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Everything posted by AndyH1000

  1. Joy's Camp in Shaba has closed. I was considering staying here in 2018. Anyone know what's planned here..? Africa Travel Resource seems to suggest it will re-open as a guide training place, but the person who replied to my email at Elewana had no info. Anyone know anything?
  2. Thanks for the heads-up @Optig and @ZarekCockar That's good to know Cosmic - it seems to be closed already and/or at least no longer taking bookings
  3. And it is open. Confirmed by the ldges and Tom here...
  4. I have read that the Samburu - Buffalo Springs bridge was fixed and re-opened in Feb15. Can anyone confirm this from experience. ie is it usable?
  5. I think it has been covered before (but I couldn't find it)... different people have different needs and are therefore prepared to pay different prices to meet those needs. Disclosing pricing drew criticism from some members that others had paid too much. Those comments were made however without understanding the needs and the proposition that the member had bought into. So disclosing prices necessitates a longer elaboration of the proposition bought into and no one wants to defend their purchases; it's not what this forum is about.
  6. I have heard the same explanation as @Imonmm. I have a couple of kids and we were in open vehicle with a lion maybe 20m ahead. The group was talking very quietly but when one of the kids spoke the lioness peaked-up the higher pitch voice and focussed in on him. So if you stay quiet and keep your movement to a minimum all should be well. I remember having a lion walk about a meter or so by the open vehicle - next to my kids; I think everyone held their breath and the sort of thing you remember on safari. The one exception to all this that I know of is in Ngorongoro Crater. They don't permit open vehicles there and I have seen a couple of different pics from there with lions standing up and looking into vehicles. Not sure what's going on there or why.
  7. Jan would be preferable to Feb and March as the grass should be shorter. It will be green and the animals dispersed. I haven't been to Hwange at this time but I would like to go there then; the Wilderness Camps of Davisons, Linkwasha and Little Makalolo. May be too galloping for what you are after though, but the landscapes in that area look great.
  8. @@rouxeny I have been to the Okavango in November... I think it's a great time to be there as you get shoulder season prices and the rains may have started so the grass is still low but may be greening up with a few showers and thunderstorms. In terms of the temperature - expect it to be hot; was in the low 40'sC for many of the days we were there. No puffy jackets required - maybe just the ability to layer a couple of thin items if needed. If you are going overland yourself you might want to bring a thin rain jacket or if staying at a camp they should provide a poncho per madaboutcheetah's comment. I think it's a good look to limit bright coloured clothing on safari, but others may have different view!
  9. @@dinkdunk I have done it - I discovered it on here thanks to other ST members and it was great way to loop back out through Kenya. I can recommend it. I can't recall exactly how long it took - this is in part because our plane from Arusha arrived late into the Serengeti due to weather over the Ngorongoro highlands - the delay was in the order of 2 hours. The flight itself should be quick - guessing 15 mins from Kogatende to Tarime, where a car should be waiting for you. Maybe an hour to 1.5 hrs to get to the airport at Migori and through customs - in our case we got pushed through quick given we were late and maybe that section was an hour. The van was air conditioned which was good. The flight to the Mara was maybe half hour. Plus you'll want to add time for logistics. Guessing 3 hours tops. We were in the Mara in time to enjoy a full afternoon's drive. I would do it again, but as PaulT alludes to it's not cheap but useful if you aren't in Africa that often.
  10. @@Africalover I think lions / animals in camp is worth a topic of it's own.... In trip reports, photo's on the net and each of our experiences this stuff happens more than some people might think.
  11. I would work out where I wanted to go and the type of experience I want. Then get a quote for that from a number or providers where you can compare apples. It is clear that ATR prefer to recommend camps / operators which they have a relationship with (Olduvai, Tanganyika Exped, etc) - it's evident from a look through their website and their TA reviews. That could be good or bad or whatever. It just is. I have stayed at Tortilis camp and it was great - I would expect a higher priced quote with it's inclusion. Also I wouldn't probably stay at Oldvai Camp in August but would around Feb - but that's just me.
