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Africa
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01-23-2011, 06:12 PM Cathy Sheeter
My family (parents and me) have decided to take a trip to Africa this summer and I am trying to gather info from people that have been there :)

They are avid wildlife people themselves, though not hard core into photography, but of course 'I' want wildlife photo opportunities too. We would be going at the end of July/early August. We are all happy 'roughing it' for a few days at a time, and don't need 5 star accommodations, but also not totally into no showers for multiple days either. We all know it will not be a cheap trip, but would like to try and do it on a relative 'budget' as well, if at all possible.

We are looking for recommendations of the best countries to try and see during that time of year, tour companies to contact, places not to miss, places to steer clear of, etc. I am not looking just for a hard core photo tour, but more of one that will give some photo opportunities, but also cater to seeing a variety of sights and cultural opportunities in addition to the wildlife as most likely this will be the only opportunity my parents have to see Africa (I hope to go back in the future as well ;)

You can e-mail me at hawkcall@hotmail.com if you have suggestions for us. I expect we would be there about 3 weeks.
01-23-2011, 06:55 PM Tim Visser
I would be interested in this as well. My wife and I are planning a trip for either next year or the year after and I am into a photo safari trip but she is not. I am looking for one that will allow us both be happy and experience wildlife.

Cathy, if you receive an emails that are sent directly to you, can you please forward them onto me, visserfamily@comcast.net?

Thanks,

Tim
01-24-2011, 07:55 AM Terri Watson
Cathy and Tim, I have been to Tanzania three times; Sept, 2006, March, 2009 and June,2010, We have used Roy Safaris each time. The guides very good, they work with you to plan your iteniary, and have several options as far a roughing it or higher end accomodations. They can include cultural visits such as to Maassi lodging and walking tours with a local guide to view wildlife or people/markets. Each time has only gotten better. If you identify yourself as a photographer when booking the guide you get will be more experienced in that regard. You will not be put with other clients, your safari is your group and only your group. Each time we have used them, our safari has been better than the last. We have booked our Row Safari Tours through A-Way-To-Africa, agent Susan Wood; she is knowledgeable and very helpful! If you contact Susan, please tell her I referred you to her. :)

The places we have visited are: Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Arusha NP, and Central Serengeti. Ngorongoro in March, 2009 (at the end of the rainy season was great photo opps due to the colors in the grasses and the smiles on the wildlife) but overall this past June visiting Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Central Serengeti was by far the best. I have never seen (nor expected to see) the abundance of wildlife expecially in the Serengeti. Truly a lifetime experience.

We just booked a trip back to Central Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ndutu in Febraury 2012! I am told Ndutu is the photographer's place in February as it is where wildebeest birth thousands of babies a week and the predator action is pretty intense. You can off-road which allows you to capture the action more readily. Because it is such a popular spot this time of the year and the Ndutu Lodge fills up pretty quickly it is advisable to book a year in advance.

I hope this helps both of you. If you want to discuss more, I'll be at the digital meeting this Wednesday evening or you can contact me at terrijwatson@msn.com.
01-24-2011, 10:03 PM Chuck Summers
Hi Cathy,

Thought I'd throw in my 2cents worth here. I've been to Africa 5 times to Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. From what I've experienced, the wildlife is most abundant in Eastern Africa but, you have to take guided tours there. In South Africa and Namibia you can drive yourself if you want but, the animals can be few and far between.

Tanzania is my favorite place for wildlife. My parents and I have used Deo (pronounced Day-O) at Sawaki and Summer Safaris. His website is http://sas-safaris.com/. The parks that Terri mentioned are all wonderful and you will see amazing wildlife and all should be visited. You can keep costs down somewhat by using Deo's camping setup which consists of luxury tents with beds on iron frames, showers and chemical toilets. I'd highly recommend staying in lodges at Ndutu (wonderful lodge with wild animals right near you and genets that hang out in the dining room and Ngorongoro crater because you are at about 8000 feet elevation and it gets cold up there.

One word about Kenya is the wildlife is a little more diverse than Tanzania. Two species that come to mind that you won't find in Tanzania are kudu and gerenuk. I've only been to three parks there and would rank them in the order of Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Samburu. Steve Turner at Origin Safaris at http://www.originsafaris.info/ put our trip together and it was wonderful. The park that everyone seems to go to is Maasai Mara which is famous for the Wildebeest crossing the Mara river although I don't think the time frames you mentioned are going to coincide with the crossing.

Both of these tour companies will give you the opportunity to visit Maasai villages.

Regards,
Chuck

P.S. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
01-26-2011, 11:27 AM Donna Carr
Cathy-I agree with all of the recent suggestions above-Kenya, tanzania areas,etc. (excellent-Origins have excellent drivers. I go alot by myself and have done the Kruger National Park, Pilansberg National Park, Zimbabwe, and those already suggested above. There is a company called Go Safari- www.gosafari.co.za -Susan and Glenn are the owners who also can help you out for closer to Johannesburg trips. I just did a trip to Pilansberg and an elephant safari where I rode an elephant.
Kruger is an excellent park with sooooo much. Zimbabwe is excellent as well and I can give you info on that if interested.
There are so many awesome areas in Africa so you need to decide which area and time. You can email me for more donnacarr@comcast.net if you like.
02-14-2011, 07:52 AM Roger Clark
Cathy,
I also highly recommend east Africa and Tanzania/Kenya if you are interested in general diversity of wildlife. (e.g. would be different if you want to see mountain gorillas). I also use Roy safaris in Tanzania with custom tours that I design myself. Timing is everything though. Check on the web and see where the great migration is located at a given time of year. I feel it is best to plan the timing of a trip to be in the migration. In summer, the migration is up north in Kenya. I have not been to Kenya, but plan my trips in January/February in Tanzania when the migration is in the southern Serengeti. I have friends who have been to Kenya, but keep returning to Tanzania. In Tanzania you can stay in nice lodges, the food is great, and so are the people. You can see images form my recent trips at http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries/gallery.africa/
I can give you a lot more info if desired, including sample itineraries, costs, lists of things to bring. Drop me a personal email (note I do not do commercial guided yours).
A custom private tour with 2 people per vehicle, 12 days in country, with car, guide/driver, all park entry fees, pick up and drop off at the airport, all lodge costs and food except drinks) runs about $5000 to $5500. Three in a vehicle slightly less. Of course, for a first visit, it is nice to go with someone who has been and know what to do.

Roger Clark
http://www.clarkvision.com/
02-14-2011, 08:16 AM Roger Clark
I should have added that $5500 was per person and does not include air fare to get there, and does not include tips.

Roger
03-01-2011, 10:25 AM Roger Clark
Cathy,
I sent the above message from Amsterdam on my way to Tanzania. I just returned late last night. I had a fantastic trip and timed the migration perfectly (due to luck with the weather).

I you sent me an email, my server was down for several days while I was gone so I may have missed something. I do have some info on Tanzania at
http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/travel/tanzania/
and will be adding more after this trip.

Roger

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