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Kenya and Tanzania Safari.......back from 15 day adventure with OAT

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Sep 24th, 2013, 12:03 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Kenya and Tanzania Safari.......back from 15 day adventure with OAT

My my how time does fly! We returned from our 15 OAT adventure Safari about 1st week of August and I must say that OAT did a great job and we were pleased with everything except how they assigned rooms or tents at the various stops. Due to the fact that we were first timers with OAT it seemed as though we were assigned rooms/tent at the furthest end of the line of rooms or tents......not that we didn't mind walking but time and time again we found ourselves at the end of the line, so to speak. People who had been with OAT numerous times got the closer in room/tent. Certainly not a deal breaker in the scheme of things.

And yes, all you old timers were 100% correct in that there were hardly any mossies during our time there.........winter months....cooler and overall lovely weather in mid 70s during day.

We flew to Masa Mara in small plane ( 12-16 people) landing on a dirt airstrip. This was the 4 days or so extension we signed up for and it was well worth it. On our first drive to lodge we saw Zebras and all became very excited seeming these animals up close. After numerous drives over the ensuing days it was like, "oh, more zebras ! That's nice. How jaded we quickly become! We generally went out on two game drives per day ....morning and later afternoon when it became somewhat cooler. Overall, the meals were fine although my wife didn't like some of the spices they cooked with , like cardamin.

It was in the Serengeti that we had the opportunity to spot the BIG FIVE. What a thrill to see these majestic animals in their native habitat and sometimes quite close.
Our 4 nights in OAT's tent camp in the Serengeti was situated, literally , in the middle of nowhere. Each couple had their own tent which is actually quite spacious. The main part of the tent has 2 separate and quite comfortable beds...white sheets and a small table. the middle section is a changing area/luggage (duffle) storage and the back parts are divided into separate flush toilet area (7 minutes between flushes) and a separate shower section. Each section is fully zippered. Power for everything comes from solar panels. There are low light type bulbs in each section. For the shower, the staff fill large heated containers of water behind the unit and with a pully system hoist the water buckets up. There is a valve in shower that when turned on trickles water down.....quite sufficient. The meals were exceptionally good with the metas, veggies, soups, etc prepared in their relatively small fiend kitchen......in the middle of nowhere. Soda, beer and wine is also provided free of charge at any time. Everything must be trucked in. Living in the "wild" in these tents is really a chore as far as how we deal with our contact lenses. We learned to take them out before dinner when it was still light out. The more difficult task was putting them back in, in the early morning when it is still dark out. Sure, we had lights in the tent, but they were abysmal in shedding off very much light. Maybe the equiv. of 10Watts. We tried maneuvering our little flashlights by the little dusty mirror on the little table and hoped for the best that we would be able to get them in correctly and note lose them.

Another aside is the chore of brushing ones teeth before bed. Since there is no sink or running water which we can drink.....all water for drinking or brushing teeth comes from a bottle......we learned to brush our teeth over the toilet. Put a little paste on brush and pour a little water over paste on brush and brush away. After brushing we spit the foamy paste into the toilet and then finish by rinsing mouth and spitting once again and the pour a little more water over brush to clean it. That's it!! Of course we could have done this procedure outside the tent with the spitting done on the adjacent savannah dry grass we didn't, however, because it is pitch black outside and quite chilly.

On one early morning game drive we arose at 0530 and left camp at 0630 to see the sunrise over the African Plain....spectacular.

The bywords for me on the drives were......Rocky, Dusty, Bumpy...... You always want your vehicle to be ahead of any other vehicle which might come along because otherwise you "eat the dust" of the vehicle ahead of you.

Our camp was surrounded by scraggly trees and dried savannah grasses and our view was "as far as the eye could see" in that vast plain. It was very, very quiet with only the whisper of gentle blowing breezes and at night, the calls of hyenas and maybe warthogs in the area.

I hope you see the humor in some of this! This was overall a fantastic trip and we got to see everything, including Great Migration, which we came to see. Ingrid and I each had camera...Ingrid point and shoot and I, a Panasonic bridge camera as well as a video camera. In in all we shot about 2,000 pictures which we narrowed down to the best 300 or so and we did a book on Shutterfly....80 pages....about 240 pictures or so....the best of the best...our book size was 11X 14. Very pleased with how it came out...We worked together during this massive project and are still married.

I hope some of you enjoy some of my ramblings. Although there is so much more detail I must go and pack for our tip this Thursday which will take us to New York and then on to Greece.....Mykonos, Santorini and Athens.

Comments and thoughts always appreciated.

Jay (retire03)
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Sep 24th, 2013, 01:19 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Jay I am THRILLED that you came back to post about your trip (i had posted looking for you!)!! I'd worried about you after living vicariously through your planning! Sounds like you really enjoyed it and you did quite well with the traveling challenges. I hope it was a trip of a lifetime and with time you'll forget the inconveniences and only remember Africa in its glory! Any particularly exciting/interesting animal sightings or experiences???

Welcome back and bon voyage again! Safe travels!
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Sep 24th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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we were pleased with everything except how they assigned rooms or tents at the various stops. Due to the fact that we were first timers with OAT it seemed as though we were assigned rooms/tent at the furthest end of the line of rooms or tents......not that we didn't mind walking but time and time again we found ourselves at the end of the line, so to speak. People who had been with OAT numerous times got the closer in room/tent. Certainly not a deal breaker in the scheme of things.

Generally, the tents furthest from the communal area are considered the best tents - more private, quieter, and most likely to have night-time visits from animals. We always request tents at the far end! I suspect that OAT was actually giving you the tents "at the end of the line" precisely because it was your first trip with them, and they were trying to ensure that you had the best possible experience. You were likely the envy of your fellow travelers.
CR
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Sep 25th, 2013, 09:54 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Sounds like you had a great trip! My mom was wondering about taking contacts or not - from what you describe I think I'll tell her to stick to glasses.

I wonder if they escorted you to your far-away tent at night after dinner. I like CR's explanation that those are the most coveted tents but I have read that OAT gives special treatment to their repeat travelers -- and does it blatantly in front of the rest of the group. Which is weird and might backfire if they think that makes people keep booking in order to get to be 'special.' That would be a turn-off to some.

Anyway, thanks for the write-up and enjoy Greece!
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Sep 25th, 2013, 11:37 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Sounds like you had a wonderful first trip to Africa - if like many of us, you already want to go back. I agree the farthest tent away is the best, but if OAT is specifically showing favoritism to repeat customers that is not a good business model!
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