  12. @@hannahcat I love the lions crossing the bridge in the light and the ornithologists behind. Great anticipation. Thanks for the report - I really enjoyed it.
  13. @@FlyTraveler Here are the bios for the Duma safari guides and you can get a sense for some of them on TA reviews... The first Duma guide we used was Kawaga... We are not safari novices and Kawaga's eyes impressed us - amazing spotting ability. There was a couple of occasions where I thought he could have made more effort and hence on the second trip I requested a different guide. Second Guide - Wilson Shange. Perhaps the best part about Shange is that he is a very good man and good person to be around with good karma. He understands the essence of overland safari as a journey - not just of wildlife but of people. Maybe doesn't have Kawaga's spotting ability (amazing), but spotted when needed - including a lion in camp (unseen by camp staff) and near us and our kids. We came home safely from that safari thanks to Shange. He also understands vehicle positioning for light / photography and pretty good at anticipating animal behaviour. I would request Shange again. Who does your friend recommend from Duma?
  14. @@hannahcat Looks like a great safari. In 2012 we were fortunate enough to be guided by Phinley and I hear you - he's a great person to be guided by. Excellent positioning and generally awesome karma. I had thought he retired. Great to hear he is back. Great actin with the lions and buffaloes and love the lions by the pink evening light.
  15. @@FlyTraveler Sounds like a great trip. I have used Duma twice and stayed in Chaka Camp at Ndutu and Northern Serengeti. They are good operators and their camps are great. Overall I think they are good value, so should fit your brief well. Who is guiding you?
  16. Mara Plains / Exploration and Ol Donyo would be a great option. Some other combos to consider are: Tortilis Camp in Amboseli plus the Mara Elsa's Kopje in Meru plus the Mara Both Tortillas and Elsa's should meet your needs; elevated, quality, open vehicles, few bogans / punters, with great landscapes. You might want to go to the Mara after Amboseli or Meru, so as to build up to a more intense game viewing experience; for first timers the reverse may result in some disappointment. Note though that Tortillas has a fence around it, so don't expect in camp encounters - in fact on elevated properties I would expect a general level of disconnection. In the Mara I like the landscapes of the Mara Triangle (quintessential) but that doesn't meet your needs for private and off-road which I think the Olare Motorogi conservancy should meet your needs and that's where you'll find Mara Plains per post from @@madaboutcheetah above
  17. Good stuff @@mooey Did you end up including the climb of Oldoinyo Lengai? That something I would like to do one day when I have a bit more time to loop around via Natron through to the Serengeti. Would love to hear about it all here in due course. Sounds like a great trip. Lucky kids
  18. Dave - great question but not an easy one to answer... Packaged inclusions can drive a lot of the cost, so if people start quoting $'s here they will often feel compelled to then spell out the details of what was included. That's an effort and may draw out judgements that are irrelevant based on what's important to the individual. A contrast for example: The simple: Wilderness safaris packaged trips in the Okavango - all included (maybe flights are extra I can't recall). You used to be able get rack rates here... More complex: By contrast in East Africa, you might organise an overland trip that amongst other inclusions might have a cost per day per guide / vehicle (varied by pax), park fees, accommodation (by range of quality / prices), some flights, overland connections between safari locations, etc. Then when you get quotes they vary considerably due to factors such as reputation, guide quality, vehicle, etc. Best to get some quotes and then put some prices out here listing inclusions and get some input. Hope that helps. Cheers, Andy
  19. It's years since I have been there so things may have changed, but the drive from Khwai to Savuti then Savuti to Chobe (particularly the latter) had a fair bit of soft sand, so the driving is slower than you might imagine. You would want to factor that into your planning which could be reason to add another night in Savuti. It's 16 years back for me, but the public camp site at Savuti was great - the ablutions were elephant proof and relatively new then. While the area was dry, their was plenty of action including elephants, hyaena and lions in camp. Plenty of game out on the dry marsh.
