Typical Safari Day

Oct 9th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Typical Safari Day

I am still considering a safari to Kenya next year but am concerned because I am a total insomniac. I figure I will be a mess after the long flight, etc and then have to get up at the crack of dawn for the morning drive.
The question I have is this: Is it possible to retire early, say 8:30pm or so? Or would this be about the time dinner is usually served? I wasn't sure what time the late drive returns back to camp and if dinner is at a set hour or at the choice of the guest.
Unfortunately, I am not able to nap during the afternoon.
So, I would appreciate any info that may help me make my decision.
skiamoeba is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 02:13 AM
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I'd simply arrange your trip with a day off on arrival to recover and rest before starting the safari.
In the small camps dinner tends to be somewhere around 7 to 8 and is at the same time for everyone. You can certainly retire straight after though many choose to linger around the camp fire for a while first. Bed times are still fairly early though.
Larger lodges may well offer flexible dining, I don't know, as I avoid larger places.
But I'd definitely build in a rest day into your itinerary. If you go for a standard itinerary, arrange to fly over a day early to accommodate this.
Kavey is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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I can comment on the Serena lodges as far as dining times. They are set and usually dinner began at 7:30. I found this to be rather late (I need an afternoon snack!) -- my tummy was rumbling loudly by then. The time is set and not subject to being changed, though.

AS for returning from game drives--it will depend on what kind of trip you do. If it's private you canr return whenever you want. I don't know what happens if you are with a group, though.
schlegal1 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:07 AM
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The national parks in Kenya do not allow night drives, so typically you'll be back in your camp at sunset.

If however you are staying at the camps located in the trans mara or private concessions then you will in all liklihood stay out until an hour or so after dark.

By implication dinner will be served after 19h00 or so getting you to bed between 21h00 and 22h00. That said most of the camps are service orientated and would make an arrangement to have you dined an to bed earlier if you asked them.

You will be well fed, large breakfasts, large lunches and a large dinner, perhaps you could have your main meal at lunch time and just enjoy a starter as dinner and duck early?
mkhonzo is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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Didn't they do afternoon tea?
I have very limited experience in East Africa but in Bots, Namibia and S. Africa the schedule was roughly as follows:
Wake up about 5.30 to 6.30 followed by very brief and light breakfast and early morning drive. Back to camp somewhere between 10.30 and 11.30 for the proper breakfast which was really brunch. Break on your own during afternoon to sleep, shower, catch some sun on your veranda etc. Around 3 or 3.30 we'd be called to afternoon tea which would be some savoury and sweet snacks and drinks before going out on the afternoon drive. Return to camp roughly 7 and freshen up before dinner fairly soon after return. Both drives did one break during the drive with snacks and drinks.
Kavey is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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Annie, how many hours of sleep do you need? I usually get very little sleep on safari, but a lot of people retire at 8.30 Ė dinner is usually at 7.30-8ish Ė and then they get up at 6 AM for the morning game drive. Thatís more than enough for 8 hours of sleep and Ė how many grown up people sleep 8 hours in their everyday life? I donít like it when people stay up later than I and thatís a problem when there are night askaris that, in theory, have to stay up all night. Usually all other guests have retired by 10 and then I go to my tent, shower, do some laundry and go to bed 11ish. I set my two alarm clocks at 5 AM, so that Iíll have time to plait my hair and do something to avoid looking like a naked mole rat on the 6.30 game drive. You normally return from the afternoon game drive sometime between 6.30 and 7 when itís getting dark.

It would be a good idea to get a night of sleep in Nairobi. That way youíll be bright eyed and bushy tailed when you start your safari.

IMO thereís always too much food on safari.

Nyamera is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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I am a very light sleeper and usually wake up about 3-5 times a night. I was typically so exhausted by nightfall on safari that I slept like the dead.

If I were you, I'd go have dinner whenever they start serving and then promptly go to bed. Building in a day's rest at the beginning of your trip, as Kavey and Nyamera have suggested, is an excellent idea.
Leely is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I have another question as well. Did anyone see much in the way of creepy-crawlies, such as scorpions, large insects, snakes,etc?
skiamoeba is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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The only person who sees snakes in/around her tent is Jan Goss! LOL!

Of course there are creepy crawlies, but with rare exception they want to avoid us as much as we prefer not to encouter them. I can't recall seeing any of these, whether in lodges or tent camps on any of my safaris in any African country.

With the exception of vervet monkeys who in some areas are very interested in the inside of your tents... remember to never keep any food stuff in your room/tent. They'll smell a stick of gum from yards away.

