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SaminKaz

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SaminKaz last won the day on February 9 2015

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About SaminKaz

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    Advanced Member

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  • Category 1
    Tourist (regular visitor)
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  • Website URL
    http://www.samanthavaneldik.com

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Aussie abroad
  • Interests
    Travel, photography, adventure, wildlife and new experiences
  1. Mabamba Swamp, Lake Victoria, Uganda
  2. @Altravelynn The snorkelling was unaccompanied for those that were comfortable in the water and accompanied for those that wanted a bit of guidance. They also provided an inflatable ring for some guests who needed to hold onto something and the guide then had a rope and dragged it along. I was super comfortable and went off on my own a bit because at the beginning there were a lot of tourists in the water and many that had no idea how to snorkel or stay calm in the water leading to a lot of noise and disruptions with the sea life. As long as I looked up every so often to have an idea where the boat was then I felt fine. The shoulder was a real inconvenience but with a few painkillers each day and very little lifting of the cameras during my stay it came good. Thanks for asking. It was a great trip and certainly established my love now for places that are a little off the tourist route like conservancies and definitely during the low season to optimise more private sightings without the crowds, better prices and longer stays.
  3. @TomKellie Definitely agree with the amazing soups on safari and the fresh bread to accompany it. I have been amazed at the variety of the wonderful food I have enjoyed and of course the huge portions. Unless gorilla/chimp trekking everyday it is hard to walk away from a 3 week trip without excess kilos. Add on the wine and other indulgent drinks like Amarula and sundowners and you will definitely roll onto the airplane at the end.
  4. Here are some sightings from my stay at Naboisho. Hope you enjoy. https://vimeo.com/160487392 https://vimeo.com/160483526
  5. No single supplements is a big influence for me as well as 2 abreast seats in the safari vehicle. I have found places to stay via reading reviews in travel mags, websites and of course SafariTalk so this would be ideal but not necessary. I agree also with @TomKellie @@Tdgraves and @@kittykat23uk.
  6. @@LynneB Check out the AirBnB options that are bordering Kruger or other parks, places in South Africa. I think these can offer a great option if you also look at buying long stay entrance ticket. Hiring a car is not expensive in South Africa and I found driving to be easy. You have the opportunity to be your own boss as well. If you are staying longer then getting to know the locals, rangers and guides in the area who could pass on their knowledge about sightings.
  7. https://vimeo.com/153605826 https://vimeo.com/149831590 https://vimeo.com/144666642 Videos from the amazing Fish River Canyon Lodge
  8. @@AKR1 The staff were not as proactive or professional compared to other Asilia properties but this certainly didn't detract from my stay. The camp was fairly new and some staff still needed more training, real experience and of course feedback to live up to the expectation that this property attracts. Honestly, I would go back there because the area and sightings were magical. I love the feeling of isolation in the bush and the joy of not seeing other cars is a huge bonus for me, except when stuck in bogs where there is no radio contact ;-)
  9. 1) Name of property and country: Mara Bush Houses, Mara North, Kenya 2) Website address if known: http://www.asiliaafrica.com/destinations/kenya/greater-maasai-mara/mara-bush-houses/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). Green season, April, 2015 4) Length of stay: 6 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Troy from True Africa recommended this property and after checking reviews I was hooked. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Through Troy at True Africa. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 4 times 8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No, but not necessary 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 2 separate houses with room up to 6 people in available beds and more if necessary. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We had Mara Bush House with a fabulous view over the private waterhole. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? The house was stunning and very comfortable, king size or twin beds, sitting area with fire, indoor and outdoor private dining and dining around the pool, bathrooms with everything necessary. Everywhere was super clean and luxurious. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was fantastic and there was great variety. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes there were different things on offer. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Hosted by our guide for lunch but dinners were alone. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Yes, packed breakfasts and lunches were fresh, filling and delicious. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. We had an enclosed 4WD which was ideal due to the weather. 19) How many guests per row? 2 rows with 2 seats in each row. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Game drives were varied and depended on where we wanted to visit and what we wanted to see. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? We stayed out 6 hours in the morning and about 3 hours in the afternoon. We travelled longer distances in the morning and stayed local in the afternoon (walks, village visits). 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? I think I saw 4 cars during my whole stay. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. No 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Sightings were a little slow in this conservancy and it was necessary to drive about an hour over the mountain to get into the main area of the conservancy to find game. 27) How was the standard of guiding? A good guide. Roads were very bad during certain parts due to the weather. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: N/A 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? The staff were helpful and happy during our stay. The staff were awesome. They looked after my parents when I was on safari and they were in the house which is most of the time. Plus they provided a lovely celebration at the end of our stay with breakfast on top of the mountain. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, through Asilia Africa. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Mara Bush House is a stunning property in the Mara North Conservancy that allows guests to enjoy the splendour of the Mara in their own private house. The property has 2 houses on it so a larger group can enjoy their time all together. Mara House where I stayed had 3 ensuite bedrooms, a large lounge with a fireplace, dining area, small kitchenette for preparing food and a huge outdoor seating/dining area. The pool and bbq area offer a chance for guests in each house to alternate eating down by the pool and near the pond whilst watching the animals come down for their daily drink. The house provides its own car for the group so safari drives are taken when the guests want, walks can be organised and picnic breakfasts/lunches/sundowners are offered. Visits to local villages and the weekly markets are a fantastic opportunity to meet with the locals and to understand the culture. There is also a chance to visit a school during the school term as well. The service at Mara House was beyond brilliant. The amazing Jackson who looked after us in the house was one of the best Asilia staff members I met during my 18 days on safari. The food was excellent and always fresh and of course way too much. My parents and I left having put on a number of kilos. Sightings at Mara House in April were a little hard to come by. I enjoyed time with some lion prides, elephants, giraffes and other plains game. The scenery around the Mara North Conservancy is stunning and the rains made the plains beautiful and green. It allowed for beautiful photos of the animals contrasting against such lush grassland. Troy from True Africa helped me prepared my 18 days in Tanzania/Kenya and provided great support, guidance and suggestions with my itinerary. The Asilia properties I stayed at were all fantastic and I have already booked my next trip down in November to discover more. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. https://vimeo.com/159732116 Mara
  10. 1) Name of property and country: Dunia Camp, Seronera, Serengeti, Tanzania 2) Website address if known: http://www.asiliaafrica.com/destinations/tanzania/serengeti/dunia-camp/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). Green season, April, 2015 4) Length of stay: 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Great reviews, I was told the Seronera area was very pretty and I wanted a camp that I could transport easily by road from Namiri. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Through Troy at True Africa. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 4 times 8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No, we were accompanied everywhere after dark 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 9 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We had tents with great views over the Serengeti, they were private due to the camp having well established nature surround each tent. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? The rooms were very comfortable (glamping), king size bed, sitting area, bathroom with bucket shower. Everywhere was super clean regardless of it being the wet season. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was fantastic and there was great variety. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes there were different things on offer. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Yes, it was a communal table (single tables if requested) and hosted by two members of staff each night. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Yes, packed breakfasts and lunches were fresh, filling and delicious. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. We had an enclosed 4WD which was ideal due to the weather. 19) How many guests per row? 2 rows with 2 seats in each row. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Game drives were varied and depended on where we wanted to visit and what we wanted to see. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? We stayed our between 6 hours in the morning and about 3 hours in the afternoon. We travelled longer distances in the morning and stayed local (there was a pride of lions nearby). 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? Density was low due to the Green Season but at some sightings there were up to 6 cars. This is very low compared to peak season. 24) Are you able to off-road? No 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Not sure. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Very happy with our sightings. We saw wild dogs which is extremely rare in this area, our first leopard cubs and lions up a tree. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Fantastic and a good driver. Roads were very bad during certain parts due to the weather. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: N/A 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? The staff were helpful and happy during our stay. The staff were awesome. They looked after my parents when I was on safari and they were in camp. Plus they provided a lovely celebration the night of their wedding anniversary. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, through Asilia Africa. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Dunia Camp is a beautiful and well established camp south of the Seronera area of the Serengeti. It is in a quiet location with 9 tents, a lovely communal lounge and eating area. The tents are spacious, with a sitting area and large bathroom with a flush toilet and bucket showers. Everything that you need to relax in the bush. The staff are well trained and offer a fantastic level of service and the food is wonderful. The sightings around Dunia are very good although the amount of cars at each sighting is high depending on the time of year. It is best to get out early before the crowds arrive. I took my parents here in April so we did experience some wet weather but the staff made sure were comfortable and our guide was always happy to get out in the wet and challenging conditions to find the animals we had not seen. I really enjoyed spending time with the local lion pride who had some young cubs during our stay and allowed some brilliant photo opportunities. We all loved our time at Dunia and it was an ideal opportunity to see another new area of the Serengeti. Room Tip: All rooms were fantastic and a distance from each other and the communal area. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. https://vimeo.com/159729507
  11. I have started to edit the footage from my trip to Governor's. Here is the Mara River Crossing we saw, and lions.
  12. Here are just some of the big cat sightings we had whilst at Namiri Plains.
  13. @@africaaddict I actually preferred Encounter's camp because it was more rustic but still lovely and had a great hide. Try and organise Andrew (Encounter manager/guide), Ben (Rekoro Camp guide but he does move around) or Evelyn (Naboisho Camp but can move) to guide you. They all have great experience, know the crossing points and are great for photographers. You can also request to have a packed breakfast i.e. bacon/egg toast sandwich to eat if you want to not waste time for sit down breakfasts, especially for crossings if you need to just wait. Just speak to your guide/management to arrange this. I am very jealous. I can't wait to get back there again. You will have a lovely time.
  14. Thank you everyone for your kind words. Now to finish the Mega Africa TR which is running a little late. At least I have the videos to remind me of what we did.
  15. @GameWarden The other female guide I had in the Mara Triangle was Charity who works with andBeyond at Kichwa Tembo/Bateleur Camp. Here is a link to the trip report I did when I had her. http://safaritalk.net/topic/13781-east-africa-adventure-uganda-kenya-and-tanzania-21-days/?p=177015

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