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Do you ever feel like you've had your fill of safari and how many trips did it take?

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Oct 23rd, 2005, 02:49 PM
  #1
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Do you ever feel like you've had your fill of safari and how many trips did it take?

I'm sure that there are those who thought one was enough, but I'm more or less directing this to those who have been on many safaris. Have any of you ever thought you've had enough and would prefer to skip taking a safari for a year or two or longer (and not out of financial necessity, that doesn't count )?

Prior to this time last year, I was perfectly happy to travel to a different part of the world every year and experience different types of vacations. I really thought that we'd go to Kenya and I'd 'get it out of my system' and it would be many years before we'd consider another African safari.

Little did I know at that time that I'd slip into safariholism and plan a return trip this year.

For next year, I originally had no safari plans in mind as we already have several shorter trips we've committed to (don't you hate it when your other trips get in the way? ) and I was also considering a trip to Mongolia. However, as much as I try, I just can't seem to 'get into' planning this Mongolia trip. I keep getting distracted, my latest mini-obsession being Uganda (it seems to have everything that I like going for it, but I'll start another thread on that subject).

So have any of you ever really felt sated after you returned from your 4th, 5th, 12th or 80th safari or does each trip just further fuel the desire to return?

Is there any hope for recovery from safariholism or should I just accept my new addiction? I've already spent the dogs' inheritance and I fear that I'm may bankrupt myself soon!
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Patty:

I know what you mean about developing safariholism. I too have had it bad. Eight trips in four years.

However, I am really in a quandry now as to whether to return in January/February or skip it this year. This is not because I am tired of being on safari or because I don't want to go back.

It is the Amboseli thing that has me so upset. The Court is hearing the case on Tuesday so any plans I may make will probably depend on the results of that. If they rescind the President's illegal move I will go again.

However, if they don't have the guts to do the legally correct thing by following their owns laws and instead let the Maasai continue running Amboseli, I will consider a boycott of Kenya. The President doesn't give a damn about wildlife, us tourists or anything else. All he cares about is the money we tourists bring in. Thus if I don't do my two annual trips and enough people do the same, perhaps it will finally hit home. I hope this won't be the case, because it will be the average Kenyan working in the tourist industry that will suffer. The vote on the referendum on the new constitution happens in November so that is also something we will need to pay attention to. No one yet seems to understand the implications of this yet.

When you safari in the same country multiple times, talk to the people living there and follow the news of that country you learn so many disappointing and heartbreaking things.
It does take away the excitement of safari planning.

We'll keep our fingers crossed that saner minds will prevail and do what is right for wildlife and for the people of Kenya.

Jan



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Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:21 PM
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Patty,
I am set to go on my 9th gameviewing trip in December, all but one of have taken a niece with me, and once I went by myself. First one was May 2000, and I made a few mistakes in those early ones. I will absolutely go nowhere else! My friends think I am mad, maybe, but I can live with that. The girls range in age now from 13 to 23, and it is the younger ones who would like a change, but they know that will never happen.
I haven't been over there this year, and these last few months have been very difficult, but less than 2 months to go now, and just been in to get malarial medication, so it is getting closer.

The last few years I have absolutely loved the Sabi Sand area, and we go to 4 camps in December, 2 new ones that I have not been to before. But I am already thinking about June/July next year and I am thinking of returning to Botswana - wanting to see herds of sable and roan antelope, and a lot of the smaller things as well. I really love all animals, but not so keen on monkeys and baboons. Otherwise nothing keeps me from missing a gamedrive - one year I did get dengue fever while on was away, but I went gameviewing anyhow! Sick as a dog on the way home, but I forget about those details fairly quickly, while the gameviewing details I do not forget. And to me, it seems, something always happens that has not happened before - some animal I see, or behaviour that I haven't seen before. I always want to go out first, and I never want to come back to camp.

So it is definitely not wearing thin with me, but i think this is genetic, as Mum is the same, but it is the killer airflight that stops her now - I find the flying boring, but if I need to be on a plane for 24 hours to see my african animals, then that is what I will do!

Jan,

I understand your point of view regarding returning to Kenya, and it being the working Kenyan in the wildlife area that is really going to be affected by tourists not returning, but you must do what you think is best for the wildlife in the long term. It is a shocking situation and while I have been in the Mara once, I was amazed at the number of cattle (and Maasai) that we did see in the middle of nowhere. In fact, 3 young male lions that we were viewing, ran in terror when they heard the bells on the cattle and while I understood that this is a learned behaviour passed onto each generation, they must also have a huge fear of these people and from programmes I watch on TV, many cats are hunted down for killing easy prey such as the livestock. It really is heartbreaking. I really feel for the poor cats trying to feed their families and I guess it is the same for local people trying to feed their families.

