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Everything posted by pomkiwi

  1. @Alexander33 Welcome along and thanks for your kind comments. There were 6 of us in the vehicle and all of us fairly relaxed I think. I have commented earlier on about the guiding and probably best just to say that my impression is that he was very, very keen to get a leopard sighting.
  2. I am just returning from a three day stay at Tuningi Lodge in the Madikwe. An interesting trip - lovely lodge, very cold (and windy at times), the first game drive on which I took no photos at all, a couple of firsts: a lion kill and an amazing waterhole. I will update as I sort my photos... (And yes @Game Warden - I will add a lodge review)
  3. @Whyone? Remember you need to take it in your hand luggage and not checked luggage.
  4. I agree with the comments from @Julian about ATR. I haven't booked through them but on one occasion did approach them for a possible trip and was very impressed with the careful and detailed response. I certainly did not feel at all pressured into any particular camp or company. And their website is also an excellent resource.
  5. @hannahcat It is very easy to manage a long weekend from the UK From both London and Birmingham (my local airport) it is possible to leave my desk at 5pm and be on the afternoon drive in South Africa the following afternoon. Coming home I can leave after the mornig drive and be back at my desk by 8.30 the following morning. There are a large number of airlines and routes into JNB which keeps costs down. ....And I don't work on Monfdays in any event!
  6. The larger prong on the UK/Africa plug is for the earth/ground connection. Most appliances/countries don't use this (and use 2 pin plugs). Many UK style sockets however have a safety shield that depends on the large prong to move it away which is why it is there even if it has no electrical function.
  7. @modleski I have stayed at Porini Lion and felt that the descriptions I had read beforehand were generally fair. The accommodation was comfortable and perfectly adequate especially given the fact that the focus for me was on the safari experience rather than luxury. The food was fine without being special (although I think at times some critics of camp food are less than sympathetic to the logistical issues involved in supplies and preparation). I found all of the staff in camp to be friendly and helpful. As others have commented I think it is important that they are almost all from the local Maasai. I found the guiding excellent and although I note that there have been one or two complaints I note that the owner appears to have been taken seriously. I also think that in any service industry there will inevitably be the occasional mistake or interaction that doesn't go well. I'm not sure what was meant by the warning to take the Tripadvisor reviews witha grain of salt - I think that is neccessary for all of Tripadvisor. In te end there are a lot of trip reports from the Mara here which will hopefully give an idea of the whole experience. I would also guess that individuals are happy to answer specific questions. Happy planning
  8. @Steven NY I agree with @Peter Connan that the filters are easy to take. However I'm not sure how much they will get used as most of the landscapes tend to be at their best early in the morning or at sunset and I've never found glare (as opposed to generally too much light) a big issue. I must say that I don't use filters (other than a UV skylight) now I use digital - it is pretty easy to get the effects I want in post processing.
  9. @Tulips Glad you made your flight. Yes security at JKIA is tight for very good reason. I always aim to arrive at the airport 3 hours before a flight in Africa as delays getting there and getting through the process are likely. It has taken me over an hour to get checked in and through security and passports at Johannesburg before now (and that's without the fingerprinting). Hope the blood pressure has settled!
  10. @samuelsski27 Opportunities to charge in camp may be limited - all the guests and staff are sharing few outlets. Additionally some camps do not have power 24/7. In Kenya the vehicles had charging sockets as above but they were not functional. I agree take a few adaptors as shown by @Atravelynn but I wouldn't bother with a power strip. Not sure what camera you use but the batteries for my Nikon will last for close to 1000 shots so a couple of spares will cover a few days. I try and escape from my phone on safari so not much need to charge that but as @AmyT says a powerbank is helpful (although mine seem to take an age to charge up).
  11. @janzin Try looking in hiking shops for soft shell layers - thin and light, windproof and shower proof. I have one by Haglofs which is a lovely shade of dull green!
  12. @Alexander33 Thank-you for this report and your account of the background to it. My sympathies and thoughts are with you and your family. I cancelled my first safari in similar circumstances (although my mother never knew) - I was able to rearrange and go a month or so after she died and can perfectly understand the bittersweet reference in your title. Lovely photos as always.
