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First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Old Dec 7th 2004, 3:37 pm
  #16  
Eben Schoeman
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Ok, September/October is Kenya time!

Your main focus must be the Masai Mara. 3 groups of Wildebeests and
zebra join together to form a huge concentration of wildlife. When I
close my eyes and envision Africa, this is about as close as it gets!

The resident herds, the Serengeti herds from the south and the Loita
herds from the north (in total close to a million) are now milling
around, going back and forth across the Mara River where the crocodiles
await in the water, the predators watch on the banks and the hippos
relax with little regard for the life and dead struggles around them.

By early Oct, the herds are starting to split. The Loita herds are
moving north and north east, and the Serengeti herds are moving towards
the south, staying more or less on the western half of the park.

This time of year, I would fly in from Nairobi to the Mara and stay at
the Governors camps or Mara Serena (cheaper) - basically as close to
the Mara river as I can. Kichwa, Olenana and others are good options
too (they are outside the park). These are fly-in safaris using the
camp driver/guides. At Little Governors, the hippos feed next to your
tent at night, and elephants walse through in the afternoon during
their swamp visit.

Would spend at least 3 nights, maybe splitting my time between two
camps to try and see the few leopards.

During the day, it's simply matter of finding a hill top and wait.
Something will happen before too long. Watch for hyenas (they are my
favourite) - always up to something. The cheetahs to the north of the
Mara will hunt daily. The lions will rest, but in the afternoons they
will start to position themselves - just look where the Big Cat Diary
vehicles are going!

And in the heat of the day, listen to the radio or watch the large
herds on the move - a crossing may be eminent. It is hard to watch, yet
you cannot turn away. Nature is doing its thing in brutal ways every
day.

After 4 or 5 days, what do you do for an encore? Go for something
different. Samburu to see the gerenuks and reticulated giraffes or Lake
Nakuru if you did not see leopard earlier and for rhino, flamingos
Rothschild's giraffes.

I would probably do the Mara at the end of my trip - it is a tough act
to follow.

What do you think?
 
Old Dec 8th 2004, 1:35 am
  #17  
Rita Daggett
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Posts: n/a
Default Lions in trouble?

The lions will rest, but in the afternoons they
    > will start to position themselves - just look where the Big Cat Diary
    > vehicles are going!
Talking of which - there was a programme on BBC TV recently about lions
being in trouble, and they quoted the famous Mara/Big Cat Diary prides as
examples. I cant recall the details now, but it was to do with pride
structures breaking down with no mature males to take them over.
When we were in Zambia last year we were told that the lions in Lower
Zambezi were 'in a mess' - there were too many young males; few females, and
if the females had cubs, one of the males would kill them, as there wasnt a
strong enough 'pride male' to defend them.
--
Rita Daggett
 
Old Dec 8th 2004, 4:12 am
  #18  
Hans-Georg Michna
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

On 6 Dec 2004 15:52:16 -0800, "Joel" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >2. I personally dislike tours, have never used one although I realize
    >that independent travel to game parks while possible may be self
    >defeating. Without knowledge of animal behavior and how to approach, I
    >may essentially be driving around for a week and spending a lot of
    >money to do so.

Joel,

that's only half true, but if you drive yourself, you can take a
ranger or guide along on your first few game drives. There's not
that much you need to know. Only a few species can be dangerous
to a car, and you need to know these and keep a certain
distance. Actually, just observing the behavior of the animals
should already tell you everything, because animals always give
clear signals when you begin to come too close.

As to finding the animals, you will find many anyway, but there
are a few that a ranger or guide can find more easily. Taking
somebody along is inexpensive. I still recommend to do some game
drives on your own.

You need a GPS, of course, since you don't know the places. You
can download routes and waypoints from
http://www.michna.com/gps.htm.

    >1. Is it advisable to use a tour company the first time around? What
    >do I gain or miss by doing so?

Third world countries have a few traps you can fall into. It all
depends on how much experience you have with travelling in
developing countries.

    >3. Is it possible to combine self touring on several days and hire
    >guides/driver for other days? Kruger has options like this where you
    >can pay to go a game drive.

Yes, that's possible. Have a look at www.rasuls.com for Kenya.

    >4. Would I better off spending several days on a private reserve?
    >Although it costs significantly more I might have a better experience.

Speaking for Kenya, I would tend to say no, particularly for a
first time trip. The big nature reserves like Samburu and Maasai
Mara are hard to beat.

