Am I alone in the EXCITEMENT of Africa?

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Feb 28th, 2005, 03:42 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Mzcuriouz, it seems you've been here among us much longer. I noticed your absence and I'm sorry, I didn't know of your burden. Those kind of problems are just like an illness and whenever you need to be bolstered up, we're here to help you over the rough spots. So glad you are able to finally be going on your trip. Please post your itinerary.

Louise, I don't think anyone here knew. So sorry about your husband. Jan is the perfect example of one who has taken many African trips and gotten to know so many of the people in the camps and shared them with us. I travelled solo until I met Max. I had already taken 4 trips by myself. I always went on group safaris and it isn't always easy. It seems your closest friends never can quite afford such a trip, but you can meet others along the way. I too fell in love with the Okavango on an Earthwatch expedition and there is a real tug on your heart from there once you've been. The camps are much more peaceful and the nights very exciting with the sounds of the African bush. Welcome to our site. Liz
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Feb 28th, 2005, 05:56 AM
  #22
 
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Thanks everyone for your confidence-boosting posts. People who have been to Africa are just so compassionate! It just changes your heart forever. And, girlpolo, what a great poem.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 07:46 AM
  #23
 
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For me I grew up a wildife biologist in the making with Africa the ultimate dream. I learned the names and behaviors of creatures, and lived through the cameras and words of others, playing games with plastic animals as a boy and worshiping National Geoprahpic as a man. Having made some unexpected extra money for developing a bald eagle conservation plan, money that most would say should have been saved, I pursued the dream. I had the passion and excitement that JazzDrew is feeling but was a little worried -- when the dream has been so deep and long how can the reality possibly meet the expectation. On my first morning drive (Duma Tau) as we pursued a wild dog hunt, the animal I most wanted to see, resulting in a morning with the pack feeding on an impala my dreams were fullfilled. In the following days I spent time in awe with the Duba Boys and 11 other male lions, and just as amazingly found beautiful kindred souls in Katembo, Ike, and Rueben -- wonderful men of Botswana. By the time I left Duba Plains for Mombo I knew I had the heart of a Botswanan and everyday since my soul longs to be there.

I have responsibilities and a mission of conservation that binds me to the western U.S. for now but one day I will live and work in Africa. In the meantime I continue to dream and think of ways to get there. Getting involved with African Wild Dog research and putting together a trip as a biologist leader will hopefully get me to Zambia this June and I will soon have a child from Damaraland in Namibia who I will attach myself to as I pay for their school.

Africa is a place where dreams are fullfilled. For many that means the vacation of their dreams, however, I would venture that there are a few on this board for which Africa is a heartbeat -- a mesmorizing, neverending journey of the soul!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:52 PM
  #24
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Wow- Lots of great advise and encouragement. It seems I am certainly NOT alone. I can't wait to return and shre my trip with others. Thank you all.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 01:06 PM
  #25
 
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JazzDrew - WE can't wait for you to do that either! Some of us can only safari vicariously through others at the moment so bring it on!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 05:35 PM
  #26
 
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Hi, JazzDrew: No, you are not alone. I am looking forward to my 3rd trip to Africa and I can hardly sit still for the excitement. Africa is a jewel on this earth, and like you, I cherish it. I have been to Kenya and to Tanzania, and get a lump in my throat whenever I recall those two incredible vacations. Savor your excitement. I spend too much time "grazing" various websites about Africa. Every day i go to Fodor's; and I peruse any website that I can about my coming trip. Fodorites are terrific folks; I learned a lot of very helpful things for my Peru trip in '03. Where are you going in 120 days? With a tour company? Best wishes!!
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Mar 1st, 2005, 01:23 PM
  #27
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birder57,

Good to hear that I am not alone in the passion. Were are off to Kenya and Tanzania in June. Here is a copy/paste that shares our plans:

"We just booked our Tanzanian and Kenyan safari with Roy Safaris. I spent months researching outfitters and am very comfortable with chosing Roy's. I am glad that you have found this board as I believe the people who contribute here have provided me with excellent advice. I try to read posts daily. We started out to "go to Africa"...not knowing even what country to consider first. After lots of research we chose East Africa for our first safari, then selected Tanzania and Kenya, hoping to catch the Great Migration (June 2005). Once we decided on Kenya and Tanzania I continued research of over 25 operators, both US and local. I bet I have 30 catalogs and brouchures on East Africa alone! After many emails and calls were chose Roys for the best service and price. Roys contacted Wildtrek to manage the Kenyan segment. Our itinerary:

1. Fly to Amsterdam - Overnight there at the Hilton.
2. Fly to Nairobi - Giraffe Manor
3. Fly to Amboseli Tortilis
4. Amboseli Tortilis
5. Drive to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
6. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
7. Drive to Ngorongoro Serena
8. Ngorongoro Serena
9. Drive to Serengeti Serena
10. Drive to Kirawira
11. Kirawira
12. Kirawira
13. Fly to Arusha. Fly to Amsterdam.
14. Overninght Amsterdam.
15. Return to US

The land package for this for 3 of us is about $10,000.

