Tag: January

We Were So Pleased We Chose A Private Safari Instead Of A Group One.

My wife and I finished our 10 day Tanzanian Safari to Serengeti Plains, Ngorongora Crater and Lake Manyara in early February. It was an amazing experience – more so than we imagined it would be. Africa Dream Safaris organized every detail perfectly. Any questions we had were immediately answered. In fact, the company provided a very detailed book before the safari filled with information about what to expect and what to take with us. One concern I had before the trip was what to do about toileting while on safari. This turned out to be a nonissue as our guide stopped every few hours at bathroom facilities

Read Full Post

Nature In All Its Glory!

It’s hard to put an experience like this into words. Everyone I spoke to about going to Africa said it was a life changing experience, and although I knew it would be great, I didn’t expect it to be all that. One of my friends said to me before I left to ‘be prepared that Africa has a tendency to keep a piece of your heart’. Now I understand what she meant!

No Comments
Read Full Post

A Safari In Tanzania Should Be At The Top Of Everybody’s Bucket List

We’ve just returned from the trip of a lifetime! We were a group of six and were looking for a private tour company that could provide the best of what Africa has to offer. Africa Dream Safaris was the tour company that was recommended to us as the best, most attentive and most reliable. Our expectations were high but we were not prepared for the magnitude of what were about to experience.

Read Full Post

We Would Highly Recommend ADS

We had a fantastic safari in Tanzania through ADS. The itinerary Sharon put together for our family of four was great and the accommodations and service at each hotel/lodge/camp were excellent. Most importantly, our guide, Immanual (Ima) really made the difference. He was so experienced, knowledgeable, easy to get along with and enthusiastic. He also had an incredible ability to know where to find all the animals. All in all, a great trip. We would highly recommend ADS to anyone interested in this sort of experience!!

Rick, Barbara, Sonia and Alex G.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Safari Dates: January 6, 2017 to January 13, 2017

1 Comment
Read Full Post

GREEN vs. DRY Season Safari

I recently completed my third safari with Africa Dream Safaris. Two of them were in September and October during the dry season and the last one in January during the short wet season. Friends have asked which season I liked best and which would I pick to return. Good questions.

I have to give this answer. “It all depends.” All of my safaris have been different. Yes, there were some similarities, but each season holds surprises and great beauty. Each season provides experiences you will never forget.

The dry September/October Season is the time to watch the Wildebeests crossings at the Mara River. That frenzy is quite similar to their rushing about in the dusty Hidden Valley during the short wet Season. There are vast numbers of them at both times but during the wet you experience the herds spread out on the plains from horizon to horizon which is quite indescribable.

During the dry, you can see how well the animals are camouflaged in the golden brown grass. You experience the animals’ constant hunt for water and learn how that leaves them vulnerable.

In the wet, the deep grasses hide both the predators and their quarry. The great vulnerability now is that they are giving birth and are trying to protect their babies from danger. The predators were more numerous with us spotting 36 hyenas at one watering hole.

The beauty of the dry for me lies in the harshness and the heat. The beauty of the short wet season is the abundance of birds and flowers. You could easily turn into a “birder” at this time of year. In our lodge at Ndutu many birders were able to set their cameras up on their front porches and photograph birds of all types in comfort.

It’s so hard to choose one over the other. Perhaps I just have to go back a few more times in order to decide. If I do, it will definitely be with ADS because one of the things I have learned is how to take full advantage of the services they provide.

We always use the same guide so we are not always starting out from scratch each trip. Meeting up with Wilfred each time is like getting back together with a friend. He knows how we like to spend our time. Same with the ground staff…we see many of the same faces each time as they stay with ADS for years. I am sure we have asked them all a thousand questions but they always answer with a smile.

We are up and out of camp every morning at dawn and do not return until dusk. The best animal action is usually in the morning and evening because the animals rest in the heat of the day. Staying out also means you get further away from the bulk of the tours and often do not see another vehicle for hours.

Biggest lesson Wilfred taught us was staying put. Yes, waiting…and waiting. If the animal is hungry or has babies to feed waiting pays off. Sooner of later something is going to happen and it is going to happen too fast for you to drive back to it. We have had jeeps wait with us for a few minutes…loaded with expensive camera equipment but short on patience. They drive off and leave the action behind. Relax, grab a snack and wait.

