Posts From March 2014

Dream Come True Vacation

After over one year of planning my wife and I had high expectations for our Tanzania safari. Africa Dream Safaris had bent over backwards preparing us for our vacation of a life time. From the minute we arrived at the Kilimanjaro airport until our departure 12 days later ADS treated us like royalty. We were met at the airport by Mathias and Timan who made the visa process quick and simple. We spent the next 2 days at the Mount Meru Resort recovering from jet lag and visiting a few local Arusha sights.

Our safari began with a flight into the Seronera Sametu district in the Serengeti. Our flight was met by our guide, Bildard, who quickly packed our bags away into his vehicle and started our 1st game drive. A safari is only as good as your driver/guide and Bildard was brilliant.

For the next 10 days Bildard introduced us to the most beautiful country we have ever seen. His ability to spot animals was astounding. We saw and photographed over 130 species of animals. We saw leopards and lions on the first day and caught up with the Great Migration on day 2. Looking down at the Great Migration while having a bush breakfast on day 2 is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Over the 10 day safari we stayed at Seronera Sametu Camp, Lake Masek Tented Camp, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and Swala Tented Lodge. Seronera Sametu and Swala were our favourites but we were treated like VIP’s at all of them. Listening to Hippos, Cape Buffalos and Lions at night while lying in our tents is another memory we will keep forever.

Every day Bildard would greet us early in the morning with a smile, a clean vehicle and bush breakfasts and lunches. His sense of direction was unrivalled and as I said before his ability to find animals was astonishing. We approached this vacation believing a safari would be a once in a lifetime vacation but we are already thinking about going back and doing it all over again.

My only hint would be to get out early in the morning and enjoy the sunrise from your vehicle. The morning light is breathtaking.

Thank you ADS!!!

John and Dee Dee M.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Safari Dates: February 24, 2014 to March 7, 2014

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I Would Really Recommend Travelling In March

My name is Tom from Huntington Beach, California and I was on the ‘trip of a lifetime ADS Safari’ from March 6-16th., 2014. This was a great time to go. I stayed at three tented camps and one lodge during my Safari and was very lucky to be the only guest at Buffalo Springs Luxury Camp and Lions Paw camp. Peter the manager of Buffalo Springs hosted a “sundowner” just for me and we viewed the beautiful African Sunset.

I was also fortunate to have one of your best guides “Claude” for the entire 11 days and our own vehicle. We spotted wild dogs at Buffalo Camp which are very rare. This is the time of year when the animals are having babies and we viewed many baby lions, zebras, elephants, and cheetahs. Claude was really good about finding animals and many times we would wait until other vehicles had left to get better pictures of the animals moving.

I took over 1,200 pictures and we had no problem getting great shots of the “big five”. I am having a picture book printed up of the top 188 pictures. My new canon 70D and 100-400 telephoto lens made a big difference in getting great pictures. The best animals to pose were the buffalos and the worst were the wart hogs as they were always moving.

A typical day would be to go out early in the morning with a box breakfast and back to camp for an afternoon nap and back out again before dinner. Also saw two recent kills with everyone waiting for the lions to finish so that they could move in for the feast. Once they have finished the lions are really lazy and go to sleep.

I would really recommend this time of year to go on Safari with ADS. Not dusty, not too hot, many babies to see and not crowded. Also their vehicles are designed to make picture taking very easy.

Tom S.
Huntington Beach, California
Safari Dates: March 6, 2014 to March 16, 2014

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We Saw The Migration Filling The Plains Like Fish School In The Ocean.

After a well deserved retirement and a life time of enjoying the Canadian wilderness and wildlife we decided to go to Africa and experience the Serengeti. We knew we wanted to be in Africa when it was green and bursting with life. After reading and speaking with Dawn we booked for the end of February and beginning of March 2014. We shared our 11 day Safari with our good friend Judy.

