Peter Connan

Who is planning for 2018?

94 posts in this topic

I (the king of procrastination) personally tend to leave things to "the very last minute". Typically, the industry I work in closes down over December, but one is never quite sure of the dates more than a few months before the time, and this makes planning rather difficult. A large part of the problem is that my wife doesn't handle heat very well, and in southern Africa, heat in December is pretty much a given. Furthermore, I just can't get my head around planning two hoildays at the same time. One has to be finished before the dreaming for the next one starts.

 

The result is that I tend to plan no more than about 9 months in advance.

 

However, I have managed to "break out of the cycle", at least temporarily, with a trip to Namibia coming up shortly.

 

However, the other day a friend of mine dropped a bomb on me by sending me an invitation to what looked like a fabulous trip. Unfortunately, it fell on almost exactly the same dates as my Namibian trip, and I had to decline. Since he also already had a trip planned for the same dates, he just went ahead and organised a similar trip for 2018, and then re-invited me.

 

I just couldn't say no again, so I started begging my wife. She, to my surprise, said yes within the hour.

 

So then I bragged to my friend @@xelas, and the next moment he almost begged to be allowed to come along.

 

So here's what the three of us are doing in March next year (copied from the brochure):

 

" Please have a look at map… our Goals are as follow:

 

A – Starting the EXPEDITION in Mahalapye at 12h00, our first goal will be to track and follow the Route used by the old Explorers like David Livingstone to navigate the pans to the Zambezi.

 

B – To do the almost 200km of the 19:20 cutline named line X.

C – After the Selinda Track (Linking Moremi with Seronga), we will explore a new cut line on the border with the Caprivi in extreme Northern area of Botswana. (Rated to have the toughest sand roads in Botswana)

D – From our Old Camp “Nuka” on the “Corni” cut line to travel to Gcwihaba Hills, the home of Drostky’s Cave – The World of the lost city of the Kalahari. "

This is primarily a 4x4 expedition, rather than a traditional game-viewing safari, and it breaks with my normal holiday habits in several important ways:

1) This is a guided trip. I have never used a guide before.

2) It looks as if we will be driving pretty much every day. I tend to prefer staying at least two days in any one area.

3) The trip is partially catered. Normally, we self-cater all the way along.

4) There will in almost all cases be no facilities whatsoever at the campsites, which will almost all be informal.

What makes it a little more challenging is that no trailers are allowed, nor "complicated tents" (I am currently unsure what that means).

On the other hand, it promises plenty of time for five of my favorite pastimes, spending time with my wife, spending time with good friends (there will be 10 vehicles excluding the guide, almost all guys who I have travelled and camped with before), 4x4ing, photography and exploring new areas.

And since we will be travelling through a number of areas where tourists seldom go, the "exploring" might be much closer to an absolute truth than is normally the case (although the areas will obviously never be completely new and un-travelled), and conjures up visions of mile upon mile of twisty little two-spoor.

As you can no doubt tell, I am immencely excited about this trip!

 

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Sounds fantastic, I can't wait for the trip report and pictures.

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Yes, thanks to extreme courtesy by @@Peter Connan (and his lack of knowing his new friends well enough :P ) I was able to beg my place in this, for me at least once in a lifetime experience. Also because I am pretty sure Zvezda will not be caught off-guard next time :D . For sure there will be a very long and very detailed trip report, supported by the excellent photography by Peter. Wait, the count-down - 14 months!

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In July/August of 2018, for three weeks, and in a company of excellent birders and photographers @@michael-ibk and @@AndMic a birding/photography/Pura Vida trip to Costa Rica is already scheduled, and the itinerary done:

 

Itinerary is as follows:
Arenal/Arenal Observatory Lodge (3 nights) (Alajuela via Poas)
Sarapiqui/Posada Andrea Cristina (2)
Manzanillo/Congo Bongo (4)
San Gerardo de Dota/Quetzal Valley Cabins (3) (via Cartago)
Cabo Matapalo/Bosque del Cabo (4)
Dominical/Pacific Edge (2)
Jaco/Cerro Lodge (2)
Of course, we will rent a car. Not without Zvezda this time. So expect another lenghty trip report filled with fantastic photos of birds, monkeys, forests, flowers, landscapes, volcanos, ... Count down: 17 months.
Let see if we could be as lucky as @@Chakra was (and @@xyz99 and other ST members visiting the land of Pura Vida in last few years.
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supported by the excellent photography by Peter.

 

@@xelas, I sincerely hope you will be contributing a whole lot of your excellent photos as well?

 

Either way, it will be a huge pleasure to have you along.

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The 2018 thread is here! Have fun @@xelas and @@Peter Connan and all!

 

Any tent would be complicated for me Peter, but I guess it means ones that take time to put up and take down?

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Posted (edited)

@@pault, I had assumed he meant "technically complex", as in "likely to bend, break or self-destruct".

 

Perhaps I should not assume so much...

 

Another question for the briefing session.

Edited by Peter Connan

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I have no idea what/whether award flights will open up until 11 months from departure date, and there are annual tradeshows that take place around the time I'm planning my trip (they haven't announced 2018 dates.)

 

Amidst all of the uncertainty, I said "to heck with it" and have put down a deposit on 3 Botswana camps that fill up so fast that I've never been able to snag rooms at their properties during the peak season.

 

Mombo, Duba Plains and Zarafa. This is for September 2018.

