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First time Safari advice.


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#81 amybatt

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 04:41 PM

I also carry a very small notebook and pen in my day bag, and if there's a story behind a particular sighting or animal, or the guide shares the name that folks on the forum might recognize the animal by, or a particular location, I note it in the notebook with the image number of the photo. You'd think you could keep stories straight, but I'm surprised how much I forget on the journey back to reality.  I also keep daily lists (new day, new page) of what I see, particularly birds which I can never seem to remember the names of.  This is the same notebook I write the emails or contact info of people I meet along the way, etc.  I suppose the "Notes" app in an iPhone would work just as well.


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#82 SafariChick

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 06:50 PM

@amybatt I was about to say I do the same thing in my Notes app in my iphone and then you mentioned it at the end of your post! 


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#83 pault

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 02:44 AM

 

I suppose the "Notes" app in an iPhone would work just as well

 

loins neatr titaljke river watsdggn a gerasip oig topais cress - maiewkfh mohaoncw styre... Nasjkjew saysd one of there prisdere masles

 

Worlks just as well for me, for sure!

 

 

Seriously, agree that taking notes is really good, espeially if you don;t photograph everything. Memory is fickle and you can see so much.


Edited by pault, 19 September 2016 - 02:45 AM.

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Waiting again... for the next time again


#84 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 05:03 AM

  • if you are going on a trip involving light plane flights you are required to keep all your luggage under 15 kg and pack your checked items into a small sports bag
  • you can either take just the sports bag, or take a suitcase also and leave that in hotel storage
  • spray your sports bag and suade shoes with water resistant spray

Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.


#85 KaingU Lodge

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 05:33 PM

I think for a first time safari there is absolutely no point in bringing loads of field guide type books.  Decent lodges will usually have a few lying around anyway and your guide (should) will have ones to show you more details or help ID if required.  But saying that I think that the book that had a huge impact on me - and which I took on my first guided safari - was "The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals" by Richard Estes.  You will probably read it every night! It is fascinating to read after say a game drive and find out all the behaviour which guides inevitably cannot go into on each and every sighting. 

 

It's a bug bear of mine, I know I mentioned it elsewhere, but also try and get some local currency from an airport ATM before heading out to camps.  Please also bear in mind small bills (I am thinking of dollars here) or old ones might not even be changeable by staff...  It helps people a LOT.  The nearest bank to change money for my staff is a 80km bike ride, and our place is far, far more accessible for our staff than many other places.   5 mins at an ATM won't cost you much.  I don't expect to tip a waiter in Germany in Kwacha when we go to Europe. 


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#86 ajm057

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 01:00 PM

I think for a first time safari there is absolutely no point in bringing loads of field guide type books.  Decent lodges will usually have a few lying around anyway and your guide (should) will have ones to show you more details or help ID if required.  But saying that I think that the book that had a huge impact on me - and which I took on my first guided safari - was "The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals" by Richard Estes.  You will probably read it every night! It is fascinating to read after say a game drive and find out all the behaviour which guides inevitably cannot go into on each and every sighting. 

 

It's a bug bear of mine, I know I mentioned it elsewhere, but also try and get some local currency from an airport ATM before heading out to camps.  Please also bear in mind small bills (I am thinking of dollars here) or old ones might not even be changeable by staff...  It helps people a LOT.  The nearest bank to change money for my staff is a 80km bike ride, and our place is far, far more accessible for our staff than many other places.   5 mins at an ATM won't cost you much.  I don't expect to tip a waiter in Germany in Kwacha when we go to Europe. 

 

I now just take US Dollars, but you have to make sure that your bills were printed after 1996. 2013 is preferable. I have had older dated bills rejected in Nairobi and Tanzania.



#87 ajm057

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 01:42 PM

1) A kind of FAQ for first-timers 

 

Do your best to optimise your kit - I take photos with big lenses and 3 cameras.

 

My first trip to Kenya and Tanzania was 25 days and I had 90kg of gear -- I did not use 30kg of it and my travel tripod was used all of once.

 

My last trip (earlier in March 2017) - I went for 16 days and the weight of my trip was down to 60kg. I wore only 50% of the cloths I took and did not need much of the extra batteries, cards, cleaning gear I took this time as well - but I still took 3 camera bodies, 600, 400, 70-200, 24-70 and a 20mm lenses, 2 Teleconverters and a laptop with 2 external drives and a bunch of extension cables and chargers. I have 2 sets of batteries - one on charge and one in the cameras during the day.

 

My photo guide carries 2 camera bodies and the same mix of lenses, except no-600mm, as a carry-on and a small duffel bag of clothes and wash gear. I still have a long way to go to match that.  

 

Next trip I will probably take the same weight of gear, but even less clothing. Entim Camp and the lodges I have stayed in washes everything the same day -- except underwear, which you have to wash yourself. I would take at least 7 pairs of underwear.

 

2) A series of recollections of how we planned our first safaris?

