overland safari

Old Oct 27th 2004, 7:38 pm
  #1  
Adell
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Default overland safari

Hello again,
Yes Pat is right I am looking for advice from people who have travelled from
Cape Town to Keny on a LOW budget, set your tent up each night style safari.
We are looking at travelling for 6-9 weeks in a group situation, although
not too large a group if we can.
Any recommendations on travel companies to travel with or avoid would be
great.
Thanks Adell
 
Old Oct 27th 2004, 9:15 pm
  #2  
Pat Anderson
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Default Re: overland safari

In message <[email protected]>, Adell
<[email protected]> writes
    >Hello again,
    >Yes Pat is right I am looking for advice from people who have travelled from
    >Cape Town to Keny on a LOW budget, set your tent up each night style safari.
    >We are looking at travelling for 6-9 weeks in a group situation, although
    >not too large a group if we can.
    >Any recommendations on travel companies to travel with or avoid would be
    >great.
    >Thanks Adell
Adell,
It`s not something I`ve done as I prefer to stay in a lodge or hotel.
I`ve seen the overland Bedford trucks in Nairobi that have gone up from
South Africa, so you can do it that way. You must have an agent in Aus.
that can arrange that for you. Another good place to check out is the
Africa branch of the Thorn Tree at the Lonely Planet site, there are
lots of budget travellers posting there.
Pat
--
Pat Anderson
 
Old Oct 28th 2004, 9:41 am
  #3  
Jean-Marc V. Liotier
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Default Re: overland safari

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 07:38:38 +0000, Adell wrote:
    > Yes Pat is right I am looking for advice from people who have travelled from
    > Cape Town to Keny on a LOW budget, set your tent up each night style safari.
    > We are looking at travelling for 6-9 weeks in a group situation, although
    > not too large a group if we can.
    > Any recommendations on travel companies to travel with or avoid would be
    > great.

Here is the drill : crash into town, get your papers (visa for the next
country, money etc.) in order while planning the next steps and
looking around for means of transportations, hop on whatever bus or truck
that goes where you want to go, and once you get there repeat the drill.
That's the way I did it from Cape Town to Djibouti a few years ago and I
had a great time. From Cape Town to Nairobi took me about nine weeks
including treks, visits to reserves and other attractions on the way. No
travel company required, just a plane ticket, the Lonely Planet guide and
plenty of patience when you are there.

As for the "set your tent up each night", don't count on it. Most often
you will end up in a cheap lodge. USD .5 to USD 10 a night is a common
price range for cheap accommodation. Of course there is wilderness where
you can pitch a tent, but more often than not there will be urbanization,
even if it is just a village, and the local lodge will be a better
option. I always travel with no tent, but I carry a Gore-Tex sleeping bag
shell that enables me to sleep outside in the rain with no discomfort. And
considering the heat, it is often much more comfortable that a tent
because tents lack aeration for tropical conditions.
 
Old Oct 29th 2004, 3:45 am
  #4  
Hans-Georg Michna
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Default Re: overland safari

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 23:41:41 +0200, "Jean-Marc V. Liotier"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >I always travel with no tent, but I carry a Gore-Tex sleeping bag
    >shell that enables me to sleep outside in the rain with no discomfort. And
    >considering the heat, it is often much more comfortable that a tent
    >because tents lack aeration for tropical conditions.

Jean-Marc,

until that one leopard stumbles over you ... (:-)

Seriously, I do camp out a lot, but I wouldn't sleep out in the
open. I also close the tent door at night. That helps. And I've
had all kinds of animals right at the tent, touching it,
including hyaenas and lions (can't hear leopards).

Does anyone remember that Kenyan girl who was bitten into the
face by a hyaena?

I don't want to scare you unnecessarily, and you can certainly
sleep out in the open in areas that are free of large predators
as well as snakes, hunting spiders, and scorpions, but where in
Africa would that be, apart from very high up on a mountain?

Hans-Georg

p.s. I seem to wear my scare mask today, but apparently this is
the day of the daring traveller. (:-)

--
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Old Oct 30th 2004, 7:58 am
  #5  
Jean-Marc V. Liotier
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Default Re: overland safari

On Fri, 29 Oct 2004 17:45:29 +0200, Hans-Georg Michna wrote:

    > On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 23:41:41 +0200, "Jean-Marc V. Liotier"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>I always travel with no tent, but I carry a Gore-Tex sleeping bag
    >>shell that enables me to sleep outside in the rain with no discomfort. And
    >>considering the heat, it is often much more comfortable that a tent
    >>because tents lack aeration for tropical conditions.
    >
    > until that one leopard stumbles over you ... (:-)
    >
    > Seriously, I do camp out a lot, but I wouldn't sleep out in the
    > open. I also close the tent door at night. That helps. And I've
    > had all kinds of animals right at the tent, touching it,
    > including hyaenas and lions (can't hear leopards).

