The generosity of our fellow guests on safari was only temporary, so after we left Ngala Tented Camp I knew I would need to do something about my camera, or lack thereof. As I mentioned in my post about the day the camera died, one of the owners at Arethusa Lodge had identified my problem. He had also made clear to me how limited the Canon support was in South Africa, and how costly new equipment would be if I tried to replace it there. Indeed, both he and Trevor both told me separately that they bought all their gear overseas, mostly from B&H Photo Warehouse in the U.S., which I had also used in the past.
Worse yet, Brendan at Arethusa noted, if I did find myself shopping for a replacement, the warranty would only be good within the borders of S.A., and nowhere else. The same would be true for any covered repairs I might need on my failed U.S.-bought camera, assuming it was still under warranty (it wasn't).
That left me with only a couple of options: a) find a way to get the camera repaired in Cape Town before we left the country; b) find a used camera quickly in Cape Town that I could live with; c) wait until we got to London to buy a new one there; or d) buy a new one in the States and figure out a way to get it to me in Europe so I could continue documenting the trip over our last three months as I had over the first six.
Option e) - live with the dinky Olympus point-and-shoot - was right out. Photos had become too important a part of the experience for me to consider going without.
An email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a phone call to their recommended service center in Cape Town quickly confirmed that option a) wasn't going to happen, that it might take all of the remaining time we had in country just to diagnose the problem. That left replacement. Option b), going for used, was also dispensed with when I started to compare prices online for used equipment from South African vendors - it was as expensive as new in the States. Shopping around until I found someone with good deals might have taken all the remaining time we had, and eaten into delivery time if I was going to buy one and have it sent to me in Europe. And option c) would have left me with the same issue I had with buying new in S.A., the lack of warranty coverage when we returned to the U.S.
So I went new, and U.S. bought. I decided to stick with the same level of equipment I had, since I already had lenses suited for it. I would just get the latest model of it from Canon - in this case, the Rebel T1i/500D. Amazon didn't have it in stock, B&H did, and at a comparable price for the body, so B&H got my business.
Then there was the sticky issue of shipping. B&H wouldn't mail it to a non-billing address overseas, so I couldn't just buy it and send it to myself care of whatever hotel or apartment we were going to be staying at. Instead I had to send it to my brother in Connecticut and then have him re-ship it to me in Copenhagen. Which all worked perfectly: no hassles in shipping, no hassles in customs, and the camera was waiting her for me when we checked into our hotel on Monday morning. And still cheaper than buying it in South Africa!