safari times and length

Reply

Apr 9th, 2004, 01:29 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
safari times and length

e are going to Kenya in June. I am wondering what time, approx., does a morning game drive take place, and a evening game drive. How long does each drive last generally? Thank You
katj232 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 9th, 2004, 03:43 PM
  #2
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Morning game drives go out at sunrise about 6:30 am for about 3-hrs, return for breakfast. After breakfast you can request a game walk, or read, or sleep, or swim or whatever. Lunch is at about 1pm. Then at approx. 3:30pm you go our for the late afternoon game drive, leaving the park or reserve by sunset at 6:30pm latest.

Unless you are on private lands, outside national parks can you have night drives.

If, however, you are on a private itinerary with your own guide/driver you can arrange to do early breakfast at about 7:30am, then go out for a game drive between 8:30-9am until 1pm. Otherwise, it's the schedule at listed above.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 9th, 2004, 04:17 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
thank you for the response. My husband and I are on a private safari, just the two of us. I was wondering, where does the guide stay at night? We are hoping that we don't get a different guide at each lodge. We forgot to ask when we booked our trip.
katj232 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 9th, 2004, 05:59 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Kat, most of these private safaris fly you in to one camp where you are assigned a guide. At the next camp you get a different guide and so on. Now it is possible to arrange a specific safari where one guide goes with you from camp to camp. They are given highly reduced rates in staff quarters. But you have to pay their rate as well as their housing and there may be an additional fee for a private car as well. I think it would be worth it and I may consider it next time.
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 9th, 2004, 07:40 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
A point of clarification, if I may. Not all "private" or "custom" safaris fly their clients into camps. It is, in fact, the clients choice whether to fly or drive from location to location. If you use a tour operator, the guide from the tour company can go from location to location with you, either driving you from place to place or meeting up with you at each location should you opt to fly from place to place. Sometimes, however, if the trip is lengthy (over 12 days or so), the tour company will arrange to split the trip up for the sake of the guides, who, believe it or not, leave their families for extended periods of time. If you arrange your own safari, that is when you will get a different guide at each location. This would be the camp/lodge guide as opposed to a tour company guide. Clematis is right on about paying for your guides room and board. It is nominal and is already factored into the price you are given, so do not expect to have to pay any additional money - except for tipping. Now, if you do a custom or private safari through a tour operator, you are getting the vehicle - whether minibus or 4WD - exclusively. If you make arrangements for your own tour, then you need to tell the camp/lodge that you want exclusive use of a vehicle, and that can be upwards of $150 a day on top of what you are already paying for your room and meals. Pretty hefty price, if you ask me. That is why for our trip to Kenya we are going to "share" a vehicle at Lewa Downs for two days (to use a vehicle on an exclusive basis at Lewa Downs was going to run $200 per day!), then proceed to have a private vehicle with our tour operator for the rest of our time in Samburu and Meru. Also, if you tire of the routine of going out for a few hours in the morning and then going back out for the afternoon, you can ask your guide for a full day game drive. He (I've never seen a woman guide!) will arrange for a picnic breakfast and lunch, so you will be set for food all day. Just remember, though, that your guides need some time to themselves once in a while! Our last trip we went on full day game drives - from 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. virtually every other day. So, really, a safari can be whatever you make it out to be!
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2004, 05:45 AM
  #6
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Similar to what SusanLynne explained, guide/drivers that you have for an entire safari, so need some "time off." The reason, we arranged most of our safari drives with late wake-ups (instead of 5:30 or 6am) and did our morning game drives from 8:30am or 9am, which gave guide time to "sleep-in." And when we flew back from Amboseli to Nairobi, our driver drove back with our luggage, met us at the Carnivore where he had lunch, then we continued up north. Believe on that trip, our guide did only one "0-0-dark-30" drive - it worked for us and for him.

Likewise when we were in Tanzania, our schedule was basically the same (none of those early drives for us) starting our drives at 8:30 or 9am. We found just as many animals then as at 6:30am (as comments from other travelers). Even our full-day at Ngorongora Crater, we cut the day short departing the crater by 3, and the guide was free from then on. And by the time we arrived at Kirawira, my travel partner went out early for only 2-hrs and then we let the guide have the balance of morning till 3:30pm to himself.