Our trip was perfect from the moment we stepped on our KLM flight leaving the west coast of Canada to being greeted by ADS representative Faith at the Kilimanjaro Airport and whisked through Tanzanian Immigration. A few days later we met our fantastic guide Russel at Ndutu Airstrip where we were immediately taken on our first game drive and the “spotting” began.

We spent 4 nights at Ndutu Lodge in the South Serengeti, then 4 nights at Seronera Semetu Camp in the Central Serengeti and then finished off with 2 nights at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge and in the Crater. We also did a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park on our drive back to Arusha. The entire trip was amazing and a time we will never forget.

We saw every animal and more than we had hoped for. We saw sunrises and sunsets with the Southern Hemisphere night sky dazzling with new wonders. Most importantly, to all three of us, was having and taking the time to watch animal behaviour. We saw cheetahs patiently hunting, lion cubs playing with each other and squabbling over a trophy wildebeest tail.

We saw the MIGRATION and hundreds of thousands of animals filling the plains like fish school in the ocean. We saw elephants protecting their babies and baby elephants chasing birds with their limp baby trunks. We saw female lions roaring and growling at a male looking to mate. We saw dung beetles looking for love and laughed at Hippos in a pool claiming pond real estate. We saw a family of Egyptian Geese squawking at a Crocodile in an attempt to have it move, which surprisingly the Crocodile did.

We experienced a large herd of Elephants travel through and past us without a sound, it was a moving and spiritual moment. We heard the lions and hyenas outside our tent as we safely lay in bed at night. We saw and learned so much it was both a wonder and truly satisfying as by seeing and understanding what animals were doing we somehow became a part of a very special time, place and dance. The Serengeti charmed all of us and took a piece of our hearts.

Russel was truly a man of the Serengeti and was able to teach us so much about the animals, birds and insects who live there and their way of life. We learned and saw so much we will never forget. Thank you Tanzania, Russel and Africa Dream Safaris.

If anyone reading this is contemplating a trip to the Serengeti, our recommendation is do it. You will have no regrets and your memories will be cherished for the rest of your life. African Dreams made this happen !!!!

Lion Man, Sweetie and Leopard Woman
(Scott, Annette and Judy)
Victoria, BC
On Safari February 23 to March 5, 2014

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St. Jude Thanks ADS

We urge all ADS clients to visit the Arusha school campus for a quick tour, say hi to the children and learn how this amazing operation is providing free education to Tanzania’s brightest kids. This quick tour can be done either before or after your safari. Please contact your safari consultant if you are interested.

ADS as Proud Sponsor

The School of St Jude and Africa Dream Safaris are working together to help impoverished children in Tanzania to receive a free, high-quality education, while strengthening ADS’ humanitarian involvement in the East African community. Our monthly donation will buy 2,000 hot, nutritious meals per month for the students. Tanzania is a developing country where one-third of its population lives below the poverty line, on less than $1.25 per day. A majority of children in Tanzanian schools do not receive lunch or any food, so they cannot focus on learning when they’re hungry. St Jude’s provides daily meals for students, as well as breakfast and dinner for the over 1,100 students who live in their boarding houses. All produce is sourced from the local community.

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Guide Report – My Safari With Donald and Juliana

My clients Donald and Juliana were very excited to begin their safari when I met them at the Ndutu airstrip in the South Serengeti on February 15, 2014. They had arrived into Tanzania the night before and were happy to be beginning their adventure. It was great to start the safari in the South Serengeti as there were good concentrations of wildlife in the immediate vicinity. The Serengeti is beautiful this time of year. The open plains are green, vibrant and full of animals and wildflowers.

(A large male giraffe is seen here bending down for a drink at a waterhole in the Ndutu Woodlands of the South Serengeti)

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Permanently Capturing Those Safari Memories…

As a potential new offering from ADS, we are investigating utilizing a professional photographer and fellow safari enthusiast to assemble your digital safari pictures and narration, along with portions of his photography, wildlife and location descriptions. Your book would be custom made ensuring it meets your own personal requirements but at same time providing for a simple, economical and convenient way to permanently capture the essence of your safari experience in a coffee table book format, which can be readily shared with family and friends.

