Question for LyndaS & Other Micato Travellers

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Jun 26th, 2007, 09:32 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 14
Question for LyndaS & Other Micato Travellers

Hi LyndaS & any other recent Micato travellers.

I'm going on a Micato safari to East Africa this summer and have two questions:

1) I read that binoculars are provided for each person in the safari vehicle. Did this in fact turn out to be true, and were they of good quality? Should I bring a pair of my own - would prefer not to lug, but will if needed.

2) Did you exchange some currency ahead of time, before departing for Africa? Or did you do this as you went and if so, where? In hotels? Did you take travellers checks?

Thanks for any info you can provide. I can't wait!
Africa06 is offline  
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Jun 26th, 2007, 10:41 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
Hello Africa06-

Binoculars are always provided - one per person - in the vehicle, but they are only a mid-range format, I think they were about 7-35's. (that's a guess) They are very good quality though, and I had no trouble seeing the animals with them - mind you I have 10 x (or maybe 12 - can't remember!) on my camera and I think that was permanently attached to my eyes.

Seriously though - I did use them a lot this year. Last year I wore a vest with pockets, so I always had my little ones with me and I used them. But this year, I carried a bag, and never once did I remember to put the binoculars in the bag, so I used Micato's, and was quite happy with them.

The only time you may need your own is on the small planes (there will be a lot!) if you like to see other than with the naked eye through the window. I never felt the need though, so personally, I don't think I'll take mine along next year.

Daniel (our safari director) even had a bag of binoculars with him when we were at Kichwa Tembo and used their vehicles, so no, there was never a drive without them.

Currency - I took USD - last year I took travellers cks and cash - about 1/2 and 1/2.

You can't convert before going, as I believe (Sandi, correct me if I am wrong) as both the Tsh and Ksh are restricted currencies, which means you can't bring it in and you can't take it out. (other than small amounts)

Anyhow, this year I took 610.00 in US cash and 100.00 in USD TC (I guess I had 10.00 laying about doing nothing!), as well as I used the ATM and got 20,000 ksh (about 288.00 USD) at the start of the trip in Nairobi. In Tanzania I cashed the 100.00 USD TC in for TSH.

Things I spent the above on- (I only came home with 15.00 USD - that was cutting it close!)

-Tips for Micato driver/guides
-Tip for Micato safari director
-laundry
-Tusker for Jim
-The day in Nairobi with Kennedy (driver/guide fee & entrance fees to KWS Animal Orphanage)
-tips for the guys at the KWS Animal Orphanage
-small tips for special things at camps and lodges, though not necessary as Micato takes care of the porters, wait staff etc. But just small amounts for when someone went above & beyond the normal for our special 'requirements'.
-very small amount for internet use, which didn't work anyways
- a 10.00 phone card for our directors cell phone so I could call our son on his 29th birthday from the crater!
- some small souvenirs to take back for a few friends/family

So, in general, take US cash for tips (50.00 of that was 1.00 bills and another 50.00 was 5's and 10's. The rest was 20.00.); and use the bank machines in KY and TZ. Ask your safari director the night he picks you if he can take you to a bank machine in Nairobi when it is convenient, and then let him know also that you will need to do the same in TZ. Last year, we crossed the border at Nmanga & drove into TZ, but this year we flew in, and I forgot to go to a bank machine at the Arusha airport to get Tsh. That's why I cashed in the TC in TZ as that was my only choice as there are no bank machines in the Serengeti, which was our first stop in TZ.

I ramble, sorry, it's late!

Hope this helps - you are going to have a WONDERFUL time and you will really enjoy your trip! Which one are you going on?

LyndaS is offline  
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Jun 27th, 2007, 11:07 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Yes, binoculars were provided, but I was always happier with my lighter, smaller pair. Plus, in one of the locations one pair of the binoculars was a dud (something wrong with one of the lenses). We had just enough for the number of people travelling, and the dud pair just circulated amongst us.

I had no problems getting cash from the ATM at the airport upon our arrival.

Bon Voyage!
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