Additional Expenses

Old May 30th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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Additional Expenses

What are the little (or big) things that creep into the budget of a photo safari that I've not considered?

Buying a khaki colored wardrobe for a different season has been an experience! Thank goodness for the internet.

I'm still looking for the perfect camera carrying sollution.

What about tipping and for whom?


Thanks
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Old May 30th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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Here are some tipping guidelines:

* Rangers: $10 per guest per day in a shared vehicle. At least double that amount per guest in a private vehicle.
* Trackers / butlers / valets: $5 per guest per day (although I tend to give more to trackers, especially when it's clear they've gone the extra mile getting you to see the animals you've asked to see).
* General staff fund (for cleaners, cooks, waiters, etc): $5 per guest per day.

These are minimum amounts (assuming you were happy with the service); if you received exceptional service, a greater tip would be welcomed.

Once everything has been paid for up front, I haven't found too many extra expenses but for tips and gift shopping.

I use a Lowepro Mini Trekker backpack for my camera gear. It has good cushioning for protection. However, it can get heavy, depending on how much you're taking. For the last trip I purchased a foldable cart which was a vast improvement over having the bag on my back, especially during long waits on airport lines.

Best, Steve
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:04 AM
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Cost of film
Wheels. That's the secret of lugging camera equipment around airports. I use a typical wheeled carry-on bag and inside are two camera bags with cameras and support kit. On the game drives I take just the camera bag with me. However, "the perfect camera carrying solution" is having someone else do it for you. Married???

And as you likely know, camera and electronic widgets go with you carry-on. If in checked luggage, it and/or the luggage may not get to you. Especially true for some African airports, JNB for one.

Agree with sdb2's basic guide on tipping.

BTW, where are you going on safari?

regards - tom
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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>>>>However, "the perfect camera carrying solution" is having someone else do it for you. Married???


My best laugh in weeks! No, I'm single with no porter in sight! I've only found frogs that won't carry bags.

The destination - Ngala in Kruger. I'm still working on getting the reservations done and I'm going crazy!

I'm an all digital girl, so the cost of film isn't a worry. I'll be buying two more memory cards for the obsessive worrier in me. I already have several and my netbook is arriving today for storing images while away from my home computer. I have two batteries for each camera I'll be taking.

I'll be checking out backpack camera bags next weekend when there is more free time. I'm presently using the Tamrac MAS system when I carry just one camera but I'm trying to figure out my best option for carrying two camera bodies. I'm thinking I'll probably just get the big 4.5 inch belt and attach both holster carriers to it. With the dust factor, I plan on having one camera with my longest zoom and the other camera has my most versatile lens so that I don't have to have the hassle of switching lenses at just the right time.

Steve, Thanks so much for the tipping information. I know so much varies from country to country and even the activity. Do you suggest giving it to them on a daily basis or at the conclusion of the trip? Will I find my driver and spotter change on a daily basis?
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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Trip cancellation insurance can run quite a bit depending on the cost of your trip.
Do you have medical evacuation insurance or belong to the Flying Doctors Assoc.?
Visas if needed can be $100 per person.
Tipping is $20 per couple per day to the guide/trackers and $10 per couple per day into the shared camp tip jar.
Bar bills at camps can be quite expensive -- wine may be $20-$30 per bottle, beer $5, in most camps you will pay for soft drinks or bottled water. Usually only tea and coffee is included. Know what is and isn't included.
Laundry is almost always a bit extra.
May have International departure tax at airport. Check your airline tickets to see if its included. Could be $100 in places.
Are park and/or game reserve entrance fees included in your package. They are often $100 per day.
Do you need any vaccines prior to leaving?
Are all meals included -- on days you transfer from one place to another?
Will you have car hires anywhere? Airport transfers, etc.
What time is your International departure? Will you require a day room if the departure is quite late at night? Is this included?
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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TC - Lots of good questions.

