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  1. Thanks for all your tips, Cosmic Rhino. I was struck by one of them - "supplement your own photographs by professional guidebooks ..." it got me thinking that I would really enjoy the trip much more if don't feel the pressure that I have to take the perfect photograph, or even have to "document" everything with the camera. After all, there are many perfect photos and professionally documented safari trips available. But I'm going be right there with the wildlife! That gives a nice perspective.
  2. Good thing to know, Sangeeta, thanks. We are landing in JKIA first and at the end of the week in Kilimanjaro, so that should be OK.
  3. Dear Owen, Thanks. Yes, we are planning to go on the balloon ride, but don't know if we should do it over Masai Mara or Serengeti. We will be in both places first and second week respectively. Closer to end-July when we make the trip, will check where the migration can be seen better, and make the choice then.
  4. Thanks u-steve. Would love to have the experience of seeing lions in the shadow of the vehicle - might even forget to take pictures. I'm still learning how to use the camera better, and plan to practice at the Bronx Zoo this summer before the trip (might also help me spot the animal in the wild, that it's a Grant's gazelle or a Roan antelope).
  5. Thanks AKR1 and Cosmic Rhino. Shall assess the balloon ride option carefully, especially since it does replaces a game drive. Lewa sounds great - not sure if I can substitute at this point, but I can check with the TA.
  6. Thanks, Safari Cal, Dust was my indeed my concern re switching lenses, so I'll take your advice. I'm quite amazed at how so many of you seem so familiar with all the fauna you spot in the wild. Is it just practice after making many trips or can I put in some prep before? This is my "training" plan (!). Books - so far I have Stuart's Animals of East Africa ST Trip reports Nat. Geog movies A trip to the Bronx Zoo - also to practice photography .. Other ideas?
  7. Wow, this forum is already adding to the safari experience, between the great responses to my post and browsing through some incredible photo-filled trip reports. Atravelynn and kittykat, I see what you mean - the balloon ride may be an awesome experience but not the best method for looking at wildlife. But we do like "up in the air" stuff, like parasailing (one of us went skydiving!), so it might be a thrill doing it over east Africa. We made the arrangements through a TA in Kenya, and it's just our family of 4 in a Landrover in both countries. Of course, the tented camps and lodges are booked firm, but we do have some flexibility of what to do, with the help of our driver/guide, in each of the places. That's why it's great to hear we can do a night game drive in Sweetwaters. Might also visit Jane Goodall's chimpanzees there. Samburu is also specially exciting for us, after looking at pictures of rare animals like the Beisa Oryx and Gerenuk.
  8. kittykat - we're from the US. The main reason I don't want to send our passports to 2 embassies for the visas, is I travel overseas a great deal on business (actually to Germany, ice), and need my passport with me. Yes, we've been informed the balloon ride happens at the same time as a game drive, that's one of the factors to decide where to do this. Heard that Serengeti game drives have less vehicle traffic than Mara.
  9. Thank you, ice. I guess the wildebeest don't really use our calendar to start their migration, right?
  10. Hi fellow safari travellers, Our first time to Africa - we're going to Lake Nakuru, Sweetwaters, Samburu and Masai Mara in Kenya; Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti in Tanzania. Late July into August. Mostly driving and 3 local flights (heard driving to the Mara is very rough and long). Here come the questions - would greatly appreciate your advice. First, the itinerary - any highlights and watchouts for the places? Visas - Any problems getting them in Nairobi and Kilimanjaro? Long lines or worse, some buereaucratic glitch? Local flights and 15 kg soft bags - will they create a fuss over the typical wheeled carryons? Balloon ride - option of doing it over Mara or Serengeti, and would love to see the migration - where would we have a better view? Rather basic camera and lenses - a Nikon D90, 18-105 VR and a 70-300 VR (since it's fullframe, gives me an apparent extra zoom on the DX). Need some tips on best use: How bad is the light early morning and late evening and can I manage with high ISO? Love landscape shooting, but should I avoid swapping lenses on the road? Thanks for your help.

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