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Sangeeta

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Sangeeta last won the day on July 30 2015

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About Sangeeta

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    Order of the Pith

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    http://chaloafrica.com
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    Washington DC metro area

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  1. I agree with Michael. You could do frugal in both Hwange & Vic Falls. Even Matusadona, which is a nice add-on to Mana.
  2. My goodness, @@Chakra, you just sucked me into this!! I started reading the report thinking I'd spend half an hour on it but I just could not put it down What a wonderful report this is on the offbeat paths & tracks of Gujarat. I don't know where to begin with your writing & photography - suffice it to say that they are both sublime & I am so looking forward to reading your Alaskan Adventures whenever you get to them. Talking about culture, you must tell @@Galana about the Indian musical art of 'jugalbandi'. That's precisely what the two of you have given us here - each of you have made the other better & better - until we got this jewel of a report. Too many lovely things to point out, but the birds and the wolf and the asses and the salt pan and the rock formations and the camels were among the many eye-catchers for me. Chapeau & shabash!
  3. @@optig - as Kit says, not a tsetse in sight, which was a great bit of luck!
  4. http://thezimbabwean.co/2017/05/shot-presidential-elephant-fall-hunter-theunis-botha-hwange/m Many unknowns here still.
  5. Lovely photos, Kit! You managed to take all kinds of wonderful shots with your trusty little camera - some of them are really, really excellent. About my little tour of Tinga. Sadly I could not see the newly refurbed rooms as they were occupied during our visit, but I'll put up a few of the old rooms that l did manage to get. I pottered about in the mess/verandah area at the end of breakfast hour, and the food set up looked quite nice to me.
  6. Haha, the pink does indeed look like a rose Nice going @@Atravelynn! All in the eyes of the beholder, but this could be a fun thread!
  7. Adding to @@twaffle's comments above... As Camp Nomade guests, we encountered at least one Tinga camp vehicle on several occasions. We survived.
  8. Haha, @@inyathi - yes, that's a very apt word, it is indeed a 'curious' book. I have not read it in the English, but in the French, the writing is brilliant and the story line of a slightly (or very) mad individual tilting at the windmills appeals to me because I like these lunatic plot lines where 'sane' person after 'sane' person gets caught up in the original 'insane' mission so that at the end you can hardly distinguish between the 2 camps at all. @@Galago, would love to hear from you after you read it. I know @@optig has read the book & watched the movie too. I have not seen the movie myself & I wonder if they deviated from the original plot... I saw the movie they made of John Masters' brilliant book ' Bhowani Junction' & was so disappointed. Since then, I stay away from movie versions of classic books until they are vouched for by others 😄
  9. @@Soukous, thank you! Ignoring the naysayers. To your question, if singles are willing & able to share, then there is no SS. @@AmyT, I got your PM and have responded. Thanks.
  10. A sharp-eyed reader just told me that we have a zebra image in our wetu itinerary... mea culpa - there are no zebras in Zakouma. and I'll only believe the hippo stories if I see them for myself
  11. I had not intended to post this trip on ST, but now that it has been referenced here, I thought I may as well put it up here for any of you who may be interested in joining. We are running 2 back-to-back trips in March 2018, led by Doug MacDonald. There are 6 spots in each group. Group 1 is fully booked and group 2 has 4 slots remaining, so feel free to PM me if interested. The details of the trip can be found here: https://www.chaloafrica.com/safari-tours/chad/safari-zakouma-national-park-chad-2018/ With all the new rules and restrictions being envisaged for 2019 onwards, this looks more and more like a pretty good deal Doug and I started putting this trip together a long time ago, and it makes us very happy to think of it as a solid model for the future.
  12. I would like to pop into this discussion briefly since it is my company, Chalo Africa, that is running the two 2018 March safaris to Zakouma (Tinga) with Doug. While we are perfectly okay with the restrictions on our guests in 2018 (Camp Nomade gets first preference for everything) we are not happy with some of the proposed restrictions on Tinga starting in 2019. For instance, if I understand it correctly, although Tinga is being refurbished to attract larger numbers of guests, there appear to be no plans as of now to add additional vehicles to the camp. I hope this is not so. Because if it is, then the Tinga guests will be restricted to certain time-slots to make sure everyone gets an outing and if you are photo enthusiast who gets a mid-morning slot in March or April, you are not going to be a happy Tinga guest. I can definitely tell you that we will not plan any trip that may end up with disgruntled guests and unhappy guides. The whole point of visiting Zakouma is to have the freedom to explore a beautiful and unusual destination, and if we don't have vehicles to do this, then we have nothing. The park is certainly large enough to accommodate another 5-6 vehicles and the guides can coordinate so that CN guests are not disturbed and still left feeling privileged. So IMO, this is a perfectly valid point raised by @@Tony Busanga and I hope the park re-considers its vehicle policy for 2019 onwards. I think AP could easily raise Tinga prices for its non-resident visitors (essentially following the same model as elsewhere in Africa) and use some of its funds to purchase some more vehicles for Tinga so that all camp visitors have access to at least 1 seat in their vehicles for the morning and evening drives. Or maybe the President will be kind enough to donate some more confiscated vehicles I also think that this new policy does not encourage collegiality within the guiding fraternity. For certain guides who have invested considerable time and effort in learning about and in promoting Zakouma, it is not nice to be placed on a so-called B list, even if this is the financially sound thing for AP to do. For one, there are emerging areas of the world with new donor potential that could be very beneficial to AP in the long run. The A list guides likely do not have access to ALL big donors everywhere in the world. So whilst I can still wrap my head around Camp Nomade becoming a "donor camp" in the future, IMO any accredited guide who has access to these types of 'potential' donors should be able to bring in their guests to CN. Perhaps AP needs to publish a list of criteria and guidelines for the guides - A List if you fulfill them, B list if you don't. But people need to know what it takes to get on that A list in order to feel good about promoting visitors to the park - and it should not give them the feeling that the A-List is a 'closed shop'. I sincerely hope that AP will give more thought to how it rolls out the new proposals.
