Game Warden

First time Safari advice.

93 posts in this topic

@@Neeners815 Just checked the us gov page on passports and they say 2-4 I would think 4 would be sufficient, but at least that. I did see one woman almost not get on the flight to Joburg from Atlanta because they said she didn't have enough blank pages so they do look at that. Not sure what side of Vic falls you are doing, but if I recall, the Zimbabwean visa takes an entire page.

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Thanks so much, @Imonmm!!

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Hello again - I have a question re: footwear as I am reading opposing things elsewhere. How many different types of shoes do you take? Do we need hiking boots? We definitely don't plan on doing any hiking, but we might do a short walking safari (if we are brave enough). I wasn't sure if tennis shoes would be good enough as long as they have a hard rubber sole.

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You probably don't need hiking boots though I usually take them. Sneakers are fine though I can attest to an acacia thorn going through those pretty easily :) I usually just have the boots (any type of good walking shoe/sneaker with a good sole would work) and sandals for siesta time. I'm trying to remember your itinerary- isn't there time in Vic falls and then a boat? Not sure how "dressy" those two pieces are, but you are limited in how much stuff you can bring anyway so don't stress it. And definitely go on a walk- they are fun :)

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@@Neeners815...we have always been told to have six blank pages. Shoes....I wear a pair of sandals on the plane and have them if I need something nicer. I bring a pair of Tevas, sox or no sox, and can rinse off. And, a pair of sturdy walking shoes (tan). These have always worked for four weeks in Africa. Hope this helps.

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Thank you so much! Very helpful.

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Tennis shoes might be a bit flimsy - definitely for a walk as you might stub your toe. Running shoes would be fine. Remember it might rain and so some really light foowear that takes no space is useful inn case you have to dry out your shoes.

 

I don't think ti would be helpful for mne to discuss footwear further, although I am tempted. :)

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Take shoes with a good thick sole to prevent thorns going through them

 

camp shops only have tshirts, crafts etc, they don't stock anything practical

 

also take a spare pair of shoe laces

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I always wear my boots on the plane to save weight in the luggage and then take them off when I get settled and fly in just my socks, it's comfortable and practical.

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boots can be 5kg , there is no need to let the airline count that in your baggage allowance

 

that is the way I have always travelled

 

I prefer boots as they give better support to the foot

 

on one occasion I felt a bit of ankle discomfort from getting on and of the vehicle at a raised height, having boots tied up tight made that go away in a few days

 

never have your shoes or boots loose, always tie the laces firmly to avoid tripping over

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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if your'e planning to go on walking safari please wear boots which offer ankle support. I once made the mistake of not wearing my boots when going chimp trekking in Kibale National Park in Uganda; I twisted my ankle due to my own foolishness,and it was terribly painful I then had to gorilla trekking with a twisted ankle.

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Always use boots or shoes which are well worn in and comfortable

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It was mentioned in this thread by a Safari guide that early mornings are best for gaming, it is good for photography too. Reading trip reports I see some taking picnic breakfast and lunches.

For most of our stay it will be just me and my wife with the driver/guide in one vehicle. The Trip organizer advised we could setup a whole day picnic game drive if we needed to, any time we want.

So, I definitely want to pack picnic breakfasts every morning (My wife and I would enjoy picnic lunch of cold cuts in the park among the wildlife over any fine dining of the highest caliber).

Is it also reasonable to pack lunch and stay out there as much as possible, and return only at dark or is that frowned upon? Bathroom facilities out there? (Amboseli, Ol Pejeta, Mara reserve and conservancy)If we are fine not going to the bathroom, should we be worried about the driver?

I might also, pack breakfast only, then come in for lunch briefly and leave in the adternoon and stay out there as long as possible. So, midday break.

May be pack breakfast and lunch, but still come back for a brief mid day bathroom/refresher break.

How is it typically done? And is all these variations ok?

At the Porini camp, II will be with a group and it looks like we have morning, afternoon game drives with no picnic meals, and plenty of rest. I am fine with that, even though I don't know why I would be in a hotel room resting in Africa.. I'll just go with the flow when I am in a group.

Trip Advisor suggested $10US pp for tips for driver, if it's just me and my wife, how much should it be?

Thanks!

Edited by Gilgamesh

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All day safaris are great but bear in mind that it may be pretty hot in September at lunch time so you will need to ensure some shade. Many of the animals will be resting up to so activity is limited. Having said that gazing out over the plains is always a pleasure.

 

Toilet stops are of course possible but the guide may need a bit of advanced warning to find a safe place and you will of course not have the normal facilities. Probably a bush, tree trunk or termite mound to preserve modesty. Guides and guests are very good at looking the other way.

 

Tipping? there is a massive thread on this and views vary enormously but I think the $10 per day is a good basis from which to start and yes a couple should probably do $20 approx.

 

It is a good thing to tip the background staff as well barman, chef and all the others who work in camp and who you may not see. Very often there is a tip box at reception in which you can deposit a lump sum which will be shared amongst the staff. If there is not a tip box, you can of course ask the lodge/camp manager how they prefer to do this.

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Thank you! $20 for a couple in a group of 6 where the driver will get a total of $60. How about if it's just my wife and I. Even at $20 a day, for 11 days, that is $220 which is quite steep. However, if more is expected if it's just the two, I will go higher.

 

So, is $20 enough if it's just the two of us?

 

I will tip the support staff too.

 

P.S: I will search for the thread on tipping.