In this digital camera era and with our busy lives, we are finding the majority of our guests taking thousands of pictures during the course of their safari but seldom are those great digital images printed and organized into a photo album type format. Hopefully, this will not be the case anymore as we plan to be able to utilize 20 or so of your favorite safari photos along with your brief narration to produce a glossy, hard bound book that will surely become a fitting tribute to your safari.

For a brief period while we fine tune the format and method for integrating your safari pictures and narration into a book on the Serengeti and African wildlife, in general, we would like to offer an introductory price for past ADS guests of $100 for your own custom safari photo book.  If you are interested or for further information, please email or contact your safari consultant.

Example excerpt below:

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Our Private Safari With ADS.

Asante Sana to you Sharon for helping us with the most amazing trip of a lifetime. Below is a few of our highlights.

We arrived in Kilimanjaro late on March 11th and were met and greeted by the team of Martius and Timan who whisked us through customs quickly. The team drove us to Mount Meru and did our check in, gave us instructions (and gifts), and made sure we had all our questions answered.

The next day they drove us throughout Arusha shopping and sightseeing. We spent time at St. Judes learning about the school and meeting some of the children who were having recess while we were visiting. Thank you ADS for helping these students.

The next day the team drove us to the airport and we flew into the central Serengeti. There we met Emanuel, or Ema to us, and he would spent the next 10 days teaching us so much about wildlife and fauna we would encounter. Everyone seems to think their driver guide is the best and we think they are all wrong and ours is!

Thank you (asante sana) Ema for your sense of humor, your patience with us and our millions of questions, for going around the rain showers, and most of all showing us your country you know so well. We arrived our first night at Seronera Sametu Camp in the pouring rain. The staff met us with umbrellas and we had arrived at our first stop. Ema loaned us his flip flops so we would not get muddy. The staff prepared and carried our supper that night, to our tent so we would not have to get muddy going to the dinning tent.

They also carried breakfast and lunch the next day. Sometimes they made five or more trips to our tent for one meal. This was the first of so many times staff made us feel like royalty. The attention and consideration shown to us at all camps we visited was phenomenal. All staff, from the Managers to the Maasai Warriors, spoke some English and we soon learned some Swahili.

The next camp on our adventure was Lake Masek and again were greeted with great staff, great food, and a great tent. Veronica, asante for your sense of humor and the care you took of my husband. Kusini tented lodge was probably my favorite, at least their food was the best. Our picnic lunches were more than anyone could ever eat and so much to choose from. I especially loved the bathtub and the complementary laundry where the clothing were hung in the sun to dry.

Lion Paw was next for our tented camp stay. If you want a small camp surrounded by jungle and very private tent, this is for you. We were only there one night and then onward to our first and only lodge (Ngorongoro Manor Lodge). This was just what we needed for a break from the tents and a bit of quietness away from the bush music and into the rose gardens and beautiful walkways. The flower petals placed around the bathroom were lovely, another first for me. Margaret, my sister’s name, laughed with us and made us feel like she could have been my sister, not only in name. She said to tell you hello, Sharon.

Our last lodge was Swala, my husbands favorite. What an amazing experience they gave us. Eating remarkable dinners out under the stars in the middle of an Impala herd. We sat on our porch and watched the Impala babies play with the monkeys keeping us company. The places we stayed and the incredible staff is only the beginning of all my highlights.

The wildlife was exquisite and everywhere. We watched cheetahs chasing gazelles, we chose not to watch any kills but had the opportunity several times, lions mating, cheetah and lion babies playing, dung beetles rolling, wildebeests and zebras everywhere. We saw too many different kinds of Antelope to mention. Monkeys, a couple of varieties, baboons including a Troup of hundreds.