Bottom line is that you will have an amazing experience in any season.

Link to my October 2012 safari: https://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=9981

Link to my January 2015 safari: https://blog.africadreamsafaris.com/?p=25408

Chris C.
Raleigh, North Carolina

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Green Season

Dry Season

Read Full Post

My 3rd Safari With ADS!

I am so happy I ignored my friends’ warnings and stuck with my scheduled safari in Tanzania this January. To address the elephant in the room (so to speak)…there is NO Ebola problem in Tanzania.

My companion for my third ADS safari was my sister-in-law who was looking forward to her first. Our trip with Africa Dream Safaris was perfect. From the moment we stepped off the plane to the hour we were delivered back to the airport we were pampered. We never once felt any need to worry about our surroundings, so always felt totally safe.

We stayed in two tented camps and one lodge. Each had its own unique charms and all were of the highest quality. Beds were comfy and the food was good. Bonus in the camps is that water is heated over a wood fire so smells wonderfully smoky as you shower. We would return again to any of them.

Our driver, Wilfred Foue, is very knowledgeable and cheerfully answered our hundreds of questions even if we had asked them the day before. We stumped him once on the last day, but as we ‘high fived’, we encouraged him to just make something up! His knack for spotting game was impressive.

We were up at dawn every day and stayed out on our game drives until dusk forced us back to our lodgings. Unlike many of the other tour operators, dawn drives are encouraged with ADS. Many folks we met had to wait until after breakfast to set out. There is a lot of action underway in these early hours and it is a shame to miss it. Also, there is nothing as breath taking as watching the mists clear and the dawn break on the Serengeti.

We saw all of the ‘Big Five’ several times and witnessed two cheetah kills. Over our boxed breakfasts in the jeep, we watched a lioness hunting for her meal one day and a cheetah hunting the next. On another day we spotted a baby leopard waiting for Mom to return with food. Many of our meals were spent this way…quietly waiting for the action to begin. When a Mom is hungry and looking to feed her cubs something is going to happen. It’s only a question of being as patient as the cat is.

At lunch one day, Wilfred spotted what he thought were two female lions lazing under a bush. As we got closer we noticed little heads begin to pop up as a litter of four newborns with their eyes still closed stumbled in and out looking for a meal.

Big animals are exciting of course, but the treat in January is this is the time when about 500,000 Wildebeests are giving birth in the South. On a chill morning after rain in the Ngorongoro Crater, we saw birthing all around us. It seemed like one moment there were no babies then all of a sudden we would see them popping up to their feet. These amazing babies begin to walk immediately and within minutes can run…wobbly sometimes, but moving well. Soon each herd seemed to have thirty or forty new members.

We had an amazing ten-day experience. I would not hesitate to tell anyone I know to go to Tanzania on safari with ADS. Plan it now and enjoy this gorgeous country. It is an unforgettable experience.

Feel free to visit my website to see some more photos from my safari.

Chris C.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Safari Dates: January 18, 2015 to January 28, 2015

No Comments
Read Full Post

Shake, Rattle and Roll

For those who have not experienced an ADS safari, you may be asking why ADS (African Dream Safari)? Well after taken a Safari with them I discovered that this is a highly profession company with very competent employees who become your friends while in Tanzania. The experience from the time we arrived in Arusha was truly a once in a life time opportunity. It was obvious that Sharon “Mama Simba” Lyon had done her job by establishing a wonderful itinerary, accommodations, side trips and other details of our stay. Our meet and greet people at the airport took us expertly through the visa and customs process with ease. The next day they handled our flight to the Central Serengeti in the same expeditious manner.

Our guide met us at the airstrip in the Central Serengeti and off we went on what would prove to be the experience of a life time. We soon discovered Claude was not an ordinary guide. He was respectful to the clients’ needs, his vehicle, the animals and other safari companies. This guide anticipated providing the client with exceptional opportunities to take pictures.

Like I have read in the ADS newsletters, our guide like other ADS guides, is very knowledgeable in the birds (even migratory birds), animals, trees, vegetation and the various tribes & people of Tanzania. If he did not know an answer he would say so and look it up so by the end of the day he had the answer.