  20. Dave, This list should help you out... From that list you can then check a few names that come up vs Safaritalk trip reports for more details. A fantastic guide and solid vehicle are the key to a good trip. Re kids and camps; in my experience most places are very cool with kids. In fact more and more places have family tents and now it feels like most camps have tents that can accommodate the whole family together. This was not the case 3 years or so back. With the kids we have stayed at 10 or more different places. For us, the in camp experience is less of an issue as we are out most of the time, so less concerned about additional activities; with one exception... taking the kids to a Masaai village is a great thing to do - just try to go to one that is less 'popular'. Keep posting as you sort through and narrow down the options. Hope that helps.
  21. Hi Dave and welcome! Also good to see another Australian here. We have 2 kids - aged 9 and 10 and have taken them to Africa twice - for varying periods, the first about 3 weeks and the second around 10 days. As long as you mix it up a bit with different locations so it's not same same, I think kids are good to go for a short or longer trip. Our kids had their own cameras and also drawing stuff (to draw what they see and write a journal about it) which helps them stay involved and not get bored. In July, you probably know that the weather is generally dry in both southern and East Africa so good for game viewing. It might be a bit cool in Southern Africa though. You might try the africa travel resource website to help you navigate through: country-> regions->parks->camps and lodges / operators. I have not booked through them but have found their website useful for research. I love the Okavango but given the high cost we have not taken the kids there. Of course there are lots of other good options in Southern Africa inc Vic Falls, Chobe, Hwange, Mana Pools, South Luangwa and no doubt some good places in South Africa. We tend to choose based in part on the landscapes and beyond the Okavango, like the big open landscapes of East Africa. If it were me, looking to go in July I would focus on East Africa and more specifically Tanzania; Serengeti (Central plus the migration should be moving/in the north) plus Ngorongoro (worth a night if you haven't been) plus maybe Tarangire (inc the Silale swamp). To mix it up, Amboseli in Kenya could be a good addition - lots of Elephants plus Kilimanjaro behind. The Masai Mara, Meru and Samburu could be other considerations. The benefit of Serengeti / Ngorongoro / Tarangire with the kids is that you get variety but with a logistically contained area - so basically you can go overland with the one operator through those areas, with less need for organising 'connections'. The more connections, the more opportunity for problems of the type... TIA (this is Africa). Kids and safety - in open game viewing vehicles the guide will rightly want you all and especially the kids to stay quiet; I have seen lions alerted by the voice of younger kids, despite adults already talking. This is not anything to be concerned about, but rather be aware. We prefer camps over lodges as you are much more connected into the experience in a camp. For example walking to the mess tent for breakfast with giraffe very close by - you don't get the same feel in most lodges. Be vigilant though - stay with the kids at all times when moving around or when chilling at camp, even on the 'verandah'. On our last trip we did have a lion slip into camp in the afternoon and we were outside; fortunately our guide reacted quickly and there wasn't a problem. But be aware and keep close to the kids while outside. That's exciting stuff and all part of the reason for going. Hopefully others will chime in with their own / different perspectives and you can sift through it and see what works for you.
  22. In February I would consider Tanzania and specifically the Ngorongoro Conservation Area / Ndutu plus the Serengeti and also a trip to the crater. The plains should be green with plenty of animals around. The is a good source of info when scoping out the options.
  23. Post #48 here should have you back on topic...
  24. For Central Serengeti, I can recommend Nieleze for it's central location. I would stay here again. A few more comments can be seen here... I have stayed at Bologonya Under Canvas (Tanganyika Wilderness Camps) and can also recommend it. It's not as cheap as others, but the outlook to the palm lined stream is great and the tents well furnished and the food was excellent and plenty of it. I would stay there again.
  25. Try fewer places for more nights otherwise it becomes inefficient with too much travel time. I would go to Ngorongoro, but for one night and add that night to the Serengeti. I would decrease the nights in Nairobi and Arusha also.

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