We were lucky in all instances to always have our own vehicle, though at Samburu we asked another couple who were on a fly-in safari to share our vehicle. The camp vehicle had a cracked windshield, and we didn't feel it was safe for them to use. We've been great friends with them ever since.

So it comes down to what you arrange. And while flying can be faster and an advantage for long distances, the prices are often more (depending of where flying from/to) than what is included in the price if driving and using the same guide/driver, their time, sleeping arrangement and food, throughout. It takes good planning and a reputable operator.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2004, 10:29 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Hi SusanLynne, you would have loved our female guide in SA. She was great. Good point about the driving transfers as opposed to "fly-ins." I should clarify that when I was talking about traveling with your own guide and paying their room I was thinking more of the kind of safari that is operated by one man. He makes all the arrangements and travels with you from place to place. Friends who have done this in Kenya loved it because of the continuity and no unhappy surprises (like getting the bored guide as mentioned elsewhere). I love the idea of a full day of game drives! Silly question - how did you give them time to themselves during a full day game drive? At lunch?
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2004, 03:02 PM
  #8
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
With the exception of being in East Africa during Migration, full-day game drives, personally, are not for me. Unless, of course, I had already seen a "crossing" - kind of like a little tyke whose eyes are closing, but they refuse to go to sleep - they might miss something!!!!

Even the full day in the Ngorongoro Crater was too long, the reason we cut out at about 3pm. But on that day, we were given boxed lunches and they have an area near the hippo pools where everyone picnics. And the guides have that time for themselves.

However, the guides know it's going to be a full day, and that is what it is - a full working day.

My issue is "boxed meals" - hate them, regardless what's inside. It's very personal, as I'd prefer to sit down at a table, with linens, china, silverware, and being served. I'm on vacation, so if I wanted a boxed lunch, I would stay home - and at that you'd have to drag me screaming, as I still won't do boxed lunches.

And then there is always the issue of "potty calls" - I don't "do the bushes." I actually surprised myself on the drive from Ngorongoro to the Western Serengeti, a full day safari all the way, and not a single potty call. Ooops, sorry, we stopped mid-way at the Serena for lunch, so that was the potty stop.

Whether it is a tour operator owner who takes you throughout (and I can bet you'd be paying more for his personal accommodations, than if it was a guide/driver) - the guide/driver is not that different. They might not own the company, but they take care of you in anyway you can think of. They check ou in, run inteference if need be, they're just wonderful.

But, like anything else, it all depends on what you schedule and how you do it.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2004, 03:10 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
On full day game drives, they didn't get time to themselves. That is why we do full day game drives every other day. As Sandi pointed out, full day game drives are not for everyone. (But it paid off for us big time the day we saw wildebeest crossing the Talek River - after a three hour wait!) I just don't particularly care for the three hour drive, siesta/lunch, afternoon drive business. I like being out there all day. I would do it every day if I could, but I know that would be asking way to much of our guide. As for the "potty breaks," well, one must do what they have to do ... just be careful about where you decide to do what you need to do! And make sure your driver/guide and a travel companion (if there is one) keep their eyes open for any unwanted intruders!
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2004, 12:06 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
SusanLynne, I'm with you. I'd much rather just stay out all day in the bush looking for animals. I can eat on china any day when I'm back home in the city. And you'll still get dinner at camp.

As much as I enjoy great food, it doesn't compare to the thrill of a bush drive. That must have been so exciting when you caught the wildebeest crossing!
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2004, 04:33 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Clematis: LIke I said, it took three hours of waiting at the Talek River before we saw the crossing. But our patience paid off! It was just my husband, our driver/guide and me in the vehicle. As for our driver/guide, we tip handsomely for those days he does not get some "private" time. And we tell our tour operator well ahead of time that we intend on doing full-day game drives when booking, so they can select a driver/guide who will best fit our needs.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:43 AM.