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Been intimidated by a travel experience in Africa? How'd you cope?

Been intimidated by a travel experience in Africa? How'd you cope?

Aug 3rd, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Been intimidated by a travel experience in Africa? How'd you cope?

I found a thread by this title (only Europe) in the Europe forum. The many posts in reply were humourous, informative, insightful, and educational -- but mostly humourous! So, what's your story from Africa?
rickmck is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Never felt intimidated...

If at all, i am always over-whelmed with my safari experiences and the kind hospitality and warmth of the people there....
HariS is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 07:58 PM
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after our bags (with passports, money and air tickets)were stolen from our tent in a camp in Zambia, we had to go to the embassy in Lusaka. It was a Saturday night, the embassy wasn't open until Monday so we stayed in camp and Monday morning flew to Lusaka. On the way there, our bags were found out in the bush with nothing missing (they were locked) but had to wait 5-6 hours for them to be brought to Lusaka. In the meantime we missed our flight to Livingstone and the last bus had left so we took a 7+ hour taxi ride. First we had to go to the township to exchange US dollars to kwacha (not a friendly looking place),then left at around 5:30. The taxi driver and his friend didn't talk much and once it got dark, they pulled to the side of the road. I thought this was it, we were going to be robbed and left out in the middle of nowhere, but it was only a pee stop for them. One more stop on the way up for gas and food next to a very noisy, rowdy Zambian bar. Very intimidating but no problems. Slept a little and when I did wake up noticed the driver was slumping over the steering wheel falling asleep and his friend was snoring away. We screamed "Wake up" and from then on, stayed awake to wake up the driver when he dozed. Made it to Livingstone but the driver couldn't find the lodge for an hour or so. Paid the driver and even tipped him, so happy to be where we were supposed to be. Don't know how I coped, very scary ride on all counts but in the end, a kind of nice adventure out of the ordinary.
matnikstym is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 08:00 PM
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Thanks, HariS, but we are not limited just to safari experiences, but to any experiences travelling in Africa...
rickmck is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Intimated - yes - as I think back that is a could word for how I felt in Namibia.
Traveling with a tour group of people whom I didn't know. We all met up in Joburg - three days at a camp in Chobe and then on to Nambia.
We dropped our duffles in our chalets then headed out on a Sundowner. From Sundowner right to dinner in a beautiful lodge. Escorted to my room,well after dark, the door seemed to burst open with the bellow of an anormous hippo right under my window. I was left with a "happy sleep" as the room still reverberated in the echos of Hippo love.
If I may insert here this was the night of my larium(ante malarial) dose. This night was might have been a mild dose of Height Ashbury 1967...of course I only know from what I have read.
The love hippo style continued through the night and only seemed to get closer and closer. And alone in my room - well I never felt threatened but it a bit unnerving to see the canvas walls of my room quiver with the hot breath of hippo lust.
Only one night - probably one hippo.
VeeR is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 08:52 PM
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Not really but close when:

1. Bus driver drove at high speed thru a very large brush fire at night on the route between Harare and Lusaka. Flames were probably close to 100 feet high and blown over the road. Radiant heat was intense for 5 seconds or so like being a couple of feet from a campfire.

2. On same bus trip, while waiting for the Zambian border to open at about 3 AM an elephant attacked the bus next to ours, smashing in the side and trying to grab driver and boys sleeping underneath it.

3. At the end of that trip, walking thru the main Lusaka bus terminal and being the only white faces in a crowd of several thousand people and the objects of intense interest.

The trip to Harare from Great Zimbabwe was also eventful, but that's another story.

tuckeg is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 09:29 PM
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Lost my film bag and half of my luggage during a fire on the vehicle near Mumbwa, Zambia.

Five days later, in a lovely bush camp in South Luangwa, I awoke during the night and found myself confronted with metre high flames of a bush fire next to my chalet. No one in camp has noticed it. The half-metre clearing around the chalet was the life saver...

Passport and tickets survived although with different colour and a little black-bordered. When the lady at the check-in counter at Joburg Intl asked what had happened to my tickets, I smiled and told her, "just a safari".
nyama is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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These few stories were great. Surely there are other amusing, informative, educational, insightful episodes that we can all learn from or at least enjoy in the re-telling...
rickmck is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Nyama, No one in the camp had noticed the flames?!!

When I heard machine gun fire in the middle of the night in Kibale, Uganda, I thought we were being attacked. When I was able to find a staff member I found it was the rangers in the nearby village scaring off the elephants that were munching on crops.

There is a current thread, something like robbed in Namibia that is frightening.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 06:38 AM
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I would not always believe the stories of scaring off elephants etc..........

It is often used as a excuse either poachers or other underlying problems. I should know, I have had my guides do the same thing when shots were heard fired by poachers in the Lower Zambezi.

When operating near a hunting concession, one PH seemed to forgot certain boundary rules applied to the area. My guests were actually witness to the shooting of an impala. I quickly drove the other way apologizing. The Botswana Wildlife Department were doing shooting practice for their trainee guides...........obvious
Shumba is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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I wouldn't have believed the scaring elephant tale except as I encountered various people the next day, there would be some chuckling and unobtrusive pointing at me. The guide would explain each time that they were laughing about meeting the lady who thought she was under attack. I was somewhat of a celebrity for a short time and that was fine with me as long as no one was shooting at me.

