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Two Safari questions--one photography and one about gratuities

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Sep 23rd, 2015, 03:49 PM
  #41
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hi cw, christibir, KayeN, KathBC, Welltraveledbrit.... and everyone.....

I'm back from Mala Mala and Mashatu and I had a fabulous time. Being on private safari with my own photography pro was really amazing. We were able to stay with animals for hours rather than moving from place to place. I am now working on not eating. You failed to mention that all you do when not photographing is eat. : ) Mala Mala food was fine, but they have a new food manager at Mashatu recruited from Mombo camp about six months ago (Steve) and the food is so good, it's downright dangerous to your waistline to stay very long.

The weather was cool and cloudy--which I loved. The rooms were great and the staff at both places was great. I saw lions while eating breakfast, lots of babies, and was able to stop and savor the animals--for hours on end.

I took bush planes to and from and between camps and was so glad I did. They have a non stop flight from Mashatu (Limpopo Valley Airfield) to JNB now, and it's fabulous. Limpopo is an international airport (which makes you smile--only a flower bed separates "arrivals" from "departures" ; ), so you get checked out of Botswana and 90 minutes later you are in Joburg.

I am going to write a full trip report on its own thread and post a large selection of my images.....

.....but in the meantime, if you have a Facebook account, you can see some of my images here: https://www.facebook.com/patpom

(Note: my Facebook is fully public to anyone with a Facebook page)

I am going through my images now. I have at least 4000, so it is taking a bit of time. From lions and leopards and ellies, and baby everything, I'm happy with what I captured. I'll be back shortly with a trip report and photo album.

Thanks for everyone's help in planning. You were invaluable in making my trip fun and worry free. I stayed within my 20kg limit and still had an outfit for dinner : ) Love having laundry done everyday. The airplanes were never full, so they never weighed anything anyway.

Oh, and I completely agree with all of you......I think I have taken on an expensive habit : )
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Sep 24th, 2015, 05:47 PM
  #42
cw
 
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Welcome home! Oops forgot to tell you about eating. The food is great, isn't it? You were warned about it becoming a habit. Off to look at FB and looking forward to your report.
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Sep 24th, 2015, 07:56 PM
  #43
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I'm so glad you had a fantastic time!! I'm looking forward to your trip report, in the mean time I will check out your Facebook. It's really great, isn't it!? We had over 8000 images our first time, but that doesn't change the more you go. We have a few (more than a few) framed and hung all over the house. Digital is easy to take too many. Lots of babies? It was a little early - good for you! I love the whole ele family dynamic - I hope you got the chance to spend some time with them.

You don't have to spend a fortune every time you go. If we get to go next year, it will be well under $7000 (closer to $5000) for two weeks for two, including international coach flights, tips, food, gas, etc. Our first safari was silly expensive and each one has gotten progressively less expensive and as exciting, or more so, each time. Next year is big cats, wild dogs and brown hyenas, along with my beloved rhinos and deciding on a town to retire to.

Mashatu will have to market the Mombo food guy. Mombo is famous for its food (and price). It must have been wonderful. I haven't been to a higher end camp in a while, so I forgot about the constant food. Kind of like a cruise. And you can't try to be good and take a walk! Lion food...

You weren't planning your return on your home flight? I'm disappointed. The weather is beautiful - enjoy it before it gets cold. The pix can wait.
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Sep 25th, 2015, 06:20 AM
  #44
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Christabir, I was planning my second safari on my second day of my first safari! On my second day I captured an image of a baby giraffe (still with umbilical cord) engaging with a bird (a forked-tailed Drongo). It may be just about the best image I have ever taken in my life--not the most dramatic or colorful, but the most engaging.

Again, I'm organizing my images and report as a separate post, but I think you will agree that this baby was just too damn cute--and she made my trip. I give you (in my humble opinion : ) The cutest giraffe ever: http://snips.ly/giraffe
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Sep 25th, 2015, 11:38 AM
  #45
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Welcome back Boston! Really looking forward to the trip report and will check out FB tonight when home.

Ooooooh I like the news of a direct flight between Mashatu & Jo'burg! In 2013 it took me the better part of a day to get there via flight to Polokwane then vehicle to border, hand off to Mashatu ranger and then another land transfer. A direct flight will be so much easier!

Took a photo of the departure/arrival gate at Limpopo International - it cracked me up!!
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Sep 25th, 2015, 06:36 PM
  #46
 
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BH - too f'ing cute for words!! Thank you. I can't wait to go back! I'm relieved to hear that you were planning early.

If interested, I am trying to find 4-6 people to do Djuma with us (in Sabi Sand) for a few days. R14,000 per night (not per person! That's for the whole place!) There are only two lodges in the Djuma reserve. I am intrigued by the possibility. We can't afford to travel high end, but Djuma is high end at an affordable price if the cost is shared and the exchange rate is ridiculously good like now.

Enjoy organizing your photos. It's so fun to remember everything through them.
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Oct 19th, 2015, 05:27 AM
  #47
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Christabir, cw, and KathBC, I just posted my trip report and an album last night here in the forums. "My Magical Southern African Photography Safari: A Trip Report"

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...rip-report.cfm


Thanks again for ALL your help! You made a huge difference in the success of my trip, and yes, I'm now addicted to Africa.

I suggested a couple other things that I think one should bring along on the trip as well in my report.

WelllTraveledBrit, I think you'll enjoy the images : )
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Oct 19th, 2015, 07:24 AM
  #48
 
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Welcome back Boston - happy to hear all went well!

Will check out your much anticipated report & photos tonight.
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