Kavey -

Not unlike elsewhere in Africa, many, if not all, lodgings in East Africa do have Tea before afternoon game drives at about 3:30pm; you just have to remember to get there and grab some goodies to keep you going until dinner.
Oct 10th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Iíve been to Kenya three times and Iíve ALMOST seen one snake Ė a little green one in the Mara that disappeared very quickly in the grass. There are snakes - when I asked at Samburu Intrepids why there were no snakes I was told that they had had a green mamba at the car park the day before Ė but to see them I think youíd better tell the camp staff youíre interested. Iíve never seen a scorpion. Maybe if you lift all stones you see to have a look at whatís under them youíll find a scorpion. Of course there are some large insects, but you donít see more than in for example Sweden or Spain.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Kavey - There was probably tea at the lodges (in fact, I now remember that we ordered afternoon snacks at Mt. Village in Arusha) but we were always out all day on our game drives so I was always ravenous at dinner. Also, I was exhausted--I usually get 8 hrs sleep at home and needed a bit more on safari because I was exhausted so that probably made dinner seem even later!
schlegal1 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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Speaking of insomnia, I also heard that this is one of the side effects of Malarone. Does anyone know if this is a common side effect? I was thinking of taking doxycycline instead.
skiamoeba is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 03:59 PM
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Don't know about Malarone and insomnia--hadn't heard that before.

We took Doxycycline and I have to say we had no problems except: I have olive skin and brown eyes and I was pretty much a little bit sunburned the whole time! With sunscreen, hat, etc. On the other hand, my very fair-skinned, green-eyed friend had no sun sensitivity whatsoever. So...there you go.

I guess try whatever you're going to take ahead of time if you at all can.

Also, something weird happened to my fingernails about 2 months after we got back. Apparently it was an unusual-but-not-unheard-of reaction to the combo of Doxy and heat/sun.

Of course, whenever I looked at my freaky/ugly fingernails it reminded me of East Africa, so I kind of liked it!
Leely is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 01:06 AM
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I can't say I experienced any insomnia when on Malarone for several weeks last year but it's perhaps a side effect that only hits some people.

schlegal1, all day game drives definitely mean missing afternoon tea but I'd ask for them to take enough out with them to cover morning break snacks, a good lunch AND afternoon tea snacks - like you, I find safari trips make me ravenous, which is odd since I'm seldom doing anything but sitting in the vehicle!

Annie, as to creepy crawlies - we saw quite a lot of spiders, some flying insects including just a couple of really nasty looking spider wasps (but at least they would eat spiders) and things like ants in the tents. That was it inside, oh, and lizards. We saw no scorpions ever.

Have seen a rock python out on a drive and two tiny grass snakes within camp but not in my tent or in the inside areas.

Kavey is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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We had a small lizard inhabit our tent one day but I thought it was kind of cute Other than that I saw no creepy crawlies or snakes.

I wouldn't worry so much about the early morning drives. As mentioned already, you could spend an extra day or two in Nairobi or nearby (doesn't necessarily have to be in the city) upon arrival to recuperate from the long flights.

You don't have to get up at the crack of dawn for every game drive. If this is a safari where you'll have a private vehicle, you can schedule your game drives whenever you like. You could alternate the schedule a bit, go out early one morning, sleep in the next.

You also don't have to participate in every game drive. This may seem crazy to some but on our first safari, we skipped a couple of planned drives and opted to spend time relaxing around camp instead and those were some of the most enjoyable moments. Remember, it's still a vacation.
Patty is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Thanks Patty, we will have a private vehicle except in the Mara, so I guess I will have some control on the times of the drives.
As to Kavey's remarks about seeing lots of spiders, do you mean little ones or big hairy ones?
I guess you can tell I am bit phobic.
skiamoeba is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Annie, I can't STAND spiders. They freak me out quite badly. Even the harmless British ones here at home.

But I won't let them stop me going on safari.

Mostly we saw these kind of flattish, beige, slightly hairy ones. Nothing like tarantulas or anything like that and not dangerous either but Pete and also camp staff helped by spraying any they found with the Doom insect killer provided in each tent. As long as that was done before bed time I was OK.

Kavey is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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it was with deep regret that I had to vaccuum up all the spiders in my house this past saturday as the house sitter would not stay with so many spiders! (i leave them for the geckos) spiders are o.k. but if i see a snake on safari i will freak!
matnikstym is offline  
Oct 11th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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We saw two very large brown spiders on our safari. Not to alarm you but they were quite gross. Plus, you should be prepared if you have a bit of a phobia so you can plan on how you will handle seeing one. These spiders also seemed immune to the "Doom" spray (I think they do with it what Wesley's character from "The Princess Bride" did with iocane powder and sip it, graudaully building immunity--J/k)

In any case, DH squished the ones in Migration camp (the one at Serena Ngorongoro escaped after a "Doom" blasting). But another lady at Migration camp, who apparently also had a doom-immune spider kindly asked the staff to seach it out and kill it and they did so.

Just be sure to plan ahead to how you'll deal with a creepy crawly and enjoy your trip!
schlegal1 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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I've seen bugs (dudu) but never seen a wild snake (nyoka) which I'd love to. I've always wanted to see a spitting cobra (from a safe distance).

Palm spiders are huge! But they like palms... and not tents.

It's good to have a gekko in your tent as they eat the mosquitos.

On rocks you'll find lizards... and the quite common Agama Lizard, with its blue body and orange head (male) I have a photo if you go to my photo album at http://spaces.msn.com/members/simonru/ and look under Kenya May 2004

Like most wildlife... give it space and an exit and it wont harm you. And ask the guides if you are concerned.

Also ask if you want a meal earlier before you go to bed... most places... and especially Serena... are happy to help!
Pumbavu is offline  

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