What do you do between game drives?

Feb 20th, 2010, 09:27 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Open vehicles, closed vehicles, sun roof, no sun roof... While I always prefer the least restricted environment, I don't ever recall longing for a different kind of vehicle when viewing wildlife.

For To Balloon or Not To Balloon, check out these:



http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...esworth-it.cfm


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34566261

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34832767

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35012457
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #22  
 
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As Patty mentions, you'll be in a closed vehicle, by law for traveling the roads in Kenya - dust, kick-up of rocks/pebbles, tse-tse fly areas, etc. - but with pop-top roof and open windows during game drives you can take plenty of photos and quite easily. Even if using camp vehicles, these mostly have canvas tops to protect guests from the strong Equatorial sun, so you only have the sides from where to take photos. A few small camps have tops with a small area that can be opened for pic taking from above. With the vehicle being provided, you'll have plenty of room to move around with just the three of you.

Also, with your own guide, you can arrange your game drives on a schedule that works for you. You can go out earlier or later, stay longer... just coordinate with your guide. And, if anyone of you wants to pass on a game drive... that's okay too. Only on those days when you are moving from one area to another, i.e., from Lake Nakuru to the Masai Mara, do you have to keep to schedule as guide knows how long it takes to get from point-to-point.

Wondering... have you firmed up the itinerary? still working on it? If firm and deposit made, forget what I write below.

I ask, because if you haven't, for travel in August when the Migration is in the Mara, you might want to consider a property somewhat closer to the action. Example: Intrepid's Camp inside the Reserve (same company - Heritage - that owns Siana Springs). Maybe Porini Lion, Kichwa Tembo or Main Governor's Camps or the Serena Lodge, though don't know how these would impact your budget. And, at Amboseli, while the Sopa is lovely, it is a bit of a drive outside the park. Maybe consider the Serena or Ol Tukai Lodges.
sandi is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 01:47 PM
  #23  
 
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Personally, I loved the balloon ride - enough to do it twice out of the three times we have been to East Africa. I loved the feeling of skimming the trees & watching the animals from above, the sunrise, the delicious outdoor full breakfast, the whole nine yards. It doesn't replace a game drive though, it just makes you get up earlier & then that way you can do both. I look at it as a different mode of transportation to get to a different area to game drive!

Only con to it was that I needed so much help to get in the basket, to this day I am sure the ballon helpers are still laughing over trying to get me in the basket in May.
LyndaS is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #24  
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Hi Sandi,

We are about to commit, this weekend. Technically, we have a few days to keep the price. We are watching the budget but I'm not sure if any of these other camps you mention would be more or less. If they are a lot more we would probably have to stick with current budget. We postponed once and our price went up due to the air going up. Think I should redirect our TA to see what she says about other camps?
long2travel is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 02:44 PM
  #25  
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Sandi,

One more... Would you know which of the camps you listed above would be most comparable pricewise to Siana?
long2travel is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 03:38 PM
  #26  
 
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You could lock in the air now and decide upon camps later.

"Think I should redirect our TA to see what she says about other camps?"
Yes. But if you take a packed lunch, you can get to wherever the Mara action may be from Siana Springs.

Pricing--only two itineraries side by side with different lodging options will provide a definitive comparison, but if you try the Africa Travel Resource site below, it shows Siana Springs is $50 more than Mara Serena. But Mara Serena is a sizeable lodge, not a tented camp like Siana Springs. The other places Sandi mentioned would cost more than Siana Springs, but check them out, you never know if some kind of deal is offered.

For cost/location reasons at the time of year you are traveling I've chosen the sizeable lodge of Mara Serena (and I've been there before) over the smaller, more intimate and more desirable tented camps.

Looking at Sopa and Ol Tukai in Amboseli, ATR shows them to be the same cost. ATR's rates are not always completely current or accurate, but they are a guide. ATR also offers biting criticism, even on the properties they sell. Rather entertaining reading.

http://www.africatravelresource.com/...lodge/01intro/
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 07:11 AM
  #27  
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Atravelynn,

Thank you so much for the input. That website was very helpful. We pointedly chose a camp over the lodge in the Mara since we would be in a lodge in Amboseli. I knew we had to drive south a bit to get to the entrance of the park. What I think everyone is saying is that the action is much further west by the Mara River. Is this the case? We are considering having the TA price out Governer's Main even though it's a little more expensive to avoid the bumpy ride into the park and to bring us closer to the action.

In Ambosesli Ol Tukai would probably work but since we only have one full day we'll probably stick with the Sopa. We like the looks of it a little better.

