Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

Hausfrau's Micato Stanley Wing (Kenya / Tanzania) Trip Report

Hausfrau's Micato Stanley Wing (Kenya / Tanzania) Trip Report

Apr 20th, 2007, 05:11 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Hausfrau's Micato Stanley Wing (Kenya / Tanzania) Trip Report

Greetings,
I've begun my trip report from my February 2007 Micato Stanley Wing safari to Africa and Tanzania. Thanks to the help of LyndaS and many others on this board, we were very well-prepared, perfectly packed, and had an absolutely incredible trip! Because I am a little, shall we say, verbose, and because I've decided to experiment with blogging, I am posting my report on e-blogger at:

http://elephantexpress.blogspot.com/

The latest post shows up on top, so you have to read from the bottom up. I've only posted two entries so far but hope to work on it regularly.

I am also posting a selection of my 2,500(!) photos on flickr at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hausfrau/

I've uploaded photos from Nairobi, Amboseli, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro so far.

Enjoy!
hausfrau is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 07:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18
Hi Hausfrau,
I am so excited to read more of your trip blog. I leave in 5 weeks for the same safari with Micato. Just got our bags yesterday! You took some absolutely beautiful pictures.
jfram is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 07:39 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Your pre-trip near disaster with the camera was a close one. Hope all your bad luck got fried along with the camera. Will check the pics next.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,895
Great photos, loved all the birds too, especially the "white bellied go-away bird!"
moremiles is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #5  
schuba
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
grest photos!
 
Apr 20th, 2007, 11:13 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Just peeked at the first few photos and glanced at the blog, but thanks in advance! I will peruse more carefully this weekend. Glad you had a great trip and welcome home.

(And, yes, LyndaS is very helpful.Can you believe the work that went into the trip report index???)
Leely is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Thanks for all the great feedback so far. Entry #3 is up, so we are finally IN Africa!

jfram, I am motivated to get this done BEFORE you leave on your safari! ;-)

atravelynn, fortunately the rest of our trip was relatively trauma-free for the 4 of us at least, but there WILL be a couple of exciting stories!

moremiles, the go-away bird is named for its call, which apparently sounds like "go away, go away" although unfortunately we didn't get to hear it.
hausfrau is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 11:49 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 253
just read your new post on blog. Tonnie kaguathi is fabulous!! hope you loved him as much as my family did. have actually continued relationship with him since trip. his wife is also as nice as can be!!
aowens is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 07:37 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Jessica- I was so happy to see this! I have printed out what you have, and will read as my bedtime reading tonight! And, I have looked at the Nairobi pictures - wow, they are fabulous!!!

Leely, thanks so much for such a nice compliment! I am really far behind on it at the moment but I have been faithfully printing out any trip reports that have been posted! And, I will indeed get caught up someday!

jfram - if you would like to read a very detailed report from our incredible Stanley Wing trip from last May/June, here is the link -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34822022

5 weeks would put you there at approximately the same time as us last year!

LyndaS is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:15 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Hi Lynda, good to hear from you and hope your trip prep is going well! Glad you like the pictures so far. I keep forgetting to tell you that I told Jane Pinto about your packing list and I really think you should send it to Micato. Their list is a good starting point but yours is so much more useful.

aowens, yes, Tonnie is fabulous! He was so funny and knowledgeable. He told us he has other friends in Michigan (our permanent home) so maybe someday we will get to see him in the U.S.!

hausfrau is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:31 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,441
hi hausfrau,

you do get about don't you!

great report,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 07:38 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Great selection of photos. The crater sunset was a beautiful start and so were some of the other sunset shots. Those baby wildebeest are adorable. You have one giraffe shot that looks snake-like. Your pictures give a good feel for the whole safari experience.

Nice variety of impala. The dik dik walking down the road was precious.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:33 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18
Hausfrau,
Just finished reading your latest installment! You give such detail, I feel like I am there with you. Looking forward to more! I do have a quick question, since you were on the same tour as I will be going on shortly. What was your experience as far as whether your carry on's are included in the 33lb limit? LyndaS mentioned in her trip report that they were not included, Micato says they are.
jfram is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 11:18 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
Hi jfram, so glad you are enjoying my report! I took Sunday off but will get back at it this week.