Lions, leopards both on the ground and in trees, eight lions in one tree. Hippos in and out of the water, Black Rhinos, many giraffes including a herd of about 50 together. We saw probably 400 elephants in one day in Tarangire. Cape buffalo chasing a lion pride. Hyenas in and out of mud holes. Mongoose ran across the road and we got a glimpse of an African Wild Cat running into its burrow, we saw all four kinds of Jackal and bat eared fox. We were not lucky enough to see the wild dogs but almost everything else mentioned in our itinerary.

Our hot air balloon ride across the Serengeti will always be remembered. We had another prospective of the animals from new angles as our pilot rose high and low several times across the Serengeti. We were in the air almost one and a half hours landing on the road, drank champagne then headed to a spot in the bush for a delicious breakfast where the food was good and the champagne flowed freely. The areas we ate our lunches were beautiful some private with only our guide and ourselves eating, others were picnic areas with others enjoying them. In one of these areas my husband and a monkey got into a tug of war with one of our containers. Our trusty guide saw this and laughingly rescued my husband. One of the nicest surprises, we were never too far from a toilet. Some were squatters but were private.

I’ve only touched on a few of our wonderful highlights and I am so glad we decided to go with ADS. I saw other crowded vehicles with other groups and watched the people some shooting pictures others looking bored to death. I talked with others from different groups on the plane and we decided that all and all I had the best safari with the best adventure for about the same amount of money and ours was private and theirs was not.

Thank you Sharon for suggesting March for my adventure, it was a great time to go. Would I go again? In a heart beat. Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely! I am sharing a few pictures of my over 1000 taken. Hope they are enjoyed.

Mike O. and Connie C.
Port Charlotte, Florida
March 11 thru March 23, 2014

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Africa Dream Safari Does It Again!

After a life-time of desire the dream came true; Our private luxury trip with ADS started with seeing Leopards, Lions, Elephants, Zebras, Gazelles and Giraffes –all within the first hour of being with Simon, our driver! As we watched other tour groups looking at lions from afar we were right up alongside of them!

While in the Crater we were fortunate to see 4 rhinos, at the marsh we watched a male lion drag his kill to eat in the shade and a mother Cheetah teach her 2 cubs to hunt. At each corner we were met by something truly amazing! After seeing other tour groups with up to 7 people in one vehicle we were convinced we had made the right decision in choosing a private tour with ADS.

Since we have returned home and shared our experience with others we have been asked if we were ever afraid or if there were any problems we encountered during our trip and we proudly answer NO – ADS created the perfect trip! We trusted them with our dream and they came through in every way possible for us.

Asante Simon, Sharon, and all the staff for putting together our DREAM TRIP of a life time!

Sue and Don J.
Sherwood, WI
Safari Dates: December 1, 2013 to December 10, 2013

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Guide Report for March 7, 2014 – Wildebeest Migration On Short Grass plains.

Hi everyone again! I’m here with the another bush report after completing an 11 day safari (February 23, 2014 to March 5, 2014) with my three guests named Annette, Scott and Judy. We started in the southern plains of the Serengeti National Park and stayed at Ndutu Safari Lodge for 4 nights. We did our game drives around the Ndutu area, hidden valley, marsh area, along Lake Masek and in the short grass plains for the first two days of our stay. Also we managed to drive to Nasera Rock for a nature walk with a Maasai warrior named ‘’Esupet’’ and also game viewing around Gol Kopjes.

We had another 4 nights at Sametu Camp located in the far Eastern side of the Serengeti National Park which is away from the crowded Central Serengeti Seronera area. In this area we had a chance to game drive around Moru Kopjes, Makoma plains, Retima hippo pool, and Sametu Kopjes.

And finally on the last two nights at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, we visited Olduvai Gorge Museum, and Ngorongoro Crater/Caldera. But also we had a day excursion in Lake Manyara National Park before driving to Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha. The following pictures below shows some of the highlights we encoutered in the bush.

– My guests Annette, Judy and Scott having a bush breakfast in the Ndutu plains, South Serengeti.