The wild animal problem is mostly confined to wildlife reserves, but you
are right : where the nightly visit of wild animals is a common occurrence
an enclosed space is preferable and will keep out the unwanted curious
visitor. But on a typical overland trip, only a fraction of the time is
spent in wildlife reserve and the weight and bulk of a tent may not be
justified just for these occasions. If travel is based on a vehicle then
by all means bring a tent even if it is just in case, but if you routinely
walk for some distance while carrying your backpack, as I do, you will
think twice before adding to the already very heavy weight of the typical
overland backpack.

In the beginning there were many things I thought would be worth taking
for comfort or just in case, but after a while the urge of backpack
weight optimization makes hard decisions much easier. But the experience
of each individual will lead to very different decisions about what is
really useful, so it is really a matter of personal travel style.
 
Old Nov 1st 2004, 3:24 am
  #6  
Hans-Georg Michna
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Default Re: overland safari

On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 21:58:12 +0200, "Jean-Marc V. Liotier"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >In the beginning there were many things I thought would be worth taking
    >for comfort or just in case, but after a while the urge of backpack
    >weight optimization makes hard decisions much easier. But the experience
    >of each individual will lead to very different decisions about what is
    >really useful, so it is really a matter of personal travel style.

Jean-Marc,

I'm with you on most of these points. I only want to point out
that some of these very different decisions will be wrong
because it is difficult to assess and calculate the risks
properly. Assessing small risks is always difficult, impossible
if you lack information, but at least I want to point out some
known risks (and tell some possibly interesting stories on the
side).

Actually it is my experience that the vast majority of all risks
while travelling in Africa comes from humans, not from wild
animals. In my experience particularly the large wild animals
always behave sensibly. Crazy ones are very rare. They just
don't seem to survive for long. There are no mental hospitals
for animals in the bush.

Small ones also follow their biological programming strictly,
but they are less intelligent and do not understand what a human
in a sleeping bag really is. Therefore they may unwittingly risk
their own lives, but some of them have dealy weapons too,
usually poison. Then there are malaria-carrying anopheles
mosquitos, but that's a different story.

There are some residual risks in connection with animals. Some
large animals have some behavior traits that one had better
know. An example is the hippo, which always freezes when you
approach him at night, then suddenly attacks when you come too
close. They just don't run away like a gazelle, an antelope, a
zebra, or a gnu would. This is the reason why there are more
deadly accidents with hippos in Kenya than with any other wild
animal. The typical accident happens on a Friday night walk home
from the pub. Almost happened to me once, by the way. I
recognized the hippo only at the very last second and was very
lucky to have had some moonlight.

A number of other species behave similarly when they cannot see
you, for example because the animal is behind dense bush.
Examples are buffalo and lion. When they see you, all depends on
the distance. Outside the critical distance all of them will run
away, buffalos just as well as lions. Inside that distance (a
few meters) they will always instantly attack.

However, a lion or leopard walking by a sleeping human may get
curious. Intelligent predators understand sleep. They know very
well that you're a human, and they can tell that you're
sleeping. Their behavior will depend on circumstances, but cases
are known where leopards attacked people at night or where a
lioness pulled a boy from a tent (with open tent doors) and ate
him. I wouldn't vouch for hyaenas either.

None of these animals hunts humans. But they may take a human if
presented on a silver plate.

This leaves the small critters. In northern Kenya there is a
spider (not to mention scorpions and snakes) that the people
call "hunting spider". This interesting species has poison-green
females and orange males. Both have a kind of poison that can
totally paralyze a human for 24 hours. A higher dose can kill
you. I've seen these spiders run. They wouldn't attack you in a
sleeping bag, but there can be accidents. One of them could
creep into the sleeping bag, looking for food or shelter. If you
then make a wrong movement ...

I haven't heard of any traveller getting bitten by a snake, but
it is not entirely impossible, particularly if you sleep out
unprotected. Read the story of Chemandazi if you like
(http://www.michna.com/kenya2002/). She (a five year-old girl)
got bitten by a snake into her hand and almost died. Warning:
The photos are not suitable for children or sensitive people.

Hans-Georg

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