There is no place like Africa

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Aug 15th, 2004, 07:58 PM
  #1
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There is no place like Africa

I've had my first vacation since Africa last year. Europe. It was not picked by me and while traveling is always fun, it was not...

It was not Africa.

Is every trip going to be like this until I return to Africa?
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Aug 15th, 2004, 10:07 PM
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Clematis,

I felt your pain for my first 10 nights in Italy. Had I been forced to return after Italy, I would have been a very unhappy traveler, but, fortunately, I forced Zambia in there, even though it was a major effort to do so, both fiscally and otherwise.

Perhaps you just need something completely different now than Europe. I would imagine that you have probably been to Europe numerous times over by now. In the foreseeable future, I could not imagine using Europe as anything more than a three night stopover on the way to or from Africa.

But, I do think that places like India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other exotic locales will keep me on my toes, although I just postponed a trip to India to return to none other than South Africa...fourth trip to Southern Africa in four years.

It does seem to have that effect that noplace else measures up. I mean I was fortunate enough to visit Chile for two weeks in December, 2002, just nine months after I first visited South Africa. But, after Singita, the Table Bay Hotel, the Mount Nelson, Matetsi Water Lodge and the Victoria Falls Hotel, not even the spectacular Torres Del Paine National Park (Patagonia), the amazing Atacama Desert (the most arid desert in the world with 18,000' tall Andes mountains towering over) amd the very picturesque Santiago could nearly compare to South Africa.

I mean Chile is an amazing and beautiful country and I stayed in very nice places, but I constantly found myself comparing it to my South African experience. I still shudder at the thought that I could have visited the best on the Northern Circuit of Tanzania, which I believe is very good in December, plus Zanzibar, for the same price as Chile.

Clematis, all you can do now, is start planning your next trip, and accept no substitutes for Africa. Although it has not been easy, and I have rightly or wrongly been accused of being selfish on many occasions, I have managed three consecutive years of Africa, and already have next years trip all lined up, and this time with my wife's complete consent.

While I would probably go to Tanzania next if I had complete control, in order to get scaredtodeath to go along for the ride, I have "settled" for South Africa, which is not really settling by any means but is depriving myself of seeing Tanzania, at least for one more year.

The only place that I really enjoyed visiting, since I first visited Africa, has been Quebec City, but that was just a quickie 4 night trip and Le Chateau Frontenac is an amazing hotel towering over the St. Lawrence River and Old Quebec.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in your imminent return to Africa. Don't settle for anything less!
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Aug 15th, 2004, 11:03 PM
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Thanks, Rocco. 60 Minutes tonight had a piece on a place in Gabon where the gorillas had never seen humans (until the 60 Minutes crew arrived). They were remarkably sweet and curious. Of course it is not set up for gorilla tourism the way other parts of Africa are. It made me want to plan that trip that Thit Cho has taken before it's too late - for me, for the gorillas, sadly. They said in 50 years they will be gone. This biologist was able to convince the president to set aside 11% of the country as a national park preserve to help hold off poachers and loggers. Diane Fossey, they are still fighting your battles.

For me, Africa has so many wonderful things, but for me, mostly, it's about the animals.
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Aug 16th, 2004, 12:42 AM
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Clematis-
I'm assuming Dr. Michael Fay w/ the Wildlife Conservation Society was the biologist. He has done so much for the country of Gabon.

If you get a chance to watch it on National Geographic, he is the one that trekked some 2000 miles on foot(one & a half years) from the Congo through to the oceans of Gabon seeing many animals that have never set eyes on a human before.

It was an incredible story. After that journey, he lobbied really hard (and still is) to protect many of the regions of Gabon for the preservation of it's wildlife and rainforests.

I think this man needs to be cloned about 500 times over.
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Aug 16th, 2004, 03:38 AM
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divewop -

Dr. Michael Fay should receive sainthood for the work he does. I've seen his trek thru the Congo and Gabon each time it's been presented - amazing. And to think both he and the cameraman came down with Malaria - the cameraman return to civilization for awhile, then returning; but Dr. Fay stayed with all those terrible effects, encouraging the bearers to continue.

His organization for that trip - scheduling food drops, especially the health bars! - thank goodness for GPS and satelite phones; changing bearers halfway - seeing these locals react to viewing the ocean for the first time. And to see the forest animals in the ocean was sure a change.

Must say that Dr. Fay looked a whole lot better with Christianne Amanpour on the 60-Minute show, then at the conclusion of the original trek.

Have to agree, Dr. Michael Fay is a justification for cloning!

 
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Aug 16th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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The cover story in this month's Africa Geographic is on Gabon and its new national park system. I subscribe to the magazine, but I have also seen it on the larger magazine stands (like at Barnes & Noble), and the magazine has a very good website.