– Mother cheetah and her cub preying on a baby wildebeest around Ndutu plains.

– Vultures feeding on Eland close to Nasera Rock in the short grass plains.

– Giant Monolith Nasera Rock.

– A Male lion along Sametu Kopjes sniffing the ground.

– Lionesses with their cubs in the Ngorongoro caldera floor at Seneto springs.

– Uncommon Crested Guinea fowl in the Lake Manyara forest.

Russell Temu

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Guide Report for March 12, 2014 – Safari with John and Daphne

Jambo from Arusha, Tanzania. My latest safari went very well. My two guests from Canada named John and Daphne were excellent photographers and they enjoyed taking pictures of everything including animals, birds and landscapes. They were very patient and that created plenty of opportunities for some superb wildlife encounters. The safari started on February 26, 2014 with 2 nights at Sametu Camp in the Central Serengeti. We then continued to the South Serengeti for 3 nights at Lake Masek Tented Lodge. During this time we visited Nasera Rock way out past the Eastern Serengeti in the remote reaches of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The drive was dusty and rough but my guests enjoyed the adventure.

After departing the Serengeti we explored the Ngorongoro Crater, staying at Crater Lodge for 2 nights and finally finished off our safari with 2 nights at Swala Camp in Tarangire National Park. My guests enjoyed the diversity of animals and habitats in Tarangire. We also had short time in Lake Manyara National Park for just a quick but fulfilling game drive.

The following are the photos to share with you:

– Clients with breakfast box at the Gol Kopjes in the East Serengeti.

– These brothers killed a young wildebeest around Miti Mitatu (three trees) at Ndutu, South Serengeti.

– A young leopard resting in a tree at Silale Swamp in Tarangire.

– A young bull elephant playing at Seronera valley.

– The great migration across the valley. This was between Gol Kopjes and Barafu Kopjes in the East Serengeti.

– The pride of lions at Sametu Kopjes killed a bull buffalo very early in the morning. About 13 lions were there.

– Crown crane with the chick around Maasai Kopjes, Central Serengeti.

– A female lion resting on a tree at Moru Kopjes.

– A lot of new born wildebeests died when crossing. This early morning we came across the herd of wildebeest crossing Lake Ndutu, South Serengeti.

– A young male lion stalking to the herd of zebra and wildebeest at Moru Kopjes, Central Serengeti.

– Two brothers – cheetah resting at Hidden Valley, South Serengeti.

– Giraffe browsing in a woodland at Ndutu.

– Sunrise near Lake Masek – Ndutu.

– A pride of lions at big marsh – Ndutu, South Serengeti.

– The herd of elephant walking across the plain at ndutu. The herd includes several babies of four to five weeks old.

Bildad Augustino.

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Guide Report for March 11, 2014 – Honeymoon Safari

Greetings from the Serengeti. I have concluded a wonderful safari with my two guests from Chicago, USA named Larry and Anne. They were celebrating their honeymoon with a safari to the Serengeti followed by a short trip to Zanzibar. We started the safari on 03rd March 2014 in the Central Serengeti area with 2 nights at the Four Seasons Lodge. After I picked my guests up from the Seronera Airstrip, we immediately headed for the Maasai Kopjes, where we saw herds of buffaloes, elephants, gazelles and giraffes.

The next day we encountered a mother cheetah with two cubs and we also visit the Makoma Hippo pool. After that we drove around Seronera valley where we saw a beautiful leopard, which is one of the most sought after animals in the Serengeti. We then decided to explore the Moru Kopjes, which is located about a 1-hour drive southwest of Seronera. In this area we saw part of the zebra migration, big groups of elephants and a large pride of lions. Lastly, at the place called the research Kopjes we saw a lioness chasing a zebra. It was exciting to watch even though she failed to make a kill.

