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What to bring on game drives?

Old Dec 1st, 2008, 02:07 PM
  #21  
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we are off to Botswana, first on the green desert trip (mobile camping in the Kgalagadi, then Xigera camp) then Lebala, and then Vic Falls. So, you are right, cybor, I probably won't need to worry about much. In fact, Hari, I will take your advice, and take a deep breath, and stop worrying.

And, yes - maybe fewer lenses and screens, and more looking, listening and smelling.

Thanks all!

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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 03:36 PM
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You mentioned binocs, but I'd suggest everybody who will be using binocs bring his/her own. Handing them from Row 1 to Row 3, asking somebody to get them out of the bag, offering them, wondering when User 1 will finish so User 2 can have them can get old for the other passengers. That's assuming there are other passengers. If it is just your family, then go ahead and toss one pair around the vehicle if you wish.

Absolutely no worries. You'll have a marvelous family trip.

What did you decide about the gifts? I recall crafts were out.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 04:58 PM
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Not necessarily for game drives but one thing I usually need is allergy/sinus pills. I buy the drug store version of the non-drowsy generic claritin. I've also shared these with camp mates. One trip there were people lined up every morning for one.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 05:04 PM
  #24  
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Santa will be bringing binocs to each member of the family (Bushnells, seem to be decent).

I have made no decisions about the gifts - actually the only thing I can think of at this point is, as Michael put it - green pieces of paper. Last I heard Obama stuff is on sale, and I might try that. Otherwise, I might go online (the ONLY way to shop!) to the Smithsonian museum stores to find some cool stuff, and there are always neat things, albeit expensive, at the airport. My problem is I live in a faceless DC suburb and don't get downtown to pick up souvenirs. We'll see...

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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 05:34 PM
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If it were Kenya the Obama stuff would be clever, but I wouldn't take it to any other country besides Kenya.

I've done that same thing of getting to the airport early to buy souvenirs from my own city as gifts.

Bushnells will be great.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 05:45 PM
  #26  
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I could give "Vote for Change" stuff in Zimbabwe!
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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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Hope this is in time to help you!
My husband and I just came back from our own trip, and were just analyzing what we brought on the game drives.

We brought our handy dandy non-disposable grocery shopping bag =) - they're the super light and roll up kind and have a wide opening. We just slung the handles over the arm rest to keep contents from spilling and it worked great. We could reach in easily and yet nothing fell out.

Into our shopping bag we threw the following:
- fleece hats (for the morning drives)
- sweaters (for the morning drives)
- wide brimmed hats with the oh-so-fashionable straps for the drives when the top is open
- binoculars (we had Nikon Monarchs, which I highly recommend for reasonable money, great quality, and light weight).
- baggie of Kleenex

We had a small zip-top bag (which was put in the shopping bag) into which we placed small, loose items such as the following:
- eyeglass cleaning cloth and solution (for your glasses, camera lenses, binocs)
- gatorade-like tablets (er, not really gatorade, but other brand of electrolyte type of tablets. We found them at REI. They really helped on the particularly hot days (our car had lots of refrigerated water bottles available all the time)
- first aid kit (aspirin, alcohol wipes, bandaids)
- non-scented hand wipes (gel was kept out and easily accessible)
- flashlight – we had the small LED ones, which we could clip onto our daypack or wherever. Very handy. But we also had SureFire flashlights. My husband is a tech-geek and found them. =) But I’m a convert – so incredibly light (they have really small ones) but are so powerful they can light up things incredibly far away like you wouldn’t believe.

We also had a small day pack (or you could use a big purse), which could hold our camera, video camera, extra batteries/camera memory, and anything else we deemed too valuable to leave in the car when we went out for a short hike, bathroom break, etc.

Food – we always had a boxed breakfast and/or lunch from the lodges we stayed at. If you find you get hungry very often, you might want to bring some granola bars to tide you over. However, if you are staying in tents, you should not have food in the tent with you, as others have mentioned. However, you can always put your extra food in a bad and ask the staff to keep it with the other ‘official’ food for you.

Gifts – We were in Tanzania and Rwanda, and EVERYone there knew about Obama. In fact, they were trying to sell Obama souvenirs to US! =)

Misc – We brought a very small, compact power inverter so we could charge our batteries in the car ‘on the go’. Our driver also had a fly swatter, which another tourist had gifted him with when they left – bless them whoever they are!!! The flies were plague-like!

Journal – small, spiral bound, pen you can clip onto the journal. You’ll definitely want to jot down the animals you’ll see. Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll remember. (Oh… we saw… lots of… birds. And um… gazelles… or were they antelopes? What kind were they? Umm….) =D I also put a little ‘P’ next to the ones I was able to get photos of (some were binocular length only =() to help me match them up against the photos I took.

I think that's it.

Hope this helps! Have an AMAZING time!!! =)
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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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have a great trip!! i am just going to save this whole post as i just booked my first safari to botswana in May.
enjoy enjoy and looking forward to your trip report
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Old Dec 5th, 2008, 06:32 AM
  #29  
 
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A lot of the things mentioned aren't actually needed on the game drives per se. For example, put on your sunscreen and bug spray before you go; you don't need to carry them with you. I've never taken food -- I guess I don't get hungry between meals in Africa. (I sure snack enough at home, though!) Bandaids, etc., I think there's usually a stash of these in the vehicle.

I just take a bag for my hat & gloves & jacket; binoculars; camera supplies; tiny flashlight if it's a night drive or a morning drive leaving before sunrise; water bottle; kleenex; small notebook & pen. If we're doing self-drive rather than going with a guide, I take a field guide too.

Up until our last trip to Africa, I carried this stuff in a wonderful zippered bag made of heavy parachute nylon, with leather straps. But alas, after 27 years and a dozen or so trips to Africa the bag has given up the ghost. I repaired it several times, but it just couldn't go on forever. RIP, dear bag. Sniff.
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