cyn's great adventure

Oct 5th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 59
Your African trip sounds wonderful. I hope you have a great time.
But why are you so worried about getting someone to wash your underwear? It takes a minute to swish them in soap, (you can use bar soap -Ivory is good, or buy little packets of soap powder),wring them dry,wrap them in the towel you just used, and hang them somewhere. If this is a problem, either bring enough undies for the whole trip or buy disposable panties at Magellan's ( They also sell handy clotheslines that you don't need clothespins for. Does anyone know what a clothespin is?? Just teasing!
I've washed things out when there was no laundromat available (most places)from Niarobi to Bangkok. My husband even washed out his when he was running low and no service available or as in most cases, we would not get our laundry back before it was time to leave the hotel. It's NO BIG DEAL!! These minor housekeeping chores are part of the travel to less devoloped areas.
I don't mean to lecture, but spend your time planning all the wonderful areas you'll be visiting.
Have fun and take lots of pictures etc-Joan
treasuresofafrica is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 94
In regards to the mosquito question... I found the best repellent was one called Mossi-Guard that we bought while in Fiji. You couldn't get it in the US, until recently. It's called Repel here. It uses oil of lemon eucalyptus, so you don't have the nasty deet smell. I haven't tried the Repel brand, although I think it's the same formula as Mossi-Guard. Consumer Reports recently compared deet based repellents with another chemical in a Cutter's variety (Picaridin, I think) and they were pretty comparable. CR then published an updated report a month later using Repel and it actually performed better than deet or picaridin (3-4 hours of protection against the "aggressive type mosquitos" and much longer against non-agressive ones vs. 2-3 hours for deet and picaridin).
I haven't been to Africa yet, but I'm taking some Repel with me to Kenya in December. Hopefully it works as well as I remember! Anyone out there tried Mossi-Guard or Repel while in Africa??
Steph_SEA is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Based on my reading of his tremendously informative posts, Sandi gave you very good advice to look for Selwyn's posts and his website. He does tours and someone wrote recently that they very much enjoyed the one they took with him. Even if you did not do a tour with him he is a fount of info on Capetown.

I think that there is a decent chance that we will be very near each other those 4 days we overlap with our camping--so I'll look for a Royal Africa vehicle and you look for a Nomad vehicle.
bat is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I'm thinking about trying this: I found it on the 'Net:
Has anyone else tried it?

<<Allen Bechky, a safari guide, wrote the following:
From: Allen Bechky
Hi Courtney,

I've been back from southern Africa for two weeks and am just getting around to giving you my report. It worked pretty well, in fact, I'll be calling you to order a 4 oz bottle for my next trip. You can feel free to use my report with my name as a testimonial if you like. You might also be interested to see the relevant pre-trip information I am currently sending to my clients (submitted at the bottom). Here goes:

As a professional safari guide with over 20 years experience leading safaris in Africa, I am always interested in new and useful outdoors products or equipment. My interest was pricked when a client reported that she had discovered an insect repellant that is effective against tsetse flies. I was skeptical; these little creatures perform a very important role in nature conservation by keeping humans and their cattle out of wildlife areas. But they bite, they are tenacious, and they are annoying. In my experience, nothing worked against tsetse flies. Nothing worked! not even the horrible skin-searing concoctions composed of 100% DEET! So it was with considerable doubt that I took a vial of SkeeterBeater to try out on safari to Zambia-- the tsetse fly capital of Africa.

I am pleased to report that SkeeterBeater worked pretty well in repelling tsetses. My clients and I tried it in some heavily infested areas in Kafue National Park-- a place where we are normally tortured by swarms of tsetses as we past through thickets or dense forests (tsetses do not occur in open plains areas such as Tanzania's Serengeti). I gave the SkeeterBeater a fair test- spreading the oil on my arms and legs and leaving them bare and therefore open to possible attack. Occasionally flies buzzed around me and I received the odd bite. My clients, with less need to subject themselves to attack in the interests of science, wore much better clothing (long sleeved pants and shirts), but they too thought that SkeeterBeater was effective in preventing bites and buzzing around their exposed parts (face and hands).

I also found that I liked to use the SkeeterBeater. I find the patchouli smell and the feel of the oil on my skin quite pleasant-- a sharp contrast to the horrible odors and sensations associated with DEET-based insect repellents.

