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Highlights and Photos: Self-drive Kenya & Tanzania August 2009

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Apr 2nd, 2010, 07:56 PM
  #121
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Happy to learn that you enjoyed the travel diary - which reminds me - I must go back and finish it. I just have the trip from Arusha to Nairobi to describe and then it will be complete.

We too learned of Safari Drive from Chris - although not through Expert Africa but rather his Bradt Guides.

As you will know from the diary, we shopped in only one place in Tanzania - at the Shoprite in Arusha. The Shoprite was excellent and had everything we needed - good meat, produce etc. The beginning of our journey was more problematic because we started in the middle of nowhere (Serian Camp in the Mara, where the vehicle was stored). It took much brainstorming to come up with the idea of submitting a grocery list to Serian and having them shop on our behalf. Serian flies their groceries in weekly and our order was simply added to the camp order. I was a little nervous about the idea, but I provided a very detailed list and whoever does the shopping for Serian did a great job. We returned to Serian for a re-stock of groceries after our week in the Mara and before heading to the Serengeti because there really wasn't anywhere else to shop in between the two. You can count on being able to get anything you need in Arusha and it is close enough to Lake Manyara and Tarangire that it would be possible to do a quick grocery trip from either park. The other alternative would be to let a camp/lodge shop on your behalf - assuming that you are mixing camping with a couple of nights in tented camps or a lodge. It worked well for us, and I would certainly do it again. Safari Drive arranged it with Serian for us. Serian also topped up our fuel tank for us, since there was no fuel in the area, and provided us with freshly baked bread.

We found the fridge in the Land Rover to be incredibly efficient - it kept the food very cold. Certainly after each grocery shop, the 4x4 was very full. We put the three cases of bottled water behind the front seats - we were then able to stack other things on top of those boxes, which were very sturdy. We used the fridge only for the most perishable - meats, cheese, open (UHT/long-life) milk and open juice - some veggies and fruit (apples, oranges, cabbage, onions) were simply in boxes. We kept the juice and milk boxes in the Coleman cooler that SD provided so that, if any broke, the liquid would be contained. We kept much of the non-perishables in the drawer in the back, but we had to keep everything well protected in plastic bags, as they quickly became coated in dust.

Be sure to have Safari Drive remind either Lizzie (SD in Arusha) or Serian (depending on where you are beginning your journey) to put the food starter kit in for you. Ours was missing, and we didn't notice until it was too late.

If you can post your itinerary, I might be able to offer some more concrete suggestions for shopping. Also, if you are interested and provide your email address, I will send you my grocery list (that one I sent to Serian) for you to have a look at.

Feel free to ask any further questions. You will love Tanzania. We enjoyed that trip so much that we are going to repeat it in 2012, at the end of our next year-long sabbatical in CT.

I am interested to read that you have self-driven through Zambia. We are debating a (repeat) trip to Botswana but with Zambia (which would be new to us) added on. How did you like Zambia? I would be interested in knowing where (what parks/tented camps/campsites) you visited in Zambia. Thanks! Robin
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Apr 5th, 2010, 04:49 PM
  #122
 
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Hi Robin
Been waiting for the finale after the "but this would be one of our most memorable anniversary celebrations for all of the wrong reasons...." teaser you left us with last time!
What great memories, in a fantastic report! Your husband will certainly enjoy reading it and I'm sure appreciate the effort you've put into it.
So, now for the next trip - I see you're already planning ...
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Apr 5th, 2010, 06:47 PM
  #123
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Hi Tockoloshe! Glad you have enjoyed it! I have one more picture to add with which I am going to outline what we would do differently if we were to repeat the trip. I tried to finish up yesterday but I am having difficulty with the Smugmug website (a first!) - suddenly I can't upload photos. Hopefully, I will get it sorted out in the next couple of days.

We are busily planning a few trips for our next sabbatical, when we will be based in CT for a year: a Kgalagadi/dune trip with family; a Botswana/Zambia trip and another Kenya/Tanzania trip. Pity it is so far off but, like you, we wanted to avoid World Cup.

What are you planning? Robin
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Apr 6th, 2010, 02:17 PM
  #124
 
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Hello again Robin
Many thanks for your reply which I have only just managed to read as we have had visitors staying over the Easter weekend.
We, like you, are starting our trip at Serian - the vehicle will be based there and is required to be in Arusha for the clients following us - we would have prefered to be starting in Arusha!! Our itinerary is much like yours though, sadly we are unable to have more than 3 weeks so are having spend slightly shorter times at each place.
We would love to have an idea of what you had sent to Serian.
If we correspond by email I can give you our itinerary and also tell you more about Zambia.
[email protected]
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Apr 8th, 2010, 04:32 PM
  #125
 
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Another year in CT, great!
We're off to Australia via Thailand this year, but the pull of Africa is as strong as ever so no doubt we'll be back in 2011. Would be interested to keep an eye on your planning in case we can pinch any ideas .... Good luck!
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Apr 8th, 2010, 04:47 PM
  #126
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I am determined to get back to Australia at some point. We enjoyed a year-long sabbatical in Brisbane and saw much of Australia then, but there is so much more that we would like to see. I will keep you up to date on our plans - Grassland's is on my Botswana/Zambia list. Robin
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Apr 8th, 2010, 05:08 PM
  #127
 
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Very nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

I particularly love the sunset photos. May I ask how you were able to capture the sunset without putting the animals and foreground into a black sillouette? Did you use a grad filter or took two separate pictures, one exposed for the sunset and the other exposed for the foreground? They're beautiful.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 05:53 PM
  #128
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I'll ask my DH to answer your question - I haven't a clue!
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:34 PM
  #129
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DH here! No real trick. I simply take several (many!) pictures with different speeds and then use Photoshop to lighten the foreground. Thus the best pictures are those in which the sky/sun etc are exposed correctly and then the originally dark foreground/animals are lightened via Photoshop. The details are there, they just need to be lightened up. Hope that helps.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:57 PM
  #130
 
