Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

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Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby mecheung » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:34 am

My husband and I are planning to do the Ultimate Africa (54 days!) in October 2012 with an add on of a trip to Madagascar for 2 wks. I was wondering if anyone has or will be doing these trips and if they can answer a few questions we have.
1) From the posts we found we see iPad/lap tops are ok to bring. Does anyone know how often there will be a chance to access the internet? We'd like to let family back home know every once in a while we are still alive and not eaten by lions :D
2) Weather - we've traveled a lot in desert regions so we know it can be hot in the day and cold at night. For the time we are going, what have people experienced in the various regions?
3) Mattresses - be honest! - how comfortable are they? We've had trips where whats provided is very good and trips where they have sucked (not Gap). If we need to bring a little extra for cushion we rather do that than suffer for 2 months.
4) And most important - HOW IS THE COFFEE IN THE MORNING? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Seriously! I am already feeling my body cringe at having to go almost 3 months without expresso. I like a good strong cup of java to kick start my day!
We appreciate any tips!!
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby georginal » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:13 am

Hi Mecheung

I did the Cape Town to Nairobi element of your trip over December-January earlier this year. Admittedly I haven't done Madagascar or Uganda.

1) Internet is available every few days or so, so make use of it when its there. I didn't bring my Notebook, but wished I had. On the days that you don't get access, you do have access to plugs, electricity from the truck etc and can work off-line, and simply save as you would normally.

2) Weather - still a chance of rain, so don't forget those waterproofs. It doesn't have to be completely from top to toe but something half decent. You wont be too cold (the only night I was a bit chilly was the Serengeti) but I'd still bring a fleece or two. Layering up with long trousers and long sleeve options is definately key. If you are worried or feel the cold then a woolly hat and scarf will do the trick and wont take up much space. Then if you don't need them, (which you probably wont) they're not that much hassle packing wise.

3) Mattresses are OK, they really are quite thick, but you are away for a long time so I wouldn't knock the extra cashioning idea if you can fit it in easily.

4) THERE IS ALWAYS COFFEE IN THE MORNING (HOORAY!!!) just don't expect anything but Instant and its usually the cheap stuff. You can always go out and buy your own jar - heating hot water is no problem and there are supermarket stops for personal supplies every 2 or 3 days or so.

Hope that helps and enjoy Africa!
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby kateyb » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:42 pm

I can only speak for the Southern part of Africa, but internet was easily accessible every couple of days. I was happy to have my ipad with me as I found that some time wifi was offered, but no computers were available.

The mattresses were fairly comfortable, but we upgraded to a chalet room once a week to give us a break. The prices were reasonable and it was nice to have a comfortable bed to sleep in.

and yes, there is coffee in the morning! I brought along Starbucks instant coffee packs for emergencies and I never needed to use it for the camping part of the trip (only on layovers and hostels before and after the trip).
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby mecheung » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:28 am

Thank you kateyb and georginal!
This is great info and makes the desire to do the trip even stronger!! I had to laugh out loud with the Starbucks instant reference. I was planning to do the same thing but then I thought "Seriously - am I that much of a princess that my trip deal breaker is the coffee? :lol: :lol: :lol:
I am also glad to hear that there are opportunities to upgrade. Although I am up for the challenge of camping my husband was getting a bit nervous at the idea of 2+ months in a tent. I think he has visions of being in a bush with no toilet and a basin of water to wash up in. Its been like that on other camp trips we've done but granted, those conditions were not nearly as long term. I appreciate the info as well about internet. I had been wondering if it was available how easy it would be to tap into it with my own computer as I am the type to write often and then post via a memory card or wi-fi access when I can.
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby bg » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:05 pm

I finished the ultimate Africa trip about a month ago so somewhat similar timeframe.

1) I had a laptop with me and was glad I did - loaded up with movies for looong truck days. Internet and wifi were available in southern Africa but nothing fast. Wifi is more or less non-existent in eastern Africa. On very rare occasions computers were available but often with deadly slow internet or not working at all. Best bet to keep in touch is bring a mobile phone with roaming.

2) You will definitely get rain in Uganda. I had a thin rain jacket and pants with me. It didn't rain on my gorilla trek but I would definitely want the whole suit with me if it did. Better to have the rain gear than to get soaked.
It can get cold at night. Sun starts dropping around 5 and it gets chilly. Serengeti was very cold, and some parts of Uganda when you are at a higher altitude. I would definitely bring a few warm layers.

3) Matresses were great. They are a few inches thick and well maintained. I found them very comfortable - hardish not soft at all. Some ppl on my trip brought a blow up mat to put on top but I think that depends on how sensitive you are.

4) I have always been a coffee first thing in the morning kind of person but I've never like instant. The instant coffee that was provided was actually pretty good though. I ended up not drinking coffee for two months mostly out of the fact that there was no bathroom on the truck. Bush stops are always available of course but coffee hits me pretty bad.

Enjoy! I loved the trip!
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby sarahm8 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:01 pm

So glad you mentioned the Coffee situation - I was concerned about that myself haha!
Had decided to take a flask with me - so that if and when the opportunity arose I could
fill the flask up whilst having a cup of coffee at the time, happy in the knowledge that
I would also fill a flask to get me through the day haha...Only thing worse than no coffee
is bad coffee eh...will probably take a stash anyway In case of emergency..... :shock:
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby lorne » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:50 pm

just got back from Cape Town to Nairobi and was there all of Oct and first week of Nov. Being cold was never a problem. Alot of very hot days, and it cools down some over night but very seldom actually slept in the sleeping bag.
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Re: Ultimate Africa - 54 Days!

Postby nikimarcotte » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:04 pm

I did ultimate departing august 23 from nairobi...had a few chilly wet nights in uganda and kenya, then the night on crater rim in tanzania was chilly, but they provided us with an extra blanket, so all good. if you are heading in southernly direction, the campsites/toilets/showers improve the further south you go. gorilla trek was not rainy for us, but if it rains, i am assuming the steep clay paths can get pretty slippery with mud. make sure you have gloves for the hike because there are nasty stinging nettle plants, mainly when you are with the gorillas. most of the campgrounds were really good...didn't love Mburo, but that was probably the most primitive campsite other than the bush camping in the delta. most campsites had pools, nice bars quite often with wifi and power bars to charge your stuff. there were more wifi hotspts in africa than there are in canada where i live...even in uganda :)...however internet can be unreliable, but at least once a week i was able to find a computer that worked or borrow a fellow travellers notebook to use wifi. mattresses were decent, probably a couple of inches thick..only one girl on our trip needed two and she had had a hip replacement.
i did a madagascar trip after my ultimate africa tour...it was awesome. if you don't mind basic food and simple hotels ...breakfast always had a coffee option which my fellow travellers said was good, i went for the hot chocolate myself. any specific other questions feel free to ask!
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