    >5. Putting US State Department hyperbole aside, is there any validity
    >to their concerns about Kenya? Curious to here feedback from other
    >Americans who have traveled there within the last year.

I'm not American, but this should hardly matter. The concern, in
my view, is crime, not terrorism.

Please have a look at http://www.michna.com/kenya.htm, which is
a fairly complete guide to a self-drive safari. At least he
check lists should be useful even if you end up using the
services of a tour company.

Did I mention a GPS? Don't go without one and make yourself well
familiar with it before you leave.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Dec 8th 2004, 4:12 am
  #19  
Hans-Georg Michna
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

On Tue, 07 Dec 2004 09:13:16 -0700, Dave Patterson
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >Joel wrote:

    >> I realize that independent travel to game parks while possible may be self
    >> defeating. Without knowledge of animal behavior and how to approach, I
    >> may essentially be driving around for a week and spending a lot of
    >> money to do so.

    >Especially true of self-drive safaris in east Africa. Parks are big, roads
    >are generally not marked, and you could waste time just trying to
    >find your way around.

Dave,

can't confirm that. Good maps are available for the whole of
Kenya, maps including an excellent GPS map are available for
Maasai Mara, you don't need a map for Samburu and buffalo
springs, but again GPS routes are available for that area as
well.

Your comment would be true though if somebody tried to move
there without a GPS, which I think is foolish.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Dec 8th 2004, 4:12 am
  #20  
Hans-Georg Michna
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

On 7 Dec 2004 19:35:07 -0800, "Joel" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I can pretty much travel when I want. I understand that the migration
    >happens in July-Sep in Tanzania but it is also peak season with many
    >tourists. I'd be willing off travel off peak. Towards the end of
    >summer/beginning of fall would be ideal though.

Joel,

October is the peak of the short rains in Kenya, the second
rainy season. Most people would probably say that it's not an
ideal time for Kenya, but actually the short rains aren't too
bad. Some people even say it's a good idea to use that time.

September is a very good month if money plays no role. June is
the month where you pay off-season prices in most lodges, which
can be a lot cheaper.

I almost always visit Kenya in June.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Dec 8th 2004, 6:29 am
  #21  
Chomkuti
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Rita Daggett Wrote:
    > The lions will rest, but in the afternoons they
    > > will start to position themselves - just look where the Big Cat Diary
    > > vehicles are going!
    > Talking of which - there was a programme on BBC TV recently about lions
    > being in trouble, and they quoted the famous Mara/Big Cat Diary prides
    > as
    > examples. I cant recall the details now, but it was to do with pride
    > structures breaking down with no mature males to take them over.
    > When we were in Zambia last year we were told that the lions in Lower
    > Zambezi were 'in a mess' - there were too many young males; few
    > females, and
    > if the females had cubs, one of the males would kill them, as there
    > wasnt a
    > strong enough 'pride male' to defend them.
    > --
    > Rita Daggett
    >
    > >Mark HomannTHis is indeed a sad threat to many Lions populations in Africa, Large
trophy males are taken in a quantity by hunters that is not sustainable
to the local populations.

*When a new Lion or pair of Lions (brothers will often pair up together
to increase thier chances and streght) take over a pride their first
instinct is to breed with them females so as to pass on their genes, to
do this they must first remove the young of the previous male to make
the lioness ovulate. They do this by either killing or chasing off the
young animals. *

*In a normal situation these new males will have 3 to 4 years to breed
with the females ensure that at least one litter of their young will
survive, sadly if these males are constantly removed from the pride the
females can no longer breed. Lion hunting was infact band in Botswana
and i belive in Zambia and there has been some talk of banning it in
some areas of Zimbabwe.*


--
Chomkuti
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Old Dec 10th 2004, 3:31 am
  #22  
Treemoss2
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

When we went to Africa we had the same sorts of questions. Finally did what we
thought was the best of both worlds. We went to Botswana and S.A. One week at a
lodge and then one week at much more modest surroundings in a tented camp, with
walking treks as well as driving. Only 8 people total, including cook and
guide.


