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My turn to give back after all the help I got, trip report for Kenya and Zanzibar August 2013


gregv
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So I started planning a safari quite awhile back and got a bunch of help for members on safaritalk. Now its my turn to put in the effort to provide a trip report of our trip to Kenya and Zanzibar. I am writing this report as I sit at the airport in Zanzibar for our flight to Dar Es Salaam and then on to Turkey so we are still travelling to Istanbul and Berlin so I will update the trip report as I have time over the next little while and whatever I have left will finish upon returning to Canada. I hope my report is enjoyed by everyone and may help some safari noobies like me plan their trip as well.

 

August 6th, 2013,

 

We left Calgary Alberta Canada and flew to Amsterdam for a 3 hour layover and then on to Nairobi. All flights on KLM were excellent. Great service, good food, good entertainment in the seat back tv's and all flights on time. We were very pleased with our first time flying KLM.

 

We arrived on time about 9pm in Nairobi and were promptly met by Bernard from Lion Trails Safaris as well as our driver Ben Gitari. They were waiting for us and explained the details of the itinerary etc. and Ben then took us to Redcourt/Boma Inn. WE stayed over night and the hotel was fine for the price. ABout middle range hotel, clean, close to the airport and excellent buffet breakfast the following morning. NOt much else to report on this day, just we were glad to have made it and went to bed.

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August 7th,

 

Ben picked us up in the morning and we headed out around 8am. The traffic was terrible (to be expected) and we chatted with Ben in the car. It was interesting to see all the people walking in traffic selling fruit and newspapers, etc. We made it out of the city and headed to Lake Nakuru for the first night. It was a pleasant drive and pretty comfortable as only about 2.5-3 hours. WE stopped at the viewpoint along the rift valley and enjoyed a stunning view although it was a bit foggy that day. On our drive with Ben we learnt how the airport had a large fire that morning and was shut down. We were VERY LUCKY to have arrived the day before as we just missed the fire and some bigtime travelling headaches to start the trip.

 

 

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Ben explained to us some things about animals and the culture and the environment as we drove by. We arrived at Lake Nakuru by late morning.

 

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WE stayed at Lake Nakuru lodge for the night. IMO the lodge was excellent. I believe we were in room 101 which was a two room hut on the side with our deck facing the whole lake and field in front of the Lodge. WE walked around and I think this may have been one of the best rooms for the view so we got a bit lucky. THe lunch was really good, buffet style with good food. This was our first safari so it was amazing to see baboons running by, zebras grazing etc. right in front of us. WE then headed out for an afternoon game drive. We enjoyed the game drive and saw alot of rhinos, giraffes, birds and some flamingoes as well. It was really cool for our first game drive. We most enjoyed seeing the rhinos up close as well as the landscapes the lake provides.

 

I brought with me two D7000 bodies, one mounted with a Nikon 17-55 2.8 and the other with a Nikon 1.7TC and a 70-200 2.8. I also brought a safarisack filled with a 5lb bag of rice that I left for the locals after our safari. THis worked excellent to support the 70-200 by the tripod foot when standing up and taking pictures. Having two bodies was excellent as my wife took care of the landscapes and animals really close with the 17-55mm and I took care of the rest. At some points I found myself wanting more range but this setup fit nicely in my budget, wasnt too too heavy to bring along (we were travelling for a month) and the 70-200 was a lens I would use at home. Having the two bodies was great as we didnt need to change lenses and allow all the dust to get into the camera.

 

I brought along my macbook air and a portable hardrive so each day i backed up the photos to the computer and then the hardrive and kept them in different places.

 

Please let me know if my trip report is too detailed or if there are other things i should or should not include.

 

Here are some pictures from our game drive....

 

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I LOVED having the bandana, it was WAY dustier than i thought and it was nice to pull this over my nose once in awhile on the drive.

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Edited by gregv
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Level of detail seems about right although it is a little early to tell. Definitely feel free to provide more if you are enjoying the writing. Honestly, there is always somebody interested, especially about what you saw, didn;t see and what you thought about things. Loving the photos, so it's going to be really pleasant reading whatever you write.

