SimplyRed

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SimplyRed last won the day on July 19 2014

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About SimplyRed

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    Advanced Member

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  • Category 1
    Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2
    Wildlife Photographer/Artist

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    http://Www.tonna.zenfolio.com

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    Female
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    Minnesota, USA
  • Interests
    Photography, travel, food, people.

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  1. Extras........if you wear glasses, an extra pair of back up glasses in case of breakage. Ask me about taking a header at Savuti camp! Also, extra sunglasses for the same reason. Extra camera batteries.....extra camera if you have one. Extra memory cards in small sizes. Instead of one gigantic card. That way if something happens along the way you wont have all your photos on one card. We switched every other day.
  2. We packed in the large size LL Bean duffel bags. They are cheap, well made, can be monogrammed with your name for ID and weigh practically nothing. Laundry was done for free in every camp. I packed enough clothes for four+ days and had laundry done along the way. Here’s what I took (ladies). · 2 linen long sleeve safari/camp style shirts (great for sun protection and wind in the open vehicles) · 2 pair of the zip leg safari style pants. (They wash and dry like a dream – mine came from Lands End) · 1 pair of very lightweight linen long pants for dinners · 1 pair of cotton Capri length pants like yoga pants for lay about · 4 loose sleeveless tops or camis · 2 long sleeve very lightweight tee shirts –for mosi protection. · 1 lightweight fleece (Lands End) · A lightweight rain parka · 1 pair of pajamas · My Chacos-Zongs and my Keen-Newport H2 shoes. · A big, wide brimmed hat. · A swimsuit · 3 bras · 4 undies · 2 pair of socks · A couple of bandanas for bad hair days and wind protection and a lot of other things. · You will want some really, really good binoculars – one set for each traveler. · 30 to 60 SPF sunscreen · A very good mosi guard. · Some really good wind protection for your face. The air from driving in open vehicles can do more damage than the sun. I used a 45-sunscreen stick that felt like Vaseline on my face, but did the trick. At times I tied the bandana around my face. · Very good lip protection. · Afternoon diversions – like a good book. There are no game drives from 1-4 during the heat of the day. · I took 3 each of the hotel sized shampoo and conditioners and tossed them along the way. The camps do provide shampoo, soaps, and detergent for washing delicates. · You cannot use hair appliances at most camps. Get a haircut that requires no maintenance. · You don’t need much make-up. It’s either too hot or too dark (dinners by candles) for anyone to care. · There are no wash cloths in any of the baths. · All the paths are sand or rocks – take appropriate shoes. Some times there is ellie poo on the path at night. Watch your step. · All the showers had those big horizontal rainheads. Its impossible to avoid, so take a shower cap if your hairstyle can’t take the water. · Azithromiacin is a miracle cure for traveler’s revenge – which most everyone will get a mild case of about 10 days into the trip. Ask your doctor for some to take along. One pill was all it took to save a day. · You must have a journal. There are just too many wonderful moments to remember. · Drink, drink, drink.....water is your friend
  3. Hi Matt, I was quoting an agent who posts on another forum. That person works for an agency that is very tight with WS. It sounds like from what Alex says that it is just some changes to the pricing structure and not a true dumping of the green season deals. At least that's what I'm hoping. Hi Lynn. I will post a little update to my health adventures on the "Botswana to Cancer" thread. Not sure when I'll get back to Africa, but I'm always hopeful. Cheers, 'Red
  4. Thanks, Alex. That is a bit more encouraging than the post I read. Cheers, 'Red
  5. I read this post on another forum today. I know many of use wait for the green season deals. Has anyone else heard that WS is doing away with theirs? Or does anyone have information on how the "scope of rates will change...dramatically"? Quote: "(In 2017) Wildernesses Safari will be suspending the special promotional rates, but will offer other incentives for select camps during green season. Just the scope of the rates are changing dramatically." Cheers, 'Red
