Now comes the fun part...

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May 12th, 2003, 04:46 PM
  #1
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Now comes the fun part...

Now that I am completely booked and my trip is just over 3 weeks away (!!!), I can concentrate on things other than research and negotiations.

So now I am doing the prep work...making sure my digital camera is in good working order, ordering a couple extra memory sticks, ordering high powered binocolaurs--I didn't even bring them last year but the few times that somebody shared with me, it made all the difference--, ordering a telescopic lens for my digital camera, etc.

I figure that I will have to go shopping and pick up a couple things but will most likely just wear khakis and shorts while in South Luangwa. I didn't want to be too casual last year but since I am not going to Singita or Mount Nelson this year, I don't have to worry about being around the rich and famous!!!

I am all set to go get another round of injections including Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Typhoid and others as well as anti-malaria pills.

I fear that I had to sign a pact with the devil by telling my wife that I agreed that we would not return to Africa in 2004 (for a third consecutive year) and that instead we would return to the Greek Isles and Italy (the location of our honeymoon in 2000). In return she has promised to stop complaining about "always" having to go to Africa, as if it SUCH torture to be able to experience on an annual basis what many dream of doing ONCE in their lifetime. Okay, enough of my baggage.

I intend to pack very light this year. Both Kafunta in South Luangwa and Vuyatela in Sabi Sand include laundry service and we only have four full days in Cape Town.

Besides my digital camera on steroids (with its new telescopic lens and all), my binocolaurs, my anti-malaria pills, and my safari getup (including clothes, hat, sunscreen, anti-mosquito spray/lotion), what else should I remember to bring???

I did regret not having binocolaurs and a stronger camera last year (I have a Sony DSC-F707 and while top of the line for a digital camera, it lacked the telescopic lens that I will have on it this year). I just don't want to get home and say, "I wish I would have thought of bringing ______________."

Please take a second and brainstorm and let me know what I should also consider bringing.
Thanks.
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May 12th, 2003, 05:18 PM
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Roccco, your trip sounds fantastic and I can't wait to read about it. Safe traveling to you and your wife. I use Nikon Action Zoom XL 10-22X50 binoculars and they are fantastic. Reasonably priced and lightweight. The one thing I would make sure you bring are plastic bags that you can seal (like Ziploc freezer bags or similar) to protect your film, lenses, etc. from dust or dampness. I find that inevitably I neglect to completely close my camera bag, and the plastic bags have proved extremely valuable in protecting my film and lenses from dust. Also, you mentioned that you will wear khakis and shorts. Invest in a couple of pairs of convertible pants, the the ones which you can zip off the legs. I will be anxiously awaiting your trip posting!
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May 12th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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Rocco, a couple of things. My travel doctor suggested face masks. Because my husband has some health issues, I bought them ($5 for 2) for emergencies - if the rides get too dusty. Otherwise what will look cooler (and not scare people into thinking you hsave SARS) is a large hankerchief/scarf that can be worn around your neck and used for a variety of things- as an emergency towel, a bandana, etc.

Tetnus shots are good for 10 years so if you got one last time you won't need another. We got the oral Typhoid system this time because he said it was good for longer (but I read something that contradicted that so who knows).

One of the Survivor guys came home from the Amazon and got malaria. As I'm sure he had the pills, it's another reminder you can catch it even with the pills. You might consider permethrin spray for your clothes only. Downside - it's a chemical. Upside - it discourages disease-carrying bugs from landing on you. Are you wearing hiking boots ?
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May 12th, 2003, 10:58 PM
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Just a thought: You really don't need Yellow fever shots in South Africa. don't overdo this!!
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May 12th, 2003, 11:12 PM
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Clematis,

I was considering wearing some hiking boots, but I just did a trail race in Malibu Canyon this past weekend and if my trail running shoes can handle that, then I think they are worth consideration for my walking safari.

My hiking boots are comfortable for short stretches, but my trail running shoes are proven for longer distances and are easier to carry (not as bulky).

Susan...I think I will take your advice with a few of the big ziplock baggies. I know the weather will not be as pleasant for this trip as my last trip in March, 2002, when the weather was just about perfect in Cape Town, Sabi Sand and Victoria Falls.