 

Lake Nakuru is so wet!

 

There are few flamingos and they look a little miserable.Was it raining and cool that day? Looks like it.

 

The second rhino picture is great - really never seen so many bunched up like that.

 

The bandana is a good idea - I took one once and it was helpful in the dust..... but I don't see much dust yet.

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You can't give too much information for most of us Greg. Loving it. I adore the rhino formation. I've never seen that before!

Keep the report coming!

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Great shots!

 

The second rhino image i worthy of a magazine cover!

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Greg,

Just tell it how you want to tell it. Thumbs up from me so far :)

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Good going Greg. Really enjoyable trip report.

 

MBA is a nice option for travelling, I find it very liberating as opposed to my "built-like-a-tank" think pad. :)

 

Loved the Rhino pictures.

 

Cheers

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Great shots! Sounds like you had a terrific trip and rhinos are quite a nice way to start off. There is no such thing as too much detail - I look forward to reading and seeing more.

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Great start, I'm more than happy with the level of detail but always happy for more. You have a nice eye for a photo.

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There is no right or wrong way with writing a trip report - it is your recollection of your experiences. Broad brush is fine but detail is helpful to others who may want to go at some point.

 

Some lovely images so far and the weather adds to the 'mood' in several. Looking forward to more.

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Level of detail seems about right although it is a little early to tell. Definitely feel free to provide more if you are enjoying the writing. Honestly, there is always somebody interested, especially about what you saw, didn;t see and what you thought about things. Loving the photos, so it's going to be really pleasant reading whatever you write.

 

Lake Nakuru is so wet!

 

There are few flamingos and they look a little miserable.Was it raining and cool that day? Looks like it.

 

The second rhino picture is great - really never seen so many bunched up like that.

 

The bandana is a good idea - I took one once and it was helpful in the dust..... but I don't see much dust yet.

 

Thanks!! Wasnt too bad that day, a little overcast but warm and a very light rain for maybe 10 minutes in the evening. My fist time there so dont know how wet it normally is. I would saw at one point on the road we had to turn around and go a different route cause there was too much water on it so it may have rained a few days prior.

 

You can't give too much information for most of us Greg. Loving it. I adore the rhino formation. I've never seen that before!

Keep the report coming!

 

Thanks, i liked the rhino photo as well!!

Great shots!

 

The second rhino image i worthy of a magazine cover!

 

wow, thanks for the compliment!

Greg,

Just tell it how you want to tell it. Thumbs up from me so far :)

 

:D

 

Good going Greg. Really enjoyable trip report.

 

MBA is a nice option for travelling, I find it very liberating as opposed to my "built-like-a-tank" think pad. :)

 

Loved the Rhino pictures.

 

Cheers

 

Thanks! Yes the MBA is nice and light and has worked great so far!

Great shots! Sounds like you had a terrific trip and rhinos are quite a nice way to start off. There is no such thing as too much detail - I look forward to reading and seeing more.

Thanks, i will post more for sure!

 

Great start, I'm more than happy with the level of detail but always happy for more. You have a nice eye for a photo.

thanks, i was sooooo excited for the safari as i enjoy photography and have got really into it the last two years when I got my first SLR two years ago.

 

Detail GOOD! :-)

 

:D

There is no right or wrong way with writing a trip report - it is your recollection of your experiences. Broad brush is fine but detail is helpful to others who may want to go at some point.

 

Some lovely images so far and the weather adds to the 'mood' in several. Looking forward to more.

sounds good, i dont mind sharing in hopes of helping other!!

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August 8th


We were up at 5:45 am but felt rested since we went to bed so early. We got ready, had our breakfast and were out by 7:15am. Shortly after leaving the park we saw a dead zebra on the road with blood and guts everywhere!! Ben (our guide) said that it had been hit by a car and not an animal he would want to hit as they are very heavy!! Today we were headed for the famous Masai Mara reserve and we were in for a long drive, about 7 hours.


