Kenya, Masai Mara - SNAKES????????????

Aug 29th, 2005, 11:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Kenya, Masai Mara - SNAKES????????????

I read a message placed in 2004 from someone who like me is paranoid about seeing a snake.

Has anyone had the misfortune to encounter one (or more) when staying at the Governors Il Moran camp which is ground level and not raised? One of the messages actually said they found a snake in their bath!!!!!!!

With concerns about safety, valuables and now the ultimate subject of 'SNAKES' I must ask myself why I am going on Safari at all.

All encouragement not to cancel would be most gratefully received.
judytwo is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Hello Judy,

I haven't stayed at Il Moran, but I do know a few things about snakes. I'm not over-fond of them myself, to be honest, though I am even less fond of spiders.

Don't let yourself be put off going to Africa by a concern about snakes! Snakes are shy and as a result are very rarely seen. They are much, much more frightened of you than you are of them. Given the opportunity, they will run (well, slither) away when they hear you coming. In all likelihood, you will not see any snakes, or any signs of snakes. whilst you are on safari.

I have never encountered a snake in my years on safari, not even in the Delta which is supposedly more likely to have snakes. The closest I have been to a snake was seeing its track in the dust.

There is, admittedly, a very, very, VERY small chance that a snake will enter your tent whilst you are on a game drive and you will find it there when you return. There are people in the camp who can deal with this. But if you would prefer a raised tent, you can always stay at another camp. I believe the tents at Kichwa Tembo Bateleur are raised, and the camp is of a similar standard.

jasher is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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Snakes are more a problem (if any) during the rainy season if they are seeking shelter from the rain. Up to now I've been five times in the Mara and the only snake I ever saw there was a python during a game drive. And this was a very rare sighting - even my driver was sitting there with open mouth. So chances are very good that you will not encounter any snake during your stay.

Nevertheless, you always should follow one of these basic rules when staying in a tented camp on safari: try to keep the doors of your tent closed, or more important, at least the zippers at the ground, to avoid unwelcome visitors.

Aug 29th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Oh Grief!!! The smallest possibility of finding one inside the tent is an enormous one to me I can assure you.

The second kind person to reply pointed out that they could be more prevalent in the rainy season.

As I am going at the beginning of November is that not the very season to which you refer?

I believe I am already locked into the booking to stay at Il Moran but would be happy to pay more if all snakes could be banished during the time I am there!!!!!
judytwo is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Um, yes, November is the rainy season, though as it is the short rains it isn't as wet as the long rains in the spring. Snakes don't like being cold and wet any more than the rest of us do, so they are more likely to seek shelter when it is raining. If you follow Mitch's advice (which is also helpful for keeping insects out) you are even less likely to see a snake or encounter one in your tent.

If it's a really major concern to you, you can look into changing camps with your tour operator, explaining the situation. But I honestly think you are very unlikely to even see signs of a snake, much less an actual snake.

jasher is offline  
Aug 29th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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Most of my safaris have been in November, though our recent safari was in early June (end of rainy season). That said, I've seen two snakes - both dead. One run over in the roadway; the other shot dead.

That's not to say snakes aren't around (or spiders or other creepy-crawlies) but snakes in particular avoid humans whenever possible. So just follow the rules about zipping the tent at ground level (mentioned above) it's doubtful you'll even have an encounter.

Remember - a tent at ground level or on a platform wouldn't make any difference to a snake.

Neither snakes, spiders or other creepy crawlies are favorites of mine, but I haven't given them a moments thought enough to not visit Africa.

Friends who live in the US Southwest see more snakes in a month in any given year then I've seen in more then 10-years visiting Africa.

Aug 29th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Judy: as has been stated by everyone else it is unusual to see a snake on a game drive and extremely rare for one to actually find its way into a tent, especially one properly zipped. It would be a shame to miss out on a safari over a fear that is so unlikely to occur. However, I would suggest to make yourself comfortable that you simply have your agent contact the camp management before your arrival and I believe it should be no trouble for you to have your guide check your tent for you whenever you return to it. This way you could relax and enjoy your tent, which is the only place where you will be alone with your fear. Obviously you should be willing to tip extra for such special service but I believe most guides would be ecstatic to make an extra $10 a day for such an easy task on their part and it would be a small cost for you to feel secure -- everybody wins.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 01:32 AM
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Firstly, no one can guarantee no snakes whatever camp you stay at - whether it's one on the ground or one raised on stilts - since snakes can and do drop out of trees and could certainly climb platform stilts.
However, it's true that the chances are low.
What I would advise is that you ask your agent to request in advance and then do same on arrival that each time you arrive back from a drive/ meal that a member of staff accompanies you and checks your tent for snakes THOROUGHLY before you enter.
Kavey is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 02:20 AM
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I would agree with Kavey completely. Two other suggestions are that you always stay on the paths provided. Never walk off into the grass on your own.

The other suggestion, and one that most people don't follow, is that when you are walking along the paths keep your eyes alert ahead and to both sides of you. If there are animals of any kind closeby you should spot them.

Most people go on safaris thinking they are in a zoo and think everything is safe. You HAVE to be alert at all times. Babboons and monkeys often come into camps and lodges and even they can become a problem. Just keep in mind you are in the animal's territory and it is your responsibility to watch for them.