In the days ahead we experienced many opportunities to view the great migration of wildebeest, the big five and other many other animals. We saw a mother cheetah drinking water with her five cubs, a herd of cape buffalo surrounding two lions as they were attempting to seek a single buffalo as prey, 7 leopards (one “shy one” decided to come to our vehicle providing us with great photo opportunities), four male lions on the hunt, hippos, rhinos, and many other animals.

We also saw hyenas eating a zebra and a cheetah feasting on a small impala. By the end of the trip our vehicle was affectionately known as shake, rattle and roll. While Claude soon became known to us as Claude the Magnificent.

If you go on safari rise and start your day at a 6 AM and stay out late. By doing this you will be rewarded with some of the best photo opportunities. As truly amateur photographers we needed all the help mother nature could provide.

We also enjoyed our side trips to Oldupai Gorge (not Olduvai) where Louis and Mary Leaky, paleoanthropologists, discovered the first fossilized Proconsul skull and made other discoveries, our Maasi walking safari and our visit to the home of an Iraqw family to see a typical underground home of these people that were lost when Tanzania left British rule. Daniel our host brought out a wedding dress made of an cured animal hide and beads. Each bead color had a meaning and each design of beads told a story of the family. This dress is worn at family gatherings and special events

ADS is not only a great safari but an educational experience. Our 14 days in Tanzania will always be a wonderful memory that we can relive through our photographs.

Asante sana,

Debi and Bob S.
Surprise, Arizona
Safari Dates: January 26, 2014 to February 6, 2014

Read Full Post

Our Private Safari with ADS: Captivated by Nature and Tanzania!

If you read no further this sentence, remember this:  IF A SAFARI IS ON YOUR WISH-LIST, TANZANIA IS THE PLACE TO GO AND ADS ARE THE PEOPLE TO MAKE IT HAPPPEN!  We can’t say enough good things about Africa Dream Safaris!  We had an exciting, comfortable, and safe trip to Tanzania thanks to ADS – and came away loving its amazing wildlife, beautiful landscape and engaging, high-spirited people.   We were totally prepared by Dawn Anderson, the ADS representative in the U.S.  – she addressed our every question and  need with unending patience.  She offers truly expert help because she’s been to EVERY area for safari and place we might stay – she really knows the ground!

ADS helps you understand your wide range of options, and is ultimately flexible: you select everything from early planning through helping direct the action each day: drive or fly, areas to visit, and level of luxury in your lodgings and food, and the daily agenda on the ground. While we chose to stay in some lodges too, our favorite place to stay was the Lake Masek Tented Camp – a small luxury camp that was personal and lovely. And where Hippos visited at night!  Staying in luxury tented camps is a wonderful experience – they are intimate and close to nature, but in a very comfortable way.

Our trip arriving January 30 and departing February 13 2014 was a perfect time of year – Tanzania was lush and green – but before the long rainy season.  The weather was pleasant, and we NEVER SAW INSECTS.  ADS took care of us from the minute we landed in Tanzania and in every way after that.  We started our odyssey with 2 nights in Arusha where two ADS guides, Faith and Immanuel, instantly helped us start to understand Tanzania, its people, its beauties and challenges.

Once on safari, it was just we two with Immanuel our guide/driver for all 8 days of our safari. He was extremely knowledgeable and got us up close to more wildlife than we could ever have imagined  – explaining the animals, birds reptiles – and everything about them-  behaviors, life cycles, habitats and of course the Serengeti  ecosystem.

The beauty of going with ADS is you aren’t locked into the pre-set, well-trodden paths of larger tour groups – our guide Immanuel was free to decide the best areas to explore each day, within our larger trip outline.  We spent lots of time alone and off road, tracking animals as they stalked their prey, for example!  Immanuel stopped at any moment when we wanted a photo:  no problem, just stop when you want as long as you’d like. He made it clear he was there for OUR experience.

And NOT TO BE MISSED – we stayed for 6 days after our safari on Zanzibar at the all-inclusive luxury resort The Palms – which can only be described as heaven on earth. The Palms had the best service we’ve ever experienced and while there we dined on ambrosia –prepared by a French-trained chef using local ingredients, often directly from the sea (lobster every day!!).

