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Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

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Wales, UK
posts: 21
Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

We will be staying at Exeter River Lodge, Djuma Vuyatela & Phinda Forest Lodge.

Can anyone please recommend which rooms at each lodge would give the best possibility of animal sightings e.g. nearest water holes etc. If all rooms have views, which would be the most private?

We are both very interested in photography. Can anyone recommend guides/drivers that would be more accommodating?

Many thanks,

Mike & Andrea

Mytmoss
posts: 431
reviews: 5
1. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

I can only help you with Phinda. Some of the lodges are quite a walking distance. You can request to have a lodge farthest away from the main lodge which will give you the most privacy, and also the longest walk which is significant if you are carrying a lot of camera equipment. Also as a side note, ask for Walter to be your ranger. He is one of the best rangers I have had anywhere!

Wales, UK
posts: 21
2. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Michael,

Thanks yet again for your valuable advice. Never appreciated from web that chalets could be that far from main lodge - and I will (hopefully - airline desk permitting) be carrying lots of gear!!

Will email Phinda & if Walter is working when we are there, we'll try our best to travel with him...and give him your regards.

cheers,

Mike

Mytmoss
posts: 431
reviews: 5
3. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike, just to let you know that I had the farthest chalet from the main lodge you can have. It took me several minutes to get to the lodge. With 40 pounds of equipment, it was a burden. My 2nd trip, I asked for a unit close and I got the closest unit you can have. I had plenty of privacy and NO walk. Thanks for saying hi to Walter for me if you get the chance.

These are shots I took with Walter last trip. He understands photography very well.

www.pbase.com/mytmoss/phonda_2005&page=all

Wales, UK
posts: 21
4. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike, beautiful photo's, particularly liked the cheetah shots from Phinda. Hope we are half as fortunate with our sightings!!

What camera support were you using with the 400mm f4? I'll be using 200-400 f4 + 1.4tc & I'm thinking of using monopod inside vehicle. Does not look like a lot of support for beanbag due to low sides of the vehicles?

all the best,

Mike

Mytmoss
posts: 431
reviews: 5
5. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike the 400 F4 is hand held. I am not familiar with how big and heavy the 200-400 is, so my suggestion is if you can hand hold it, consider doing so. Animals come at you from all angles and a monopod might prove difficult to use, especially since you are not allowed to stand up in the vehicles. Also consider not using the 1.4 tc with that lens. My 400 was on a 2nd camera body. If you bring only one body, putting the tc on the lens might be too much. Many of the sightings are within 15 feet and a big lens with a tele converter would be too much.

Wales, UK
posts: 21
6. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike,

The 200-400 is approx 7Lbs by itself & hand holding is real struggle. Will be taking second body with 70-200VR which I always handhold. Have been wondering if the 200-400 is just too big (heavy) for this trip but it is terrific optically & gets me to +500mm for birds etc. There again, it pushes hand luggage weight up, so hope I don't get weighed !!

Mytmoss
posts: 431
reviews: 5
7. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Flying out of Atlanta Georgeo, I had not problems with hand luggage with heavy camera equipment. England has different issues to deal with. I would definitely check out that ahead of time. You certainly do not want to pack in regular luggage the lens.

That 200-400 is about twice the weight of my 400 DO, so yes, I would not be able to hand hold it either. The rangers might allow you to stand and use a monopod for bird sightings but not for cats or other nervous critters unless they were some distance away. You can always ask and see what they say.

I am happy to hear you are bringing a second body to have the other lens. You may use that one more than you think.

Just as a PS, NEVER leave your room without your camera, you never know what you will see at Phinda.

Mike

Wales, UK
posts: 21
8. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike,

Many thanks for taking the time & trouble to give us your experience, much appreciated. Have asked our travel agent to get guarantee from South Africa airlines that I don't get problems at checkin. If that comes through, the 200-400 goes on the trip. Can use it on monopod from seated position in vehicle provided there is not too much movement in the vehicle.

We are going for a private vehicle for 2 days at Vuyatela, which should provide the best chances of using the lens. But like you said, the 70-200 may well turn out to be heavily used - as it often has been in the past!!

Once again, thanks.

Mike & Andrea

Epsom, Surrey
posts: 16
reviews: 5
9. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Mike - not sure if you'll still pick up this thread.

I am staying at Phinda in June and was wondering if you had any response from SAA regarding your camera equipment.

And to the other Mike - I'll definately request Walter on my trip as well - can't wait!

Thanks

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 431
reviews: 39
10. Re: Sabi Sands & Phinda July 2008

Hi Mytmoss,

Your photos are fabulous!! We just got back from Sabi Sands and just had the regular Canon IX digital which we thought would be fine - but it was, well.. 'crap'! Got some OK shots but nothing like yours!!

We want to return next year with a 'proper' professional camera!