LEAVING 7/22 with OAT...anyone been there?

Feb 21st, 2008, 05:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18
LEAVING 7/22 with OAT...anyone been there?

I have been reading everything I can for the past year & thank all of you for your comments... We are celebrating our 45th anniversary by going with OAT on their Ultimate African Safari...We will go to Botswana, Namibia & Zimbabwe...then, we are taking the post trip to Cape Town... we are sooo excited...it is something we have always dreamed of !! anyone been with OAT on that trip? we have several friends that have traveled with them many times...

thanks again for all the wonderful tips... I'm sure I will have lots of questions before we leave...

Nancy & Bob
ChaChi is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 06:54 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 136
I took the OAT Ultimate Africa tour in June, 2005. I've been hooked on Africa since.
VeeR is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 27
Hi, we went in November 2007, it was for my 70th birthday. It was the great can not say enough. OAT does a great job. The only bad was luggage got lost, it is still out on safari. We did our trip on our carryons only, I always over pack now I know you can do it with less. So pack 2 changes in carryon like we did, so glad we did. Have a great trip will be glad to tell you about our trip if you want. Nancy & Pat
sea4burkes is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Nancy & Bob - You will not be sorry for booking with OAT, I have talked to several people that took this trip and just loved it. We are booked for OAT Safari Serengeti for Sept 9. We wanted to go on the Kenya/Tanzania trip but they wouldn't allow us to do our own air. So we booked our air to arrive in NBO three days earlier so to do our own little mini flying safari to the Mara staying at the Mara Serena.

We are very interested in taking their Ultimate African Safari, maybe in a couple of years.... Please let us know how your trip was and have a great time!!

SDtravelers is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Thank you so much for the info.... we will let you know everything we did when we return in August .....

I wanted to send you an email off the forum but wasn't sure what your email address was.... I'm really new at this!

thanks again,
nancy & bob
ChaChi is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Happy 45th. I'm sure OAT will arrange something special for you if they know it's your anniversary.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 62
I have done both parts of the trip. Last summer (6/07) on OATs Ultimate Africa and 6/04 an independent trip to South Africa including Cape Town. Both were terrific. One of our group of 6 was without luggage for the entire time on safari. I suggest bringing several changes of clothes in your carryon. AND, if you find your checked luggage has not arrived when you get to Joburg, take time to shop for some things at the airport. They have absolutely everything you could need right there. Do not set off on safari assuming your luggage will arrive. My brother in law's never did. Try to get to Robbin Island when in Capetown -- very moving.
mossway1 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3
We actually did our honeymoon last year with a company called globalsafaritours.com
These guys are very kind and full of knowledge in the travel industry. I'd recomend you to contact them directly - they'll be more helpfull than what I can offer you. Goodluck!

Tanzania is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 7
We recently returned from this trip, it was really enjoyable.

One tip is to watch your luggage weight and follow the guidelines in the booklet you receive from OAT. Our guide met us in Victoria Falls and immediately brought all our luggage over to a scale. Your duffel bag and back pack must be 26 lbs (I believe, refer to the book) combined weight. Our group was wildly pulling out items and trying to consolidate bags in the airport hallway in order to make weight. I thought I had done an accurate weighing job at home, but alas, we had to leave a bag in Victoria Falls. Some people left warm clothes, their camera chargers and other necessary items in the flurry to transfer items, so it would be much better to be prepared for this and not partipate in the frenzy of re-packing on the airport floor.

In reference to lost baggage - I had read about Londons poor performance with baggage lately, and also worried about transferring through Joburg so we carried our OAT green duffel bags on the plane. We arrived with our luggage but it really was a chore transferring through London and carrying the bags around. Also, now that airlines are starting to charge for checked bags, they may not allow such a big bag as carryon, but we got away with it. One person in our pre-trip group of six did not have her checked bag on arrival, but it did arrive at Pafuri Camp in Kruger a day after she did.

Another tip is to bring all the cold weather clothes that they suggest. It might be a bit warmer when you go, but it was quite cold on those early morning game drives in June. I brought a warm hat and gloves, but wished I also had a scarf to wrap around my face. I layered everything from the long underwear on up to the microfleece hat most days. By the time you get back from the morning game drive you will be removing layer after layer but I'm from Chicago, used to cold weather and still I was cold.
Have a great time!
traveltheworld55 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 437
I went on the Kenya & Tanzania trip with OAT, and enjoyed it. My roommate had gone on the Ultimate Afican Safari, and said it was even better -- she really gave it a terrific review.
ann_nyc is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 103
Dear Travel the World - you mentioned taking the OAT gift carry on bag. We are doing the TZ trip in Sept and just received our bags. It looked way too big for the carry on so I measured 27"!! So how did you get by the "luggage natzis" at the airport?? We really liked the bags, glad we already had our own carry on bags. I did email OAT and they apologized saying they realized the bags were too large because the rules have changed recently and are working with their supplier to purchase smaller ones to be in compliance with the TSA regs.

