TV and Internet in Lodges

Jan 5th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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TV and Internet in Lodges

I just read in one of the travel magazines that a well-known lodge intends to equip its rooms with TV and Internet access. To me, that seems to detract from the essence of being on safari, and I would avoid lodges with those amenities. I hope this doesn't become common practice, and I wonder what others think about these new additions.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Hello Michael,

Out of curiosity, which lodge is that?

I agree that the presence of TV would detract from the essence of being on safari. Personally, I'm not a big fan of TV even when I'm not on safari -- I don't own one and generally speaking I don't miss it (though it does make me something of a pop-culture idiot at work). I'd definitely avoid places which made a 'feature' of having TVs in the rooms.

Internet access, on the other hand, is a bit more of a mixed bag (at least to me). On one hand, I like being unreachable -- from a psychological standpoint, it's very liberating to know that I can't do any work, so I don't feel compelled to. On the other hand, it would be really nice to be able to share my adventures with people back home on a more immediate basis than postcards allow, particularly since I often travel solo.

From a practical standpoint, Internet access would probably mean having a computer on-site, which would be a godsend for digital photographers and eliminate the need to carry a portable storage device on long trips, which is a pain in the bum. It would also make coping with logistical issues easier (e.g. for the remainder of your trip) and could also be beneficial from a safety standpoint.

However, I could see that the Internet could be very distracting -- I could easily see teenagers (and businesspeople) spending their time on the net rather than on safari. I've been in some camps where teenagers arrive moaning that they'll never survive without TV, Internet, and video games, only to see them realise how little they need those things when they have the bush. That sort of discovery might never happen if there were TVs and easy Internet access.

Interestingly, Londoz has had limited internet access for quite some time, though they don't make a big deal about it (one computer in the guest common areas in Bateleur Camp). People seemed to use it mostly to write notes home, or to deal with logistical issues about the rest of ther trip. I didn't find that it distracted me from being on safari.

jasher is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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If I recall correctly, Mala Mala. And if that's the case, I expect that other top-end Sabi Sand lodges will follow suit.

I object less to one common computer to be shared for photography-related matters, and perhaps checking emails quickly. But I fear that in-room Internet connectivity will attract those who wish to spend a lot of time on the Internet, and not around the campfire, and the daily recaps and story sharing are a fun component of the safari.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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I would hate to see T.Vs in tents or chalets and wouldn't stay in a place that had them. I'd imagine the sounds from the t.v. would drown out the wonderful sounds of the night in Africa. Internet access if limited would be o.k., could fill the boring "siesta time" with posting/reading on fodors!
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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Mala Mala's new camp Rattray's will have TV and internet in the room. On arrival you will be asked if you want it, if you don't then you will not get access to it. Nor will it be an unwanted sight in the corner of the room. My understanding is that you won't even know it's there. I'll report back later this month.

They have had a computer in the common areas for some time, I have never used them.
napamatt is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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hi there, I personally think that TV is totally unnecessary out in the bush. The whole point of being away on safari is to get away from civiliozation and enjoy the tranquility and peace of the bush.
Sonal_ is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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I have to admit I love catching international CNN when I am on an overseas trip. Sometimes it is a good way to end a day of sightseeing.
However, none of the Sopas or Serenas had TVs in the rooms and I am really glad. Certainly no tented camps should have them either. It was nice to be pretty much out of touch. Though a lot of the nicer lodges had a TV in a lounge. That is how I heard about the earthquake in Pakistan. (I am glad I wasn't totally out of touch.)

As for the Internet, most overseas places have very slow connections and charge by the minute so there was no way I would spend hours online anyway.

The one "hotel" that had a TV in the room on my trip was a place in Rwanda. But of course reception and or power was almost always out.
waynehazle is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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If I had not been able to check my e-mail once in a while on my safari, I would not have been able to go at all due to my job requirements. It did not interfere with enjoyment of the trip, and while I didn't relish having to check in with the real world periodically, it was certainly better than not being able to go at all, so I was happy to do it! Most of the lodges/camps where we stayed had one or two computers for guests to use to check e-mail for a small fee ($5 per 15 minutes). The computers were generally in out-of-the-way places where you wouldn't even have known they were there unless you asked to use one. This was fine with me; I wouldn't have cared to have it in my room. I would most definitely not like to hear TVs in other guests' rooms on safari.
lisa is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 02:47 PM
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Remember how everyone howled with laughter when I told about the widescreen TV and DVD player in the Executive/Presidential Chalet at Mbalageti Camp. Pleeeeease, give me a break.