By getting to know guides personally, seeing Arusha and cities and towns on Zanzibar, and visiting markets, a coffee estate, spice farm, and a Masai BOMA, we gained an appreciation for Tanzania, and East-central Africa, that the safari alone would never have given us. This fantastic journey gave us a whole new feeling for Africa – and was all arranged for us, along with the transfers, guides, drivers and an unending amount of personal care and attention by ADS – both in the U.S. and on the ground in Tanzania. REMEMBER – DON’T TAKE A FIXED GROUP TOUR SAFARI, LET ADS TAKE YOU ON A SAFARI MADE-FOR-YOU!

Christine F. and Oscar G.
Alexander, Virginia
Safari Dates: January 30, 2014 to February 13, 2014

No Comments
Read Full Post

My Favorite Safari Sighting Was Watching A Cheetah Hunting

What A Trip!!! The safari and all the staff, both in the field and off, exceeded our expectations. When we arrived in Kilimanjaro, we were met at the doors by Faith. She was terrific in expediting our entry into Tanzania.

Then we met our safaris guide, Simon. He was THE BEST!!!! Simon introduced Sally and me to the Serengeti and all the animals, birds and lore that it holds. I attached several of my favorite photos. My personal favorite is the cheetah chasing the wildebeest and zebra looking for the day’s meal. We were able to watch the chase, the kill and the skill the cheetah’s displayed in getting their dinner.

I took over 1000 pictures with many favorites including all the major animals and birds. The tented camps including Sametu Camp and Lion’s Paw Camp were wonderful with Jonas and DC two of our camp staff favorites. I would highly recommend the tent camping for anyone taking a safari. After a day out in the field, it was such a pleasure to be in one of the camps. Sitting outside around the fire or in the tented room enjoying a drink and sharing the day’s adventures, was the perfect way to end the day.

I would recommend ADS to anyone going to Africa. Sharon was very helpful in planning the trip and coordinating the schedule. The Manor of Ngorongoro was the PERFECT place to end the trip. Don’t miss that final place to stay!!!!!

Feel free to contact us for any referrals for future safaris adventurers. We would be glad to help.


Ted and Sally B.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Safari Dates: January 29, 2014 to February 4, 2014

Read Full Post

It Was A Trip Of A Lifetime

We have been back in the states for just over a week with Tanzania withdrawal happening big time for Bob and me. Flying into LAX at rush hour was a jolt of a homecoming after our weeks on safari where the biggest traffic jam was the million wildebeest descending on our safari camp our last days in the Serengeti.

First and foremost we want to thank you Dawn for being our cheerleader, our ear to listen with pre trip questions and trepidations, plus our coach in helping us decide the best trip for our group of eight Californians. You were always available with informative answers by phone and email, even in the middle of that freak UK snowstorm where many of us were trying to make our connections. Dawn you were always pleasant and so patient. Bob and I know we asked the same questions several times with detailed informative answers at all times. So huge kudos to you and your staff as our African Dream Safaris adventure ranks in the top trips of our life and Bob and I have been to Africa many times and on safari many times.

JP and Ellson were fantastic guides, funny, kind, always had great anecdotal stories and were so knowledgeable about Tanzanian flora and fauna. Ultimate getlemen and ultimate breakfast and lunch destination planners…oh the views and the spots we stopped for JP’s great coffee and Ellson’s table or should I say hood setting of the gourmet box lodge lunches (we did not lose weight) with panoramas that rival the seven wonders of the world. Both guides made our trip the most special.. Please thank them for us, especially for their patience with my always wanting one more shot to the point we always drove away from wildlife viewings with my camera clicking. Please convey to Ellson and JP if they ever visit the states they are welcome at our house where we we will be ready Alibabas (an inside joke) to guide them through the streets of San Diego and surrounding areas.

I asked Bob about his favorite moment of our 17 day trip. He readily recounted a trek late one afternoon in JP’s truck when we discovered a just fallen zebra near the Lake Masek Lodge. Our truck came upon the zebra moments after its demise and its body was already surrounded by a vociferous hyena and many vultures. With this being our first kill observation in all of our many safaris we were both horrified but interested in seeing “the circle of life” play out. Unsure if the zebra died of natural causes or was brought down by a predator, maybe the hyena, as we missed its death by moments, we watched as the hyena tore into the underbelly of this seeming healthy viral zebra with the vultures creeping in from the other sides of the body.

