What do you do between game drives?

Feb 19th, 2010, 11:59 AM
  #1  
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What do you do between game drives?

This August will be our first safari. I'm wondering what kinds of activities you do between morning and afternoon game drives. Not that I have anything against eating and relaxing, I was just wondering if there was anything different to do that might interest a teen. We'll be camping in the Masai Mara and later at the Amboseli Sopa. We are considering balloon ride at some point, perhaps in the Mara. We'll have three nights there. I love the idea of the hot air balloon ride just not the price tag. I guess it's usually in place of a morning game drive.
long2travel is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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We took our (then) 14yr old to Botswana and after 5am wake-up calls, we usually all took a nap, showered and relaxed and sat outside our tent. Our son listened to some music occasionally and once we took a walk with the ranger, but the downtime was appreciated by us all.
moremiles is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Eat, rest, clean your camera gear, download your photos on a backup device, write a journal, read... there's lots to do. A teen might be interesting in doing a journal that they could post online when they return home. If you let your outfitter know that a teen will be along, perhaps they could plan some midday activities, depending on where you're staying. A walk with a Maasai or a guide is interesting. The teen could learn some bushcraft (spoor, plants, insects, etc.)
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Feb 19th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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TC
 
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Lunch was usually at 1pm. By the time it concluded, it was easily 2pm. We waddled back to our tent and took a cooling shower, read a bit and took a nap. By then its tea time - more eating. Then we pack up our gear for the afternoon game drive. I hardly ever felt we had too much time in-between. Most days something would wander through camp to keep us amused during the afternoon - like elephant on several occassions, impala, giraffe. At Laron's Camp we did a bird walk just around the camp grounds with a naturalist. Clocked 30 or more different birds in one little walk. I agree, after a 5am wake-up, a nap is welcome.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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You say you are "camping" - is this put up tents for you only on a campsite shared with others, or a permanent tent camp. If the former and you have your own guide, and if outside the Reserve proper, you can do a bush walk or visit a Masai village.

If the latter, which camp? Some of the permanent tent camps actually do 3/game drives daily - 6am, 10am and 4pm. Also, depending on where camp located you can arrange bush walks and village (even a school, if in session) visits.

If you're with own guide, you don't have to go out at 6am, rather have breakfast first and go out at 7:30-8am thru to 12N... game don't go on holiday. Meaning you can set your own schedule. Otherwise, with early wake-ups, the time inbetween drives, people do as indicated - nap, journal, camera, etc.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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Sandi - We'll be staying at the Siana Springs Intrepids in the Masai Mara which I believe is outside the park. I think it's considered a "permanent" tented camp. It is a private safari and according to out tour operator we will have our own guide on game drives.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Staying at a tented camp is nothing like camping

If you have your own guide, as Sandi mentioned, you can set your own schedule. You can take a breakfast or lunch box (let them know the day before) and stay out longer. In August you'll probably want to do an all day drive in the Mara anyway since any potential crossing points will be far from Siana Springs.

Similarly, Amboseli Sopa is some distance outside of the park. Don't feel like you have to be out and back by a certain time. Spend more time in the park if you'd like.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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Siana is outside the reserve by about 30/min and is a permanent camp. The Heritage/Intrepid's camps do 3/game drives daily. They also have the Adventurer's Program for younger children; believe it's called the Ranger's program for older. Your young adult might find this interesting. Besides, the camp staff are very good with kids (all ages) and glad to share info about their country, life, game, etc.... whatever kids find of interest these days. There will be plenty to keep you busy even if not on game drives.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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The Heritage/Intrepid's camps do 3/game drives daily.

This is for guests on a game package though. The OP has their own guide/vehicle.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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You may be able to do some bird walks with a staff member around camp.

As Patty suggests, you may want at least one day with a lunch box where you stay out all day long.

Have a great family trip.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Also practice frequently used Swahili words and put your notes in order for a trip report. If you have a lap top, you can even start your report.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 03:02 PM
  #12  
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Patty - I think I'm happy about that, the camping that is.

Our ground handler is Vintage Safaris and it's a private trip so I guess that means their own vehicle?

Sandi - Sounds like they have a focus on kids and they'll know how to deal with a 15 year old pretty well. I forgot that there was also some mention of a Masai village visit but I'm not sure if that was in the Mara or at Amboseli.

I also just discovered on the Siana website that you can take an excursion to an island in Lake Victoria to visit a fishing village. I'm not sure if that's worthwhile but it sure sound like we'll be busy enough.

Thanks for all the advice!
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Feb 19th, 2010, 03:08 PM
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What does it say exactly about your vehicle on your itinerary?

The Lake Victoria excursion is a pricey one too.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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I'd probably not do the lake excursion.

Here's what you do between game drives: plan how you can return to exactly where you are or to some of the other places in Africa your dining partners have raved about.
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Feb 19th, 2010, 04:53 PM
  #15  
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Atravelynn - I love it. I'm ALWAYS thinking about the next trip. I've definitely been bitten by the bug. If you knew how much time I've spent thinking about this trip you would think I was nuts. I plan to download the free BYKI Swahili software. Think I can be fluent in 6 months?

Patty - It doesn't actually say anything about the vehicle but when asked I was told that our game drives and trips between locations would be private. Should I be asking more questions like what type of vehicle? I am very interested in photography which seems to be easier in an open truck.

Thanks for the advice on the lake excursion. It sounded like it could be iffy.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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I don't know what specific type(s) of vehicle Vintage Africa has but it wouldn't be an open one as those aren't used for transportation between locations.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 07:29 AM
  #17  
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Hmmm, that's a shame. I can't imagine that they would use a closed truck for transport and then "borrow" an open truck from the camp or lodge for the game drives. I will certainly double check but I suspect it will be a closed vehicle for the reason you pointed out.

From their website:
Price includes:
All game drives as per itinerary
All park entrance fees
Transport in 1 x 7 Seater Minibus
Services of a qualified English Speaking Driver Guide
1 Litre bottle of mineral water per person per day while on a road safari in a VINTAGE AFRICA vehicle

Also:
Transport
Travelling with Vintage Africa is made as comfortable as possible. We own modern 4x4 vehicles and mini buses with viewing hatches, radio communications and a mobile wildlife library...
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Feb 20th, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #18  
TC
 
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"Transport in 1 x 7 Seater Minibus" I think this is your answer.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 08:19 AM
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Some outfitters actually limit the amount of water they supply? Reading that was a surprise to me, do they actually stick to it? Just thinking we would have been broke by the end of our last safari, that's about all Jamie drinks other than coffee in the morning. I swear not a moment went by that he didn't have a bottle of water in his hand.

Long2travel, for sure don't worry about anyone being bored during free time - on all three safaris I barely found enough time to even finish writing in my journal every day. Naps do seem to take priority after those early mornings! Or even when there isn't early mornings, as J Paul Getty once said 'naps are silver in the afternoon but golden anytime'.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 08:57 AM
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TC- I think you're right. Perhaps a group trip would have several types of vehicles but a private trip for three would require only one. If they always transport in a closed vehicle then anyone doing a private tour with a small group would be using their transport vehicle for game drives as well. Hopefully, being somewhat vertically challenged, I can still get good shots out the pop top roof if that's what they have.

LyndaS- I was wondering about the water limit also. Especially since everyone says to always have water with you. It seems everyone agrees about about free time in the afternoons. The teenager may be the first to crash in the afternoons.

Now, on to the next topic... "To Balloon or Not To Balloon"
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