Last minute questions

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Oct 13th, 2005, 06:37 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2005
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Last minute questions

Well it's finally almost here!! 4 1/2 days to go and have some last minute questions:
1. How do you reconfirm your flights coming home from the camps? I'll be on Nationwide from Livingstone to JNB then SAA to Atlanta. 72 hours out I will be at Chongwe. Do they have a phone there to reconfirm?
2. When do you start the Malarone? I know 2 days before but also says to try to take them the same time every day. With the time differences I'm lost as to when to take the first pill. Do you lose a day as when I went to New Zealand and if so do you count that as a pill day?
3. What is there to do during the "siesta" time? I'm not one to sit still for 4 hours a day. I know you can't go out hiking or jogging but if I'm stuck in the tent for 4 hours I think I will lose my mind!
4. Do the camps have ketchup? If I don't like some food I put ketchup on it so as not to be rude and don't eat it. Also if they do have ketchup, is it the American Heinz like type or the awful New Zealand, Rarotonga (British?) type which is more like tomato sauce? (should i bring my own packets of Heinz?)
5. Where do you keep all the money? I bought the over the neck, the around the waist and the leg secret hiding pouches but do I really need all of them? and will the little zippers on them set off the security alarms at the airport? I'd hate to beep and pull out $1500 cash in front of all the people in line!
6. The only part of the trip that scares me is the walk from the customs in JNB to the airport sun intercontinental hotel and back to check in the next day. if approached by someone who wants to "carry my bag" should we start speaking spanish? Don't want to start off the trip with our bags running away. (I realize this question sounds racist, but I've never been in a traveling situation carrying so much money!)
Thanks for all of your help these past 5 1/2 months, hard to believe it is actually almost here!
matnikstym is offline  
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Oct 13th, 2005, 07:15 PM
  #2
 
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Dennis,

I will just answer the questions I may help most with.

>>>3. What is there to do during the "siesta" time? I'm not one to sit still for 4 hours a day. I know you can't go out hiking or jogging but if I'm stuck in the tent for 4 hours I think I will lose my mind!<<<

I found Chongwe River Camp to be very accomodating, and I believe I did three activities daily while at Chongwe, usually doing the Tiger Fishing as my mid-day activity.

I do suggest that you take the initiative and request to be entertained during mid-day, rather than taking it for granted that someone will be around to do so. The next day activities are always arranged the night before just as dinner is concluding.

Also, just another tip, you will likely see a lull between arriving back from your evening game drive and dinner, with guests huddled around the bar. As an international paying guest, you should be entitled to free drinks, but do confirm that upon your arrival.


>>>4. Do the camps have ketchup? If I don't like some food I put ketchup on it so as not to be rude and don't eat it. Also if they do have ketchup, is it the American Heinz like type or the awful New Zealand, Rarotonga (British?) type which is more like tomato sauce? (should i bring my own packets of Heinz?)<<<

I am also a ketchup fan, and I found the Zambian ketchup to be very good. Just a tad sweeter than American ketchup, but the same texture and good taste. Also, I found the food at Chongwe to be very good, and there were a couple cakes that were out of this world, including this banana-nut cake that was so nice and moist. Alexsandra took down the recipe and now that I am reminded of it, I know what I will be enjoying this weekend!

>>>5. Where do you keep all the money? I bought the over the neck, the around the waist and the leg secret hiding pouches but do I really need all of them? and will the little zippers on them set off the security alarms at the airport? I'd hate to beep and pull out $1500 cash in front of all the people in line!<<<

Dennis, I traveled with a bit more cash, as did Alexsandra. We kept it divided between my wallet, her purse and my Tamrac backpack. We never felt unsafe with the money. We never had to remove it when going through security.

Just be sure to keep your wallet snugly in a pocket where it will not be pickpocketed away. For example, if your wallet is in your left pocket, make sure your travel partner is on your left.

>>>6. The only part of the trip that scares me is the walk from the customs in JNB to the airport sun intercontinental hotel and back to check in the next day. if approached by someone who wants to "carry my bag" should we start speaking spanish? Don't want to start off the trip with our bags running away. (I realize this question sounds racist, but I've never been in a traveling situation carrying so much money!)<<<

Do NOT let a porter take your luggage. Say "NO THANK YOU" with conviction and 99% chance they will walk away. The last thing you want to do is start having to pull out money for tips in a crowded place.

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Oct 13th, 2005, 08:57 PM
  #3
 
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1. we never confirmed any flights and it was fine. don't worry about it.

2. we were told to start one day before. but the risk of malaria is actually very small. Just start at some point and don't worry about it.

3. Believe me, you will appreciate the "siesta" time! Some times our drives lasted so long that we barely had time to eat/shower, much less relax. One thing about safari is that it's NEVER boring!!

4. Ketchup --- don't know. Food at our camps were very good. never asked for ketchup...

5. Money. We didn't bring much money. SA has plenty of ATMs everywhere. At the camps you don't need money. Just enough for tips.

6. JNB. Don't worry about it. We felt perfectly safe. There's quite a few "porters" that will offer to "help" you. Just say no and pretend like you know where you're going . It's not hard. No different than any big city airport.

Have a great time!!

Judy
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Oct 13th, 2005, 10:01 PM
  #4
 
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I fairly often do the airport to Sun Intercontinental Hotel. It really is very simple. I walk as quickly as I can, saying "No thankyou to one and all" and outside you can clearly see the hotel in front of you, slightly to the left, so I cross over the road, and as you start up the incline towards the entrance, a porter with an unusual hat on will rush down and take the trolley from you. It is only when one of my nieces have the trolley, that a porter will take it from her. As it is their means of income, I always carry a 20R note in my pocket, just in case, as I am not going to fight over the trolley with a porter, but this has never happened.