So all in all, I give SkeeterBeater high marks on its trial run. I am impressed enough to bring it along for further trials on my next safari. I aim to give it another good test in a notorious tsetse zone. Let's hope it works!-- I'm counting on it.>>
Allen Bechky
cooncat2 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi Cyn,

Thanks for the compliment -- I'll try to live up to it!

In Cape Town, you can certainly get around to most of the main sights in the City Bowl (museums, Robben Island, etc) either by taxi or by Rikkis (similar to Southeast Asian tuk-tuks -- very inexpensive!). You can also book tours for the winelands and for Cape Point (don't miss the penguins at Boulders -- but stand upwind!).

I've found that the best way to see the winelands if you don't want to drive is on a private tour. Selwyn offers tours of the winelands which have gotten very good reviews here. If you want a bit of wildlife with your wine, stop by Spier and pat the cheetahs at the Cheetah Outreach Centre -- a nice preview of what you will hopefully be seeing on safari.

I've never heard of the Table Top Hotel -- do you mean the Table Bay?

Where are you staying in the winelands? Or do you intend to do the winelands as a day trip from Cape Town? If you really love wine and food, you may want to spend a couple of nights there. There are so many great restaurants that it's hard to pick a few standouts -- I've had excellent meals at Klein Oliphantshoek, Le Petit Ferme, and Haute Cabriere. Selwyn recently posted about some changes in the restaurant scene in Franschhoek -- do a search for Franschhoek and it should come up.

Find out where you are staying at the Crater. If your budget can handle it, I enourage you to consider a night (or ideally two) at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge -- definitely something that should be done once in a lifetime! If you do stay at Crater Lodge, request a suite in Tree Camp as they have the best views (all suites have crater views, but those from Tree Camp are particularly stunning).

To enjoy the crater fully, get up early and head down to the crater floor as soon as the gates open (630am). You'll have the crater essentially to yourself for an hour or two since most people tend to sleep in until around 7 and then have breakfast, and thus aren't on the road until around 8 or even 9.

Definitely see if you can book the starbeds at Loisaba.

I'll post about the camera later -- right now, it's time to head to bed as I have an early meeting tomorrow...

jasher is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,274
I'll bet Bechky puts that in a revised edition of his "Adventuring in Southern Africa" (Sierra Club Books), if he hasn't already done so. His books are a goldmine. He's done one for East Africa too.
afrigalah is offline  
Oct 5th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
I got a bottle of bugAWAY! brand deet-free insect repellent at a trade show. the salesman guaranteed it would repel ALL mosquitos but it didn't repel ANY Hawaiian mosquitos, it actually seemed to attract them, then they would all hover over me like a cloud and look for the one milimeter where the spray didn't hit my skin and down they'd come. Contains citronella oil, geranium oil, rosemary oil and peppermint oil. I'm sticking with Ultrathon which contains DEET for my trip in 12 more days!
matnikstym is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 06:46 AM
Posts: n/a
I once picked up a bottle of non-chemical mossie repellent in a health food store. Don't recall if it was SkeeterBeeta (sp), but it smelled great... with cloves and other natural products. I used it a few times, but my friend used is regularly... worked great for mossies, not so well for the tsetses. But natural repellent is an alternative. So check out the Health Food Store for the one Bechky mentioned or others.
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309

Your itinerary sounds wonderful.

To keep the mosquitoes off I normally use MyggA (DEET) that I buy at the pharmacy. Recently I found MyggA Natural with PMD derived from Eukalyptus citriodora and bought it. Both work in the same way confusing mosquitoes, gnats and other biting insect and they reduce the tick risk. Both are “biocide class 3” though the PMD has a shorter warning text. The disgusting smell is similar, but I quite like it as I associate it with safari. On the PMD there’s a text recommending DEET for travel to malaria-risk countries. As I get bitten whatever I do I might as well try something herbal with citronella, but I think I’ve read that elephants go mad and tear your tent to shreds if you keep a citronella candle inside it. Maybe I even read it here on Fodor’s. It sounds as a safari legend though.

Regarding underwear, I also thought about it before my first trip after having read about it. Not that it would have occurred to me to have it sent away for laundry – I wash it as automatically as I brush my teeth – but I was thinking that it somehow might be offensive to have it hanging around the bathroom. In Kenya I stopped thinking about it. Maybe you could ask the camp staff what they think about ladies underwear. You might get some interesting answers.

