Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Game Drives?

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Aug 14th, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Game Drives?

We are going on a Sept safari and will be there for 14 days. My son-in-law, who went to Kenya on 2 missionary trips and went on a few game drives, said we would get tired of 2 game drives a day for that long. Just wondering what other people thought who have experienced this. Do you just get worn out and want to skip drives, especially later in the trip?
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Aug 14th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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If you are on a private safari, you should be able to arrange a schedule of game drives that works for you. If you don't want to go out at 6am, rather have breakfast and then go out at 8 or 9am, then plan this. And, for that matter, if you wish to skip a game drive, you can. Or if you choose a full day, your guide will see to it that picnic meals are provided.

The only time you have to keep to schedule is when you are moving from one area to another or if you have to make internal flight connections. Believe me, you are under no obligation to go out on any game drives if you wish otherwise.

Everyone knows, I'm the Queen of "no morning game drives" - for no other reason than I prefer not. I'm certainly awake at 6am, but I simply prefer not to go out. Besides, it's also vacation. 3:30pm will arrive eventually and I'll go out then, or not.

But, if this is your first safari, you may, as do many, not want to possibly miss anything.

If you're with a group, however, schedules may not be as liberal. Not that you can't pass on a game drive, but if the schedule has the group out all day, you may have to pass on all activities for the day. As Scarlett said, "tomorrow is another day."

Or as I say every morning I awaken in Africa "just another bloody day in Paradise" (from movie White Mischief).

It's all very personal. Not knowing when your SIL visited or where, can't comment on his experience. Yet, you're traveling in September, during the migration period, and there are few who would defer game drives... even I might be tempted to drag myself out for one of those early mornings. Note, "one of" - not every!

You're an adult, set your own schedule.

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Aug 14th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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Thanks, Sandi. It never crossed my mind about not wanting to take all the drives until my son in law made that comment! I figure I can rest at night so probably wont' be missing any unless absolutely necessary!! I was just wondering about other people's experiences after they got there.

I do have another question. We are booked into Tarangire Treetops and read that, even tho it is a great camp, it is not as near the animals as others and that it takes a good hour just to get into the reserve. I just dont' want to think we are making a mistake by staying there. I know people seem to like Treetops a lot but if you had a choice, is that where you would stay?
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Aug 14th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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I've never wanted to skip a game drive, except when I was quite unwell on one occasion. I could take three drives a day or stay out all day.

As Sandi says, it's very personal. And dare I say it, it also depends on your interest in nature and associated activities (eg photography) and your attention span. You can make each game drive different, not necessarily by covering a different area but by spending the whole time with a particular animal or group of animals.

It helps to have a guide who is an expert all-rounder, not just somebody who knows how to drive from bush to bush and does exactly the same routine every time.

John
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Aug 14th, 2007, 03:16 PM
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Yes, the camp is outside the park. Drive time is about 45/min. But there were elephants walking right thru the camp. How much closer would you like? The day before a pride of lions were at their waterhole. How many animals in/near camp or on the drive to/from, no one can say. I loved the camp and driving to/from never phases me... it's part of the experience.

Game is game and there is never any guarantee where they will be from day to day or hour to hour. Granted during the dry season they seem to concentrate closer to water sources inside the park, but still... one never knows.

You can arrange with your guide for a full day game drive. Have breakfast at 7 or 8, then take your lunch and do the drive to/from the park once each way (of course)... stay at long as you wish and return when you want.

The other lux camps here, Oliver's and Swala, are both at least 2/hrs drives from the entrance thru to the farthest southern areas of the park.
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Aug 14th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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I should add that in places where there's navigable water, boat excursions count as game drives for me. But there are never too many drives in any area.

John
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Aug 14th, 2007, 03:59 PM
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I agree with John, there are never too many game drives. If you are at all interested in photography, the first hours and the last hours of daylight are the very best. Also, some of the best sightings (not all) but quite often, are made in the early morning. Kills made the night before are still active and can provide facinating glimpses of animal interaction. Keep in mind that while on safari it is common to turn in early so you can still get a good 8 hours of sleep. Let your own level of enthusiasm guide how many drives or how long you want those drives to be. I can't imagine anything worse then going to breakfast and hearing about some fantastic sighting missed because I slept in. But, as they like to say on forums, your mileage may vary.
Regards-Chuck
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Aug 14th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Most of us know ahead what type of travelers we are. For instance, I know that I'm not one to sit still for long periods or have other interests besides wildlife viewing.

On my first and upcoming African trip I will be canoeing, hiking, visiting locals as well as taking safari drives.