SDtravelers is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76
DH & I just returned on 6/23 from the OAT's Safari Serengeti with the Massai Mara post trip and we used and carried on the bags with no problems what so ever. So unless the rules have changed from 6/6 - 6/23 you should be fine using them.
llorear is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 86
llorear, traveltheworld and all....
We will be on OAT's Safari Serengeti leaving Aug.6th. I'm currently stressing over packing. Want VERY much not to lose luggage, so am trying to do carry on only. I did check the KLM website, but still am not clear on this. CAN we bring, on board, one piece to stow, and one (like a small backback containing purse and etc.) to put under the seat? If so, no problem. I really hope one of you can clear this up for me. Thanks!

Next, I am still trying to come up with the right wardrobe. I usually have no trouble, but eliminating black does in many of my standards...like my fleece pants and jacket. None of my jackets seems to be a good candidate for this trip. I am a cold person, keep in mind. I am considering a very warm wool pullover sweater with a 3/4 sleeve cotton knit shirt which would have a tank top under it. On top of all this, would be an unlined windbreaker. Does this concept seem viable? I will bring fleece gloves and scarf or hat as well.

The cool tops are no problem at all, but the long sleevers are. I don't own many for some reason. My Columbia nylon camp shirt is fine, but others are either cotton knit (like "T" shirt material), and not fast drying, or smooth cotton that would look real bad without ironing. What do others take? I REALLY want some suggestions so I can get this done. Have to leave in 2 days, for a week, then will have little time to shop or order stuff when I return.

Lynn, I believe you are the one who once suggested skirts. I always prefer them and have selected two to go along with my two nylon zip-offs as my total below-the-waist wardrobe. One is a barely gathered, full length linen (I travel in linen a lot. Drips dry fast and smooth, usually). Is this nuts? Will it be totally out of place? I like that it covers legs from sun and dust and is very comfy.

I know I have more questions, but will wait for these answers first, as they are my most immediate needs.

Oh! We got 4 bags from OAT....two large and two smaller. I assumed they were one to check or stow and one to put under the seat. Must be 27 and 24 inch bags. Guess I was very optimistic! So do you suppose we are to use only the small one? That may be challenging, unless we can also bring a small backpack. I DO need clarification on this.
makinghay is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3
We justed talked to OAT in the last two hours. The last two Ultimate Africa trips did not go to Zimbabawe due to the political turmoil there. Rather, the two trip were diverted to Zambia. Agent couldn't tell us about what was the replacement for the 3 day stay in Hwange National Park in Zim. Agent said that the OAT trip departing this week planned on staying with the original plan of traveling through Vic Falls, going to Hwange NP and spending the last 2 nights in Vic Falls rather than Livingston on Zam side.

We are planning on the Ultimate Africa trip in Sept. OAT Agent said hopefully things will be better by September.

Any suggestions?
vze26bsw is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 06:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 103
Llorear - what measurements are your bags? Did you do your own air or go with OAT with KLM?? If you went with the group with KLM maybe they have a special arrangement to accecpt the bags?? We are doing our own air going thru LHR and do no want to even chance having to check at the last min. Making Hay mentions getting two bags - maybe we were supposed to as well ??

SDtravelers is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76
We went with OAT. I can not measure our bags as I am not at home & will not be there until after Sept., but I am almost certain that our bags were the 27" ones. We each also had a backpack. We had no one even look at or question our bags. There were 25 to 30 OAT travelers on the flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, most of whom were carring on their OAT bags plus backpack or similar item.

Our OAT bags were only about 3/4 full & weighted a little over 7 kilos so I am sure that you could use the smaller ones with no problem.

I too am rather cold natured and what I wore was a 3/4 lenght sleeved cotton tunic (pastel colors - LL Bean), cotton long sleeved safari style shirt (tan), fleece zip-up jacket (light blue), buff scarf (which covered my ears to keep the wind out & covered my mouth and nose to keep the dust out), my wide brim hat & tan docker slacks. I would start off with this every morning and then peel as the day warmed up.

We each took 3 changes of our safari clothes and had our laundry done at the camps for a very reasonable fee. I took short sleeved shirts also, but never wore them. The temp. ranged from high 50's at night to mid 70's day. Really quite plesant. My alarm clock also gives the temp. and the coolest in the tents was 63 degrees, but there were lots of cozy warm blankets to snuggle under.

