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penolva last won the day on May 11 2015

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About penolva

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    Cornwall UK
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    Travel, photographs, wildlife,

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  1. Great to see the cheetah boys. They have been near Brian's camp which is very near Intrepids. Hope to see them. If you finish tomorrow I can read the final instalment of your brilliant TR before we board our flight to Nairobi on Monday. If we see as much as you did we will be very happy 😊 Pen
  2. We do have a vehicle with Brian Freeman that allows you to crouch down inside as the side is missing, if my arthritic knees will let me What ISO did you use and any other settings you can share as I am enthusiastic but not a very proficient photographer Pen
  3. Fig is beautiful but the wildebeest against the sunset is amazing 👍 I shall try that in a couple of weeks time. Pen
  4. Thank you @janzin I have enjoyed this so much, including the Photoshop tips. It has kept my impatience level down so that now you have finished I only have 17 days until we leave for Kenya. Staying in the EKA on our last night so your advice is most welcome on that. If we see half the animals and birds you did it will be a fantastic trip. Pen
  5. All I can say to Babi on the camel is "Well done girl!" Sitting astride an elephant in Kazaranga nearly killed me and if I had known 'Sara' was the word I needed at the time my agony could have been cut short. Pen
  6. I think they may with a company called Pangolin Safari who offer guided photographic trips on the Chobe and the guests get to use the cameras to learn technique with.
  7. This is fascinating thank you for taking time to tell us the 'real' story @pault. Our upcoming trip to Kenya includes the Aberdares, Samburu and the Mara so reading your words brings it that little bit closer. Pen
  8. Oh no we get in with KLM late so two hours transfer is going to be a nightmare but thanks for the warning!
  9. Great fun will have to try that sometime! Pen
  10. I just noticed this. The guanaco are very habituated so its possible to park up and they surround you. We had this happen on the beach and on the way up to Hotel Torres. There is hardly any traffic so parking just beside the road is fine although I would still hesitate to hire a really small car. There are plenty of parking places most with incredible views. Take care with the smaller vehicles as even our 4x4 had a very small tank compared to those we rent in South Africa. Fuel was a concern throughout the trip because of the shortages. Pen
  11. Glad to see you have the map. You will enjoy the boardwalks to the glacier if you don't get the boat ride they have been done really well and its a lovely walk. We met some people who live just up the road from us, which was such a coincidence, they drove in from Puerto Natalas each day so its very possible to do something different and miss Patagonia Camp. We are not sorry we stayed there as we had a lovely time despite them but I would not go back there. Pen
  12. @Gilgamesh Glad you enjoyed the trip report. As you can see from the photographs Torres del Paine is a fantastic destination. To answer your questions. We booked a 4x2 but they gave us a 4x4. You do not need either in the park but having self driven in Africa many times we like the type of vehicle that is higher for better viewing. The roads are well graded but some coaches drive far too fast. Our car had several cracks in the windscreen when we collected it which was a bit disconcerting. We were told 'Its common in Patagonia!'. We did not add to the cracks and they did not obscure the drivers vision so we got used to them pretty quickly. If you can afford a larger vehicle it will make the journey even better. I would not want something as small as a VW Polo for example. There are no steep switchbacks to worry about. The only badly graded road we used was the turn off to Hotel Torres and it does have a couple of sharp corners. The driving was a pleasure and we took a packed lunch out with us each day and had a flask to make tea and coffee. There are not many places to buy food in the park and they are all very expensive. We brought some snacks with us. We filled up with fuel at Puerto Natales. There is a fuel station on the road coming in from the Argentinian direction. When we left we went to the one in town but it had no fuel that day. We did not carry jerry cans as its illegal in Argentina. We had plenty of fuel for our 4 nights touring around the park and we drove every road there was to drive, sometimes more than once. There is emergency fuel at some of the hotels. This is marked on the map they give you when you pay the park fees I believe. I will try to send you a copy of a map we had which was extremely useful. Patagonia Camp has beautiful en suite yurts. They are gorgeous. I will say that if you book direct, as we did, and are not part of a tour group you may well end up with a yurt at the back near the restaurant with little or no view. I had requested a lake front yurt when I booked, 10 months before, and reminded them again when I paid the balance. I have written a review on Trip Advisor giving the lodge 1 out of 5 titled 'ALL THE YURTS ARE NOT THE SAME!!'. I had to make a big fuss and they did give us an upgrade on the second night to one of their superior yurts with a Jacuzzi, but we were not happy. Dinner was very poor but breakfast was very good. Its very expensive to stay there. The views ,when you have them, are beautiful and as it is just outside the park you do not have to pay park fees the first day. It is perfectly placed to tour the first half of the park on your first whole day and we visited Lago Grey and drove up to Lago Pehoe and back. It was a lovely day out. We spent the second two nights at Hotel Las Torres. More like a motel in design but lovely and the food was very good there. From there we covered the rest of the park visiting all the lakes and waterfalls. You get spectacular views of the Cuernos del Paine from there and there are a lot more wild life in the area. Again very expensive for our budget. We were very glad we split the four nights between two hotels as we didn't have to back track very much. If you go to El Calafate I am sure you will visit the Puerto Moreno Glacier. Do take a boat ride up to it, its stunning on a sunny day. Good luck with the weather! I look forward to hearing all about it on your return. Penolva

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