the Central Serengeti and now the population is growing. It is very unusual to see a rhino out on the open plains this far from the Moru Kopjes as the black rhinos are browsers as opposed to the white rhinos, which are grazers and prefer the open grasslands.

Here are some other highlights from the safari that I was able to take a few pictures of.

These are teenager cheetahs stretching under the acacia tree at the Gol Kopjes in the East Serengeti. The Gol Kopjes is usually a very good place to see cheetahs in the green season from December to April.

Another highlight was this Honey Badger roaming around Lake Ndutu in the South Serengeti.

Lastly, this is our charging elephant and the highlight of our safari.


Peter Meena
ADS Driver-Guide
January 30, 2013

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By Russell Temu – Amazing Serengeti

Jambo from Tanzania! My name is Russell and I am a professional guide employed with Africa Dream Safaris. I have just returned from a 8-night safari to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater beginning January 19, 2013 and ending January 27, 2013. We enjoyed 3 nights at Sametu Camp, which is my personal favorite, in the Central Serengeti, 3 nights at Lake Masek Camp in the South Serengeti and our last 2 nights at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

The safari was a lot of fun and the wildlife viewing was amazing. There are so many different species of animals this time of year that all coexist together in the bottom half of the Serengeti park. It is spectacular and I really enjoy watching my guests see this for the first time.

I would like to share with you some photos I managed to take on the safari with my very nice guests named Judy and Bobby. The best picture I took was of this cheetah with her cubs (shown above). They were using a termite mound as a vantage point to scan for prey and danger on the eastern plains of the Serengeti National Park near one of my favorite spots called zebra kopjes.

Asante Sana!

Russel Temu
January 28, 2013

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Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: What is the difference between a “Deluxe” program and a “Luxury” program?

“What is the difference between a “DELUXE” program and a “LUXURY” program?”

When looking out our website, one is likely to eventually come across the CHOOSE YOUR SAFARI section of our website.  Super!  This is a great place to start.

But as one starts perusing the options featured there, a common source for head-scratching is the various categories of programs available to choose from, specifically “DELUXE” vs “LUXURY”.

First of all, the difference between a “DELUXE” program and a “LUXURY” program is simply the accommodations; there is no difference in the quality of your vehicle or the caliber of your guide. A luxury program simply features higher-end properties compared to a deluxe program, or sometimes just a higher room category at the same lodge.

As a general rule of thumb, LUXURY venues are typically the smaller and more intimate tented lodges (10-20 rooms), with a heavier focus on atmosphere, individualized service and gourmet food.  (One exception to this is the Four Seasons Bilila Lodge, which is a large  hotel (73 rooms) but still offers a very high standard of LUXURY, so we classify it as such.  But *usually* that former ‘rule of thumb’ holds true.)

Ironically, sometimes the LUXURY venues offer less traditional amenities compared to a larger DELUXE venues.  The various ‘tented lodges’ (ie, Swala Tented Lodge, Lake Masek Tented Lodge) are a great example of this; you may not have a TV in your room, but you may hear lion’s roaring in the distance!

With regards to the sample itineraries on our website, there is sometimes overlap between the various categories of lodging.  Let’s use the October 10-day program for example, you can see Buffalo Luxury Camp is featured in both the LUXURY sample program as well as the DELUXE sample program.  This overlap happens sometimes when looking at regions with limited choices for accommodations (such as the ‘North’ Serengeti), or when a particular property offers a very high-end type of experience at a very good value.  Another example is Mbalageti Tented Lodge, which offers different categories of rooms such as their flagship “presidential suite” that is featured in our higher end programs.

Similarly, our ULTRA-LUXURY programs simply feature the highest-end properties available in any given area (such as the Crater Lodge), but may otherwise feature many of the same lodges already featured in the LUXURY program.

Sometimes the sample programs on our website offer slightly different itineraries too (ie, some may feature Tarangire National Park while others skip Tarangire and focus more time in the Serengeti), but again these are just samples to show you what is possible; we can always customize any program to spend more time in areas that hold the most interest for you.