Kim...keep in mind that I will be in South Luangwa, Zambia, as well. I expect there to be a lot of insects there at the Kafunta River Lodge and the Kafunta Island Bush Camp. Whenver a place makes reference that it is near a large pool of water, you can be sure that there will be plenty of insects.
I don't mind if the doctors light me up like a Christmas tree, as long as I am protected from everything I possibly can be in Southern Africa and elsewhere.
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May 13th, 2003, 12:16 AM
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Hi Rocco,

Here's my 2 cents which I used when we were in Egypt a few years ago.

Small first aid kit: neosporin, bandaids, tylenol, pepto bismol tablets, (the latter 2 really came in handy as I cought some *nasty* 24 hour stomach thing that was horrid), and as a safety precaution, your wife may want to bring a diflucan pill (she will know what this is) with her, just in case, since I can't imagine a pharmacy being nearby! Unfortunately I learned the latter the hard way, having never needed it before in my life until I was in Greece, with a pharmacist who spoke no English! (Sign language NOT an option with this one!!!)

Also, there is something in the states called "Prell" (I think). Available in the supermarket. It is gel that washes all bacteria off your hands without needing soap and water. Comes in a small bottle and is fab for wanting to wash your hands before eating outdoors when there is no soap and water.

They sell the DEET spray here for your clothes as well and apparently it lasts through 4 washes - pretty good idea.

The ziplocs are awesome, and great for dirty laundry as your trip goes on. I also bring shoe bags to keep the dust/dirt off my other things. And don't forget sunglasses!!

Have a fab trip!
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May 13th, 2003, 04:51 AM
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We bring a small backpack so when on safari drives we put a few things in it like a windbreaker, bandanas, wipes, extra clothes needed during early chilly morning or night drives).
Yes, bring bandanas.

Have a great time
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May 13th, 2003, 06:50 AM
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Hey Roccco - I knew this was your post because of the heading!

Before going to Namibia last August, I got the yellow fever shot even though it wasn't necessary. Still don't regret it.

I also washed my clothes in a solution to repel mosquitos as I am a mosquito magnet. I don't remember what I used but it was unnecessary also - only saw 3 the whole trip. Still don't regret that.

I don't know what lens you are getting but if it's large (I just ordered a Canon 300mmIS f2.8 and it supposedly weighs 6+ lbs) you'll need a bean bag to set up for your photos.

All the other suggestions are good too.

Have a great trip!

~Cindy
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May 13th, 2003, 07:23 AM
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itleyen
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Based on several trips, what about dramamine for the small air craft? Sunblock for the lips? Eye wash? Camera lens cleaner?

Make sure your first aid kit is complete!

Don't know about you, but from what I've seen of camera tripods, unipods, etc., they're more trouble than they're worth!

Cards and pens for taking notes.

Are you renting a cellphone?

Have a nice trip!
 
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May 13th, 2003, 08:21 AM
  #10
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Itleyen and Sundowner...thanks for the additional tips. I DO have to hurry up and order a satellite telephone so that I will have contact with the outside world while in South Luangwa.

Lens cleaner is an excellent idea, as is eye wash and dramamine.

I think I will also invest in a decent pair of sunglasses rather than the $10 disposable pair that I am accustomed to buying from the gas stations whenever the sun is bothering me!

I think my lenses will not be a problem. One is a wide lens that snaps right on the camera and the other is a 2x lens that snaps right on the camera. Unfortunately, with digital cameras, at least with my Sony DSC-F707, there are not very powerful telescopic lenses available. It is a good camera with 5 million megapixel and like 5x optical zoom/10x digital zoom, but that is about as good as it gets with digital cameras for now.

I do know that the camera, even without the lenses I have just purchased, was responsible for some great photos last year while I was at Singita and Matetsi Water Lodge (Zimbabwe, halfway between Victoria Falls and Chobe).