I would really like to get to Gabon, but from what I understand, the success rate in seeing gorillas in Lope is much, much less than in Uganda (Bwindi) and Rwanda (PNV), where you are virtually assured of sightings. When I visited both parks last August, we easily found the gorillas and spent an hour with each group. At that time the park fee was around US$250, and I think it has since been raised to over $300 in each park. Its getting much more popular and more expensive.

Buried somewhere on this forum is a trip report that I wrote after I returned describing gorilla treks in Uganda and Rwanda.

Michael
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Aug 16th, 2004, 07:06 AM
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Thit_cho-
Thanks for making me pick up and read this month's mag. I too subscribe but hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.

I would love to travel to Gabon. The pristineness of it is breathtaking.

Michael (Nick) Nichols photos are masterpieces. If he ever has a photography workshop, I am so there!
His website is:

http://www.michaelnicknichols.com/

if anyone is interested in learning more about his work.
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Aug 16th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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Yes, divewop and Sandi, it was Dr. Fay. What a guy.

Michael, it was your gorilla report that inspired me to dream of going. I just want to be fit enough to do the trek.
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Aug 16th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Speaking of Dr. Mike Fay...The documentary is on right now on the N.G. channel.
8-9pm eastern time. The short version is anyway. What a coincidence!
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Aug 17th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Yes Africa...and Southeast Asia , for me,...does get into one's blood. I first did Africa...although North Africa...Tunisia back in 1981. I did it alone and female and had a blast.I was in my mid-twenties then. I then did Morocco alone after that.I just did Ghana... alone...just this past Dec/Jan. I have already cashed in another 80,000 frequent flyer miles for a ticket back to Ghana this coming December/January. I've done Europe, almost annually since the early 70s. I have friends there and there are still some things I enjoy doing, but I take separate overseas trips during the year to be able to do what I call my REAL traveling. The kind of traveling that gets your heart really beating and you lose sleep over...due to excitement... the night before boarding the plane! It's good I can take an average of 3 overseas trips a year. It helps to break things up a bit. I'm back off to Bangkok/Singapore...can't wait to arrive in a few days. Happy Travels!
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Aug 17th, 2004, 07:46 PM
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I caught the NG special too, just by chance, phew! That hippo catching some rays at the beach...soooo far out. , wonder if they shared some weed with her?
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:26 PM
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Once you have been bitten by Africa, you will always want to return.
After all, its' probably the cradle where man was born. We all need to return to mother Africa, however you define it, to experience our human roots.
 
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 05:01 PM
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We just got back from our first safari, and I'm scheduled to go to Italy next summer. I thought Africa would be a once in a lifetime trip. But....we keep talking about Africa and how awesome it was! It comes up at least once a day, what we saw or did or just commenting how great the people were. I can't seem to get away from this forum. I go on the Europe forum for Italy info. but always end up here. We'll definitely be back.
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 05:28 PM
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I am actually leaving Sep 1 back on the 13th for a sailing trip in Greece.
Everyone I tell is ecstatic about it for me.
And while I'm sure it will be a fun trip, my mind keeps going back to Africa too!

I keep thinking..."Well, I coulda taken this money and spent it on a safari here or gone there...in Africa."

I wonder if I will be this obsessed with Africa the rest of my life! It is just an indescribable (is that a word?)
experience to be on that continent.

I will make plans to go back every year, God willing, to the place that has captured my heart!...and I'm glad to know most of you share the same passion! I told my husband I'm so glad I found people that really understand what it's like to love a place so much!
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Aug 24th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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Hi Clematis-
Since we've been without computer or TV for 2 weeks, I've gotten away from Africa and its slipped into the background. Just booked a couple of cruises to get over the stress of the move and I stop by here to see if Jan got back from Kenya. So guess what? HOMESICK for Africa. Guess I better not stick around because I don't think I want that long flight for at least another year.
Take care and I've missed you all. Liz
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Aug 24th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Hi Liz
So nice to see you back! I dropped you an email to the old email address I had but it bounced back!
Hope you're feeling well?
Kavey
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Aug 24th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Kavey- Substitute Charter for Cox and you got it. Liz
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Aug 24th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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ok!
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Aug 24th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Hi Liz! It's good to hear from you. Is that how you get away from missing Africa - by staying away from people talking about it? Maybe I'll try that because nothing else works.

As for Clematis' question, I took a trip to Italy with my two daughters in March. That was supposed to be "the trip" for the year and although I enjoyed it, it wasn't Africa. I hope every trip that isn't Africa isn't like that.
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Aug 24th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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It's reassuring that I'm not the only one. My husband spent hours researching a holiday in Spain for late September this year. He planned out two weeks staying at the most beautiful Paradors, seeing all the places I want one day to see. But, when it came to booking it, my comment was "it looks wonderful darling......... but it's not Africa".

So, here we are off to Tanzania in 49 days - second trip to Africa this year.
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