Back from Kenya

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Sep 15th, 2003, 06:05 AM
  #21
LizFrazier
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Thanks for your kind comments everyone. I was faced with a different situation than most returning from Africa. I went for just one week. I visited only one camp. I went nowhere else. Boring? You bet. Try to fill a trip report that has every day the same. All the animals the same as the day before. So what I decided to do was to work the trip report into the photo album. If you view it as a slide show, you will have the trip report. It is long, and at times boring. Well folks, that is how your trip is. You wait, you get frustrated hoping the animals will perform for you, I wanted you to feel what we felt. Was it rewarding? You bet! Was it boring at times? Sure. But after viewing it you should be able to imagine such a trip for yourself. We saw many crossings. Some small, but the all important one we went to see was thrilling! It was a wonderful trip! I will gladly answer any specific questions any of you have, but I'm not sure how much detail you want. We had a private car. No one told us what to do or dictated our moods for the day. We went, we saw, we came back. Thats about it guys. Enjoy. Liz
Oh Susan-I actually went through a naming ceremony. I went through four. Pete and Kavey were done at the same time since they were together. Another friend Helains Dobbs who is a vegan, and LOVES giraffes was another. But you were all alone in that process. Our guide asked us afterwards when we saw the animals again if that animal was so and so, by the new name I had bestowed on them. He took it seriously. It was quite nice I thought.
We did get a lot of history about the lions, etc from Isaac.
Oh, by the way, Jonathan Scott has a new updated book out. It is: "Jonathan Scott's Safari Guide to East African Animals". It is incredible. We bought a copy at Governors Camp and got him to personally endorse it to us. He has a camp at Governors set off by itself that Governors maintains for him each year. His group arrived in the Mara this year on 1 September, and will stay until November when the migration leaves. They then follow the migration to Tanzania and stay there with them. He, Johathan and Angie, have a home in Nairobi and also homes in other parts of Africa. I believe even in Botswana. I imagine his book is also sold in the U.S. for anyone interested. The best photos you will see are in that book of course.
 
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Sep 15th, 2003, 08:24 AM
  #22
 
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That was simply marvellous!

Liz I've left LOTS of comments in the album but I just want to repeat how very much I enjoyed sharing your trip through the album!

And all your worry about taking acceptable images ... sheesh... they are just stunning - some of the most enjoyable trip report photos I've seen!

And what game you saw! The crossings, of course but everything else! Wow!

Also nice to know that booking and paying for the private car does include a guide as well as driver - or did you book guide as an addition when you arrived?

So... that was just fantastic.

Shall we talk of Botswana?
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Sep 15th, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #23
LizFrazier
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Kavey-
Thanks for the lovely comments both in our album and on the threads. Means a lot!
In East Africa as well as Botswana, guides are also drivers. The more important part of their duties is to be a guide. Driving is the easy part. We had only one, Isaac. He also drives. He had 7 years of experience with Governors Camp and was extremely knowledgeable. I guess I am hard to understand because I somehow am implying we have two people with us. Nope, just one. I don't refer to anyone as a driver. I always call them a guide. The educational requirement for a guide exceeds the ability to drive a vehicle. Wasn't your driver(s) in Botswana called a guide? Sorry to cause that misunderstanding.
We can speak of Botswana whenever you like...... Ask away. I won't start it.
Glad you got home from work. I've missed you. Good to chat again with friends. Liz
 
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Sep 15th, 2003, 10:50 AM
  #24
 
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You're welcome...
Liz, my bad - I was looking at one of the photos (clearly labelled) which has Isaac and Max and for some reason didn't recognise Max, nor take in the caption and assumed the pair were driver and guide!!!

So... that clears that up!
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Sep 15th, 2003, 11:07 AM
  #25
 
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PS - mostly the guide/ driver was the only person with us, occasionally we had a spotter too but we didn't have anyone who was just there to drive while someone else guided. I had picked up in threads before you went that you weren't sure whether what you had booked was a driver with guiding skills or simply a driver so hence the question.

: o )
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Sep 16th, 2003, 09:01 AM
  #26
 
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An alternative link to Liz's (wonderful) photo album:

http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=9kcj3uz...f&x=1&y=d5m386

Using this link allows you to sign into ofoto with your own account so that any comments you leave are left in your own name. (Of course, you have to have an account with ofoto but that's very quick to create).