  13. @bluebird A couple of suggestions. Firstly if you have time consider using your miles to go via the UK or Europe as this may be much cheaper compared with the direct flight. For example London to Johannesburg in business class (flat bed, lounge access etc) is 130000 miles per person return. You may have to be flexible with dates and booking early is important. You could link this in with another reward flight from Atlanta to LHR at 140k return in Delta One or 110k in Comfort. So for 270k miles per person you could go business class albeit with a slightly more complicated journey. You could pay for a flight to London and then use miles for the longer flight to JNB in comfort but to be safe you may need to build a day in London in case of flight delays etc. Alternatively use Google Flights if looking at a cash booking and this will show lots of options - indirect routing via London or other European city will be much cheaper than the direct flight from Atlanta. Also look at flights from New York and other big gateways as these can be a lot cheaper - just use some miles to get there. Google Flights can be lots of fun if you like planning!
  14. @kitefarrago Thank-you for your additional comments and the lovely photos. I am very much aware that my short visit is just scratching the surface and if it goes well I think I am likely to plan a return!
  15. Inspired somewhat by @Swazicar's current trip report and some excellent BBC footage I am seriously considering a 7-10 day trip to Alsaka next year. I would like to spend time observing and photgraphing bears but would also like to take to opportunity to observe whales and orcas if possible. There a number of operators availble from an internet search but would be grateful if anyone had any specific recommendations. I have had a look at the trip reports forum and there are a couple of helpful reports there but with the exception of the report from @Spalding there is not too much that is recent.
  16. Plans now firm (and I was surprised how limited choices already are in some places). I'm flying direct from London to Seattle with British Aiways on an air miles ticket. I will then need to book flights to Anchorage once Alaska open up reservations for July. One night in Anchorage and then drive to Seward the following day for 3 nights. I have a day's cruise booked and one day free in Seward (probably a day hiking up to a glacier). The next day an early drive up to Soldotna to meet a small plane flight at 9am going to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge for 4 nights of mainly bears. Then an early flight back to the car and a leisurely drive back to Anchorage. Overnight there and an early pm flight to Seattle to meet my flight home to London. Looking forward to it already!
  17. In the lodges and tented camps there are people in and out of the rooms quite frequently - I wonder if this will discourage snakes and larger visitors? I have read a few accounts of exciting encounters in the Kruger restcamps but the accommodation there is likely to be undisturbed for many hours or a day or two at a time. I've seen a few spiders sharing my accommodation and a mouse of similar character to that described by @dinkdunk
  18. @Atravelynn And I thought I got around a bit! Lovely experiences and images.
  19. I read somewhere that the crocs will often go months between feeding after the mighration is over - I wonder if they were still fairly full after feeding the previous week? Enjoying the rport and the excellent images - thank-you.
  20. @TonyQ I am shamefully late - but what an excellent report and superb photos. Like many others I am inspired to plan a return to Scotland. I enjoyed your photos of the kites and buzzards - we get both around us at home (just south of you on the Warwick/Oxford border) but usually they keep their distance.
  21. Finally for now. Not the great migration but a minor variant with around 500 animals gathering and finally crossing the Mara River in Kenya. It was a tense experience with growing anticipation over the 4 hours or so it took for the animals to gather and finally cross. More images and description in my trip report from Porini Lion earlier this year.
  22. Secondly swimming with Manta Rays in the Maldives. We spent about 40 minutes in 3m of water as these large rays circled around us coming within a few centimetres but never touching us. Apologies for the image quality but I think the essence of the experience is conveyed.
  23. @Dave Williams I'll bite with a few! Firstly (and to contradict @colbol)!! Firstly a sperm whale off the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand. An awe inspiring experience to see them so close and to get just a sense of their power as they start to dive.
  24. @plambers As @pault comments there is repetition but perhaps the thing to consider isn't whether we or you would find it too repetetive but what the teenagers feel about doing much the same next year? I know from my own experience that while my kids enjoyed their first safari and found everything novel and exciting they wouldn't consider doing it again for a while.
  25. I tend to find most forms of support quite restrictive and have put some effort into improving my handheld technique with a Nikon D7200 and 80-400mm lens. The combinaton is not too heavy and I found the reach @400mm on a DX body was ample for pretty much everything we saw at Porini.

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