Camera for Safari Trip



  • I wanted to make further comment about the Masai women not having a choice about getting pregnant, this is no different than in many many other cultures and even including the Catholic religion. It’s only in very very relative modern times that women have been able to make such choices. Men in many countries reject infertile women.
    One of my best memories of first meeting the Masai was of a brand new mother and baby sitting so serenely outside their mud and dung home, they were beautiful.

  • British. 9:35PM. One of my best memories of first meeting the Masai was of a brand new mother and baby sitting so serenely outside their mud and dung home, they were beautiful.

    The mud and dung home that she and the other women built! :(

  • British, I believe Susan has left Africa for now. I know she helped develop the Great Migration tour, she also helped develop the Arctic tour and is the TD with Marcos on the Arctic tours. I can't remember where else she was going. The one thing I do know is she was awesome!! Cathy, have a safe trip, it will be wonderful and we look forward to hearing about your adventure!!

  • Alan, it’s like that in my house too, I’ve been known to build things like small patios, do 90% of the heavy yard work and the odd bit of painting and furnishings renovation. One day I’ll teach Mr B how to use the washing machine and turn on the vacuum cleaner and open the dishwasher. At least he’s become an enthusiast cook these past couple of years.
    Just because other cultures are different than ours, we should never assume our lives are better than there’s. At least they have each other’s support and closeness and these days the money from tourists......well not all tourists because on my first K and T, several in our group were bargaining and giving a pittance for the beadwork that must have taken them hours to make. I still think of them in disgust. On our last trip to a Masai village, we gave generous amounts for their work and the leader ran up to us as we were leaving and was extremely grateful for the support we were giving to their village.

  • British, no, we didn't have Susan. WE left all good jewelry except my wedding band home. Didn't want to take any chances. At the local school the kids were really interested in the fit bits and even an Apple Watch that some people wore. Our TD did take a bunch of pictures, she had one of the humongous camera lenses but didn't share, at least with us. She might have shared with some of the others, don't know. We did get the group picture and our equator and balloon certificates.

  • Alan S., re the roads...people with sciatic nerve issues had problems with the roads. Definitely an issue for those with back problems. As a matter of fact, on one road trip, it was so bumpy that I hit my head on the window and damaged my glasses. You had to be really careful with the camera lenses, that they didn't bounce around and hit something.

    I did find that using my Buff for my face helped with the dust and using a bandana or tucking the camera under my shirt helped with the dust as well.

    Climbing on the seats to take pictures was great for us not so tall people. Some didn't take their shoes off and some did.

    Re Maasai People: the drivers were telling us stories about their several wives, and family life. One driver said his father's 4th wife was younger than he was and he was going to have step-siblings any time. He said when he was at home he was the naughty boy and so he was sent away to school (and discipline), he became successful, and with the help of education has come back to his village, and is providing them with cows, sheep and lamb. His father who is completely illiterate is now a big fan of education.

    Re the women not getting least in some other cultures they are not returned to their family in disgrace and replaced with another woman, and have to live under the auspices of their father for the rest of their lives. And yes, the women do build the homes, from cow dung and grasses, and every 10 years or so tear it down and rebuild it. And they all cooperate together. Each wife has their own home too.

    One driver was telling us about his introduction to Western didn't agree with his system and he had to get used to it. When he goes home to his village he eats what they eat. Another big change to his system.

    We did find that prices for items were all over the place. AT the Maasai Market where many people had set up blankets with items for sale, the items all looked alike. A box of nested boxes was around $30.00. At one of the hotels it was around $20.00. Some of the people were bartering with the Maasai dancers and made purchases directly from them. Literally, bought the bracelets off the dancer and one dancer brought a selection of bracelets back for one lady.

    At one of the airports, we were accosted by several women selling all sorts of beading and other items. We were told not to buy from them as it encourages them. They actually shove things in the open bus windows. I did buy some bracelets from one of them. Also found out that they like big bills as they get a better exchange rate for big bills like a $10 instead of 2 $5. Our TD changed out money for them.

    WE did learn a lot from the trip. And do highly recommend it. Just that some of it was a real "eye opener" so to speak. Oh, we met some children that walk 10 miles to go to the one room schoolhouse, and Tauck is working to fund getting a stove so the children could have hot lunches. They finished the fund for the bathrooms for girls and boys.

  • Nedda, I’m loving all the details you are providing, thank you! I guess you need to go to India now, it makes what you see in Africa seem tame by comparison.. But who was your tour director, was It Rachel? We’ve done two tours with her. I just wonder if she is still in Africa, We first met her on our 2007 tour and then a couple of years later on Elegant South Africa.You seem a bit negative about the one you had, as if you really feel she had favorites. When I go in four months time, I want to be prepared.

  • British, I would rather not say who we had. But she did a good job overall and my husband liked her. It's just a feeling I intuition. It wasn't Rachel. If I ever go to India I might have to go with my daughter in law who is Indian. I tend to see things from a very realistic point of view (I think) and not sugar coat things. If anyone has any questions I would try to answer them.

  • Our family of four adults will be on this tour in October. We've followed the comments on this forum and learned a great deal. Thanks to all of you for posting!

    Nedda, I am particularly interested in gifts for the school(s) you visited. My impression from reading several threads is that there are several different schools on the tour circuit and there may be some sort of rotation among them with groups on different tour dates visiting different schools. Do you recall where in your itinerary you visited the school? Did you visit more than one? And if any in your group brought gifts for them, what items seemed most appropriate or appreciated?

  • Miguelado, we only visited one was on Day 4, Ngorongoro to Serengeti day. Had the talk at Oldupai Gorge the same day. On route to the Four Seasons Serengeti Lodge. One of my neighbors is also going in late October with another couple from California. I Think they leave around Oct 26.

