$482 -- Tanzania -- Lucky Tours Safaris

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Apr 10th, 2006, 11:59 AM
  #1
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$482 -- Tanzania -- Lucky Tours Safaris

I know that this is the best price i've found so far in Tanzania and I was wondering if any of you had ever dealth with LUCKY TOURS SAFARIS It's a 6-day/5-night camping safari. $482 is for all 6 days.

Here's the itenerary, I would appreciate some 'expert' opinions on the quality of the trip, etc. based on this limited info...thanks:

Quote
Day 12th July 2006 ARUSHA - MANYARA
We pick you up from Arusha shuttle bus terminal (incase you arrive by shuttle bus from Nairobi) and provide you with packed lunch before departing towards Lake Manyara National park for an afternoon game drive. This park is famous for its tree climbing lions, herds of elephant & Buffaloes. Donít miss out the awesome view of the lake itself with its concentration of countless flamingoes floating on it. Dinner and overnight at Twiga Campsite FB.

Day 13th July 2006 MANYARA - SERENGETI
After breakfast, we depart towards Serengeti National park via Ngorongoro Highlands. We have our packed lunch en route in order to make the most of the day. The rest of the afternoon will be spent doing spectacular game drives in Serengeti National Park. Serengeti Never disappoints as it is home to cheetah, lions, wildebeest, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Hippos, Leopards, just to mention but a few. Dinner and overnight at Seronera Campsite FB

Day 14th July 2006 SERENGETI
Spend full day doing game drives in Serengeti National park. Game drives will include searching for other game that wasn't seen the previous day.
All meals and overnight at Seronera Campsite FB

Day 15th July 2006 SERENGETI Ė OLDUVAI - NGORONGORO
Early morning game drive then return for brunch at our campsite before departing towards Ngorongoro crater. En route we shall stop at Olduvai Gorge museum where early fossils of early man (zinjathropus Boisei) dating millions of years ago were found by Dr Leakey and his wife. From here we drive to our camp site in Ngorongoro crater for dinner and overnight. There's an optional excursion of trekking in the crater with an armed ranger which makes you get direct in touch with nature (costs are to be charged separately) Dinner and overnight at Simba Campsite.

Day 16th July 2006 NGORONGORO - TARANGIRE
After breakfast, we descend into the crater floor for a crater tour in this wonder of the world. In this crater if luck is on us we might be able to spot the white rhino & the beautiful Leopard!! Lunch will be at our campsite then later drive towards Tarangire National park for an afternoon game drive there. Tarangire is blessed with its concentration of prides of lions, tree climbing pythons, rate lesser kudu, wild dogs etc.
Dinner and overnight at Kiboko Campsite FB

Day 17th July 2006 TARANGIRE Ė ARUSHA - DEPARTURE
Early morning game drive in Tarangire National park (so as to catch the animals active especially the cats) we return for breakfast at campsite before continuing with a game drive en route back to Arusha where we shall drop you off.

(An extension for a beach holiday to Zanzibar can be arranged for you if you will be interested to visit the spice island)



Sory for it being so long, but I'd be eternally grateful if you guys could help me out. Thanks


Rates include: All meals and accommodation as per the above program, Park entrance fees, safari 4x4 transport - on seat in car basis with English speaking driver guide, Camping equipment (Tents, mattress, sleeping bag, pillow & camping chairs) , mineral water 1 liter pp/d and cook.

Rates exclude: Tipping, visa, medical and travel insurance, laundry and beverages, optional excursions as mentioned above and all other expenses of a personal nature not mentioned above.
koreansteve is offline  
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Apr 10th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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I'm not familiar with this operator but I'd seriously question the quality of a safari for that price.

Park and camping fees alone for this trip will add up to about $350 which is more than half of your total cost. Entry fees for Lake Manyara and Tarangire are $35pppd, Serengeti is $50pppd and I believe the Ngorongoro conservation area is $30pppd. Public campsite fees are $30pppd effective July 1 if I'm reading the list on tanzaniaparks.com correctly. That doesn't include the crater descent fee of $100 per vehicle, leaving an amount of a little over $100 going toward the cost of the vehicle, guide, cook, fuel, food, water and equipment for 6 days. I'm assuming they'll try to fill the vehicle with as many passengers as possible, but even then it still seems very low to me.

Unless you've gotten reliable feedback about this operator, I'd be very careful with this one.

