Safari Burn Out - How To Avoid It?

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Feb 28th, 2005, 08:57 AM
  #1
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Safari Burn Out - How To Avoid It?

this is going to sound weird to everyone on this board- but do you ever get "tired" of safari?

we were talking over the weekend and we were like by the end of our (relatively short) safari8, we couldn't bear the thought of nother game experience, even if was the most rare and spectacular of them all. we had just had enough.

do any of you ever feel that way and how do you recharge? do you skip a game activity? do you plan non-safari days between safaris?

i loved my trip, and i can't wait to go back again, but i still don't think i could "take" more than like 6 days straight, despite the great food, accommodations and viewing.

what do you say?
kerikeri is offline  
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Feb 28th, 2005, 09:09 AM
  #2
 
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We went on an 18 day trip to southern Africa in October for our honeymoon. We were on safari the whole time except for 2 nights in Vic Falls. Honestly, I could have stayed forever, but then again I have a degree in biology and have always been fascinated with observing animals in their natural habitats.

There are tons of other places to see in Africa. Next time why not take a trip to Cape Town or visit some wineries? Try breaking it up a bit.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 09:10 AM
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I have to admit I haven't experienced that burn-out though I worried I might after our last trip where we had around 40 days on safari in a row (with the exception of a single night in Johannesburg because of flights).

There were occasions where I was physically not feeling up to a drive - I have back and hip problems and occasionally they get the better of me. On one or two occasions I did miss a drive for those reasons and relaxed in the tent or public areas reading and resting. Of course on one of those drives Pete saw a honey badger which I'd been dying to see and I was sooo envious!

Thing is, it's horses for courses isn't it? We all have different tolerances/ obsessions for different things. For me I just can't get enough of the safari side but I can't take more than a couple of days at a beach resort without pulling my hair out!

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Feb 28th, 2005, 09:25 AM
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We just returned from 7 days on safari and I feel the same way. If we were to do a longer safari, I would plan a couple of non-game drive days in the middle to recharge. We feel perfectly comfortable skipping a game drive here and there. Some of the most enjoyable moments we had were spent just viewing the wildlife from camp. This is where I think it's really important to choose a camp with some interesting features/views. I know others may feel differently though.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 09:49 AM
  #5
sandi
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As most regulars know, I'm not keen on 6:30am game drives. That's not to say I'm not usually an early riser, and even though it's a vacation and I love my safari time... it's a vacation and I don't have the need to "see it all, do it all, that I might miss something" - I don't have to be "always on the go."

Of course, I've gone out on early game drives a few times in these many years, but my preference is to shower, put on fresh cloths, have a relaxing breakfast and go out around 9 or 10am till lunch and then again in the late afternoon... or even all day.

Even when we haven't had a good game viewing experience, we do enjoy the landscapes, the sky, the people, especially the children - so overall, it's still an outstanding time.

On every one of our safaris, whether in East Africa or Southern Africa (even when in Egypt) we've always scheduled a break in our itineraries - these can be in the middle or some R&R at the end. On one trip to Tanzania, where we had a long drive from the Ngrongoro Crater to the Western Serengeti - a great drive, but long, we decided not to go out the next morning and told our guide of this. By skipping the game drive the next morning, all of us had some "down time" and though the guide was surprised by our decision, I believe he appreciated our concern for him as well as our own need for a break.

I believe, we all know our own traveling habits - likes and dislikes - whether on Safari or in Paris, New York, etc. - sometimes it's just overload. So for those who find any given number of safari days too much, just include a "rest day" in between and enjoy your surroundings. And if staying at any of the real expensive camps/lodges there are always other activities to keep you busy - have a massage, go for a run, utilize your plunge pool, go to the spa, or read and write in your journal. There is no law that says you have to go out on every game drive. It's your vacation, so build into it, what works for you.
 
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Feb 28th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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If it ever happens to me I'll save a lot of money. So far I am completely unfamiliar with the concept.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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kerikeri-
I'm laughing! I'd just posted how all the details of packing was wearing me out. Yes, we do get tired after 6 or 7 days of game drives. This trip most days we will only game view for half a day. The mornings are at leisure just as Sandi described. This is new for us, but we hit that level of been there, done that. Too much jostling around in the back of a car. That is what is nice about having your own car and driver. When we get to the migration, though everything changes. There we hit it hard for a few days so we get to see enough of the animals. Up to then we'll just poke here and there and rest more. I think after this trip we'll take a few years off and just go on cruises. We have one coming up for 12 days in May and I'm looking forward to that. Lots of reading and eating and lounging. Sigh. Liz
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Feb 28th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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I don't get tired of the game drives, but sometimes I do get tired. I think it's a combination of jet-lag, excitement, and the early mornings, but by the third day, I end up skipping a morning drive and sleep in. One good night sleep and I'm ready for action the rest of the trip.

