Back fromTanzania--thank you!

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Jul 20th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #1
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Back fromTanzania--thank you!

Not a trip report. But I wanted to let those of you who patiently answered questions (and those of you who asked the questions I would have asked if I'd had more foresight) that my friend and I returned from our low-budget, semi-last-minute trip to Tanzania. We had the best time imaginable! Everything was far, far better than we expected, and we fell in love with the beautiful country and its wonderful people.

Thank you so much for all the encouragement and advice. And if people ask questions on this board about whether it's possible to enjoy Tanzania without much money, but they don't want to backpack, stay in holes, etc., please say yes, yes, yes. If my budget were even tighter the next time (yep, planning the next time already), I'd still go in a heartbeat, finding a way to cut corners somewhere.

P.S. We used a local operator I found on TATO, lucked out with an absolute gem of a guide, and had a great cook. There were only 2 of us on safari, but because we were camping for part of the time, we had an extended Land Rover (seated 9). If people have specific questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them by e-mail.

Again, thanks to all.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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Welcome back!

Aaaw... no trip report? Is one coming? Pretty please?
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Jul 20th, 2004, 04:19 PM
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I'll try to come up with a trip report, but I can't imagine it would be of much interest to the connoisseurs on this board. Mainly I want to encourage people to visit Africa in general, and Tanzania in particular. Even if you think you couldn't possibly afford it!
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Jul 20th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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no no no! We want a report! We don't all have those big budgets....
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Jul 20th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Leely: I would love to read a trip report and I think there are plenty of others who would like too as well. See, Kavey has already put her bid in for a report. Consider this my bid for one as well. I am returning to Kenya and Tanzania in just under three months, so I am already in my "I need an Africa fix" mode ... please, please, please .. And just so you know, I may be doing some real camping myself while over there, so I really would like to know what it is like - especially the "facilities" factor, if you catch my drift.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Hi from RHODE ISLAND.I am so glad that finally there is some budget camping going on here. Great, very glad you are planning another trip. Keep it going, keep the parks going, keep the wildlife going. Camping when & where possible
can't be missed.
Cheers, David
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Jul 20th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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I would love to hear about your trip. I haven't read much about low budget trips except the backpack variety so please share your experience.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Leely,
I'm with the rest of the gang in wanting to read about your trip.

We can never get enough stories around here about travels in Africa no matter what the budget, so please appease us and tell us all about it.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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Leely,

Personally, I think it is about time we had a report on a safari experience such as yours. I have enjoyed going on a safari budget-style several times (lodge) but have never experienced budget camping(which I would love to do).

And to be honest, I've really gotten a little tired of "Which is better: Mombo or Jao". I want everyone to experience Africa and Leely, if you can show them they can have a great time without spending their life savings, thanks a lot.

(Please don't flame me because I expressed my opinion - I'm not against hearing about these wonderful luxury camps but it is pretty intimidating if it is all we talk about. I would love to experience Mombo sometime but to be honest, $1000+ per night per couple is awfully steep and most individuals get frightened off from going to Africa because they are sure that the cost is prohibitive.)
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Jul 21st, 2004, 03:58 AM
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Leely, please, post a report. We got back in late June from our trip but would certainly enjoy hearing about yours. Heck, just hearing what people in the vehicle 30 minutes behind us saw and heard showed the ever changing nature of Africa. So please share. In advance, thanks.
Dick
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Jul 21st, 2004, 04:56 AM
  #11
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Leely - for my two-cents, "adventure" camping is just as important as luxury safaris regardless which Africa country. And while many more reports are in the moderate and luxury category, your report, yes trip report, will focus on an Africa that those who are more adventurous or would like a different experience on their next trip, should hear about. So - A Trip Report is wanted! Thanks.
 
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Jul 21st, 2004, 07:43 AM
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hi all, thought I would pass along something I had done someplace else. easy just to copy here. hope it makes sense.
thanks, david

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"OH-OH, ELEPHANTS"
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ELEHANTS, ELEPHANTS, ELEPHANTS!! by safardreams


Nightlife Spot:
FIRE-BAR!!!!!

Type:
Other

Description:
Our last night in TSAVO-WEST. We had ELEPHANTS along our bush line. Later,
we heard shots coming from the main gate.
It was the: KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE,
letting off blanks to scare the ELEPHANTS
away from the other camp. But they came not too far from us.All we could do was light a :
BIG-FIRE. Maybe they will stay away!
But I, being a little nutty. Wanted them to come in!!
10/2001

Address:
TSAVO-WEST


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Jul 21st, 2004, 08:07 AM
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hi again, i should mention the previous post. was while doing my basic camping at the public camp-site at TSAVO WEST.
THANKS, DAVID
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Jul 21st, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Hmm. Okay. Trip report:

Started planning late March, when I thought "Maybe it would be nice to go to Africa. But I probably can't afford it." Convinced a friend (teacher: little $, lots of time) to join me. We bought air tix and started contacting safari companies. Decided on Easy Travel, started e-mailing them endlessly with questions. Finally just decided to let go some of my control-freak tendencies and agreed to an itinerary that worked out to about $150/pppn for an 8 night, 9 day driving-only safari. We chose to sacrifice on the accommodations side of things in order to have a private safari.