I hope, as you say, that sanity prevails and they are thinking into the future.

Kaye
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Oct 24th, 2005, 02:11 AM
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So Patty, a safariholic, huh? Well, I'm in the middle of planning my second trip to Tanzania which will take place almost a year to the day from the first. So, I guess it's possible, even though I still consider myself pretty much a newbie, that I'm also coming down with the affliction. Therefore, I think it appropriate that we say a little prayer, the Serenity Prayer for safariholics:

God grant me the serenity to accept the high yet still-rising prices;
the courage to change itineraries when necessary;
and the wisdom to know which agent to use.
Amen.

And one other thing, shouldn't we all fly SA? (Safariholics Airlines) <)
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Oct 24th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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Jan,
I can certainly understand your reluctance to return given the recent announcement regarding Amboseli. BTW I will be in Kenya when the vote on the new constitution takes place, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I'm not really sure what to expect.

Kaye,
Hope you have a great trip in December! Where do you fly from? The flights are a major hurdle for us too, coming from LAX. The first two trips we've relied on frequent flyer miles but I don't think I'll have enough next year

wjsonl,
We'll all need to pitch in for the first SA aircraft and Rocco can pilot it! On second thought, that's a frightening idea
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Oct 24th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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I’ve been to Kenya three times with a year between each trip, and I’ve definitely not had my fill. I want to go back to East Africa as soon as possible. I don’t know when it’ll be, but trips to other places are not on my horizon. I might even be losing some friends in Spain who I haven’t seen since 2001. They can’t understand how I can afford to go to Kenya but not to visit them. If I can’t return to East Africa next June I’ll hear things like “now when you’re not going to Kenya you can come and visit us”. If I can’t go to Kenya or Tanzania I’m not going anywhere! They should visit me!

I don’t want to recover from this addiction. The only prayer I need is:
God grant me the money to afford the high yet still-rising prices
Amen
But, as I’m an atheist I’m thinking about some really stupid business ideas instead.

I’ll write about Amboseli later. I don’t know how to express my billion angle-view.

:-?
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Oct 24th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Jan,

There is a new film called "Masai - The Rain Warriors." Have you heard of it?

I just got this e-mail from some tour operator. I have edited out the name of the tour operator so that I do not appear to be endorsing this operator, especially since I have never heard of them before:



>>>>>RE: “Masai: The Rain Warriors” Film SCREENING Invitation


We are proud to co-sponsor this special screening of a new feature-length movie about the Maasai of East Africa. (It is not a documentary—see review below.) The free event is being brought to L.A. by the Kenya Tourism Board accompanied by the film’s French director, Pascal Plisson. Print out the attached invitation and bring it with you. Seats are on a first-come, first-serve basis. I really do not know how many people will be attending.



As many of you know, XXXXX XXXXX (name of tour operator) has been working the past ten years to support our Maasai brothers and sisters on many development and conservation projects. One project that many xxxxx xxxxx travelers have participated in is our Maasailand Safari, a nature and culture African safari unlike any other. We designed the trip in collaboration with several communities under the direction of the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (www.maasaierc.org). Just this year xxxxx xxxxx has been acknowledged by Time Magazine for this “trip with a conscience”. We have won awards from Outside Magazine for the “Best Trip To Africa 2005” and were given the prestigious Conde Nast “Green List” our “…commitment to preserving natural surroundings and contributing to local cultures while providing enriching travel experiences.”

I will be attending the L.A. movie premier set up with a table to share more with attendees about the Maasailand Safari and the non-profit Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition. Please come by to say hi and pick up a color brochure if you are interested.


But, most importantly, please come as our guest, be moved and inspired by a people who are so connected to our Mother Earth and continue to live in harmony with nature.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MASAI: THE RAIN WARRIORS

Director: Pascal Plisson. Starring: Ngotiek Ole Mako, Paul Nteri Ole
Sekenan. France/Kenya/South Africa 2004. Masai with English subtitles.
94 mins.

