Two more questions

Sep 8th, 2003, 05:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 116
Two more questions

Hi y'all,

One week to go before my first trip to Africa - Kenya and Tanzania. If I make it through this work week, I will be so excited!

I have two questions:

1) How many rolls of film per day will I need?

2) I have several gifts to buy for family and friends - any ideas on what would be lightweight and easy to carry back with me? Gifts are for adults and children.

Thanks, as always.
star55 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646

Film is relatively inexpensive (here), easy to transport, unused film can be saved for another trip if stored properly, etc. You can always purchase it in East Africa (it was available at the lodges we frequented in Tanzania but at a much, much higher price). If you are like me and subject to take a lot of pics I could easily suggest 30-35 rolls for a week in country (s). Often I took a couple of pics of same scene or critter to get different angles or realized a "better" one came along when we moved just a few feet. As we also took along an inexpensive and very basic digital I used it to supplement the effort with the 35 mm. Next time I plan on going much heavier with the digital (but also did a serious upgrade in digital camera). Will still take the 35 mm and certainly some film for daughter to use in her camera. Often sights have different appeal to different travelers and she enjoyed composing her own pics.

As to gifts, we brought bracelets from the Masai, small beaded dolls, metal figures, a carving or two, batik (spelling??). I don't think you will be without loads of stuff to consider once you are there. Also, if there is a stamp collector in the crowd you can purchase stamps including ones for sending postcards.

rsnyder is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 235

You will love both Kenya & Tanzania. I am so excited for you.

1) As this is your first trip, you will probably need more than you think. I would agree with Dick. It's a lot easier to bring the extras home than purchase more in Kenya/Tanzania (not that they don't have the film but if you run out while on safari - there isn't a WalMart anywhere close).

I would also recommend purchasing a lead film bag; I did on my latest trip to Tanzania this past June and I noticed that my film colors were better than when I didn't use it (it lets the film go through the X-ray).

Also I'm sure you know this but make sure you also take binoculers (sp?) They are a necessity not a luxury.

2) Without a doubt, the best gifts I've gotten for the myriad of friends and family AND the easiest to carry home, are carved wood salad spoon and fork sets. Everyone loves them and they are a breeze to pack and get home.

Have a Great Time.
one2travel is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
I don't have any advice, but am eager to hear your trip report & advice when you return! Where will you be staying?

We're planning to go to Kenya and Tanzania in November, if we can get our reservations straightened out. So many details! I'm used to doing my own itinerary, planning and scheduling for vacations, so to work through a tour company has been a very different experience.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 10:43 AM
Posts: n/a
All I can say is that at your first sighting of animals in the wild, even if they are at great distance - you'll be clicking away. But take a breathe and if traveling with a partner, coordinate your picture taking. If traveling alone, also take a breathe and choose your shots.

If there is any animal you didn't get on camera - buy postcards to fill-in, it's certainly not the worst thing to do.

I have yet taken more than 15 rolls (usually 24 exp.,a few 36 exp) regardless where I've been in the world. I hear of people taking 30, 35, 40 rolls of film and almost all admit that less than half are really good. And the same has been heard from digital takers - sure they can delete what they don't like, but that's another subject altogether.

Again, if traveling with a partner and both take between 10-15 rolls, then you have double that. If alone, take more rolls of film than you believe you'll need, but you don't have to use all of them. Film stores well in the refrigerator.

DO NOT FORGET EXTRA BATTERIES FOR YOUR CAMERA/S. DO NOT PACK CAMERA AND FILM IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE - TAKE/PACK WITH YOUR CARRYON. Have a camera or plastic bag, as it can get dusty out on game drives and clean off your camera at the end of the day.

Things to buy - At the Hilton Hotel in NBO there is a shop "The Collectors Den" that we found had the best prices on any of our trips in Kenya or Tanzania. If possible, make a stop there. While they have good quality merchandise in the back room, the inexpensive items are up front. We got batiks (small 12"x16/18") for $1 ea. - bought in sets of 2 coordinating patterns are great gifts, especially since they pack "flat". Unfortunately, the framing for these, once at home, cost about $50 each, but they look great. Of course, larger batiks cost more. We found lots of small carved wooden items, malachite jewelry boxes, stuffed dolls in native dress ($5/$10 ea), carved soapstone animals. Children's t-shirts are usually embroidered and often cost more than adult t-shirts (avg. $8-$12). There is lots of Masaii jewelry and necklaces, bracelets; lots of masks in all sizes. Also the Masaii pattern blankets which look nice as table runners or as a throw for a bed or sofa.

But for everything you buy, especially when stopping at roadside souvenir stands, you've got to bargain. And you don't have to buy at the first stop - get an idea of what price is being asked and only if you feel comfortable buy; otherwise, wait till next stop, you'll find it again. The price at hotels & lodges for all trinkets will be more expensive.

Have a great time.
Sep 8th, 2003, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
I am so excited for you!!! Hoorah!!! Yippee!!! Kenya and Tanzania - Yahoo!!!