  • Nedda Honig, 2:35PM. we only visited one was on Day 4, Ngorongoro to Serengeti day. Had the talk at Oldupai Gorge the same day. On route to the Four Seasons Serengeti Lodge.

    I think that is probably the same school we stopped at in 2015. That was one looooong day! Starting in 2020, after visiting Nggorongo Crater, tours backtrack a bit to Lake Manyara Airport on Day 4 and fly to the Serengeti! :)

  • We went last August. The school we visited was at the end of the trip in the Masai Mara. It was one of the days we were at the tented camp - the Fairmont Mara Safari Club.

  • I think Alan S it was either the same one or one that looked very very similar. I don't remember seeing a plaque there though.

  • edited September 2019

    The 10" X 12" plaque was on the classroom straight ahead, at the base of the horsehsoe shaped group of buildings, in the center of my photo. I added a blow-up but think it is just visible in my first photo in my earlier post- a tiny white spot behind the entryway roof support, to the left of the door.

    Also, by now, the school should have a fairly new (3 or so years old by now) cafeteria / multi-purpose building which was going to be located somewhere behind the spot where I stood when I took the photo. It was supposedly partially funded by Tauck, Tauck customers, and the Serena Hotels.

  • edited September 2019

    It’s definitely not the school we went to on the Tanzania four, that was Tumaini school and we get occasional emails from them. When we went on our K and T tour with Tauck in 2007 they did not visit schools but we visited a village, met adults and children and we could buy things they had made, accepted dollars even back then too

  • Thanks to all of you for the comments and to Alan S. for the pictures.

    We're on the October 5 K&T Classic Safari, Nedda, so will not be with your neighbor. I read a couple of comments on another thread about taking deflated soccer balls to the schools as well as some school supplies. Then one poster mentioned that the teacher had the children playing volleyball style games with the soccer balls to make them last longer. I recalled reading about the One World soccer balls developed for third world settings that have some sort of (semi?) solid core and cannot deflate, so I purchased 10 of those (volume discount--10 cost the same as 5, except for shipping.) We'll take as many as the 4 of us can stuff into our bags. At 12 oz each, it's more of a question of volume than weight. Since clothing requirements for this tour seem minimal and the balls are size 4 (junior), I'm hoping we'll have room for them all. Also hoping that luck places the school visit early in our itinerary! ;)

    All vaccines are done and e-visas printed--still working on our photography skills...

  • edited September 2019

    The children will love the soccer balls! The school we visited had so little and certainly didn’t have any soccer balls.

    The school we visited was in Kenya at the end of the tour. We brought a lot of school supplies. I talked to the Tour Director. He found some bags for them and he kept them until we got to the tented camp in the Mara.

  • This was the school we visited.

  • I’ve been following the camera discussion. Although we won’t be taking K&T until August 2020, I am already thinking ahead (and we’ll be in Costa Rica in December). I own a Canon Rebel T7i with a Tamaron 16-300mm lens. After receiving some advice from someone who has been to Kenya numerous times, I am considering purchasing the Canon Sx70 as a backup/supplementary camera. I also am weighing the option of a teleconverter to extend the reach of my 16-300 lens, but from what I’ve read, the drawbacks (loss of F-stop, uncertainty as to whether it will work with AF, etc), the secondary camera may be a better option for not a lot more money. Looking for some advice/comments. Thanks.

  • jan_page511. 12:09PM. I own a Canon Rebel T7i with a Tamaron 16-300mm lens.

    I really think that is all you will need.

    I also am weighing the option of a teleconverter to extend the reach of my 16-300 lens, but from what I’ve read, the drawbacks (loss of F-stop, uncertainty as to whether it will work with AF, etc), the secondary camera may be a better option for not a lot more money. Looking for some advice/comments. Thanks.

    I use a Canon SL1 with the 16-300 Tamron lens. If I remember correctly you can't use a teleconverter with the Tamron and Canon.

  • edited September 2019

    Nedda- I think that might be the same school we visited. One difference/update- according to what I can make out from your photo, the flag pole area appears to be surrounded by plastic bottles now instead of red stones/bricks, different flowers, too. I also think the sign mostly hidden by the trees on the right of your photo is this sign? Of course a sign like that might be present at most schools visited by Tauck.

  • Jan - I agree with Alan, you have all the camera you need. Your Canon Rebel has an APS-C sensor so you 300mm lens has an full frame effective focal length of 480mm. That's pretty long. All-in-one (travel) lenses like your 16-300mm are the worst quality SLR lenses. Not that they're bad(I own an 18-250mm for travel), but their image quality is at the bottom of the totem pole. Putting a teleconverter on a lens like that is not recommended. Not only will your lens be very, very slow, but the image quality will degrade into the unacceptable range. Teleconverters generally should only be used with primes or high end zooms.

    As to buying a SX70 as a backup or supplemental camera, I think it would only be useful if your main camera broke. While it does have a longer zoom range, the tiny sensor and cheaper optics mean that your image quality will be much poorer. If you have something that is too far away to fill the frame of your DSLR, you'd probably get better results cropping you DSLR image that using the SX70.

  • Thanks so much Alan and Ken. Very helpful info. I used the T7i and 16-300mm lens for the first time when in Peru and the Galapagos this past spring and pics were wonderful. I understand about the lens quality of the all-in-one, but for my vacation photos and the “keep it simple” philosophy of not having to juggle lenses, it works well. The photo books I create on my Mac from each of our trips give us lasting memories.

  • As I said I used a Canon SL1 with the Tamron 16-300 lens for almost all our trips, most recently in Botswana- that combination takes better photos than the non-HD screen on my old laptop can properly display. I get to see how they really turned out in a couple of days when I receive my order of 18 canvas print enlargements (sizes from 8" X 8" up to 16" X 20").

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