On our way to the South Serengeti where we had 2 nights at Lake Masek Tented Lodge we had an incredible game drive around Gol Kopjes where we saw a black rhino, which is very rare to find in the East Serengeti. In the South Serengeti at Ndutu we saw a pride of lions, cheetahs and also the wildebeest migration. We also conducted game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater after departing the Serengeti and saw another pride of lions, big bull elephants, three black rhinos, and other different animals like buffaloes, zebras, hyenas, etc. We spend 2 nights in the Crater area with 1 night on the rim of the Crater at Lion’s Paw Camp folled by a 2nd night the luxurious Escarpment Lodge. We enjoyed a final game drive Lake Manyara National Park with many baboons, blue monkeys, and lots of birds which cannot be found in any other place in the world. I dropped off my guests at the Arusha Airport on March 9th for their flight to Zanzibar.

The following are some of the pictures I would like to share with you.

– Browsing giraffes in the Central Serengeti around Makoma Hill.

– Wildebeest with flamingos in the background at Lake Ndutu, South Serengeti.

– A lioness with her cub of about 1 year old drinking water at the Ndutu big marsh while her cub was jumping on her back playing.

-Female cheetah with a Thomson Gazelle kill and her four cubs of about 1 month old at Ndutu, South Serengeti.

-Zebras walking following the road in Ngorongoro Crater.

-Two zebras with a buffalo grazing in the Ngorongoro Crater.

– Congregation of elephant families around the Moru Kopjes area, Central Serengeti.

– Zebras and wildebeest under the balanite tree and up in the tree there is also a leopard (Moru area).

– Three lionesses up a sausage tree around Moru area.

– Two bull elephants sparing near Research Kopjes in the Central Serengeti.

– Bull elephant chasing the lions from his territory around research area in the Serengeti.

Peter Huka.

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Driver Guide Bush Report-February 2014

I just arrived back in Arusha after completing another successful safari to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas. We had a well planned safari itinerary for my two guests named Robert and Deborah, a lovely and friendly couple from Arizona, USA. Our first three nights in the bush were at Sametu Camp in the Central Serengeti. We had a fantastic time here and although most of the migration had already passed Seronera and the Central Serengeti we still had great sightings of all the big cat species (lion, leopard and cheetah) along with some of the larger herbivores including elephants, giraffes and hippos.

On one of our days we decided to conduct a full day adventure drive to the Gol Kopjes in the Eastern Serengeti and we found large herd of zebras but only a few scattered herds of wildebeest. Accordingly, we decided to explore further east to the very remote Nasera Rock area just outside the Serengeti and in the Eastern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here we found the larger herds of the wildebeest migration. It was breathtaking. Some of the herds looked to be content in this area grazing while some were forming long lines and heading southwest to the Ndutu area of the Serengeti.

After departing Sametu Camp, we headed for Ndutu Lodge and the South Serengeti where we had three wonderful nights. The wildlife viewing was more diverse in this area. One of the highlights was watching a mother cheetah with five cubs that we spotted drinking from one of the inlets to Lake Ndutu.

We moved on to the famous Crater and to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge for two nights. Our early morning game drive in the crater was superb. The weather was pleasant and most of the animals were scattered over the western half of the crater flow as it was much greener. We had great photo opportunities with two black rhinos and four huge male lions walking in front of our vehicle with the morning sunlight. Perfection!

Our last two nights on safari were spent at Kikoti Camp in Tarangire National Park before heading back to Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airport for my guests flight back home to the USA. The highlight in Tarangire National Park were the spectacular herds of elephants, one of the herds was almost 300 individuals. We also were lucky to spot a leopard who was in the tree away from the road. Eventually she came down from the tree, had a drink in front of our vehicle and afterwards came right up next to our vehicle! Such an amazing sight to watch from a distance and then to experience within a hand’s reach away.

The below are some of the photos I took on safari that I would like to share with you.

– A fantastic view of a yawning lioness in Seronera – Central Serengeti.

– Mother cheetah with her five cubs of about 1 month old drinking water in Lake Ndutu, South Serengeti.