We arrived in Nairobi after an overnight in London (we live in San Francisco so those flights are brutal). Stayed in a not-very-nice but clean guest house catering, for all I could tell, to missionaries. Our attitude was "just have a good time, no matter what." So we did.

The man who picked us up at the airport ended up taking us to the elephant orphanage, the giraffe center, Carnivore, the Karen Blixen museum, and later a locals-only pub. At the pub everyone stared at us, and our table (in front of the band) was the last to fill up. What can I say? We had really primed ourselves to enjoy all the differences, whatever they might be. So we were having a great time. We passed on the busi (goat), though. There were huge political demonstrations that day, so we couldn't really go into town anyway. It was a pretty exhausting day, but we were just awestruck by everything: those enormous birds (what are they?) resting in the trees on the way from the airport, people walking absolutely everywhere, women in work clothes with their purses on their heads, and so on. We loved it from the moment we stepped off the plane.

Next day we took a shuttle to Arusha. Again, though it wasn't necessarily as comfortable as an American shuttle, we really enjoyed seeing everything. And fortunately, it was clear that day, so we got a nice view of Kilimanjaro. We were two of four tourists on the shuttle. There were two very well behaved Kenyan children who boarded somewhere in the countryside and stared and stared at us. We enjoyed that too!

We got to Arusha that evening and checked into the Impala. Not the Carlyle, but it beat the missionary guest house, hands down. The Indian restaurant in the hotel is goood.

Next morning we met our guide and our cook, Adrian and Antony, and off we went to Tarangire. As newbies to African wildlife, we were oohing and ahhing over everything. Taking photos of animals from far away, not realizing how close we would later get to everything. We were of course really impressed with the landscapes, the trees, the birds (and we're not birdwatchers), the flowers. The whole trip I must admit I was of no assistance to our guide (not that he needed it), because I found myself constantly gazing at the horizon, the sky. I found it all quite breathtaking. Even rocks!

In Tarangire we saw tons of elephants, Impalas, monkeys, baboons, zebra,...pretty much everything but cats. I could look at elephants all day long and not tire of them. But then I've already expressed my appreciation for rocks, so...

Our campsite was some strange place outside the park somewhere. I liked it! It was rustic, but there were toilets (well, a few holes and one toilet), and a shower that produced just enough drops of water to do some very minimal washing. I have long hair and probably couldn't have washed it. But that's what the safari hat is for, right? Our cook (a dear man, and boy can he whip up some tasty meals) brought us juice, water and some popcorn. We sat around chatting with our guide until dinner time. A huge meal, and really, we ate better while we were camping than in the lodges we stayed at. I still think about the banana fritters, the vegetable curry, the (jerk?) chicken.

While we were not sleeping in the park (we'll plan better next time, and Adrian has given us tips about where to stay when), that night I heard some strange noises that kept me from venturing out of the tent, even though I kind of wanted to go use the holes/toilets.

There were maybe three other tents of campers at this place, all Europeans, of varying ages. Dinner is at table with a lantern, on folding chairs, with our cook acting as waiter, wearing a jacket. We thought that was a hoot, and would have been more than happy to have him join us.

I'll post more later, but as a wrap up for today, I think in some ways that was my favorite night. It was peaceful, felt adventurous, but comfortable. And we loved dining with our guide, something we could not do at the Wildlife lodges.
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Jul 21st, 2004, 11:26 AM
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thats what i'll be posting here. bits and pieces of what i have already done else where. no time to do it all over again. too much work and a little boring for me to write. even now i am at work.
david
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Jul 21st, 2004, 11:31 AM
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another tid-bit about camping in tsavo!
david

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MY PALACE!!
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IGLOO-TSAVO-EAST! by safardreams


Accommodation Name:
VOI, CAMP GROUND

Type:
Campground

Description:
The two-man tents are fine. If you want to travel slightly on a budget. Have some time
to yourself. This is the way!! We picked a BOMA of trees. Because of the BABOONS and VERVITS!! Nice place to have BIG-FIRES!!
Really almost not a soul here!

Unique Qualities:
Much fire wood here. No fences, no baby-sitters! OH, don't roget the LAND-ROVER!!

Address:
VOI, TSAVO-EAST


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Jul 21st, 2004, 02:43 PM
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Leely:

I too have your hesitation about using the loo at night in tented camps. In the camp in which I stay the bathroom is attached behind the tent. However, since I have had three episodes in five trips of deadly snakes at the tents I decided this time to try something different. I just ordered a product from Magellans.com called RESTSTOP. It is a packet with a powder inside. You urinate into the bag and the powder turns to gel which will not spill from the bag. The bag can then be disposed of in any wastebasket or trash bin. Would also be good at home for parents traveling with young children.

Since I am not entirely awake when I get up at night this is probably the safest way to go. If it works well it might be the solution to a lot of people's problems at night and I won't have to worry about the cobras and mambas this time!!

Jan
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Jul 21st, 2004, 05:27 PM
  #18
 
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Hello, this is for Jan. Jan, when you have a min. Go to this link. It has to do with Eles, camp & the out house. I think you'll like it.
See ya, David

http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/1e53c/1f4b37/4/
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