  6. It sounds like there will be no more than 6, and usually 4 people in our vehicle. I read about rotating seats, which makes total sense and is completely fair. I'm wondering how the manager decides how to group people together. This might be a strange question, but it ties into 2... I have found that some camp managers are better than others at putting guests together. Other places they just seem to put together according to timing of arrivals and departures. You should be vocal as soon as you arrive about your expectation and desires. Such as: are you birders, do you wish to stay out late or start early, are you heavy photographers, etc. Ask specifically to be paired with like minded people. It will make a world of difference. If you don't get along with your couplings....don't hesitate to have an aside with the camp manager about that as well. Rotation is a very nice thing to do, but you will find that if you are timid about it, you'll be pushed around by some guests. There is always someone who thinks they are entitled. In my research, of course I came across a thread where there were several stories about people being attacked/killed on safari. I realize that the odds of this are very, very small, but it did make me a bit apprehensive. I did think a walking safari would be great, but after reading one of those attack stories I am second guessing myself! I also read about various guides and how sometimes they get too close to the animals, and then the animals feel threatened or trapped. I'm sure after the first safari I will be excited and not nervous, but for the first one I really want to make sure I'm with a guide who isn't going to put me so close to the action that I feel extremely unsafe. Will the manager try to pair me/us with other newbies? If you are not going to countries with civil unrest, you will be in no danger. I've honestly always felt much more safe in the wilderness than I do in the cities. Always remember that "you are the boss". If you think that your guide is doing something that puts you or the animals in a precarious situation, speak up! Ask the guide to move back. It is your holiday. They do these things because they think it garners more and larger tips....and many times it does. You have the right to say what you feel comfortable doing. Having said that, we've been so close to animals that I could have touched them. It is so exciting when its happening that you (at least I) never think of it as dangerous. As long as you are respectful of the animals and let them come to you -- staying in the vehicle -- you will be quite safe. Is it hard seeing the kills? I wasn't expecting pics of it in the trip reports (but it makes total sense, for course) so it was slightly shocking when I saw it the first time. I can't imagine seeing it in person. Having said that, I really do want to see the animals, though. I know it's the circle of life. I've been to Africa 3 times -- staying nearly a month each time. I've never seen an actual kill. Been close, but never right on it. I think you are quite lucky if you participate in a kill. Are the drives about 2-4 hours? How long is the afternoon break, usually? What do people generally do in the afternoon? Do most camps have any activities other than a morning and afternoon/evening drive? Our drives were from about 6AM to Noon in the morning. Then a break for lunch and rest until approx. 4PM when we would gather again for "tea" before heading out again. We would return about 8PM for dinner. This was in Botswana. We found a nap in the afternoon was wonderful. After getting up at 5AM each day, eating dust on the drive, I was ready for a nice cooling shower, writing in my journal or sorting photos and then a nap. We also loved watching the animals that roam through camp. Do they put coolers in the vehicle for water, or do we just bring our own? Yes, most places have coolers with drinks. In Botswana we each had a refillable aluminum canteen that we took each day. There will be a morning break somewhere for coffee or tea and cookies and then the sundowners in the late afternoon. So sundowners is happy hour, and they stop somewhere with a view and you get out and have a cocktail? I thought we weren't supposed to go away from the vehicle (only slightly kidding; I really shouldn't have read that bad attack thread...ha). Depends on where you are and what you're watching. Sometimes we would just sit in the vehicle and watch a herd of elephants crossing the river or a mother lion and her cubs, or a cheetah with her afternoon kill....or any manner of things. Sometimes, if the guide thinks its safe, you can exit the vehicle and stretch your legs. You won't roam far though. Its the same as the "bush breaks". Besides the boat, the camps I am choosing are all tents (with en-suite bathrooms). Should I throw a lodge in there, too? I wanted more of a traditional sort of safari, but thought I would double check. Personally, I LOVE the tented camps and wouldn't trade one for a lodge.....but that's just me. I