  13. Les Racines du Ciel… While Kit does a stellar job with her lovely writings, musings and her really beautiful photos (thank you, Kit, for taking on this herculean task on your shoulders – not to mention the Guassa report as well!), I thought I’d interject on a slightly different aspect of the trip – one that meant a lot to me personally. I may have mentioned this somewhere on ST, but my first ever trip to Africa was in January 1984. I remember landing in Algiers one cold and wet January morning, extremely surprised by the Africa that greeted me (as opposed to the Africa of my naïve imaginations). The airport road was lined with the oddest juxtaposition of alternating palm trees and pines as it wound its way up to Algiers - a stunning white city that tumbled down the hillsides to the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Algiers looked deceptively French, and its bistros served mouth-wateringly good ‘soupe de poisson’ accompanied by the most elegant ‘roux’ you can imagine. Algerian wines were a tad rougher but no less delicious. As for the patisseries and boulangeries in Algiers – in those days, even the humblest neighborhood establishments could give Paris a run for their money. But it isn’t just the French influence that is apparent in North Africa. Arabia is infused in their language. The entire length of Africa is reflected in the many shades of their skin. Italy is evident in their many Roman ruins and long Roman noses. Those colorful rugs I know well from Turkey and beyond. And that curly black hair is distinctly sub-Saharan. North Africa is a jumble of cultures and ethnicities, customs, cuisines and languages – each separate but also melded together to create a very distinctive North African identity that runs across the breadth of the continent – in a straight line from Mauritania to Sudan and all the vast countries that lie north of that imaginary line. I fell in love with Africa that year. Sadly, Algeria’s ‘troubles’ began soon after our sojourn there and we never got a chance to go back to North Africa. This trip to Chad was my first safari in francophone Africa and I was both surprised and delighted by the onrush of memories that engulfed me as soon as I saw the dusty arcaded avenues of N’Djamena, the jalabiya-clad men on the street, some of them wearing the blinding-blue turbans I had seen in the Berber highlands of Algeria and Morocco. The same distinctive French calligraphy on African storefronts. From my brief glimpse of it, N’Djamena lacks the sophistication of an Algiers and a Casa, but it is definitely and quintessentially, an African-Saharan-French outpost city. I would love to go back and spend more time exploring N’Djamena as well as some of the other little towns and hamlets that cling precariously to the edges of the desert. In fact, there were moments when I felt I was living the pages of a Tintin story, complete with a flag-flying crenelated fortress and Mr. Twaffle in his Legionnaire's hat As I was getting ready to leave for Chad, I received a small parcel in the mail. It was from my dearest friend, Perrine, from my college days in Paris. She is an ardent bibliophile. When she heard that I was headed to Chad, she managed to unearth for me, from goodness knows where, a first edition of Romain Gary’s Les Racines du Ciel (The Roots of Heaven) – a book about a quixotic character on an improbable mission to save the elephants of Chad from hunting and poaching. Of course, I took the book along with me to Zakouma and bored everyone else to tears by pulling it out of my backpack at the littlest pretext! But I also read it in my tent and in the lounge tent at Camp Nomade. It felt special to be reading this book in Chad 60 years after it was written and when the eles are so much a part of the Zakouma story. @@inyathi used charmingly written French-English bilingual headers in his TR which made a strong allusion to the Francophone aspect of Chad. And I must say, it does help a little to speak the language, especially because it makes it easier to talk to the people who work so hard to make these safaris possible for people like us. Mahamat, the head guide at Camp Nomade speaks excellent English, of course, but he and I would lapse into French from time to time for a bit of comfortable chatter about things not strictly safari - such as the many languages of Chad, the tribes of his country etc. As some of you may know already, the famous Gerewol festival of Niger is not limited to Niger. The Wodaabe live a trans-frontier lifestyle and an equally large Gerewol Festival is also held each year in Chad since there is a sizeable Wodaabe population here as well (in 2017, the festival will be held in September). This could form the nucleus of a memorable trip to Chad and I hope I can do this at some point myself in the not too distant future. http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/amazing-journeys/gerewol-dances-chad-africa Up until now, I have been single-minded about wildlife-wildlife-wildlife on all my trips to Africa. Not that I have not enjoyed meeting the people, but truth be told, it has always been about the animals for me. This trip changed things. I think I am beginning to see that Africa cannot be about one thing to the exclusion of the other. And I am wildly excited now about discovering and properly exploring the hidden nooks and corners of francophone Africa…
  14. PS - I agree on the polarization bit, btw. Yes, it is sad that it should be this way.

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