More importantly, we are reconsidering the whole itinerary. Please look my next thread about it and give your well traveled and much valued opinions.
long2travel is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 10:25 AM
  #28  
 
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Intrepid's is probably a bit higher priced than Siana. Why? Because of it's better location. Main Governor's too, probably higher than Siana and like Intrepid's as mentioned in reply to your other thread, only available on a fly in/out basis, so shared game drives.
sandi is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 11:01 AM
  #29  
 
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If you are trying to avoid bumpy rides, I'm afraid you will not succeed. You'll be bumping along all day no matter where you stay, unless you choose to remain back at camp and watch the action from there, which is a possibility at Governor's.

The bumps really are not that much of a problem as long as your camera and binocs are safely stowed. I learned that lesson the hard way on Safari #1.

Some people opt for a type of butt cushion that Magellan Travel Store sells if there is an issue with back problems.

I think you should make your 15 (was it?) year old son be responsible for carrying the butt cushions for the entire family. That would sufficiently embarrass him.

Seriously, the bumps are not a big problem.

If you look at various reports, you'll see people staying all over the Mara, in the best locations and less desirable locations and they all have nice photos and great experiences. On my first trip I asked a guide who looked like he had been on many a safari what his favorite place in the Mara was. He replied, the most attractive location as far as scenery and a view was Siana Springs. That was before Intrepids was part of the name. Still, if it works, I'd choose a little more West than Siana Springs and that's what I did for Sept. If you stay at SP, no worries, your trip will be great.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 02:51 PM
  #30  
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Sandi- They both seem to be a bit higher priced and as you mentioned. Makes sense due to the location. Governer's is more attractive to us than others in the area because it is more affordable.

"as mentioned in reply to your other thread, only available on a fly in/out basis, so shared game drives."

This is really interesting and we'll elaborate more in our reponse in the other thread.

Atravelynn - I love making the teen carry the butt cushions. I'm less concerned about the bumps on the game drives but rather the monotony of repetetive trips to and from the park and the lost game drive time associated with them.
long2travel is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:06 AM
  #31  
 
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Socialise with others and camp staff and RELAXATION - RELAXATION - RELAXATION!

I need a nap on safari.............

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:47 PM
  #32  
 
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Organize and rearrange the butt cushions.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 07:45 AM
  #33  
 
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Stay out all day! You can always doze in the shade of a tree!!
surkamp is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 01:53 PM
  #34  
 
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Drink?
fourwheelinit is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:46 PM
  #35  
 
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"Stay out all day! You can always doze in the shade of a tree!!"

Some of my favorite safari memories are napping with lions. Me in the vehicle and lions on the ground.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:50 PM
  #36  
 
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Yeah- if the weather permits, a drink by the pool otherwise in the common area or at our "room" while we get ready for the next drive! Take notes, some camps have a computer that you can write your pics to an iPod or cd. But I usually need a nap. On our last trip we tried to fix the toilet! (long story and the staff was not to blame for our exploits - we just could't stand the waste of water and we thought we could just turn the water off.....and it was before the drink)

My DH was also concerned about the bumps. He found as long as he stayed relaxed, his back was fine. He prefers the back seat where the bumps are worst, and he was ok even without the butt cushions.

atravelynn, you crack me up!!
christabir is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 05:09 AM
  #37  
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I'm all for the drink, the nap, and the pool but maybe not at the same time. I think the teen should organize the butt cushions, right atravelynn? Not so sure about fixing the toilets but you people are the experts so if you say that's what's done on safari, I'll give it a shot.
long2travel is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 12:45 PM
  #38  
 
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Plug holes in your tent with duct tape!
fourwheelinit is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 01:27 PM
  #39  
 
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We tend to use the time to shower, to copy images across from our compact flash cards to our portable storage devices, I sit and write my journal of the trip, we also do some wildlife viewing too, from our tent veranda or from the camp's public areas. Occasionally we might have a nap to catch up on sleep if we've been kept awake by lots of (wonderful) loud animal noises at night. Sometimes we also find ourselves chatting to our guide, camp staff and other guests long after lunch has finished. And sometimes, if it's not too hot as neither of us can take the heat, we might do a short walk with our guide.

When we've been lucky enough to have a private vehicle we'll often ask to stay out a touch later on the morning drive and go out a touch earlier in the afternoon. Or take a packed lunch and stay out the entire time, but not always because sometimes that hot middle of the day is not only too hot for us, it's too hot for the animals too and they're sleeping somewhere!
Kavey is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 05:57 PM
  #40  
 
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I've never done any midday plumbing, myself.

"atravelynn, you crack me up!!"
Pun intended, I'm sure, Christabir.

Kavey's point about the animals noises is a good one. You can stay awake at night and enjoy them, knowing a nap awaits the next day.
atravelynn is offline  

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