read that we should bring our guide something from where we are from. Is that correct? Money is what they prefer. Be generous with your tips to the entire staff. I also read that there is free laundry at these places, but since there isn't any electricity it might take a while to dry. How do you handle laundry, generally? Laundry is wonderful. In some camps they do have electricity for driers. In other places, its "solar" drying -- hanging things in the sun. Whatever they do, our laundry has always been returned in beautiful condition as if it were done in the city. In some places its in a lovely basket, wrapped in tissue and ribbon.....seriously! Do the camps usually provide sunscreen and bug spray? We probably will not check in luggage, so if they don't I might need to rethink that. It really depends on the camp. You would need to check with your specific location. We brought insect repellent towelettes. They work well and can be put into carry on luggage. I believe you might find sunscreen the same way. I am so envious of your upcoming experience. I've been to the elephant camps in Thailand and while it was lovely.....it is nothing compared to the wilds of Africa. You are going to cry with joy! Photos: www.tonna.zenfolio.com Cheers, 'Red
  7. We spent several days at Mwagusi on our trip to S. Tanzania. Loved it! The guiding is outstanding. It was our anniversary, so they upgraded us to the big honeymoon suite. What a spectacular view. The people were very nice and the food (while rustic) was delicious. Photos at: www.tonna.zenfolio.com
  8. I speculate that for many travelers Africa is a dream. It is a movie. It is a novel. It's Hemmingway or Meryl Streep ala "Out of Africa". It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to live that dream....from the pith helmets to the mosquito draped beds -- the white linen, crystal and china in the middle of the bush -- being waited on at every turn.....it's all part of the fantasy of safari. While those who post here are more attuned to the purest safari, there are many who have saved a lifetime in order to live inside that dream for just a few days-- to feel truly special, like a movie star. What's so wrong with that? Making someone's dream come true has value in this world. Cheers. 'Red
  9. Hardy congratulations, Matt. Job well done! Who is the competition? If their blogs are anywhere near your quality, yet for other destinations, I would be most interested in reading. 'Red
  10. My grandchildren. I hope to get the opportunity to introduce them to the things I love about Africa.
  11. My feather pillow has gone round the world with me several times. I can sleep anywhere.....if I have my pillow. Can't abide those rock hard chunks of foam used in most camps. Talk about a stiff neck! 'Red
  12. My dream safari would be taking my grandchildren to see the beauty of Africa.......and enough money to stay a couple of months!
  13. I had the pleasure of sharing a few game drives with Shay-Tay on our trip to Botswana. "Simply-Red", Phinley our guide at Chitabe, and "Shay-Tay"
  14. @Geoff: I have to agree. We added on a stop at Mafia Island on a trip to Tanzania a few years ago, because the whale sharks were in residence. Here is my account of that adventure: On the final morning of our four day stay on Mafia Island the seas calm enough to venture out in search of the whale sharks who winter and feed there. Its the main reason we added this last bit to our safari in southern Tanzania. We were told that the mammoths had been spotted the week before in numbers as high as fifteen, but we have been sitting for three days unable to take up the chase because of high seas. With great anticipation, we pile into an ancient van along with seven others from the neighboring resorts. Our driver is on two cell phones the entire way. He is talking back and forth franctically, while negotiating roads where no grader has ever traveled. Thirty minutes later we arrive at the shore -- an ugly industrial fishing port where not one boat looks as though it will stay afloat long enough to snap a photo. (Dare I even wonder if this is safe?) At this point, there is much shouted negotiations with bystanders and on cell phones. The driver never once turns off the van motor -- I feel certain it will not start again without jumper cables and maybe a wind-up key. But patiently, we wait. Ten minutes later, "so sorry, no boat here, we must go on to another location". The boondoggle begins. But, O.K., we've come this far - in for a penny, in for a pound. Backtracking over those same rutted roads, we spend another 20 minutes before coming to a nearly deserted beach. In the distance there is a (so called) boat. I'm pretty sure it was made entirely from old packing crates. Oh well, life is too short to be fearful - chin up! We wade through the muddy tidal flats, then through the waist deep water