– Leopard in Tarangire National Park

– Warthogs in the Central Serengeti.

– Four mane lions majestically walking in Ngorongoro Crater.

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Babies, Birds And Bat-eared Foxes.

Wow! We just returned from our second ADS safari and it was every bit as wonderful as the first, and yet unique. Our first trip was in September 2011 during the dry season, and our second trip was this March during the green season. Which was our favorite? That is a subject for another blog!

Our professional driver-guide, Francis met us at the Seronera airstrip and made us feel welcome. He asked what we really wanted to see during our safari and after saying “everything” we made it a little easier for him by saying baby animals, birds and bat-eared foxes! Francis delivered. We saw baby cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, Thompson’s gazelle, Cape buffalo, and wildebeest. The gazelle was about an hour old and could hardly stand up – in fact it fell down with its legs all akimbo.

We watched as a mother buffalo walked her hour old baby down a hill toward the safety of the herd. Every so often she paused to sniff the air for predators that could snatch her baby. Since there were many spotted hyenas in the vicinity, we watched her progress for over an hour, rooting for her to reach the herd. As she approached the other buffalo, she decided to graze a bit, chomping on the new grasses. Fortified, she and her youngster began the last steps of their journey and rejoined the herd.

We saw many young wildebeests that had been born in February and thought we would not see a new born, but then, as we watched tens of thousands of wildebeests stream from the woodland forests onto the grassy plains after the rains, we spied a tiny, tiny wildebeest next to its mother. The mother still had the placenta attached to her. It was amazing to see these newly born animals and their protective mothers, reminding us of our connection to the creatures that inhabit our planet.

We not only saw lots of new babies, we also saw playful babies. One morning in the marshes near Lake Ndutu, we saw a female lion trying to sleep. Her two cubs were more interested in jumping on her, tumbling with each other, and biting their mother’s tail. We watched for several hours as they pounced on her tail, gnawing on it until she turned her head and snarled her displeasure. At one point she decided to get up and go sleep by a slumbering male lion. As she stood and walked away, one of her cubs was still latched to her tail and it went swinging in the air! We laughed at all the antics. Later she nursed the two cubs and then they made their way to some bushes for a nap.

Another special lion sighting was when we saw a mother lion emerge from a cave in a kopje with her newborn lion cub that Francis estimated to be about 10-12 days old. Lions open their eyes at 7 days and this little one looked just a bit older, wobbling about and straying from his mother. In the same vicinity we saw two female lions caring for 5 cubs. One female was on top of a kopje encouraging the other female to walk the five cubs up from their sun bath in the grasses to the safety of the kopje. We watched the lion parade as they made their way up the red rocks, stopping for a drink, before reaching the top and resting in the shade of the bushes. Extravagantly tactile, the two females nuzzled each other and the babies.

Birds, birds, birds! We were enchanted as always by the resplendent, yet ubiquitous, Lilac-breasted rollers perched atop branches. We also saw the European roller which was spectacular in its colorings. Small Bee-eaters shimmering in deep yellows and greens were a highlight, as were the Rosy-breasted and Yellow-throated Longclaws, Tawny eagles, Greater Flamingos, Lesser Flamingos, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Firefinches, Fisher’s Lovebirds, and Silvery-cheeked Hornbills to name a few!

Finally, the Bat-eared foxes. Francis found two of these fleet-footed animals one evening as we headed back to Lake Masek Tented Lodge. They took one look at us and fled – our photograph shows two blurs in the distance. We were elated that we got to see them, albeit briefly. Were we in for a surprise! Our reward for all of the rain came the next day when we observed a Bat-eared fox family drying out and grooming one another on the plains after their den had been flooded. We happily watched them for about an hour. Again, we were moved by how tactile they were with one another.

This blog covers the three Bs of our trip – babies, birds and Bat-eared foxes. A separate “highlights of the trip blog” shares a more general overview of our amazing green season trip!

Lynn and Phil
Oak Hill, VA
9-21 March 2014

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