It does help to have variety in your itinerary. Add something unusual: a river cruise, fishing, horseback riding, a hot air balloon or helicopter tour, a cultural visit to a village, a visit to a conservation center, etc. If you break up the trip with other activities, you'll help to avoid game drive burn out.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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kerikeri,

I think if you had a more varied safari that you would not suffer burnout. I would never dream of a longer safari where I was limited to game drives. For my 19 night upcoming holiday, for example, I will have a very diverse 14 night Zambian safari, followed by 2 nights at the 5* Westcliff Hotel in Joburg and ending with 3 nights of luxury and hopefully a lot of up close and personal viewings of predators at Simbambili.

At my first camp, Kasaka River Lodge in Lower Zambezi, I will have the choice to go canoeing, go fishing, go on gameviewing cruises (all on the Zambezi River) or go on morning/night game drives or go on bush walks.

Next up, I will spend four nights in North Luangwa, for strictly walking safaris in what is one of the most remote parks in Africa. At Kutandala, my party of four may very well have the six bed camp to ourselves, but worst case, we are looking at sharing it with only one other couple, guaranteeing a very personalized experiece.

From there, I will split my time between two luxurious camps in the South Luangwa, and it is my intention to purchase and ride a new mountain bike from the Mfuwe Airport to the entrace of the South Luangwa National Park, along with a guide from Luangwa River Lodge. I will purchase two new bikes and then donate them to the South Luangwa Conservation Society or another worthy organization. This was my own creation and I do think it will be a fascinating experience to ride through the African town of Mfuwe, stopping in the village to possibly have a nice cold Mosi Beer and gingerly making my way to the entrance of the national park.

With my 3 nights at Luangwa River Lodge, I will be provided with my own private vehicle and will basically call my own shots the entire time. Game drives, bush walks, cultural visits, etc., my wish will be their command.

To conclude my Zambian safari, I have chosen Puku Ridge as it has an incredible location and I love the decor of this camp (the 1,000 sq. ft. luxury tented accomodations do not hurt either). Plus, it will be my only Zambian camp that is not on the river (Zambezi, Mwaleshi and Luangwa Rivers at the other lodges), and will provide excellent views of a sizable plain from each luxury tent.

So, the bottom line is that it is up to the traveler to make their trip interesting. No offense intended but it is like the child that always says "I'm bored!" Of course, the common thought is that the only people who are constantly bored are boring people.

You just need to spice things up a bit with different activities. I felt much the same way you did after my first visit, wondering WHY anyone would want to spend more than a week on safari. Yet, here I am, just three years later, spending 17 of my 19 nights on safari.

I would be interested in knowing if you did any canoeing, bush walks, cultural visits or other activities besides game drives. Also, I would be interested to know the different parks that you visited, as if you have a varied enough itinerary, you are likely to see many animals that are distinct to a particular area (South Luangwa for example has its own species of giraffe, zebra and wildebeest that are not commonly found elsewhere).

Hopefully your experience does not diminish your enthusiasm for Africa, as there is so much to see that you could visit for 10 years and still not see half of what you want to once you learn the different areas.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 04:06 PM
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For us, there are several levels of burnout!

In the Kruger area, it's the lack of sleep. 5am game drives followed by a huge breakfast then lunch then the afternoon game drive followed by a big dinner and too much wine and Marula/Cape Velvet. By day 3 we normally need a vacation but at $600+ each we don't want to waste $$ by sleeping all day!

In East Africa, the long distances, potholes, dust and bad suspension/seats on many vehicles can take its toll after a few days. "There may be lion at that kopje", the guide points." "How far?", I ask. "30 minutes or so", he says. "No thanks", I reply wearily. After 3 days, a lion sleeping in the shade is just not worth the bouncing!

My wife and I have learned that it's OK to get weary. And finally admitting that we were bored on some safaris have helped us with future planning.

We have a long list of tricks to keep us excited, but here is our top 3:

a) lodging with views or water holes where we can enjoy the wildlife without having to drive for miles. And if we can just enjoy each other's company in somewhat secluded surroundings then we are most happy.

b) mix our stays inside the parks with stays in concessions outside where we can do night drives and such.

c) fly-in when it makes sense despite the extra costs.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 04:15 PM
  #11
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this was interesting.

thanks so much for replying everybody!





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Feb 28th, 2005, 05:48 PM
  #12
 
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I have only been to Africa twice (will be returning this summer)so I probably am not eligible for burn-out. I have to work two jobs (one a night job) to get the money to go, so no matter how tired I am, if I have to glue my eyelids open, I will go on every game drive I can. I have gotten traveller's diarrhea each time I've gone to Africa causing me to miss morning game drives, and it was maddening because my friends came back with stories of great things they saw. I cannot get enough of African wildlife. I hope I don't get burn-out. If I do, the advice I've read just now from others is so sound that I know I will benefit from it.
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