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AmyT

Two months to go... where we I go next?

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Posted (edited)

In two months and a couple of days, we will be winging our way to Kenya! I cannot wait and have nothing left to plan!!

 

I am thrilled that a friend from work and her high-school aged daughter decided to join us at the last minute, which should make the experience that much better (unless I drive her bonkers with my many exclamations.) :rolleyes:

 

My boss is retiring at the end of the school year and she considered going with us too; the timing wasn't right as we leave two days after school gets out and she has to stay through the end of June. So now I am wondering about a "next safari," when I haven't gone on the first one yet!

 

What say you, collective Safari Gurus? This might be a teacher's trip, so probably shorter than the 2 weeks that I'm going this year. Daughter will be doing an internship next summer so I won't have to work around her schedule, although we will be pretty much restricted to mid-June to early-August again.

 

PS That we I in the title is going to drive me bonkers. Can someone fix it to we?

Edited by AmyT

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Take this with a grain of salt, coming from someone who has gone to Kenya three consecutive times....I'd say either other places in Kenya or add Rwanda. My "next" safaris have Zambia or Botswana written all over them, but the challenge for me has been how long it takes to get there, eating into the 2 week limit I have on vacation time. Kenya is just more efficient for me, not to mention I LOVE the Mara and each conservancy for me has been different than the last. Plus there's Ol Pejeta, Amboseli, Samburu, etc.

 

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda was INCREDIBLE. Nothing prepared me for how intense it would be. You could do worse than a Mara-gorilla combination, which you could easily squeeze into less than 2 weeks from the US.

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OK this is my thing about gorillas and chimpanzees. They are so close to us biologically that it feels like going to @@amybatt's house and watching her eat dinner with a camera through the windows. Is that just me? I can't stand seeing the great apes in zoos and I avoid them; elephants too.

 

The other issue is that I am not at all fit and doubt I could keep up with the gorilla trekkers. Any workaround there?

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Posted (edited)

Well, your mileage may vary when it comes to our primate cousins. I'm just all about all animals, they just fascinate me. I'm actually more fascinated by the primates I think because they are so much like us. I have more photos of gorilla hands (nails, knuckles, wrinkles, cuticles) than I care to admit. It FASCINATES me. So being able to mingle among them with no glass between them and me (our gorilla enclosure at the zoo in Boston is all glassed in) was incredible. The sociology you can watch first hand like the females grooming the silverback or the baby acting in deference to the big daddy was so interesting. Plus just the sort of unfiltered "human" behavior (openly belching, nose picking, passing gas, mating in the open) was kind of funny.

 

The trek goes as fast as the slowest person in the group. Our second day had a 76 year old man who had two porters helping him along, and I have to say while I fully expected him to slow us down, I hardly noticed him once we got moving. It was his life's goal to see wild gorillas, and gosh darn it, he did it.

 

The gorillas were just a suggestion. You could also combine 2-3 different places in Kenya or Tanzania and come up with a completely different experience than the one you are about to do. I loved Amboseli because I felt it was so much different than what I'd seen in the Mara. Same with Ol Pejeta. You may want to stick to more traditional "safari" for your first-timer friend, if she's expecting that. Rather than go way off the reservation to come up with something different because it's your second time. I mention Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda only because I know I can get there in under 20 hours. Any other safari destination from Boston is over 24 hours in transit. Not sure if it'd be the same for you or not.

Edited by amybatt
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Coming from the west coast, our flights will be 26 hours (three legs on the way to Nairobi, two on the return). *sigh* But Japan would be longer for you than it was for me. :rolleyes:

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I know! Part of me is "saving" the rest of Asia and Australia until I move to the west coast (date still undetermined). In the meantime I'm trying to exhaust Europe and Africa before those become too far.

 

I remember on this last trip, my friend from LA left LA the same day as I did, but when I was waking up in the morning, and I left around dinner time. Argh.

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In many ways I think you will have a much better idea about what you want out of your next safari when you have completed this one. Of course keep reading the TRS for various countries and national parks in the meantime but I think your preferences will be clearer when you get back and then you can make a proper plan. ....probably the day after you get back.😊 I am sure you will enjoy this trip @@AmyT

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Posted (edited)

@AmyT I sat on this for a few days but have to put a plug in for the Rwanda gorilla trekking. Because of your concept of viewing chimps/gorillas in the wild is exactly why you should go trekking. It is by far, out of 9 safaris, the most amazing experience I've ever had. These incredible, smart, beautiful creatures (who are so similar to us, yet without the inhibitions we've been taught as @@amybatt pointed out) are soul changing in the flesh. They are extremely endangered, with the very real possibility of them becoming extinct as no zoo has successfully been able to "keep" them in captivity. In zoos they have various species of lowland gorillas, endangered though not to the extent of mountain gorillas. To have had the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful and endangered souls in the world, was truly life changing. OMG- and the fuzzy babies!!!!! And most importantly, you instantly know that you are in their world, not a zoo. There are no walls, no glass.....it is truly exhilarating (as you will also find with elephants and lions and oh so many beautiful inhabitants of our natural world). It is not a trip to pass on if you can do it. Plus, Rwanda is a beautiful and friendly country. Bonuses all around. If you do this, go to the Genocide Museum. It is also a mind blowing experience. Sad, reaffirming, educating...oh so many emotions...experience. I did it alone which was hard because I sooooo wanted to share it with someone. It is a must. Now, as far as the actual trekking...I was a few years younger than I am now, but even then I was a slightly overweight, smoking, couch potato (still am :) ). If I could handle it, trust me, so can you. As @@amybatt mentioned, they go the pace of the slowest person in the group and there is always a slower person than you in the group :) @@wilddog also had a good point...after your first trip you'll have a better sense of what your interests are, but I just didn't want you to write off the gorilla trekking too quickly.

So, are you beyond excited for your upcoming trip? :) Heart palpatations? Lists upon lists? I sooo love planning an African trip.

Edited by lmonmm
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You may also want to consider Kahuzi Biega NP, DRC accessible from Kamembe on Rwandan side to Bukavu for the western lowland gorillas. Bonus is you'd likely be the only tourists with the chimmanuka family.

 

Bale mountains Ethiopia for red wolves

 

Mauritius for endemic flying fox, endemic birds : pink pigeon, dodo, kestrels

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Planning your next trip before taking your first--way to go. Such an approach is not all that rare.

 

I like the gorilla suggestions because that will be different from your first trip. You can do a couple of days with gorillas along with a more traditional safari for the remaining time. In fact that is what I did for safaris #1 and #2.

 

The options are endless for a second trip, or third, or ... and then it is time to repeat.

 

Two months, very exciting!

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Eight sleeps until we leave for Kenya, and five months (to the day!) when I leave for Mana Pools. I "bought" my Ethiopian Airlines flight using miles from a credit card, and notified Doug Macdonald's people that my dates had changed slightly to allow for better flights. This morning, while plugging them into my calendar, I realized that I have another 10 days free, due to our school being closed over Thanksgiving week.

 

So... any recommendations on where I could spend another week (frugally) before heading home? Carpe diem!

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Lucky you! Do you mean one more week in Zimbabwe? I´d say Hwange and Vic Falls.

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I agree with Michael. You could do frugal in both Hwange & Vic Falls. Even Matusadona, which is a nice add-on to Mana.

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