Sunny Safaris is a reputable Tanzanian operator that offers budget camping and has been recommended here and on LonelyPlanet Thorntree. Have you contacted them and received a price quote for a similar itinerary?
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Apr 10th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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This sounds really, strangely, suspiciously low to me--and I did a bit of budget camping in TZ before (just a bit).

I agree with Patty; check threads on the LP Africa board for reliable budget operators.
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Apr 10th, 2006, 03:40 PM
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"On seat in car" is always a warning light!

Assume you will travel with 4 or 5 others. One has to sit next to the driver or in a middle seat.

Carrying camping equipment for 4 to 6 people in a 4x4 vehicle is challenging! It will have to be really small tents! Everything has to go on top (there goes at least one hatch) unless they have a wagon and at these costs that's doubtfull.

It will take forever to load/unload. Just moving the dirty charcoal bags will be challenging!

Not to mention that this company is not listed anywhere (TALA, TATO, etc.)

Tread carefully!
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Apr 10th, 2006, 05:16 PM
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I know it sounds suspicious (i LOVE the price, but i'd like to have at least a decent experience), but a member in the thorn tree forums said that lucky safaris was GREAT.

Anyone else have experience with this company?
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Apr 10th, 2006, 05:17 PM
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here's their website:

http://www.luckytourssafaris.com/index.html
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Apr 10th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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It's interesting that they break all costs down - this would certainly make ME feel better about them.
http://www.luckytourssafaris.com/prices.html

Nevertheless, koreansteve what Patty and Eben (climbhigh...) say rings very true. Two and two just add up to more than three, however hard you try! Other things to think about are
(i)hidden costs
(ii)high-pressure sales tactics to get you to part with more money
(iii) spending a day or so waiting by the side of the road for a spare part to arrive
(iv) certain promised activities failing to materialise due to events "beyond the control of Lucky Tours"

It can be all part of the fun and adventure or extremely annoying and depressing; depends on your perspective. If you have time to do other trips in case this one is a bit of a joke, go for it and report back to us all... but if this is a one off opportunity for you I'd think hard about it. At least ask them directly why they are so cheap!
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Apr 10th, 2006, 05:56 PM
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I just realised it is not as cheap as it says; the park fees are out of date - if you have been quoted that price recently BEWARE because it is untrue (see the pricing on the sample program in the table at the bootom of the page to which I posted a link in my previous post) and you will end up paying considerably more - see Patty's post for actual park fees.
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Apr 10th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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koreansteve

Trust me. Even for 5 people this safari is near impossible in July 2006 unless:

your cook and guide are earning a shamefull $5 per day (or less) for all their hard work,
you will have serious mileage restrictions,
the car is less than $100 per day (impossible),
and only $5 per day allowance for food/drinks per person!

What are you trying to achieve with your safari? You are asking the "experts" for opinions about the quality of this trip and we are telling you that it is too cheap.

It does not matter if one other person think this is the greatest outfitter in Tanzania. The numbers don't add up.

What more can we tell you? Or maybe the other 4 people are paying $900 each and you got a bargain?



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Apr 10th, 2006, 06:02 PM
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Well, Twiga is outside the park, so you're not paying a camping fee there (not a park camping fee, in any case). Seronera and Simba are, of course, both inside the parks and the fees apply. But, looking cursorily at their website, I think the various fees they've listed are old; perhaps they haven't updated their website. And this itinerary is based on a party of four, which may or may not apply to you.

Why aren't they listed with TALA?

I don't know. I'd definitely do more research before I'd book, if I were you. That is a very low price. Could you possibly pm the Lonely Planet poster who raved about them?

Good luck, Steve. And keep us updated.
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Apr 10th, 2006, 06:16 PM
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For 5 people sharing, using only $30 pd for food & drinks (for 7 people!) and a tragic $5 pd cook salary and only $100 per day for car and fuel.

7/12/06 Arusha Manyara Public Camp
Park Fees (35 * 5) $170.00
camp fees - 15 * 5 $75.00
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $30.00
7/13/06 Tarangire Serengeti Public Camp
Park Fees (50 * 5) $250.00
camp fees - 30 * 5 $150.00
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $20.00
NCA Transit $150.00
7/14/06 Serengeti Serengeti Public Camp
Park Fees (50 * 5) $250.00
camp fees - 30 * 5 $150.00
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $30.00
7/15/06 Serengeti Ngorongoro Public Camp
park fees - 35 * 5 $170.00
camp fees - 30 * 5 $150.00
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $30.00
7/16/06 Arusha Tarangire Public Camp
Park Fees (35 * 5) $170.00
crater fees (100 * 1 cars) $100.00
camp fees - 15 * 5 $75.00
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $30.00
7/17/06 Tarangire Arusha
1 * Car + Driver $6.00
1 * Car $100.00
Cook $5.00
Food+Drinks $30.00

Total: $2,696.00/5 = $540 pp
+ guide salary ? + company profit ?