I too was concerned about whether they weighed the carryons because I always carried my camera, lenses, and various small items in my backpack, so that was easily another 8-10 pounds. They NEVER weighed our carryons, and in fact our baggage weight was never an issue on the entire trip - even though several people openly admitted that their bags were overweight. One time we flew a 12-passenger Cessna Caravan and one member of our group had to sit in the co-pilot's seat (because we were 13 with our guide), and even then weight wasn't an issue. Go figure!

At our dinner with Jane Pinto, someone actually asked in front of the whole group (and of course we ran the gamut of shapes and sizes) why they didn't take the weight of the people themselves into account!

I think it's a good idea to give yourself a couple pounds of leeway in your duffel, and make sure your carryon doesn't look overly stuffed.

hausfrau is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:12 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 253
hausfrau - Tonnie has been trying to come visit for several years, but has not been able to get a visa. his wife has family over here so she comes about every other year, but his visa is denied every time. i think the government is scared he will stay because he is smart and educated and his wife has family over here. whatever the case he has not been able to get a visa and has tried every year for the last several. I will be seeing him again next june. i will be sure and let him know he is remembered fondly.

Secondly - i would like to say something about the whole weight issue. We too had a 33 pound weight limit. Somewhere along the way (i think it was at the Ngorongoro crater) someone in our group told several others that we no longer had to worry about the weight because it was all charter flights from there on out. This couple proceeded to "load up" on souvenirs and many of them were very heavy wood carvings and shields etc. The next day we had an equipment change to a smaller plane. We had an aborted take off due to birds flying on the runway. fortunately this probably burned off just enough fuel and weight. When we took off the next time we had big stall warnings on takeoff (about 15 feet off the ground) and 2 people on board that fly and know about such things were extremely upset. Our pilot also had a bit to say after we landed. It could have been a very bad situation and all because some didn't understand the point of the baggage limit. Our personal experience on this particular trip was our bags were only weighed in Nairobi and not at any of the smaller airstrips, and our carry-ons were not ever included in the weight, but just do your best to keep your weight below the limit to compensate for idiots out there that don't seem to understand that under normal circumstances all will be fine, but if there is and unexpected glitch or equipment change it can be a huge problem. If the plane stalls on takeoff and crashes - it won't really matter what you packed. Sorry to sound so morbid, but it was a very scary situation.
aowens is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:30 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
I forgot to say hi, ann. Yes, it probably looks like all we do is travel, but DH does in fact have a job. ;-) We are just taking advantage of his comp and vacation time to take every opportunity to travel while we are in Germany!

atravelynn, so glad you like my photos! The new Canon was an improvement on the one I fried, so in the end I was really pleased that I had it. It has a much larger screen, so at the end of each day I was able to show the group some of my pictures. I used a 70-300 zoom with image stabilization for most of the animal shots and just LOVE that lens. More to come!

aowens, I didn't know about Tonnie's visa problems. That is really too bad. Our group loved him and it would be wonderful if he could come to the U.S. someday - I'll bet he could travel around the country being wined and dined by all of his satisfied customers.

On the weight issue, I agree with you 100%. My brother is a private jet pilot, so I definitely understand how important weight is, especially on the smaller planes. Obviously the fact that most of the flights are charters is irrelevant. I was really surprised that it was never an issue on our trip. We were personally careful not to buy much in the way of heavy items along the way and no one in our group was a big shopper, but I was surprised that the baggage was never weighed after we left Nairobi. I suppose they know at that point how much the group weighs as a whole, so unless you are way overweight to begin with, they don't see it as being a problem. Anyway, what a scary experience for you. I'm not all that keen on small planes, and I would have been extremely upset if something like that had happened to us!

hausfrau is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:04 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18
Thanks Hausfrau and aowens on the weight issue. I too am not crazy about small planes so I will still plan on keeping within the weight limit. Even if it's only to make up for the other people who go way over. Right now in my first 'practice' pack, our check on duffle bags each weigh about 24 pounds.
By the way Hausfrau, I finally got my husband on this website so that he could read your trip report. He as well was very impressed with your writings.
jfram is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:46 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Hi guys - I'd just like to 'weigh in" on the baggage issue.

Our carry on was never weighed, but it is important to remember that whatever you carry on will more than likely sit on your lap on most of the flights, so you must be careful with the size and the weight. Not very often did most people's fit under the seat,ours did, as it was small enough. Two people on our trip took 22" rollaboards - which did not work at all. On most flights those sat in the aisle and that is not too safe, on one flight they actually had to hold them on their laps for the 2 hrs.

