Reposting: Camera question/Safari company question

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Jun 21st, 2005, 06:14 AM
  #1
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Reposting: Camera question/Safari company question

Hi - I'm new to the Africa part of this forum but have been reading with great interest. Someday I WILL make it there! I'm wondering if anyone has used Overseas Adventure Travel for their safari and if so what you think of them; also, I am in the process of buying a digital camera. I've narrowed it down to a Canon, but I'd like to know if anyone has taken a G6 on safari and if it took frameable shots. I'[m on a limited budget, but would consider a digital rebel as well. Thanks for your patience with this Africa newbie!



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Jun 21st, 2005, 09:19 AM
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Anyone? Camera question may seem inane, but I would truly apprecite feedback. I've searched and found other posts on OAT. THanks again!
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Jun 21st, 2005, 09:28 AM
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Hi cooncat,

I'm not an expert (only 1 trip), but I know from this foprum that many people have used OAT and have been happy with their services. Personally, I found and booked with an in-country operator, using TATO and the Tanzanian Tourist Board, then getting other recommendations, e-mailing some of their former clients, etc. I was very happy with my choice (phenomenal guide--we LOVED him).

Sorry, I'm a camera-idiot, so can't help you there.

Where are you thinking of going??? How exciting.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Also sorry for my terrible typos. Someday I'll preview my replies.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Thanks Leely! Where? That is a big question. I've always wanted to see the continent - from Egypt to South Africa. If I go, it will likely be the Botswana/Zimbabwe areas or Kenya/Tanzania. I'm still neck-deep in research. The "chimp island" experience in Uganda has really caught my ateention, too. I've adored Jane Goodall since the '70s and support her institute.(She sparked my interest in Africa. Been waiting almost 30 years for this!)How is it done, if you try to book a safari on your own?

Thanks again!
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Jun 21st, 2005, 09:49 AM
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You will more than likely want to go again and again; I sure do.

If dough were no object, my next trip would combine Tanzania/Kenya (depending on time of year) with gorilla tracking in either Rwanda or Uganda. Sometimes the issue is less one of money than of time and getting from point A to point B.

Should you decide on East Africa, either Kenya or Tanzania would be a fantastic introduction. If you want to take a tour, one operator that comes up again and again is 2afrika. I believe they are at 2afrika.com.

I don't know much about southern Africa, except that self-drive safari in Namibia is another thing I'd like to do.

The Bradt travel guides are great (can I say that on Fodors?).

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Jun 21st, 2005, 11:18 AM
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Cooncat...My first safari was OAT's Ultimate Africa (in 2001) and it was a fantastic trip (the itinerary is differnt now as they've cut out most of Zimbabwe). You certainly can't beat the price. The downside of OAT is the size of their groups--14-16 travelers. That's alot of different personalities to contend with and it does have its drawbacks.

If you'd like more info, feel free to email me.

As far as digital cameras go, check out the Panasonic DMZ (there's another thread that mentions that camera)...I'm planning on buying it for my next trip (to Zambia in Sept.) as it seems to be idiot-proof.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Thanks, P! I very well may e-mail you in the future when I get really serious about this. I am just awash in ideas and can't for the life of me figure out how to decide where to go, where to stay... too many options and I'm not a good decision maker. How does everyone know about all of these camps, etc.? THanks again!
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Jun 21st, 2005, 12:05 PM
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This thread has pictures taken with that Panasonic:

Just back from Botswana - Pictures
Poster: linjudy

If you read these posts for awhile you'll know about all those camps too.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 12:30 PM
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<How does everyone know about all of these camps, etc.?>

Research, research, research! Religiously reading the fodors board, perusing all of the guidebooks though some may be a year or 2 behind (I agree with Leely that the Bradt guides are excellent), and checking various outfitter websites for descriptions, reviews, and photos. Also www.safari-portal.de has some of the most comprehensive listings of lodges and camps (with links to websites) that I've found. And even then, it's impossible to know about all of the camps in every location
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Jun 21st, 2005, 01:40 PM
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Thanks Patty - I fear asking this question, but as a new person I hope everyone will be patient. After you figure out where you want to go, do you then choose an operator to get you where you need to be? Can any SAfari Company use any of the lodges at any time? It seems unlikely given schedules and so forth. What are the options? And yes, I will do/am doing my research. I'm just somewhat confused at this point.
(I did look into the Lumix camera as well, and will consider it - but its 5 megapixels seem behind the times when others are now at 7 and 8??? Anyone with an opinion? Thanks again everyone!
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:00 PM
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cooncat,
I personally prefer to use a tour operated based in the country that I'm visiting, so yes in that sense, I would choose the destination first, then look for a tour operator. I'm not sure if that answers your question.

