Do you need a wildlife guide while on safari?

Aug 17th, 2007, 03:23 PM
  #1  
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Do you need a wildlife guide while on safari?

Hi There - I leave for my first safari in 2 weeks!! I am so excited...Lots of last minute stuff to do.

I know some have mentioned that they have taken a wildlife guide on their safari to Africa. Would you recommend this? Or do the safari companies have them? (I am going with Roy's in Tanzania and in Kenya staying at Larsen's/Samburu, Serian/Masai Mara, so using their guides/drivers)...

Any advice in this area would be appreciated. If a wildlife guide is recommended, which one(s) are the best? Thanks!!
lmavolio is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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I am not familiar with the camps you are staying at, but I don't know why you'd need a wildlife guide with you if you are going on game drives with the camp guides. In fact, at each camp the guides should know more about the area than someone who would go with you from camp to camp. If you are doing a self drive and want to have someone with you along the way, maybe. But I'm not sure that even then it is necessary. Perhaps others can comment on this. I travel alone and have spent two weeks in Kenya/Tanzania, 10 days in South Africa, and just returned from three weeks in Namibia/Botswana, and have never had anyone accompany me on the trip. However, I've always flown into each camp.
Dana_M is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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Sorry for the confusion - I meant a wildlife book/guide on African wildlife. Such as the National Audobon Society Field Guide to wildlife or something along those lines...
lmavolio is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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On our first trip we carted along the large Estes' Safari Companion and never had a chance to open it. The guides will tell you many things, the lodges have books, read the books before you go and then leave them at home.
Marija is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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The Roy Safari drivers we've used had copies of a bird guide ("Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania") and a general wildlife guide (I think Estes's book, not sure). Probably something similar in Kenya ...

Bill_H is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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I am taking "Wildlife of East Africa" by Withers and Hoskings because it has color photos and a bit of info on birds, snakes, lizards. mammals, insects, trees & flowers all in a small handy book. 1/2 the size and weight of the Estes book which is staying home.
QueenofDaNile is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 01:47 AM
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hi, imavolio,

well, we took the national audubon field guide to african wildlife with us, to SA. It was great for the aminals, not so good for the birds, as it wasn't detailed enough, so we ended up buying a bird guide too while we were there.

Although our rangers/guides were very knowledgeable, it was very nice being able to sit down later and look up what we had seen, read about habitat, debate what species we'd spotted.

depends on how heavy the rest of your luggage is, I suppose. my only criticism of the audubon guide is that it covers the whole of africa, and is therefore quite big. the specialised east africa guide like the withers one sounds like a good recommendation for a trip to that region.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Hi Imavolio,
Sorry for my, uh,...stupdity. I guess I just read your question too quickly. It makes perfect sense to me now

I have always taken a wildlife guide book with me, and while it was not necessarily specific to birds, that is what I tended to use it for. I liked having it along so that at the end of the day while back in my tent I could write comments in the book rather than try to take extensive notes. For this reason, I've found it helpful. Like Ann, I own the National Audubon Society Field Guide, but I do not take it with me. As she mentioned, it is not area specific enough.
Dana_M is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Hello I am no wild life expert, however I did find that trying to do a self-drive camping trip and DIY Guide added to my experience. However, I do know that from chatting to every other soul in our campsite or on-route, that they all had Expeft Guides with them and where we were getting excited about seed pods they were finding Super Prides of Lions. My view would be if you can afford it, go for it. The guides however who 'come with' the safari companies have in our experience tended to be pretty incredible. But somehow it is so much fun to have no guide whatsoever and just stumble across the most amazing animals you are ever going to see. If you are interested, I went to Botswana in June, and have more information at http://wilddogsandenglishmen.wordpress.com in a downloadable PDF trip report. Botswana is utterly breath-taking, go if you have the opportunity, and go now. Best wishes, WD
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