I would suggest that you bring a small plastic bag (with ziploc top) with laundry detergent. While most of the camps/lodges will do laundry, I found that half the ones we stayed at would not do women's "smalls," meaning underwear.

Also, I would reiterate Sandi's posting of bringing plastic bags (ziploc tops, yet again) for your film, camera lenses, etc. It can be incredibly dusty and even though you close your camera bags, dust gets in everywhere. Do clean your cameras every night!

My husband and I are wildlife nuts (especially when it comes to lions, elephants and cheetahs), so we take more film than we really need. He mans the videorecorder and I use the 35mm SLR. But as previous posters noted, the price of film is outrageous and no, there aren't any Wal-Mart's to pop into!

If you take any prescription drugs, make sure you carry them with you on the plane. Don't pack them away in case your luggage gets lost. Highly unlikely that will happen, but better to be safe than sorry.

As far as gifts, there are some wonderful books that can be purchased only in Kenya or Nairobi. T-shirts, beaded jewelry etc. are nice, but don't neglect checking out some of the books. I can't tell you how mad I am that I saw some great books, thought to myself "Well, I can just order them when I get home," and found out I could not! I am kicking myself in the behind!

All in all, have a wonderful, magical, mystical and fantastic journey. Both countries will permeate your souls and afford you many life-long memories.

Look forward to reading your report upon your return.

Happy travels!!!
SusanLynne is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 328
Hi Star:

As per your questions -

1) I'm a pathetic photographer and still managed to easily go through 2 rolls of film a day (but as per some other posts, my camera battery started dying in the Rift Valley & the spare was the wrong type, fortunatly the gift shop at Lake Nakuru had the right one at $3us less than Walmart at home)

2) If you are driving between lodges you will be stopping at curio shops every couple of hours, so plenty of chances to buy stuff - obviously the most expensive shops are as you leave Nairobi (since you've had nothing to compare it to yet), the cheapest are on the way back (as you no the real price) & since your driver will likely be getting a commission on what you buy they'll target shops they think you spend money in (so if you buy stuff at the first expensive stop, all subsequent stops will be at the expensive locations but they'll keep 'downgrading' to a level where you start to spend), I've always had the most fun just negotationing (part of what I do for a living) and the people at the curio shops are definately good negotatiors. My prized posetion is an amazing oil painting of My Kenya ($25us & 15x that to get it framed when I got home), but lots to buy

FYI - when I got my pictures developed I took the CD option as well as prints, then consolidated the good pictures down to 1 CD, tied them to my daily diary from the trip and then burned a bunch which I included with my XMas cards last year.

Hope this helps.

TravelMaster is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 05:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 116

Thanks for all the good advice and suggestions. I'll buy more film than I think I need - I can always use it later, right? SusanLynne, thanks for the advice on books, because I love books and would have thought the same thing - I'll just buy them at home.

I'll report back when I return!
star55 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2003, 09:17 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 81
Z - Great tip on consolidating photos to one CD for sending to friends and relatives.
Star - The city market in Nairobi was my first experience in Kenya haggling. The vendors were relentless and it might be unnerving for visitors not used to haggling/negotiating. I got a couple of carved masks there for $14 US each, well under the orginal stated prices and I still may have paid too much but since you can pay $20 for a tshirt at any major US event/venue, I figured I got an OK deal.
Out of Nairobi, haggling and markets were much more low-key. My daughter got a bunch of painted cow-bone bracelets for her friends at $3-4 US each at our Masai village visit.
I recommend having both US dollars and Kenya shillings because if they quote prices in shillings, you will not get as good a deal if you pay in US dollars.
Finally, one of the best travel lessons I ever learned (example: the books mentioned by other posters) was if you see something you really like, BUY IT - because you never know if you will see that exact thing at subsequent stops and chances are good you can't get it in your home country even on the internet.
OffToAfrica is offline  
Sep 12th, 2003, 04:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Further info on "bargaining."
We noticed after the first day that as soon as you open your mouth to ask about an item, the Kenyans (Masaii included) immediately know what currency to quote in.

And I most definitely agree with OTA that you will do better in dealing in USD. Bring lots of small denominations $1, $5, $10. Don't show more than $5 till you settle on price. Keep your $20s for tips to your guide/driver.

But do go to one of the currency conversion sites and get the current exchange rate and have a "cheat sheet" printed USD/KS and KS/USD to keep in your wallet. Do the same to Tanzania.
Sep 12th, 2003, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 214
Lucky you! I have never heard of anyone who having been there does not want to return. This is an experience that will help define who you are--no matter your age when you go. There is nothing else quite like it so your anticipation is right on target. Film: You will need a lot but listen to your guides when they tell you not to waste film at a certain time because you will be seeing more and better later. It is so exciting to see your first lion or elephant that you tend to just click away and use up film you will wish you had later in the trip. If you would like to see some pictures now that will whet your appetite even more, just go to my website and get a preview of what you have in store. Also, if your safari company has suggested what to bring, believe them as they know exactly what you will need and want. You really do not need to second guess them. Have a wonderful time.
janelp is offline  

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