You don’t have to stick with the sample programs on our website, but often this is a great place to start. As mentioned above, we can always customize the program to feature your priorities regarding lodges, duration, budget and parks/areas visited. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you get started!

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African Safari Binocular Review

One of most important items to take on any african safari is arguably a great pair of binoculars. Binoculars are critical for wildlife viewing are will greatly enhance the enjoyment on your safari experience by allowing you to closely watch the behavior of each animal or bird. We provide complimentary high quality Nikon Action 7 x 35 binoculars for every guest for the duration of their trip. To take your safari tour to the next level, you might want to consider investing in a higher power set of binoculars with image stabilization (IS). Our top pick is the Cannon 12×36 IS Image Stabilized binocular, which will allow you to spot a cheetah at 1,000 meters!

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By Ellison Mkonyi – A Perfect New Year Safari

Jambo! My name is Ellison Mkonyi and I am a driver-guide with Africa Dream Safaris. I have just returned from the Serengeti having finished my first safari for the new year 2013. My safari was from January 10 to January 16 and it was the perfect safari to start the new year. We saw many animals. The variety of wildlife in the Serengeti always amazes me and the green season is one of my favorite seasons to enjoy watching the migration on the Serengeti plains. One of the highlights form my safari was seeing these adorable lion cubs (first picture) at the Gol Kopjes in the East Serengeti and also the great migration, cheetahs, baby lions nursing and very close experiences with the big Serengeti elephants.

Myself and many of the guides at Africa Dream Safaris have been given small size cameras that fit in our shirt pockets. We use them to take a couple pictures during the safari. I hope you enjoy my pictures.

By ADS Guide Ellison Mkonyi

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An Experience We Will Never Forget

After trying to “lay low” on my 65th birthday last July, you can imagine how excited I was when my husband surprised me with a trip to Africa. Africa….that’s a trip you only dream of. And, yes, it turned out to be just that!

ADS went beyond our expectations. From whisking us through the Kilimanjaro airport on day one until they dropped us off on our last day, they were there. We couldn’t have asked for a better guide, either. Francis was wonderful! He had telescopic eyes and was very knowledgeable. He soon became our friend.

Francis picked us up after our 1 1/2 hour flight on a little bush plane and we immediately began seeing animals. We saw gazelles, elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, buffalo, impalas, baboons, ostriches and monkeys all within a few hours of arriving. And this was our first day!

We observed a mother lion with 2 half-grown cubs try to take down a young buffalo. The next thing we knew, the whole herd of buffalo chased the lions back. We stayed 3 nights at Mbuzi Mawe tented camp. This was our favorite camp. We sat by our tent and observed a giraffe, gazelles and deer in our backyard. The highlights came at night, though, when we’d lay awake listening to the lions roaring and elephants walking around outside.

It’s hard to point out specific events since they were all great. We enjoyed the hot air balloon ride; watching the migration; being welcome into a Masai village; observing the elusive Serval cat; seeing 5 black rhinos; and I could go on forever.

Thanks again to Sharon who answered hundreds of our questions and especially to Francis, who made us feel welcome and opened our eyes to a new world. We have made many new memories of a beautiful country filled with wonderful people and amazing animals.

Bill and Sandy F.
The Villages, FL
Safari Dates: January 20, 2013 to January 29, 2013

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By Emmanuel Kichao – There is no remorse in nature…. It is wildebeest calving season.

Jambo… Im Emmanuel Kichao a guide with ADS, just got back from the bush with my good clients Toni & Richard Olsen.We had a wonderful time and good timing for the Wildebeest calving season as they give birth all in a week or two to fill all the predators bellies  so few get eaten and many survive…… This Leopard had a baby wildebeest kill up on the tree and we got there right on time….

Four cheetah cubs and their mother not in the picture they found this wildebeest calf in the morning, as many of this young’s get lost at night when there is a chase or moving of the big herd. So  mother cheetah  let the cubs learn how to kill and it was so funny watching them.










