Trip report Kenya August '05

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Aug 31st, 2005, 02:26 PM
  #21
 
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Jan,

I read on another thread that you've used Southern Cross Safaris several times in the past and been very happy. Can you elaborate a bit? I am trying to plan my trip to Kenya next year, and so far they have given me the best price (though Michael has a disturbing tendency to refer to me as 'Ms Asher' in his emails even though I've pointed out several times that I'm a man).

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 31st, 2005, 02:42 PM
  #22
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Julian:

I have used Southern Cross Safaris (from Mombasa) on all eight of my trips. They have always done a super job for me. They are one of the few agencies that will do ala carte safaris. I make my own air arrangements here and then I write to Torben or Phillip telling them what dates I'll be arriving, which parks I want to go to, what lodges and camps I want and for how many nights and they set it all up including air within Kenya. They, of course, also do the transfer service. As a woman traveling alone I have always felt well taken care of by them. You can contact [email protected] and he will make sure your wishes are followed. You can look up more of what they offer on their website.

Please keep in mind there are two Southern Cross Safaris (was once company and they split). One office is in Nairobi. I always use the Mombasa office
www.southerncrosssafaris.com.

Hope this helps.

Jan

If you have any problems deal with Torben or Phillip directly.
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Aug 31st, 2005, 03:31 PM
  #23
 
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Hello Jan,

Thanks for your reply. The Southern Cross I got my quote from is the same one you have used (in Mombasa).

I'm curious as to whether you've ever had problems with large single supplements being charged. When I initially contacted them, the quote I received for Kichwa Tembo Bateleur camp included a $1000 single supplement, which I knew was out of line since CCA do not charge a single supplement. This was later corrected, but only because I knew the CCA policy since I've travelled with them in the past. I'll email Torben and let him know.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 31st, 2005, 04:04 PM
  #24
 
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Hi, Jan,

Thanks for the wonderful report.

We are going in early Oct for our first trip in Kenya/Tanzania. Our tour company, GAP, told us there is electricity in every camp sites. We would really appreciate if you can tell us whether you had electricity (AC or DC) at your camp sites.

Thanks!

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Aug 31st, 2005, 04:22 PM
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cheerful,
Are you doing a real camping trip or staying at tented camps?
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Aug 31st, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Well, Jan, you have posted another marvelous trip report! I always enjoy yours and want to thank you for posting them. You also got some great pictures.

I heard an interview with Daphne Sheldrick on NPR last night and I had to sit in the car in the driveway for about 5 minutes so I could hear all of it. She sounds like a remarkable woman. When they announced what was coming up, my first thought was of you.

I share your love for elephants and need to plan a trip to follow in your footsteps because you sure get to see them! This year I'm going to Chobe, Okavango Delta and Kalahari. I'm still "saving" Kenya because I think it will be the ultimate trip and until I go there, I have to keep going back. (OK, it's silly but it works for me.)
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Aug 31st, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Patty,

I think it is real camp. We would need to carry our own sleeping bags. GAP calls it "participation camping".

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Aug 31st, 2005, 07:07 PM
  #28
 
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cheerful,
I don't know about the availability of electricity at campsites, sorry. Try searching or posting this question on the Lonely Planet Thorntree board.
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Aug 31st, 2005, 07:14 PM
  #29
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Cheerful
I have travelled with Gap before and they do have a variety of trips.Participation camping is just that.You will help with cooking cleaning,etc,etc.If you can post a link to your trip or if you have any questions i will be happy to answer them.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 09:16 AM
  #30
 
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Here is the GAP link

http://www.gapadventures.com/tour/dsm

I have no experience in camping. So hopefully some one can teach us on the spot. I have quite a few questions.

1. Electricity and its type (AC / DC). GAP said there is electricity to charge batteries at all camp sites. I would like to get some confirmation on that.

2. Weather in early Oct, esp. rain. We have no clue how to deal with rain while camping.

3. Is repeller, such as OFF, effective against mosquitos? At what concentraion?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

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Sep 1st, 2005, 09:23 AM
  #31
 
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cheerful,

Well, as it's a participation-camping safari, I think you'll learn all about pitching a tent, dealing with rain, etc.

Actually, if you're up for it, I think it sounds pretty fun. And the max group size is 12, so that's not too bad. I'm guessing you're young or young-at-heart, because it's a pretty fast itinerary.

I think you'll want repellent with at least 30% DEET, although I believe there's a thread somewhere here with info about a new mosquito-repellent ingredient that may be a bit healthier.

Sorry, I don't know about electricity or weather in October.

Don't worry too much; I think you'll have an amazing time.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #32
 
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Hi cheerful

I did very basic camping for a month this past May/June in the Serengeti.

