Vysakh R Nambiar

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About Vysakh R Nambiar

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    Resident in Africa/Former resident
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    Wildlife Photographer/Artist

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  1. Lappet Faced Vulture (Masaimara) Rwanda Malachite Kingfisher Speckled Mouse Bird
  2. Thank you very much for your reply. I think I will split it as 4 days each.
  3. I have shot with the 300 2.8 (rented) They are super sharp no doubt and the 2.8 does help in low light (DOF is an issue). However, I feel it sits in an awkward position in terms of a Safari lens or that is my personal opinion. Will be looking forward to your article to see what you feel.
  4. 300 F4 I would not recommend you to add on more luggage as you already have a 500 F4. If it was a 300 F2.8 it would have been different especially in the evenings. Also DO NOT CHECK IN YOUR GEAR even on the international segment unless you have a good insurance on it that covers all risks. Nairobi has been notorious for thefts from checked in Luggage. Also, see from your post that you are carrying 2 bodies. It gets extremely dusty and you will not be able to change lenses while on Safari. Especially near crossings I have always felt the dust levels gets even higher. Adding to the whole scenario is that the fact that you have the superb 70-200 2.8, which will be 320 equivalent on your 7D.
  5. I know this is an old post but posting this link so that it can be useful for someone in the future. http://www.touristmapskenya.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=62 They also have a list of places you can buy their maps from. Its not just Mara they cover pretty much all of East Africa
  6. Hi Just wanted the groups thought on this. Even though I have been to Serengeti and Ngorongoro I have never done the calving season specifically at Ndutu area. I have been talking to some guides in and around the area for some time now. As expected am totally confused. The best reasoning one of the guides have given me is that I should split my days between early December and Late Feb. That is to split into five nights each. I live in Rwanda and actually if need be I could drive to Arusha in 12 hrs split into two or fly into Kilimanjaro in less than 1 hrs. What he is telling me is that the herds arrive in Ndutu area by early Dec on their route south and continue down south however the temporary stay in the area during that time is good for hunts etc. Then they come back north influenced by the rains during mid to late Feb. What do you guys think about this? my idea is to split say the 7 - 10 night I wanted to spend in late Feb as 4 nights in early Dec and then 4 or 5 in late Feb. What cost PPPN would you think is reasonable in this area? What am getting is more than what I am used to seeing in other parts of Serengeti. Appreciate any inputs, experiences or thoughts.
  7. There was a time when I bought a ticket from my card for my Dad and unfortunately they asked for the card. I had to email them my Photo ID Proof with a letter saying I was the one who booked the ticket for him. This was on a Kenya Airways flight out of Burundi. When I talked to the local office here, their explanation was, Kenya Airways alone have been losing money in 6 Digit USD figures to fraudulent transactions. The Modus Operandi is to book tickets a day or two before the date of travel, use the ticket and then initiate a chargeback. The tickets will be booked in a different name to that of the card holder. Technically Visa and Mastercard has a 30 days chargeback policy in most countries. A way around this is to use online money transfer from your bank for buying tickets or booking with a card that you can actually carry. It is also important that the card belongs to a person in the group. If you are gifting a trip to some one be sure to send an authorisation letter with them. That has your telephone number and a copy of your ID proof so that they don't have trouble at check in. Been there. Our bank switched from Visa to Mastercard at one point, and sent us new cards. We forgot we had booked SAA tickets on the old one. As we arrived at Jo'burg, we were asked to produce the old card, which obviously we couldn't. It's a very stupid rule; the seats are there, they are fully paid for, the names on the passports are correct, etc etc... but it is somewhere in the small print that you also have to prove you own the credit card. Honestly, I cannot understand why a consumer-organisation has not contested this rule yet. Anyway, we were lucky that our bank was open on a saturday morning. They were able to send a fax to the SAA desk, which stated what happened with our cards. If that would have failed, we'd be forced to buy our own seats a 2nd time. Go figure! This is a really strange rule. I always buy my tickets online and have never yet been asked to show my credit card, however I don't think any North American Airlines require this. I often buy tickets for my mother to come and visit us so of course she would never have the credit card used to pay for the ticket. When travelling in other parts of the world I will be careful to make sure I carry the correct credit card. Thanks for the warning.
