A Family South African Safari – Conclusion, Safari Tips and Future Plans

1 – Introduction
2 – A Pit Stop in Paris
3 – Tanda Tula
4 – Londolozi Founder’s Camp
5 – Safari Photos – Part A and Part B
6 – Cape Grace Hotel
7 – Cape Town Activities
8 – Emirates First Class – Thoughts and Observations
9 – Conclusion, A Few Safari Tips and Future Plans

Looking Back and Future Plans

Reflecting upon this trip now with the passage of some time, it is difficult to articulate just how impactful the trip was for our family.  Three months later, at least weekly, we still find ourselves talking about some aspect of the trip (typically related to animals).  Typically, it is the children who raise the topic.

Our children have both long had an above-average fascination with animals.  Without question, our children now have a much more profound appreciation of the way truly wild animals live.  I hope, and am reasonably confident, that this appreciation – and the memories from this trip – will last for their entire lives.

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Without question, another safari trip is in the cards for us.  I suspect it will be a few years out (as there are other places we’d like to take the kids), but we have definitely caught the bug.  I’ve started to do some preliminary research on other countries in Africa.

While they are all a long journey from the United States, but hopefully the airfare market will remain competitive – so we can sample another first class product on our return journey!

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A Few Tips

There were a number of things that we had on our trip that might not have been intuitive upfront, but were very helpful to have with us.  In addition, there was one thing I wish I had brought with me.

  1. Cameras for Kids – This was very helpful.  We bought each of the kids small, point-and-shoot cameras.  Each cost about $100.  Importantly, it enabled each child to be able to take photos of whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.  We would have definitely had multiple “can I take the picture now” requests – and perhaps battles – had we not had cameras for everyone.
  2. Amusements for Downtime During Drives – While we knew we would have downtime between the drives, it turned out also to be helpful to have small distractions for the children during the drives.  Each drive, invariably, there was at least one 15-25 minute stretch where we were driving to where animals where (without seeing any on the way) or simply waiting in place for where animals were expected.  While our kids could normally handle 15-25 minutes without issue, due to spending 7-8 hours a day on the drives, typically towards the end of the day, these periods had a greater risk of becoming problematic.  We let our children take personal music players and small coloring books/sketch pads with them on the drives.  The music players were put away whenever animals came out, and the coloring books/sketch pads were ideal when the Rover was stationary for some time (but not in sight of animals).  These items didn’t take much space and provided something to capture the kids’ attention when needed.  These made the drives much more pleasant for everyone.
  3. A Second Camera Body – I brought three lenses with me on the trip (a 150-600mm super telephoto lens, an 18-200mm utility lens and my 10-20mm ultra wide angle lens) but only one camera body.  90% of the photos were taken with the super telephoto, but there were times where a quick switch to the utility lens would have been ideal.  While I can do a lens switch in perhaps 10 to 15 seconds, sometimes those seconds can be critical.  Further, after a while, it just becomes a pain to do the swaps, particularly when working with the super telephoto.  For our next safari, whenever it will be, I’ll bring two camera bodies, and have them on the 150-600 and 18-200 lenses, and simply swap the 18-200 for the 10-20 if/as needed.  (Shots with the 10-20mm lens are rarely action-oriented.)

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If you have even a moderate interest in wildlife and nature (frankly, mine is only moderate), I cannot recommend a safari highly enough.  Though the cost of the trip was not trivial (I never added up the grand total – probably for the best), the memories for both children and adults will last a lifetime.

Should you have any questions about this trip or a trip you are considering, I’d be happy to share my thoughts.  Please email me at nyb at sitinfirst dot com.

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