Wildlife isn’t as dramatic as in nature films. Most of the times the animals walk around looking like a brochure from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Your rose coloured blinders reminded me that I’m looking for rose tinted sunglasses. I don’t like wearing sunglasses and I was investigating what colour distort colours the least. Kavey recommended grey tints and then I read that hunters use rose or purple, so they most be good for watching animals and you’ll se “la vie en rose”.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 94
Sounds like no one has any first hand experience with Oil of Eucalyptus [p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)] in Africa. Well, I'll bring it along with my DEET and report back when I returned.

Sorry I couldn't help you for your trip Cyn!
Steph_SEA is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for the info on Selwyn – I’ll check out his web site.

TreasureofAfrica Joan:
Yikes! Sure didn’t mean to sound worried, as it was just my curiosity that made me ask. I’m capable of washing my ‘wear if need be, and you are certainly correct: it’s no big deal. Thanks for the good wishes!

Thanks for the info- I’ll keep an eye out for the Repel. And you certainly have helped on my trip – every bit of info helps, and besides, you added a post to my thread, which delights me (silly, ain’t I? I’m like a little kid on Christmas morning when I see additions to my post. Tickles me to no end!).

I can picture it now (re: meeting up) : I’ll be yelling “Bat….Bat” and all the safari-ites will be going, “where? Where?”

When do you go? Let me know if you find the skeeterbeater, and how it works.

Of course, I meant Table Bay hotel – I was working from what passes as my memory when I posted, and…oh well. The question is still on my mind though – Twelve Apostles or Table Bay for a first-time visitor?
We’ll definitely want to check out the Cheetah Outreach Centre – thanks for mentioning it.
We’re staying at the Akedemie in Franschhoek – the Oortulging cottage. Do you know it?
It will be the Crater Lodge that we’re staying at in Ngorongoro. Just one night though. I’ve seen some pictures – it looks beautiful. We’re early risers (and or course, may not yet be acclimated), so getting up early to go into the crater will be no problem. (Oops, there go the chills again! )
I’ll appreciate any thoughts on the Panasonic…fz30– especially the iso/noise issue. As I said before, I’m definitely an amateur, so for me I don’t know if it’s an issue or not.

Ok – NO bugAWAY! I’ll add ultrathon to the list to look for. Thanks!

Made me smile - your liking the smell of deet as you associate it with safari – what a great way to look at it.
Appreciate the comments about wildlife not being as dramatic as in film. At this point, wildlife shows are my only point of reference, and I’m sure playing into my worries about the kill aspect of the safari.

Thanks All!

cynstalker is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Table Bay or Twelve Apostles?

TABLE BAY HOTEL - This is an absolutely beautiful hotel, but much like one you would find in Las Vegas. It is probably ten times the size of the Twelve Apostles Hotel.

The Table Bay Hotel connects with the Waterfront, a huge shopping/entertainment center. As a result, there is quite a bit of foot traffic in the Table Bay Hotel, and this is day and night.

I stayed at the Table Bay Hotel in March 2002, and while the rooms are very nice, they are not spectacular and do not necessarily have great views.

On the positive side, as a bigger hotel there are certain advantages such as 24 hour per day room service (which I am not sure is available at the Twelve Apostles) and enjoying a central location.

TWELVE APOSTLES HOTEL - This is my favorite Cape Town hotel and I have now stayed here twice. The service at this hotel is out of this world and the staff/guest ratio is the best I have seen at any hotel.

It is located between Camps Bay and Llandudno, just about a 3 minute drive past Camps Bay. This gives it a beautiful position along the Atlantic Ocean.

However, be advised that Camps Bay is not really within walking distance of the Twelve Apostles, so you will need a cab whenever you leave the hotel, unless you like a 20 minute walk along a winding 2 lane highway.

The price should be another consideration. Although the Table Bay and Twelve Apostles are similarly priced, I do think that the 4 night package for the Twelve Apostles offered on Luxury Link ( is a tremendous value. For about $1,100 you should be able to pick up this package that will include 4 nights in a Superior Seaview Room (measuring 700 sq. ft.), including a daily brunch and one dinner for two. The brunch is awesome and includes seafood (shellfish, salmon, etc.) as well as fresh baked pastries, fresh juices, fresh fruit (guava fruit, passion fruit, pineapple and more) as well as eggs, bacon, sausage, hot & cold cereals and more. This is honestly a $30 per person brunch at most places.

Considering that you will likely pay at least $450 per night for a room at the Table Bay with the best special rate you find, I think the Twelve Apostles wins hands down between the two. Even if you spend $40 per day on a taxi, you will still come out way ahead, and you will appreciate not having thousands of people walking through your hotel each day/night.