Please don't get me wrong, the drives are spectacular and not to be missed but if you have other interests, Africa has it all. Tailor your trip to suit your dream.
p.s. I never was bored with any safari drive - the wildlife, the landscape, fresh air and interesting info. and chatting with the guide - it's all good.
Enjoy!
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Aug 14th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Hi cmtravels,

In my opinion, no!

Kind regards

Kaye
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Aug 15th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Thanks for everyone's input! My husband and I both are the type that we don't like to sit around; we want to be doing things all the time. So it sounds like this will be perfect for us! I am getting so excited! We leave in just one month, 2 days.

We are flying Air France to Paris and have a 7 hour layover (arrive 11am, leave for Nairobi 7:30pm). I have found a hotel right by the airport (with a free shuttle) where we are going to go for a quick nap. I am hoping this works out and assume that even if we have a delayed flight we can cancel the room as they have a generous cancellation policy. I could not find any "day room" rates at Charles DeGalle. Does this sound like a good plan?
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Aug 15th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Did you try emailing or calling the hotels directly? Many hotels have day room rates but this isn't something that's usually bookable online and may require contacting the hotel directly. You could also try asking about day room rates on the Europe forum.
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Aug 15th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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I must admit, I never tire of game drives. We've been on safari for 4-5 weeks straight and I've happily gone on every drive available - actually I missed one single one because my back was sore and I regretted it even though I needed the rest.

I just can't get enough of the flora and fauna.

I guess the only exception would be if I were sharing a vehicle with someone I could not tolerate and that's not happened yet (though we've had some I'd happily have tossed overboard to the predators had I thought I could get away with it)!

That said, I try and choose camps where there is the option to get out of the vehicle and walk - I am not fit enough to do full day or even half day walks but love to get out for an hour or two.

I also love to do water activities but that's not really so applicable in East Africa, I think.

If you are the type, as you say, that don't like just sitting around, then I think you'll be fine. Especially if you are as excited about all wildlife as we are. We get as excited, if not more so, by the smaller critters as the large ones and if there are no critters then our guide can teach us about the local trees, flowers, geology or history!
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Aug 15th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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I can answer the question in one word, no.
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Aug 16th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Actually, the more game drives the better! i wish some operators give you the option of a third drive!!!

The only time i missed a game drive was due to torrential rains one morning that didnt stop.....the rest of the day was on and off drizzle and there didn't seem to be much action!
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Aug 16th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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Sometimes it is necessary to spend all day out (not return for brunch or high tea) because the drive back to camp and a return trip are just too far. In those instances, we have taken a box breakfast and a box lunch. Why else am I in Africa?
Regards-Chuck
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Aug 16th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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I missed a game drive once because I really wasn't feeling well. I love being out there, even when "nothing" is happening. If game walks or water activities were/are available, I would do that as well.

I like rustic/remote camps, because they feel more like camping to me. This is all very personal.

You can decide what you like when you're there. With 14 days, you have enough time to determine your own rhythm. Plenty of time to stay up late and listen to the sounds of the bush. Sit in your tent in the pre-dawn hour and listen to the birds wake up. Go out all day with a box breakfast and lunch. Spend hours watching a herd of elephants. Wait for those beautiful, lazy lions to do something. Hey, I'm getting jealous.

Have a great trip.

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Aug 16th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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I'm thinking that the answer could be yes - only because there are walks, and mekoro & boat rides, quad bikes, and even horseback if you are so inclined. I would think that with each type of locomotion, so to speak, you would get a different view and feel for the bush, and the flora and fauna.
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Aug 16th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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this, of course, only applies to southern africa, which is why we chose Botswana for our trip.
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Aug 16th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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I have been on several safaris, but I have never done 14 consecutive days of game viewing -- to me, at least, it would become redundant and boring, and I have broken up all of my safaris with days at Victoria Falls (while on safari in Botswana), or at Lake Malawi (coming from Zambia), etc. Its not that I would get worn out, rather I would need some type of stimulation other than being chauffered around looking for wildlife (and this is coming from someone who has taken wildlife trips on six continents and am always planning more). But, I do strive for diversity and try to spend part of each trip visiting the capital city of the country that I'm visiting -- and I've spent wonderful days in Nairobi, Harare, Maputo, Windhoek, etc. On a 14-day trip to Kenya, I would likely add some time at Mt. Kenya or Mombassa or Nairobi or elsewhere. But, I would never miss a drive on any day I was "on safari."
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Aug 16th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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on our last safari we were out for 16 days and we often went out all day so no we never got tired of the game drives!
J
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