In South Luangwa I did hear shots in the night once and the word "Freeze." It was rangers catching a poacher. I later questioned why they would use the English word freeze and I was told that it was readily understood. For some reason, that incident didn't scare me, whereas in Kibale is was shaking in fear. I just slipped down to the floor and slept there the rest of the night in case any stray bullets came flying. None did.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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It's just a little thing but...
On our very first game drive at Londolozi, a guy came out to meet us carrying a rifle, introduicing himself as Melvin. I said "Are you our tracker?" He looked shocked and insulted. Turns out he was our ranger. The tracker, down a rung in this safari caste system, never appears in the guest area. Who knew? At the time, not me. I apologized, but wished someone had explained.
...very embarassing.
LAleslie is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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He should impressed you gave him credit for being a ranger who could also track. A very minor faux pas on your part.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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At Londolozi, does the tracker actually track i.e.,get off the landrover and track the prints? or just "spot"?. If the latter is the best description ...... then, i'd consider him a spotter!
HariS is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 08:04 PM
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When we were at Londolozi, our tracker did get out of the vehicle and "track." At one point, he and the ranger both went off for a brief time to look for leopard.

At Ngala, our tracker was dropped off to go off on his own. He and the ranger were in radio contact if necessary. This tracker loved to go off by himself looking for, in this case, leopards. Nothing he liked better. We were sometimes away from him for an hour or so.

To answer the original question--our (so far) one and only safari went so smoothly that there was no time when we were thrown off by what was happening around us. Maybe the only time I was startled was at the food court at JNB when a pigeon nonchalantly walked around the food choices. This was inside, after passing through security. We handled it by leaving and finding another area to have a cold drink and snack! Very minor.

cw is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 11:13 PM
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Hi Cw,

Thanks ...... agreed, on "tracker"!!!

HariS is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 03:22 AM
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In 2003 my friend and I went to Tanzania and Rwanda.
We visited with the Hadzabe in Tanzania. A number of dogs and puppies were milling around our feet and at one point she stepped back and stepped on the foot of a puppy. It yelped and bit her on her leg...not real hard but hard enough to break the skin. Of course our first thought was RABIES! The next thing we did was count the days till our trip was over. Whew! We had just enough time finish our trip before the 10 day incubation period for rabies was up!
We capped off our trip of a lifetime with a visit to the gorillas in Rwanda. When we arrived in Kigali and got off the plane we were surprised to see all the airport personnel wearing surgical masks and gloves. This was at a time when SARS was all over the news. At first we wondered if we should get back on the plane! Did they know something we didn't?
In fact whenever my friend had a concern about our safety I would confidently state..."Don't worry. Nothing bad will happen....it's bad for business!"
Lillipets is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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Some of the more conservative clinics and Center for Disease Control bulletins do advice on rabies prevention for out of the way places. It is specifically for reasons like Lillipet described. For a traditional safari, I think it's overkill, but when visiting tribes might put you in contact with dogs, perhaps it is a consideration.

I thought it was only a 2-3 day incubation period or at least you had to get begin treatment within that window of time.

CW, Oh no! The dreaded pigeon incident.

atravelynn is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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Twelve years ago my wife and I visited Tunez in a organized trip with a numerous group of spanish.

At that time I had Mexican passport and when we arrived at the airport I discovered that i needed a special visa that the Spaniards did not need(too late)

We were transferred to police dependencies while the rest of the group continue in bus to the hotel ,that was more than two hours driving from the airport.

After more than three hours of negotiation(they wanted to send us back to Spain in the flight of the following day) finally granted the special visa to me and they allowed us to continue our trip. Then I asked a police for a taxi stand and without thinking too much he said to me that by half of price of a taxi he could take us to our destiny that was next to its house.

I thought that we were not going to be safer than with a policeman ....was i wrong!!.

In order to begin, his house was half an hour from the airport and not next to our final destination like he said.

We went there and when we arrived he told us to wait at the car while he was going to warn his wife about the trip.
I can ensure you that the district imposed much respect and that, while I did jokes to calm down my wife ,i was very scare myself thinking by where they were going to come the bandits that where going to ransack us , like minimum.

After five minutes that seemed five hours the police came back and we continue the drive(a little bit more relax)

His vehicle was very old(but very very old), i could see the asphalt of the highway through the holes in the carīs floor.
Every fifteen or twenty minutes the motor began to make a tremendous noise like of small explosions follow by a black smoke that seemed it was going to set a fire.

The lights of the car illuminated to the top of the trees beside the road and whenever we crossed other vehicles they began to toot us and to make signs of protest while the police was laughing at it.

Finally we arrived healthy and safe to our destiny although that has been, without a doubt , the more dangerous trip by car of our lifes.

Moral of the story?

Always double check visa requirements when you visit another country.I guarantee you that I now always do it.


PacoAhedo is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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safarichat is offline  

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