Some tips:
1 - take your shower in the afternoon while the tent is still warm from the days sunshine. ;-)
2 - when you finish your shower, remember to tell the kind fellow who brought your hot water that you are through so that they don't waste time waiting for you to be done.
3 - at all of the OAT Tanganyika Wilderness camps/lodges where we stayed, they did provide soap, shampoo, conditioner & very reasonable laundry service.
4 - it is very dusty so take precautions to keep the dust off of & out of your camera equipment.
5 - take a camera beanbag. "It is worth it's weight in gold." I made mine in less than 30 minutes and used buckwheat hulls (lighter weight than beans or rice) for the filling.
6 - Most important tip. Don't stress out over the attire. The animals don't care what you look like & everone else will be dressed very similar to you including wrinkles. ;-)

Just enjoy every opportunity that comes your way.

I'm working on my trip report.


llorear is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 437
Makinghay, hopefully someone else knows more about the habits of the tse-tse fly, but I was told that they are more active when it is hot. If that is the case, wearing black when it's cold out should not be a problem.

And don't worry about wrinkles. You are on vacation!

As far as the bags go, part of the confusion is that OAT uses various sized bags (I received a different bag for Turkey than the one for Tanzania). The 'safari' bag I got for Tanzania was 26", and easily held everything I needed. I checked that bag, and carried a medium backpack for my carry-on, which I then used as a daypack on the trip. However, I believe that the weight limit for your trip is more restrictive than it was for mine. The weight is definitely important.
ann_nyc is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 103
Thank you Linda for the additional info. We are all ready to go, I tried to talk my husband into buying a bean bag for his Cannon but he stubbornly refuses because he has this small 3 legged contraption that has suction cups on the end. I might just make a bean bag of my own and surprise him... As far as the laundry I heard from some forums they use a hot iron on clothes and suggested not to take synthethics because they might get ruined. Most of our clothes, zip off pants are that light weight easy dry synthetic blend material. Should I be concerned>

Perhaps because you were with the group on KLM that has a regular contract with OAT for the AMS-JRO trip they don't enforce the regs on carry on size? How did you check in your bags without locking?

SDtravelers is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76
As to the use of a hot iron, our friends from Pittsburg had the zip-off pants and "safari shirts" that are all or part synthetic & they had no problems. Our clothes were 90% + cotton. If worried then I would just write on the laundry list "No hot iron, please. Thank you." At the Serengeti tented camp they did not iron the clothes, but they were nicely folded when returned.

Beanbag: I was skeptical about how much good a beanbag was going to be. I made 2, one for me and one for our Pittsburg friends, Bill & Peggy. I used mine all of the time; however, Bill never used his and a high percentage of his pictures were blurry, where as mine were not. That does not mean that my pictures were great. ;-) I have a Canon IS5 & Bill has a Sony DSC-H9. I will be using this beanbag again & again as it was so easy to just flop out on the roof railing or window edge & was great to cover my camera in my lap to help keep the dust off.

Carry on bags: There were many people that boarded the 2 international flights, AMS-JRO, that had not one, but two larger than normal carry-on bags & no one seemed concerned. This does not mean that this could not change at the drop of a hat. We carried on our luggaged from AMS-JRO, but checked our luggage on the return flight from Nairobi to Detroit without locks, because my outlook was that if you want my dirty clothes then have at it. Guess they didn't want them as they arrived just fine. Really, we carried anything valuable & the few souvenirs we bought in our backpacks, so it was not a problem.

I sincerely hope that you and your DH have as wonderful a time on your safari as we did. Kibo was stellar, the camps were better than our expectations and the lodge/camp staffs went out of their way to make sure that we lacked for nothing. They really were "dears". Our 2 favorite drivers were Athumani (5 languages) & Astarick (4 languages), both spoke fluent English & were extremely knowledgable about the flora, fauna & culture of the area. In MHO either one could have done the guide position excellently. Another aside, each driver had a good set of books on the flora & fauna.

One other tip: when "checking the tires" keep the exposed part toward the vehicle and remember that the animals are probably more embarressed that you are. ;-)

llorear is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 06:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Thanks so much everyone for all the comments...we are flying out of Miami a week from Tuesday... can't believe it is finally here!! sooo excited! we have had our bags packed for two weeks...duh!! do you think we are excited??...we will be doing the Cape Town post trip...Selwyn, thank you so much for all of your advice...
We don't post much on the forum but read it ALL the time...
I've done the best I can in the "packing" category but I'm sure I have made lots of mistakes..however, we are pretty easy...as long as we have our passports, cameras & $$, we can "wing it." It's our 45th anniversary so "what the heck"....Our cup will be running over... Have fun, right??

Nancy & Bob
ChaChi is offline  

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