Ben told us he would take a shortcut to the Mara that would save about an hour but for 2 parts of the road it was very bumpy. So we started off for about an hour or two then hit the rough patch and was very bumpy for about 45 mins, similar to Monteverde in Costa Rica. TO be honest the road up to Monteverde was very poor and now not many roads bother me lol!! HOwever it was pretty bad in Kenya, its just that you have to go slow so even though you have 40km to go its takes over an hour since your top speed is 30km/h. However it is sad to see all the poor areas along the roads, but not once did i feel unsafe and in fact people would often wave as you drove by!


We arrived at a town called Narok which was small but VERY busy. Ben stopped to fill up on gas etc. We then drove another two hours on good roads and chatted with Ben a little bit. He was telling us how he took out a loan to build a school in his home village for kids/orphans who lost one or both parents to AIDS. Ben had a brother that died of AIDS and then Ben took responsibility of his three kids as his sister-in-law had already died 10 years earlier. Ben’s sister also has HIV but now that the government is paying for medication, his sister is well controlled. He still to this day 4 years later is paying of the loan for the school. He gets sponsors to pay for the kids year of school and the kids range from about 4-18 years of age. He said its about $750 per year to sponsor the child and most sponsors are from Europe and North America. Once in awhile when a child needs sponsoring and there isn’t a new sponsor line up, Ben will actually pay for the child!! He is quite a special person to do all this considering he makes a decent income but nothing major. Anita (my wife) and I got more information about the school called Saint Bernard school and will consider sponsoring someone!


We then hit another rough patch of road for about one hour and after about 7 hour drive arrived at Mara West camp on the western side of the Mara just outside the gate entrance into the park (Oloololo gate). The drive to the mara on the rough patches as well as in the Mara is very dusty!! You have to roll up the windows for the dust but at the same time want them down cause its hot out. No complaing, since this is Africa and we are on safari!! I am glad I packed some pillowcases and other tricks to protect the camera gear from dust etc. The camp is up on the large bank and has a spectacular view of the Mara and is a cool place. Our tent is really nice with two beds and a standard toilet, sink and shower. They boil the water outside in the morning and evening with a fire and that is used for hot water for the shower. They also have a generator for the camp so its on in the morning and evening for lights and charging batteries, computer etc. During the day the generator is off to save energy and to be honest is not really needed as its light outside. Our tent faces right out over the Mara for a beautiful view of the game reserve.


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We had lunch and rested for a bit as it was a long drive and Ben was tired as well (understandable!)


We then set out on an afternoon game drive from about 4-630pm. It was AWESOME!!! We saw a large group of giraffes as well as a group of about 6 elephants. We saw the other standard things like buffaloes, birds, gazelle etc.


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We then saw hundreds and hundreds of wildebeests during their migration. It was quite a site to see as they are all grazing and moving across the plains in search of water. Ben says most of the migration is done up in Kenya and they are now migrating back to the Serengeti. We may see a river crossing tomorrow he says but doubtful due to the migration timing.


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The afternoon finished with a lot of excitement as we saw a pride of about 8 lions!!! There were three females and about 4-5 cubs just hanging out and watching us. There was a large group of wildebeests nearby and Ben said when it gets dark the lions will likely go for a kill.


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The game drive got even more exciting as we were about 5 minutes from exiting the gate and we saw a male lion!!! Ben spotted him from far away and drove up and he literally walked about 2 feet from our car just staring at us. Big, beautiful cat with amazing colors in his mein!! Ben quickly circled around back to the road ahead of the lion and then he walked right in fron of us again!! It was quite exciting and made for a great finish to the day. Ben says we were quite lucky to see a pride of females/cubs and then a male lion later as fairly often he will come on safari for a trip and not see any lions.


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We then went back to camp, had a nice dinner and shower and then settled in for the night. We could hear all sorts of insects and then animals making noises outside our tent!! Its really cool and also very peaceful.