As I have already mentioned, the Twelve Apostles was just voted the #6 property in Africa/Middle East by Conde Nast Traveler UK. It is the top voted hotel in Africa and placed ahead of even the Cape Grace, Ellerman House and the Table Bay Hotel. Only Singita, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, some hotel in Dubai and a couple other properties placed higher in Conde Nast Traveler UK.

It was nice, but not completely surprising to see the Twelve Apostles voted as the best hotel in Africa. It just serves as affirmation of what I have known all along.
Roccco is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Cyn - Unfortunately you will be back before I go - I head to Zambia in late May- early June! sooo... have a great time!
cooncat and, cooncat2 !

cooncat2 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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cyn: good one
bat is offline  
Oct 8th, 2005, 09:51 AM
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Hey Cyn:
I was looking back at your itinerary and since it contains everything that I would want to do except one thing, I thought that I would ask--did you consider Giraffe Manor for when you will be in Nairobi?
P.S. you can ask for "Barbara"
bat is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the info. I wish we had more time so we could go to both properties. As it is, we decided to stay at the Table Bay due to its central location. Seemed it might be easier to pick up tours/Robben Island boat etc.

Maybe someone else can enlighten us on the SkeeterBeater?
btw - is it Maine Coon Cats?

We didn't look at Giraffe Manor. Our safari company recommended the Ngong House, so we figured it would be fine. We're not really "city" people, so it didn't matter where we stayed in Nairobi for the one night. I'm not sure what time we'll get to Nairobi on the 4th, but I'm betting it will be fairly early. Anyone have any suggestions on what we should do with the day we have in Nairobi?

I'm trying to find a good map of Kenya/Tanzania so I can print them out and get a feel for exactly where we'll be. I don't have a concept of how far apart the different places we're going to are.

I think I have all the arrangements made that I needed to get taken care of. The only thing left is getting transportation to/from JFK. That's turning out to be our biggest headache, as we live in Vermont, and...."you cain't get thar from here".

Got the Panasonic..FZ30 yesterday, as well as the epson p-2000 for storage. Both are really cool! I am having some difficulty with getting clear shots with the camera fully "zoomed". It's definatley user failure - not a problem with the camera. I'm hoping that as I use it more, I'll get better. And yes, I still need to read more of the manual It is VERY different from my Nikon N65. The evf is tough to get used to. I may need to get a few lessons in "how to".

113 days 'til we go!

cynstalker is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Cyn - Yes, I've got two ultra cool Maine Coons! ! (Not to brag)

I'll do a search on the SkeeterBeater. I've got it bookmarked at home.

cooncat is offline  
Oct 13th, 2005, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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If I haven't said so before, your itinerary is fantastic and I am just sick with envy. Congrats!

We had a great day in Nairobi when we were there and I'm actually a little sad that our itinerary doesn't allow for it next time.

We went to the Sheldrick elephant/rhino orphanage. You can visit between 11am-noon. See the website for more information. We really enjoyed this and of course have since "adopted" some eles.

We also visited the Langatta Giraffe Center, had lunch at the Carnivore, visited the Karen Blixen Museum, did a little shopping, and went out for drinks and nyama choma with our guide for the day.

We didn't plan this ahead, but when we arrived in Nairobi there was a big political demonstration going on, and the guy who was picking us up at the airport asked if we wanted a day tour so we said sure. A great way to spend the day!

Enjoy your adventure.
Leely is offline  
Oct 14th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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cyn -

Vermont might be small, but it does have a few airports. Can you possibly get to Boston or Springfield, Mass for a flight into NYC (LaGuardia or direct to JFK [not to Newark [EWR]); drive in the day prior and stay at a JFK airport hotel, leave car in long-term parking. Some suggestions only. How did your Royal Africa guide get to meet you?

I'm sure Royal Africa can arrange a vehicle and driver for you for the time you have in NBO - visit Sheldrick at 11am, have lunch at The Carnivore; visit Karen Blixen, Giraffe Center, Kazuri Beads, Utamandani - all in the Karen burb. Stop at the Collector's Den at the Hilton Hotel for last minute souvenirs. You can have sundowners on the terrace of the Norfolk Hotel and dinner following here or at their Ibis dining room. There are other restaurants options: Tamarind for seafood; Trattoria for great Italian; and there's a great Continental restaurant (don't recall the name). There are choices. There's even a casino at the Intercontinental Hotel.

There is plenty to do. Discuss with RA and see what that can offer.

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