Journal and/or animal 'checklist'

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May 13th, 2012, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Journal and/or animal 'checklist'

Hi all. Our trip to S. Africa is less than 4 weeks away now, very excited and down to very small details in planning. I've seen people mention that they carry a travel journal and make notes while on their safari drives, or later that night. I've also seem mention of animal checklists but I don't know if people bought those somewhere or created their own? I feel ilke I've seen mention that maybe some of the lodges give those out, or maybe they do that for the kids? (We'll have our 10 and 13-year-old kids with us). I'd just like to document our experiences trying to figure out the best/easiest ways of doing that, so I'm interested in suggestions from others who've done this before! If there's a particular journal you've used that you like, I'd love to hear it.

We'll be staying at three different lodges: Londolozi, Phinda, and Kwandwe (which is in the Eastern Cape). After that, we'll visit Jeffreys Bay and Cape Town.

Thanks!
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May 14th, 2012, 04:22 AM
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The best I've found and used is Mark Nolting's "African Safari Journal." http://www.amazon.com/African-Safari.../dp/0939895080 Not only is there space to journal, but it includes a wildlife guide, maps, packing and other checklists, etc.
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May 14th, 2012, 05:05 AM
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The andbeyond lodges usually put booklets/checklists in your room. Just ask if you can't find them.
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May 14th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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I take a blank book, about 6 by 9 inches, on my trips, and also a pocket size blank book. The big book is where I write everything about the trip -- where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, etc. During game drives, I write what we see in the little book -- just a line or two for each sighting, like "3 giraffes, 1 baby, drinking at waterhole", and "huge zebra herd". Then when I write up the day's events in the big book, I tape that day's list into the big book as well, including more information about any of the sightings that I feel warrant it. That way I don't have to lug a big book on the drives, but I have a complete record of what we saw where.

Have a wonderful time, Jane!
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May 14th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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(As per another forum post):

I've never been much into checklists, probably because they often simply list a subject, perhaps give you a scientific name for it, and then give you the box to check---no good pictures, descriptions of behavior or how they differ from related animals, so I don't find them all that useful.

But, if you want a journal-style book you could take a look at African Safari Journal [Paperback] by Mark W. Nolting. This book is multifunctional---it has areas for writing your notes, pictures of animals with a little box to check, maps of the various game parks throughout Africa and almanac-type info, like temps. Another book I like is Wildlife of Southern Africa (Princeton Pocket Guides) by Martin B. Withers. It is pretty comprehensive for a small book, with good pictures and some descriptive text for all the animals. The front end of the book has notes on photography.

Both books are practical, i.e., they are compact and don't weigh much. And both books can be had at Amazon for reasonably good prices.
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May 14th, 2012, 06:51 AM
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thank you all very much! I have heard about Mark Nolting's book from a few people, I may get that one but it sounds like Celia's approach is a great one too and that probably several of the lodges will have checklists if I want to use one. And thanks for the have a good time wishes, Celia - I'm sure I will - I will try to do a trip report when we return!
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May 14th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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My husband takes so many pictures, I don't need to write anything down on game drives. We do ask our guide about some of the birds - I can't keep them all in my head. The only thing I write in my journal is the names (and contact info) for the great people we meet. On our last two trips I took a binder with all of our reservations, contracts for rental cars and driving maps. It was a great resource to keep everything together.

I don't like checklists. I'm so happy to see what I see - having a checklist makes you aware of what you don't see.

Have a great time!!
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May 14th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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You're welcome, Jane!
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May 14th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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Hi Jane

I take a huge number of photos and each night before I hit the pillow, I go through them in a fashion and write down what the photos are of, though I know most of them I still write them down and that is a record of what I have seen each day. When I get home I delete huge numbers and often I delete all photos taken of one subject and by writing it up I still have a record of what I saw regardless of not having a photo of it!

Enjoy your trip, which I am very sure you and your family shall!

Kind regards

Kaye
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May 14th, 2012, 06:06 PM
  #10
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Thanks, Kaye - also a good idea!
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May 14th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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My good friend Lynda suggested a black wire spiral blank journal about 5 x 8 that ended up being my little resource centre as well as a journal. The smaller size fit nicely in my carry bag.

Made pockets out of plastic CD covers & glued them to both covers to keep tickets,etc in.

The front had a section for emergency phone #'s, Flying Doctors info and flight confirmations.

Made sections for each country visited starting with a map found on the internet, the itinerary and sacrilegious as it may be even cut up & glued sections from my The Complete African Safari Planner that pertained to the various reserves/parks/cities I was visiting. Left enough pages in between to write highlights and thoughts of the day. Had wildlife lists for each reserve but after a few days couldn't be bothered.

It was a fun hobby/craft to take the edge off waiting for departure date after all the planning was done!

You'll have a fantastic time no matter what you decide to use!
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May 15th, 2012, 04:48 AM
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In addition to Nolting's journal, I also keep a small spiral notebook and pen in my pocket while on game drives and transfers, making notes as I go. Those notes and the photos I take are helpful when doing my journal. On my last safari, I just took a Moleskine book to journal in. I wrote in all the trip info in the front for reference, as I would have in the Nolting journal, and did my journaling behind it. For a first-timer, however, the added info in the Nolting journal is good to have with you.
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May 16th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #13
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Thinking of the children, I would give each a notebook to fill with their own memories each day. Having been on safari, I know how easy it is to forget some of the wonderful things that you see or that happen along the way. I don't believe its always about checking off animal sightings either. There will be many, many firsts for your children - from people they meet, foods they eat, clothing they notice, to hair-styles, bush-breaks, or housing. All those memories (and impressions) should be preserved.

On one of our safaris we met a family with two young girls along -- about the ages of your two. The girls were each keeping a "scrapbook" to take home and share with their classmates. They would write in it each day -- like a journal, noting lots of different things they had found or done. They would fasten collectables -- like a blade of unusual grass, dried leaves, a birds feather, a map, etc. They drew their own pictures on the pages. The books became the fascination at camp gatherings each evening. The guides were wonderful at helping the girls find things for their books once the idea was out.

It was so interesting to see the differences between the two girls impressions -- both having been in exactly the same places each day. One would notice this, while the other would have missed it or noted something completely different. It spoke to the ages of the girls and their individual personalities. I thought their books were brilliant and would be treasured for generations to come.
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May 16th, 2012, 08:49 PM
  #14
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KathBC, Shaytay and TC thanks so much for these thoughts - I'm getting very excited for me to see all these things for the first time but yes, for my girls to see it all and to see it through their eyes. I already bought some little notebooks to take on the drives and might get them a larger one too in case they need more room or want to write more in the rooms at night.
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May 17th, 2012, 06:40 AM
  #15
 
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Jane62, do your children have their own cameras for the trip? Even a small "point and shoot" camera for each child would give them the opportunity to record what they see (and kids often see things differently!)
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May 18th, 2012, 08:29 AM
  #16
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ShayTay, they don't really and I've been thinking they should have myself. They do like taking pictures. We have a little really cheap kids' one with no zoom that we can't remember where the cord is for in order to transfer the pix onto a computer, so that's not much good! Anyone have recommendations for an inexpensive one? Like $50?
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