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Africa trip report (brief)
Old 02-29-2012, 07:45 AM   #1
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Africa trip report (brief)

DW and I just completed a safari tour in Kenya and Tanzania. It was a wonderful trip but a tour like this may not be to everyone's taste. The first couple of days were a bit of culture shock. The poor living conditions are overwhelming and caused me to feel like the Ugly American. The wealth difference between the average African and our group was of the order of magnitude between me and Bill Gates. After a few days, the shock wore off and I could appreciate that the vast majority of the people I met or saw appeared to be happy. And I never felt any hostility during the trip.

We were coddled from plane, to park , to lodge, to plane on a pretty luxurious tour. We stayed at four locations in Kenya and three in Tanzania (plus a day layover in Nairobi). The food was good, the accommodations excellent and the animal viewing outstanding. Highlights included lions mating and a driver job action to protest road conditions in Tanzania. Feel free to PM me with questions.

A caution for those expecting lonely vistas and solitude - there are a lot of Land Cruisers roaring around and every time you encounter a lion, cheeta, etc., they quickly congregate like a pack of hyenas. I think the only way around that limitation would be to join a research team.

Animal lovers may like my slide show of photos and short videos on Flickr. And here, of course, is the lions mating video I promised in another thread:
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:20 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing, I'm envious both as an animal lover and someone who enjoys experiencing other cultures in person. I am sure it was a wonderful experience, but I understand the mixed feelings too. We've had the same experience in Mexico and the Caribbean if you explore beyond the "tourist zones" as we always do...
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:24 AM   #3
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This was a long long LONG time ago... but a broke boyfriend of one of my sisters joined one of those charity groups and went to Africa to help out and teach... the group of volunteers were considered 'rich' and lived in a fenced compound that was guarded with machine gun carrying guards....

I can believe you that the level is huge between us and the third world countries...
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:32 AM   #4
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It sounds like a wonderful experience. SIL and her DH went to Kenya on a similar tour last year and loved it.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I've only spent time in a couple of 3rd world countries (Tunisia and India), and can confirm the cultural shock one gets when encountering the poverty and living conditions of the majority in those countries.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:12 AM   #5
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What great photos, wow! Nice job.

And I guess it is true what they say about there being a warthog at the end of every rainbow.

Did all of the people wear such colorful clothes, or do you think that was for the tourists?
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
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Did all of the people wear such colorful clothes, or do you think that was for the tourists?
The Masai people in villages and tending goats and cows on the plain wear those colorful outfits. That is most people you see outside of towns. Our guide said the Masai believe red will scare away lions. But they picked the cloth up from the British -- they traditionally wore skins.

In towns and cities people mostly wear western style informal clothes. But you see no shorts and less jeans than here. Also a lot of long sleeves and even light coats. The weather (it was the summer there) was low to mid 80s in the day and 60ish at night. No AC but I didn't miss it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Your pictures are absolutely wonderful ! Thanks for posting !
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:06 AM   #8
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Great pix. Thanks for sharing.

Looks like an amazing trip.

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Old 02-29-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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I added another lion video (he swishes his tail in a vehicle window) and a brief video of a driver job action on the road. The drivers were angry at the road conditions and took advantage of an accident to stage a strike. About 100 drivers and 500 tourists were stuck on the road for 5 hours until a Parks official came out to negotiate. A grader was working on the road when we left a couple of days later.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:10 PM   #10
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A caution for those expecting lonely vistas and solitude - there are a lot of Land Cruisers roaring around and every time you encounter a lion, cheeta, etc., they quickly congregate like a pack of hyenas.
Which is why I posted this.......at the Rufiji River Camp in the Selous in 1988 there were 4 of us, and at one camp in Botswana a couple years ago there was just my lady & I (and 11 staff)......once in Kenya was enough for me.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:50 PM   #11
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...... I think the only way around that limitation would be to join a research team............
Glad you took the opportunity to just do it. I've done it both ways (safari and research team). I enjoyed the research team experience a lot more, but it is not for everyone.

I was amused at the huge entry fees into the parks, yet not a road grader to be seen nor a porta john on my whole trip.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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I liked Kenya and Tanzania- and I'd go again
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:36 PM   #13
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Wow! The proper way to watch these wonderful animals, not in a cage. Fantastic pictures.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:27 PM   #14
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Yes, the pics were superb.......we both sat enthralled, and it reminded us that Zambia & Namibia are still outstanding on our bucket list......better see if we dropped any loose change between the couch cushions.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #15
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Great pics.

Wife and I have had two great and some future opportunities in Africa. Our son, an engineer, spent 2 years in Mali....as a Peace Corps volunteer. We visited for three weeks and lived, and traveled, as natives. It was eye opening but we thoroughly enjoyed it except for some of the culinary adventures I'll spare you. Bottled water, all the vaccines, and we were fine. We saw things and had experiences no typical tourist would get.

Four years later we visited him in South Africa, did Capetown, the Carou, flew to Zimbabwe for game parks and Vic Falls. Traveled as .... tourists! It was great, can't say we would have opted to return to the huts and buses. He's now moved to Tanzania and we hope to return this summer for three weeks. One thing I'm sure of, it's great having a local contact who honestly (and importantly, safely) can get you to unusual places. If you'd have been dropped into some of the first trip places unexpectedly you'd have thought you'd be dead in hours. We learned that the folks we were around were some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet. Granted, it's not that way everywhere and you need someone to guide you.
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