With most of the logistics for the trip now in place, the trip-planning has moved into its final stages. For anyone who wonders what else has gone into setting up this three-month odyssey across two continents and five countries, here are some notes:
- It only recently occurred to me that the visa-on-arrival option for Tanzania and Kenya might not be a good idea, particularly since I’m entering Kenya through a land border. A brief panic ensued after I discovered that obtaining visas in advance for both countries required mailing my passport to the embassies and an expected 1-3 week turnaround for each. Luckily both Tanzania and Kenya are far more efficient in their visa processing than the US; one week after mailing it I had my Tanzanian visa, and literally 48 hours after sending my passport to the Kenya consulate in LA it arrived back at my doorstep with the required stamp in place. Disaster averted.
- While I do love my current Canon 100-400mm lens, there is a new Tamron 150-600mm lens that has gotten great reviews and will get me 50% closer than the current bird nostril lens (i.e. new lens = bird boogers). Unfortunately, the lens is sold out everywhere, so I’ve got it on backorder from B&H. With luck it will be back in stock in time to get here before I leave, and there will be pictures of rhino eyeballs to show off when I return. I also got a used Canon 60D as a backup in case my camera breaks or is stolen, since I’m guessing camera shops may be few and far between in the African bush. Last of all I picked up a GoPro for scuba and shark diving, so that I can have video to forever remember the moment when a great white swims by and I soil myself.
- Clothing-wise, it has been all about avoiding the bugs and not coming home with malaria, yellow fever, or five point exploding heart disease. ExOfficio insect repellent clothing seems to be the recommended way to go in the “don’t die from mosquito bites” department, and while expensive it’s supposed to work well and is super comfortable. Whether or not two pairs of pants and five shirts is sufficient for a three month trip is still a subject of discussion and potential modification, although I have already acquiesced to carrying multiple pairs of boxers.
- Other acquisitions include bottles of Deet, sunscreen, medicines, toiletries, and every other thing one might need over three months when the nearest Rite-Aid is 11,000 miles away. No doubt many items will be forgotten, and I may find myself treating some ailment with whatever the local Masai witch doctor is able to mix up using plants, animal dung, and black magic.
Four more days of work, and sixteen more days until I board a plane for Istanbul. Adventure is out there.