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Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Isle of Man, United...
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Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

This used to be a topic about other guests in shared vehicles (on which I held and hold strong views) but now it seems to have spread to Driver /Guides to judge from some recent posts.

I am lucky in that I have one or two Safaris under my belt now and often get my 'old' driver who knows my preference without being told.

I am no authority on etiquet but I do not allow any driver to use his Mobile phone whilst 'on duty'. They are switched off! New drivers are told that on Day 1.

There is simply no need for them to do this. It is not as though you are with them 24 hours a day. They are meant to be professionals and clients must make their wishes known.

So what can newcomers do?

Well ask/tell him politely but firmly to desist. If by the second day if he is not complying ask him to ring his boss for a replacement.

You could try the carrot and stick. If the phone goes off tell him not to answer it. If he does, then say "That's $10!", 2nd time " $20!" and explain that this is how much is coming of his tip at the end of the trip if indeed he lasts that long.

His job is to look after you 100% and find and point out wildlife to you whilst telling you asll about it. It is NOT to say "Lion, over there!" and head into the Blackberry stoop. (He can ring his wives, girlfriends, other guides etc., when you are in the Lodge!)

So that is my view and I would welcome the opinion of others.

Northern California
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1. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Mfuwe, thanks for starting this thread. For newbies this will be very helpful and ensure they have the best trip possible. Your guide is so important.

First, I really believe the owner/operator is responsible for the actions of their employees so they should be reminding their guides of proper etiquette on a regular basis. Cell phones, unscheduled stops, timeliness, appropriate dress, etc., etc.

However, preventive maintenance will go a long ways. Having already been down this road, I think I have a possible solution. We plan on contacting who ever we go with next summer and let them (tour operator) know what our expectations (especially in regards to cell phones) are and to pair us with the guide that best fits our needs. I would then expect the tour operator to cover this with his guide so we never got in that awkward situation again. We will also let him (tour operator) know our guides tip will reflect how he does in these areas. The frustrating thing last summer was that when our guide was not on his phone he was phenomenal. His eyes and knowledge were amazing, needless to say we felt like we missed out.

Being veterans we will be a little more assertive early on in the planning process. I would encourage first-timers to do the same. It's good for you, the guide and the operator.

Edited: 14 August 2010, 15:29
Dallas
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2. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Mfuwe and Northbay this is great advice. We will definitely take a different approach. Like the idea of talking to the owner before the safari even starts and letting him/her advise the guide. Should make it more enjoyable for all. Can't wait for our return trip!

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Excellent idea to advise the Agency before hand. Then there is NO excuse with the added bonus that the Agency know when to contact him as well..

I like that a lot.

Canada
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4. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Great advice.

I would also like to see some safari operators posting on here that they will be informing their guides that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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5. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Ok, you asked, so here it is: I just sent a reminder to all our guides of the cell phone and radio call policy. Here's an excerpt from our manual:

8. While on safari:

a. Cell phone:

i. Keep your cell phone on vibrate only while with guests

ii. Only answer the phone if it is the office

iii. Other calls (personal) can be made when you are not with the guests.

iv. Use it to call the office should there be any problems.

b. Radio call:

i. Use the radio call only when it’s necessary to use it.

ii. Leave it on at all times (on a low volume) for emergency calls from other A2T vehicles, especially when you are not in a cell phone zone.

iii. Be aware that sometimes when you use radio call there are A2T guests in other vehicles that can hear what you are saying. So it is important to remain professional while still having some fun.

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Nice one Brian.

(And tell em to speak in English so that the average client will know it is an Emergency??)

I caught a message to my Rwandan NP guide from his HQ not to take me for a long trip as I had not paid to "Birdwatch" only to walk.

Sadly for them it was in French. Guess who did not get a tip?? Guess who was late back for his lunch break?

melbourne
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for Tanzania
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7. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

I wouldn't go on safari ,unless flying directlly into the parks from outside the country, unless I met with the owner and the guide was there. This is a good time to go over the itinerary with all concerned, pay the balance if not done yet and then discuss other things like mobile phones, early starts and other things you require. If things aren't going well on the trip ring the owner early enough so he/she can change what doesn't suit you. It is your safari after all.

Having said all of this there are professional guides out there who have worked in the industry for years who don't have to be reminded about safari etiquette as this is something if they are professional will be telling their clients themselves before the safari starts. They will also know where the animals are usually located or the signs to look for them so don't need a mobile phone for that. The other comment I would make is a fantastic guide doesn't want a mobile phone to tell him where a kill is as he doesn't want to be one of 50 safari vehicles around that kill. He wants to find his own kill and be the only vehicle there so he and his clients can enjoy that moment by themselves and not be rushed into moving on.

I do really object to mobile phones and would tell my guide if not already discussed that the time to talk to the office is 1/2 hour only. I need a stop 9:00 to 9:30 then the guide can call the office or whom he wishes. Otherwise leave a message, and read it at lunch time.

Arusha Tanzania
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for Tanzania
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8. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Hi

Brian excellent idea, do you mind if i pinch your text ?

Will be pased onto driver asap.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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9. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Yes, not a problem. And Mfuwe's idea about English is a good one too.

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: Mobile Phones on Game Drives. Tips on their prevention.

Yes! Tell em that any messages in Ma or Chagga will be regarded as "Eating the News". Short and sweet! And turn the bloody thing OFF when in the presence of Game. Even HQ ringing in should not be answered.

In fact, come to think of it Brian 8 (ii) should never happen. HQ know the times the guide will be with clients and could easily set an example!! Ring at lunchtime?? It is never THAT urgent is it?

(I am available to help re-write manuals for Operators on inducement!)