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Thank you for the tips. Usually when you try to lighten an undexposed foreground you often get a lot of noise as a result, but I didn't notice it at all in your pictures. They look great, particulary the sunset with the wilderbeese.
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Apr 9th, 2010, 02:33 AM
  #131
 
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DH, did you really take 7000 photos? How long were you away? I'm trying to figure out how many I'm likely to take. I'll only be on Safari for a week, with an extra day in Cairo, but I'm known for taking a LOT of pictures when we travel. I'm trying to calculate memory cards, batteries, etc.
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Apr 9th, 2010, 02:34 AM
  #132
 
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Great pictures BTW. Thanks for sharing!
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Apr 9th, 2010, 06:51 AM
  #133
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My DH really did take 7000 pictures - spread over 33 days. We cleared the memory cards every morning. We had a laptop, a portable hard drive and a (Digital Foci) Picture Porter Elite (portable photo storage viewer with a memory card reader) with us, so that we could back the photos up in three places as we went. We charged our batteries using an adaptor in the cigarette lighter. Robin
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Apr 10th, 2010, 04:57 AM
  #134
 
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I guess it's only 200 a day. I know I'm capable of that. I keep wondering why I will need binoculars and a camera.
Sounds like you were quite prepared with al the backups. We are skipping the laptop this trip to keep the weight down for internal flights. I like the idea of the picture veiwer. Sounds like a handy accessory. Thanks again!
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Nov 5th, 2010, 08:38 PM
  #135
 
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Really superb trip report and photos. Thanks very much for sharing. I've only looked at part of it, so will have to come back, but really enjoyed it. Great work all around. That early photo of the hyena chasing a wildebeest was gripping.

I'm not sure if doing a self drive is our cup of tea, but you easily saw as much (or more) than we did on our two week guided trip through that area in January, 2005. Kudos to you guys!
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Nov 6th, 2011, 04:04 PM
  #136
 
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Hi Robin -

I can't tell you what a resource you've been in putting together my own self-drive trip - thanks for being so thorough!

I know that you didn't us the public campsites in Serengeti and Ngorongoro, but thought I'd ask in case you or anyone else tuned in has an answer.

1. Is it possible to reserve a spot at the public campsites ahead of time (so one knows for sure that a place to stay is waiting)?

2. If not, do they ever fill up? (Translate: someone arrives and gets turned away - yikes!).

* I can't seem to figure this one out.

thanks in advance!
best,
rich
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Nov 7th, 2011, 03:21 PM
  #137
 
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You are so brave!!! I admire and envy your trip. Will show our grandkids your photos before we go with them Tanzania next month. We will have a guide with us, but how exciting to do your own spotting. You have made me even more excited for our trip.
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Nov 15th, 2011, 06:09 AM
  #138
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Hi Rich! You're most welcome - happy that the blog was of help.

My impression regarding the public campsites in Tanzania is that you are not able to book the public sites in advance but, in looking at the TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks) website again to ensure that nothing has changed, I couldn't find anywhere which confirmed this one way or another. I would email them and ask.

E-Mail: [email protected]

Certainly, when we were there, the public campsites were most often empty. The only ones we saw being used were the campsite in the Lobo area of the Serengeti and the one in Tarangire NP. Neither was full - there was still lots of space. The campsites are large and able to accommodate many tents/people, so I can't imagine that you would ever be turned away.

Regarding the crater, it is run by the NCAA (Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority) and I believe you can book a campsite in advance. If it is possible, you might be wise to do so - the campsite on the rim of the crater is very popular. Have a look at this info:

http://www.ngorongorocrater.org/accommodations.html

Hope this helps! Robin


Elaine - I hope you have a wonderful time in Tanzania! CR
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:14 AM
  #139
 
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Hi Robin, when you last went to Tanzania did you stay in private or public campsites? I have been talking to Expert Africa and they say that the campsites both private and public are becoming over crowded and the wilderness experience is not possible in Tanzania any more? I would be very interested to know your vieiws. As you know we were very dissapointed with 3rd Bridge this year due to the over crowding and double booking. thanks Charlie
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:49 AM
  #140
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Hi Charlie! We stayed on "special" campsites in Tarangire (Mbuyu Mingi), Lake Manyara (Bagayo A), Moru Kopjes in the Serengeti (Moru 3) and the the Mara Triangle in Kenya (Maji ya Ndege). We had exclusive use of each campsite, and were never made to share. However, shortly after our return in August 2012, I did read on this forum of a self-driver who was forced to share Mbuyu Mingi in Tarangire with another self-drive couple. I was shocked, as were they - I thought the whole point of the special campsites was to ensure exclusiveness and the wilderness experience. It is why we have been willing to pay the (considerably) higher campsite fee. I am hoping that this (having to share a special campsite) was an isolated incident - perhaps a booking error. However, maybe Expert Africa is indicating that this is becoming the norm - they would know from their clients (although I do not think that many of their clients would be self-drivers who are using the campsites). I just checked the TANAPA website to see if there is any indication of a change in (use of campsite) policy in the Tanzanian parks, but there was no description of either the public or private campsites. I wouldn't mind sharing with another self-drive couple - the special campsites that we have used in all parks, both in Tanzania and Kenya, have always been large enough that we could still enjoy plenty of privacy. However, I would not be happy if we were asked to share with a group. I guess we will find out this August when we return to all of the parks I listed above. Robin
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