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Apr 11th, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #12
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Here are 2 emails i received after i emailed them about my/your concerns:


Thanks again for getting back to us.
Donít worry you are not a pain...we are always here for your all your needs.
Well Adam, basically the price we offer you is the lowest you can get
(though other tour operators might give you even lower prices; but bear in
mind you wont get a quality camping safari!!) We are almost charging you US$
80.33 per day and we make very little profit out of it...but give excellent
service. Bear in mind that park fees in Serengeti & Ngorongoro are per
person is US$ 50 per 24 hrs.....and US$ 35 per person per 24hrs in Lake
Manyara and Tarangire National parks.
And that is why we advised you on joining with other clients so as get a
quality camping safari with all the necessary equipment and satisfaction.
Joining with others will reduce costs on fuel thus not limiting your driving
distances.

I hope you can now figure out how much money we part with.

For people who have traveled with us before, they all were very satisfied
with our kind of personalized services. Our vehicles are all in good
condition and we have barely had any cases of breakdowns. We also ensure
that all our driver guides have undergone mechanical training. However,
there are rare mishappenings that might occur even to a new car e.g getting
a puncture etc which can't be avoided sometimes. In most cases our safaris
have always been a success!

We have employed staff (cooks & driver guides) whom we pay monthly salaries.
We only give allowances during safaris. Other companies pay little to their
staff which is very practical and a shame.


Please feel free to ask more questions and we shall be ready to assist and
ensure you are comfortable with your decisions for traveling to Tanzania.

Many thanks and hope to read your reply.

With warm regards,
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Apr 11th, 2006, 07:30 AM
  #13
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1 - At the moment, we have 3 pax in this group departure. A couple + 1 solo
traveler. Kindly note that our 4x4 vehicles have 6 window seats and thus
calls for a maximum of 6 passengers in each vehicle.

2 - The program we sent to you will mostly be sitting on a car but however
as I had indicated there below (in the detailed itinerary) that there is an
option of doing hikes or walking safaris while at Ngorongoro. This will be
charged separately depending on ones interest. These excursions take at most
1-2hrs.
3 - The heart of Tanzania's northern circuit is Arusha city which is very
close to Nairobi. There are shuttle busses that operate on a daily basis
from Nairobi to Arusha via Namanga border. It takes approximately 5 hrs
driving from Nairobi to Arusha. If you depart Nairobi to Arusha on morning
shuttle bus, you will arrive in Arusha in good time to start safari to Lake
Manyara National park which is just 1 - 1.5 hrs drive from Arusha town.
Upon your arrival in Arusha we shall page you up at the shuttle bus terminal
so that we continue with safari.

4 - All payment will be done in our Arusha office.
5 - Currently, we have only this departure starting on the 12th July 2006.
If you maybe needed to extend your program we advise you do some cultural
excursions like visiting the typical Maasai/local villages; you can also do
a day trip to Arusha national park for a nature walk where you will get even
closer to animals like giraffes, buffaloes, etc (BUT this will be done under
the guard of an armed ranger); boat excursions can also be done inside
Arusha national park. You can also do a Kilimanjaro hike or even visit the
amazing spice island of Zanzibar!! However this will cost more as a single
traveler. But we can discuss and see how much we can help you out.

I hope the above has quenched your thirst but always donít hesitate to
revert should you need more of our assistance or clarification.
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Apr 11th, 2006, 07:38 AM
  #14
 
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KoreanSteve
I can't comment on this outfitter in any way at all but just wanted to warn you that it's very common practice on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forums for operators or their friends to post messages praising the operator in the guise of satisfied customers. I'm not saying that this is definitely the case with the message you refer to but that it's certainly within the realms of possibility.
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Apr 11th, 2006, 08:13 AM
  #15
 
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Ditto Kavey's comments. Was there only one poster on TT who recommended this company? Have you checked his/her other posts? If he/she has a long history of good giving advice on TT, then I'd find the recommendation more trustworthy. If on the other hand, all of his/her posts mention Lucky Tours, I'd be wary.

Also, as Eben and Leely have pointed out, this operator doesn't appear on the list of licensed outiftters - http://www.tourismtanzania.go.tz/Doc...t%20Agents.pdf
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