 
Find an organiser that is very good at what you are seeking to do AND has a lot of good testimonials from people you trust. Do not use a man with a White Bus, who offers you accommodation outside the parks/reserves, unless you absolutely have to. I use Wild 4 Photo Safaris for my first 2 trips and arranged my 3rd through the Entim Camp, where I had stayed before.
 

3) A place where people can ask questions like "Should I go to South Africa or Kenya?"

 

Both - it depends on the time of year-- avoid Kenya/Tanzania in the rainy season April-June - so head to South Africa/Botswana/Zimbabwe/Zambia then. Go to Ndutu in the last weeks of February when the Wildebeest are giving birth AND August-September when the river crossings are their heaviest in the Masai Mara. 

 

4) A combination of the above

 

You absolutely have to get up early and go to bed early - normal my day on Safari starts at 05:00, coffee and biscuits at 05:30, out at the vehicles by 06:00, aim to depart on game drive by 06:15. Sunrise 06:45. If I am forced to stay outside the park or as I did last year, was staying in the Triangle, when I needed to be in the Masai Mara NR, get up even earlier -- you have to be 1st at the gates/bridge when they open. WHY -- its all about being on your first subject by sunrise. 

 

We have a picnic breakfast on the game drive for about 15 minutes at a time between 08:00-09:30 depending on the action. 

 

And, if it is hot, are back at the camp by 10:30am  - to process images, have lunch and an early afternoon sleep in the heat of the day, before heading out at between 5-5:30 pm for an evening drive that tends to have us back in camp by latest 7-7:15pm, for dinner at 7:30pm and bed before 9pm.

 

Please understand that if you want to see or take pictures of big cats, hippos on land and rhinos these are only active in the early morning and late evening. The one exception is around the migration when cats, particularly Cheetah, are seen through more of the day. Absolutely nothing (that I am normally interested in) is normally visible between 10:30-16:00. The only reason I would leave the camp before 5pm in the heat of the dry season would be travel to an earlier sighting if it was a distance away OR if I had to abide by really dumb rules, like those in Etosha, where the gate closes at 18:30 and you simply cannot have a decent evening game drive if you are staying outside the park unless you leave earlier.

 

Do not expect good internet connections or 24 hour power -- I stayed at the Entim Camp on the Mara River for my 3rd time in March of this year and they had recently upgraded the Satellite Internet Service, so it was much better; but like all the other camps I have stayed in the power is turned off twice a day - once in the afternoon and between 11pm-4am - so there is no internet during these periods as well; AND there is no internet if there is heavy cloud cover. Some of the lodges appear to offer better cover -- but often only in some areas, there are many more users and their connectivity can also be impacted by the weather. So - bring spare external hard rives for local back-ups and only seek to upload your very few best shots of the day.

 

Take Malarone (Atovaquone 250mg / Proguanil hydrochloride 100mg) or your prescribed anti-Malaria treatment, at least one course of Ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic belong to a group of drugs called fluoroquinolones) to treat gastric infections; and Non Drowsy Antihistamines (If you buy locally you will more than likely get the best knock out pills ever); together with good sun lotion; very very strong anti-fly/bug spray you can coat your hands, feet and head with -- particularly if you are in an area with Tsetse flies, whose bite is a bugger. I use a DEEPWOODs product imported from the US and had had my clothing coated in the wash-in product. You may also want to take a diarrhea treatment with you if you are prone to this.  Also take a wash line and travel wash/soap so you can wash your smalls if you need to.


Edited by ajm057, 26 March 2017 - 01:46 PM.

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#88 Botswanadreams

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 02:23 PM

Hi AJM057

 

I'm sorry but I can't follow your advice at all. To me it sounds a bit like you are the only one who know how to have an perfect safari. 

 

We are always traveling in Africa for 30 to 35 days. Our luggage for me and my husband together is 2 times max 20 kg. That's fine for us because we have all what we need. Ok I'm not a professional photographer. My FZ1000 is able to take nice pics for me. I don't need to earn my money with my pics.

 

For the planning of a Safari as first you have to read a lot by your own. Than you have to search for a company who is willing to plan a trip that meet your needs. My experience is that with the start of planning and the first suggestions you get you learn immediately what they like to sell you.

 

And so on ...          


“All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already."

Ernest Hemingway

 

www.botswanadreams.de

 


#89 ajm057

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 02:45 PM

Hi AJM057

 

I'm sorry but I can't follow your advice at all. To me it sounds a bit like you are the only one who know how to have an perfect safari. 

 

 

What on earth are you smoking?



#90 amybatt

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 03:18 PM

I take US dollars and change it to local currency when I land. The people getting the tips or payment from me should not also have to bear the hassle (in many cases it's a long time and/or distance until they can't get to a bank to change it) or the cost of converting. I'm paying a lot for my safari, the minimal additional cost to me to change it is worth the convenience and courtesy to them.
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#91 optig

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 07:02 PM

Please don't drink too much tea,coffee or alcohol because the are diuretics. I got terribly sick recently due to the fact that I drank far too much coffee. I had to medically evacuated to Nairobi. I had dysentery. I wouldn't drink more than 2 cups of coffee or tea in the morning and maybe one cup at teatime.


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