On a side note, a few have mentioned that sometimes comments show and other times not. Comments are only visible when viewing the photos via the SLIDESHOW facility. If you simply view the album normally, you will not see comments displayed. End of mystery!

I really love the album Liz. I can see how much time has been spent putting it together too!

Thanks again!
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Sep 16th, 2003, 11:22 AM
  #27
LizFrazier
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Kavey-
Thanks you are very kind. See, I told you that I thought you were smart. You've straightened it all out and solved all of the mysteries. =D> =D>
 
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Sep 16th, 2003, 12:00 PM
  #28
 
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:-"
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Sep 16th, 2003, 05:47 PM
  #29
 
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Liz - Your photos are amazing!!! I am so thrilled you got to see all those crossings and animals. I told you there were still lots left waiting for your arrival to cross! Some of your pictures gave me goosebumps. Thanks for sharing! -Tracy aka Offy
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Sep 16th, 2003, 06:17 PM
  #30
LizFrazier
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Thanks Tracy. Liz
 
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Sep 17th, 2003, 05:24 PM
  #31
 
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Liz, it looks like you had a great trip. I'm glad you got to see some crossings. That was the one thing we missed when we were there. Your pictures are outstanding. We actually ended up seeing those same cheetahs and one of the cubs jumped up on the vehicle next to ours.
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Sep 17th, 2003, 06:14 PM
  #32
LizFrazier
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Thanks Andy-
Its funny but after you've been there you can recognize the same animals. We didn't see the young Cheetahs up that close. They pretty much stayed back while we were there. It was exciting to be so close to the animals though. It was a nice trip, we were glad we went. I know you were too. Liz
 
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Sep 17th, 2003, 06:24 PM
  #33
 
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Hi Liz - I'm a little late getting on this bandwagon but your photos are excellent! I really enjoyed looking at them (twice) and reading your comments. It is a "visual trip report"!

So, how was it flying such a long way for a week long trip? I've wondered about taking a "short" trip but didn't know how it would work out on the body. Did you feel like it was time to go home when you were just getting Africa "normal"?

Congratulations on a wonderful trip!

Cindy
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Sep 17th, 2003, 07:04 PM
  #34
LizFrazier
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Hi Cindy-
I was missing you, thanks for dropping by. Thank you also for the generous compliments on our photos. I got the idea of the visual report as I was taking the pictures. I wanted to somehow relate to everyone that you don't just drive up and see a crossing and take pictures and drive on to the next thing. You go back and back and back and wait and wait and wait. It gets very frustrating. We were determined that we were going to see it on this trip, because we weren't going to have another chance. As to only staying one week after such a long time getting there, we only wanted to see the migration this time. We had already "done" Kenya and Tanzania, so this was really all about the large herds of Wildebeests. I figured that staying that long at one place would get old. It did. Now that I've admitted to everyone how old my husband and I are, I will also say that 6 straight days of early morning till late at night game drives and we were ready to come home. I'm glad we didn't go to more than one camp, but the two long airplane trips so close together just about did us in. I don't want to see an airplane again for a while.
 
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Sep 18th, 2003, 07:50 AM
  #35
 
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Liz - what would you recommend as a good number of days to stay at the same place. If 6 was too many, how many is enough? 3 or 4 days at 2 different places for a short trip?

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Sep 18th, 2003, 08:18 AM
  #36
 
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Wow Liz! Not that it hasn't been said, but what amazing photos! I also had no concept of the "waiting game", but your narrative really brought it to life, and has set my expectations I'll have to take my husband through your pictures this evening.