The rest of this information is based on my experience planning trips to East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, bits of Rwanda, I know nothing about other areas) - most in country tour operators can arrange a custom itinerary for you based on your choice of accomodations. I haven't encountered any lodge or camp in Kenya (yet) that my tour operator can't book as long as there is space available. I understand that Tanzania is a bit different in that there are some camps which are exclusively used by certain operators and in order to stay at these specific camps, you need to book through these tour operators directly or with an out of country agent who contracts your ground services to them. I don't think there are a lot of camps that fall into this category, but you might run into one here and there.

Don't be afraid to ask any questions. 9 months ago I knew almost zip about East Africa.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Haven't used a G6, but it would be hard to be unhappy with a Dig Rebel...however then you are into the whole question of "which lenses". And THAT is a huge subject (there are some really long threads about lenses for Canon on safari...do a search.

so the choice really depends on (1) your relative interest in/knowledge of photography and (2) your trip photo opps. There is a real phenomenon now about digital cameras, and any serious camera shop will tell you that many people are buying much more camera than they have the knowledge to use...and if they just set the camera on "auto" it's really a big waste. One my first trips I went crazy on carrying camera gear (10D & assortment of L lenses, fab but heavy). But my last trip turned out to be more people oriented, and I sorely wished (literally, sore shoulders sorely) that I had only brought a pocket sized digital with zoom. So really think about what you will be doing on your trip, and what kind of photos you hope to bring back...
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Jun 21st, 2005, 08:26 PM
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Hi cooncat - I took a Panasonic DMZ to Botswana last year, and I have just purchase the Canon G6 for this year's trip to Zam/Zim - I leave on July 7 so I'll be glad to report back when I return! I'm taking both cameras with me.
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:04 AM
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Wow - thanks again everybody for taking the time to answer my questions! Lin - I saw your beautiful pictures. PLEASE do report back on your G6. I doubt I'll buy a camera before then.

Tashak - My brother in law just gave me the same advice about the dig camera. He said I need to see his point and shoot pics and then decide if I want so much camera. I've always loved photography. Had a photojournalism class in college that I totally loved. I'm new to the digital scene, but I want to take it up again as a "serious" hobby. I plan to travel as long as I can, and would like to frame more of my shots, but they just aren't sharp enough. (I know only own an Olympus 140, fine, but not optimal.) You may be right though, maybe the G6 is all I need. Any thoughts on the pro 1 as opposed to the G6?

Thanks again everyone!
Sharon
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 06:35 AM
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Hi Sharon,

I took the Panasonic to Botswana and I think you saw some of the pictures. I've just ordered one blown up 20x30 and will let you know how it looks. The comment about it being idiot proof is pretty accurate. I'm living proof as I'm a very "non-technical" photographer and don't really know the difference between shutter speed and aperture

As for how to pick a camp, this was very difficult for me as well. In the end, I chose based on diversity in activity and scenary. That's why I picked one water camp, one land camp, 2 camps in Okavango, one camp in Linyanti, etc.

Now that I'm back, I also think order is very important to maximize enjoyment, esp. for 1st time visitor. I would do it in this order:

1st: a camp where you'll see lots of elephants and general game. while by the end of the trip you may have seen lots of zebras and elephants, seeing one for the first time is still incredible. You can get your fill of these animals and tell your guide at a later camp to focus on cats or other predators.

2nd: a water camp to relax and enjoy diverse range of activities.

3rd: the best camp for big game/predator you can afford to end on a high note.

I would not pay extra for better accommodations (e.g., Kings Pool vs. Duma Tau). You're just not in the tent that much to matter and all the camps are beautiful.

However, this doesn't apply to Mombo, which was another big dilemma for me because of the cost. Now that I've been, the answer is an absolute yes. It's simply in a whole other class when it comes to wildlife. If I didn't have any money I would sell some possessions so I can go (only partly kidding

Also, I was torn between doing all Wilderness camps vs. a mix, and got convinced to do all wilderness. The advantage is the transportation and logistics were all flawless. There is a slight "sameness" (one could call it consistency just as well) among the camp routine, staff, but that was not a bad thing.

Hope this helps.
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Lin - It helps tremendously. Thanks a bunch!
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 06:50 AM
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BY the way - which tour company did you use? Thanks!
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 07:13 AM
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Hi Cooncat
Firstly, one of the best things about this board is that most of us remember how little we knew when we planned our first trips and are (hopefully) happy to help newbies and help in anyway we can.
Secondly, there's such a huge wealth of experience of different safaris and camps that hopefully you'll get the help you need.
I don't know much about East Africa (though I did a short visit to Masaai Mara, Kenya last year) but I can offer more help on South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Linjudy, I'm so pleased you felt that Mombo was worth it. I'm sure others of us "encouraging" you to go and sharing our belief that it's worth it feel as I do that it's always nice to hear when someone comes back that they now feel the same way, as I know there have been a few over the years that have been disappointed with Mombo.
After our 2001 and 2004 visit it remains one of our very favourites even though the prices make me gasp every time I see them!
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 07:27 AM
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I used Ultimate Africa which was a referral from Brenda. They were great.
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