  8. Just to understand as you are in the field, how large a % of tourists to EA or Kenya is actually doing Pure birding safaris? If it is a small % is it because people don't realise the importance of local bird species as well as they understand or want to see say lions or cheetahs ?
  9. That is shocking. Hope the EAC does something about this soon. The corruption in these countries should be aiding this, hope Africans can see beyond the short terms gains of Bribe and actually look into the future of this beautiful continent.
  10. Even in July? We were at the Mara river during the first few days of July. We thought we were too early for the crossings but we watched 2 amazing crossings. wildebeests don't follow any timetable, they will cross when the weather (rains ) dictate when they have to cross. You just have to hope for the best. Certainly, wildlife is wild and sticks to its own timetable. That's nature, and I get that. However, when planning, I would think that one would side with the highest probability, instead of mere possibility. And, if early herds are crossing in Kenya in July, there are still likely some trailing herds in the Northern Serengeti. Again, I'd just want to book by probability. In the last few days, I've gone back and read several Kenya trip reports, searching for reports on the Mara in June/July. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being too hasty in zeroing in on Tanzania for any future June/July based trips. I found a few wonderful reports, but almost all were in the conservancies, away from the crossings. I also found SEVERAL negative comments about being in the Mara Reserve in July. Many posters indicated that it was their least favorite time to experience the area. Since this thread is about what it would take to induce a Kenya booking: I'd book Kenya if the lodges adjusted prices accordingly. This crowdsourcing system might help you plan at least. http://www.discoverafrica.com/herdtracker/
  11. @@Tom Kellie The actual published date was October 2015. I don’t think that is going to happen, as in May it did look a bit far from nearing completion, as it should be if it’s going to be opening in October. Yes that is the movable passenger tunnel.
  12. @@gagan I think you misunderstood me, I am comparing them to themsleves say 5 or 6 years back. However they are medium to small when compared to other airports and will remain so for some more time to come. Even though many of the capitals have started or are on the verge of starting construction of bigger international airports. @@Tom Kellie They are actually building a new airport at Dar already. Even though your question was to gagan, am just putting my thoughts here. I do not approve of the aerobridge mania most of these developments or so called modifications concentrate on. Yes one or two would be good but African airports need many things before aerobridges including better toilets, waiting areas, security measures, mosquito control, cleaning budgets , Ambulances, update fire fighting equipment, Generators and all that before Aerobridges. A friend, who was on the team of a development project at an EA airport was telling me that the Aerobridge contracts are very high value and there is good scope of a hefty bribe in them and that is the reason why we find development or improvement projects concetrated around them. I am sorry for taking the discussion off topic. I just feel bad about the money that is wasted on this. Do note that many airlines mandate Aero Bridges for comming to airports how ever you dont need 7 or 8 of them when you have a max of 2 or 3 flights that can fit on an aero bridge comming in.
  13. Gagan things are changing I have to say, especially bigger cities in EA. Like Dar, Kampala (Entebbe) and Nairobi have more options to eat now than they had say 5 or 6 years back. At Least the food counters they have carry more options now. I remember sitting at Mwanza Airport in the late 90s (I was pretty young and was travelling with my mother and sister to join Dad in Kigali) with not even a bottle of water to drink. The best part was when we landed in Bukoba there was no airport there it was my first air strip landing, it was real fun at that age when the pilot actually had to fly over the air strip like twice to scare away the resident cows. To add to the ambience you could clearly see a plane in water that had over shot the runway and landed in the lake.
  14. ~ @@gagan Passion juice? Did someone say ‘passion juice’? Anytime, anywhere. Passion juice is part of my Africa experience, both in and out of airports. Tom K. It truly is a staple drink in this part of the world. However let me warn you the juice is not usually extracted in a hygienic manner. If they call it fresh better not to drink it. If its coming from a bottle may be. Take it from me I used to run a restaurant in Kigali and have fought with my kitchen staff over this several times.

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