Don't be afraid - just alert. You will be fine.

JanGoss is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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I'd bet $100 you will not see a single snake at any time in Africa. I've seen one in the Mara at a distance on a game drive (far from camp) only because the driver had good spotting skills and pointed it out.

People have also found snakes in their bathrooms at home, but I am sure you are not worried about your home plumbing.

Whether your accommodation is raised or ground level, the likelihood of a snake entering is very remote, as they are shy creatures that avoid human presence and activity. Even while you are out, the staff will likely be in your tent once or twice a day to tidy up and prepare it for night time with lanterns or netting, further discouraging any snakes from lounging about.

Just put snakes out of your mind and enjoy all of the other creatures you are likely to see on safari. For heavens sakes don't cancel what is likely to be the experience of a lifetime!

atravelynn is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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I don't know that I'd bet $100 - I have certainly seen snakes - once in Botswana from the safety of a game vehicle - another time a couple of teeny tiny harmless grass snakes at Tubu Tree Camp near a walkway but not on it.

I do know that when one has a phobia it doesn't matter how harmless they are - as can be evidenced by the screeching sounds I make when encountering British spiders...

I didn't encounter any snakes in Kenya last April (also wet season) but I was only there a few days...

I think if you make sure your agent puts in a strong request for your tent to be checked regularly and perhaps for someone to check paths/ walkways for you in camp you'll be FINE!

Kavey is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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I didn't see any snakes in the Masai Mara or anywhere else on Africa, I think you'd be unlucky to encounter one but it could happen. I like the ideas above about paying someone to check your tent every day for you if it will put your mind at rest. I know what it is like to have a phobia (if anyone had told me about the number of spiders in the place I just returned from I may have had a few doubts!!) but please don't cancel, you will miss out on a wonderful experience. Hope you have a fantastic (and snake free!) trip.
rainbowrose is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Wear long pants and a good pair of safari boots, tromp loudly and stay on the paths. At the Siana Springs tented camp, our steward told us he killed a black mamba several years ago. He said they regularly spray for snakes---whatever than means and we should not worry. They do have the mamba, the cobra, the python, etc. etc. but that is what makes it Africa---adventure, excitement, a hint of danger. We not only had to zip our tents at Siana Springs in the Mara, we had to tie them because the baboons know how to unzip them. The bats whirling around our heads at night outside gave us a fright and made me wonder whether I should have completed the rabies series. The only snake I screamed at in our darkened tent was the Corded snake that plugged into the lamp. I think your chances of seeing the real thing on your journey are slim but that does not mean you should feel okay sneaking around in tall grass. A lady in our group capped her balloon ride by tumbling out of the basket upon landing onto a young black spitting cobra who slithered off without incident.
Duck is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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judytwo - As I mentioned in another one of your posts I have a friend who has stayed at Il Moran twice. I asked her and she said she didn't see one snake on either trip. No snakes or creepy crawlies except once she had a beetle fly into her tent and one of the staff graciously removed it for her. She was there in November and August.
Steph_SEA is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Posts: 175
I'll take that $100 bet.I have seen at least half a dozen snakes in the crater,Serengeti,and Chobe,as well as one on a game walk in the Okavango delta where our guide who was scared of snakes saw a python and yelled RUN.I got shoved in the back and almost went down before everyone calmed down and we realized what it was.The hippo episode the next day was even more exciting.

Maybe i'm just lucky though.
dlo is offline  
Aug 30th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Posts: 100
Dear judytwo,
I have never really taken to snakes, although I am not deathly afraid of them, until I started to watch Austin Stevens on Animal Planet with snakes around the world - and I am a changed person and I think I better appreciate their place in the world. I do believe that if they hear you coming they will move as they are not after you, as to them you are not a food source, only if cornered will they turn aggressive, and that is the case for most animals - they are only trying to survive. I have only been safaring since May 2000 but I have come across many snakes, some poisonous and I travel with nieces so I am extremely cautious. In winter 2002, I was on a walk in the bush with my 16 year old niece and 3 other guests. The ranger and 5 guests walked over a Mozambique spitting cobra, and it finally raised its head at the tracker who was last in the line. I must say, that I really was on the lookout for charging rhino or ele, and was not thinking about something that small out to get me, but that thought is what was in my head - they really are not out to get me.

I really love to see snakes from the vehicle or from a safe distance. I got out of a vehicle to see a puff adder and it was one of the highlights to see something that is not usually seen.

So do not look at it as a bad thing to see snakes, I also wouldn't want one in my room, but having someone check the room before entering it seems a good idea. That risk seems small compared to the passion that I feel for gameviewing. I hope that you can see snakes in a different light, a more positive light as they really are not out to get you!

austkaye is offline  
Aug 31st, 2005, 04:37 AM
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Many thanks to all who have endeavoured to put my mind at rest.

I won't take the offer of a financial bet as I do not want to tempt providence.

Have no doubt, my eyes will certainy be glued at every possible moment for the presence of snakes and yes, I do appreciate we are the intruders on the land of the animals.

As for watching the programmes on Discovery involving snakes, if you don't mind I will pass on that one!

judytwo is offline  
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