Mombo - how much, and is it worth it?

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Jul 20th, 2005, 05:17 PM
  #41
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 300
Mitch,

You are right and I agree 100% that walkways to/from the staff areas would be just as important in terms of overall safety. If it were my decision, this would be something I would require.

As for insurance being the main factor, I find it difficult to completely separate safety and insurance. Insurance rates are based on risk levels and in this case, the safety of guests is, in theory, improved by deterring them from walking around on their own, etc.

Quite honestly, I have not ever heard of a lion on any of the walkways; leopards, yes, and I have even seen them there myself on two occasions.

Explanations I have heard regarding the incidents (or close calls) with camp staff lead me to believe that they often occur as a result of a casual indifference to the fact that they are living amongst wild animals. Believe me, I have seen it with my own eyes. Perhaps it's like feeling safe on the street you live on. You're comfortable in your own territory and become a bit too relaxed over time. The staff are supposedly well versed in precautions, but sometimes I guess it's easier to ignore them as incidents like that seldom end in tragedy.

I still maintain that safety is the real reason for the walkways however... insurance may be directly related, but no one wants a guest to become involved in an incident and the walkways are a means to reducing the risks.

The liability is certainly greater if an incident occurs with a guest versus an employee; so to that end, I guess there are two types of people in camp... those who pay to be there and those who are paid to be there.

Anyway, the argument could go on for ever and I am certainly not the authority. Personally, I like them as I have many times taken advantage of the elevated position to sit with my tripod and big lens on a walkway to get otherwise impossible images of buffalo, impala and even leopard believe it or not. On foot, I would never have gotten so close and would have wished I hadn't if it had happend unintentionally. Middays at Mombo, I am often in a vehicle but, if I'm in camp, I am up and down the walkways and looking for stuff to point my camera at.

James
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Jul 20th, 2005, 05:47 PM
  #42
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Last year I could not believe it when I saw (unarmed) staff members walking back and forth between Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge. Okay, so they are only about a mile apart, but at a 15 minute per mile pace, that is plenty of opportunity to bump into some elephants, lions, leopards or hyenas.

I do, however, see where the indifference is created. Last year, I was so disappointed in the gameviewing at Kulefu that I was a good 500' away from the vehicle and guide, almost wishing for something to happen! I was probably not the easiest guest on that particular day but after 3 days of seeing no predators and only a couple elephants, that is how I reacted (but there was plenty of wildlife in the water and the best birding).

Too bad that the safety issues are only aimed at us tourists and not for the safety of the staff members. However, it does make sense that they would let their guard down while most tourists are probably scared and very alert each time they are walking within camp. I do not even want to cross paths with a baboon, yet less a hyena or leopard.
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Jul 20th, 2005, 05:49 PM
  #43
bwanamitch
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James,

I made a lot of thoughts on this walkways and similar things, and I better don't discuss my conclusions in public.

What happened to me there in Savuti was not only the disappointment of a "dream camp" that no longer existed, it was something what I would call the loss of my maidenhood regarding the tourism industry. This may sound silly, but I think most people apply other standards in their happiest time of the year than in daily life. At least I did. And suddenly you recognize that tourism is as tough as any other business. My 100% admiration of a renowned safari operator got a very deep crack. And since then I no longer could look away, and I saw (or heard) a few very ugly things. To quote one of my favourite movies, I got the "red pill".

Mitch
 
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Jul 21st, 2005, 11:10 AM
  #44
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Thanks a lot for all the feedback about Chief's and Mombo. It sounds like it's a matter of taste (and money). I'm leaning towards Mombo right now, but I'll keep my options open.

Cheers,
Julian
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