I don't know if you would see much just sitting in one spot as you note as that
is a very hit or miss method.
Our transort was always a Landrover with open sides so not have to stand and
poke head through the roof like a prairie dog.
Exactly what we did was to go via 2Africa.com for about $2000, includes
airfare, and then extend our return date out a week and on our own book a
walking safari. They picked us up in J'Burg and we went over to private reserve
N of Kruger and up against Mozambique. It cost about $500 each for the week,
including pick up/return J'Burg. The walking safari thing was nice insofar as
we were the only group on the whole reserve. Thogh we did enjoy the lodge the
first week, right on the bank of the Chobe river. Games drives/boats were go or
not as you wish.

We went during the shoulder season due to better prices ( we are kind of
frugal, allows us to travel much more) and perhaps we did not see as many
animals as during the dry season. It was not rainy at all for us. We saw the
big five, excepting rhino (cheetah, leopard, elephant, buffalo).
I looked extensively into renting and driving on own, and it does look to be
fun, but the cost/planning would be more, and I felt we would need much more
time to do that.

Our total cost for two people was $6972. This was ex-Denver and includes every
cent we spent the entire time after leaving Denver and return such as
incidentals like Starbucks in the airport, souveniers and the like.

I would go with either of the above companies again without qualm.

First week - 2Africa.com
Second week - wordofmouthbackpackers.com > click TOURS - walking safari with
Transfrontiers

2Africa also goes other Africa destinations and it would be worth your while to
at least go to the site and check it out. Any way you look at it an Africa
safari is a more expensive vacation that any place or vacation we have ever
done in the past.
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 4:05 am
  #23  
Bobby
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Can I ask what health precautions you guys took prior to taking the safari?

I'm about to go on one in February (in Kenya) and I've been given
conflicting advice about injections - ranging from "none" to about a dozen
inoculations - including a top-up to my BCG. I live in the UK.

Can anyone tell me, accurately, what I need?

Cheers.

Bobby

"Joel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected] ups.com...
    > Hello to all. My wife and I are contemplating a safari to trip to
    > Africa this coming year. This will be our first time there. I've done
    > some reading in the newsgroup and the overwhelming response seems to be
    > to visit either Kenya and/or Tanzania for the first time. I had
    > originally planned on visiting South Africa, renting a car and going to
    > Kruger and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi but now I am not so sure. Some of my basic
    > parameters for putting together this trip are:
    > 1. I will spend between 9 - 12 days in country excluding travel days
    > from the US and back..
    > 2. I personally dislike tours, have never used one although I realize
    > that independent travel to game parks while possible may be self
    > defeating. Without knowledge of animal behavior and how to approach, I
    > may essentially be driving around for a week and spending a lot of
    > money to do so.
    > 3. I have no desire to be on a bus with 8 -10 people looking through a
    > small window and constantly driving around. I suspect that in order to
    > fully experience the parks that one must be patient and wait for things
    > to develop. I suspect that I will not get that on a typical safari
    > minivan.
    > 4. I am not looking for this to be a photography trip per se. Being a
    > photographer myself, I will use a specialized photography photo safari
    > trip at a later date for that. This trip is designed for both my wife
    > and I to enjoy and savor.
    > 5. I do not necessarily need 5 star luxury surroundings but we are not
    > interested in camping out in a small tents. Tented permanent camps are
    > fine.
    > My preliminary questions are:
    > 1. Is it advisable to use a tour company the first time around? What
    > do I gain or miss by doing so?
    > 2. Where does one find reputable companies to deal with?
    > 3. Is it possible to combine self touring on several days and hire
    > guides/driver for other days? Kruger has options like this where you
    > can pay to go a game drive.
    > 4. Would I better off spending several days on a private reserve?
    > Although it costs significantly more I might have a better experience.
    > 5. Putting US State Department hyperbole aside, is there any validity
    > to their concerns about Kenya? Curious to here feedback from other
    > Americans who have traveled there within the last year.
    > Any information would be greatly appreciated and I will certainly ask
    > more pointed questions as I research further.
    > Thank you in advance for your responses.
    > --Joel Turner
    >
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 5:12 am
  #24  
Joel
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Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

First I'd like to thank everyone who has responded so far. The
information you have provided is invaluable. I've decided to focus on
Kenya vs SA. Hans, I looked at the materials on your web site and at
this point I'm not sure self drive for me is the way to go. You seem
to have a lot of contacts in Kenya that make a self trip more
manageable. I'm not at that comfort level yet but perhaps someday.
Nevertheless, there is a wealth of information there and the GPS
coordinates will come in handy with my Garmin Etrex. Your absolutely
right that the safety issue is crime not terrorism. I've lived in NYC
for most of life so I have street smarts but I would still like to be
cautious.