23 days and counting!!! Just trying to fill up my calendar until I leave so that time will fly faster!!! This weekend it is the Palos Verdes Half Marathon on Saturday and a Dodger game on Sunday, next weekend it is a very tough 7.8 mile trail run to the top of Mount Baldy, followed by Memorial Day and I am even considering going to Vancouver, BC, the weekend before I leave so that I don't waste some air tix that are about to expire that I never used last year. If I could, I would just jump in a little time machine and skip ahead three weeks!!!
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May 13th, 2003, 05:40 PM
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OK...I have occupied every waking moment with an activity until my trip. Time should really fly now. This coming weekend it will be a half marathon on Saturday, church an L.A. Dodger game and hanging out with my wife on Sunday.
Next weekend, a nasty 8.6 mile trail race to the top of Mt. Wilson, a 2,000+' ascent and descent on Saturday morning, then home to clean up and then off to John Wayne Airport (Orange County) for a flight to San Francisco. 2 nights at The Ritz Carlton. My wife and I will celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary that weekend. Plus, this will keep her from bashing me too much in Africa as she cannot say that I never take her to places she likes to go.
At least the last full week of work will only be a four day workweek and then it is another trail run, hopefully a 10 miler, on Saturday, followed by a wedding reception on Sunday, June 01st.
After that I will just be on autopilot for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and its one more Dodger game Wednesday night, followed by staying up all night packing, etc. and then a 5:30AM pickup by a taxi or shuttle Thursday morning, June 05th to LAX for my 8:20AM flight to Johannesburg (by way of JFK).
Just a few more sunsets and sunrises to go, and I am trying to keep myself occupied, the best I can while not overlooking anything of importance for my trip.
Maybe I have become completely obsessive/compulsive about this trip, but I really feel like it is my baby...my creation!!! I have never felt like this before any trip, even my Chile trip that I designed much the same way.
Chile, however, was a big disappointment, something that I just cannot see happening with this trip. Possibly some rough weather in Cape Town but that is about the only negative that I foresee, but it is a tradeoff to get the more preferred weather in South Luangwa by waiting until June.
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May 13th, 2003, 06:14 PM
  #12
owl
 
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Roccco,

Get the Sawyer Time Release DEET repellent for your skin and treat your clothes with Permanone/Permethrin. The latter will break down the fabric on your clothes a bit, so it's not recommended for your fanciest apparel (but I'd leave fancy things at home anyway). Don't need Yellow Fever for S. Luangwa and there are some side effects, so I wouldn't do it. COnsider image stabilization binoculars. We have one pair of nice Leicas w/o image stabilization and one pair of (I think) Cannon with image stabilization. Both are fantastic! Also, zip-off pants would proabably be nice for the walking safaris since it should be cold and then heat up quite a bit as the day wears on. Oh, and I treated a light scarf with Permanone and wore it over my head in the evenings. I really didn't want Malaria (esp since my sister got it in Honduras--while on meds--a year ago!). Enjoy!
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May 14th, 2003, 11:54 AM
  #13
itleyen
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Roccco - just trying to think what else you might need - not that I want to be anal about this.

Glasses ties to hold them on while you bounce along.

Binoculars are so important - mine are lousy. I am going to look for your suggestions before I head off to revisit Botswana. I want something that is bright, has at least ten power - and weights not too much.

The right film. Right speeds. Black and white if you plan to shoot at night. A UV filter to protect all lens. Spare batteries for the camera. Making sure the flash works.

With cameras, do you find the simple approach, and being ready to shoot are the best strategies? We do.

Hope this helps.
 
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May 15th, 2003, 10:59 PM
  #14
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Itleyen,

My binocolaurs arrived in the mail yesterday and, as Tony The Tiger would say, THEY'RE GREEAATTT!!!!

I picked myself up a pair of Steiner "Safari" 8x30 binocolaurs. This is what I paid:

QTY B&H Number Price Total Price
B&H Item Description
__________________________________________________ ___________________
1 ST8X30S2J $154.95 $154.95
8x30 Safari Rubber Armored, Waterproof Porro Prism Binocular, with
Free Water Resistant Baseball Cap (USA)


__________________________________________________ ___________________
Sub Total $154.95
Shipping $17.50
Tax $0.00
_________________________________
Total $172.45
I bought them from a website called www.bhphotovideo.com. The way that I found them was on www.epinions, I believe it was, I was onsite looking for binocolaurs. If you have never visited www.epinions.com, it is a great site where people rate products that they have purchased (they rate everything imaginable including travel).

Even better, the website then gives you a list of vendors for a particular item and the current prices. bhphotovideo.com seemed to be 20% cheaper than anybody else and the product was very highly rated by the reviewer. Plus, I liked the fact that they were titled "Safari" and I figured they would be a good fit.