Unless I am completely mistaken, there were no electricity in our public Serengeti camps at Seronera. I did not need outlets and did not look for them but everyone in camp used flashlights (torches) even in the bathroom. We did have electricity at the Simba camp at Ngorongoro but there can be lots of people so don't count on being able to charge your devices.

It is safer to get a 12-volt cigar-lighter charger and to ask your driver to charge it in the car (depending on the quality of the car).

Don't worry about the weather. You may get wet at times but it should only be short downpours.

Be aware that "participation" safaris mean exactly that. In the mornings it will take a long time for everyone to break down camp - there is always someone who lags behind. And in the afternoon you will have to arrive at the camp sites early to get a good spot and to set up before dark. You will do most of your game drives during the middle of the day when the animals are cooling of in the shadows of the trees!

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Sep 1st, 2005, 03:36 PM
  #33
dlo
 
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Hi Cheerful

The no camping experience is no big deal.I met people of all ages and experience,the most important thing to bring with you is a relaxed attitude as these trips are completly based on the type of people in your group.You should have a good time but i heard of a few people who quit their trips because they were unprepared for what was expected.

1) As climbhigh says not everywhere is electricity guaranteed.I can't believe you would have any in the Serengeti.All we had was a long drop,a barely functioning shower and nothing else.That being said it is my favorite campsite i have ever seen.I would advise an extra battery or two.

2) We had quite a few showers.They don't last long and should have no effect on you.

3) Anything with 30% deet is fine.

You should have a great time.I am still in contact with my cook from our trip and look forward to seeing him as much as anything else when i return to Kenya in December.The only thing i disagree with Climbhigh is we did the normal early safari and late afternoon safari.
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 06:30 AM
  #34
 
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Thanks everyone for the help.

Very glad to hear you still get the early and late game drive. This is our first trip to Kenya. I will try to keep our expectation low but can't help being excited.

I would need a lot batteries. I am buying a Canon S2, which has great battery life. But I can see myself setting it in drive mode and taking hundred of pictures. It will be tough to carry that many. Does any get to use the car power?

I posted 2 more questions on separate threads so that I won't keep polluting this wonderful trip report. Is is about cash and camera

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34671330

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34671324

Again, thanks every for the help!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:00 AM
  #35
 
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cheerful,
Does the S2 take AA batteries? I purchased a Lenmar Pro66 charger for my rechargeable AA's and it comes with a car adaptor (and also a dual voltage AC). I haven't tried it out in my car yet, but it charges very fast at home. I believe it has a 2000mA output rating, so charges my 2300mA batteries in just over an hour. These batteries last much, much longer than the disposable ones!

On my first trip, I just brought packs of disposable batteries. I went through 12 sets of 4 in one week, so can't imagine having to carry enough batteries for a 2-3 week trip. I have a Canon S1 IS.
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 10:47 AM
  #36
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To get back to the original thread, Kenya and elephants, Kenya Wildlife Service has now translocated 40 elephants from Shimba Hills to northern Tsavo East.

To read more updates please go to
www.kws.org. If you look in the upper right hand side of the page you can click on the stories of the translocation and also see some pictures.

Jan
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #37
 
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hi jan, i took a look at the kws site last nt. good updates there. i was planning on being a part of it for a few days. this translocation project. they kept putting it off. there was no way to plan my trip around it. how exciting this would have been to witness some of this. oh the video that i could have had.
hope all goes well of course.
thanks, david
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 11:34 AM
  #38
 
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Jan, did you get a reply from Mr. Indakwa?
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
  #39
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Nyamera:

I haven't heard from him since my return from Kenya. He and all the KWS people are tied up at Shimba Hills.

If KWS succeeds in translocating the 400 elephants they are aiming at, KWS will again be a leader. Up until now South Africa has moved 50 - and KWS should surpass that this week.

I wrote to KWS today asking that they not only post information from the Shimba Hills end of the translocation but put people on the ground in the Ithumba area docoumenting what the result of the move is. Are the animals finding water and food, are they integrating with other elephant families who have been in the area for awhile or are the long-time elephants rejecting them (they do look so very different from the average Tsavo elephant), do they now appear nervous and frightened due to the translocation? Also hope that they will collar a few of these animals with GPS collars to see if they will be content to stay in the Ithumba area, or whether they will try to make their way back to Shimba Hills. Remember, lodges in Shimba Hills were baiting the animals daily with sugar cane to satisfy the tourists. Will the animals try to head back there to get their "sugar kick?"

A lot can be learned from this exercise if it is done properly. If all goes well, then perhaps the "problem elephants" might be translocated in the future rather than being killed. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jan
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 04:10 PM
  #40
 
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jan, my tour op in kenya had told more than once. they have tried to move eles before. guess what. 2wks later they walked back. like you say. maybe the surgar kick (which by the way is the first i've heard of such a thing with eles) and wanting to go home.
lets keep our fingers crossed.
d
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