After doing some more research I feel what I would like to do is
maximize my time in country without going from camp to camp. Most of
the itineraries that I have seen require tons of driving from place to
place. I fell that this is too frantic of a pace. Wildlife viewing
requires patience. So here is my proposed itinerary. My current
plan is to visit in the beginning of September.


Day 1 Leave US For Nairobi
Day 2 arrive Nairobi. Overnight in Nairobi.
Day 3 Transfer to Samburu National Reserve - Flight on Air Kenya
Day 3-6 Elephant Hill Camp. A unique place. Pricey but I feel it is
worth it for the experience.
Day 6 Morning (Transfer back to Nairobi on return Air Kenya flight)
Day 6 -7 Two nights at Lake Nakura
Day 8 Morning - Drive to Masa Marai
Day 8 - 4-5 nights in the Masa Marai area. I'd like to work the whole
triangle if possible.Perhaps 2 nights in two separate lodges.
Day 13 - Morning Game drive - Transfer to Nairobi. Evening flight home
to US

The first several days will be on my own. I basically will arrive in
Nairobi, collapse, spend the night in a hotel and fly to Samburu the
next morning on the scheduled Air Kenya flight. I need to find a
company that will take me for days 6 - 13. I will follow Liz's advice
to focus on three - four companies and let them offer me quotes for
their services.

Please feel free to comment and offer suggestions.

--Joel
Hans-Georg Michna wrote:
    > On 6 Dec 2004 15:52:16 -0800, "Joel" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >2. I personally dislike tours, have never used one although I
realize
    > >that independent travel to game parks while possible may be self
    > >defeating. Without knowledge of animal behavior and how to
approach, I
    > >may essentially be driving around for a week and spending a lot of
    > >money to do so.
    > Joel,
    > that's only half true, but if you drive yourself, you can take a
    > ranger or guide along on your first few game drives. There's not
    > that much you need to know. Only a few species can be dangerous
    > to a car, and you need to know these and keep a certain
    > distance. Actually, just observing the behavior of the animals
    > should already tell you everything, because animals always give
    > clear signals when you begin to come too close.
    > As to finding the animals, you will find many anyway, but there
    > are a few that a ranger or guide can find more easily. Taking
    > somebody along is inexpensive. I still recommend to do some game
    > drives on your own.
    > You need a GPS, of course, since you don't know the places. You
    > can download routes and waypoints from
    > http://www.michna.com/gps.htm.
    > >1. Is it advisable to use a tour company the first time around?
What
    > >do I gain or miss by doing so?
    > Third world countries have a few traps you can fall into. It all
    > depends on how much experience you have with travelling in
    > developing countries.
    > >3. Is it possible to combine self touring on several days and hire
    > >guides/driver for other days? Kruger has options like this where you
    > >can pay to go a game drive.
    > Yes, that's possible. Have a look at www.rasuls.com for Kenya.
    > >4. Would I better off spending several days on a private reserve?
    > >Although it costs significantly more I might have a better
experience.
    > Speaking for Kenya, I would tend to say no, particularly for a
    > first time trip. The big nature reserves like Samburu and Maasai
    > Mara are hard to beat.
    > >5. Putting US State Department hyperbole aside, is there any
validity
    > >to their concerns about Kenya? Curious to here feedback from other
    > >Americans who have traveled there within the last year.
    > I'm not American, but this should hardly matter. The concern, in
    > my view, is crime, not terrorism.
    > Please have a look at http://www.michna.com/kenya.htm, which is
    > a fairly complete guide to a self-drive safari. At least he
    > check lists should be useful even if you end up using the
    > services of a tour company.
    > Did I mention a GPS? Don't go without one and make yourself well
    > familiar with it before you leave.
    >
    > Hans-Georg
    >
    > --
    > No mail, please.
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 9:28 am
  #25  
Eben Schoeman
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

I was unfamiliar with 2Africa. They are not a registered operator in
Tanzania and not a member of the Tanzania Association of Tour
Operators. They are not members of KATO either. I concluded they are a
US-based booking agent for a local outfitters.

Then a quick look at their web site tells me they are reselling
Predators Safaris tours. Now I know they sell budget group tours with
fixed schedules departing once a week - using the same itinerary
regardless of season or animal patterns! I have a huge problem with
that, but I continued my research.