With a documentary-like authenticity and major movie production values, this gorgeous drama takes us deep into the life of the Masai in East Africa. The story may be fiction, but the actors and the culture are completely real. In an isolated village, drought is threatening both life and livelihood, so a team of warriors needs to go kill the lion Vitchua, a symbol of revenge. The problem is that the warriors are all mere teenagers, led by the young Lomotoon (Ole Muntet), who's rather unsure but knows his place as a leader. His best pal Merono (Ole Mako) isn't allowed to join the group, because of his role as a shepherd, but Papai (Ole Sekenan) sees his natural abilities, and together these two set off across the plains to help in the epic quest.


The simple storyline belies the film's depth - these young men have yearnings and desires that strike a universal chord, as well as familiar feelings of insecurity, fear, cockiness, vanity, plus a lively sense of humour in their interaction. These teens have yet to prove themselves; they feel the enormous burden on their shoulders, and yet are sure they're incapable of accomplishing the task. And for a group of non-actors, they do a remarkable job conveying this in an honest and engaging way. Meanwhile, the filmmakers shoot it with a lush sense of colour, catching the parched orange earth and the textures of the stone, mud, clothing, jewellery, hair. This story of initiation, friendship, teamwork and sacrifice set on the vast ochre savannah of Kenya builds slowly to a powerful and focusing finale. In Masai with English subtitles.<<<<<


Jan, with your insiders view to Kenya and the Masai people, what do you think of this film. Personally, I am bothered about the hunting of the lion in hope of spurring on the rains, but I guess it is not as bad as trophy hunting which is prohibited in Kenya.

The free screening is on Thursday, November 03rd @ 7:30PM in Santa Monica. If anyone in the Los Angeles area is interested in this, please feel free to e-mail me and I will provide you with an e-mail attachment with the e-ticket that you may printout to use for your admission.

Jan, being that I am completely ignorant on East Africa at this point, I would appreciate your feedback. You seem to know the Masai people as well as most anyone on this board.
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Oct 24th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Patty,

I am in Brisbane, Australia and usually I fly to Sydney, stay overnight and onto Johannesburg, overnight then onto Sabi Sands. Unable to get a points seat with Qantas for so long, I have changed to Cathay Pacific, got a points seat for my niece first go, but now go from Brisbane to Hong Kong, then Johannesburg. It is a lot longer flight, but as my niece is 22, not a problem as we overnight in the plane and arrive at 8am, on Qantas I arrive at 4pm.

I am in the fantastic position of leaving 1pm on Sunday, and I shall be gameviewing on Monday afternoon. It does not get any better than that!

I know we will have a great time. Sarah has been once before, in January 2001 we did a trip to Bahamas, New York then a week in Tanzania on the way home. Unfortunately, it was, on the whole, very disappointing in the gameviewing department, but I know that will not be the case this time and I am besides myself with excitement at what we will be seeing this time!

Kaye
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Oct 24th, 2005, 06:04 PM
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Rocco,
I received a similar invite (didn't contain as much info) from the Kenya Tourist Board a few weeks ago. Are you planning to go?
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Oct 25th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Rocco, you can read about lion hunting on this Maasai website: http://www.maasai-infoline.org/

Already when Patty wrote about Maasai – the Rain Warriors I was unhappy that it wasn’t shown anywhere near me. I’m 100 % sure no lion has been killed to make the film and that it’s not going to make people go out and kill lions (maybe 99 % sure here). It seems like it’s some kind of fairy tale.
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Oct 25th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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I haven't had my fill, but I prefer to go to different parks on each safari, which adds landscape and species diversity. My trips so far have been:

August 1999 -- Kenya (Masai Mara and Amboseli) and Tanzania (Ngorongoro and Serengeti)

May 2000 -- South Africa (Kruger and Sabi Sands)

August 2001 -- Botswana (Okavango, Linyanti and Chobe); Zambia (South Luangwa) and Malawi (Lake Malawi)

August 2002 -- Swaziland (Mkhaya) and Namibia (Etosha and Ongava)

August 2003 -- Uganda (Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi), Rwanda (Parc Nacional Volcans) and Kenya (Samburu)

May 2005 -- Madagascar

I have also added some non-Africa wildlife trips in between, such as Galapagos (December 2003), Michoacan, Mexico to monarch butterfly roosts (November 2004) and returned yesterday from Churchill, Manitoba to see polar bears (October 2005).

I'm not sure what I will do when I get to the major parks throughout Africa, but unlike others, I also travel outside Africa (other trips in 2004 were to Colombia, Grand Canyon and Ukraine), and I am planning trip next year to Balkan States.

But safaris are still my favorite, and my next safari will be July 2006 (Hluhluwe and Kgalagadi, South Africa).