 

I'm no Spring chicken, and generally do not hope for time to fly by quickly. But in this case, I kind of do :)

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@@Peter Connan this looks like a fabulous trip - I have thought of following in the footsteps of Livingstone in Northern Botswana but haven't yet got around to discussing this with a local operator.

 

How long is this trip, and who is the guide? It sounds a wonderful off the beaten track adventure and I am looking forward to hearing all about it!

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Thank you @@Treepol

 

I will PM you the details next time i switch on my computer.

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Posted (edited)

In just about 12 months...February-March 2018--back to India! This 2nd trip covering Rajasthan and Gujarat, all with private guide, and 3 full-day game drives scheduled for Ranthambhore. Its a long countdown but thankfully there are some 2017 trips to do first :)

 

Day 01 Arrive Ahmedabad at 1800 hrs

Day 02 Drive to Velavadar (150 kms/3 hrs) - Afternoon Game Drive in Velavadar

Day 03 Velavadar (Morning & Afternoon Game Drives)

Day 04 Morning game drive at Velavadar, Later drive to Gir (220 kms4-5 hrs)

Day 05 Gir (03 Drives)

Day 06 Gir (03 Drives)

Day 07 Gir to Little Rann of Kutch (315 kms/6 hrs) - Afternoon Game Drive

Day 08 LRK (Morning & Afternoon Game Drives)

Day 09 LRK to Bera (275 kms/6 hrs) - Afternoon Game Drive at Bera

Day 10 Bera (Morning & Afternoon Game Drives)

Day 11 Morning Game Drive at Bera, Later drive to Shahpura (260 kms/5 hrs)

Day 12 Shahpura to Ranthambhore (200 kms/4 hrs) - Afternoon Game Drive at Ranthambhore

Day 13 Ranthambhore (Full Day Game Drive)

Day 14 Ranthambhore (Full Day Game Drive)

Day 15 Ranthambhore (Full Day Game Drive)

Day 16 Morning Game Drive at Ranthambhore, Later train to Bharatpur (GT Exp/12903 at 1230/1500 hrs) - Afternoon Birding at Bharatpur

Day 17 Bharatpur (Full Day Birding at Bharatpur)

Day 18 Morning birding at Bharatpur, afternoon drive to Delhi (200 kms/4 hrs) & Departure to IGI airport

Edited by janzin
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@@janzin , great itinerary, would love to join it, but as per my posts here, my 2018 is already fully booked :D . ST member @@Chakra is in Gujarat right now, "as we speak", so there will be some first-hand experiences, and hopefully a trip report when he will come back.

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It'll be my pleasure to help such a well traveled person like @@janzin.

I'm off to Velavadar tomorrow. An Indian wolf will really make my day.

Now recovering from 7500 steps of forced pilgrimage !!!

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@@janzin Congratulation! Please can you tell me how you got your trip planning ready. This guy's from WWI drives me crazy with big gaps in communication. What does I do wrong?

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I would love to plan a trip to the Pantanal for 2018 (with Pantanal Trackers- julhino preferably ) Anyone here interested in joining me?

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Just starting to plan a trip to Sri Lanka in January, instead of our usual South Africa trip. probably means we'll end up in South Africa in September instead...

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Looking forward to the Costa Rica trip already mentioned by @@xelas , and before that to a week in Zakouma (Camp Tinga) in March.

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@@xelas @@michael-ibk

 

Wow! That is an epic Costa Rican itinerary. Bosque del Cabo has found a place in my heart, so I truly believe your 4 nights there will be well spent. I'm anxious to hear what July/August is like in comparison to our January experiences there.

 

The way things are unfolding, it is looking like we may not make it back to Costa Rica in 2018, so I will be depending on you both to share additional field work (although the San Gerardo de Dota region looks to be a lock for the next time we do return -- hopefully, sooner than later).

 

Happy travels in the meantime. Michael, Zakouma? Can't wait to hear about that.

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@@Alexander33

 

To become a truly epic CR itinerary, we should add 2 weeks and Caribbean + La Amistad (and Monteverde and Tenorio) :):) . Now, you and others will surely hear (=read) about our journey; maybe even twice :o ?!

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Well, Safaritalk strikes again.

 

I had never had Kenya very high on my list, but it was likely higher up than a Green Season safari anywhere. So you know what that means, don't you?

 

Yep. Kenya in the Green Season next year. The plethora of fantastic Kenya trip reports over the past 12 months from safaris taken in January and February helped me take the plunge!

 

Laikipia and the Maasai Mara Conservancies (Kicheche Laikipia, Kicheche Mara and Kicheche Bush). Just booked.

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The mix of CA and Africa is just irresistible, isn't it, @@Alexander33 ?!

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Some amazing plans for 2018, @@Peter Connan, @@xelas, @@michael-ibk ! I have only just begun planning for next week (nothing interesting...):) Those Costa Rica places sure bring back great memories. Something to look forward to, no doubt. Will you be home at all next year @@xelas? Take no notice,I'm only envious....

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@@PeterHG , way too many days, IMO :) . Only 2 trips are fixed for 2018, I need to mandatory add another one ... or two :D .

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The mix of CA and Africa is just irresistible, isn't it, @@Alexander33 ?!

 

@@xelas

 

Actually, it's the entire world I'm finding irresistible. One bite at a time, I guess......

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The trick is, @@Alexander33 , to be persistent! And not to be enchanted by one single country, or even continent. The world is a beauty!

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