Have a great trip

Kaye
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Oct 14th, 2005, 01:29 AM
  #5
 
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Repeating some previous advice but:

1. We didn't reconfirm any of ours - the camp managers at our camps did so on our behalf - well actually I think they just contacted the Wilderness Safari HQ who did so.

2. If the time zone changes are such that a day becomes just a little longer, say 30-36 hours, I just count it as a day anyway. If time zone changes mean a day stretches longer than that I'll break it into two and take an extra malarone. I always take mine in the morning regardless of time zone, if the switch over makes it more than 36 hours between doses, again I'll break that 36 hours into two and take an extra one. BUT this is all off my own bat, haven't checked with a doctor, which would really be best, to be honest.

3. Shower - we travel in winter so it's often too cold to do so in the morning before the early game drive.

Occasionally, catch up on sleep though I tend not to need to do this often.

Write one's diary.

Sit out on the private verandah for the tent and enjoy the view/ wildlife.

Sit in the camp's public areas and do the same - or read some of the books ad magazines provided on relevant subjects.

Walk within the camp, where permitted (walkways, to the shop, to the hide) and take in the views and wildlife. (You may need a guide to accompany you to a hide so arrange it in advance).

Pre-arrange an extra activity or even an all day activity where lunch and afternoon tea are taken out in the bush.

4. I've never not found something I liked in the choices given. No idea if they have any but I would imagine they do, just in case. I would have said to contact them in advance to ask them to get some in but it's too late. If it's important to you, take some with you - if it makes a difference to your experience just go for it - don't worry about what anyone thinks!

5. We keep it in locked areas of our handluggage or occasionally lock it inside parts of our main luggage in the tent, but only if we are confident in our locks etc.

6. Just say no!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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I also find the afternoon siesta time a bit wasteful -- I have spent a lot of $ and time to get to the camp that I don't want to spend my afternoon catching up on sleep (I can do that when I get home) or at the pool (there are lots of other places to do that). Typically, I have been able to arrange a mid-afternoon walking safari and I've been able to spend a couple of hours walking with a guide. Sometimes other guests join.

On some afternoons, I have walked around the lodge grounds and taken photos of birds, small animals, etc.

You definitely will not be bored. There always seems to be stuff to do, and sometimes its nice to spend the afternoon with a cocktail watching the game walk by the camp -- most have places to sit with good views.

As far as Malarone, if I take it on a Tuesday, I stay on a Tuesday regime. I don't think its that exact that it matters.

The food is generally quite good and hopefully you won't need to drown it in ketchup.

I have never confirmed flights -- either the lodges did it, or it wasn't necessary.

Have a great trip.

Michael
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Oct 14th, 2005, 07:07 AM
  #7
 
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Michael
Malarone is daily, not weekly.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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That's right -- I'm thinking of Larium, which I prefer precisely because it is weekly.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 07:49 AM
  #9
sandi
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Even though Lariam is a once-a-week pill, besides the possible side-effects, it's easy to loose track of time when on holiday. After the first few days you don't know whether it's Monday or Thursday - so we found that the daily Malarone pill works better for us and just take it with breakfast every day.
 
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Oct 14th, 2005, 08:01 AM
  #10
bwanamitch
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OFF TOPIC

Sandy - I'm a Lariam user and always write down a small reminder list before the trip: Camp A 1st night, Camp C 3rd night, etc. - works fine for me. Mitch
 
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Oct 14th, 2005, 08:04 AM
  #11
 
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Sandi, I'm with you. I find daily pills much easier to remember, as it just becomes part of my morning routine. I have other medication I take every morning too so it's no big deal to add in another.

Weekly means, as you say, remembering which day of the week it is and I kind of like that whole losing track of time aspect of holidays - all I need to remember is how many days we have where, when we need to move on and that's it.

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Oct 14th, 2005, 08:53 AM
  #12
 
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Dennis -

Glad to hear the time is almost here!

1. Flight re-confirmation. Chongwe does not have a phone, but they do have radio. If you give them your flight details, they radio to their main office who will confirm your flights for you. It was easiest to just give them a copy of my itinerary, they did all the rest.

3. I think siesta time is a bit dull too. Chongwe does have some books in their public area AND siesta time is when the elephant came meandering through camp while I was there.

5. I don't think you need all of the various money holders. You'll want some money at the ready. I usually put small tip amounts in one pocket. Larger shopping money in another and the balance in a money belt. The money belt is either around my waist (rarely) or in my backpack (inside compartment).

Chongwe does have a gun safe where they can store valuables. Other camps have safes in each room or in their offices. I either carried around with me in the pack or left in my locked luggage in the room. BUT, there have been several threads on theft, so you should do whatever you feel most secure with.

Can't wait for the report!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #13
 
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One other bush tale that I learned about malarai prevention. I asked the guides and managers what they took to prevent malaria (I didn't think they took a pill every day or week for their entire life), and many told me that alcohol (vodka, rum) works wonders since the mosquitos can sense this in your blood and will move on to another. It may be a tale, but it can't hurt to try, so suggest having a few cocktails each day while you're on safari.

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Oct 14th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Michael,
My husband makes that claim every time we travel to tropical/warm climates. Bugs are particularly attracted to me and leave him alone. He attributes that to all of the gin and tonics he drinks jokingly, of course, but perhaps there's some truth to it?
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Oct 14th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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Patty, gin and tonic was defintely the anti-malarial of choice for quite a while - everyone thought it was the gin but I think the quinine was actually in the tonic!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Yes, Kavey - that is correct on the tonic!
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