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By Ally Dhulkfil – Greetings From The Bush

Good morning from Tanzania. I have just returned from a spectacular safari where we enjoyed 9 days in the bush visiting the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Parks. One of the wildlife viewing highlights occurred on January 9, 2013 in the Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti pictured above. It was amazing to see an entire pride of lions in a sausage tree (Kigelia Africana). This tree is known for its numerous sausage like fruits that hang down its branches. We counted 14 lions up in the sausage tree. Amazing! Another highlight was this family of cheetah we spotted on the Southern Serengeti Plains.

By ADS Guide Ally Dhulkfil on January 18, 2012

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Egyptian Mongoose by David Chando

One of the more unusual highlights on my last safari occurred on January 4, 2013. My guests and I were exploring the South Serengeti, just to the west of Ndutu, and we spotted a rare specie of mongoose called the Egyptian Mongoose. This animal is usually completely nocturnal and is seldom seen in the daytime when their eyesight is poor. The social structure of these animals in Africa are solitary,while the species found in Asia are known to be gregarious.

By ADS guide David Chando

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Dawn’s FAQ of the Week: What are the guides like at Africa Dream Safaris?

“What are the guides like at Africa Dream Safaris?”

At the end of the day, the single most important factor in our clients having a successful safari is the quality of their GUIDE. And boy do we know it. Our guides are all local Tanzanians, well educated and they all speak fluent English. We hire only the very best, and once we hire someone great we continue to invest in them and their training. It is important to us that our guides are the most educated and passionate in the industry. Our guides are well educated and happy to be working for ADS! Here at ADS, our guides are the heart and soul of our company. They are our employees sure, but they are also our family.

You will have the same guide-driver for the entire trip.  Your guide will be responsible for helping you plan your days by giving you suggestions, although ultimately the decisions are up to you. Probably the most important aspect of his job is that he is responsible for finding the animals – after all, that’s why you’ve come! Thus he must understand intimately the animals’ habitats and behaviors. It is important for your guide to have experience so he is not afraid to go off the beaten path for fear of getting lost, otherwise you may never make it far from the main road! It is important that he is well educated and a good communicator because he will be responsible for communicating information about the animals, trees, insects, ecosystem etc to his guests. It is important that he is a professional, and has a pleasant personality because you will be with him for the entire trip! It is important that he is passionate about his job, because we all know enthusiasm is contagious and can greatly enhance one’s enjoyment of the trip. This is the guide profile here at ADS.


Another related question:  “Why is it better to have a dedicated ‘private guide’ instead of utilizing different guides that are employed at the various lodges?”

Some companies will shuffle you between different camps without a dedicated driver guide, and that means you will have a new guide at each location and you will need to go out on shared game drives with other guests. That means you lose the ability to control your own schedule and the amount of time focused on your interests. By the time you’re done shuffling between the various driver guides, you may have heard the same lesson on dung beetles 20 times, which is always repeated 1) because the driver guide is new to you and he doesn’t know what you’ve heard, and 2) for the benefit of other new guests in the vehicle with you. And you never do make it far from the driveway to find the leopard or cheetah cubs or other interesting animals that may be a little bit more difficult to find.

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You never know what’s around the next corner by Anglebert Mrema

We were on a game drive in Seronera Valley watching a pride of six lions stalking a hippo which was passing through the area. As there were some other safari vehicles approaching, we decided to move on with our game viewing with a mission of heading for Sametu Kopjes before it gets too hot. Up around the next corner, we came across another pride of lions (this time there were 16 lions in the pride). They were looking at something we did not know on the other side of the Seronera Valley. After waiting for a while we realized that there was a buffalo which was giving birth with the herd moving a little far from sight. This buffalo with her baby of just a few minutes old got up and were trying to catch up with the herd and did not know what was around the corner, and both were taken down just five yards from the road by the pride of sixteen lions.

From ADS Driver-Guide Anglebert Mrema on January 10, 2013

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