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Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Littleton, Colorado
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Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

COMPUTER LAB

We raised money to donate a computer lab at a primary school near Moshi. I wrote about that extensively in another post so won’t repeat here.

MONEY

I’m usually a fanatic about the money I bring when travelling internationally – asking the bank tellers to look at every bill for dates and condition. I double-check again when I get home and have been known to go back to the bank and exchange for other bills. Somehow, this time I missed 3 $100 bills that were in great condition but were printed prior to 2006. They were part of the $4000 I gave to ACTT for the computer lab. ACTT’s bank wouldn’t accept those 3 singles. The money exchange did accept them but gave a slightly lower exchange rate for them.

CROWDS

Late March/early April was a good time to go in terms of having no crowds. We hardly ever saw other cars, even at great animal sightings. We were the only family at Serengeti Wilderness Camp, and one of two groups one night at Kisima Ngeda. We drove for over an hour in the Crater and saw no other cars. At lunch at the hippo pool, there were only 2-3 other vehicles.

GUIDE

Our guide was a careful driver (we never got stuck) and great at spotting animals. He was fun, lively, and very good with the girls and constantly reminded them to drink water. Mostly, he seemed genuinely eager to please. He was good at positioning the car for the best photos.

He engaged in a few behaviors I didn’t like, such as making noises to get the attention of the animals and twice getting animals (an eland and a cheetah) to race so we could see how fast they run. I made subtle indications that I didn’t approve but didn’t say anything directly. That was probably just as well, because the day I said something directly to him about a behavior, he stopped talking to us the rest of the day. Even the girls asked what was wrong. The last 2 days of our trip, I noticed he was on the phone a lot – talking and mostly texting – while driving. I politely said I would prefer he not do that and asked if he could wait until we were stopped to talk or text. We got 1 word answers the rest of the day and a completely different personality. I think he drove off-road in the Serengeti to get close to a group of lions. Another vehicle was there, and I couldn’t get a straight answer from our guide whether it was allowed or not.

INSECT BITES/REPELLANT

I used Repel Lemon Eucalyptus insect repellant all the time and still got 40 insect bites, some on parts of my body that were always covered. In the Serengeti, something bit me that created large welts. Tsetse flies were rampant in Tarangire and Serengeti. I’d always heard that tsetse fly bites hurt and don’t leave any kind of mark. But my guide said the welts were from tsetse flies. I’m not sure. My nieces wore 35% Deet and got some bites even with that. I’ve tried many insect repellants, and bugs just like me, no matter what I wear.

JET LAG

We all took No Jet Lag, a homeopathic pill you take on every take off and landing and every two hours during travel. It was the first time I had used it. Going over, we all seemed to adjust relatively well to the time difference and lack of sleep on the planes. The girls were always exhausted right after dinner, but they were great during the day. Coming home, they had slightly more trouble adjusting to the time difference. I had the best re-entry experience I have ever had when returning from Africa (this was my fourth return).

AMSTERDAM

My lack of jet lag may have been helped by stopping 1 night in Amsterdam, in addition to the No Jet Lag. As we prepared to leave JRO, I had slight regret about stopping in AMS, especially since it was just for 1 day and 1 night. I wondered if we would have been better off just to go home. And, yet, once we got there, I was thrilled to have stopped. AMS is a compact, fun city with lots to see and do. Seeing the Anne Frank House was a special highlight.

Mercer Island...
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1. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

HI Adventurer43!

Great report! Wow, I'm impressed, and I hope that if i can get away with only ONE squabble between my kids in 9 days I will be very happy.

Thanks for the tip on the money, I have yet to decide if I should wire the money to ACTT or bring cash but will double check all the dates if I get cash.

Sorry to hear about your guide shutting down after you made a comment, that must be awkward, did you mention it to your TO? I'm sure there are no rules regarding talking on the phone / texting while driving there like it is here in the US. We now have a full car of 7 and I was telling my 10 year old that a few days maybe he can sit shot gun when we are there. He's very excited about that.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Thanks number 3.