This is the first time that I have owned a really good pair of binocolaurs and I can hardly wait to use them in South Luangwa and Sabi Sand.

These binocolaurs would not disappoint anybody in their right mind. You can get shipping for about half price if you don't go for 2 day shipping, as I did. Good luck.
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May 15th, 2003, 11:05 PM
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Here's the precise link to the binoculars that I chose:

http://www.epinions.com/Steiner_8x30...~latest_prices

While it did only receive 4-stars, I felt comfortable buying them from the reviewers comments, and the price was right. I didn't want to spend much more than $150.
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May 16th, 2003, 04:46 AM
  #16
 
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I was looking at the Steiner 8X22 binoculars mainly because of the weight and size. They are 8.5 oz compared to 18oz for the 8x30. I checked epinions but there were no reviews. Anyone tried these? Cost approx. $100US.
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May 16th, 2003, 05:08 AM
  #17
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Ella,

I have read that Steiner has an exclusive contract with the U.S. Military for their binoculars. I would think that you cannot go wrong with Steiner's.

Most Steiner's that I saw were double the price of the ones I got, yet I think mine are fabulous. Other than yours only being 8x22 instead of 8x30, I think the ones you are looking at would be great.
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May 16th, 2003, 08:53 AM
  #18
 
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Here a complete Safari Packing list for anyone who needs one: [i'm always adding to it, so i hope i havent left anything out!]

Medium-sized soft duffel bags for luggage
A durable dust & waterproof handbag for all your camera equipment
A small bag for carrying mineral water and other necessities is recommended on safari walks
Money belts for keeping your documents, cash etc.
Neutral colored clothing
Warm sweaters or jackets (despite the season Kenya can often be cold in the early morning and late evenings especially around the Highlands & Rift Valley region). Raincoats are also advisable.
Comfortable walking shoes are a must while on safari; Flip-flops are convenient while at the lodge or on the beach.
Swimsuit, most of the safari lodges feature swimming pools and especially on hot days a swim is essential.
Warm sleeping clothes
A cap or a wide-brimmed hat
Insect-repellent spray [though most hotels already have these in rooms]
Sunscreen [20 factor plus]
Lip screen
Moist towels
Gatorade powder
Anti-diarrhea pills
Aspirin
Band-aids
If you are under medication it would be advisable to carry enough supplies of your prescribed medicine.
Small torch (flashlight)
Camera, lenses, extra batteries, cleaning fluid, beanbag tripod & dustcover
2 rolls of film per day 100-400 ASA film or
For digital cameras Floppy disks are widely available within Nairobi & Mombasa but it would be difficult to get them elsewhere, so please ensure you have a good supply of these or extra memory cards or sticks.
Carry the necessary adapters for your electric equipment such as chargers.
Binoculars
Spectacles and sunglasses
Contact lens solution is available at all chemists within major cities however it is almost impossible to get it in smaller cities. It would be a good idea to carry a pair of prescription glasses [if you have any] incase of a problem with your lens (such as dust)
Passport - Valid for at least six months (keep a photocopy of the passport separately from your documents)
2 passport size photos
Vaccination card
Any Visas required
Credit Card (American Express is not so common, most widely accepted is VISA)
Travelers Cheques
Small notebook and pen

Also, make sure that you have travel insurance, this is strongly recommended. Most tour operators and Southern African lodges also offer emergency evacuation services inclusive of their packages so check with yours [hopefully you will not need it but it is very assuring to have it considering the costs of Flying Doctors!]

Hope this helps!
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May 16th, 2003, 02:13 PM
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Fabulous mail Soniya. Thank you.

Selwyn Davidowitz
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May 17th, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #20
 
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I am a quite well-organized & thorough packer, but my planned 1st trip to Africa was presenting some new wrinkles such as mosquito repellent needs and what binoculars to buy. Thanks to all of you, I think I've got it covered now!
I echo the Ziploc bag recommendations, they have a jillion uses for travel whether across the world or across town.
I have just one humble contribution to this topic, and it's useful for all international travel: my carry-on always contains a change of clothes, or at least spare shirt and underwear, in case of travel delays or lost luggage. Until the situation is rectifed, you can at least slip into a restroom to change and come out feeling almost human again. : )
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