After this day and long drive it striked me a bit how Africa gets quite a bad reputation in the media in general. The country is absolutely stunning and people very friendly with no notions of my safety or life being in jeopardy. There are no doubt areas of Africa to stay away from but I found it quite interesting to see the US and Canada websites have strong travel advisories for Kenya when I would feel much more unsafe walking around a shady neighborhood of any large US or Canadian city.


Another tidbit I found great for photographers was my rocket blower came in super handy!! I used it countless times to get rid of dust on my camera gear and cleaned things up with it every night to prevent it from accumulating every day. Very helpful!!


I was also VERY surprised about lack of mosquitos. I mean I saw maybe 3 mosquitos the full 8 days in Kenya and 5 days in Zanzibar. WAY more mosquitos at home in Canada. I guess it was dry season and that helped in Kenya but this was a pleasant surprise!
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Very nice shots there Greg. Thanks for uploading them and the report thus far. Matt

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Uh_oh busted

Lovely photography. We've not been to East Africa, but have been to Southern Africa twice. Need to remedy that....

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Mara - need to be there soon. Keep 'em coming!

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Yes, please keep them coming. I'm enjoying vicariously visiting the triangle! It's my happy place. I really liked the picture of the male lion walking along in the jeep tracks - good of him to observe reserve regulations and stay on the road.

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Very nice shots there Greg. Thanks for uploading them and the report thus far. Matt

 

 

Lovely photography. We've not been to East Africa, but have been to Southern Africa twice. Need to remedy that....

 

 

Mara - need to be there soon. Keep 'em coming!

 

 

Yes, please keep them coming. I'm enjoying vicariously visiting the triangle! It's my happy place. I really liked the picture of the male lion walking along in the jeep tracks - good of him to observe reserve regulations and stay on the road.

 

THanks everyone!! PT123, yeah i liked that picture too. That one was actually my wifes shot. I brought two bodies on this trip and for the first time she seemed to have some interest in photography so i let her loose with the d7000 and 17-55 most of the trip and tried to teach her a few things!! She actually got a few nice shots and some photos i post later will include 3-4 of her pictures!!

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Glad you are all enjoying the trip report so far!!
August 9th,
Today we were up bright and early again and had an early breakfast and were ready to go about 730. Anita looked at some soapstone sculptures outside the reception area but decided not to buy anything before we left.
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We first encountered our first sighting of vultures as they were all in a big group. A very ugly bunch of birds but got some cool pics of them in the trees.
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The 70-200mm with 1.7 TC is working well. I sometimes wish I had a longer lens but not worth the cost and weight as this takes care of most pictures. The focusing and sharpness is pretty good with the 1.7TC. I was usually stopping it down to about 5.6 as there was plenty of light during the day. Maybe bring it back to biggest aperture only as the sun was going down and would need about 3200-6400 ISO to have a fast enough shutter to catch the animals.
We continued on and ran across some elephants and other animals we had seen the previous day.
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We then arrived at a hippo pool to see about 10 hippos swimming in the water or laying on the bank sleep, such lazy animals!!
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There was also a croc in the distance that Ben saw without binoculars!! I don’t know how he spots them as we have trouble finding them with binoculars! He was telling us how the hippo is a very aggressive animal when it wants to be and they kill more humans then ALL OTHER animals combined each year in Africa.
We then travelled up to the Mara river where the wildebeests crossings happen. Ben said last week he saw thousands crossing and about 3 hours for them all to cross. Seems like we missed the main crossing by about 1 week!! Today there was about 300 wildebeests on the bank looking to cross. They would go down to the shore then back up as there were about three crocodiles waiting in the water to try and eat them!!
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If you look closely you can see two crocs right beside where the one wildebeest is jumping in the air!
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There was a smell around this crossing as you could see about 3 dead wildebeests in the water that had drowned trying to cross previously. Vultures had easy picking of these wildebeest as they were hung up on the rocks.
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Eventually we decided to leave as Ben felt they may not cross today. About one hour later from a distance we could see them moving away from the water so good thing we left as they ended up not crossing. AS we drove around I was often amazed at just how big the Mara is and the vast plains. Its really interesting to see the animals in their natural habitat, not just at a zoo.
We then continued our drive throughout the Mara seeing various animals. Ben brought us to a dead leopard up in a tree that has been there about two weeks as he saw it last time he was here a few weeks ago. He guesses it fought with a lion and retreated due to its injuries into the tree where it eventually died. Its sad to see such a beautiful animal dead and I love the animals so much it makes me feel a bit bad to see them dead or a lion kill them etc. but I try and take a step back and think about how its nature and survival of the fittest.
It was time to eat and Ben asked us if we had our passports, which we thought was odd?? He said cause we will have lunch in Tanzania!! Since the border runs through the Mara we drove across the border designated by a special rock and he was just joking about the passports as there was no one there to check! We ate our picnic lunch under a great big tree back on the Kenya side.
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We drove around a bit more and had to cross a small creek and I thought about how bad some of the driving must be in the rainy season and its pretty dry now and some of the little roads are tough to drive through. I caught a nice picture of some zebras as we crossed the creek.
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After that we headed back to the lodge via a long drive back for more game viewing. It was pretty quiet on the ride back but we did see a bunch of hyenas close up as well as some more elephants.