Ann, you are so right about the weight, it is really important to watch it. Ou son is a pilot and he continually mentioned to me the importance of keeping within the weight limits on those small planes. I can't recall for sure, but I think he told me once it was especially important in Africa, he either said the altitude or the heat, can't remember which, I just remember him telling me about an incident in Las Vegas on their 'class trip' during his commercial pilots course.

In the end, I knew our bag was a couple pounds overweight, but as we went through our trip I was dropping a few pounds from giving out the items I had bought for drivers & their families. Mind you I think I might have replaced that weight with my one purchase during the trip of the Maasai blankets.

But, anyhow, here's my real point of posting - we were indeed weighed throughout the trip. We were seriously overweight on the first one from Nairobi to Amboseli on a regular Air Kenya flight(or Kenya Air, whichever is the domestic one) - apparantly over by 35 lbs total if I recall. And, one guy didn't even have his luggage yet (courtesy of KLM). Our director sorted it outsomehow, but I am not sure how. Rumour has it that because the flight was no where near full, they let us go.

Daniel, our director continually asked us to please not buy very much until we were back in Nairobi, and I believe that most of us kept to that.
Aware that we were continually overweight, in the Mara, Daniel asked us on the last morning for each couple to pack into one bag only for the rest of the flights. We all did that, which was great, but as we still had in essense two bags (each couple) to get back to Nairobi, it was still a problem when we were flying from the Maasai Mara back to Nairobi. It was a small plane and the pilot was furious, and made this known to us. He ended up putting some bags in the aisle for even weight distribution, instead of the hold in the back, which he said was OK for safety of the plane taking off, but he was still furious as it is not a great way to fly. Once in Nairobi, while at Wilson Airport, Daniel gave the bag that each couple didn't need and had Micato take them back to the hotel for us, and we would see the bag of course, at the end of the trip.

This time I will not even be 1 lb overweight (I believe we were 5lbs overweight between the two of us last time) when we go as I see the trouble it causes. It's a weight limit put there for our safety. And, on a group trip, we may have the luxury of having the bags weighed together, but that doesn't help when all, or most are overweight (in the bags, not personally). One person told me she brought about 6 books with her as she is an avid reader and she left them behind as she finished (and she really did read at least three on that trip), but that doesn't help the weight on the first flights. Another couple, as a matter of fact the family of three, each brought wet suits. Wet suits? Whatever for we wondered (we found out later when we saw them swimming in the pool in the Serengeti but it still didn't explain the 'need' for them), and we could imagine how much those weighed. Another lady told me her make up alone must have weighed 10 lbs, but we all hoped she was kidding....

I have laid out all of my 'things' (other than clothes) so far this year, by following my new 'revised' packing list to the T, and I am constantly amazed whenever I walk by the table at how it only takes up 1/4 of the space on the table this year - last year it took up at least 1/2 if not 3/4. There really was a few things that I took that were not needed! And, the quantity of some of them is way different - as in shampoo, conditioner, OTC medications, sun & bug stuff, etc. Even antiseptic hand wipes, I didn't use half as many as I took last year, so this year I only took 1/2 the quantity. I'm not fussy on shampoo, and each lodge & camp has it as an amenity, so I packed only one small travel size (freed from some hotel or other over the years) shampoo, in case one doesn't have, or I need extra one day. Bug repellent, same thing, I have only packed a few of the Raid travel packages, as most lodges had some as an amenity.

Many of the veterans on this board 'told me so' and I didn't listen, thinking I needed this or that. And they were so right - I didn't need! (except the tiny stapler, that is packed again!)
LyndaS is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:55 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Oh, hausfrau, after all that I forgot to tell you how much I LOVED your first day blog in Nairobi - it is truly amzazing what you wrote - it paints such a great picture! And brings back such good memories!

And I loved the way you interspersed pictures in the report, I see you take the same kind of 'out of the window' culture and people shots as I do!

Kudos to you - this is great!
LyndaS is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:43 AM
  #20  
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
Hausfrau,

Am enjoying reading your trip installments. I too like the photos interspresed with the text.

Lynda S.--did you mean that the three people on your tour wore wet suits in the swimming pool? Just when you think you've heard everything . . .

CW
cw is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:16 AM.