I also considered Aftican Travel Resource, Good Earth, Sun Trek, Born Free, Thompsons, etc. but they were much more expensive for "lesser" accomidations. " I feel that we have a "luxury" safari for the price of an off the rack entry from a "big name".

I can't wait to gain first hand knowledge of Africa so I can share my experience with others who are planning their first safari.

One thing that I must share is that I am often surprised how people react when they learn I'm traveling to Africa with our 11 year old. Yesterday an educatd collegue asked if I was sure that we would be safe with the aids epedemic. He thought all the "hotel workers" would have aids and thay would be dangerous for us! Lots of eduaction is needed at many levels.

Have other fodorites had this? I must say that it does not diminish my excitement, but my wife take pause each time it is brought up.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 04:49 PM
  #28
 
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It is wonderful to read everyone's comments about Africa because I have always wanted to go there and people think I am crazy. I haven't been yet but plan to go. I think what is most apparent about people's love for Africa is that there is something about the continent that gets under your skin and once it's there it never goes away. In fact, it continues to grow.

I don't know if any of you have read this book but I would recommend it, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" by Alexandra Fuller. She grew up in Africa, starting in Rodesia during the war time as it became Zimbabwe. Her family lived a difficult life and moved around to other countries just to make a living. It shows the white view of Africa during this time but Ms. Fuller herself seems to have grown up with compasion for all the races. Most of all, though, she talks about the smells, sounds and sights of Africa than can be found no where else in the world. There were times reading the book where I wanted to cry for her family, other times where I wanted to cry for the African natives, but most of all it just made me want to experience Africa even more.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 04:57 PM
  #29
 
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Our trip to Africa (Cape Town, the winelands, and Botswana) last May was so fantastic and romantic and wonderous that I've told people I can't even consider planning another trip anyplace this year. Now, in actuality I'm retiring and we'll be selling our home of 27 years and moving to North Carolina, so that has sort of taken up all my planning energies. But even so -- it truly is difficult to think about planning a more fulfilling experience than that extraordinary trip we had last year. I'll go back to Africa again in a flash, and I look forward to planning another trip there someday.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 06:38 PM
  #30
 
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We planned our trip to Africa last summer, with our trip scheduled for April. We did extensive research and got helpful information from this forum. The months have gone y' and now our trip is only 7 weeks away. Even though we have read about so many things, ther's nothng like actually seeing the landscape, game, people, etc. We are very excited and look forward to a spectacular vacation. It's hard to believe we are really going, but we actually have the tickets and the vouchers. I am a little concerned about flying on those charter flights, but I am determined to put any squeamishness aside and enjoy the sights. This should be the most exciting trip we have ever taken.
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:49 AM
  #31
 
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The enchantment of Africa will never leave you. I just now looked at my journal of our May 2004 trip and saw what I wrote while sitting in the plane on the runway before takeoff from my home town.

"Each time we go to Africa, I begin to have misgivings a few days before we leave -- it's expensive; are there obligations here at home we should be meeting; and so on. Two days ago I re-read my journal of last year's trip, and the excitement and joy and wonder came flooding back, and all my misgivings flew away."

Africa, with its excitement, joy, and wonder, is never out of my mind. Maybe a little in the back, hidden behind pressing day-to-day things, and jostling with my other passions, but never completely out. Even when I'm planning a trip to somewhere else, my next trip to Africa is also in my thoughts.

You're not too excited. Africa IS that special.

Bon voyage!
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:51 AM
  #32
 
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Paula1470, thanks for the book recommendation.
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 09:36 AM
  #33
 
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It's so great to read about all of the excitement about Africa. My husband and I are going to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana in June and I can't wait! For my parents it will be their last continent (including Antarctica!) and I am SO thrilled to be able to share it with them. They get to be at Victoria Falls for their 51st wedding anniversary - how romantic is that! My husband has had some major health problems over the past few years and this is partly our celebration of his current good health. Advice to anyone - don't put off travel for that future day. You never know what the future is going to bring. If you have the health, money and time - go now! Reading about the serenity of polling through the Delta I am SO anxious to go. So, Jazz, you are NOT alone! There are others of us out here who haven't been and are passionate to go!
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Mar 4th, 2005, 04:03 AM
  #34
 
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Those of us who live in Africa are fond of saying, "Africa is in our blood - we are tied - we cannot leave even if we want to".
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Mar 5th, 2005, 06:13 PM
  #35
 
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I, too, am counting the days until I leave. I booked a safari to Botswana in early December and I leave in mid April. It seems every day I do something in preparation for my trip - buying film, borrowing mom's binoculars, getting typhoid medicine. I've been overseas 7 times and saw Egypt - but this is my first trip to "real Africa". I cannot wait!!

Uh oh Busted, your itinerary is similar to mine. I'll spend 9 days in Botswana and then 4 in Cape Town. I am debating whether to spend two in Cape Town and then two in the winelands but wonder if I should be based in Cape and take a day trip (or two???) to the winelands. How can I arrange for a day trip? Are there local your companies I can arrange such a visit with? SHould I do it before I go or can I simply "walk up to the counter" once in Cape Town and schedule a trip for the next day? I'm not really into serious advanced planning but will do it if I have to and/or to avoid being scammed. Any advice?
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