 

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I hadnt normally taken many pictures of birds back home but now that i have the 70-200 its a bit easier for me and some of the birds in the Mara are pretty big and fly predictably so they are easier to track and i had some fun taking pictures of them
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Was also having fun taking some pictures of my wife in the van!
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We headed back to camp around 4pm for some resting before dinner around 7pm, I sat on the deck of our tent overlooking the Mara as I uploaded some photos on the laptop and drank a Tusker!! Managed to get a nice shot of some giraffes walking through the camp close to sunset.
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I heard some crazy screams and noises and then about 100 baboons came running right across the plain in front of me wrestling and chasing each other!! So far the Macbook Air has worked awesome for uploading photos, storing them, using the internet and watching movies on the plane etc.
We then headed to dinner and ate with Ben, chatted and hung out. Then back to the tent to clean up and ready for bed as we have another full day in the Mara tomorrow!
Edited by gregv
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Hi Greg

 

Du you mind me asking a question on your photo equipment?

 

I am taking the family on safari in November, my daughter is the only one with a camera in I plan to beef it up a little.

 

She has a Nikon 5200 (or is it 5100) with dx 18-55 vr 3,5-5,6 and dx 35/1,8. As it will takes years before her next safari I do not want to purchase a big zoom lens. So I was thinking of the new(er) 70-200/4 together with a convertor as it is not so heavy for her. Somehow like your set-up with 1f-stop less.

 

So when you are using fx lens on dx camera your 70-200 lens transformed to 105-300. And with your convertor it ended at 178,5-450.

 

I am not sure if I should do this, and if I do it go for 1,4 or 1,7 convertor.

 

Could you use the 450 part of the lens?

 

How about light when shooting at dusk/dawn?

 

Did the AF work well, also at dusk?

 

Thanks for your help? :)

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Thanks Anita, I love photography and animals so a safari is pretty much as good as it gets for me :)) Appreciate your kind words about my photos.

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Hi Greg

 

Du you mind me asking a question on your photo equipment?

 

I am taking the family on safari in November, my daughter is the only one with a camera in I plan to beef it up a little.

 

She has a Nikon 5200 (or is it 5100) with dx 18-55 vr 3,5-5,6 and dx 35/1,8. As it will takes years before her next safari I do not want to purchase a big zoom lens. So I was thinking of the new(er) 70-200/4 together with a convertor as it is not so heavy for her. Somehow like your set-up with 1f-stop less.

 

THAT CAMERA SHOULD WORK PRETTY WELL AND AS YOU SAID A NEW LENS IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN A DIFFERENT CAMERA. THE LENSES SHE CURRENTLY HAS ARE DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO CUT IT FOR A SAFARI. I WOULD BRING THE 18-55 ANYWAYS BECAUSE SOMETIMES THE ANIMALS ARE VERY CLOSE AND YOU MAY USE IT AND ALSO IT WILL COME IN HANDY FOR LANDSCAPES.

