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A few questions about East African Safari vs. Southern African Safari...

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Dec 28th, 2005, 04:06 PM
  #1
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A few questions about East African Safari vs. Southern African Safari...

As many of you know, I will be making my first visit to East Africa. I leave eight weeks from tomorrow.

I believe the weather will be mostly warm, except perhaps atop the Ngorongoro Crater. However, given that the vehicles are closed and the fact that I will be mostly indoors while at the Crater Lodge, is there any need to pack more than a sweater or windbreaker?

Also, what about sun protection? With the closed vehicle will I still need to take the same precautions with sunblock? I will obviously need sun protection for my five nights in Zanzibar but how much will I really need it while doing a safari in a closed vehicle with poptop roof providing I wear a hat?

Insect repellent? I don't imagine that the insects get in the vehicle and if they do, that they will be able to survive the swat of a magazine for very long.

Anti-Malaria meds? I usually take these for the first few days but then stop after getting a false sense of security. Given the fact that I will not be camped out along the Luangwa River or Zambezi River should I expect as much a threat of malaria while on the northern circuit of Tanzania? Also, is Zanzibar considered a high risk area? I wouldn't think so, but you never know.

Camera equipment? Any special equipment that would serve me better in a closed vehicle w/ poptop than an open vehicle? I am thinking a good beanbag would probably be more critical in East Africa than in Southern Africa.

Finally, will the game drive times be similar for East Africa as Southern Africa? Or, am I more likely to do noontime drives in East Africa. My experience is that animals look for shade mid-day and this often makes for difficult photos.

Thanks.
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Dec 28th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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Rocco,

I am off for a few days, and can only really respond to a couple of your questions.

You are close to the equator, so mostly the weather will be warm. However, the Crater rim, as you already know, is really cold. I had a scarf and a sweater on, so if you're planning to sit outside, a scarf/hat/gloves combo would be fine with a sweater/windbreaker.

Even with a pop-top, there were times that the sun seemed to be beating in everywhere. My forearms were just baking in the afternoon! Bring your sunscreen and apply anyway.

Repellent? I was never bitten by a tse tse fly or anything else wearing eau de deet.

Not absolutely certain about whether or not Zanzibar is considered a high-risk malaria area, but there are many, many mosquitoes there. It's awfully humid. Take your meds, you!

I'm sure others will offer differing and conflicting opinions. Can't wait to hear them.

Now, off to the cold east coast of the US rather than the sunny east coast of Zanzibar.

Happy New Year to all.


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Dec 29th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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Rocco-
Mornings can be cool in East Africa, as in S. Africa. so do bring a fleece if you have one. And I use convertible pants to have the length in the a.m. and convert to shorts in the p.m.

Sun protection will definitely come in handy. You will get sun on your arms, legs, and face as in S.A.

Malaria meds should be taken, but I like you, get slack with that part of it. And I have noticed that the tsetse flies are worse in some areas of the Serengeti than others.

Depending on your tour operator and camp, bean bags are sometimes supplied. They are very useful in resting the camera/lens on. I would pack a small one just in case and fill it up w/ sand once there. Also, a pillow case or something to cover your camera/lens with while going down the roads is handy too. The dust gets everywhere.
In the afternoons in E. Africa in late Feb/March there can be rainshowers so bring a rainjacket for you and plastic trash bag to put your camera in.

The game drives are about the same time in E. Africa as in S. Africa w/ the exception of the Crater. In the crater, you usually pack a lunch, get there in the a.m. and stay until mid/late afternoon.
On the rest of the circuit, if you have your own vehicle, you can also pack a lunch, go out in the a.m. and stay out all day. It's fun to do a couple of times. I've gotten good pics of cats resting under trees, etc. during the midday.
Just remember to get yourself in the position to keep the light behind you, not the animals and make sure you have hoods for your lenses.
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Dec 29th, 2005, 05:21 AM
  #4
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Definitely need those malaria meds on the coast - it's hot and humid and a breeding ground. Don't go fooling yourself about this. Though I've never been bitten inland, either country, on Zanzibar I was like a gourmet meal for the mossies. Doubt any where the malarie-type, but they loved my ankles so the meds and repellent are absolutely necessary. Just take them daily at breakfast... simple, my friend!

The sun is strong at the Equator and even if in closed vehicles, the sun is everywhere as Leely mentions. Your arms are out the windows, the back of your neck when peeking out the pop top. At some of the seasonal camps you may be using their vehicles and while they probably have canvas tops, the sides are open... use the SPF.

At the Crater lodge there is dining outdoors on occasion - so SPF. Sure it's cold up here, so do have a heavier sweather, windbreaker or wear a thermal t-shirt under a flannel in the mornings and at night. While many who visit here stick with safari attire throughout the day, in evenings some women actually wear skimpy spaghetti strap dresses, dancing slippers and jewelry galore. Just thought I'd mention in case Alexsandra wants to consider this, though not a must!

The tsetses don't give a hoot how often you swing that magazine... they don't go away and repellent rarely works; be prepared for a few stings, though you may get lucky.

The game drive schedule is same as Southern Africa, with exception, as mentioned above, for full-day drives that can be arranged.

After thought! Have you considered the hot-air ballooning? Just like me to spend more of your money! This is available in the Central Serengeti area; the closest you'll be, if I recall, is when at Mbuzi Mawe though an hour away, you can arrange for the morning that you depart from Seronera for Zanzibar. If interested and have $400/each arrange (through ATR to schedule you) to depart real early from MM to get to the area for a 5:30am liftoff... up there for about an hour, breakfast on the plains after, then your flight.

Don't fool around with Mother Nature. Take and use what is recommended.
 
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Dec 29th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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Rocco

Taking too many layers and not using them is better than taking too few and being cold (esp first thing in the morning). My advice would be sweater and windbreaker.

My worst sunburn was on the top of my thighs through the open top of a 'closed' vehicle. I suggest that you take and use sun protection.

Insect repellant likewise. Worst bites were from tsetses in Tanzania getting into a closed vehicle. I found aloe vera good against tsetses having been put onto it by a Masai guide in Tz.

Anti-malaria - your call. Take them and use your common sense.

Enjoy yourself, Richard
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Dec 29th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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Sorry to interupt Rocco;

Question for Richard, if you will - Were you using aloe vera straight from the plant for tse tse bite prevention?

Has anyone had results for mosq. repel. using picaridin? It seems to be rec. by WHO and not as vile as DEET. I'd love to hear first hand - trying to pack only what's absolutely nec.

Thanks ahead;
Sherry

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