Self Drive East Africa
by Greg Wiszniowski, Katie Nowak
(Europe, UK and Poland)
We didn't use a safari company - we do like to travel apart from the crowd. We do have a LOT of experience and we knew before this expedition how to avoid usual mistakes.
We used the internet + LOCAL contacts (members of public not connected with tourist business) for our planning.
Bear in mind – if you are travelling alone, the best source of information regarding all technicalities are DRIVERS from all Safari Companies – will help you with road, trick how to cross border smoothly, which road to choose and so on.
Sorry for saying so but generally speaking Guides are just talking to you. Lot of noise – only in few individual cases information follows this noise.
I hope my pics can give an impression of the ATMOSPHERE - most important part of a self organised safari.
Our route took in Mt Kenya, Masai Mara, Victoria, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservatory, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanga, the Kenya Coast, Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Rhino Sanctuary. 4000km in total – 90% on local roads.
We stayed at various campsites – only government run in Parks (best located), and private campsites in the outskirts of every entry gate to the Parks (plenty of them everywhere).
Using a roof tent as it's CLEAN (no insects at all!!!), dry (good quality tent), elevated (allows to start observing from your own bed) and allowing you flexibility in choosing a place on your own.
LOCAL ONLY – we learned ages ago – Local People do eat as well!!! They do know where and what to eat – if a place is full of local drivers, sellers and workers - GO FOR IT.
Always local prices, typical dishes and real taste of country you are visiting. Not mentioning HOW FRIENDLY all restaurant staff and guests are – they do not see tourist a lot. Source of local information as well.
We saw all the Big 5, and small 5000.
The highlight was a night and accommodation in the Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo. 100sq km sanctuary – and we were THE ONLY HUMANS there staying overnight. Ask how to arrange it if you wish to stay in Gov owned cottage on top of rock ;)
Get up a ½h to sunrise – toilet, closing tent, quick meal.
Drive to place of our choice (discussed with locals previous evening), sunrise photos, few hours of looking around.
Contact with locals, giving about 500 pens to local kids, endless conversations with workers, teachers, peasants.
Drive to next destination (usually we were moving between 50-250 km in a day).
Afternoon meal in local place – plans for next day and information from locals where is best place to stay overnight, ½h after sunset.
BBQ and preparing for the night.
2 days with Rangers in Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo.
Thank God people like them are protecting animals – there is still chance to keep it for next generations.
We do not mix diving with safari – it's a separate trip.
Volcanic ash (4 days cut from 15th May) – best plan can be blown by nature in seconds.
I have read the e-book
in Europe (originally came to me from America) to learn something about Photography in Central Africa. Modern world…
Must say it was my first help with this trip.
Few simple tricks I have learned (to mention one - bean bag – so simple and genius – will never travel without one) will help me to improve my travelling experience.
One of the few books I have read where practical aspects of photography are mentioned – bags, vests, type of equipment for this job and so on.
Tips and Advice
Contact me – but please do not waste my time asking for good 5* hotel with swimming pool in Africa : )
Our best asset on safari was the 4x4 with roof tent, and a new generation head lamp (150m range, 75 grams).
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Can anybody help me with trip around Lake Victoria? And how to meet gorillas in the mist?
|Greg and Katie's Safari Details:
Safari company used: Self drive
Parks visited: Mt Kenya, Masai Mara, Tsavo East & West (Kenya); and Serengeti, Ngorongoro (Tanzania)
Date of safari: 19th May to 06th June
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