 

70-200 F4 IS AN EXCELLENT LENS AND MUCH LIGHTER THAN THE F2.8. I STOPPED MY SETUP DOWN TO 5.6 ( I GENERALLY STOP DOWN BY 1 OR 2 STOPS FOR BEST PICTURE QUALITY WHEN LIGHT IS SUFFICIENT) as with the TC MY SETUP WAS 4.8 LENS. I DONT KNOW HOW WELL THE TC PERFORMS ON THE F4 VERSION SO MAYBE DO SOME RESEARCH AS IT PERFORMED WELL ON THE 2.8 VERSION OF THE 70-200. OTHER OPTIONS ARE THE 70-300 LENS WHICH IS DECENT AND MORE AFFORDABLE OR THE NEW 80-400 LENS WHICH WOULD WORK WELL AND NOT NEED A TC.

 

WHAT I FOUND TO WORK BEST FOR ME LATELY IS TO BUY A GOOD QUALITY USED COPY OF A LENS. THE 70-200 2.8 IS SUCH A GREAT LENS AND HOLDS ITS VALUE VERY WELL AS WELL AS THE FACT ITS A TANK SO MOST USED COPIES ARE IN GOOD CONDITION. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER PERHAPS EITHER RENTING A LENS OR EVEN BETTER SOMETIMES IS BUY A USED COPY AND TAKE IT ON YOUR TRIP AND THEN SELL IT WHEN U GET BACK. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SELL IT FOR AROUND THE SAME PRICE OR MAYBE LOSE $100 WHICH IS WELL WORTH IT FOR A GOOD QUALITY LENS ON SAFARI. ANYWAYS JUST SOME THOUGHTS.

 

So when you are using fx lens on dx camera your 70-200 lens transformed to 105-300. And with your convertor it ended at 178,5-450.

 

CORRECT BUT I THINK ITS 510 ON THE LONG END.

 

I am not sure if I should do this, and if I do it go for 1,4 or 1,7 convertor.

 

I FOUND MY FOCAL LENGTH TO BE PRETTY GOOD AND I DID WANT LONGER SOMETIMES BUT NOT OFTEN. I WOULD CONSIDER THE 1.7 OR EVEN THE 2.0 AS I THINK THE 1.4 MAY BE NOT ENOUGH LENGTH. DONT FORGET THE LENS WILL PERFORM BEST WITH THE 1.4 SO IF YOU DECIDE ON THE F4 VERSION MAKE SURE IT HAS GOOD RECORD OF PERFORMING WITH THE 1.7 OR EVEN 2.0 TC

 

Could you use the 450 part of the lens?

 

I LOOKED AT MY PICTURES AND 95% OF MY SHOTS WE EITHER ON THE SHORTEST OR LONGEST END OF THE LENS. I WOULD USE THE SHORT END FOR LANDSCAPES OR CLOSER ANIMALS AND LONG END FOR ANIMALS A BIT FURTHER AWAY. OF THOSE 95% PROBABLY ABOUT 60% WERE ON THE LONG END SO ABSOLUTELY YOU WILL USE THE LONG END FOR MAJORITY OF PICTURES. A REGULAR 200MM AND ALMOST EVEN 300MM ISNT ENOUGH LENGTH.

 

How about light when shooting at dusk/dawn?

 

AS I SAID I SHOT MOSTLY AT 5.6 AND IT WAS ALMOST NO ISSUE. VERY EARLY OR VERY LATE IN THE DAY I WOULD PUT IT TO LARGEST APERTURE AND THEN NEED AN ISO 0F CLOSE TO 6400 BUT OTHER THAN THAT MOST OF THE TIME 5.6 WAS ENOUGH AS THERE IS LOTS OF LIGHT.

 

Did the AF work well, also at dusk?

 

I WAS VERY PLEASED NO ISSUES WITH AF WITH THE 70-200 2.8 AND 1.7TC AT ALL NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF DAY.