As we observed the hyena rip the zebra apart we heard a solitary zebra braying (if thats the right noise for frantic zebra speak) and witnessed the same zebra galloping madly from area to area searching for its fallen zebra companion. Oh the sadness and despair this zebra was communicating both in its body language and its brays were heart breaking. Coincidentally as the hyena stole a piece of the zebras innards away from the carcass and began to slink away, either to bury it for future consumption or for its cubs, the desolate zebra spied its dead friend with the hyena sneaking away.

That upset zebra spun around, ears back, lips curled and teeth clenched, gave chase to that hyena and delivered a beating of its lifetime, not just once but twice. We witnessed clouds of dust with hyena fur flying. Afterwards we found grace with what looked liked the good guy,the zebra, getting a bit of justice. As part of our image submissions I have sent an image of the hyena,vultures and the fallen zebra as well as an image (blown up and grainy it was at a distance by the time I got my wits about me to take the picture) of the zebra chasing the hyena.

As for me, it was all wonderful. Every day my brain was on overload of the unbelievable sightings which came fast and furious. As an avid photographer I honestly did not know which side of the vehicle to watch as picture moments collided with each other with my taking over 8,000 images. Whew!!!

Great moments for me included, but were not-limited to: baby elephants playing dunk and spray with each other-for over an hour in a water pool; a lioness climbing a tree after a big breakfast of cape buffalo her swollen overfed belly hanging from a limb as a handsome suitor from her pride roared and scratched at the base of her tree, where she ignored his amorous pleas; seeing 11 Cheetahs in one day, ranging from a solitary family unit, to the two brothers-Espresso and Cappuccino and mothers with cubs, including a female with three cubs. These Cheetah sightings concluded with one gazelle kill and two missed kills, wow wild times on the Serengeti.

Other sighting favorites included those quiet moments of a zebra drinking water, its reflection as beautiful as the early morning light; a pride of 25 lions most of them youngsters, some still nursing, playing tag and rivaling any hilarious wrestling match especially when the item of interest and covet being a half dead bush; a raft of hippos that covered part of a river with so many hippos and their babies and hippo antics that we couldn’t stop laughing.

And I can’t forget the migration. OMG…so many wildebeest, so many zebra, so little time. And it all happened around our safari camp with wildebeest as far as the eye could see. But, I think my favorite moments were observing the pure size, raw beauty and great landscapes coupled with the beautiful light and angry magnificent storms that raced through the plains plus the myriads of other animals, birds, reptiles and bugs. Even the dung beetle with its comedic march and its pending presentation of perfect balls of round dung to its mate found a place in my heart!!!

Dawn, thank you and all the African Dream Safari staff for our memorable, fun and soul touching adventures. It was a trip of a lifetime.


Bob and Maggie B.
Poway, California
Safari Dates: January 22, 2013 to February 3, 2013

Read Full Post

Leopards, Lions, Cheetahs, Hippos, Giraffes – To Name A Few

We just returned from 13 days (Jan 21-Feb 3) on a clockwise trip by land from Arusha to Tarangire (Swala), Ngorongoro (Crater Lodge), Lake Masek, then to Serengeti staying at the Four Seasons and finally Kusini Tented Lodge.

We were four couples with two great driver-guides: JP and Ellson. We experienced the amazing wildlife diversity (lions, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, giraffes—to name a few). And we were delighted with the abundance and variety of the birds (Tawny Eagle, Grey-crowned Crane, Secretary Bird, African Spoonbill, Kori Bustard, Golden-breasted Starling, Grey-headed Kingfisher, and Northern Masked Weaver).

Pictures were taken with a Nikon D600/28-300mm Nikkor and a Nikon D300S/18-300mm Nikkor lens. We found in most instances these zooms met our needs. We recommend bringing a GPS camera adaptor (we used Nikon GP1) because it identifies photo locations (see last picture).

We enjoyed the variety of lodging with various overnight visitors (buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and competing lions), the good food, and attentive service. One of our high points was seeing the migration both from our vehicles as well as flying out on our final day. Zebra and Wildebeest as far as the eye could see.

Dawn Anderson’s planning and pre-trip suggestions and answers to our many questions helped make this a wonderful life-time experience.

Mark D. and John O.
Altadena, California

Read Full Post