Then it hit me. You can go with Predators and pay $805 for the Mount
Kilimanjaro Safari. Or you can go with 2Africa and pay $1490 for the
exact trip - they call it the Snows of Kilimanjaro Safari!

I am not kidding! Check out the two websites and do your own math!

Granted, 2Africa flies you to Nairobi so you have to fly from there to
Arusha. The flight is $135. Now you have:

$940 if you pay local, or $1490 with 2Africa!!! You overpaid by more
than $500 per person. Am I missing something?
Treemoss2, I am sorry but you probably overpaid!
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 9:31 am
  #26  
Eben Schoeman
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Great job, Joel!

For a first-time safari-guy you are doing better than many
Africa-specialist travel agents I know!
Let me stare at it a bit and then I will respond.
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 10:04 am
  #27  
Eben Schoeman
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Made a mistake. I needed to add the return flight to Nairobi.
The figures come to $1075 local, compared with $1490 with the agent
2Africa.

It is still a substantial "surcharge" especially if you are a couple,
and very inconvenient since you spend two nights flying from the US
instead of one night if you flew KLM to Kilimanjaro. You pay more and
you waste 2 days!

Why do Americans do these crazy things?
 
Old Dec 10th 2004, 9:43 pm
  #28  
Liz
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

In message <[email protected] .com>
"Joel" <[email protected]> wrote:


    > Day 8 - 4-5 nights in the Masa Marai area. I'd like to work the whole
    > triangle if possible. Perhaps 2 nights in two separate lodges.
<doubtful>That might be a good idea</doubtful>, or else find out where the
migration is liable to be when you're there and stay at (one of the) the
lodge(s) in the centre of that area (that's what I'd do, unless I was
'passing through', like when we were coming down from Rusinga Island. The
areas where the migration isn't can be disappointingly empty, though there
are always birds, if you know where to look.)

Otherwise, if you're interested in birds, it might be worth staying for a
couple of nights at Little Governor's Camp (I think that's the right one:
it's one of the Governor's properties) which has its own 'swamp' which often
seems to turn up birds which aren't easily seen elsewhere.

When you get your quotation, be sure to use the magic words "driver/guide
and vehicle at our disposal". That means you chan choose when you go out on
drives. The usual 'brochure' safari has two drives, one before breakfast,
one late afternoon, but with 'driver and vehicle at your disposal' you can
set the pace: either have an extra morning drive after breakfast, or have an
early breakfast at your lodge/camp take a packed lunch from the camp (you
driver/guide can get one too) and stay out all day.
Or of course if you want to laze about in camp or go a bird walk or nature
walk with the lodge naturallist, then you can do that instead. (I try to
swim before lunch and catch up with cleaning my equipment, siesta etc just
after lunch.)

Otherwise, what is on your itinerary is (generally) what you get, without
negotiation (or at extra cost).

Don't imagine for a moment that this will be your only trip to Africa.
"Africa bites, and when she bites, she won't let go."
After our first safari, we arrived back in the early morning after an
overnight trip following a long delay, and I was phoning companies for
brochures and suggestions for the next year within half an hour of getting
home!

So many people posting to the group for 'first trips' have a very similar
experience.

Safari njema

Liz

--
Virtual Liz now at http://www.v-liz.com
Kenya; Tanzania; Namibia; India; Seychelles; Galapagos
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
 
Old Dec 11th 2004, 1:32 am
  #29  
Liz
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

In message <[email protected] .com>
[email protected] wrote:

    > Made a mistake. I needed to add the return flight to Nairobi.
    > The figures come to $1075 local, compared with $1490 with the agent
    > 2Africa.
    >
    > It is still a substantial "surcharge" especially if you are a couple,
    > and very inconvenient since you spend two nights flying from the US
    > instead of one night if you flew KLM to Kilimanjaro. You pay more and
    > you waste 2 days!
    >
    > Why do Americans do these crazy things?
    >
OK -
Disclaimers first.
I'm not American and know nothing about the two companies in question.
My comments are *general*.

There can be advantages with paying more - two personal anecdotes will suffice:

I've read, more than once on this group, complaints about cheaper companies
with poorer vehicles and poor back-up service, so that if there's a problem
with a vehicle, the clients are just stuck hanging about, sometimes for
hours, while the problem is solved.

On one of our trips, our driver met us proudly with a brand new vehicle with
only delivery mileage on it. A few days into our trip, it developed a
problem. He diagnosed the problem but didn't want to deal with it in case it
invalidated his vehicle guarantee.

