Inviting friends on safari


Mar 15th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Inviting friends on safari

I know that Fodor's readers probably aren't an unbiased focus group to ask this question, but here goes anyway. My wife and I visited South Africa and Botwsana in 2004, and like everyone else that posts on Fodor's, we loved it. We are now planning on going on a private safari in East Africa in 2007, and are planning on inviting another couple (old friends with whom we have traveled before, but only to "normal" places). They are not as adventurous as we are, and I am leery that in discussing the trip I might impart too much of my own enthusiasm, thereby raising their expectations too high and setting us up for disappointment, particularly if "roughing it" (which we wouldn't really be doing) and "bouncing down hot, dusty roads just hoping to see some animals" turned out to not be as much fun for them as it is for us. Knowing that I will have to factor in the bias of this not impartial Fodor's audience, the question is, have any of you had or heard of situations where friends have been encouraged to go on safari and have not enjoyed the trip?
hguy47 is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2006, 07:01 AM
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While I have met people who have not rated a safari as their No. 1 trip, I have never met anyone who absolutely detested their experience. I would be very surprised if your friends hated a safari, and certainly its not such a foreign concept that they couldn't get a reasonable idea of what to expect before they departed and, could therefore, make an informed decision on whether to join you and your wife.
thit_cho is offline  
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Mar 15th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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Dear hguy,
Would it be possible for you to bring up Africa as a possible trip in a nuetral way -i.e. How would you feel about checking out Africa as our next destination? If get blank stares or signs of horror - stop. If you start to get some enthusiasm, continue or give some brocures for them to leisurely study.

BTW, going it privately with your DH and yourself is a great way to go if you don't get the feed back you'd like.
Good luck!
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Mar 15th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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Every time my husband and I are in Africa, somehow the topic of doing a trip with friends comes up, and we think how great it would be to share the experience with people we really like. But then reality sets in, when I remember that friend so-and-so is such a picky eater, and friend so-and-so really loved Spain, but can't remember the towns they visited, only how nice the people were on the tour bus, or how another friend hates to wake up early, and so on. Then we realize that if things were to go wrong, our friends would blame us -- after all, we're the ones who did the planning and should have foreseen this glitch, right?

So I would say this. Try to phrase the invitation in such a way that if your friends' response is an unqualified, enthusiastic "we'd just LOVE to go", then yes. But if their response is less than overwhelming, you'd have in mind a graceful way to withdraw the invitation.

And, if they do want to go, you can overemphasize the hardships when you discuss it, so that the reality of the bumpy dusty roads won't be as bad as they expected.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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All great advice, thanks. My wife and I are going regardless. Celia, you must have been listening to my inner conversation, those are just like the things I was thinking of, along with "Eeewww, look at that bug." just mentioning the cost of the trip might be a good way to gauge our friends' enthusiasm. My only question is for cybor/Sherry -- what's a DH (I don't think you mean "designated hitter")? DW could mean "Dear Wife," I guess, but that's the wrong gender. Thanks again.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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We had friends ask us if they could come. So we spent a lot of time trying to put them off. Giving them the stark realities (Mombo is such a slum etc ;-) ), how cold it will be, the cost etc.
Nothing we have done has put them off, so we are going next year and are being joined by some friends we met on safari and who we have now been back to Mala Mala with on three occasions.

WE had always been leery of holidaying with someone else to avoid problems. We actually think safari, particularly as practised in southern Africa is the perfect trip, because there are no decisions to be made, therefore less reasons to fall out.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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There are VERY few friends I'd be willing to invite on safari and it's not for lack of having some wonderful friends.

Partly, I'm too selfish to want to share the experience ... it may seem strange but I find a safari trip with my husband really romantic. Some of my friends have laughed when I've said that and scorned the idea of an early morning wake-up as romantic but they have failed to consider the compensations - sharing a piece of wilderness with so few other people, seeing wildlife that we are privileged to be able to see and hey, surely the early nights compensate for the early mornings!

Also, I don't think many of my friends would truly appreciate a safari. A few have done a standard safari tour and enjoyed it well enough but feel they've now "been there, done that". Others don't see the attraction in the first place. How would any of these people understand the desire to stay at a particular sighting for hours let alone minutes or cope with more than a few days of safari in a row?

Not to even mention the lack of hairdryers, nightlife, shopping and so on!