Edited by Gilgamesh

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Yes it is a bit of a commitment I agree.

 

Tipping is always optional even if it does not feel like it some times!

 

At the end of the day you can only afford what you can afford and I am sure they will be grateful.

 

I hope you can locate the thread it makes very interesting reading and shows the differing views. If not I will look for it later for you.

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My #1 rule on safari is never, ever, ever miss a morning game ride. I don't think I've ever gone out and not had something amazing happen. The cats are just coming back in from a night out, and you'll find them either finishing off a kill or just the majesty of seeing a pride is incredible. I got the quintessential "pride at a watering hole shot" in Ol Kinyei just after the sun came up one early morning. The afternoon rides aren't always as reliably good, but can be. I've stayed out entire days, and only rarely does something exciting happen mid-day. The cats are long asleep under cover usually so it's a lot of plains game, baboons, etc. I kind of like going back to the tent after lunch and lying on the porch on the chaise and reading or snoozing listening to the birds. It's a rare luxury at home, to be lounging outdoors in February (when I usually go to Africa) and to be able to read or nap uninterrupted. You can also do walks then if the camps offer them or visit Maasai camps or places like the chimpanzee sanctuary in Ol Pejeta.

 

Full-days out exhaust me too. I did two in a row on the last safari and I was beat. It's a lot to hold yourself upright that long in vehicles on rough terrain and those aren't the most comfortable seats in the world. I ended up asking for split days instead.

 

Also, I wore chunky hiking boots on my first and second safari (Tanzania and Kenya) and it was a bit much. I liked the protection from the mud and rain (when we saw it) but didn't need that much support just walking around camp and getting in and out of the vehicles. For the last safari I bought Brooks trail running sneakers. They're just a sturdier sneaker meant for non-pavement trails. I flew in them and made it around airports just fine and they were no more burdensome than a regular sneaker. I also bring a pair of Tevas for lunchtime and dinner. For gorilla trekking in Rwanda I'll go back to the hiking boots, obviously.

Edited by amybatt
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I have many game drives in the morning,and one the evening but very rarely. There has been times when my body told me it just needed sleep. I know that I've broken one of Safaritalk's golden rules, but it's been unavoidable at times. Now I go out of my way to ensure that I'm not tired when i go on a game drive. I've never been a single game drive,or walk for that matter when I didn't see or learn something incredible.

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I think this is the thread wilddog was talking about reference tipping.

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/10736-on-tipping/?hl=tipping

Thanks! I could not find it. I read it in its entirety and still not clear. A camp manager who's been a guide answered in response #89 I believe, where he mentioned less than $10 ppd, then some guy says even $20 ppd is rude. I know I am not spending $440 for Tipping. That's a lot of money. I will mull it over. I m thinking $10-15 a person. So, we'll give him $20 for average days, $30 for great days. Edited by Gilgamesh

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I have many game drives in the morning,and one the evening but very rarely. There has been times when my body told me it just needed sleep. I know that I've broken one of Safaritalk's golden rules, but it's been unavoidable at times. Now I go out of my way to ensure that I'm not tired when i go on a game drive. I've never been a single game drive,or walk for that matter when I didn't see or learn something incredible.

Sorry!, I didn't quite understand what you are trying to say here. Are you saying you've had many game drives in the morning, but very rarely in the evening, is that it?

 

What is Safaritalk's golden rule? Stay out all day or get rest in between? I am confused.

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@@Gilgamesh...some times the guide will not have control on whether one day is great and another not so. But, at the end of your time with the guide you will know if he has done a great job of tracking and everything else. Then decision on how much you give will then be much easier.

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@@Gilgamesh yes @@marg makes a good point. Generally people don't tip at the end of each day with a guide, they do it all at once at the end of their stay with that guide - you can then decide how much overall to tip for the whole time but using your "per day guidelines" and how good you thought the guide was to decide on the total.

Edited by SafariChick
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Thank you both

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So many topics here- not sure where to begin... Shoes.....I've always taken the clunky ankle high hiking boots. One time I didn't and doing minor walking in sneakers I got an Acacia thorn in my foot. Didn't kill me, but it wasn't fun. The sneakers also got really wet in the mornings during walks, but were dry by afternoon. So, I guess just weigh (no pun intended because hiking boots are heavier) what your walking will be. If it'll be a lot, you may want clunky If not, take the risk and take the simple sneaker. I've been on many safaris so now and then I do take time off- always the afternoon drive. I agree with @Amybatt- never miss the morning one. There is something blissfully decadent about taking an afternoon drive off- to sleep or get caught up on the journal or whatever. Most camps have lots of activity right there so it's kind of nice to just relish in the sounds, smells, views, etc that one has in a camp A more luxurious shower before getting ready for dinner...just so many "experiences". My mantra..."I am on vacation". Tipping...yes, a contentious topic. I never tip until the end of a stay. I can't speak to what the tipping guidelines are for private guides but I always tip at least $10 per person per day for my guide. I also do the same for the general staff tipping. I always bring extra money with me in case I want to tip someone or a camp more than the usual amount or if there are extra outings like a mokoro ride (poler is often tipped separately as they are often not your guide). I can usually figure that all out before I even leave so have money put aside for each tipping situation with extra cash as needed. Since everything is typically included, it's nice to have it all sorted out before hand. It's Africa- enjoy every second, smell, sound, sight, voice..... sensory overload in the most wonderful way.

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