Laptop in Botswana -- yes or no?

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Apr 16th, 2003, 12:49 PM
  #1
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Laptop in Botswana -- yes or no?

I'm a writer and debating whether to bring my laptop (8 lbs) with me on my botswana safari. i realize the weight limit on bush planes is under 25 lbs, but i plan on packing very light. is it worthwhile to lug around a computer? i stayed at djuma (nr. Kruger), which had good internet access, though i wonder if botswana lodges/camps have sufficient electricity (i don't need internet access) or whether there's even enough time in the day to do much writing. any opinions?
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Apr 16th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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Tough question.

How much time there is in the day to write depends on whether you participate in all the game drives, whether you leave showering to the midday siesta because it's a little chilly in the morning, whether you want an extra sleep or a dip in the pool during that afternoon siesta etc. I did find time to write my journal nearly every day so you probaby will find time somewhere in the day or evening.

You don't have accesss to electricity in the tents themselves, I believe, although best ask your agent to query this directly for your chosen camps. Batteries in charger units (for videos and cameras) are given to the staff who charge them in their central office area - often overnight - so it's best to have at least two so one can be charging while the other is in use.

You'd probably have to give them the whole laptop to recharge it I guess? Unless you have one which can run off external batteries, like digicam batteries which can be recharged in charger units? Then you could buy more than one battery and have them charged in rotation, as above.

I think the charging is a bigger issue than finding time.

If weight is an issue what about taking a small personal organiser such as an Ipaq or Palm Pilot? That might be easier to transport and, even with a folding keyboard, is much smaller and lighter than most laptops. Might also be quicker to recharge?

I'd guess that if you're a professional writer and intending to sell work written during the trip that it may be more important for you to take the laptop than for most travellers.

Kavey

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Apr 16th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Hi Doyong:

I agree with Kavey, when I was in Kenya last October I only took my PalmPilot (with modem & minikeyboard) and I did all of my note taking and work related stuff in the evenings & in the afternoon between game drives.

There was very little communications (even telephones) in most of the parks we visited but I was able to connect to AOL via my PalmPilot's modem from Niarobi (the days we arrived/left) and was able to send out everything I accumulated during the week.

Not only would I have hated to lug my PC around between lodges, there would have been no place to store it so I would have had to lug it around on the game drives as well, while my PalmPilot & accessories easily fit in my camera bag and while I used it for about an hour each day I don't think I even had to recharge it (I even took my mobile hotsync cable & configured a terminal emulator to send "text" to any PC I may have had access to while traveling, Mark Space's Online is very good for that, but didn't even have the opportunity to do that) ... so from my experience taking your PC would be a major mistake ...
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Apr 16th, 2003, 04:45 PM
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doyung,

A little off topic but how did you like Djuma??? Did you stay at Djuma Bush Lodge or Djuma Vuyatela??? Would you return???

I'll be at Djuma Vuyatela in exactly two months. My primary safari is to South Luangwa, Zambia, but I had a wonderful time in the Sabi Sand last year so would like to finish off my trip this year with Djuma Vuyatela.

Don't worry about sparing my feelings if you didn't like Djuma. Your honest feedback will be most appreciated.
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Apr 17th, 2003, 10:01 AM
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hi everyone-
thanks for all the great responses. i have a cassiopeia organizer, but it's breaking down and i'm not sure if i want to invest in another one. thanks for pointing out the battery-charging issue; i will definitely need to consider getting an extra battery pack if decide to bring the laptop. the irony is, technology is supposed to make life easier!
roccco, i stayed at djuma bush lodge and loved it. i went in june 2002 as part of an around-the-world trip and stayed for two nights. i've been aching to return to africa since. vuyatela, as you know, is fancier and more design-oriented than bush. i briefly stopped at vuyatela, and really liked the colorful decor, which incorporates unique elements of embedded glass and ceramic in the walls and fixtures. several elephants stopped at a nearby watering hole in the few minutes i was there, and the staff were very friendly. food was excellent, and bush lodge seemed very reasonably priced -- i paid about $200/nt w/no single supplement. have a fantastic time!
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