If you are sure you want to have friends come with you rather than enjoy it on your own, then certainly do make sure you discuss all the things you can possibly think of that they may find problematic. Whilst we safari-philes accept and sometimes even enjoy many of the unique aspects of safari trips, others may never realise until they are there and then it's too late.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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I agree that a safari is a very romantic trip. The very thought of trying to entertain another couple would be exhausting and would mitigate the delights of the journey.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 05:10 PM
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I recently had reason to consider just such a situation because someone asked if they could come along with us next time. We decided no - but I think it is a very personal decision.

I think you have to look at how you feel and whether you have expectations, as much as worrying about whether your friends would be disappointed. How disappointed would you be if they did not feel it was as wonderful as you did? Wouldn't it spoil your trip a little? Could you ignore how they felt? I don't think this is in any way selfish - just practical. Apart from anything else, with your prior experience mightn't you get a little overbearing, even? Could you avoid seeing yourself as the host, and would that be acceptable to your friends?

Anyway, those are the kind of things I thought about - maybe I have merely exposed an incipient psychosis, but at least my wife understood me

My wife and I have decided that if and when we go to Africa with interested friends or family we will send them off on something like the Masaai Mara - Lake Nakuru trip on their own for the first five days, and then when we join up for the rest of the trip we will have an idea of what to expect from them and can prepare ourselves accordingly - oh and by the way, we would have had some time alone together in a particularly romantic location first ;-) (I do agree with Kavey)

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Mar 15th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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Hi! I think you should talk to your friends about everything you are looking forward to on safari, the importance of game viewing, the long drives, etc etc.,

If they seem to be 50/50 about should do the trip by yourself......i have done safaris with friends, but only people who genuinely appreciate the wilderness etc etc.,

That being said, your friends i'm sure will love everything about Africa, the warmth, hospitality, stunning vistas, birds, animals etc etc., Occassionally, they may sleep could still do the morning drive on your own......

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Mar 16th, 2006, 02:18 AM
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Dunno if this really qualifies as "inviting", but... I proposed a safari to my photo club members.

First, I contacted a lot of operators, asked them for an offer, and made a comparison doc. Then I let them pick. But they refused, argumenting I'm in a better position to choose, as I "did all the work, and have been on safari before".

At that point I made it clear; "OK, but don't complain afterwards".

Now, I must say, the four who joined us have the same mindset as we do, and were willing to pay the price for this (let's admit it, it's not cheap) expensive trip. So I expect very little or no problems.

I guess that would be my advice to you; invite people who will love the experience, who love nature, and who know what a bucket shower is.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it went. We're 6 now. One full jeep, so to speak. We leave 28/6 for 11 days of safari and 5 days on Zanzibar. Our itinerary; (Kia lodge) -> Tarangire (safari lodge) -> Manyara (Kirurumu tented camp) - Ngorongoro (Sopa lodge) --> NCA (Ndutu safari lodge) -> Serengeti (Ikoma lodge - aka Moivaro tented camp) ->Zanzibar (Pongwe).
pixelpower is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2006, 03:39 AM
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Woops, sorry about confusing your gender, hguy. Should have proofed as it was a type-o faux pax on my part.
As for DH, I think you probably have already figured out by now that it's dear husband.
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Mar 16th, 2006, 03:51 AM
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This is an interesting thread. My wife and I have planned our upcoming east Africa safari (June) with another couple who are just as excited about the whole concept as we are. My wife and I have done this type of travel many times and so has the other couple. We live together up on a high mountain in western NC and we're used to adversity. We share an interest in nature and excitement. So I think we'll be quite compatible in sharing our private safari. However, we've had other vacations with incompatible couples before, so we know the pitfalls.
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Mar 16th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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I returned recently from a Tanzanian safari with a friend having been invited to join me and SO (significant other). He had a great time and really appreciated our willingness to have him travel with us. I, on the other hand, did feel responsible whenever there was any kind of a glitch--there were only minor ones, but I worried about his reaction. From a selfish viewpoint, there was a moment in the trip when we had to make a decision about whether we should change our itinerary--frankly, I would have preferred that it be only mine and SO's to make (it worked out fine--but had it not, I might have resented it).

My other thought is that you can shape an itinerary with lodges/camps that build in some choices. A nice camp/lodge and a 2 game drives a day setting permits someone to opt out here and there. But an itinerary that is full day game drives every day might cause problems.

[BTW, that reminds me--you have been to South Africa and Botswana where I believe the 2 game drive scenario is the norm. On an East African trip, it would not necessarily be so, especially since you are often driving from camp to camp rather than flying.]

Also, pay attention to your vehicle. Make sure that you have some sun protection even with the hatch open--too much sun exposure on a long game drive will fray nerves every time.
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