Game Drives and "rest stops"

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Jan 5th, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #1
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Game Drives and "rest stops"

This may sound like a silly question, but I wonder how bathroom breaks are accomodated on game viewing drives? Also, can anyone tell me about the drives themselves and if someone prone to motion sickness would have a problem? Thanks.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Well in Serengeti, Crater, Amboseli & Mara
there were rest areas where you could have lunch, use an bathroom or outhouse (definitely don't expect luxury, it will be a hold in the ground)

The stop areas are not fenced off, so any kind of animal that wants to could in theory wander through, but the typically avoid humans anyway.

In the Crater we had lunch at a medium sized lake and hippos were on the other side.

On rare occasions my wife needed to stop and we didn't have time to go to a rest area. My careful driver found some safe bushes. But when leaving the Serengeti, we were on a long road in an appearently barren area. My wife said "Just stop here, I don't care who sees me."

and I swear before my guide could stop the car we looked to our side and saw two female lions sunning themselves.

Never forget you are in the wild.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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Ah yes, the marking of the territory...

Be ready for anything. Some of the rest areas were PRISTINE (especially in Tarangire). Some had toilets and running water but no soap. Some had a hole in the ground and that was it. And then there are the bush breaks.

Your guide will help you find a suitable place when you're in the middle of nowhere.

I brought tissue packs and antibacterial hand wipes. Could have used lots more hand wipes. Also as the trip went on we started bringing the bar of soap from our tent/room with us in a ziplock bag in our daypack -- that way we had soap with us in case a rest area didn't have any (like at the main Seronera Visitors Center in Serengeti), and we just left it there for others to use.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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With few exceptions, rest stops, if available, are rarely more than old-fashioned outhouses. It's particularly hard on women. We stopped at one and it was so nasty that my wife gagged and let out a "I can't do it!" and did her business in back of the little shack. My son had to use the bushes in the Crater once and got an acacia thorn in his rear end. As I recall, Imodium became a daily regimen after that.

As bad as the pit stops are, the roads are the number one thing on my wife's short list of things she didn't like. None of us got sick, but we were constantly being tossed about. It was often as rough or moreso than a boat in rough water.

With that said, Africa cannot be beat as an exotic, fun, and exciting destination. My son Chris and I loved every minute of it and are going back in June, but my wife and grandson won't be along this time. And I'm sure Chris will have his own stash of Imodium this time around.

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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Oh yeah, going outside in bushes is way better than some of those outhouses. My wife did that 'sneak behind the outhouse' thing several times.

Once in Rwandan countryside we needed to stop an the outhouse was ABOMINDABLE, but people were all around this area and so she had to use it. She said I hope that I don't have end up with any visitors. Figure that out yourself...

As for the motion sickness, my wife and my Mom are super prone to migraines and neither of them got ONE the whole trip.

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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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wayne,

Sort of related to the migraines...I suffer from really bad allergies...probably I have symptoms at least 50% of the time...however, while in Africa, I never suffer from allergies, and this includes while in Cape Town. Perhaps I have just been lucky so far, but I do think that the air must be much cleaner there than in my native Los Angeles (or any other major American city).
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Jan 5th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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It must be because we're on vacation, anywhere... I rarely can recall having allergy or sinus problems especially when in Africa.

Sure the roads are "ruff" but if you're on a private safari, you can always lay across the back seat and sleep or rest in a prone position. If your motion sickness is anything like boating you should just focus on the horizon if you're bumping along the way.

If you can't find an approved pit-stop - read: clean with flush loo and running sink water, it's often a hole in the ground. Elsewhere, your guide will scope out a safe location in the bushes. Or, if on the road and can't wait and no vehicles around the women often go in the rear of the vehicle, guys in the front. Just have tissue packets and sani-wipes for your hands.

We've all managed and survived and don't recall reading of anyone having any accidents!
 
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Jan 5th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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Hello,

It's not clear from your question where you're going on safari, but in private game reserves in South Africa and Botswana there aren't any outhouses (clean or dirty) so you'll need to use a 'lava-tree.' The guide will stop and check to see if the area is safe. One plus to being on a private reserve with very few vehicles is that, in a pinch, you can duck down behind the vehicle whilst everyone else looks the other way.

If you're prone to motion sickness, try to avoid the last row of seats in the Land Rover -- the bouncing is a lot worse back there.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 5th, 2006, 04:27 PM
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Nicco,
I'm prone to motion sickness and had no trouble on game drives. Those little flights in bouncy planes, however, are another story.

When do you leave and where are you going?
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Jan 6th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Speaking of the little planes, does anyone have any good travel sickness remedies?
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Jan 6th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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A fishermans' wife told me that ginger is the best. Tea made from the root or in a pinch tea bags (ginger aid). In a pinch g.ale or g.snaps - works for me.
Tried those wrist things and all I got was a sore wrist. If I'm feeling extra nauseated on a boat I use Bonine - doesn't make me drowsy and still can drink - perfect. Don't wait until your feeling quesy to take.
Sherry
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Jan 6th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Hello,

Fortunately, planes don't bother me, though bouncing around in the vehicles can make me a bit nauseous. I did have the misfortune to share a small bush plane in Botswana with a woman who suffered terribly from air-sickness.

Interestingly, doctors at one of the hospitals where I did my training recommended ginger tea for nausea related to morning sickness.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 6th, 2006, 08:13 PM
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I was OK on my first trip but in Zambia the plane rides were very bumpy, I think because I kept crossing a mountain range, and I did get queasy, and I chewed on sugared ginger and it helped. Of course there is dramamine but who wants to be sleepy? I'm pretty prone to motion sickness but never ever felt it on the game drives - you're out in the fresh air, and you're always looking at something, so it doesn't seem to be a problem.

As Julian said, in southern Africa, at least Botswana and Zambia, there aren't any 'rest stops'. Our guide would just pull over whenever we needed him to. Many times I have just gone behind the car (in fear of my daughter who threatened to take a picture). When you have to go, you have to go, and no one felt shy after their first time. One fellow rider was too scared to be alone in the bushes so we all held up our blankets around her! For women during their time of the month and for anyone suffering from travelers diarrhea, things might be more difficult! In that event, be prepared with bio-degradable wipes that you can bury, or discreet trash bags that you can stuff into your pack.
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Jan 8th, 2006, 04:40 AM
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In Botswana, there are no outhouses that I am aware of. Since I am a woman, I was prepared with biodegradable tissues and a little device called the Freshette. It allows you to get the job done standing up and eliminates all of the mess that women often have when faced with this situation. Both items can be purchased wherever camping supplies are sold. I bought mine from Cabellas.

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