Insurance - included
Visas - not needed
Tipping - budgeted
Bar - included in trip and I'm not a big drinker (...but this trip planning may make me into one!)
Laundry - definitely need to inquire about since there are such tight luggage restrictions
airport - staying in the country
entrance fees - not included but are much more budget friendly than you mentioned
vaccines - trip to the doc planned
meals - included
transfers - included
day room - not required. timing for departures was taken into consideration

Thanks for giving me so many things to think about and know that I've at least gotten some things accomplished! I'm suddenly feeling better!
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Old May 30th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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MHAG - FWIW, Ngala Lodge and Tented camps are not in Kruger, in the Timbavati Reserve. (Which borders Kruger). Also, I've been to Ngala Lodge, Sep 2008 for 8 nights and can not totally recommend it. Others here also so-so on it. Other camps in that area I prefer. My trip Ngala report -
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35161085

Good idea to have two camera bodies with different lenses on each. Tipping is at end of stay. Usually you have same guide/tracker your whole stay. If two different guides just make out tip envelop for each.

regards - tom
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Old May 30th, 2009, 11:03 AM
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MHAG-

As Tom says, you usually have the same driver/tracker and you should plan on tipping at the end of trip. I always use a credit card to tip so I don't have to carry much cash (and so I can earn more miles for my next trip to Africa). You can contact Ngala to see if they allow credit card use for tips.

Judging from this forum, bean bags are a matter of preference. But I always bring one and recommend them (some camp vehicles will have bean bags, but you can't count on it). You'll find you're going to shoot sometimes under low light conditions and the bean bag helps stabilize the camera, especially if it's equipped with a longer lens.

Steve
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Old May 30th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Hi moldyhtg. I have the Think Tank Airport International http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtInl2.php. It will hold a 500 f/2.8 plus 70-200 f/2.8 plus 2 bodies plus flash, Better Beamer etc. It fits well overhead or under the seat. I also have the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 shoulder bag that will hold a 300 f/2.8 (plus more) and it doesn't look like a camera bag. Fits under seats easily. It also is designed to slide down the handle of the Airport Intl bag so you don't have to carry it while in the airport. http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_UrbnDsgs.php

Good luck with your planning and have a great trip!
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Old May 30th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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Surprised to hear about using credit cards for tips. We have never found that a possibility.

Bean bags are nice, but they weigh about a pound. Since we are only allowed 33 pounds TOTAL for our upcoming 3 weeks - including all camera equipment -- every ounce counts. We use a blow up airline pillow as a stabilizer. Less weight, less space, works well.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Take bean bag sacks empty and fill them with ? after you get there. Myself, I don't use them. The vehicle side is typically very low (depends). Many photographers prefer monopods but I find them awkward. So, some of my shots suffer but take a few and usually one is good. This of course applies to those very low light shots. Otherwise keep that shutter speed fast.

Every camp I've been to at the end of my stay gives me a bill for whatever and I add on to that the tips with names and charge card it all. I also tell the guide/tracker that I have left something for them on my CC and to check with the office.

regards - tom
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Old May 31st, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Tom - I read your post about departure time for the evening safari. I'm definitely having to book based on pricing. Is there something else that is budget friendly that you would propose in South Africa?
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Old May 31st, 2009, 09:53 AM
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If you're into photography, the Ngala Lodge -afternoon- game drives were almost useless. Leaving camp at 4pm and then driving 20-30 minutes down to the Tented camp area pretty much meant only 30 minutes of light left in the day. And my guide couldn't seem to understand that. Important that you have a guide that is into photography if you are.

When are you going? How many nights do you want on safari? I like LOTS. Anyway, the other camp I've been to in Timbavati is Kings Camp. And going back for 4th time this Sep. They have deals like you pay for 3 nights and stay for 4, or, I'm paying for 6 and staying 8. Works out to $260 per night at Rand of 8:1. No single supplement either. Gomo Gomo is another camp that is less $$$ , but I've not been there. Fodorite "mytmoss" just got back from Djuma and was impressed, he has recent trip report here. In Sabi Sand, Kirkmans Kamp has some deals and people like Elephant Plains there. I have not been to either - yet. Here is map of those two reserves showing camps.
http://www.tomgraham.smugmug.com/gal...492_xwXAa-O-LB
Poke around my smugmug site there and I have photos from last Sep Ngala safari.

regards - tom
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Old May 31st, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Ooops, FWIW, Djuma is in Sabi Sand not Timbavati Reserve. Not much difference in getting to either except Timbavati camps I think are better served by the Hoedspruit airport. SA flys JNB to HDS daily.

If by chance you are touring around by car, you can drive it to any camp in Timbavati or Sabi Sand. If Avis rental they will collect it there for ending your rental of it.

regards - tom
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Old May 31st, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the info. I don't plan on renting a car while gone.

I have looked at your photos and was simply in love with the giraffe w/ sunset.
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