to fling ourselves over the rail and aboard. We're off! Soon I realize that there is one guy on board who's only job is to pump the bilge so that we won't sink. Water is literally coming in as fast as he can pump it out. They have thoughtfully placed a woven mat over the bottom of the boat so that we aren't alarmed by the 6-8 inches of water underneath. I mention to Mr. Red that the "bilge kid" is soon fast asleep and doesn't seem to be keeping up his end of the bargain. But Mr. Red puts me at ease by pointing out that the kid has his bare feet hanging down and as soon as the water reaches a sufficient level, it hits his feet and wakes him up to pump before we sink. How ingenious! Everyone is excited and bubbly. We suit up -- fins, masks, snorkels - telling jokes and holding cameras at the ready. We eagerly wait. Its a big ocean - and really, whale sharks aren't THAT big. Two boys stand in the bow of the boat looking for a fin. One little fin (o.k.- one big fin) in all that water. A whale shark fin is big - for a fish fin, but its not THAT big in a whole ocean. Let's just say that its the size of a sofa (which its not). Ever try to find a sofa floating in the ocean? We wait some more. An hour passes...everyone has taken off fins, masks, snorkels and wet suits. Its hot, its really hot. We wait. Two hours.....We've stopped laughing and making jokes. One couple had the foresight to bring a packed breakfast and the audacity to eat it in front of us. We all silently hate them! We wait. Our seats on this so called boat are simply a 6 inch wide, flat board. Not quite wide enough for BOTH cheeks, so you have to alternate from one cheek to the other. Pretty soon my whole bumm is numb. I ask Mr. Red to retrieve one of the many life preservers in the overhead netting so that I might use it for a seat cushion. He tries, but they are all roped together and tied down - impossible to get out. (Hmmmm, would that meet safety regulations?) Pretty soon I'm sitting on one of my swim fins just to keep the seat board from sawing my arse in half! We wait. I'm one of the lucky ones with an upright post to lean on. I fall asleep sitting up, leaning against my post. All of a sudden.....BIG EXCITEMENT ensues! A passing fishing boat (really more of a canoe) says they have seen whale sharks nearby. We speed off in the general direction they point and......... we wait. Around and around in circles. By now - I'm pretty sure most everyone on the boat is wondering why we thought this was such a spectacular idea in the first place. I know, I am. And wondering how long we must keep looking before we can respectably say we've given it a go -- and then give up. However, reputations are the line. The dive master is constantly on his cell phone making frantic sounding calls -- to whom...I'm not sure? I doze again. THERE IS IS!!! -- a whale shark right beside the boat! I am jarred awake just in time to see the spotted back (unmistakable) zip past. They are really, really here! How we found them in this vast body of water is a miracle. But wait.....before we can suit up again, its gone. Disappears into the deep. Everyone is at the ready again. Have we really gotten this close for only a fleeting glimpse? Surely not. The chase is on and the boys are now determined. We've been given the instructions for how to snorkel with a whale shark -- "don't get too near " --- (AS IF ...!) We wait. Now its been 4 hours or more. Time is running out and I can see that we are slowly heading back toward shore and our departure point. So much - for so little. Then just as we near the end of the excursion (and truly, right where we started out four hours ago) -- THERE IT IS AGAIN ! '"JUMP, JUMP, JUMP!!" Into the water. He seems to be staying this time and we're really, really, really going to get our chance to swim with a whale shark. The Holy Grail. We're in! ----- But, hold on......I can't see a thing. The water, rich with the plankton that attracts the whale sharks to feed, is as clear as mud. I can't see my hand at the end of my arm. A whale shark could be a foot away. The swells are big and its hard to tell where anyone or anything might be. I stick close to our dive master, who is watching the boat. They can still see the whale shark from topside and point the way. (Why didn't I stay in the boat?) The dive master takes my hand and says "this way - its coming". So we swim as fast as we can to get ahead of its path and then we wait - one last time. There it is! A fleeting glimpse of spots in the murky water. "Did you see it?", he gleefully shouts. Yes????? What a great boondoggle of an adventure. 'Red
  15. Jeremie, The hunt was illegal because they baited (dragged a dead animal behind a vehicle) the lion to get him outside a protected area before killing him. Please read the article that I have linked. 'Red

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