He dealt with the hordes of 'vultures', as he called them: the men who
surrounded us offering varous 'services': chose a reliable one to garage the
vehicle (how would we have known who to choose?), phoned his office to get a
new vehicle sent out, chartered a matatu, came with us to our next
destination (the matatu driver wasn't 100% sure where it was: he wasn't used
to ferrying wazungu!), went back, sorted out the situation then rejoined us
to carry on the safari. All seamless, we were only about an hour late to our
destination, and we didn't even have to pay for the matatu.

Another time we met a couple in Zanzibar.
They had travelled with a less expensive UK operator.
Apparently there had been a big fuel surcharge with internal flights since
they had booked, and they'd have to pay about 400ukp (can't remember the
amount now, but it wasn't insubstantial, and not the sort of money they were
carrying) before they could fly to Zanzibar. This had apparently caused them
massive inconvenience and a day of their trip, getting the money together.

The surcharge had also applied to us, but it was absorbed, and we weren't
inconvenienced: we woulnd't even have known about it had we not met that
couple.

I could go on with more examples, but you get the picture.


When I book with a UK tour operator, I benefit also by getting total ATOL
protection, which I wouldn't get by booking direct, and I get their bulk
discount on the flight as well.

Does it for me: YMMV.

You seldom get what you don't pay for, though you don't always get what you
pay for.
Caveat emptor!

(Reminds me of that other saying:
Wisdom comes with age. But sometimes age comes alone.)

Slainte

Liz
--
Virtual Liz now at http://www.v-liz.com
Kenya; Tanzania; Namibia; India; Seychelles; Galapagos
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
 
Old Dec 11th 2004, 2:19 am
  #30  
Joel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: First Time on Safari to Africa Questions

Thanks for the tip about driver/guide vehicle at your disposal. I
assumed that on a private safari this is what you are paying for. For
the migration, How does one find that out? Do you rely on historical
patterns? I thought the timing was unpredictable and could only be
generalized.

Liz wrote:
    > In message <[email protected] .com>
    > "Joel" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > Day 8 - 4-5 nights in the Masa Marai area. I'd like to work the
whole
    > > triangle if possible. Perhaps 2 nights in two separate lodges.
    > <doubtful>That might be a good idea</doubtful>, or else find out
where the
    > migration is liable to be when you're there and stay at (one of the)
the
    > lodge(s) in the centre of that area (that's what I'd do, unless I was
    > 'passing through', like when we were coming down from Rusinga Island.
The
    > areas where the migration isn't can be disappointingly empty, though
there
    > are always birds, if you know where to look.)
    > Otherwise, if you're interested in birds, it might be worth staying
for a
    > couple of nights at Little Governor's Camp (I think that's the right
one:
    > it's one of the Governor's properties) which has its own 'swamp'
which often
    > seems to turn up birds which aren't easily seen elsewhere.
    > When you get your quotation, be sure to use the magic words
"driver/guide
    > and vehicle at our disposal". That means you chan choose when you go
out on
    > drives. The usual 'brochure' safari has two drives, one before
breakfast,
    > one late afternoon, but with 'driver and vehicle at your disposal'
you can
    > set the pace: either have an extra morning drive after breakfast, or
have an
    > early breakfast at your lodge/camp take a packed lunch from the camp
(you
    > driver/guide can get one too) and stay out all day.
    > Or of course if you want to laze about in camp or go a bird walk or
nature
    > walk with the lodge naturallist, then you can do that instead. (I try
to
    > swim before lunch and catch up with cleaning my equipment, siesta etc
just
    > after lunch.)
    > Otherwise, what is on your itinerary is (generally) what you get,
without
    > negotiation (or at extra cost).
    > Don't imagine for a moment that this will be your only trip to
Africa.
    > "Africa bites, and when she bites, she won't let go."
    > After our first safari, we arrived back in the early morning after an
    > overnight trip following a long delay, and I was phoning companies
for
    > brochures and suggestions for the next year within half an hour of
getting
    > home!
    > So many people posting to the group for 'first trips' have a very
similar
    > experience.
    > Safari njema
    > Liz
    > --
    > Virtual Liz now at http://www.v-liz.com
    > Kenya; Tanzania; Namibia; India; Seychelles; Galapagos
    > "I speak of Africa and golden joys"
 

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