 

Thanks for your help? :)

 

YOUR WELCOME HOPE THAT HELPS!

 

 

Hey Kasper, i dont mind helping, i responded above in capital letters.....

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Now THAT is the Mara! :)

 

Beautiful shots Greg....thanks for sharing.

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Now THAT is the Mara! :)

 

Beautiful shots Greg....thanks for sharing.

:rolleyes: thanks!! The Mara sure is an amazing place

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August 10th,
We woke up this morning and had breakfast with Ben at the camp and then headed out to the main Mara (we were in the Mara triangle yesterday). We didn’t know at that point what a great day we were to have!!
AS we entered the park we came upon a pride of about 6 lions, 2 females and 4 cubs. In the distance we could see all of them as well as a freshly killed wildebeest they killed the prior night or early morning. One female was around the kill while the others walked right by us over to some trees into the shade. We followed them into the trees only to find two male lions enjoying the shade!! They were stunning with great big meins. We went back to the female lion around the killed wildebeest and Ben told us to be patient (hint hint). Over the next 30 minutes the female lion dragged the wildebeesst about 500 yards to the shaded area where the other lions were!!! She would stop once in awhile to catch her breath as she was dragging a fully grown wildebeest by the neck. Ben told us they would bring the wildebeest to the shade and rest all day then eat when it cooled down.
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As the female got about 50 yards away from the shaded area, she left the wildebeest and went to the shade, as she did this the male lion got up and went over to the wildebeest and dragged it the rest of the way, and may I add with ease compared to the female. It was quite cute (as also another showing of how nature seems a bit cruel) as one cub went over with the male and was jumping on and hanging on to the wildebeest as the male dragged it.
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We then continued on and came across three cheetahs sitting in the shade under a tree and stopped for a few minutes to take pictures.
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Shortly after we came across more lions!! There were two females and a male napping in the shade, again with a dead wildebeest about 10 yards away!!
We continued on seeing many wildebeests as they littered the plains in hundreds of thousands! Quite a site to see!
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We then continued up a bank and were lucky to see a leopard!!! This completed our “big five” as we had now seen leopard, elephant, buffalo, lion and rhino! We watched the leopard in the shade for a few minutes and moved on. You could tell how hot it was for these cats as it seemed all the lions, cheetahs, and this leopard were all panting in the shade during the hot late morning and afternoon!!
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We then headed over to the river where we saw many more wildebeests and zebras drinking and grazing. We also saw a big hippo in the water and once again another male lion in the shade with a wildebeest dead beside him. Down in the river was a dead giraffe, which was sad but interesting to see, Ben thinks a lion killed it or maybe died a natural death?
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We then again stopped for lunch under a big tree. Shortly after leaving lunch, we spotted another cheetah!! This one was by itself with a freshly killed gazelle. He had started to eat at the leg as the gazelles femur bone was sticking out, a bit gruesome but this is nature!! Ben said it was too hot and the cheetah would finish eating when it cooled down.
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Right after lunch as were driving three animals jumped out from under a tree and there were three jackals!! Another rare find said Ben on this lucky day we had been having.
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I have been surprised by how little mosquitos there are!! Perhaps I have seen two of them. Ben says because its dry season, there are more in wet season and also we will see some in Zanzibar. Also Ben mentioned the tsetse flies are mostly seen in Tanzania. Today was another DUSTY day due to dry season and you can feel the dust caked on everywhere.
Another random thought, but next time I return since I wear contact lenses I think I will bring daily lenses instead of my bi-weekly ones as they get so full of dust and uncomfortable in my eyes it would be nice to have a new fresh pair everyday.
We continued on and stopped by the lions we had seen at the beginning of the day and they were in the same spot just napping in the shade, so lazy!!
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We then headed back to camp after an exciting day!! Had showers, dinner again with Ben and to bed for the night. Tomorrow we will be heading to Offbeat Mara in the Mara North Conservancy and we will see what things we will spot in the next few days!! Ben was happy so far with the stuff we have been able to see and says we are pretty lucky!

 

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