For me, I think I'd have my fill if I kept returning to the same park or country, so I need to maintain diversity to keep it interesting.

Michael
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Oct 25th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Michael - Welcome back! How were the bears?!

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Oct 25th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Bears were great, although weather was a bit warm. Lots of activity, great photos, and I'll do short report with link to photos, and I'll likely post on Africa branch, even though its a Canadian trip, but its an easy, long weekend wildlife destination for those of us in US.

Plus I saw my first kill -- polar bear dove into Hudson Bay and took a duck.
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Oct 25th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Michael,

How funny...with all those prior trips to Africa, you had to go to Canada to get your first wildlife kill!

I almost witnessed a kill last night as my dog, Shy, a very athletic three year old female, bolted past me while on a walk last night in hot pursuit of a hare. This poor hare had no escape route and was forced to outrun Shy for a little bit before disappearing into the night. Shy does seem to have better luck with the occasional hapless lizard than with the hares!

Shy with Scooter the Corgi:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...vfolderid=2005
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Oct 25th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Rocco:

Thanks for bringing the movie The Maasai to my attention. I have never heard of it. What is also intesting is that it is being brought out now with much of Kenya up in arms about the Maasai being handed Amboseli. Wonder if there is any connection to its being released now. Will have to see if it is being shown in the Boston area, and if so I'll see it.

No word yet on the court hearing today.

Jan
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Oct 25th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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Patty,

To respond to your question... There are some areas of Africa that I feel I have explored adequately. But in general, going to Africa only feeds my desire to return again. Plus there are so many parts of that continent I haven't seen yet--Bangwelu Swamp and the bat migration in Zambia, Gabon, Southern Tanzania.

I like your comment about how other trips get "in the way." That is true even when you really really want to go to the other places and enjoy the time you spend there.

On this past Africa trip I met a couple on Africa Trip #22. One time an elderly gentleman shouted from a passing vehicle that this was his 50th-something trip. Usually passing vehicles just wave and smile.

In a few years when I am no longer working full-time, I hope to go every 2-3 years instead of every year. We'll see what happens.

I don't know about you, but I am not the least bit obsessive about other things. One scoop of ice cream is fine (maybe 2), my closet is filled with a modest amount of shoes, I don't buy the latest anything, and I don't feel the need to return again and again to other destinations.

Uganda would offer a very different experience from your Kenya trips.
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Oct 25th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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Patty,

I am going to try to make it Thursday night as I would really like to see this film. However, I may have a photo shoot to do Thursday night in Orange County for a sporting event. I am trying to get my foot in the door as a boxing ringside photographer and there is a small chance that I may get my first opportunity this Thursday!

Hopefully I am willing the photography Gods in the right direction rather than jinxing myself with such an announcement.

But, if I don't have the photoshoot to do, then I will (dejectedly) be in attendance with Alexsandra. If nothing else, it helps lay the foundation for when I finally announce, "Oh, by the way, don't kill me or divorce me, but we are going to Tanzania and Zanzibar in February."

Or, I could always use this approach...

"Honey, I have some good news and some bad news...the good news is that I have decided to postpone my flying lessons until at least next April. The bad news is that you are going to Tanzania with me in February/March."

You know, I am just to the point where I want to do things that I love and nothing less, whether it is travelling, hopefully ringside photography, flying or even dancing, although dancing for sure will have to prove to be an acquired taste!

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Oct 25th, 2005, 06:28 PM
  #18
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I doubt i'll ever get to Africa 22 times as i'm only going on my second trip. I already have my next trip planned to Namibia though and after that either Gabon or Zambia.

There are a million places to see and things to do.I would find it difficult to get bored on safari but if i do just stick me in a canoe with a river full of hippos and i will snap out of it pretty quickly.
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Oct 26th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Patty

I don't understand the question.

Been 8 times, 2 planned for next year and every year for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure at some point I'll need treatment, maybe Mala Mala could open their version of Betty Ford, better still if insurance covers it!
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Oct 26th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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Have been to Southern Africa 6 times(Nam/Bots/Zamb/Zim/Moza/SA) in the last 6 years and I am planning the 7th for 2006. I happen to travel a lot for business (typically visiting India/China/Europe/MiddleEast every year) and still choose Africa for the great combination of wilderness and wildlife.
My last 5 trips were self-drives as all the future ones are likely to be.
Can see some pictures on my website
http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~yaser/pictures.html

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