A few comments if I may?

GUIDE. that was bad in my opinion. He should be honest enough not to sulk if asked to refrain from something with which you did not approve. Sligth excuse for the last days texting. He would be seeking out a new group/job or just letting base know you were running to schedule. But no need to over do it or sulk again when asked to limit this.

INSECTS. Tsetse do bite and do leave a lump for 24 hours. (Longer if you scratch at it.) Tsetse can 'bite' through a buffalo hide so even thick denim won't stop em.

Now about that Photo link!!

Littleton, Colorado
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3. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

AirMike, Shotgun is the best seat in the house, in my opinion. The vehicle we used had a pop top roof (last safari it was an open roof). The pop top kept the heat off and kept off slight rain, but I did not like sitting back there. I felt like the struts from the pop top got in the way of my photos and even my sight lines, generally. When I moved to the front seat after the first day, I was much happier and rode there the rest of the trip. The roof just opens (no cover) over the front seats, so it's hotter, but that didn't bother me. I just wore my hat. I still stood on the seat as often as I wanted to, and I had great sight lines out the front window without standing.

Funny thing, the front window was really hard to open, and I thought it was designed to open only about 2/3 of the way. It was only the second to last day of the trip that I realized it would roll down all the way. They just make the windows super tight so they don't rattle on those rutty roads.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Thanks for the reports.

sulking? Okay, I am going to say it. Gender issues. Some are still not willing to take criticism from a woman.

As to photos, is going to a Yahoo login page.

Los Angeles
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5. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Okay, yeah -- guide was not what I'd be hoping for. Our own guide is a gem; we've used him three times now and he's become a great friend. It's the luck of the draw, of course, and it's a shame when one of the more difficult ones comes up in the lottery. I would, however, mention these things to the outfitter -- depending on how strongly you felt about it, you might be more or less emphatic in your disapproval.

Tse tses. I've encountered them on two previous trips with no issues. This time, they bit like crazy. There's almost no way not to scratch, so they tend to last longer than strictly necessary. Tse tses suck. On the other hand, not being in Tanzania at any particular moment sucks a little, too, so there's that.

Littleton, Colorado
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6. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

I had medication from home to put on itching bites and it didn't work that well. When we got to Moshi, I went to a pharmacy and asked for something. The pharmacist sold me a tube of ointment that really worked, and fast. I think it was called Betaderm.

1 1/2 weeks away from Tanzania and I can still see some places where I had bites, but none of them have itched or bothered me since I used the Tanzanian miracle cream.

Bristol
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7. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Thanks for the very useful reports. The marks left from bites on my legs have only just about disappeared 4 weeks after our return!! Sorry about the issues with the guide sulking - as QM says it could be a gender issue...but that should not happen. And yes we also found very few other people doing safaris in April. In Ndutu we never saw another vehicle on our game drives.......which is where we also saw cheetahs up a tree. I would definitely do another safari at this time of year.

And glad you enjoyed Anne Franks house - A very moving experience....and a great place to show the girls

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

<<Gender issues. Some are still not willing to take criticism from a woman. >>

Ha ha ha! I know some women that are not willing to take criticism from a mere male!

Sandy. I never mind the Tsetse. they do a good job. Africa's best Game wardens.

And do the SWOT. A few days in Africa with Tsetse or a few weeks at home without?

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

May I ask questions?

I couldn't find it, but would you share the name of your TO?

And you mentioned earlier in planning that you would have your birthday in Serengeti. Having experienced that myself, will it be one of your memorable ones?

You have mentioned food and the kids' eating habits, but in such a nice recap as this, was there any other memories or in a nutshell items to share? Did they make anything special for your b'day?

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Trip Report - March/April Part 3 of 3

Well, now that I saw your photos, my first question is answered. Glad they have bought some pop up vehicles.