It was interesting to hear about the economy as well. It makes me feel better that we're going this year, and we'll make sure to bring lots of tipping money. Did you tip your hot air balloon guide as well?
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Sep 18th, 2003, 08:28 AM
  #37
LizFrazier
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Gee, Cindy, how do I answer? It depends on you. Some people prefer 2 or 3 nights per camp at two different camps, or even three. That optimizes the opportunity for you to see different things. We didn't want to do that. We only went for the migration and we picked the most central location and that is why we did it that way. We just plain got tired. Our age is why. We are used to eating early and going to bed early. In the camp they eat dinner at 8PM after a lengthy cocktail hour. We don't drink. It was too cold to sit out at night for us and most people went to bed after dinner. It rained at night quite a bit, so we all ran to our tents. There was only a candle to read by, so we went to sleep because we couldn't read by candlelight. So it was that kind of thing. I don't think 6 days is too long, you just have to consider where I'm coming from. When you are at a camp, they have certain animals that have their territories around it. So each day you start out with the lions, then you move to the cheetahs, then you move to the river, are you getting the picture? You don't realize this if you only stay for 2 nights. You catch on after 3 days or so. So because of that and to optimize your opportunities, you might want to move around more than we did. We loved the hot air balloon the most. That is one thing you really should do. It is just wonderful. Really cannot stress what a neat experience it is. It was our second time to do this, and we just loved it as much this time.
If you'd tell me about what you're considering, maybe I could be more of a help. Would you go alone? How long do you want to go for? I'll try to answer better if I know this. Liz
 
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Sep 19th, 2003, 06:17 AM
  #38
LizFrazier
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hlphillips2-
I didn't notice your post as I was preparing one to Cindy at the same time, so I missed it.
Thank you for your kind comments. We didn't tip the hot air balloon people although they had a tip jar on the souvenir table. You know, someone had to actually get paid for their service. Everyone paid almost $400 apiece for the hot air balloon ride. I would hope the pilots got something. We did tip the driver who brought us back to camp on the gamedrive. Only one other couple did this though. There were 4 or 5 couples on that ride. I was surprised not everyone did tip the driver. I feel he is the one that gets left out. I cannot overemphasize the situation there. You will be amazed at the number of people working at a camp. Double what is needed I thought, and I know they were just praying for something from us. We just couldn't do it for everyone. I felt we were really put on the spot. When we went to Botswana, there were two tips per camp. The driver and the camp staff tip. You expected it, you planned for it, and those were the only ones expected. Plus of course anyone carrying your bags or for drinks. But in Botswana, the camp manager loaded our bags to the car, the drinks were self serve, so that was it for Botswana. You will see layering of services in Kenya. The walk to the tent each time had guides who walked about 15 feet with you. So you had three each trip. It was just too much for us. We did the major ones and had to leave the rest. We didn't tip reception separately from the staff tip box, as I felt they were "Staff". Maybe they were, maybe they weren't, we just thought it was carried too far. Someone had to be paid by the owners.
Now to the waiting for the Wildebeests to cross has been covered here by everyone who has gone recently, but we too were very surprised. The reason is you could tell they were ready to cross, but sometimes there were so many vehicles on the shore waiting for them, they got spooked. That really was frustrating. It drags it out more than it should be. You won't believe the tourists and what they do. Thats all I'll say about that. You will still enjoy the trip if you go. Thats just how it is now. Liz
 
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Sep 19th, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #39
LizFrazier
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Cindy-
I thought about my posting last night and I want to add more to it.
I thought the crossings on the Mara should be about over for now because just about all of the animals have crossed from the Mara Triangle into the general Mara area. Then I checked this site just to see what happened since we left and lo and behold. Never underestimate the power of the looney Wildies. http://wildwatch.com/sightings/migration.asp
No one can predict anything about these animals and I shouldn't either. I'd say go if you want to take a chance, and you just have to allow enought time in days to see them. Thats how we felt. After we saw the crossing, we could have left. I think thats when it seemed a bit long to us. I think we just waited then to come home. Everything else was the same as what we'd already seen. We didn't think we'd see any more crossings and I thought it was over for the year until they leave to return to the Serengeti in November. So I was really off base.
I did notice that the Mara Serena looked to be a wonderful location on an incredible setting. It is right above the main crossing areas. The Serena crossings, as they call them, are the two major crossing sites. I think the rates are better than Governors Camp too. I don't know how the accomodations are. I would try it if I went again, but I don't think we will go back now. This was it for us because we want to go back to Botswana, etc.
If I can give you any information though please ask away. I'm more than happy to share to help make anyone's planning easier. Liz
 
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Sep 20th, 2003, 06:38 PM
  #40
LizFrazier
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Richard-
Thanks for viewing our album. Of course those were "Tommies". As many times as I looked at it I just didn't notice what I'd done. I've corrected it. Thanks again. Liz
 
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