Many of the TVs at lodges, are used in conjunction with DVD or VCRs to run nature programs... I haven't seen one with CNN running on it.

As to Internet... hey, it's the 21st Century and sits well with me, away from site, if visitors need to check email or "check-in" somewhere... but not in everyones room/tent/chalet.

Except for the guides, most of whom, nowadays, have cellphones in addition to the two-way radios, it's such a pleasure not hearing phones ringing or someone doing a strange dance from buzzing, though some do choose to rent a satellite phone.

I guess, if you need TV and immediate access to the Internet - an African safari might not really be for you. Surprise yourself and see how well you do (survive) without your "toys."
Jan 5th, 2006, 03:44 PM
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Ah yes, TV, it'd have to be cable, of course... and the internet, broadband surely... and cell phones would certainly add to the enjoyment of camping in the bush (remember to turn them off when approaching a pride of lions!)... and a Starbucks here and there wouldn't hurt, would it?... Oh, what the hell, I'll just stay home and watch Animal Planet!
wjsonl is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 04:00 PM
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how about a McDonald's with a drive up window of course as you're not supposed to leave the vehicle
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 5th, 2006, 09:47 PM
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Ratrays also offers golf carts for its guests who are unwilling (or unable) to walk for a couple minutes back to their room.

Wonder if they offer midnight room service, as well?
Roccco is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 02:35 AM
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This thread is interestingly timely, as I had just asked Mark at Taga about internet access and was chastised for contemplating work next week. Althought I own my own business, I am heeding his advice and ignoring it for the week. Hopefully my husband can do the same(I pray blackberries dont work in SSGR).

As an aside, thanks to everyone for the invaluable suggestions over the past months planning my trip next week.

ellene is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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It would be great to have internet. TV I can do without. But the chance to email photos from the bush to friends and family would be nice.
Hey, I can do without both.
Pumbavu is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 02:41 AM
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I guess these seriously expensive places are offering what they think their guests want. Their guests will pay mega bucks for ... ?? well, luxury in the bush I suppose. Hot water, light at the flick of a switch, gourmet meals; no spiders, no geckos - a sanitised environment ("the essence of being on safari") And so they think you want all that instant comms thing too. If they don't offer it, then the competition will.

Yes - I'm sure they offer the bestest of best wildlife viewing - but would you pay the prices if there were spiders in the room?
fuzzylogic is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:28 AM
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Roccco, you can get room service 24 hr a day at MalaMala already. (It was available in 2004 and I assume it still is.)

TV's, no way. Internet access, maybe. I know my family gets mad at me when I don't call them when I'm in Africa. An email every few days would be nice but I can certainly live without it. Email was available at MalaMala when I was there and I never used it.
sundowner is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:34 AM
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Just to make clear, in my initial post I indicated in-room Internet availability, which likely will lead to some spending a lot of time in their rooms. I wouldn't find objectionable a central computer so that email can be checked from time to time -- there are instances where its necessary.

But its the in-room TV I find the most objectionable. I would prefer to go to sleep to the sound of critters instead of Laverne & Shirley reruns.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:15 AM
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Amen Michael-
TV, internet, what's next?
I hope these lodges and camps don't go too commerical. I'll just have to hunt for the ones that aren't or do mobile camping instead.
There's nothing better than being awakened in the wee hours of the morning by the sound of the lions calling out to each other.
That's one of many reasons why I love Africa and I prefer to keep it that way.
divewop is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Dennis and Jack -

I knew something was missing - a MickeyDs and the smell of that burnt Starbucks brew! Ugh!

P.S. But the MDs fries... I might reconsider. Never!
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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>Author: divewop ([email protected])
>Date: 01/06/2006, 10:15 am
>There's nothing better than being >awakened in the wee hours of the >morning by the sound of the lions >calling out to each other.

Or them gently tickling with their rough tongues as they lick your feet... poking from under your comforter.
Pumbavu is offline  

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